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f>oth;—we read of his fall, but not of his repentance. Good king Asa, in the fifteenth year of his reign, was also a distinguished covenanter; in the last years of his reign, when he was censured by Hanani the Seer, "he was wroth with the Seer, and put him in the prison-house." This rebellion against just censure, contumacy against the authority of the Seer, and putting him in prison, did not destroy the work of God in his soul, nor disannul his title to the heavenly inheritance: For the Spirit of God witnefleth, notwithstanding these things, "his heart ■was perfect with the Lord all his days."
2. Covenanting ought to be essayed and practised by the smaller number of professors of religion, even when the greater part continue in apostacy, and refuse to be reclaimed. The ten tribes were the -greater, and apostatizing church: The two tribes the lelser, and reforming one. Notwithstanding the majority was on the side of defection; yet the minor part did not lose their right unto their covenanted God, neither were their obligations to him dissolved. It has been said by some, Covenanting is inexpedient in the present time, as the greater part of Christians are otherways minded. But, if the objection be valid now, why was it not so then? They might have said, when the spirit of God excited them to this duty, "The majority of professors are against it, pray, therefore, have us excused." Might
not the prophet easily rejoin, "The authority of God, interposed in his precept, is sufficient warrant for present duty, though all the world be against it." Should any still insist, that " If the majority avow their religion with the solemnity of an oath, and the minority theirs, then the land will be profaned with contradictory swearing." The answer is easy, The profanity lies at the door of them who swear unto a false religion; and the professors of the true religion are by no means answerable for the opposers of it. Moreover, few who have imbibed false principles, and followed corrupt practices, ever durst avow them with the solemnity of an Oath. Sin and error delight to walk in the shade.
COVENANT BETWEEN GOD And JUDAH,
IN THE DAYS OF JEHOIADA.
2 Kings xi. \J. 2 Chron. xxiii 16.
AS this transaction took place at a very remarkable revolution of the State, it may not be improper to attend,—'I. Unto the Character and Circumstances of the Covenanters. —II. The Minister who bore a principal share in that revolution, and who dispensed this Covenant.—III. Consider the Substance of the Covenant, — IV. The Occasions of it.—And then conclude with some Reflections on the who\e.
FIRST, I must attend tinto the Character and Circumstances of the. Covenanters. The sketch which is drawn of them by the inspired historian is shorter than usual: Our sur-vcy must be contracted in proportion. They * lii, „ were Mere Jehoiada,—-all the people, — and the Kin <r.
1. Jehoiada whose character is afterwards reviewed, as the Minister in this transaction: "And Jehoiada made a covenant between HIM, and between all the people*," &c. Sonic refer the relative, him, as referrino- to the remote antecedent Jehovah, or Lord, mentioned in vcrle fourteenth; and they include the intermediate verses in a parenthesis -J-. And the fense, according to this connection is, and Jelioiada made a covenant between the Lord and all the people. But this connection seems, to me at least, far strained; especially as a much more natural account of things may hehad, by referring the relative Him to Jehoiada, as its immediate antecedent. Jehoiada sustained a two-fold character; that of an eminent covenanter, and that of an High-priest in the congregation. Like Mouses, he was God's representative; and also a typical mediator, through whom the people drew near to God J.
2. All The People were covenanters at this time. The universal designation ulc"d in
* 2 Chron. xjuii.. x6.
T Junii's and Tremellius in their annotations subjoined to their translation. In the parallel place, in Kings, the fense mull be according to their view of it, indeed; but then Lord is inserted, and not referred to.
+ See Diodati, Henry on the text, especially Piscatok*
the book of the Chronicles, is to be understood of the greater part of the two tribes, as distinguiihed from the ten, and also from the nations round about them. It is also to be understood of All who were sit to enter into the cono-recation of the Lord.—Various orders of people are enumerated in the context, especially such as held any military rank among them: They are designed Rulers Over Hundreds, and Captains, and the Guard. They arc also described as persons entering in on the Sabbath.
3. The King is also reckoned to the number of covenanters on this occasion. He bound himself to be one of the Lord's people, in opposition to wicked Athaliah, and her accomplices, who were eminently Baal's people. In his public character, he became at once the pattern and protector of the true religion, as well as an opposer of falle worlhip. But it might be enquired, How could Joash be an intelligent covenanter when only seven years of age r It might be answered, Youth come sooner to the exercise of reason, as well as majority, in those warmer oriental climates, than in our cold ones. Irrefragable evidence might be produced from Jewish history and antiquities, to prove that civil contracts might be made by persons in that nation, at die age of twelve, by females at least; whereas our laws six their majority at eighteen. Now, as Chri
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