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face. Without some pious deceit, this work could never have been effected. Else, had the child been secretly subduced, and misled by his bloody grandmother, her perpetual jealousy had both expected a surviving heir, and continued a curious and unavoidable search; both which were now shunned at once, while Athaliah reckons him for dead whom Jehosheba hath preserved. Mischief sometimes fails of those appointments, wherein it thinks to have made the surest work. God laughs in heaven, at the plots of tyrants; and befools them, in their deepest projects. He had said to David, Of the fruit of thy body, will I set upon thy seat: in vain shall earth and hell conspire to frustrate it.

Six years hath Joash, and his nurse, been hid in a close cell of the temple. Those rooms were destined only to the holy tribe; yet now rejoice to harbour such a guest. The rigour of the ordinary law must yield to cases of so important necessity.

All this could not possibly be done and continued, without the privity of many faithful priests and Levites; who were as careful to keep this counsel, as hopeful of the issue of it. It is not hard for many honest hearts, to agree in a religious secrecy needs must those lips be shut, which God hath scaled up.

Judah had not been used to such a yoke. Long had it groaned under the tyranny, not of a woman only, but of an idolatrous Sidonian: if any of that sex might have claimed that sceptre, none had so much right to it, as Jehosheba herself; but good Jehoiada the priest, who would rather be a loyal guardian to the king, than a husband to a queen, now finds time to set on foot the just title of Joash, and to put him into the misusurped throne of his father Ahaziah.

In the seventh year, therefore, he sends for the captains and the guard; and having sworn them secrecy, by undoubted witnesses makes faith unto them of the truth of their native prince, thus happily rescued from the bloody knife of his merciless grandmother; marshals the great business of his inauguration; gives every one his charge; sets every one his station; and so disposes of his holy forces, as was most needful for the safety of the king, the revenge of the usurper, the prevention of tumults, the establishment of the crown upon the owner's head in peace and joy.

There was no one of all these agents, who did not hold the business to be his own. Every true subject of Judah was feelingly interested in this service; neither was there any of them, who was not secretly heart-burned all this while, with the hateful government of this idolatrous tyranness: and now, this inward fire is glad to find a vent. How gladly do they address themselves to this welcome employment!

The greatest part of this secret band were Levites; who might therefore both meet together with least suspicion, and be more securely trusted by Jehoiada, under whom they served. Even that holy priest of God, instead of teaching the law, sets the guard, orders the captains, ranges the troops of Judah; and, instead of a censer, brings forth the spears and shields of David. The temple is, for the present, a field or an artillery-yard, and the ephods are turned into harness. That house, in the rearing whereof not the noise of a hammer might be heard, now admits of the clashing of armour, and the secret murmurs of some military achievement. No circumstances, either of place or calling, are so punctual, as that public necessity may not dispense with their alteration.

All things are now ready for this solemnity. Each man rejoices, to fix upon his own footing; and longs to see the face of their long-concealed sovereign; and vows his blood to the vindication of the common liberty, to the punishment of a cruel intruder. Now Jehoiada brings forth unto them the king's son, and presents him to the peers and people. Hardly can the multitude contain itself, from shouting out too soon. One sees in his countenance the features of his father, Ahaziah; another of his grandfather, Jehoram; a third professes to discern in him some lines and fashion of his great grandfather, Jehoshaphat; all find in his face the natural impressions of majesty; and read in it the hopes, yea, the prophecies, of their future happiness.

Not with more joy than speed doth Jehoiada accomplish all the rites of the coronation. Before that young king could know what was done to him, he is anointed, crowned, presented with the book of the law.

Those ceremonies were instructive; and, no doubt, Jehoiada failed not to comment upon them, in due time, to that royal pupil.

The oil, wherewith he was anointed, signified his designation to that high service; and those endowments from heaven, that might enable him to so great a function.

The crown, wherewith he was adorned, signified that glory and majesty, which should both encourage and attend his princely


The book of the testimony signified the divine rules and directions, whereto he must frame his heart and actions, in the wielding of that crown, in the improvement of that oil.

These three, the oil, the crown, the testimony, that is, inward powers, outward magnificence, true piety and justice, make up a perfect prince. None of these may be wanting. If there be not a due calling of God, and abilities meet for that greatness, the oil faileth: if there be not a majestic grace and royalty that may command reverence, the crown is missing: if

there be not a careful respect to the law of God, as the absolute guide of all counsels and determinations, the testimony is neglected: all of them concurring, make both king and people happy.

Now is it time for the people to clap their hands, and by their loud acclamations to witness their joy; which must needs break forth with so much more force, by how much it was longer, upon fears and policy, suppressed.

The court and temple were near together. However it was with Athaliah and the late revolted princes of Judah, according to the common word, the nearer to the church, the further from God; their religious predecessors held it the greatest commodity of their house, that it neighboured upon the house of God.

From her palace, might Athaliah easily hear the joyful shouts of the multitude, the loud noise of the trumpets; and, as astonished with this new tumult of public gratulations,, she comes running into the temple. Never had her foot trod upon that holy pavement, till now that she came to fetch a just revenge from that God, whose worship she had contemned.

It fell out well, that her sudden amazedness called her forth, without the attendance of any strong guard; whose side-taking might have made that quarrel mutually bloody.

She soon hears and sees, what she likes not. Her ear meets with, God save the king: her eye meets with the unlooked-for heir of the kingdom; sitting on his throne, crowned and robed in the royal fashion, guarded with the captains and soldiers, proclaimed by the trumpeters, acclaimed and applauded by the people.

Who can say, whether this sight drave her more near to frenzy or death? How could it be otherwise, when those great spirits of hers, that had been long used to an uncontrolled sovereignty, find themselves so unexpectedly suppressed?

She now rends her clothes, and cries, Treason, treason; as if that voice of hers could still command all hearts, all hands; as if one breath of hers were powerful enough, to blow away all these new designs.

O Athaliah, to whom dost thou complain thyself? They are thy just executioners, wherewith thou art encompassed. If it be treason to set up the true heir of Ahaziah, thou appealest to thy traitors. The treason was thine; theirs is justice. The time is now come, of thy reckonings for all the royal blood of Judah, which thine ambition shed. Wonder, rather, at the patience of this long forbearance, than the rigour of this execution.

There needs no formal seat of justice, in so apparent offence. Jehoiada passes the sentence of death upon her; Have her

forth of the ranges; let her not be slain in the house of the Lord; and him, that followeth her, kill with the sword.

Had not this usurpation been palpable, Jehoiada would not have presumed to intermeddle; now, being both the priest of God and uncle and protector to the lawful king, he doth that, out of the necessity of the state, which his infant sovereign, if he could have been capable of those thoughts, would have desired.

Violent hands are laid upon Athaliah; whom, no doubt, a proud and furious disdain of so quick a charge and of so rough a usage, made miserably impatient. Now she frowns, and calls, and shrieks, and commands, and threatens, and reviles, and entreats, in vain; and dies with as much ill-will from herself, as she lived with the ill-will of her repining subjects.

I see not any one man, of all her late flatterers, that follows her, either for pity or rescue. Every man willingly gives her up to justice: not one sword is drawn in her defence: not one eye laments her. Such is the issue of a tyrannical misgovernment. That, which is obeyed not without secret hate, is lost not without public joy.

How like is Athaliah to her mother Jezebel; as in conditions and carriage, so even in death: both killed violently; both killed under their own walls; both slain with treason in their mouths; both slain in the entrance of a changed government; one trod on by the horses, the other slain in the horse-gate! Both paid their own blood, for the innocent blood of others.

How suddenly, how easily, is Judah restored to itself, after so long and so fearful a depravation! The people scarce believe their own eyes, for the wonder of this happy change; neither know I, whether they be more joyed in the sight of their new king thus strangely preserved, or in the sight of Jehoiada that had preserved him.

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No man can envy the protection of the young king unto him, by whose means he lives and reigns.

That holy man cares only, to improve his authority to the common good. He makes a covenant between the Lord, and the king, and the people; and, after so long and dangerous a disjunction, reunites them to each other. Their revived zeal bestirs itself, and breaks down the temples, and altars, and images of Baal, and sacrifices his idolatrous priests. Shortly, both Ahab, and Baal, are destroyed out of Judah.

The sceptre of Judah is changed from a woman to a child; but, a child, trained up and tutored by Jehoiada. This minority so guided was not inferior, to the mature age of many predecessors. Happy is that land, the non-age of whose princes falls into holy and just hands.

Yet even these holy and just hands came short of what they

might have done. The high places remained still. Those altars were erected to the true God, but in a wrong place. It is a marvel, if there be not some blemishes found in the best government. I doubt Jehoiada shall once buy it dear, that he did not his utmost.

But for the main, all was well with Judah, in all the days of Jehoiada; even after that Joash was grown past his pupilage. He, that was the tutor to his infancy, was the counsellor of his ripe age; and was equally happy in both.

How pleasing was it to that good high priest, to be commanded by that charge of his, in the business of God! The young king gives order to the priests, for the collection of large sums; to the repairing of the breaches of God's house. It becomes him well, to take care of that, which was the nursery of his infancy. And now, after three-and-twenty years, he expostulates with his late guardian, Jehoiada, and the rest of his court, Why repair ye not the breaches?

Oh gracious and happy vicissitude! Jehoiada the priest had ruled the infancy of king Joash in matters of state, and now Joash the king commands aged Jehoiada the priest in matter of devotion. In the affairs of God, the action is the priest's; the oversight, and coaction, is the prince's: by the careful endeavour of both, God's house is repaired, his service flourisheth.

But alas! that it may too well appear, that the ground of this devotion was not altogether inward, no sooner doth the life of Jehoiada cease, than the devotion of Joash begins to languish; and, after some languor, dies. The benefit of a truly religious prelate or statesman, is not known till his loss.

Now some idolatrous peers of Judah have soon miscarried the king, from the house of the Lord God of their fathers, to serve groves and idols. Yea, whither go we wretched men, if we be left by our Maker? King Joash is turned, not idolater only, but persecutor; yea, which is yet more horrible to consider, persecutor of the son of that Jehoiada, to whom he owes his own life. Zechariah his cousin-german, his foster-brother, the holy issue of those parents by whom Joash lives and reigns, for the conscionable rebuke of the idolatry of prince and people, is unjustly and cruelly murdered by that unthankful hand! How possible is it, for fair and saint-like beginnings, to shut up in monstrous impieties! Let him, that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.

When did God ever put up so foul ingratitude to himself, to his servants? Oh Joash, what eyes can pity the fearful destruction of thee and thy Judah? If ye have forgotten the kindness of Jehoiada, your unkindness to Jehoiada shall not be forgotten. A small army of Syrians came up against Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people, and sent all the spoil of them to Damascus. Now Hazael revenges

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