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all that is in thy house, and that which thy fathers have laid

up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon : nothing shall be left, saith the Lord.” The punishment in this case, as it often does under the divine government, corresponds with the offence. “As the Babylonians had seen all, they should one day take all; as nothing had been withheld from them now, so nothing should be withheld from them hereafter.”

How impressively does this incident appeal to “him who thinketh he standeth,” to “take heed lest he fall!” Hezekiah little thought, when the prophet returned to his sick chamber to announce his recovery, that he should so soon hear from the same lips a message of woe incurred by his own folly. How could he anticipate among the firstfruits of a life miraculously prolonged, these bitter clusters of ingratitude and pride? Who would not fear to offer the supplication, “ Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me,

and know

my thoughts,” if he could not, with humble confidence in the divine mercy, also pray to be led “in the way that is everlasting."

There are few severer trials of temper or of character than reproof for sins or faults of which one knows he is guilty. In such a case, even good men sometimes become angry, and attempt for a while to justify their conduct. If high in rank or station, they are specially prone to hide their chagrin and hush the accusations of conscience by terming the reproof impertinence, or by retorting the charge of some real or pretended fault on the reprover. If in the public ministrations of God's house, a sin is rebuked which they habitually practice, they complain of personality, and are far more eager to get rid of their pastor than of their darling lust. In this state of mind they sometimes rush into courses in which they suffer a melancholy loss of comfort, character, and usefulness. “He that hateth reproof shall die ;” but “he that heareth the reproof of life, abideth among the wise."

Hezekiah showed the sincerity of his faith, as well as his good sense and candor, in his manner of receiving the message from heaven. He manifested no angry feeling, he attempted no justification of his conduct, he offered no excuse for his pride and ostentation, the existence of which in his bosom he seems not to have been fully aware of before the rebuke of the prophet. He felt that the threatened punishment was just and mild, and meekly submitting to it, exclaimed, 6. Good is the word of the Lord which thou hast spoken.” Hezekiah would not desert the service of Jehovah because his sins had been rebuked, nor withdraw confidence from his venerable friend and guide, because he had faithfully spoken "the word of the Lord."

While Hezekiah owned the sentence denounced was righteous, he gratefully acknowledged that it was tempered with mercy. He said, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.” He was thankful that his lengthened pilgrimage on earth was not to be passed amid the alarms of wars and invasions, that the worship of the true God would continue through his reign, and that the great work of his life would not be ruined by his unfaithfulness. This was a proper subject for thanksgiving; and to withhold an expression of gratitude because the remission of punishment was not extended to his posterity, to insist on suffering with them if they must suffer for his misconduct, would savor more of rebellion against the divine government than of true religion, and better become a hero of romance than of the Bible.

CHAPTER XII.

CONCLUSION.

The sacred record contains little information respecting the remainder of Hezekiah's life, though the period comprises more than half of his reign. It was a season of prosperity and peace, and like other seasons of that description, furnishes few materials for history. The enemies of Judah round about, awed by evident tokens that the country was under the protection of a divinity more powerful than their own idols, did not venture to incur the fate of the Assyrians.

Hezekiah did not employ the boon of heaven in retirement from the world, or in unproductive contemplation, but in the active performance of the duties assigned him by Providence. He applied himself diligently to the improvement of his kingdom and the increase of his revenues. He “ had exceeding much riches and honor; and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of precious jewels: storehouses also for the increase of corn and wine and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks. Moreover, he provided him cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance; for God had given him substance very much.” 2 Chron. 32: 27–29. An heir to his throne was born three years after his miraculous recovery.

It was probably during his latter years that Hezekiah made a new collection of the Proverbs of Solomon, for the moral instruction of his people. This would be a fitting work for the conclusion of a reign which was begun by restoring and establishing the worship of Jehovah, and for years which were a special donation from the Author of life. Who that with Hezekiah has been down to the gates of death, and in answer to his own prayers, or the fervent supplications of his friends, has been recalled to the fellowship of the living, would not make as grateful a use of the gift? Is fresh love of the world, is forgetfulness of God and heaven, is indolent self-indulgence, a suitable employment of such an extended probation ?

Though " Hezekiah prospered in all his works," there is no intimation that he was again too much elated by success. His former experience had taught him humility. What influence the knowledge of the time of his death exerted on his mind, we can only conjecture. If on the one hand it might lead him to number his days wisely, it might on the other lead to dangerous security and presumption. It might lessen a dread of sinning, because time would be offered for repentance; and give new charms to sensual gratifications, because

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