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ey and truth; yea, in all his moral perfections.
2. They engaged to keep his CommandMents, and his Testimonies, and his StaTutes*. The term rendered commandments is used to denote judicials, as I have already observed, or such political precepts as God gave out for .the regulation of the Jewish commonwealth: And testimonies arc, in this connection at least, expreflive of moral precepts. They are styled TestiMoniES because God has given a clear and full declaration of his will: He has not left us to guess at his mind, by dark hints; but has afforded such a degree of evidence, that nothing but a vailed heart and obstinate infidelity can resist. The duty of Keeping these things has been explained above; of consequence, this traniaction was covenant-renovation,—a reacting of what had been done in the days of their fathers; especially in the days of' David. The manner of keeping these commandments, unto which they engaged, is particularly declared: They bound themselves to it With All
* 2 Chron xxxiv. 31. The word Ynnjn, His Testi. Monies, is derived from T\27, Idem Esse; because the testimony of a witness ought to be consistent with itself, and be always the fame. The term is sometimes used in a very large sense, for the whole doctrines and precepts in the word; But, in the present connection, it is evidently limited unto moral precepts; as there are 0thfer words used to denote ceremonials and judicials. Nor is this fense of it infrequent in the Old Testament. "Testimonium quoque interdum significat ipsuni Decalojrum j atque adeo duas Tabulas, in quibus scriptns suit, Exod. xl. 20. Levit. xvi. 13 Idco autem Decalogus vocatur Testimonium; quia Deus id dixit testatusque elt tie se, ac sua voluntate de que justitia et veluti debito, quod a nobis exigat." Matthias Flaccius Illyricus Clay. Script, apud voceiii,
THE HEART, and WITH ALL THE SOUL.
But it is needless to repeat what has been already offered on this matter *. This is an evidence not obscure, that this was not a state covenant, as some would insinuate; for state covenants have only to do with the outward man: But it is peculiar to church covenants to reach the heart. True it is, the King is only mentioned, as being cordial in this matter; but it is plain, by comparing the accounts of this covenant, that the people copied tliis royal example: "And all the people stood to the covenants." The Sanhedrim appointed all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it; and the people readily complied with their injunction.
THIRDLY, The Occasions of thisCovenant are the third branch of our subject. This transaction obtained in the eighteenth year of Joiiah's reign; and between that and the first
* Dissertation IX. f 2 Kings xxiii. J.
year year of Hezekiah there interveened near an hundred years; for Hezekiah reigned twentynine years, Manasseh fifty-five, and Amon two. This century was filled up with various changes in the state of religion, and great variety of providential dispensations unto the church and kingdom of Judah.
1. Th E kingdom of Judah had been greatly threatened by the Astyrian army, and wonderfully delivered without human aid ; or even the exertion of their own power, in the use of means. The reason of God's chastising his people by the hand of this Astyrian, probably, was Hezekiah's league with Egypt, in direct violation of the covenant with the Lord God of their fathers. When God redeemed Israel from the hand of the Egyptians and of their gods, he expressly prohibited them from confederating with other nations > and he engrossed this article into that covenant which was executed immediately after they had sinned by making the golden calf. He had, in like manner, prohibited, in a particular manner, a confederacy with Egypt, as inconsistent with the design of the pastover, which was a standing ordinance among them; and equally inconsistent with an humble dependance on him as head of the theocracy. But, although the correction was justly and severely inflicted, yet it must not be always continued. God will not
contend contend with his children for ever, neither will he be always wrotfy: For the spirits would fail before him, and the fouls which he hath made. Wherefore he took the punishment of the Church's enemies mto his own hand; and, when the Ailyrian was in die highest hopes of victory, and elevated with the vilest pride, the Lord dispatched' an angel who smote an hundred four-score and five thousand of his troops; and, when he decamped to Nineveh,he was astafllnatcd by two of his sons, in the very temple of his god. Vengeance on such foes has been ever fraught with gracious deliverance to his Church and people.
i. Hezekiah misimproved this national deliverance, as well as that from his bodily affliction. The Lord himself complains, That Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: Therefore, diere was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Though they besought the Lord to remove their affliction, yet, when he accomplished their wishes, they forgot to re-1 turn unto him in the way of covenant-renovation. There was great repentance; for both Hezekiah and' the inhabitants of Jerusalem humbled themselves for the pride of their heart: But yet their humiliation was not correspondent to the offence. There was some reformation formation also In the latter days of Hezekiah; but it was not a covenanted reformation: Hence the vengeance was only deferred, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon thfcm in the days of Hezekiah; but it was still reserved, and not averted. Now, it was proper for the Church, in Josiah's days, to reform in the way of covenant-renovation, as ever jhey would avoid that horrid sin of ingratitude, with which Hezekiah is justly blamed.
3. The reformation which Hezekiah had so happily begun in his younger years, and which continued, in some measure, all his days had been destroyed by the dreadful wickedness of Manaiseh and Amon. Manasseh seems to have exceeded Ahaz himself in wickedness. He built the high-places which his father had broken down> and reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. He carried his idolatry to such a height, as to set up his altars in opposition to God's altar, in his very presence, and in the house called by his name: And, to finish his wickedness to a degree unknown to his ancestors, he used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards; and, not content with the practice of idolatry himself, he caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do worse than the heathen, whom the Lord had destroyed before * N n n the