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worthy of the grandeur of God. And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand. With what ease can God bring down the pride of an haughty prince, destroy so many brave officers, and exterminate so numerous and formidable an army? It costs him but a blast: I will send, said he, a blast upon him, and he shall return into his own land.

But the sublimity that appears in the prophet's style, who foretold all the circumstances of this great event, is no less worthy the Divine Majesty, who here displayed his omnipotence in so wonderful a manner. With what noble ideas do the expressions of Isaiah present us? [c] When all seemed desperate, I will

? change the face of affairs in a moment, said the Lord, it shall be at an instant, suddenly. When the enemies of Jerusalem, who know not that they act by my commission, shall think themselves masters, I will make them as small as the dust in one night. I will scatter them as a whirlwind. They shall find no ge

a neral in the morning, not one officer with his company; and the confidence they had that Jerusalem was theirs, shall be like the imagination of an hungry man in his dream, who thinks that he eats, but wakes and finds himself empty. It shall even be as when a hungry man dreameth, and behold he eateth; and he awaketh, and his soul is empty.

The senseless pride of Sennacherib, his impioirs blasphemies, awaken the Lord, who seemed as though he were asleep. And then they understand the full force and energy of those words, [d] Now will I arise, now will I be exalted, now will I lift up myself. From his throne and sanctuary upon mount Sion God sends forth thunder and lightning; from his altar in Jerusalem, the sacred furnace, where a perpetual fire burns to his glory, proceed avenging flames to devour [C] Isa. xxix. 5, 8.

peating the word now. “ Je me [d] Chap. xxxiii. 10 is leverai maintenant, je signalerai French translation loses a great part ma grandeur, je ferai éclater ma of the beauty of this, by not re-' puissance."

The

his enemies. [e] Thus saith the Lord, whose fire is in Sion, and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.

In effect;' [f] Isaiah describes the surprising destruction of a whole army, offered up to the just vengeance of a jealous God so unworthily insulted, as a public and solemn sacrifice. The hand of the Lord, says the prophet, shall smite and scatter, and universally destroy. The terrible noise of his thunder shall be to him and his servants, whom he undertakes to defend, as an agreeable concert of tabrets, and harps, and other instruments of music, which upon great feasts accompany the offering of sacrifice; and the Assyrians sacrificed to his vengeance shall be to him as a solemn victim.

VI. REASONS of God's PATIENCE IN BEARING

WITH SENNACHERIB, AND HIS SLOWNESS IN
THE DELIVERANCE OF JERUSALEM.

No one knows the designs of God before they are executed; and whilst they are accomplishing, it is impossible to point out where numberless events will end, whereof we can neither perceive the connexion, the uses, nor motives, and which seem to induce the necessity of universal ruin.

When the public evils began to shew themselves in the time of Hezekiah, they seemed to be extreme. When all the country was ruined, and the cities destroyed, those misfortunes were believed without resource, and incapable of remedy. But when Jerusalem saw the formidable army of the Assyrians at their gates, the famine and the pestilence raging within, and all human hope cut off by the defeat of the Ethiopians, who were coming up to their relief; it then seemed folly to expect a miraculous protection, since God had opposed all outward means of help, and declared in favour of the enemy.

A weak faith was incapable of supporting so long a trial, and those who had the strongest and most perfe) Isa, xxxi. 8, 9.

[f] Ibid. xxx. 30, 32. one

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severing, severing, were astonished at the slowness wherewith God fulfilled his promises, and surprised at his patience in suffering all to perish, and be reduced almost to a condition of not being the better for his assistance. But it belongs not to the clay to judge of the time that is taken up in the fashioning it. The first strokes of the chisel do not polish a stone, or form a beautiful statue : nor is it a moderate fire that will melt and purify gold. God attends to his own wisdom and mercy, and not to the thoughts of man in compleating his works. He does not leave them imperfect, in compliance with their short views or impatience, he perseveres in his designs, though he despises not the groans and tears of his servants, till all that he has resolved is accomplished.

He then lays aside all the preparations, springs, and movements he made use of, to bring about his works. He stops the hands which he conducted; he suspends the action of the instruments, which are now no longer serviceable; he permits not the chisel to cut the figure that is thoroughly perfected; and he breaks in pieces abundance of materials, that were employed only for a season.

It was thus God dealt with Sennacherib: he used him as an instrument to correct his people, and purify Jerusalem. After he had reduced the city to a small number of righteous persons, who were deeply humbled under his afflicting hand, he then thought of punishing the blasphemies of that prince, whose pride had led him into impiety. When the Lord had performed his whole work upon mount Sion, and on Jerusalem, then, said he, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. VII. TRUST IN GOD THE PREVAILING CHARAC

TER OF HEZEKIAH. It is remarkable, that the Holy Ghost, the sole good judge of real merit, in drawing the character of so holy a prince as Hezekiah, rests satisfied with say

ing, that he trusted in the Lord God of Israel. [g] The scripture adds, that he carried this virtue farther than any of the kings of Judah, who came after him, or went before him. Faith indeed was never put to so long and so severe a trial. All was against him. It looked like folly to wait any longer for the assistof heaven, when all was desperate, and to refuse upon a single man's word either to submit to the king of Assyria, or to employ any foreign aid. But depending strongly upon the word of God, he continued firm, as though he had seen the Invisible, and relied upon the promise by firmly persisting in an unvariable hope, without suffering himself to be enfeebled by any of the most pressing motives. The event justified his conduct. When the protection of God was manifested at last by the entire destruction of the army of the Assyrians, he who the night before was looked upon by all as weak and senseless, became on a sudden in the eyes of the same judges the wisest man a in the world, for having trusted in the Almighty. Thus it will always be, and whosoever shall put their trust in God, shall never be confounded,

VIII. THE DELIVERANCE OF JERUSALED THE

FIGURE OF THE CHURCH,

The principal advantage to be drawn from this history, is to compare what here befel Jerusalem with what has befallen the church in all ages, to see its dangers, its remedies, and the promise of a certain victory over all its enemies. One verse of the fortyseventh Psalm, which is undoubtedly prophetical, and respects this event, may assist us in making the comparison, Walk about Zion, and go round about her, and tell the towers thereof. It is the prophet that speaks in the name of the prince and the heads of the people, who after so sudden and miraculous a deliver. ance, exhorts the rest of the citizens to go round Je.

[8] 2 Kings xviii. sa z 3

rusalem power

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salem within and without, to be witness themselves of the good condition of the fortifications. See, said they to them, whether the enemy has made so much as one single breach, if they have broke down one tower, or can boast of airy advantage gained over the vigilance and strength of him, who is the protector of it.. [h] Circumdate Sion, & circuite eam ; numerate turres ejus.

The church from its birth has been often attacked, besieged on every side, and to all outward appearance ready to perish. But all its enemies have had the fate of Sennacherib; and after many fears and troubles, her faith has remained always pure, her doctrine has prevailed over all errors, her foundations have been unshaken, and she has never been found to have sufiered any loss, or been obliged to give up any of her tenets, or to depart from the ancient tradition which serves her as a rampart against new enemies that continually succeed one another.

Thus it will be in all ages, and it will be an equal misfortune to attack the church, or to despair of God's protection of it, and to think it stands in need of human succour to defend it. All those, who thought thus of Jerusalem, perished; but the faith of those, who waited for God's assistance, and did not doubt of his promises, saved' them, and enriched them with the spoils of their enemies, ..*.

con ARTICLE IV.

PROPHECIES,

WE may distinguish Prophecies into two sorts. Some are purely spiritual, and relate only to Jesus Christ and the church Of this sort is the first and most ancient of all, when God, after Adam's fall, cursed the serpent, and declared that [i] the seed of the woman would bruise his head, i. e. the Saviour of the world, who should one day come to destroy the [6] So S. Jerome translates tbis verse. [i] Gen. iii. 15.

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