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devils are watching every thing which we are about, and while God over all is looking on, and treasuring up, these our secret sins against the great day of wrath and burning? This is a truth as certain, as that it is now day; as certain, as that we ourselves live and move; as certain, as that there is a God, who governs all things, and a dreadful hell, to which He will, one day, sentence the wicked. While I speak, God watches the eyes, and hand, and tongue, and thoughts, of every individual among you; and of every one, who lives in the world. He knew, last night, which of you went to sleep without first praying to Him;-which of you employed the darkness, as a season for wholesome repose; and which of you, as a mantle for unlawful lust, or drunkenness, or fraud, and plunder. He knows, at this moment, what heart is fixed on the solemn duties of this place, and this day; and who they are, who are thinking of the world, its pleasures, or cares; or feeding their eyes, or their fancies, with unholy or forbidden objects! "Went not my heart with thee?" said Elisha; and "went not my heart with thee, in thy secret thefts, thy secret lusts, thy secret drunkenness, thy secret envyings and repinings?"
Surely," said Jacob, "God is in this place: and I knew it not!" Oh that we might be warned in time, to acknowledge His unseen
presence every where; and so to conduct ourselves before Him, as that we may endure, with less terror, His visible glory in that day, when they, who denied His power, shall call on the mountains to fall on them; and on the hills to cover them, from the wrath of Him, that sitteth on the throne, and of the Lamb!
TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
2 KINGS, X. 10.
Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spake concerning the house of Ahab: for the LORD hath done that which he spake by his servant Elijah.
It was related in the proper Lesson for last Sunday evening, in what manner the Almighty stirred up the spirit of Jehu, the son of Nimshi, to rebel against his master, Joram, king of Israel; and the dismal end of that monarch, as well as of his mother Jezabel, and his cousin Ahaziah, king of Judah. In the chapter, from which the words of my text are taken, we have the conclusion of the same bloody story, in the deaths of the seventy surviving children of Ahab, and of his forty-two kinsmen, the brethren of the above-named Ahaziah, events by which the family of Ahab was entirely cut off from Israel; and his name, handed down to posterity, as a signal monument of the vengeance of God for innocent blood.
For we must not lose sight of the fact, which is related in the 21st chapter of the 1st book
1 2 Kings, ix.
of Kings; and which is often referred to in the course of the following history; that all these calamities were the fulfilment of the curse pronounced, at God's command, by the prophet Elijah, on Ahab and Jezebel, on account of Naboth and his sons, whose lives they had taken away by false accusation, in order to gain possession of their property. In most righteous vengeance for this murder, the dogs were to lick the blood of Ahab, in the same place where Naboth was slain; the dogs were to eat the carcass of Jezebel, in the streets of Jezreel; the posterity of Ahab was to be cut off, with every circumstance of disgrace and misery; him, that died of Ahab, in the city, the dogs were to eat; and they, who died in the field, were to lie there unburied, a prey for the birds of the air.
How truly all these things were accomplished, the subsequent history shows. On Ahab himself (who, as we read in the same chapter, showed many signs of public and sincere repentance,) the curse, though not to be recalled, was suffered to fall with less tremendous weight. The evil was not brought on in his days. He was not doomed to see with his own eyes the deaths of his children and the desolation of his family. He fell, if before his time, yet openly and honourably, in the field of battle, with the
enemies of his country. He slept in the tomb of his fathers; and it was only the blood, which flowed from his wound, which the dogs licked, as men were washing his chariot.1
Of his wife and his descendants the fate was very different: Joram and Ahaziah fell by the hands of their own rebellious servants; and the carcass of the former was cast out, with every circumstance of insult and infamy, into the very field which had once belonged to the injured and murdered Naboth. The proud and cruel Jezebel, who had heard the sentence of God without repentance or humiliation, and who,— painted as for a feast, and dressed in her richest ornaments, sate in her palace window to meet her fate like a queen, and brave the fury of him who had slain her son, was cast into the street by her own cowardly attendants; and trampled on by the horses of her enemy; and, while the wretched soul was yet lingering in her mangled body, devoured by dogs, which swarm in the streets of every eastern city. The seventy younger sons of Ahab (in those countries, where a king has many hundred wives, such families are not uncommon) the seventy younger sons were murdered by the persons to whom their education was entrusted; and their heads exposed, like those of common criminals, at the entrance of Jezreel; and the forty and two
11 Kings, xxii. 38.