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to resolve the question, why a prince so well exercis. ed as Joash had been, in recovering his own, and winning from his enemy, should forsake the possession of Jerusalem, and wilfully neglect the possibilities, or rather cast away the full assurance of so fair a conquest as the kingdom of Judah.
But concerning that point, which of all others had been most material, I mean the desire of the vanquished people to accept the Israelite for their king, it is plainly seen, that entering Jerusalem in triumphant manner, Joash was unable to concoct his own prosperity. For the opening of the gates had been enough to have let him not only into the city, but into the royal throne, and the people's hearts, whom by fair entreaty, (especially having sure means of compulsion,) he might have made his own, when they saw themselves betrayed, and basely given away by him whose they had been before. The fair mark which this opportunity presented he did not aim at, because his ambition was otherwise and more meanly busied, in levelling at the glory of a triumphant entry through a breach. Yet this error might afterwards have been corrected well enough, if entering as an enemy, and shewing what he could do, by spending his anger upon the walls, he had within the city done offices of a friend, and laboured to shew good will to the inhabitants. But when his pride had done, his covetousness began and sought to please itself, with that which is commonly most ready to the spoiler, yet should be most forborne. The treasure wherewith Sesac, Hazael, and the Phia listines, men ignorant of the true God and his religion, had quenched their greedy thirst, ought not to have tempted the appetite of Joash, who, though an idolator, yet acknowledged also and worshipped the eternal God, whose temple was at Jerusalem. Therefore when the people saw him take his way directly to that holy place, and lay his ravenous hands upon - the consecrated vessels, calling the family of Obed
Edom?, (whose children had hereditary charge of the treasury,) to a strict account, as if they had been officers of his own exchequer, they considered him rather as an execrable church-robber, than as a noble prince, an Israelite, and their brother, though of another tribe. Thus following that course, which the most virtuous king of our age, (taxing it with the same phrase,) hath wisely avoided ; by stealing a few apples, he last the inheritance of the whole orchard. The people detested him, and after the respite of a few days, might, by comparing themşelves one to one, perceive his soldiers to be no bet. ter than men of their own mould, and inferior in number to the inhabitants of so great a city. It is not so easy to hold by force a mighty town entered by capitulation, as to enter the gates opened by un, advised fear. For when the citizens, not being disarmed, recover their spirits, and begin to understand their first error ; they will think upon every advantage, of place, of provisions, of multitude, yea, of women armed with tile-stones, and rather choose, by desperate resolution, to correct the evils grown out of their former cowardice, than suffer those mischiefs to poison the body, which, in such half-conquests, are easily tasted in the mouth.
A more lively example hereof cannot be desired, than the city of Florence, which through the weakness of Peter de Medicis, governing therein as a prince, was reduced into such hard terms, that it opened the gates unto the French King Charles the Eighth, who not plainly professing himself either friend or foe to the state, entered the town with his army, in triumphant manner, himself and his horse armed, with his lance upon his thigh. Many insolencies were therein committed by the French, and much argument of quarrel ministred, between them and the townsmen ; so far forth, that the Florentines, to preserve their li. berty, were driven to prepare for fight. To con,
. . . 1 1 Chroną xxvi. 15.
clude the matter, Charles propounds intolerable conditions, demanding huge sums of ready money, and the absolute seignory of the state, as conquered by him, who entered the city in arms. But Peter Caponi, a principal citizen, catching these articles from the king's secretary, and tearing them before his face, bid him sound his trumpets, and they would ring their bells; which peremptory words made the French bethink themselves, and come readily to this agreement, that for forty thousand pounds, and not half of that money to be paid in hand, Charles should not only depart in peace, but restore whatsoever he had of their dominion, and continue their assured friend. So dangerous a matter did it seem for that brave army, which in few months after won the kingdom of Naples, to fight in the streets, against the armed multitude of that populous city. It is true, that Charles had other business, and so perhaps had Joash, as shall anon be shewed,) that called him away; but it was the apprehension of imminent dan. ger that made him come to reason. In such cases the firing of houses usually draws every citizen to save his own, leaving victory to the soldier; yet where the people are prepared and resolved, women can quench, as fast as the enemy, having other things to look unto, can set on fire. And indeed that commander is more given to anger than regard, ful of profit, who, upon the uneertain hope of de. stroying a town, forsakes the assurance of a good composition. Diversity of circumstance may alter the case: it is enough to say, that it might be in Jerusalem, as we know it was in Florence.
How strongly soever Joash might hold himself within Jerusalem, he could not easily depart from thence with his booty safe, if the army of Judah, which had been more terrified than weakened in the late encounter, should reinforce itself, and give him a check upon the way. Wherefore it was wisely
done of him, to take hostages for his better security, his army being upon return, and better loaden than when it came forth, for which causes it was the more unapt to fight.
Besides these impediments, within the city and without, serving to cool the ambition of Joash, and keep it down from aspiring to the crown of Judah; it appears that somewhat was newly fallen out, which had reference to the anger of Elisha the prophet; who, when this Joash had smitten the ground with his arrows thrice, told him that he should no oftener smite the Aramites. The three victories which Israel had against Aram, are by some, and with great probability, referred unto the fifth, sixth, and seventh years of Joash; after which time, if any losses ensuing had blemished the former good success, ill might the king of Israel have likened himself to a stately cedar, and worse could he have either lent the Judæan one hundred thousand men, or meet him in battle, who was able to bring into the field three hun. dred thousand of his own. Seeing therefore it is made plain, by the words of Elisha, that, after three victories, Joash should find some change of fortune, and suffer loss; we must needs conclude, that the Aramite prevailed upon him this year, it being the last of his reign. That this was so, and that the Sy. rians, taking advantage of Joash's absence, gave such a blow to Israel, as the king at his return was not able to remedy, but rather fell himself into new misfortunes, which increased the calamity, we may evidently perceive in that which is spoken of Jerobo. am's son. For it is said, “That the Lord saw the
exceeding bitter afflictions of Israel,' and that hav, ing not decreed to put out the name of Israel from s under the heaven, he preserved them by the hand
of Jeroboam, the son of Joash. This is enough to prove, that the victorious reign of Joash was concluded with a sad catastrophe; the riches of the tem. plệ hastening his misery and death, as they had done
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with Sesac, Athaliah, and Hazael, and as afterwards they wrought with Antiochus, Crassus, and other sacrilegious potentates.
Thus, either through indignation conceived against him by the people of Jerusalem, and courage which they took to set upon him within the walls; or through preparation of the army that lay abroad in the country, to bid him battle in open field, and recover by a new charge the honour which was lost at the former encounter ; or through the miseries daily brought upon his own country, by the Syrian in his absence,- if not by all these, --Joash was driven to lay aside all thought of winning the kingdom of Judah; and taking hostages for his quiet passage, made all haste homewards, where he found a sad welcome, and being utterly forsaken of his wonted prosperity, forsook also his life in few months after, leaving his kingdom to Jeroboam the second, his fortunate and valiant son.
Sect. X. The end of Amaziah's reign and life. Any man is able to guess how Amaziah looked, 'when the enemy had left him. He that had vaunted so much of his own great prowess and skill in arms, threatening to work wonders, and set up anew the glorious empire of David, was now uncased of his Jion's hide, and appeared nothing so terrible a beast as he had been painted. Much argument of scoffing at him he had ministred unto .such as held him in dislike; which at this time, doubtless, were very many; for the shame that falls upon an insolent man seldom fails of meeting with abundance of reproach, As for Amaziah (besides that the multitude are al. ways prone to lay the blame upon their governors, even of those calamities which have happened by their own default,) there was no child in all Jerusalem but knew him to be the root of all this mischief. He had