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introduced into it, he threw open its gates for publick worship. He then summoned the priests and Levites together, ordered them to sanctify themselves according to the directions given in the law, and appointed them to offer proper sacrificesa in atone. ment for the sins both of king and people. Not satisfied with this, after a consultation with the leading men in the na. tion, he determined to renew the solemn festivals which had. unhappily, fallen into disuse; and the feast of the passover was, in consequence, kept with a splendour unknown since the days of Solomon. Finally, he caused every graven image, or other symbol of idolatry, throughout his dominions, to be destroyed, involving in the common ruin, Moses' brazen serpent, which the people had latterly been induced to worship; and putting the priests in fresh courses, he restored to them and to the Levites the tithes and first fruits, which his less worthy predeces. sors had appropriated. In a word, Hezekiah exhibited, in all his conduct, an extraordinaryo zeal for the true religion ; and he was rewarded by numerous and striking interpositions of divine power in his favour.
While the Assyrians were employed in the subjugation of Samaria, Hezekiah carried his arms, with signal success, against the hereditary enemies of Judea, the Philistines. From these he not only recovered all the conquests which they had made during the late war with Pekah and Rezin, but pursuing his conquests farther, dispossessed them of almost all their own territories, except Gaza and Gath. Emboldened by so much good fortune, and confident in the assistance of Jehovah, he next refused to continue the tribute to the crown of Assyria, which his father had undertaken to pay; and he was saved from, at least, the immediate consequence of his courage, by the necessity under which Shalmaneser lay of reducing certain provinces of Syria and Phænicia, which had revolted from him. Nor was the Assyrian monarch ever in a condition to accomplish his threat of hurling Hezekiah from the throne, inasmuch as he died while carrying on the siege of Tyre, without having brought that project to a successful termination.
About this time, Hezekiah was affected with a severe distemper ; and the prophet Isaiah came to him with a command from God " to set his house in order, because he would surely die.” This was a mortifying announcement to an upright prince, who, entertaining no correct notions of a futured state of happiness, centred all his hopes and wishes in earthly pros.
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- perity ; and he accordingly prayed with fervour and bitter en.
treaty, that Jehovah would not carry the sentence of death into ; immediate execution. God was pleased to listen to the cry of · his faithful vicegerent, and again sent to him the prophet Isaiah,
who dressed the ulcer with which he was afflicted with a plaster of figs, and restored him to health ; having previously caused the shadow to go back upon the sundial ten full degrees, in tes. timony that his simple remedy would prove effectual.
The pious king was scarcely recovered from his distemper, when Sennacherib, who had succeeded his father, Shalmaneser, on the throne of Assyria, advanced with a prodigious army against him. Incapable of meeting in the field a force so overwhelming, Hezekiah contented himself with throwing garrisons into his fortified towns , putting Jerusalem in a state of defence, and providing it with an ample supply of military stores, at the same time that he despatched ambassadors to solicit the alliance of So, king of Egypt, between whom and the Assyrian monarch numerous grounds of hostility existed. The latter ar. rangement, however, was highly disapproved by the prophet, both as it implied a want of confidence in the protection of Jehovah, and as a measure fraught with no good consequences : and of the truth of the latter declaration, no great time elapsed ere Hezekiah received the most convincing testimony. The king of Egypt made no movement whatever to support him ; and Hezekiah, finding that his towns were, one after another, falling, was compelled to implore the clemency of Sennacherib, and to promise a strict submission to such terms as he should condescend to impose. But the demands of Sennacherib were at once exceedingly grievous, and made with no honest intent. He caused Hezekiah to pay a subsidy of three hundred talents of silver, and thirty talents of gold; to raise which, the good king was compelled, 'not only to exhausto his treasury, but to strip, from the very doors of the temple, the gold with which they were adorned ; and then, after a short truce, which he himself spent in conducting an expedition into Ethiopia, he re. newed His hostile intentions towards Judea, For the second time Sennacherib invested Lachish, a town of some importance in South Judah, and sent thence three of his principal officers to demand the surrender of Jerusalem itself.
It is not to be wondered at, if Hezekiah felt both alarmed and distressed when the insolent and blasphemous messages of which they were bearers, were delivered to him by the Assy. rian generals. Hoping, however, that even now God would
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not desert him, he carried Sennacherib's letter into the temple, and spreading it before the altar, besought Jehovah to vindicate his own honour, by humbling the pride of him who thus dared to insult him. Hezekiah was not deceived in his expectations. The prophet Isaiah came to him with a declaration that Sen. nacherib should not be permitted, under any circumstances, to accomplish his threats ; and the promise was strictly fulfilled on two separate occasions. In the first instance, Sennacherib, while employed in the siege of Libnah, was alarmed by a rumour that his own dominions had been invaded by a band of Cuthite Arabians, to oppose whose progress he found it neces. sary to march back with all haste; and though he overthrew them in a great battle, his second attempt upon Jerusalem proved equally abortive, and more disastrous in its issue. He arrived, indeed, in the vicinity of the city, took up his position with great parade, and once more defied, by his heralds, “ the living God;" but that very night the blast of the Simoom* came upon his camp, and upwards of eighty thousand of his bravest soldiers perished. Sennacherib himself did not long survive this defeat. He fled in dismay to Nineveh, where he was soon afterward murdered in the temple of the god Nisroch, by two of his sons, who made their escape into Armenia, and left the succession open to Esar-haddon, their younger brother.
Destruction of Sennacherib's Army.—BYRON.
THE Assyrian came down', like the wolf on the fold',
Like the leaves of the forest', when summer is green',
For the Angel of Death'.. spread his wings on the blast',
* Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote, in the camp of the Assyr. ans, a hundred and four score and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.--Isaiah.
And there lay the steed', with his nostril all wide';
And there lay the rider', distorted and pale',
And the widows of Asher'.. are loud in their wail';
By the rivers of Babylon', there we sat down': yea', we wept when we remembered Zion'. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof': for there', they that carried us away captive', demanded of us a song'; and they that wasted us', required of us mirth', saying', “ Sing us one of the songs of Zion'."
How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land'?
If I forget thee', o Jerusalem'," let my right hand forget her cunning'. If I do not remember thee', let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth', if I prefer not Jerusalema above my chief joy'.
Version of the same. --BARLOW.
ALONG the banks where Babel's current flows',
Our captive bands in deep despondence strayed,
Her friends', her children', mingled with the dead'.
The tuneless harp', that once with joy we strung',
When praise employed', and mirth inspired', the lay', aJé.ru's&'lēm. Kůrrènt-not, cur’unt. •De-spồnd'ênse-not, dispond'unse.
In mournful silencea on the willows hung',
And growing grief prolonged the tedious day.
The barbarous tyrants', to increase the wo',
With taunting smiles a song of Zion claim; Bid sacred praise in streams melodious flow',
While they blaspheme the great Jehovah's name'.
But how', in heathen chains', and lands unknown',
Shall Israel's sons a song of Zion raise'?
Thou land of glory', sacred mount of praise!
If e’erc my memoryd lose thy lovely name',
If my cold heart neglect my kindred race', Let dire destruction seize this guilty frame':
My hand shall perish', and my voice shall cease!