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was soon over-run with idolatry and fin. After two years he was killed by his fervants, and the crown descended to his son, the pious Josiah; who brought about a : total reformation. He demolithed all the idols, and particularly the altar at Bethel, as it had been foretold. He repaired the, temple, restored the regular worship of God, and caused the book of the law to be read and explained by the priests publickly. and distinctly to the people. He died of a wound which he received in a battle with the Egyptians; and his youngest son Jea hoahaz was made king by the people: but he was soon dethroned by the king of Egypt, who gave the crown to Eliukin his eldest brother, and changed his naine to Jehoiakim. Before Jehoiakim, who was deaf to the Chrift reproof and denunciations of the pro606. pliet Jeremiah, was toon obliged to become triburary to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; who carried Daniel and a great number of the Jews into captivity. Afterwards, upon a refusal of payment, he took Jerusalem, flew the king, and gave the crown to his fon Jehoiachin. But that powerful monarch, who was the instrument of divine vengeance against the Jews, foon returned, tripped the temple and
the city of their treasures, and carried the king and many thousand captives to" Babylon.
Zedekiah, uncle to Jehoiachin, was then appointed king by him, and continued
faithful to him for some years: but at · · length being deceived by false prophets, and,
difregarding the advice of Jeremiah, who recommended patience and submissive truft in God, he rebelled against Nebuchada nezzar, and brought deftraction upon hima self and his country.
: . CHAP. XXXI.
THE CAPTIVITY OF THE TWO TRIBES,
1 Divine Providence, containing many wonderful proofs of God's superintending all public events, and directing them uni. formly according to the rules of justice and righteousness. While they cherished piety and virtue, they flourished and dwelt safely; they were successful in war, and rich and happy in peace; and when, on the contrary, they departed from the commandinents of the Lord, and did that which was evil in his sight, the Almighty either sent a famine, or drought, or pestilence, or ftirred
up the neighbouring nations against them,
for the punishment of their guilt, and the · reformation of their lives., But hardness of heart was the prevailing character of the Jews; they were remarkable for a strong inclination to worship idols and to work wickedness; neither the different chastisements inflicted upon them, nor the instructions and examples of the prophets, nor the dreadful judgments clearly and repeatedly denounced against them, nor even the recent destruction of the kingdom of Ifrael, were able to root it out: and at length they became so wicked, so corrupt, and fo, idolatrous, that the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my light, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, my name hall be there. Accordingly, in the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, that kingdom also was over-run by the
Allyrians, who plundered the facred tem: ple of the great God, fet fire to that and
the city, and carried away the king and people to 'Babylon.. ;
6 May we learn in all events, both public and private, to consider God as present and directing all things ! May we fix vur view upon him in all our designs and
all our works, in every circumstance of life, and every action of the day! And as the declining state of practical godliners amongst us, and the prevailing corruption and diffoluteness of manners clearly shew, that the measure of our iniquity, as a nation, is filling up very fait; and that we have reason to expect some grievous punishment, may we turn unto the Lord, now while he holds back his hand from judgment, and gives us' space to repent ! Miay we apply ourselves heartily lô reform our own temper and conduct, and study
to promote the practice of piety and virtue · ainongst others, that we may draw down - from Heaven the blessings of prosperity · and peace upon our neighbours as well
as ourselves; for (as we have seen in the history of the Jews) Righteousness exalteth a nation, but jin is the reprouch and ruin of a pcople.
CHAP. XXXII. SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO. THE prophet Daniel had been carried
away with some friends, among whom were Shadrach, Mejhach, and Abednego, into captivity to Babylon; where after some time, having discovered to the king, by the altistance of God, his dream anj the interpretation of ir, which the wise men of the kingdom were incapable of doing, he was made governor of the whole pro. : vince, and his friends were advanced to places of chief dignity and trust. The great men, however, whose hearts were iet upon thote high offices, observed thein with a jealous eye, and industriouíly fought an occasion of bringing about their ruin. Therefore when thele friends, out of zeal for the honour of God, refused to pay adoration to a golden image, which the king had comnanded all men to worship, threatening that they, who did not complv, should be cait into a burning furnace; they were accused of the violation of the royal law, and condemned to undergo that fevere punishment. But the angel of the Lord came down, and made the furnace as it had been a moist whistling wind, jo that the fire touched them not at all. Upon which the king cried out with amaze. ment and joy, Blejed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and 'Abednego, who hath sent his angels, and delivered his Servants, who tridied in him. ' .