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rate in the confirmation of prophecy. For till he received this information, he had no recollection of the sentence pronounced against her. Then indeed it recurred on his mind. They came

again, and told him : and he said, This is the " word of the Lord, which he spake by his fer“ vant Elijah the Tilbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel Niall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel : " and the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung up"on the face of the field, in the portion of Jezreel, .“ so that they shall not fay, This is Jezebel i.” As little was it from any preconcerted design on the part of Jehu, that the descendants of Ahab were killed in the very place where the blood of Naboth had been wickedly shed. * Joram king of “ Ifrael, and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, * each in his chariot, and they went out against • Jehu, and met him in the portion of Naboth the

Jezreelite k.” It is remarkable indeed, that the vengeance threatened was brought on the house of Ahab, at the very time that the king of Judah 'was on a visit to Jeroboam ; that he might partake of the punishment, as being a descendant of the wicked Ahab. Joram, having been wounded in battle against the Syrians at Ramah, it was providentially ordered that he should go to Jezreel, rather than to Samaria, to be healed of his wounds. Thither, his cousin Ahaziah had come to see him, because he was wounded! There is no evidence that Jehu fixed on this time, from a wish to include the king of Judah in the punish

ment i 2 Kings is, 30.-36. k 2 Kings ix. 21. 1 2 Kiogs viii. 29.

ment of the house of Ahab. It does not even appear, that Jehu knew of Ahaziah's being then at Jezreel. But all was the result of the immutable purpose of God, and accomplished by a wonderful operation of his Providence. “ The destruction “ of Ahaziah was of God, by coming to Joram : for, when he was come, he went out with Je“ horam against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom “ the Lord had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab m." In like manner, it was the will of God, that the sons of his brethren, to the number of forty-two, should come from Jerusalem to Samaria, at this very time, on a visit to the children of Ahab, who resided there, that they might be included in the common fate of that devoted family".

VIII. I shall only add, that the truth of what we have asserted appears from those events which are of a contingent nature. Events may be called fortuitous or contingent with respect to men, as not being influenced by human foresight, or depending on such an operation of secondary causes that the result can be matter of rational expectation. But none of these can be viewed as contingent with respect to God. As they are all certainly foreknown to him, they are all disposed and directed by his Providence. Although the iffue of the lot, if fairly managed, depends not on human skill, and lies beyond the reach of human foresight; yet we have various instances of its

being m a Chron. xxii. 7. 0 2 Kings X. 11.-14.; 2 Chron. xxi. 17.

T 3

being so regulated by God, as clearly to declare his overruling providence, and to proclaim his will: as in the case of Achan", of Saul P, of Jonathan", and of Jonah'. The unnatural fons of Jacob had formed no fixed plan as to the manner in which they were to dispose of their brother Jofeph. His being sold, rather than suffered to perish in a pit, was a mere contingency to them. Not less so was the appearance of the Ishmaelites at this time. Of the same nature was the circumstance of his becoming the slave of Potiphar. But although these things were contingent to them, they were necessary according to the eternal purpose ; and all managed, as we have already feen, by a particular providence. Ahab received his death entirely in a fortuitous way, as far as man was concerned. But, as was foretold by Micaiah, it was the decree of the Most High that he should fall that day. He used every precaution for the preservation of his life. He disguised himself, that he might be unknown in battle ; while he ungenerously asked of Jehoshaphat to appear in his royal apparel, and thus expose himself to the danger he wished to avoid. He also entered the field in complete armour. The thirty-two Syrian captains, at the command of their sovereign, employed the utmost diligence to discover Ahab; but, as would appear, in vain. “ A certain man,' however, “ drew a bow at

bow at a venture, and smote 14 the king of Israel between the joints of the har

"ness."? o Josh. vii. 16.-18. Pr Sam. x. 23. g 1 Sam. xiv. 47.

Jonah i. 7.

* ness s." There is no evidence that this was one of the captains, appointed to search for Ahab. This archer shot without any particular aim. For he“ drew a bow in his fimplicity," as the words literally signify, having no apprehension that he would hit the king of Israel. But the arrow was directed by the divine hand, to the very spot in Ahab's armour by which an arrow might enter, and where he might receive a mortal wound.

The doctrine of a particular providence is fraught with consolation. What reason have we to rejoice, that nothing in our lot can be the effect of mere chance ; that every thing which befals us “cometh from the Lord, who is wonder. “ful in counsel, and excellent in working ;” and that even those events which may be accidental to us, are all the effect of infinite wisdom, and produced by the unerring operation of almighty power!

Let us still regard and acknowledge the operation of his hand. Do we enjoy prosperity ? Let us remember, that it is God alone who maketh rich or great. Are we visited with adversity ? We may derive comfort from this consideration, that “ affliction riseth not out of the ground, and “ that trouble springeth not from the dust.” Are we indebted to any of our fellow men as benefactors ? Let us not return ingratitude for their kindness. But, least of all, let us forget the God of our mercy. Well may we imitate the conduct



: : Kings xxii. 34.

of Ezra, who, while he acknowledged the kind. ness of Artaxerxes, especially remarked the divine hand ; saying, “ Blefed be the Lord God “ of our fathers, who hath put such a thing as " this in the king's heart'." Do we suffer unjustly from others ? Although we have given them no provocation, we may well say, “ Is there “ not a cause?" Have we not, times and ways without number, provoked that just and holy God, who has an indisputable right to employ whom he will as the instruments of his displeasure ? Let us imitate the conduct of David, who, when Shimei the Benjamite reviled and cursed him without a just reason, said to those who were eager to take vengeance on this worthlefs man, “ Let him “ alone, and let him curse ; for the LORD hath “ bidden him."

Jusly mayest thou, O Christian, take comfort from this precious doctrine. That God, in whom " all live, and are moved, and have their being,' who“ giveth life, and breath, and all things," is thy God. Thou art not only, in common with others, under the direction of a particular provi. dence, in all thy ways : but to thee it is wholly a providence of love. All the ways of the Lord thy God are truth and mercy. They are all truth, as exactly corresponding with his gracious promise ; and all mercy, as directly tending to its full accomplishment. He does not merely compass thy path, and thy lying down; but he still furrounds thee with his favour, as with a shield.

Thy t Ezra vii. 27 .

u 2 Sam. xvi. 13.

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