Repost: John Knox and Modern Covenant Sanctions

From D. Ritchie’s blog:

John Knox on the modern applicability of the curses of the covenant

How the Lord threatened plague after plague, and ever the last to be the sorest, till finally he will consume realms and nations if they repent not, read chapter 26 of Leviticus, which chapter oft I have willed you to mark, as yet I do unfeignedly.  And think not that it appertaineth to the Jews only.  No, brethren; the prophets are the interpreters of the law, and they make the plagues of God common to all offenders, the punishment ever beginning at the house-hold of God. […]

The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, after they had proclaimed plagues to fall upon the people of Israel, and upon the house of Judah, prophesy particularly against certain nations and cities, nor only adjacent in circuit about Jerusalem, but also against such as were far distant; as against Moab, Ammon, Palestine, Egypt, Tyre, Damascus, and Babylon (Isa. 13; 15; 17; 18; 19; 20; 23; Jer. 59; 51; Ezek. 25; 26; 27).  And in conclusion, general prophecies are spoken against all inobedient and sinful nations, as in chapter 24 of Isaiah plainly appeareth; as also, the Lord commanding Jeremiah to give the cup of his wrath to all nations, one after another; who should drink of the same, although they refused it of his hand (Jer. 25): that is, albeit they would not believe the voice of the prophet, yet should they not escape the plagues that he spoke: ‘For every nation like unto this, shall I punish, saith the Lord of Hosts’ (Jer. 5).  With the same agreeth Amos, saying, ‘The eyes of the Lord are upon every sinful nation, to root it out of the earth’ (Amos 9).  These, and many more places, evidently prove, that the plagues spoken of in the law of God, appertain to every rebellious people, be they Jew or be they Gentile, Christians in title, or Turks in profession.  And the ground of the prophets was the same, which before I have rehearsed for my assurances that England shall be plagued; which is, God’s immutable and inviolable justice, that cannot spare in one realm and nation, those offences that most severely he hath punished in another: for so were he unequal, and to make differences, as touching execution of his just judgments betwixt person and person; which is most contrarious to the integrity of his justice.

John Knox, ‘Letter to the faithful in England’ in R. S. Candlish (ed.), Select practical writings of John Knox (1845; Edinburgh, 2011), pp 31-2.

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