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to be serious. Micaiah then assumed a serious tone, and told him the truth without reserve; and which amounted to nothing less than that he should lose his life in the battle. Ahab, full of rancor, appealed to Jehoshaphat, that he had told him beforehand what would be the effect of sending for this man. Micaiah, like a man of God, now looked the very monarch in the face, and said, hear the word of Jehovah! “It may be thought incredible that I only should be right, and four hundred prophets in the wrong: I will relate a vision that will perfectly account for it. I beheld Jehovah, the great disposer of all events, sitting upon his throne, surrounded by the host of heaven. Fully acquainted with the whole of thy ungodly life, and viewing thee as ripe for destruction, he determined to destroy thee: and seeing that in this instance, thou hast preferred flattery to truth, he has determined to destroy thee by means of flattery. Know then Ahab! that hell and all its agents, delusion and all its instruments, are under his control: they go and come at his bidding. That spirit to whom thou hast sold thyself to work wickedness in the sight of Jehovah, now desires thee for his prey. He that hath seduced thee into sin, now asks permission of God to deceive thy prophets, that he may plunge thee into destruction: and God hath granted him his desire. And that which Satan is doing for his ends, God will do for his: There is as much of the judicial hand of God in a lying spirit having misled thy prophets, as of readiness in the evil one to entangle and seize thee as his prey!"
He cursed David by his gods.
1 Sam. xvii. 43.
It is highly probable that this was a general practice with idolaters, who, supposing themselves secure of the favor and protection of their deities, concluded, that their enemies must necessarily be the objects of their displeasure and vengeance. Hence, anticipating the certainty of Divine wrath upon them, they cursed and devoted them to destruction. So did the Philistine act towards David; and so the Romans used to do, saying, Dii deacque te perdent.
And the horse that the King rideth upon, and the crownroyal which is set upon his head.
Esther vi: 8.
HERODOTUS relates, that the Kings of Persia had horses peculiar to themselves, which were brought from Armenia; and were remarkable for their beauty. If the same law prevailed in Persia as did in Judea, no man might ride upon the King's horse, any more than sit on his throne, or hold his sceptre. The crown-royal was not to be set upon the head of the man; but on the head of the horse. This interpretation is allowed by Abenezra, by the Targum, and the Syriac version. No mention is afterward made of the crown, as set upon the head of Mordecai; nor would Haman have dared to have advised that which could not be granted; but it was usual lo put the crown-royal on the head of a horse led in state; and this we are assured was a custom in Persia, as it is with the Ethiopians to this day; and so with the Romans, horses drawing triumphal chariots were Growned.
For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord
will have war with Amalek, from generation to generaiion.
Exodus xvii. 16.
* that the Hebrew of this text is equivocal: it signifies literally, “because of the hand on the throne of God, war of God against Amalek from generation to generation:" and from Patrick he observes, That it is pretended that, in some countries, to put the hand upon the throne was a ceremony that attended a solemn oath; as laying it on the altar was in other places. This was as much as our laying the hand on the Bible: a principal external character of an oath. Whence Juvenal says, Atheists do intrepidos altaria tangere, touch the altars boldly without trembling;t that is, make no conscience of an oath:
Evening and morning, and at noon, will I pray.
Psalms lv. 17.
The frequency and the particular seasons of prayer are circumstances chiefly connected with the situation and disposition of such persons as habituate themselves. to this exercise; but from a singular conformity of practice, in persons remote, both as to age and place, it
* Dissertations, vol. i. p. 333. † Satire xii. v. 8.
appears probable that some idea must have obtained generally, that it was expedient and acceptable to pray three times every day. Such was the practice of David, and also of Daniel;* and as a parallel, though as far as connected with an idolatrous system, a different case, we are informed, that “It is an invariable rule with the Bramins to perform their devotions three times every day: at sun-rise, at noon, and at sun-set.”+
As an oath is for confirmation, and is a solemn appeal to an omniscient God, particular care should be taken so to administer it, as to make a due impression on the mind, of its sacred nature and obligation. God himself has, by this means, ratified the most important engagements, and has secured to us the most valuable blessings. By this means an inexhaustible source of consolation is opened to the heirs of promise. For the enjoyment of these privileges, they should pray without ceasing, ever remembering that it is the command of Christ that men should always pray, and not faint. The returns of prayer, while they reflect praise upon God, convey to the soul the rich blessings of grace and peace; and that sacred intercourse which he maintains with Heaven, will be found powerfully conducive in promoting his meetness for that glorious state.
See chap. vi. verse 10.
* Heb. vi.
A certain man made a great supper, and bade many;
and sent his servants, at supper-time, to say to them that were bidden, Come, for all things are now ready.
Luke xiv. 16, 17.
There is a striking conformity between the circumstances intimated in the introductory part of this parable, and the ceremonies attendant upon a Chinese entertainment. Among this people, "an invitation to an entertainment is not supposed to be given with sincerity, until it has been renewed three or four times in writing. A card is sent on the evening before the entertainment; another, on the morning of the appointed day; and a third, when every thing is prepared."* The invitation to this great supper is supposed to have been given when the certain man had resolved upon making it; but it is again repeated at supper-time when all things were ready. Now, as it does not appear that the renewal of it arose from the refusal of the persons invited, of which no hint is yet given, we may suppose it was customary thus to send repeated messages. The practice was very ancient among the Chinese; and if admitted to have prevailed among the Jews, certainly gives a significancy to the words not usually perceived.
The repetition of gospel-invitations does not arise from the want of sincerity, but from the earnest solici. tude of the Founder of the feast to bring sinners to partake of it. How happy are they to whom these calls
* See Goldsmith's Geography, page 117.