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the reformation, indeed; but it was greatly crushed by the apostacy of Joash, after the death of Jehoiada. As long as the High-priest lived he was ready to promote the reparation of the temple, both by his royal edi& and example; but he was no sooner dead than the princes of Judah flattered him into that idolatry from which they had been but lately reformed. They came and made obeisance to the king: Then the king hearkened unto them. And they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served grovęs and idols. Such is the inconstancy and inconsistence of many professors in almost every age! And, to add unto their guilt, when the Spirit of the Lord came upon Zecharial, the son of Jehoiada, and he testified against them, saying, “Why transgress ye the commandment of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper?" they stoned himn with stones, at the commandment of the king, in the court of the house of the Lord. When persons fall into irreligion and impiety against God, it is not strange to see them guilty of in gratitude and cruelty to the best of men. The vengeance of heaven overtook that persecuting monarch: For he was visited with war abroad, and conspiracy at home. His own fervants conspired against him, for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and flew him on his bed. . The state of reformation, however, advanced in the three following

reigns:

DID

reigns: For the Spirit of God witnesseth, notwithstanding various blemishes, THEY THAT WHICH WAS RIGHT IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD. The space of their reigns, taken altogether, exceeds eighty years; a period of Reforination still longer than the for

mer one.

But this long day of reformation was succeeded with a dark night of horrid apostacy, in the reign of Ahaz; the darkest, by much, that had ever befallen the Jewish Church, since the accession of David's family unto the throne. Ahaz was not content with introducing the worship of idols into his kingdom; but, when punished for his idolatry, in the time of his distress he did trespass yet more against the Lord, by shutting up the gates of the house of the Lord, as well as putting forth his facrilegious hands unto the facred vefsels and treasures. The Spirit remarks that he was eminent in wickedness; for, having specified his crime, he adds, “THIS IS THAT KING AHAZ.” The rubbish which filled the temple was so dreadfully enormous, as to hinder temple service until the Priests and Levites had performed the heavy task of clearing it.

The altars of Baal had been erected in every corner of his city; and the vengeance of heaven, ever fervent against idolatry and false worship, liad wasted his kingdom. Such was the difinal plight of Judah

when

when Hezekiah fucceeded his father. Though Ahaz had sacrificed many of his children unto devils, yet Hezekiah seeins to have been reserved by heaven for the purpose of restoring the worship of Jehovah, as well as repairing the temple. This covenant was made in pursuance of that reformation which Hezekiah had fo happily begun, toinduce these reformers to finish their testimony. These were the circunstances of the covenanters at this time, The children of Judah, in short, had to acknowledge their iniquity, and supplicate the removal of their plagues: 'Therefore, it was proper to return unto the Lord their God by covenant-renovation.

FOURTHLY, I shall now deduce a few InFERENC ES from what has been offered.

1. GRACE comes not unto any by natural generation : Jotham begets a wicked Ahaz; THAT KING AHA Z good Hezekiah; 2.1d this last reformer a wicked Mánafleh. The fons of God are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth; but of God who she weth mercy:

2. TIE work of reformation is more easily marred, by the example and edicts of wicked

prixes,

build it up

princes, and the supple, or perverse conduct of servile teachers, than it can be advanced by the zealous 'and firm deportment of the most steady reformers. It was more easy for Ahaz to break down the carved work of Zion, as with axes and hammers, than for Hezekiah to

With what amazing facility did Ahaz introduce the worship of Baalim; and perfaade the deluded votaries of that idol to devote their most tender offspring to the most direful torments, in passing through the fire to Molech! How eafily did Ahaz and Judah chime in with those very Syrians whom God used for the rod of their correction ! Ahaz was not more pleased with the altar of Damascus, than Urijah with the pattern which was sent from thence unto Jerufilem: And, after both were convinced that the god of that altar was unable to deliver, by the destruction of Damascus, did they set up this strange altạr, and break down that of the Most High God. What grofs stupidity? How wretched the exchange! Yet there will, in all ages, be some men found wicked enough to execute the most impious commands that come from a throne! The demolition of divine worship is the more easily accomplished, as there are usually more bad men than good in the world; and, even in good men themselves, the corrupt and unrcnewed part greatly pre

vails,

3. An universal obedience unto the law of God, and an universal attendance unto divine institutions, goes hand in hand with right covenanting, and is greatly influenced by it. It has usually been urged against this duty, by the neglectors of it, that covenanters lay a disproportionate stress upon it, and overlook, or undervalue other duties. But Hezekiah's practice fhews the very reverse. Covenanting is so far from relaxing the obligation of the Law, that it affords an additional motive to

It diffuseth its benign influence upon the heart, engaging it to respect all God's commandments.

keep it.

DISSER

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