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2. The magistrates of the Jewish republic Mere bound to punish idolaters on a two-fold account: They were bound to do it on the principles just mentioned; and for reasons peculiar to their theocratical jTovernment. God W'as King of the Jews, or head of the theocracy; therefore, he could not suffer any other deity, more than any earthly king could admit a rival into his kingdom. Two heads of the fame kind and order in any commonwealth are absolutely incompatible. Hence idolatry had a particular aggravation in Canaan, beyond what it has in any other country; it amounted to nothing less than high treason: Now, treason has been deemed capital in every age. Hence, we may fee, how unjustly the Mosaic system in general, and this covenant in particular, have been charged with cruelty by the Deists and libertines of these times. They grant, that treason has ever been considered as a capital crime among mankind; and they dare not deny, but the traitor justly pays his head, when in the power of majesty: But here they tax the execution of traitors with the most flagrant injustice! Shocking absurdity! Gross infatuation!
is the duty of magistrates," said he, " not to allow any public places for false and abominable -worship; as also, to demolish all outward appearances of such superstitious, idolatrous, and unacceptable service. Let Papists, who are idolaters; and Socinians, who are anthropolatrar, plead for themselves." See Dr Owen on Toleration, aud Dr Low fa's Letter to Dr Warburton.
FIFTHLY, We may now consider the OcCasions of this Covenant. The interval between this transaction and that in last year of David's reign was near seventy-fix years: For the khips which were between David and Asa reigned just fixty years; and this covenant took place in the fifteenth year of Asa's reign. More particularly,
1. This covenant obtained after Cod had accomplished various promises made to Israel in the Davidic Covenant. He had set Solomon on the throne of his father David, blested Israel with remarkable peace and prosperity under his government; enabled him to build a most splendid house for the name of the Lord*; and brought every part of the ceremonial worship unto the highest pitch of perfection and glory. Now, the accomplishment of God's promises laid them under new obligations to devote themselves to him who bestowed all things so liberally on them: And it was proper to testify their gratitude for the advancement of his work among them, by vowing to him who had brought them hitherto. ,
2. The glory of the kingdom, and especially the splendor of religion, had been greatly eclipsed by Solomon's apostacy. That fame
* For a delineation of this fabric, and a view of the mysteries -vailed under it, fee Lee on Solomon's Temple, as also Arias Montan. Villalpand. aud Lewis Cappellus on the subject.
Hlili 2 Solomon Solomon who had been so much the object of divine love, unto whom God had appeared twice, even he fell into die horrid fin of idolatry; and that in an advanced period of life. Fondness for imitating the fashions of the great, in matters of religion as well as common life, has been the plague of both ancient and modern times; therefore, it is not improbable, that, in compliance with their prince, his courtiers relinquished the true religion and a good conscience along; with him. Solomon himself was probably reclaimed, however, and wrote the book of Ecclcliastes after his reformation.
3. Ti.ik apostacy of Solomon had been signally punished in the revolt of the ten tribes from under the authority of the family of DaA id, which was followed with remarkable apostacy from the true religion, and dreadful covenant-violation. Jeroboam, for political reasons, prohibited the males from appearing three times a-year before the Lord at Jerusalem, as was required by the law of 'Moses. To accommodate them in his own dominions, he set up on,e calf at Bethel, the south end of his kingdom, on the borders of that of Judah, to prevent the Israelites from going into it: Another at Dan, that he might at once accommodate the northern territories, and also draw persons hither from the soudiem parts. These reasons were too gross, however, to be cither assfo-ned or avowed: The ostensible one was, . their personal ease; "It is too much for you
to go up to Jerusalem." This idolatry greatly resembled that of the golden calf; and the monarch's speech seems to have been copied from Aaron's on that occasion. Corruption had made alarming progress under the auspices of the kings of Israel, which loudly called for an explicit testimony against it, as well as the present application of a proper remedy.
4. The Lord, in sovereign grace, had reserved a remnant for himself, notwithstanding these shaking providences, and heinous provocations. The sacred historian remark:- various things which obtained, in favour of religion, under the reign of Asa. He took away the altars, brake down the high places and images, and cut down the groves. The Lord had also given several victories to the children of Judali; and sent various encouraging messages by his prophets unto them: "And when Ask heard these words, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of the land of Benjamin, and of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim; and renewed the altar of the Lord that was before the porch of the Lord." Now, as this reformation was genuine in its principle,—large in its extent, it was proper to make it a covenanted-reformation, that> it might be lairing in its duration.
SIXTHLY, The Solemnities by which this Covenant was ratilicil, maybe considered in the next place.
1. It was confirmed by Oath *. The form of the oath is not registered in the inspired volume ; nor can the particular mode of swearing he learned from it: but as to the certainty of the fact we have no reason to heiitate.
2. It was probably ratified by sacrifice and writing. The sacred historian assures, that they offered sacrifices at the lame time. Now, although some of them might be offered before the solemn action, as a preparative for it; yet, it is probable, there were others offered besides them. It is also reasonable to conclude, that as they covenanted under the influence of the Holy Ghost, he would induce them to use every solemnity which had been left on record for their imitation.
I Shall now close this dissertation with an Inference or two for improvement of what has been said.
I. "we may fee the imperfection of grace, even in the wisest and best of God's children, in this world. Solomon, the wisest of men, yielded to a trifling temptation; so as to deface that system which had arrived at its meridian splendor under his auspices. Excellence of ffifts, abundance of manifestation, are no barrier against a partial apoflacy: Solomon had
; Ckron. >.v. 14. . , botli;