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ab, and she intreatly displealin.olhaphat
2. Tạe reformation, which was so happily advanced, had been awfully crushed by the aftnity of the family of David with the house of Ahab. The edge of the Church's testimony, in Asa's reformation, pointed directly against the idolatry of the ten tribes. But, for political reasons perhaps, Jehoshaphat got his fon Jehoram to marry Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab, and she introduced idolatry into his family; which was greatly displeasing to God, and severely punished by him. Jeholhaphat probably meant to put a period to the war which had long subsisted between Israel and Judah; but he broke the peace with heaven, and brought a bloody sword into his own house. His heir flew all the rest of his sons as soon as he ascended the throne; and Athaliah murdered all the feed-royal when she understood that her firstborn had died by the hand of Jehų. Thus, though the law condemning idolaters was not duly executed, yet vengeance did not suffer them to live. Athaliah, however, meant not so, neither did her heart think so: She intended to make the house of David like the house of her father Ahab; and, at once, to gratify her ambition, as well as secure herself from the victorious arms of Jehu, she grasped at the throne and sceptre of David. This gave additional security to the worship of Baal, which was practised during the six years of Athaliah's usurpation. This idol had his temple, to rival that which was built by Solomon ;, and his prieit, to rival the priest of the Most High after the order of Aaron : But both fell a sacrifice to an injured people. Now it was necessary to make a reformation from such fiagrant corruption; and to confirin this reformation by folemn covenanţing. It was proper to remove the rubbish of idolatry, and also restore such parts of reformation as God had bestowed on their fathers; as well as to make fuch alterations in the sacred bond as their case, and the circumstances of their time required.
3. The Lord had accomplished a most favourable revolution in the State,-prospering the enterprize of Jehoiada to restore the family of David unto the throne of Judah. The scheme was wisely concerted and vigorously executed, as well as faithfully concealed until it was ripe for execution : And every thing succeeded even to the most fanguine expectation. Now, such remarkable success called for a grateful acknowledgment; and covenantrenovation was the fittest for their circumstances, and the best improvement of their deliverance.
LASTLY, I shall now make some REFLECTIONS on the whole.
1. SEE the justice of Heaven in avenging the shedding of innocent blood. God requires the blood of the children of Jehoshaphat at the hand of their brother: And that of the innocents of Jerusalem at the hand of Atha· liah.
2. God over-rules the providential changes in kingdoms and nations for the good of his Church; and makes the efforts of the people, in favour of law and civil liberty, subservient to a work of reformation. The restoration of David's line was accompanied with the renovation of the Church's engagements to the Lord.
THE accounts of this transaction are still
1 more sparing than those of the preceding one. We shall only,--1. Survey the Character of the Covenanters.-II. The Resolution into which they entered.--III, The Occafions of this Covenant.-And, IV. Deduce a few Inferences from the whole.
FIRST, I shall survey the CHARACTER of the Covenanters in this transaction.
1. THE glorious party unto whom they were bound to surrender themselves is, THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL. This designation was relative, and led the covenanters back to review the relation in which the Most High stood
unto them; he was their own God, and their fathers God: And also to review the obligations they were under to be for him, and not for another. They were his covenanted people; as he was their covenanted God, by virtue of the covenants of their ancestors. The Lord God of Israel was the character by which God saw meet to reveal himself under that æconomy.
2. THE persons devoting themselves are, King Hezekiah, with the children of Judah, and such of the ten tribes as submitted to his government. The active part which King Hezekiah took in this covenant, probably was a little extraordinary; yet there was nothing in it either irregular in itself, or unbecoming his station and office : For, though he excited the proper officers of the Church to do their duty, as he well might in such a broken state of the Church, yet he did not wrest the administration of holy things out of their hands; nor, like Uzziah, grasp them into his own. One of the most distinguished covenanters, then, was Hezekiah, a prince as eminent in his zeal for reformation as any of the line of David; and signally rewarded by peculiar and miraculous deliverances from various afflictions. Happy in the succeeding part of his reign, and in almost every thing, except in being succeeded by such a son as Manasseh, who, in the begin. ning of his reign, proved the very worst of all