Imágenes de páginas

ver 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


What would God require at the hand of his people, at a time when his enemies did every thing in their power to frustrate his promise respecting the seed-royal in the fan^ily of David? What would he have them to do, at a time when the worship of Baal was celebrated with every degree of splendour and magnificence; and that of the true God suppressed 1 When the altar of Baal-was erected in the temple of the Most High God; and that of Jehovah cast dpwn ?— When the consciences of such as worshipped the Lord Gx>d of Israel were oppressed, and their most sacred rights violated? Would he not have them to set The Seed Of David on the throne of his father,—repair the altar of the Lord,—purify his temple, —break down every monument of idolatry,—■ as well as avow their allegiance to the Most High?

FOURTHLY, The Occasions of this Covenant are the next branch of this subject.

1. That reformation, which advanced by covenant-renovation in the days of Asa, had made considerable progress under the auspicious reigns of both Asa and Jehosbaphat. The reigns of these two princes, taken together, lasted about sixty years; and reformation, on the "whole, was favoured and protected by them all the while; a thing seldom known Hi the Jewish, or any other church. The steps * Kkk bv

[ocr errors]

by which religion advanced were, First, He took away the High Places and Groves, as well as brake down the monuments of idolatry. The learned are not quite agreed as to the meaning of the terms; so far as we can form a judgment of them, they were of two kinds: One species of them was destined to the purposes of idolatry; and the other sacred to the Most High God. With respect to those high places, which w.ere seats of idolatry, there is not the least ground of doubt but that Jehpshaphat demolished them. This distinction may serve to remove the seeming difficulty: Where, on the one hand, it is said, "He took away the high places and the groves :" On the other, " Howbeitj the high places were not taken away *." The former importing such as had been prostituted to the purposes of idolatry: The latter such as had been sacred

to to the true God. Of, if this do not fullice, the first may denote the conduct of the prince, and the latter that of the people; as it follows, *' For, as yet, the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers:" "Whereas the heart of this good prince was lifted up in the ways of the Lord. Thus idolatry was discouraged at court, though retained and practised in some distant places of the country.

* 2 Chron. xvii. 6. compared with 2 Chrcm. xx. %lNo one thing is more certain than that there were high places and grove3 consecrated to idols: And it is equally plain, that good men worshipped the living God in high places. "The grand difficulty is, how to reconcile their sacrificing in other places besides the national altar; as, Gideon, at Ophrah; Manoah,.in the country of Dan; Samuel, at Mispeh, and Bethlehem, &c. with the Law, "Take heed to thy self, that thou offer not thy burnt-offerings in every place that thou seest. But in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose, there malt thou offer thy burnt-offerings, and there shalt thou do all that I command thee," Deut. xii. 13, 14. The best solution, 1 apprehend, is, That it was done by spe"

rial divine direction 'and command, God having ;U1 unj


Again, Jehoshaphat stirred up the Lcvites

to diligence in giving instructions to the people: "And they taught in Judah, and had , the book of the law of the Lord with them: and went about through all the cities of Judah, and taught the people." Thirdly, He

restored the courts of judicature, both civil and sacred, which had gone into disuetude: "In Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites, and of the priests, and of the chief fathers of Israel, for the judgment of the Lord, and for controversies.—Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of the Lord j and Zebadiah the son of Ifhmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the King's matters." These were bound to inspect the morals of the people; and their care seems to have been crowned with a blessing.

doubted right to supersede his own positive laws when he pleases; and, as this is expressly aflerted to have been done in David's cafe, mentioned 1 Chron. xxi. 18. it may the more reasonably be supposed in, all the rest." Jennings, Vol. II. p. 93.

Kkk 2 2. The

« AnteriorContinuar »