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Gods, and provoked to anger the Lord God of his father.”

Hezekiah aimed at a complete restoration of that religion which had been not only neglected, but intentionally disgraced, under the former reign. He cleansed the temple, and prepared it for the solemn worship of God; he renewed the sacrifices that were appointed by the Mosaic law for a sin offering, or to make atonement for all Israel; issued orders that the passover, and the feast of unleavened bread, should be solemnly kept through the realm. “ So that there was great joy in Jerusalem; for since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there was not the like in Israel."

Animated by his example, the conduct and dispositions of the populace appeared to be totally changed. They were at once inspired with zeal for the honour of the true God. Those of Jerusalem, “ went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all."*

These acts of piety were amply rewarded.

* 2 Chron, ch. xxxi.

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Ice of bis humiliation ET DOO stunned to Jerusalem, E 00325 to restore that religion F:-: 2 TSI attempted to destroy. Essit 43. Tas an idolater; he grew

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03. ad was slain by his own servants. Jasin, the son of Amon, though a child, was distinguished for his piety. He was but eight years old when he ascended his throne ; in the eighth year of his reign he began to seek the God of the fathers, and in the twelfth year he commenced the arduous task of purifying Jerusalem and Judea from the high places, and the groves, and the carved and molten images

, &c. and he exerted himself to the utmost in the

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restoration of true religion.

The following circumstance manifests to what an extent the worship of God according to the command of Moses, had bean neglected in the preceding reigns; and bor is perfectly it was restored by those sorereigas Foo had made the aticap. As toe vere best employed in 01:kole “ Hilkiah

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the priest found a book of the law of the Lord given by Moses."

The discovery was anlounced to the king. The book was read beore him ; and, according to the ancient custom, e rent his clothes, as expressive of his surprise ad consternation at the deviations that had een so long practised. He was terrified at the niversal and habitual neglect of the divine w; and dreading the judgments of heaven pon so wicked a people, he consulted the projetess Huldah. She unreservedly foretold the ils that would come upon the land, after the ath of Josiah ; " whom the Lord had spared cause his heart was tender, and he humbled nself before his God." · He solemnized the ssover according to the law of Moses, and atopted to revive the service of the temple in original purity. He unadvisedly interfered a contest between Nicho, king of Egypt, and : king of Assyria ; and espousing the cause of

latter, he was mortally wounded. The mnities observed at his funeral, were a testiay of his superior worth; and these solemni

were enhanced by their being conducted by miah the prophet. Chis rash act of Josiah was the occasional ad They, inspired the king and his subjects with manly fortitude, and with a firm confidence in the God of their fathers, at a season of imminent danger; and they secured the interposition of providence in their defence. When Sennacherib, king of Assyria, had triumphed over every other opponent, and came up against Judah and Jerusalem with a mighty host, confident of success, Hezekiah, after he had employed the proper means of defence, "gathered the people together and spake comfortably to them, saying, be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him; for there is more with us than with him; with him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the

2 Chron, ch. xxxiv. v. 14.

people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah."* Sennacherib made use of every artifice to repress their ardour: boasted that the Gods of other nations were not able to deliver their votaries out of his hands; and warned them not to expect deliverance from the God whom they served. He also wrote letters speaking contumeously of the God of Israel; and attempted to terrify the garrison by addressing them in their own language, and with a view to dissemi

* 2 Chron. ch. xxxii. v. 6.

nate discord ; " speaking against the God of Jerusalem as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man.” But “Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah prayed and cried unto heaven." Their prayers were answered. The leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria were destroyed by the immediate hand of God; Sennacherib returned home with confusion, and was slain by his own sons.

The prosperity of Hezekiah was not favourable to piety. He became proud and ostentatious, and thus offended the Being who had protected him in so extraordinary a manner.

The long reign of Manasseh may be divided into two periods. In the first," he did that which was evil, like unto all abominations of the heathen.” In profaneness he exceeded the most irreligious of his predecessors; for he not only rebuilt the high places, reared up altars to Baalim, made groves and worshipped the host of heaven, but he built idolatrous altars in the house of the Lord. He also caused his children to pass through the fire; used enchantments and witchcraft, and dealt with familiar spirits, &c. Thus “ he made Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathens.” But when he was taken captive by

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