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at that time subject to the Assyrians. He opposed idolatry, and promoted the worship of the true God; an example for Christians to follow. They are not, indeed, like Josiah, invested with power to cast down the idols of the heathen, but they have the means of sending the gospel to the benighted among the human race, which is able so to enlighten them, that they will be induced of their own accord to cast their idols to the moles and to the bats."
Among the labours of Josiah was the restoration of the temple, which had been neglected and profaned. During the progress of these repairs, Hilkiah, who had succeeded Joachim the high priest, discovered the book of the law, which it has been supposed by some was the original writing deposited in the ark by Moses. So much had the word of God been disregarded, and so scarce were the copies of it, that neither the king nor his subjects were conversant with its precious contents. The writing was presented to Josiah, and read before him, and by it he found how far they had departed from God, and to what an extent of wrath they were exposed. This discovery deeply affected the good monarch, and he sent to inquire of the Lord whether the judgments might be averted. The Divine oracle, by Huldah the prophetess, declared that they could not be recalled; but Josiah received a promise that before the day of retribution arrived he should be removed from the earth.
Feeling the importance of the word of God, Josiah was anxious that his subjects should be acquainted with it. He summoned the elders of the nation, the ministers of the church and state, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem at large, to the temple, and there read aloud the denunciations which had deeply affected him. At the same time, he bound himself by covenant to serve the Lord, and required his people to enter into the same engagement. The people responded to his demand, and Josiah, desirous that the rows should be ratified in the most solemn manner, determin upon the celebration of the passover, which had been long lected. It was observed with the minutest circumstances appointment, and with costly sacrifices, such as had no offered since the days of the prophet Samuel.
This conduct of Josiah affords a lesson for Christians word of God has been found precious to them. how earnes they strive to place it in the hande This is one of the first who penned these line
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and landscape, have been designed from Egyptian paintings of the period, and modern sketches of the country.
The cause which Jeremiah had for mourning the loss of Josiah was two-fold. He saw that the people would be left as sheep having no shepherd, and that the long-predicted vengeance of the Almighty would soon overwhelm his beloved country. At this time, indeed,
The wheels of an incensed avenging God
By prophetic foresight he discerned the mountain of Zion desolated, and the foxes walking upon it, and the joy of his heart and the hearts of the elders ceased, and their dance was turned into mourning, while their hearts became faint, and their eyes dim with weeping.
For Josiah, personally, Scripture leads us to think that Jeremiah had no cause to mourn. We may conclude that it was in mercy to himself, and in judgment to the people, that he was thus removed. He was taken away from the evil to come, and, judging from the anguish Josiah felt on discovering the perilous situation of Jerusalem, death was more welcome to him than witnessing the consummation of her doom. Sudden death, moreover, is not always a judgment or an awful event. To those who serve God in deed and in truth, it is sudden glory. It is a glorious translation from a world where sorrow abounds, to a world where sorrow never enters, where God wipes away all tears from the eyes of his saints. We may mourn their loss, and shed the bitter tear, as they are lowered into the cold grave, as Jeremiah and the elders mourned the loss of Josiah, but they have joined the ceaseless praises of the heavenly hosts. Reader! let us so live by faith in Christ, that, whether death comes upon us after a lingering sickness, or in the bloom of health, we may have a good hope of joining in this song of triumph—“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." Rev. i. 5, 6.