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nishment the seducer, and the seduced; - the ungodly prince, and the people, who so willingly complied with his impious devices. This might, I say, have been expected from the justice of God but with God there is also mercy; and He strikes not the sinner, till He hath first called him to repentance.

To both prince and people, in the very midst of their sins, a solemn and most merciful warning was afforded: which, if it had sunk into their hearts thereafter, as it seems to have awed them for a time, might have preserved both prince and people from the destruction, which afterwards overtook them. It was on the day, which the king of Israel had appointed for the first public performance of his new religious ceremonies, and for setting up, on its altar, the golden idol, to which he had likened the Majesty of of Him whom the Heaven of Heavens cannot contain :-"He offered upon the altar, which he had made in Beth-el, on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and he ordained a feast unto the children of Israel."! The people were assembled; their prince stood before them; engaged in a solemn act of worship; and both prince and people either had forgotten, or disregarded, the vengeance, which, for the like offence, of worshipping a golden

1 1 Kings, xii. 33.

calf, the LORD had inflicted on their forefathers, in the wilderness. But, as Jeroboam was thus standing by the altar, "there came a man of God, out of Judah, by the word of the LORD, unto Beth-el:" who declared the high displeasure of His Master against those vanities, whereby they professed to honour Him; and foretold, that the very place, where the new religion was begun, should fall into the power of the kings of Judah; and that, on that very altar, should be burned the bones of those idolatrous priests, who now were burning incense around it. And to prove, that he, who spake thus, was not actuated by a spirit of enthusiasm, or by imposture, that he had, in good truth, his errand from God, and that he, who had threatened, was fully able to perform, he gave a sign, the same day, saying, "This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken. Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out." Did Jeroboam believe this warning? His first impression was to secure and punish the seditious madman, who sought, by vain threats, to overcome the dictates of national policy, and who durst insult a king, in the midst of his people, and in the sunshine of his power and prosperity. His first impression was to secure and punish him. "He put forth his hand from the altar, saying, lay hold on him." But, before one of that mighty multitude could

execute his command, before a single priest could avenge the honour of the new creed, or a single soldier stand up to defend the king of Israel, One, mightier than the king, had shown forth His power; and Jeroboam's outstretched arm, and his idolatrous altar, were alike smitten by Jehovah. "His hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. The altar also was rent; and the ashes poured out from the altar; according to the sign, which the man of God had given, by the word of the LORD.”1

Are you curious to know the state of Jeroboam's altered feelings; when, in the midst of his pride, the visible hand of God thus smote him? Go, ask of the sinner, who has been visited,-when his lusts were hottest, and his pride at its highest pitch,-with some sore disease, or with some great and pressing calamity! Ask your own hearts, what your language has been, when, from a bed of sickness and pain, you have cried bitterly to the LORD for mercy and forgiveness; and for some little time to make your peace, before you went hence, and were no more seen! Instead of punishing the boldness of the prophet, Jeroboam becomes a petitioner for his pardon and his prayers. "Intreat now the face of the LORD

thy God; and pray for me, that my arm may

11 Kings, xiii. 1—5.

be restored to me again. And the man of God besought the LORD; and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as before." — Well had it been for Jeroboam, and for Israel, if this merciful chastisement had produced a lasting effect on the king, and on the people; a lasting and sincere repentance! But how often do we find that the warnings of God, even when those warnings are miraculous, [though, for the time, they may alarm; though, for the time, they may convince; though, for the time, they may give rise to resolutions of amendment,] are forgotten but too soon, when they have been withdrawn; when the tide of business and pleasure has resumed its former channel. I referred you to your own feelings on a bed of sickness, - to know, what were the feelings of Jeroboam, when he beheld the altar, by which he stood, swept away, as by an earthquake; and his own right hand, dried up and withered, in the act of kingly authority. If you would know, how little lasting effect these aweful dispensations produced in him; how speedily he returned to his plans of worldly pride; and to the same interested policy, which made religion a cloak for ambition; you have only to recollect, how speedily you yourselves, when in health, have forgotten the fears, and promises, of sickness and have been ensnared anew by the same temptations, which had formerly led you captive: —

Jeroboam's hand was restored; his days were not cut short; and he and his people built up once more the altar, which God's own power had, in a visible manner, cast down! Therefore it was, as you may read in the chapter which immediately follows, that the same prophet Abijah, who had foretold Jeroboam's advancement to the throne, pronounced, some short time after, a most grievous curse against him and his posterity. The very son, to secure whom in possession of the throne, he had sinned against his Heavenly Benefactor, was cut off in the flower of his days; while God declared His purpose of "bringing evil on the house of Jeroboam, and of taking away its remnant, as a man taketh away dung." He, that died of Jeroboam's family in the field, was eaten by dogs; and he, that died in the city, by the fowls of the air. Yea, Israel itself was smitten, "as a reed is shaken in the water;" and was rooted up out of the good land, which the LORD had given unto their fathers, "because of the sins of Jeroboam who did sin, and who made Israel to sin. "2

From the early part then, of the present chapter, we may learn, First, the exceeding vanity and folly of attempting, by crooked and sinful means, to further our worldly interests; seeing that these interests, and all the affairs of this life, are in the hands of God; who, without our 2 1 Kings, xiv. 16.

11 Kings, xiii. 33.

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