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THE

duty of KEEPING these things has been explained above; of conscquence, this transaction was covenant-renovation,-a reacting of what had been done in the days of their fathers; especially in the days of David. The manner of keeping these commandments, unto which they engaged, is particularly declared: They bound themselves to it WITH ALL

HEART, and WITH ALL THE SOUL. But it is needless to repeat what has been already offered on this matter *. This is an evidence not obscure, that this was not a state covenant, as some would insinuate ; for state covenants have only to do with the outward man: But it is peculiar to church covenants to reach the heart. True it is, the King is only mentioned, as being cordial in this matter; but it is plain, by comparing the accounts of this covenant, that the people copied this royal example: “ And all the people stood to the covenant t. The Sanhedrim appointed all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it; and the people readily complicd with their injunction.

THIRDLY, The OCCASIONS of this Covenant are the third branch of our subject. This tranfaction obtained in the eighteenth year of Jofiul's reign; and between that and the first

* Dillertation IX.

+ 2 Kings xxiii, 3.

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year of Hezekiah there interveened near an hundred years; for Hezekiah reigned twentynine years, Manasseh fifty-five, and Amon two. This century was filled up with various changes in the state of religion, and great variety of providential dispensations unto the church and kingdom of Judah.

1. The kingdom of Judah had been greatly threatened by the Assyrian army, and wonderfully delivered without human aid ; or even the exertion of their own power, in the use of

The reason of God's chastising his people by the hand of this Assyrian, probably, was Hezekiah's league with Egypt, in direct violation of the covenant with the Lord God of their fathers. When God redeemed Ifrael from the hand of the Egyptians and of their gods, he expressly prohibited them from confederating with other nations; and he engrossed this article into that covenant which was executed immediately after they had sinned by making the golden calf. He had, in like manner, prohibited, in a particular manner, a confederacy with Egypt, as inconsistent with the design of the pasiover, which was a standing ordinance among them ; and equally inconsistent with an humble dependance on him as head of the theocracy. But, although the correction was justly and feverely inflicted, yet it must not be always continued. God will not contend with his children for ever, neither will he be always wroth: For the spirits would fail before him, and the souls which he hath made. Wherefore he took the punishment of the Church's enemies into his own hand; and, when the Assyrian was in the highest hopes of victory, and elevated with the vilest pride, the Lord difpatched an angel who fmote an hundred four-score and five thousand of his troops; and, when he decamped to Nineveh, he was affaflinated by two of his fons, in the very temple of his god. Vengeance on such foes has been ever fraught with gracious deliverance to his Church and people.

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2. HEZEKIAH misimproved this national rieliverance, as well as that from his bodily affliction.

The Lord himself complains, That Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up : Therefore, there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Though they befought the Lord to remove their affliction, yet, when he accomplished their wishes, they forgot to return unto him in the

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of covenant-renovation. There was great repentance; for both Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem humbled themselves for the pride of their heart: But yet their humiliation was not correfpondent to the offence. There was some re

formation also in the latter days of Hezekiah ; but it was not a covenanted reformation : Hence the vengeance was only deferred, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah; but it was still reserved, and not averted. Now, it was proper for the Church, in Josiah's days, to reform in the way of covenant-renovation, as ever they would avoid that horrid sin of ingratitude, with which Hezekiah is justly blamed.

3. The reformation which Hezekiah had so happily begun in his younger years, and which continued, in some measure, all his days had been destroyed by the dreadful wickedness of Manafleh and Amon. Manasseh seems to have exceeded Ahaz himself in wickedness. He built the high-places which his father had broken down; and reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. He carried his idolatry to such a height, as to set up his altars in opposition to God's altar, in his very presence, and in the house called by his name: And, to finish his wickedness to a degree unknown to his ancestors, he used witchcraft, and dealt with a fanıiliar spirit, and with wizards; and, not content with the practice of idolatry himself, he caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do worse than the heathen, whom the Lord had destroyed before Nnn

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the children of Israel. And such as complied not with the times fell a sacrifice to the

rage of his idolatry: “Manasseh fhed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another."---And, though there was great reformation in the latter end of Manasseh's reign, yet the people did not return unto the Lord by covenant-renovation: Wherefore, it was proper to put hand to that work which Manasseh had neglected. It must also be observed, that, though this method of reformation was esfayed, yet there was a great defect in it, as Josiah and the rest of the reformers did not make a thorough search into the iniquities of their fathers, nor yet a suitable acknowledgment of them; especially the fin of blood-shedding in the days of Manafleh. Hence we find God himself profecuting the quarrel in after generations. He stirred up the Chaldeans to avenge this quarrel: “ Şurely at the commandment of the Lord came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his fight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did : And also for the innocent blood that he shed (for he filled Jerufalem with innocent blood), which the Lord would not pardon *.".

4. Josiah had begun a reformation from the 'idolatry and fuperftition into which his

2 Kings xxiv, 3, 4.

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