Imágenes de páginas

stians have been deemed capable of being admitted to partake of the Lord's Supper seven years before they arrive at the years of majority, and also to join in public covenanting; grant but the Jews the fame privilege, and vou grant unto the King a right to covenant for himself, even at the age of seven. Again, Joash is not the only instance of early piety among the Jewish monarchs. Josiah gave equal, if not superior proofs of it, at much the

fame time of life. These covenanters, I

shall only add, were the successors of covenanting ancestors, both prince and people; therefore, bound to act this part both by the law of God and antecedent fœderal obligations.

SECONDLY, I shall now attend unto the Character of the Minister, who had a principal hand in the revolution of the State; and who dispensed this covenant to the people. It has been laid, " That Jehoiada, instead of walking in the paths of peace and loyalty, subverted the established government; and, unlike his office, not only moved sedition; but also profaned the temple of the Lord, by introducing into it statesmen and military officers, who had formed a combination to assassinate the queen, and assisted in the coronation of a child in her stead. "Which are more than presumptions, that he grasped at the regency for himself, and sought the aggrandizement of his own family at the expense of the commonwealth.

wealth." For answer to these things, I may observe, That Athaliah was an usurpress (to use the words of Algcrnoon Sidney) therefore flie ought not to reign; and an idolater as well as a murderer, and therefore ouffht not to live; yea, a most unnatural murder of her own grandchildren. Jehoiada, however, did nothing of himself; but, having the youngPrince in his power, it was proper, at once to declare his lineage and secure his life, by taking an oath of the princes of Judah to concert measures for the performance of their duty, as well as assist these princes with his wife counsel and advice in the execution of them. This was consistent with the most rigid loyalty. It was loyalty itself to the constitution, as he was zealous in maintaining the honour of the laws and liberty of the commonwealth from the domination and depredation of a tyrant. Nor have usurpation and tyranny any claim to homage" and obedience,—any right to be preserved. But, by the laws of the realm, every person was bound to do all in his power for putting the Davidic line on the throne: And, if that family were at any time dispossessed ot' it, the administration or" right reverted to the people; and, by the law, the sword was put into their hands, to reinstate the lawful heir, and execute the usurpress, to revenge the murders flie had committed; and to put into execution the law against idolaters, which flie had so wickedly violated. Her execution, cution, of consequence, was no assassination, but in all respects just; nor were there any to execute jullice but the persons who did it, the left having- caught the dreadful infection. Had Jchoiada been intent upon the aggrandizement of his family, he might have set his own son on the throne, being of the seed-royal by the mother's-side ; but regard unto the covenant of David, which settled the succession on the male line, prevented him from having any such ambitious design. Nor can the charge of his aspiring at the regency be established on a better foundation: For it does not appear that ever he acted in any other capacity than that of a counsellor, and his counsels were eminently useful, both unto prince and people. He gave good proof of his ability, in this respect, advising tooft re h measures as were blessed for the advantage of both Church and State; and both were preserved in a flourishing condition > as long as matters were managed by his direction. 1 cannot easily reconcile myself,

however, to the defence which has been used in his behalf: It has been said, thatjehoiada was president of the Sanhedrim, by virtue of his office as High-priest, and had very large authority in civil atfairs on that account: For the Sanhedrim, over which he presided, was an ecclesiastic court, vastly remote, in its nature and ends, from the supreme council of the state. Some authors of considerable merit have denied, that anv such court as the Sanhedrim ever existed, till aster the Babylonish captivity; but the institution and continuance of the Sanhedrim, both civil and ecclesiastic, are as plain as those of many other things which were never disputed *. Others grant, that there was such a court as the Sanhedrim; but deny that ever any distinction existed between the civil and ecclesiastic. Jt had been happy for their scheme had they established it on a proper foundation, and given a solid answer to the arguments of their opponents; but, as these have not yet been done, we may expect to be excused from giving in to it. Jehoiada was president of the ecclesiastic Sanhedrim only; and if he did arty thing in the supreme council of state, his actions were certainly extraordinary; but xiot more scr-tlian his circumstances; and such circumstances call for uncommon exertions in every age. The office of High-priest obliged Jehoiada, doubtless, to preserve the temple inviolate; nor did his arrangement of the people amount to any prostitution of it to secular purposes: For it is well known that there was a court, in this sacred edifice, allotted to the members of the congregation; and, when clean, it became them to approach God by entering into it accordingly. And the people kept their awful distance from the Holy of Holies, as is evident from the charge which was given them

* Vid. contra Synh. Conringinm dc Republic. Hebræor. § S2. Vorst. de Synh. Pro Synh. Se t Den. Dkusium

Lei SEEN, CcNEt'.M.

on on this occasion, which they readily obeyed. Upon the whole, instead of ambition and treasonable practices, sagacity, activity, and sacred zeal for the authority and vigour of the law, both in Church and State, formed the character of this High-priest.

THIRDLY, The Substance of this Covenant deserves now to be considered. There were two distinct covenants executed at this time, a civil and a sacred one. They are diversified thus, A covenant between the Lord, and the King and people, that they should be the Lord's people: And a covenant between the King and the people: But the civil one, which obtained at the King's coronation, is the ■ subject of discourse at this time.

Til E grant which God made to this people was the fame as in the days of David and Solomon, and Asa, &c. The same promises and ordinances being continued among them. By these God acknowledged them as his people: And, seeing they were dignified with this honour, they could not do less than acknowledge themselves such, to the praise of his grace. They covenanted to be THE Lord's People. This is a concise, but comprehensive view of their sacred bond; which must include every duty that the law enjoined. It bound them, in particular, unto all those duties which their peculiar circumstances pointed out unto them


« AnteriorContinuar »