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Josiah's Penitence

Josiah's Penitence

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2 Chron. xxxiv. 27. Because thine heart iv as tender, and thou
didst humble thyself before God wJien thou heardest his ivords
agaiust this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and
humbledst thyself before me, a?ul didst rend thy clothes and
weep before me, I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord.


2 Chron. xxxiv. 27. Because thine heart iv as tender, and thou
didst humble thyself before God wJien thou heardest his ivords
agaiust this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and
humbledst thyself before me, a?ul didst rend thy clothes and
weep before me, I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 19, 2014
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2 Chron. xxxiv. 27. Because thine heart iv as tender, and thou
didst humble thyself before God wJien thou heardest his ivords
agaiust this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and
humbledst thyself before me, a?ul didst rend thy clothes and
weep before me, I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord.
IT is scarcely to be conceived how great a benefit
has arisen to the Christian cause from the invention
of printing. The word of God is that whereby the
work of salvation is principally carried on in the
souls of men : and the multiplying of copies of the
holy Scriptures, in such a form as to be conve-
niently portable, and at such a price as to be within
the reach of the poor, has tended more than any
other thing to keep alive the interests of religion,
both in the hearts of individuals, and in the commu-
nity at large. If we look back to the condition of
the Jews in the time of king Josiah, we shall find it
truly deplorable. Through the influence of the two
preceding kings, the very remembrance of God's
law was almost obliterated from the minds of men.
Every king was, by God's appointment^ to copy it
VOL. III. z for
338 2 CHROICLES, XXXIV. 27. [293.
for himself'' : yet not a copy of it was to be seen in
the land : so that if God himself had not interposed
in his providence to raise up to the Jews a pious
king, and by him to bring back the people to some
sense of their duty, it is probable that the whole
nation would ere long have been immersed in
heathen darkness. From the traces of Divine know-
ledge which yet remained by means of the Temple
and its furniture, and through the operation of God's
Spirit on his soul, Josiah was induced to repair the
Temple, in order to the restoring of God's worship
there : and Hilkiah the priest, while executing his
orders, found a copy (perhaps the original copy)
of the Law, which had been lost amidst the rubbish
and ruins of the place. On hearing its contents,
Josiah was filled with great anguish, and sent to
Huldah the prophetess to know whether the judg-
ments which God had denounced against that apo-
state nation might by any means be averted : in reply
to which he was informed, that the calamities would
surely come upon them ; but that, in consideration
of his penitence, the awful period should not arrive
till he himself should be removed to a better world.
From the words before us we shall take occasion
to shew,
I. What state of mind the threatenings of God should
produce in us —
The conduct of Josiah on this occasion will serve
to guide our thoughts.
The threatenings of God should produce in us,
1 . A fear of his judgments —
[If men can puflF " at God's judgments''," it is because they
have never conbidered how tremendous they are. Let any man
once think seriously of " dwelhng with everlasting burnings %"
and we will defy him not to tremble, like Felix'' and Belbhazzar^
Josiah "rent his clothes" with horror, when he heard only of
temporal calamities : how much more therefore ought we to fear,
when we hear of the miseries that will be endured in " the lake
that ])urneth with fire and brimstone ! "J
1. A
» Dciit. wii. 18. ^ Ps. X. 5.
= Isai. xxxiii. 14. Sec also Mark ix. 43 — 48. & Rev. xiv. 10, 11.
^ Acts xxiv, 25. *= Dan. v. 5, Q.
293.] josiah's penitence. 339
2. A sorrow of heart for those sins against which
his judgments are denounced —
[We are ready to acknowledge, that they who have com-
mitted gross sins should mourn for their iniquities. But we
should remember that the judgments of God are denounced also
against pride, unbelief, impenitence, worldly-mindedness, and
numberless other secret sins, which are overlooked, or even com-
mended, by the world. For these therefore must we '^ weep,
and humble ourselves before God," yea, and lothe ourselves for
them in dust and ashes.]
3. A turning unto God in holy and unreserved
obedience —
[This is the true test of sincerity : fears and sorrows are of
little avail, if they produce not a thorough change of heart and
life. Josiah, from the first moment that he heard the threaten-
ings of God, set himself to accomplish a national reformation,
and prosecuted it with zeal to his dying hour. Thus must we be
zealous for our God. We must not pretend to be sorry for our
sins, and still continue to live in them ; but we must put away
the accursed thing, whatever it be, and devote ourselves to God
without reserve. It is he only who " confesseth and forsaketh
his sins, that shall find mercy ^"]
To promote such a state of mind amongst you, we
proceed to shew,
II. Its acceptableness to God —
The message sent to Josiah sufficiently marks this.
God assured him that his prayer was heard in con-
sideration of his penitence. But that such a state of
mind is at all times acceptable to God, will more
clearly appear, if we consider that,
1 . By it all the perfections of God are glorified — •
[Repentance is often called " a giving glory to God^;"
and the propriety of this expression is evident : for, exactly
as the impenitent man pours contempt on all the Divine perfec-
tions, setting at nought the power and majesty, the justice and
holiness, the love and mercy, the truth and faithfulness of God ;
so, on the contrary, the penitent brings glory to them all, inas-
much as he acknowledges his obnoxiousness to the Divine dis-
pleasure, and his ardent desire to obtain an interest in the pro-
mises of the Gospel. If then God be concerned for his own
glory, he cannot but be pleased with those who, in his appointed
way, are labouring to advance it.]
1. To
^ Prov. xxviii. 13. ^ Josh. vii. If). Jer. xiii. iQ.
340 2 CHROICLES, XXXIV. 27- [293.
2. To it all the promises of God are made —
[Many are the judgments denounced against the stout-
hearted: but in all the inspired volume there is not one word to
" break a bruised reed." On the contrary, the weary and heavy-
laden are invited to come to Christ without any distinction on
account of the particular sins with which they are burthened.
God assures the contrite soul, while it is yet trembling at his word,
that he will look upon it with peculiar pleasure and com-
placency** ; and that though a man's conduct may have been such
as to fix indelible disgrace upon him in the world, God will never
despise him, provided he be of a broken and contrite spirit'. ot
even the transient humiliation of Ahab was suffered to pass with-
out some favourable regard"^ : much less shall that be overlooked
which is sincere and permanent'. It is indeed not for any merit
that there is in our repentance, but for the merits of Jesus Christ,
that we shall find acceptance : nevertheless all true penitents,
and none other, shall be saved by him.]
1 . How desirable is it to be well acquainted with
the holy Scriptures!
[The word of God denounces vengeance against many cha-
racters that are thought innocent among men : nor will our
ignorance of these threatenings avert or delay the execution of
them. Let us then study the Sacred Oracles with an express
reference to ourselves, that we may know what God says in
them respecting us. Peradventure we may find many passages,
which, when applied to our hearts, will give us just occasion
to mourn like the pious monarch before us. Better were it
far to know the full extent of our guilt, and thereby to be
stimulated to repentance, than through ignorance of our state
to continue impenitent, till the wrath of God shall come upon
us to the uttermost.]
2. How enviable is the condition of a true pe-
nitent !
[Every prayer of a real penitent is ^* heard" of God. Let
him " open his mouth ever so wide, God will fill it"\" Let him
but plead what the Lord Jesus has done and suffered for him, and
God will never cast out his prayer. Surely then there is no man
so truly happy as he who " walks humbly with his God." In-
deed our Lord himself repeatedly tells us this; " Blessed are the
poor in spirit : blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be
But it may be thought that such an abject state of mind would
^ Isai. Ixvi. 2. ' Ps. 11. 17. '' 1 Kin. xxi. 29.
' Ps. xxxiv. 18. " Isai. Iv. 7- " Matt. v. 3, 4.
be unsuitable to a man of power and opulence. The Jewish
monarch however entertained no such vain conceit ; he judged
it not unbecoming- even his high station to feel, yea to ma-
nifest also to all around him, a fear of God. Let all of us then,
the high as well as the low, the spiritual as well as the profane,
seek to have " a tender heart." Let us beg of God " to take
away from us the heart of stone, and to give us hearts of flesh,"
well knowing, that the more exquisite our sensibility is with
respect to sin, the more pleasing will be our state before God.]

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