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and the porters waited at every from meddling with God, who is gate; they might not depart from with me, that he destroy thee not. their service; for their brethren 22 Nevertheless Josiah would the Levites prepared for them. not turn his face from him, but

16 So all the service of the disguised himself, that he might LORD was prepared the same fight with him, and hearkened day, to keep the passover, and not unto the words of Necho to offer burnt offerings upon the from the mouth of God, and altar of the Lord, according to came to fight in the valley of the commandment of king Josiah. Megiddo.

17 And the children of Israel 23 And the archers shot at that were present kept the pass- king Josiah ; and the king said over at that time, and the feast to his servants, Have me away; of unleavened bread seven days. for I am sore wounded. 18 And there was no passover

24 His servants therefore took like to that kept in Israel from him out of that chariot, and put the days of Samuel the prophet; him in the second chariot that neither did all the kings of Is- be had; and they brought him rael keep such a passover as Jo- to Jerusalem, and he died, and siah kept, and the priests, and was buried in one of the sepulthe Levites, and all Judah and chres of his fathers. And all Israel that were present, and Judah and Jerusalem mourned the inhabitants of Jerusalem. for Josiah.

19 In the eighteenth year of 25 And Jeremiah lamented for the reign of Josiah was this Josiah: and all the singing men passover kept.

and the singing women spake of 20 After all this, when Josiah Josiah in their lamentations to had prepared the temple, Necho this day, and made them an orking of Egypt came up to fight dinance in Israel : and, behold, against Charchemish by Eu- they are written in the lamentaphrates: and Josiah went out tions. against him.

26 Now the rest of the acts of 21 But he sent ambassadors to Josiah, and his goodness, achim, saying, What have I to do cording to that which was writwith thee, thou king of Judah? ten in the law of the Lord, I come not against thee this day, 27 And his deeds, first and but against the house wherewith last, behold, they are written in I have war: for God commanded the book of the kings of Israel me to make haste: forbear thee and Judah.

LECTURE 716.

Of serving God under disadvantages. The passover which was kept in the days of Josiah, is said to have exceeded all that had been kept “ from the days of Samuel the prophet.” This probably is said with reference to the opportunities of those who kept it. Let this reflexion yield comfort to those, who conceive that they have fallen upon evil times. The worse the times are in which we live, so much the more shall we be counted to have done for God, in acting according to his will. Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah ; their evil reigns.

i Then the people of the land sent, and brought him to Babytook Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, lon, with the goodly vessels of and made him king in his father's the house of the Lord, and stead in Jerusalem.

made Zedekiah his brother king 2 Jehoahaz was twenty and over Judah and Jerusalem. three years old when he began 11 Zedekiah wasoneand twenty to reign, and he reigned three years old when he began to months in Jerusalem.

reign, and reigned eleven years 3 And the king of Egypt put him in Jerusalem. down at Jerusalem,and condemn- 12 And he did that which was ed the land in an hundred talents evil in the sight of the LORD of silver and a talent of gold. his God, and humbled not him4 And the king of Egypt made self before Jeremiah the prophet Eliakim his brother king over speaking from the mouth of the Judah and Jerusalem, and turned LORD. his name to Jehoiakim. And 13 And he also rebelled against Necho took Jehoahaz his brother, king Nebuchadnezzar, who had and carried him to Egypt. made him swear by God: but

5 Jehoiakim was twenty and he stiffened his neck, and harfive years old when he began to dened his heart from turning unreign, and he reigned eleven to the LORD God of Israel. years in Jerusalem : and he did 14 Moreover all the chief of that which was evil in the sight the priests, and the people, transof the LORD his God.

gressed very much after all the 6 Against him came up Nebu- abominations of the heathen; chadnezzar king of Babylon, and and polluted the house of the bound him in fetters, to carry Lord which he had hallowed in him to Babylon.

Jerusalem. 7 Nebuchadnezzar also carried 15 And the LORD God of their of the vessels of the house of the fathers sent to them by his mesLORD to Babylon, and put them sengers, rising up betimes, and in his temple at Babylon. sending; because he had com

8 Now the rest of the acts of passion on his people, and on Jehoiakim, and his abominations his dwelling place: which he did, and that which was 16 But they mocked the mes. found in him, behold, they are sengers of God, and despised his written in the book of the kings words, and misused his prophets, of Israel and Judah : and Jehoi- until the wrath of the LORD achin his son reigned in his stead. arose against his people, till

9 Jehoiachin was eight years old there was no remedy. when he began to reign, and he 17 Therefore he brought upon reigned three months and ten them the king of the Chaldees, days in Jerusalem : and he did who slew their young men with that which was evil in the sight the sword in the house of their of the LORD.

sanctuary, and had no compassion 10 And when the year was ex- upon young man or maiden, old pired, king Nebuchadnezzar man, or him that stooped forage:

he gave them all into his hand. 20 And them that had escaped

18 And all the vessels of the from the sword carried he away house of God, great and small, to Babylon; where they were and the treasures of the house servants to him and his sons unof the Lord, and the treasures til the reign of the kingdom of of the king, and of his princes; Persia : all these he brought to Babylon. 21 To fulfil the word of the LORD

19 And they burnt the house of by the mouth of Jeremiah, until God, and brake down the wall of the land had enjoyed her sabJerusalem, and burntall the pala- baths; for as long as she lay ces thereof with fire, and destroy- desolate she kept sabbath, to ed all the goodly vessels thereof. fulfil threescore and ten years.

LECTURE 717. The end which may be expected by the sabbath breaker. How has God now given up his people to dishonour; when a king of Egypt deposes one of their sovereigns, and a king of Babylon takes captive two more, and at last lays waste their city, burns their temple, and carries off into captivity all whom he had not first slain with the sword ! So soon after the death of Josiah was the cup of the iniquity of this people full! So greedily had they run after their old abominations, and so obstinately persisted in rejecting the warnings given them by God's prophets, “ till there was no remedy!" Oh fearful words! Oh time most sorely to be dreaded ! “ Till there was no remedy!” Can we hear that this was once the case with this highly favoured people; and not tremble to think, that if we persevere in any sin we know of, it may soon be the case with us? Never may we wilfully close our ears to any admonition of God's word or ministers! Never may we return to the sins we have once left, or fall away from the grace we have once attained to !

Jeremiah was one of the chief among many prophets whom it pleased God to raise up amongst his people, at this season of their extreme degeneracy, to testify faithfully to the truth. In his prophecies which have come down to us, we find it written, “ these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” Jer. 25. 11. Here a reason is assigned for the time thus fixt upon:

66 until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths.” This shews us, that amongst other of God's laws transgressed, was the law of the sabbatic year. See Ex. 23. 10, 11. And indeed in the Law itself this very case was contemplated : “ Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land.”

A fearful warning for the faithless, who think to gain by disobeying God, and by working, as of old on sabbath years, so now on sabbath days! "The land had rest, but the people had labour in captivity. The sabbath breaker, who now resolves to work, when God would have him rest, may expect, that when God's people enter into the rest of heaven, his lot will be tribulation for evermore.

Lev. 26. 34.

PART IV.

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The proclamation of Cyrus. 22 Now in the first year of 23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Cyrus king of Persia, that the Persia, All the kingdoms of the word of the LORD spoken by the earth hath the LORD God of mouth of Jeremiah might be ac- heaven given me; and he hath complished, the Lord stirred charged me to build him an up the spirit of Cyrus king of house in Jerusalem, which is in Persia, that he made a procla- Judah. Who is there among mation throughout all his king- you of all his people? The dom, and put it also in writing, Lord his God be with hiin, and saying,

let him go up. LECTURE 718.

Glory due to God for redeeming us. These words, which form the beginning of the book of Ezra, are also set down at the end of the books of Chronicles; by a kind provision for the reader's consolation, that he may not close this dreadful history of the sin and the punishment of Judah and Jerusalem, without being reminded, that God put a period to the troubles of his people, and restored them in due season to the promised land." In the proclamation of Cyrus, it is remarkable, that he refers to the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem, as if this was the chief purpose for which he had it in charge from God, to restore God's people to their country. This was a way of stating the matter, well calculated both to humble the people thus restored, and to glorify God, by whose undeserved mercy they were enabled to return. It was evidently not for their own sakes that He gave them this deliverance. It was evidently for no merit of theirs that He shewed them this favour. But it was for his own name's sake, in order that his temple might be built in Jerusalem, and that there the services ordained in the Law might be performed, and the great mystery of man's redemption through Christ might be foreshewn, by lively types and figures, until the time of its actual accomplishment; these were the objects for which God was now pleased to fulfil the prophetic words of Jeremiah, “I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the Lord.” Jer. 33. 11. " Whatsoever then we ourselves experience of God's most undeserved mercy, let us constantly bear in mind, that we owe it altogether to his fatherly goodness. And instead of taking credit to ourselves, or being elated by the tokens of his love, let us take care to give Him all the praise.

Glory be to Thee, O God, for remembering mercy in the midst of judgment. For our signal deliverance from the bondage of sin, for our undeserved establishment in the glorious liberty of the children of God, glory be to Thee, O heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord !

EZRA 1. 1-11.

The proclamation of Cyrus. He restoreth the vessels of the temple.

i Now in the first year of Cy- had raised, to go up to build the rus king of Persia, that the house of the LORD which is in word of the LORD by the mouth Jerusalem. of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, 6 And all they that were about the Lord stirred up the spirit them strengthened their hands of Cyrus king of Persia, that he with vessels of silver, with gold, made a proclamation throughout with goods, and with beasts, and all his kingdom, and put it also with precious things, beside all in writing, saying,

that was willingly offered. 2 Thus saith Cyrus king of 7 Also Cyrus the king brought Persia, The LORD God of hea- forth the vessels of the house of ven hath given me all the king- the Lord, which Nebuchadnezdoms of the earth; and he hath zar had brought forth out of Jecharged me to build him an rusalem, and had put them in the house at Jerusalem, which is in house of his gods; Judah.

8 Even those did Cyrus king 3 Who is there among you of of Persia bring forth by the hand all his people? his God be with of Mithredath the treasurer, and him, and let him go up to Jeru- numbered them unto Sheshbazsalem, which is in Judah, and zar, the prince of Judah. build the house of the LORD 9 And this is the number of God of Israel, (he is the God,) them: thirty chargers of gold, a which is in Jerusalem.

thousand chargers of silver, nine 4 And whosoever remaineth in and twenty knives, any place where he sojourneth, 10 Thirty basons of gold, silver let the men of his place help basons of a second sort four hunhim with silver, and with gold, dred and ten, and other vessels and with goods, and with beasts, a thousand. beside the freewill offering for 11 All the vessels of gold and the house of God that is in Je- of silver were five thousand and rusalem.

four hundred. All these did 5 Then rose up the chief of the Sheshbazzar bring up with them fathers of Judah and Benjamin, of the captivity that and the priests, and the Levites, brought up from Babylon unto with all them whose spirit God Jerusalem.

were

LECTURE 719. We can neither will nor do good without God's help. Besides the prophecy of Jeremiah, there was a very remarkable prophecy of Isaiah fulfilled on this occasion, which thus speaks of almighty God: “ That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusa

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