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more have enjoyed the favour and protection of the Almighty.
Oh that they had hearkened even now to the voice of the Lord; he would soon have put down their enemies, and have made them to flourish again as his own peculiar people. But I am sorry to say, Edward, this was not the case; they went on from one sin to another, refusing to attend to the commandments of God, following the wickedness and vanities of the nations round about them, making themselves molten images, worshipping all the host of heaven, and serving Baal, and even sacrificing their sons and their daughters to idols. No wickedness was too great for them ; they seemed to try how much they could provoke the Lord to anger, and weary that patience and long-suffering with which he had borne with them for so many years. And O how great was that goodness! not even then were they allowed to sin without a warning voice to tell them of their danger. Prophet after prophet was sent. Elisha was followed by Jonah; Jonah by Hoshea and Amos, two faithful servants of the Lord, whose hearts bled for the miseries and sins of their country, and who devoted all their time and thoughts and prayers to her welfare.
We need only look to their writings in the Bible, to see how ardently these holy men desired the salvation of Israel ! how bitterly they mourned their perverse departures from God; how affectionately they entreated them to return to the Lord; how earnestly they warned them of the danger of provoking his anger; how faithfully and exactly they foretold to them the awful judgments, the bitter evils, which
which he was bound to send yearly to the king of Assyria. But this unwise conduct only hurried on the ruin of his country. As soon as Shalmaneser perceived that Hoshea was dealing treacherously with him, he went with a great force against Israel, besieged and utterly destroyed its capital, Samaria, shut up and bound Hoshea in prison, and at last carried him and all his people into Assyria as captives, and placed them in different parts of that country and of Media. And in that part of the world, Edward, these ten tribes of Israel are supposed to have remained ever since, for the Almighty never brought them back from their captivity: never allowed them again to become a separate kingdom and people.
This remarkable event took place 721 years before the birth of our blessed Redeemer, and exactly 254 years after the ten tribes of Israel had separated from those of Judah.
And thus were most wonderfully fulfilled the words of the prophet Hoshea ; “ God shall cast them away because they did not hearken unto him, and scatter them among the nations." Their holy and beautiful land too, in which they had dwelt so long, now became the entire property of the king of Assyria, who sent great numbers of his own people to live there, and placed them in the cities of Samaria, instead of the children of Israel.
THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY EVENING.
THE SICKNESS OF HEZEKIAH.
M. WE must now turn our thoughts, Edward, to the kingdom of Judah; those two tribes which were all that remained of a people who had once, from the extraordinary favour shown them by the Almighty, been an object of wonder and terror to all the surrounding nations.
I think I told you before, that the people of Judah, though very wicked, had never been quite so bad as Israel; therefore they were spared the longest. Like Israel, indeed, they had been brought into subjection to Assyria, but the tribute which that prince exacted, had been carefully paid; and, therefore, they were not made to suffer as Israel had done under the hands of the oppressor. More than one good king had been reigning in Judah, whilst the wickedness of Israel had been at its height, and one of the very best of them was reigning there at the time that Israel was led away into captivity. This was Hezekiah, who did what was right in the sight of the Lord, even as the holy David had done, and spared no pains in endeavouring to bring back his people to the love, and worship, and service of God. He removed all the high places, brake the images, and cut down all the groves which had been used as places of idolatry, and opened again the house of the Lord, inviting his people to assemble themselves together again in that holy place, as they had been used to do in happier times. He encouraged them too to serve God by his