Imágenes de páginas

Scripture Characters.

295 the brook Kidron *.” Not satisfied, however, with exerting himself to remove these evils from his country, he commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment. During this period, the land had rest on every side, and he and his people prospered. In process of time, it appears, that Zerah the Ethiopian, with an immense army, came forth against Asa, and Asa went out against him with a considerable foree. Before, however, he engaged in the battle, and whilst the respective hosts were set in array, knowing that the victory is not always to the strong, he sought in humble but earnest prayer, the protection and blessing of God, he cried, and said, " Lord, it is nothing with thee to help whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude: O Lord, thou art our God, let not man prevail against thee +. The success answered according to his prayer; for the prayer of faith will never be disappointed. “The Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa; and the Ethiopians fled.”

Notwithstanding this glorious experience of the benefit of reliance on the Lord, we find this prince, of whom it is recorded that, though he was not without error, his heart was sincere all his days, we find him, in the latter part of his life, sadly failing in that grace in which he had formerly excelled. Baasha, it seems, the idolatrous king of Israel, eommenced formidable hostilities against him. What ought he to have done? What would his former experience have dictated to him? Doubtless to have prayed unto the Lord, to have committed his cause to Him, to have taken no steps in the use of means, but in accordance with his law, and to have fought

[ocr errors]

2 Chron, xy, 16.

+ 2 Chron. xiv. 11.

against his enemies in his strength. Did not this succeed, O Asa, against the Ethiopians? Is thy God diminished in power, wisdom, and goodness

, since that time? Is he not the same yesterday, to day, and for ever? But what did Asa in his hour of need ? Hé neglected the proper means of defence, and, alas! gave up his confidencee in God. He applied to Benhadad, a heathen prince, and tempted him to come to his succour, by taking out of the house of the Lord all its consecrated treasures, and sending them to him. And what was the result? Did success crown his expectations ? No. Hanani, the seer, is commissioned to rebuke him:

Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand *

The prophet reminds him of the deliverance wrought for him from the host of the Ethiopians, " Because thou,” he says, “ didst rely on the Lord.” And then, in reference to his distrust, and his conduct towards Baasha, he declares, “ Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from hence thou shalt have wars.

Asa's subsequent conduct seems, says a pious Commentator, to be without parallel in Scripture. He was wroth with the prophet, and so resented the reproof of him who came to him in the name of the Lord, as to use personal severity against him for it; and, at this time also, he oppressed some of the people; those, probably, who censured his cruel and tyrannous conduct towards Hanani. Having thus openly dishonoured God, the latter part of his reign was “ obscure, inglorious, and troublesome.” In the thirty-ninth year of his reign he was afflicted with a painful disease; and, under this exceeding great correction t, “he sought not to the Lord, but

* 2 Chron. xvi. 7.

+ Chap. xvi. 12.

6. It

Scripture Characters.

297 to the physicians *.” And Asa, it is added, slept with his fathers.

It has been already observed, that the judgments of God often overtake sinners in this world. Whilst we recognize this truth, there is a caution, however, connected with it, that must not be omitted. In what degree the sufferings of particular individuals are divine judgments on their neglect of God's service, or their rebellion against his authority, it is not for man to determine. Judgment belongeth not to him. Reader, judge thyself, and not thy brother. “ To his own master he standeth or falleth.” Improve the truth in question in this way. The favour of the Most High resteth upon the righteous. True indeed it is, that the wicked are sometimes in great prosperity. But what is their prosperity ? cannot be a happiness to thrive upon the stock of sin."

“ If,” says Bishop Taylor, " we should look under the skirt of the prosperous and prevailing sinner, we should find, even in the days of his joys, such alloys and abatements of his pleasure, as may serve to represent him presently miserable, besides his final infelicities.” Yes, the ways of Religion alone are ways of pleasantness and peace. Occasionally, indeed, the path of the righteous may be rough and thorny; but of this be assured, if thou wouldest have all things work together for thy good, things present and things to come, thou must fear God and keep his commandments. Attend to what Azariah, moved by the Spirit of God, declared, “ Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin, the Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he

• It is not meant that it is wrong to consult pbysicians ; but Asa's fault was in trusting more to their skill, than to the goodness and power of God, to whom he should have, at the same time, addressed his prayers.--BISHOP PATRICK.

will forsake you *.” Important admonition! suited to man under all circumstances, and at all times : teaching in prosperity, that we must walk humbly with God, if we would have divine protection continued to us : teaching in adversity, that no nation or individual can be in so low a state, but that their safety is secure, if they only wait upon God. Believe in the Lord with an obedient faith, so shall ye be established: believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper †. Nor is this a truth confirmed alone by Scripture declarations and Scripture examples; the experience of all true believers corresponds with them; and, comparing both together, may we not

The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in 'behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him?" Yes, surely. Go on, Christian reader, in true practical reliance on Him, who is the way, the truth, and the life; and be assured that, when he shall appear, you shall appear with him in glory. Now you see him not, but he sees you, and every one, and is continually dealing out his benefits to all who rely upon him. Let experience, then, give hope. By frequent meditation keep him, as it were, in your view. Walk by faith. The time is short: you will soon be called to walk by sight, and to behold him, without a cloud, for ever.

G. B.

well say,


To the Editor of the Cottager's Monthly Visitor.

Sir, As the works recently published upon the Vaudois have excited much interest, it has occurred to me,

+ 2 Cbron. XV. 2.

+ 2 Chron. xx. 20.

The Vaudois.

299 that the following particulars, chiefly drawn from Mr. Gilly's Narrative, may find a place in your useful little work, in addition to what you have already introduced on the subject.

L. L.

[ocr errors]

In some of the valleys, surrounded by wild and barren rocks, situated to the north of Italy, and on the borders of France, there has existed, for ages, a people, who, professing the pure doctrines of Christianity, as drawn from Scripture, have resisted the universal power to which the Popes laid claim, and which the Roman Catholics yield him as the successor of St. Peter.

In the 12th century, a leader of their's was one of the first who encouraged the translation of the Scriptures, out of the learned languages, into those understood by all ranks of the people; thus enabling rich and poor to enjoy the benefits of the divine writings, a privilege denied to all but priests, by the Catholics, and for the possession of which, in this happy country, we are indebted to the efforts of our ancestors at the period of the Reformation,-whose struggles were more successful than those of the poor Vaudois. They, unfortunately, in their narrow vallies, were surrounded by those of a contrary faith, who lookedl upon them as heretics, whom it was their duty to convert or destroy. Their own sovereigns, the dukes of Savoy, have always been Catholics, and sometimes very persecuting ones. One of them, Victor Amadeus, in 1686, ordered that every Protestant church should be destroyed, and that all those who would not renounce their faith within fifteen days should be banished; there were then about 15,000 of these Protestants; they made a desperate resistance, but were at length conquered by the armies sent against them; and the survivors, to the number of several thousand, were thrown into prison, where numbers died of want and dis

« AnteriorContinuar »