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1. See the justice of Heaven in avenging the shedding of innocent blood. Cod 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 Athaliah.
2. God over-rules the providential change3 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'4 engagements to the Lord.
COVENANT BETWEEN GOD And JUD AH,
IN THE REIGN OP HEZEKIAH.
2 Gil RON. xxix. 10.
THE accounts of this transaction are still more sparing than those of the preceding one. We (hall only,—I. Survey the Character of the Covenanters.—II. The Resolution into which they entered.—III. The Occa* sions of this Covenant.—And, IV. Deduce a few Inferences from the whole.
FIRST, I shall survey the Character of the Covenanters in this transaction.
I. The glorious party unto whom they were hound to surrender themselves is, The Lord God Of Israel. This designation was relative, and led the covenanters back to re^ view the relation in which the Most High stood
unto 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 œconomy.
2. The persons devoting themselves arc, 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 sueh 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 Manafleh, who, in the beginning of his feign, proved the very worst of all
his race. With this monarch joined the rulers of the city of Jerusalem, and the Levites who had the charge of the temple, and all the congregation of the Lord. Matters had been suffered to link to the lowest ebb in the days of Ahaz; but, all of a sudden, the Lord had spirited up a number to put hand to his work, to the great joy of Hezekiah and all the people: "And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people; for the thing was done suddenly." Happy covenanters,—a people prepared by the Lord!
SECONDLY, The Resolution which these covenanters formed is the next thin«r before us. Said Hezekiah, " Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from, us*." The resolution is formed, indeed, by Hezekiah himself; but it was certainly intended as a public example, to excite unto public covenanting. Had he intended personal covenanting only, there was no need for announcing his intentions to the people; nor, in doing so, could he be well excused from ostentation. In this resolution we may,
1. Observe the matter of it, viz. To Ma K E A Covenant with the Lord God of Israel.
* 2 Chron. xxix. 10.
The sacred phrase is, To Cut A Covenant1/ In one of the Abrahamic transactions the reason of this phrase has been-explained *. When sacrifices were offered for covenant-ratification, the creatures were cut in twain, denoting the severity of the punishment incurred by covenant-violation: The violator deserved to be cut asunder, as the fœderal sacrifice had been when the covenant was ratified. This rite had also in it a representation of the substitution of Christ, the true sacrifice, in the place of the sinner; and of the separation of his foul from his body, as lie was made a curse for us. Taking HeZekiah's resolution in this fense, it was accomplished when the whole congregation offered a sin-offering for the kingdom, and for the sanctuary; and the King and the congregation laid their hands upon the sacrifice, and the priests made reconciliation with the blood of the sacrifice upon the altar, to make an atonement for all Israels. It is probable, however, that formal covenanting followed this solemn sacrifice. Along with the oblation of a sin-offering, there was either an explicit or implicit acknowledgment of sin; and this acknowledgment was a proper introduction to covenant-renovation. This sacrifice, then, was a fuederal one; and it was proper for Hezekiah to fay, 1 have it in mine heart to cut a
* Distort. II. Part ii. f 3 Chron. xxix. 20-^24.