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of the lying oracles of demons; who delighted in seducing their deluded yotaries into an usurpation of the office of the messengers of Gop.
This valuable and important part of the economy of Israel, was, like their other institutions, too fre. quently contemned by that ungrateful people, who were prone, on all occasions, to prove themselves no. toriously unworthy of the signal favour they received. Slow to embrace instruction, and averse from the reproofs and threatenings which their sins drew down upon them, they were disposed not only to regard the message with indifference, but often to despise the messenger, and sometimes with a sacrilegious cruelty to take away his life : and in the catalogue of crimes. which in the end involved the nation in destruction, the murder of the Prophets, whom Jeuovau had commissioned to enlighten and reclaim 'them, stands charged with the severest marks of the divine displeasure, as one of the most prominent and aggravated proofs of guilt.
But though this disobedient people so unworthily acknowledged these distinguished favours, yet the divine forbearance ceased not to send expostulations, warnings, threatenings, and reproofs, by eminent and holy men, who suffered their indignities with meek, ness, and stood as signs to the House of Israel until the measure of their crimes was full. Among the most illustrious of these venerable servants of JEHOVAH, appeared the Prophet JEREMIAH ; who, in the midst of national calamity, which he bewailed with exquisite distress, exposed himself to insult and derision in the discharge of the affecting duties of his office, vainly endeavouring to reclaim a stubborn and revolting people to allegiance; and after suffering, from their malice
and revenge, accumulated wrongs and cruelties, witnessed at length the utter desolation of his country, and concluded, in a state of exile, a long, laborious, and afflicted life; thus giving proof of his reliance on the promise of the Lord for the rewards of suf. fering virtue in another and a better world.
This venerable Prophet, who was born at Anathoth, a place belonging to the tribe of BENJAMIN, was of the sacerdotal family, and, from his earliest years, u subject of the gracious influences of the Spirit of the Lord. Indeed before his birth, he was, by special designation, set apart for that peculiar, arduous, and important service to which he zealously devoted the whole period of his life. When very young, he was appointed to the exercise of the prophetic office, whose painful duties he continued to discharge, in times of imminent peril, for
than forty years. Through that protracted season he sounded an alarm in Judah and Jerusalem; warning the people of impending danger, and exhorting them in vain to that repentance which could alone avert the wrath of God. But, obdurate in evil, they refused to listen, until at length the torrent of destruction overwhelmed and swept them from the country which they had polluted by their crimes.
In the thirteenth year of King JOSIAH, this plaintive Prophet entered on' his sorrowful career. Although the piety, humility, and zeal of that devout and vis. tuous Prince rekindled for a while the light of Israel, yet the doom denounced against them was irrevocable; and even during the tranquillity of his most exemplary reign, the storm was gathering, and the arrows of almighty vengeance were prepared upon the strings. From Egypt and Assyria, the hand of justice drew.
those shafts which were to execute the purposes of Heaven. These two renowned and ancient empires, which, at that period, shared between them the dominion of the earth, maintained a state of constant opposition to each other, which was not only harassing and dangerous to themselves, but most destructive to those weaker states whom they perpetually involved in their hostilities. Syria and Palestine, as separating their respective territories, were peculiarly exposed to violence, and were rendered tributaries, by turns, to the prevailing power. Judea, while the shield of the divine protection was extended over her, repelled these adversaries ; but when increased iniquity occa. sioned its withdrawment, she participated largely in the miseries inflicted by these dreadful wars. The destruction of the host of the Assyrians, by the pestilential blast of the Almighty, in the reign of HEZEKIAK, made no impression on the mind of his ungodly son. In a renewed invasion by this formidable enemy, MANASSEH, therefore, was compelled to witness the subjection of Jerusalem; and, led in chains to Babylon, learned, in the gloomy confines of a prison, the fearful consequences of rebellion against God. But through the clemency of Heaven, the genuine confessions of compunctious sorrow were followed by a restoration to the favour of JEHOVAH, as well as to his liberty and throne; which, as a tributary to the King of Babylon, he was once more permitted to ascend. A diligent endeavour to reform abuses, and to heal, as far as possible, the wounds he had inflicted on his country, proved the sincerity of his repentance, through the remaining portion of a long and tranquil reign.
But new hostilities, commenced by Egypt against the growing power of the Assyrian empire, disturbed this quiet, under the beneficent and gentle reign of King JOSIAH; who, after more than thirty years, employed in vigilant attention to the cares of govern. ment, in pious zeal for the revival of the consecrated institutions of religion, and in the cultivation of a close and personal acquaintance with the trath of God, was slain in battle, while endeavouring to maintain inviolate his promise of allegiance to the King of Babylon. PHARAOH-NECHO, King of Egypt, to whom he had refused a passage through his territories to the frontiers of the rival empire, upon his death obtained dominion in Judea, and exercised his power, on his return from a successful expedition to the banks of the Euphrates, in the invasion of Jerusalem, and in the deposition of JEHO AHAZ, JOSIAH's son, whom, without his consent, the people had made King. This Prince, who followed the pernicious maxims of the wicked Kings of Judah, rather than the pious counsels of his father, was bound in chains, and sent a prisoner into Egypt, where he passed his days in shame and sorrow, while JEHOIAKIM, his brother, was made King by PHARAOH, in his stead.
During these calamities, the prophet JEREMIAH frequently reproved the sins by which they were occasioned, and endeavoured to impress the people with a fear of those tremendous judgments which he foresaw would quickly overwhelm the land.
With pathetic lamentations, he united in the general mourning for the death of the most excellent and amiable Josiah; whose removal, he well knew, was but the prelude to a series of afflictions, from which, in honour of his piety, the care of Providence secured this meek and exemplary Kiug.
(To be continued.)
NO FICTION." (Concluded from page 20.) “Let me also beg of you, not to rest satisfied with any thing short of genuine religion. I know that your dispositions are serious, and that your habits from the cradle have been pious; but this is one reason why I warn you on this head. Numbers of youth are relying on such privileges; and, by doing 30, have converted them from blessings into curses. Avoid this evil, and give your serious attention to religion. In studying its nature, let this be a governing sentiment to you, that it is a vital principle. Religion with some people, and people who are very strenuous on the subject too, is like a fine portrait, just and complete in its outward parts, but wunting life; fair to the eye, but cold to the touch. Now, religion must not only be perfect in form, but animated with a living spirit. It is not composed of a proper act, or a decent habit,-of sublime speculation, or manual observance. It is something above all this,-it is the life of the soul, as the soul is the life of the body.
“ Were I to describe this divine principle, I should say it consists of love towards God, of benevolence towards men ; and is directly opposed to the vanity, pride, enmity, and selfishness, natural to us. Yos, the presence of this principle, and of this alone, will teach us to deny ourselves; and nothing short of this will justify our claim to discipleship. Our worldly opinions, our vain imaginations, our proud resentnents, our carnal prejudices, our sinful propensities, must all be sacrificed. The right hand must be cut
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