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witnessed, where the Spirit of God works great and sudden religious changes in a community. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”

Josiah now proceeded to a thorough removal from Judah of the remains of idolatry. Some, however, think what follows the repair of the temple, in the book of Kings, actually took place previously, in the order of the narrative in Chronicles. He commanded that all the vessels in the temple made for idolatrous uses, should be brought forth and burned. The ashes he afterwards carried to Bethel. He put out of office the priests who had burned incense to Jehovah on the high places, and them that had served at the altars of heathen gods. The former he suffered to retain some of the privileges of the priesthood ; but though he brought them out of the cities, that they might not again corrupt the people, he did not allow them to serve at the altar in Jerusalem. He took

away

the horses devoted to the sun by the kings of Judah, and burned the chariots in the fire. He beat down the idolaltars which had been erected in the courts of the Lord's house, and cast their ashes into the brook Kedron.

Josiah next carried the reformation into the land of Israel, which it is supposed had been placed under his government by the king of Assyria. He broke down the altar which Jeroboam had erected at Bethel, burned the high place, and stamped it to small powder. He took bones out of some sepulchres in the neighborhood, burned them on the altar, and slew all the priests of the high places ; thus fulfilling a remarkable prediction uttered more than three centuries before his birth. About a year after Jeroboam set up the altar at Bethel, the Lord sent a prophet out of Judah to predict that a child by the name of Josiah, to be born of the family of David, would offer on it the priests of the high places, and burn men's bones upon it. No king of Judah had called his child by that name, or assumed it himself, until the godless Amon, ignorant of the prediction, had named his son and successor Josiah.

What God has predicted, be it promise or threatening, blessing or curse, distant or near, God will fulfil.

Josiah did not relax in his work until he had removed every vestige of idolatry from the countries pertaining “to the children of Israel," and made all that dwelt in them to serve the Lord their God:”

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CHAPTER XIX

JOSIAH'S SUBSEQUENT HISTORY.

It was

The main design of the gatherings at the three great feasts in Jerusalem, was the unity of the nation in the love and service of Jehovah. this which made these occasions so precious to all who delighted in his law and worship But there were minor advantages of a social and political kind. The feasts were made seasons not only of sacrifice and praise to God, but of social festivity. They promoted kindness and love among families and portions of the same tribe, as well as among the different tribes; and thus tended to unite in one body, with one head, members of different local governments. The jarrings and alienations which arise in families and neighborhoods, with many a feud among the tribes that otherwise had ripened into bloody strife, would be forgotten amid the solemnities and festivities of the holy city.

Having put down idolatry throughout the land, and repaired the temple, a prince so pious as Josiah, and so observant of all the requirements of the law, would not overlook or neglect the appointed feasts. Accordingly, he ordered a passover to be kept unto the Lord at Jerusalem. Not so much, probably, from the number of the people present, as from

their zeal and joy, and from the punctilious performance of the established rites, the sacred historian gives this occasion the precedence of all similar ones from the time of Samuel the prophet. He seems to exult in the liberal provision made by Josiah and the chief men for its celebration. The former, with princely munificence, presented to the people thirty thousand lambs and kids and three thousand bullocks for passover and burnt-offerings, and the latter seven thousand six hundred lambs and kids and eight hundred oxen, for the same purpose. In their zeal, the king and nobles would not leave even the poorest of the people without the means of partaking in the sacred observance. It has been estimated that gratuitous provision was thus made for four hundred thousand persons. The Levites were busily employed in preparing this immense number of paschal lambs for distribution among the people; and the priests were occupied until evening in sprinkling the blood of the victims on the altar and in offering the burnt-sacrifices. The singers were also in their place, praising the Lord; and the whole was one animated scene of solemnity and gladness. But after the somewhat minute account of a similar scene in the life of Hezekiah, we need not here repeat the description.

Josiah continued to reign thirteen years after this passover. We have no information concerning his personal history, or the further events which transpired in his kingdom, till near the close of this period, except the comprehensive statement that the people, "all his days, departed not from following the Lord God of their fathers.” This shows that he did not swerve from his upright course, or relax in his opposition to idolatry to the end of life. The external forms of the worship of Jehovah, and probably the feasts, were observed ; but the great mass of the people were still idolaters at heart.

In the nineteenth year of Josiah's reign, Nabopolassar king of Babylon, father of Nebuchadnezzar, destroyed the kingdom of Assyria, and founded the Chaldee-Babylonian empire. He became so formidable that Pharaoh-Necho attempted to check his growing power. This great monarch of Egypt, , according to the ancient historian Herodotus, possessed a large fleet, circumnavigated Africa, and undertook to make a canal from the Nile to the

On the way to attack the king of Babylon at Carchemish, on the Euphrates, Necho disembarked a numerous army at a port on the Mediterranean, now called Acre, famous in modern history for its defence against the French under Napoleon Buonaparte. Acre was in the land of Israel, a little north of the plain of Esdraelon. This is a deep and fertile valley about twenty-four miles long and ten broad, extending from near the Mediterranean on the north of Carmel, to the mountains of Gilboa, Little Hermon and Tabor, on the east. It

Red sea.

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