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hath stopt the mouth of his sick sovereign :/ The directions of Elisha to the young no noise is heard; the carcass is fair; who prophet are full and punctual, whither to can complain of any thing but the disease? | go, what to carry, what to do, where to do
O Hazael, thou shalt not thus easily stop it, what to say, what speed to make, in his the mouth of thine own conscience: that act, in his return. In the businesses of shall call thee traitor, even in thy chair of God, it matters not how little is left to our state, and shall check all thy royal triumphs discretion : there is no important business withi_“Thou hast founded thy throne in of the Almighty, wherein his precepts are blood !” I am deceived if this wet cloth not strict and express: look how much more shall not wipe thy lips in thy jolliest feasts, specialty there is in the charge of God, so and make thy best morsels unsavoury. Sove. much more danger is in the violation. reignty is painful upon the fairest terms; The young prophet is curiously obedient, but, upon treachery and murder, tormenting. in his haste, in his observation and carriage; Woful is the case of that man, whose public and finding Jehu, according to Elisha's precares are aggravated with private guiltiness; | diction, set amongst the captains of the and happy is he that can enjoy a little with host, he singles him forth by a reverent the peace of an honest heart.
compellation: “I have an errand to thee, O captain." Might not the prophet have
stayed till the table had risen, and then CONTEMPLATION II. -JEHU WITH JEHORAM have followed Jehu to his lodging? Surely AND JEZEBEL.
the wisdom of God hath purposely pitched
upon this season, that the public view of a Yet Hazael began his cruelty with loss. sacred messenger, and the hasty evocation Ramoth-Gilead is won from bim : Jehoram of so noted a person to suck a secresy, the son hath recovered that which Ahab might prepare the hearts of those comman. his father attempted in vain. That city ders of Israel to the expectation of some was dear-bought of Israel ; it cost the life great design. of Ahab, the blood of Jehoram; those The inmost room is but close enough for wounds were healed with victory. The king this act. Ere many hours, all Israel shall tends his health at Jezreel, while the cap. know that, which yet may not be trusted tains were enjoying and seconding their with one eye: the goodness of God makes success at Ramoth.
wise provision for the saferye of his messen. Old Elisha hath neither cottage nor foot gers, and, while he empbys their service, of land, yet, sitting in an obscure corner, prevents their dangers. he gives order for kingdoms; not by way But how is it that, of all the kings of the of authority (this usurpation had been no ten tribes, none was ever anointed but Je. less proud than unjust), but by way of mes.hu? Is it for that the God, who would not sage from the God of kings : even a mean countenance the erection of that usurped herald may go on a great errand. The throne, would count:nance the alteration? prophets of the gospel have nothing to do or is it, that by this visible testimony of but with spiritual kingdoms; to beat down divine ordination, the courage of the Israel. the kingdoms of sin and Satan, to translate itish captains migh be raised up to second souls to the kingdom of heaven.
| the high and bold attempt of him whom He that renewed the life of the Shuna- they saw destined from heaven to rule ? mite's son, must stoop to age; that block Together with the oil of this unction, lies in his way to Jehu. The aged prophet here was a charge of revenge ; a revenge employs a speedier messenger, who must of the blood ofthe prophets upon Jezebel, also gird up his loins for haste. No common of wickedness and idolatry upon Ahab: pace will serve us, when we go on God's neither was me extirpation of this lewd message: the very loss of minutes may be family fore-pophesied only to Jehu, but unrecoverable. This great seer of God enjoined. well saw a present concurrence of all op-| Elijah foetold, and the world expected, portunities. The captains of the host were some fearful account of the abominable chen readily combined for this exploit ; the cruelty anc'impiety of that accursed house; army was on foot, Jehoram absent : a small now it is called for, when it seemned for. delay might have troubled the work : the gotten. Ahab shall have no posterity; dispersion of the captains and host, or the Jezebel shall have no tomb but the dogs. presence of the king, might either have This woful doom is committed to Jehu's defeated or slacked the dispatch. He is execúton. prodigal of his success, that is slow in his O tle sure, though patient justice of the cxecution
Almighty' Not only Ahab and Jezebel had
been bloody and idolatrous, but Israel was peculiar attire? These captains had not drawn into the partnership of their crimes : called him a madman, if they had not known all these shall share in the judgment. Eli. him a prophet: by the man, therefore, they jah's complaint in the cave now receives might guess at his message. Prophets do this late answer: Hazael shall plague Israel, not use to appear, but upon serious errands, Jehu shall plague the house of Ahab and whether of reproof, or of prediction. Jezebel. Elisha's servant thus seconds Eli. Nice civilities of denials were not then sha's master. When wickedness is ripe in known to the world: they said, “It is false, the field, God will not let it shed to grow tell us now.” Amongst these captains, no again, but cuts it up, by a just and season combat, no unkindness, follows upon a word able vengeance. Ahab's drooping under so rudely familiar. the threat, hath put off the judgment from Jehu needs not tell them that the man his own days; now it comes, and sweeps was a prophet; he tells them the prophecy away his wife, his issue, and falls heavy of the man, what he had said, what he had upon his subjects. Please yourselves, O done. ve vain sinners, in the slow pace of ven. Their eyes had no sooner seen the oil, geance; it will be neither less certain, nor their ears had no sooner heard, “ Thus more easy, for the delay; rather it were to saith the Lord, I have anointed thee king pay for that leisure in the extremity. over Israel,” than they rise from their seats,
The prophet hath done his errand, and as rapt with a tempest, and are hurled into is gone. Jehu returns to his fellows, with | arms: so do they haste to proclaim Jehu, his head not more wet with oil, than busied that they scarce stay to snatch up their with thoughts: no doubt, bis face be wrayed garments, which they had perhaps left be. some in ward tnmults and distractions of hind them for speed, had they not meant, imagination; neither seemed he to return with these rich habiliments, to garnish a the same he went out. They ask, therefore, state for their new sovereign, to whom, " Is all well? Wherefore came this mad having now erected an extemporal throne, fellow to thee?" The prophets of God they do, by the sound of trumpets, give the were to these idolatrous Israelites like co-style of royalty, “ Jehu is king.” mets, who were never seen without the So much credit hath that mad fellow with portendment of a mischief. When the these gallants of Israel, that upon his word priests of their Baal were quietly sacrificing, they will presently adventure their lives, all was well; but now, when a prophet of and change the crown. God gives a secret God comes in sight, their guiltiness asks, authority to his despised servants, so as “ Is all well?" All would be well but for they wbich hate their person, yet reverence their sins: they fear not these; they fear their truth: even very scorners cannot but the reprover.
believe them. If, when the prophets of Israel was come to a good pass, when the gospel tell us of a spiritual kingdom, the prophets of God went with them for they be distrusted of those which profess to madmen. O ye Baalitish ruffians, whither observe them, how shameful is the dispro. hath your impiety and profaneness carried portion! how just shall their judgment be! you, that ye should thus blaspheme the Yet I cannot say whether mere obedience servants of the living God? Ye, that run to the prophet, or personal dislikes of Jehoon madding after vain idols, tax the sober ram, or partial respects to Jehu, drew the guides of true worship for madness. Thus captains of Israel. The will of God may it becomes the godless enemies of truth, the be done thanklessly, when, fulfilling the heralds of our patience, to miscall our in. substance, we fail of the intention, and err nocence, to revile our most holy profession. | in circumstance. What wonder is it that God's messengers are | Only Ramoth is conscious of this sud. madmen unto those to whom the wisdom den inauguration : this new princedom yet of God is foolishness?
reaches no further than the sound of the The message was not delivered to Jehu trumpet. Jehu is no less subtile than va. for a concealment, but for publication. Si- liant: he knew, that the notice of this lence could not effect the word that was unexpected change miglit work a busy and told him, common notice must: “Ye know dangerous resistance ; be therefore gives the man, and his communication." The order, that no messenger of the news may nabit shows you the man, the calling shows prevent his personal execution, that so he you his errand. Even prophets were dis-might surprise Jehoram in his palace of tinguished by their clothes : their mantle Jezreel, whether tending his late wounds, was not the common wear. Why should or securely feasting his friends, and dreamnot this sacred vocation be known by a ing of nothing less than danger; and might
be seen and felt at once. Secresy is the | lic affairs, when they are grown to a heiglit safest guard of any design ; disclosed pro. of disorder, and from thence to a ripeness jects are either frustrated, or made need. of miscarriage. Sooner may a well-meaning lessly difficult.
man hurt himself, than redress the commou Neither is Jehu more close than swift : danger. that very trumpet, with the same wind, | These messengers were now within the sounds his march; from the top of the mercy of a multitude : had they but endeastairs, he steps down into his chariot. That / voured to retire, they had perished as wilman means to speed, who can be at once | fully as vainly. Whosoever will be striving reserved in his own counsels, and resolute against the torrent of a just judgment, must and quick in his performances.
needs be carried down in the stream. SomeWho could but pity the unhappy and times there is as much wisdom in yielding, unseasonable visitation of the grandchild of as courage in resistance. Jehoshaphat, were it not that he was dege. Had this troop been far off, the watchnerated into the family of Ahab? Ahazial man could not have descried the arrival of king of Judah is come to visit Jehoram king the messengers, their turning behind, the of Israel; the knowledge of his late received manner of the march. Jehu was a noted wounds hath drawn thither this kind, ill. captain ; his carriage and motion were obmatched ally. He, who was partner of the served more full of fire than his fellows: war, cannot but be a visitor of the wounds.“ The driving is like Jehu's, for he driveth
The two kings are in the height of their furiously." God makes choice of fit instru. compliment and entertainments, when the ments, as of mercy, so of revenge. These watchman of the tower of Jezreel espies a spirits were needful for so tragical a scene troop afar off. For ought was known, there as was now preparing in Israel. was nothing but peace in all the land of Jehoram and Ahaziah, as nettled with Israel; and Judah was now so combined this forced patience of expectation, can with it, that both their kings were feasting no longer keep their seats, but will needs under one roof; yet, in the midst of their hasten their chariots, and fetch that costly supposed safety, the watch-tower is not satisfaction, which would not be sent, but unfurnished with heedy eyes.. No security given. of peace can free wise governors from a They are infatuated whicli shall perish, careful suspicion of what may come, and a | otherwise Jehoram had been warned enough providence against the worst. Even while by the forcible retention of his messengers, we know of no enemies, the watch tower of to expect nothing but an enemy. A friend due intelligence may not be empty.
or a subject could not have been unwilling In vain are dangers foreseen, if they be to be known, to be looked for. Now, forget. not premonished; it is all one to have a ting his wounds, he will go to fetch death. blind and a mute watchman: this speaks Yet when he sees Jehu, whom he left a what he sees, “I see a company." subject, hopes strive with his doubts : " Is
Doubtless Jehoram's head was now full it peace, Jehu?" What may be the reason of thoughts ; neither knew he what con. of this sudden journey ? is the army foiled struction to put upon this approaching by the Syrians ? is Ramoth recovered ? or troop. Perhaps the Syrians, he thinks, bath the flight of the enemy left thee no may have recovered Ramoth, and chased further work ? or is some other ill news the garrison of Israel: neither can he ima- guilty of thy haste ? What means this un. gine whether these should be hostile vic. | wished presence and return ? tors, or vanquished subjects, or conspiring There needs no stay for an answer: the rebels. Every way this rout was dreadful. very face of Jehu, and those sparkling eyes O Jehoram! thou beginnest thy fears too of his, speak fury and death to Jehoram, late: hadst thou been afraid to provoke which yet his tongue angrily seconds : the God of Israel, thine innocency had “ What peace, so long as the whoredoms yielded no room to these terrors.
of thy mother Jezebel, and her witchcrafts, A horseman is despatched, to discover are so many ?" the meaning of this descried concourse. He Wicked tyrant! what speakest thou of meets them, and inquires of peace; but re- peace with men, when thou hast thus long ceives a short answer : “ What hast thou waged war with the Almighty? that cursed to do with peace? turn thee behind me." mother of thine hath nursed thee with A second is addressed with the same suc blood, and trained thee up in abominable cess. Both attend the train of Jehu, in idolatries. stead of returning. Indeed, it is not for Thou art not more hers, than her sin is private persons to hope to rectify the pub- thine ; thou art polluted with her spiritual
whoredoms, and enchanted with her hellish of corruption : the son of good Jehoshaphat witchcrafts : now that just God, whom is lost in Ahab's daughter. thou and thy parents have so heinously Now he pays for his kind alliance, ac. despised, sends thee by me this last message companying the son of Ahab in his death, of his vengeance; which, while he spake, whom he consorted with in his idolatry. his hand is drawing up that deadly arrow, Young Ahaziah was scarce warm in his which shall cure the former wounds with a throne, when the mismatched blood of worse.
Athaliah is required from him. Nothing Too late now doth wretched Jehoram is more dangerous than to be imped in a turn his chariot and flee, and cry, Treason, wicked family; this relation too often draws ( Ahaziah' There was treason before, o in a share both of sin and punishment. Jehoram! Tiny treason against the majesty Who would not have looked that Jezebel, of God is now revenged by the treason of | hearing of this bloody end of her son and Jehu against thee.
| pursuit of her ally, and the fearful proceedThat fatal shaft, notwithstanding the ings of this prosperous conspiracy, should swift pace of both the chariots, is directed | have put herself into sackcloth and ashes ; to the heart of Jehoram : there is no erring and now, finding no means either of defence of those feathers which are guided by the orescape, should have cast herself into such hand of destiny.
a posture of humiliation as might have moved How just are the judgments of God! It the compassion of Jehu ? Her proud heart was in the field of Naboth, wherein Jeho. could not suddenly learn to stoop; rather ram met with Jehu; that very ground called she recollects her high spirits, and, instead to him for blood. And now this new aven of humbling her soul by repentance, and ger remembers that prophecy which he addressing herself for an imminent death, heard out of the mouth of Elijah, in that she pranks up her old carcass, and paints very place, following the heels of Abab, her wrinkled face, and, as one that vainly and is careful to perform it. Little did hopes to daunt the courage of an usurper Jehu think, when he heard that message of by the sudden beams of majesty, she looks Elijah, that his hands should act it. Now, out, and thinks to fright him with the chal. as zealous of accomplishing the word of a lenge of a traitor, whose either mercy or prophet, he gives charge to Bidkar his cap. justice could not be avoided. Extremity tain, that the bleeding carcass of Jehoram finds us such as our peace leaves us. Our should be cast upon that very plat of Na last thoughts are spent upon that we most both. 0 Naboth's blood well paid for! care for. Those, that have regarded their Ahab's blood is licked by dogs in the very face more than their soul, in their latter place where those dogs licked Naboth's; end are more taken up with desire of seem. Jehoram's blood shall manure that ground, ing fair, than being happy. It is no marvel which was wrung from Naboth; and Jeze. | if a heart, obdured with the custom of sin, bel shall add to this compost. () garden shut up gracelessly. Counterfeit beauty of herbs dearly bought, royally dunged! agrees well with inward uncleanness.
What a resemblance there is betwixt the Jehu's resolution was too strongly settled death of the father and the son, Ahab and to be removed with a painted face, or an Jehoram! Both are slain in their chariots, opprobrious tongue. He looks up to the both with an arrow, both repay their blood window, and says, “ Who is on my side, to Naboth. And how perfect is this reta. who?" There want not those everywhere, liation ! Not only Naboth miscarried in that which will be ready to observe prevailing cruel injustice, but his sons also; else the greatness. Two or three eunuchs look out; inheritance of the vineyard had descended he bids them “throw her down :” They to his heirs, notwithstanding his pretended instantly lay hold on their lately adored mis. offence. And now, not only Ahab forfeits tress, and, notwithstanding all her shrieks his blood to this field, but his son Jehoram and prayers, cast her down headlong into also. Face doth not more answer to face, the street. than punishment to sin.
What heed is to be taken of the deep It was time for Ahaziah, king of Judah, professed services of hollow-hearted fol. to flee. Nay, it had been time long before lowers ? All this while they have humbly, to have fled from the sins, yea, from the with smiles and officious devotions, fawned house of Ahab. That brand is fearful which upon their great queen; now, upon the call God sets upon him : “ He did evil in the of a prosperous enemy, they forget their aight of the Lord, as did the house of respects, her royalty ; and cast her down, dhab;" for he was the son-in-law of the as willing executioners, into the jaws of a house of Ahab. Affinity is too often guilty fearful death. It is hard for greatness to
know them whom it may trust : perhaps the enough to furnish the thrones of all the fairest semblance is from the falsest heart. neighbour nations, to maintain the hopes of It was a just plague of God upon wicked succession to all times. How secure did Jezebel, that she was inwardly hated of he think the perpetuation of his posterity, her own. He, whose servants she perse. when he saw seventy sons from his own cuted, raised up enemies to her from her loins ! Neither was this royal issue trusted own elbow.
either to weak walls or to one roof; but to Thus must pride fall; insolent, idola- the strong bulwarks of Samaria, and theretrous, cruel Jezebel, besprinkles the walls in to the several guards of the chief peers : and pavement with her blood; and now it was the wise care of their parents not to those brains, that devised mischief against bave them obnoxious to the danger of a the servants of God, are strewed upon the common miscarriage, or of those emulations stones; and she, that insulted upon the which wait upon the cloyedness of an unprophets, is trampled upon by the horses' divided conversation, but to order their heels : “ The wicked is kept for the day of separation, so as one may rescue other from destruction, and shall be brought forth to the peril of assault, as one may respect the day of wrath.”
other out of a familiar strangeness. Had Death puts an end commonly to the Ahab and Jezebel been as wise for their highest displeasure. He, that was severe souls, as they were for their seed, both had in the execution of the living, is merciful in prospered. the sepulture of the dead : “ Go, see now Jehu is yet but in his first act : if all the this cursed woman, and bury her, for she sons of Ahab bleed not, the prophecy is is a king's daughter." She, that upbraided unanswered; there shall be no need of his Jehu with the name of Zimri, shall be in. sword, his pen shall work all this slaughter. terred by Jehu as Omri's daughter-in-law, He writes a challenge to Samaria, and as a Sidonian princess; somewhat must be therein to the guardians of the sons of yielded to humanity, somewhat to state. | Ahab, daring them, out of the confidence
The dogs have prevented Jehu in this in their defenced city, in their chariots and purpose, and have given her a living tomb, horses, in their associates and arms, to set more ignoble than the worst of the earth; up the best of their master's sons on his only the scull, hands, and feet of that va- | father's throne, and to fight for his succes. nished carcass, yet remain; the scull which sion. was the roof of all her wicked devices, the All the governors of Ahab's children hands and feet which were the executioners, conspire in one common fear. No doubt these shall remain as the monuments of there wanted not in that numerous brood those shameful exequies ; that future times, of kings, some great spirits, that, if at least seeing these fragments of a body, might say, they attained to the notice of this design, “ The dogs were worthy of the rest : thus longed for a revenge, and suggested counsels Jezebel is turned to dung and dog's meat ; of resolution to their cowardly guardians. Elijah is verified, Naboth is revenged, Jez Shall an audacious usurper run thus away reel is purged, Jehu is zealous, and, in all, with the crown of Israel? Shall the blood God is just."
of Jezebel be thus traitorously spilt, thus wilfully forgotten? O Israelites, can you
be so base, as to be ruled by my father's CONTEMPLATION III. - JEHU KILLING THE servant ? Where are the merits of Ahab SONS OF AHAB, AND THE PRIESTS OF BAAL. and Jehoram? What is become of the
loyal courage of Israel? Doubtless ye shall There were two prime cities of the ten not want able seconds to your valour. Do tribes, which were the set courts of the ye think the royal and potent alliances of kingdom of Israel — Samaria and Jezreel. our mother Jezebel, and ihe remaining heirs The chief palace of the kingdom was Jez- of Judah, can draw back their hands from reel, the mother city of the kingdom was your aid ? will they endure to swallow so Samaria. Jehu is possessed of the one, cruel an indignity? Stir up your astonished without any sword drawn against him ; fortitude, Oye nobles of Israel! redeem Jezreel willingly changes the master, yield- | your bleeding honour, revenge this treaching itself to the victor of two kings, to the erous conspirator, and establish the right of avenger of Jezebel : the next care is Sa the undoubted heirs of your sovereign. But maria ; either policy or force shall fetch in as warm clothes to a dead man, so are the that head of the tribes.
motions of valour to a fearful heart : “ BeThe plentiful issue of princes is no small hold, two kings stood not before him, hok assurance to the people. Ahab had sons then shall we stand ?"