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ters of religion, and in many circumstantials of religious worship; while, at the same time, not the least alteration was attempted either in the moral law, the rule of duty, or in those typical rites which were also the appointed institutions of sacred worship, "shadows of good things to come,' and sacramental seals and prefigurations of them. Nay, the directions given by him to Solomon, as to the building of the temple, and things coincident with it, were in no degree formed, or modified, according to his own mind or judgment, but delivered to him immediately from God himself: so different a thing is the ordering of mere circumstantials in worship, from changing the express and essential truths, laws, and sacraments, or ordinances of the sacred oracles.
Had this kind of regal interposition, in the matters of religious worship, ceased with David, or even with Solomon, who, as one of the sacred writers, may also be considered as a prophet; little use could have been made of it, as to the interposition of any other kings, either in Israel, or in nations professing Christianity: but, as we shall see, the other kings of Judah, the most pious of them especially, though in no sense prophets, imitated the grand outline of David and SoloInon's example, in a manner by no means marked as dissimilar to that of Christian kings and rulers over their ecclesiastics, as to the circumstantials of religion, in those countries in which establishments have been formed; but some of them, at least, in general, after a more scriptural manner
1 Chr. xxviii. 11-19.
than has generally been hitherto done. This, as it appears to me, proves that the establishment of religion in Israel, by an union and combination, or alliance, of the regal and priestly authorities, grew up long after the introduction of the Mosaic dispensation; and, under God, arose out of the altered circumstances in which the nation was placed, in a manner greatly resembling that in which Christian establishments arose, some ages after the first introduction of Christianity; and also that the grand objection to establishments under Christianity has arisen hitherto, not from the nature of the thing itself, but from the real or supposed want of accordance in the several establishments, and the measures on which they have been conducted and supported to the sacred oracles.
From the times of David and Solomon, we constantly read of the kings of that race employing, directing, and commanding the priests and Levites, and even the high priest himself; and the conduct both of the kings and of the ministers of religion is recorded with approbation or disapprobation, according as the one gave orders and instructions grounded in the law of God, or contrary to it; and as the other promptly obeyed and executed the scriptural commands, and resisted, or complied with, such as were antiscriptural.
When Jeroboam, to support his kingdom over the ten tribes, which had revolted from Rehoboam and submitted to him as king, established the worship of the golden calves at Dan and Bethel, in all probability he would have gladly employed the priests and Levites in carrying into effect his
antiscriptural establishment, if they had been sufficiently disposed to compliance: but, when this did not prove to be the case, they were cast off, and other more compliant instruments were substituted in their room. They, therefore, leaving their possessions, along with their employment, migrated with many others, into the kingdom of Judah; highly to their honour, and to that of the other priests and Levites, who seem cordially to have shared their revenues with them. Now, had the kings of Judah, from this time, declined all interposition in matters of religion, because the same right which they might claim in doing this, Jeroboam would claim also for his established idolatry: had they reasoned in this respect from the data of some modern opposers of all kinds of establishments, what would have been the consequence? Would Jeroboam, "who made Israel "to sin," have renounced his assumed authority in matters of religion, because they renounced their right, or rather neglected their duty? By no means: a further advantage would have been given to false religion; and true religion would have had to lament that the Asas, Jehoshaphats, Hezekiahs, and Josiahs, had buried their important talent in the earth, for fear of misemploying it, and for fear of sanctioning the measures of those who perverted authority, given by the Lord, in opposing his holy instituted worship.
Rehoboam, however, made no improvement of the advantages which the secession of the priests, and Levites, and other pious Israelites from the kingdom of Jeroboam, afforded him: yet, even the outward regard which his son Abijah paid to
the ministry of the priests, according to the law, was rewarded with a most signal and decisive victory over the mighty army of Jeroboam, and all his impious policy. 1
The kings, who might in subsequent ages rule over Judah, were neither commanded, nor directed by the law, to take the lead in the concerns of religion: yet, in one degree or other, they all did it; nor are they any where blamed simply for thus exercising their authority; the manner in which they used it being exclusively the object of blame or commendation with the inspired historians. The kings in Judah who did this most decidedly, and used all their authority, with their whole heart and soul, in subverting and removing all idolatrous or forbidden worship, and in establishing and supporting the worship at the temple, according to the law, and in other ways promoting the cause of godliness, righteousness, and holiness, are proportionably recorded as approved characters, with honour and commendation. To this there is not one single exception: yet they acted not as prophets, nor according to any express commission, or injunction, given to them as kings, by the law of Moses.
Among the rest, Jehoshaphat adopted a measure, admirably indeed suited to the spirit of the divine law, but no where required by the letter of it; when he sent princes, and with them Levites and priests," and they taught in Judah, and had "the book of the law of the Lord with them, and "went about throughout all the cities of Judah,
1 2 Chr. xiii. 5-17.
"and taught the people."1 This exercise of authority was no more prescribed to the kings over Israel, in the law of Moses, than a similar conduct is to kings professing Christianity, in the New Testament; and who can help praying, that God would put it into the heart of all kings, called Christian, decidedly and exactly to copy this example of Jehoshaphat?-It is not necessary to go over the reigns of all the approved, or, if I may so speak, half-approved, reigns of the kings of Judah. It will not be denied that all they, who in any degree "obtained a good report" in the word of God, used their authority in matters of religion, and were proportionably commended for so doing; and that the most pious and zealous did this most actively and heartily; and excited, directed, instructed, and even commanded, the priests and Levites to perform their several duties; encouraging such as attended to them, and expressing disapprobation of those who were more negligent and reluctant, till they too were ashamed, and "sanctified themselves." 2 In this even the chief priests, and the high priest himself, were included. But it has not been sufficiently noticed, that no commission or command, requiring this from them, is contained in the law of Moses; nor any hint or counsel of the kind given. It indeed accorded to the spirit of that law, but was not enjoined by the letter of it; and in this light the friends of establishments view the subject under the Christian dispensation.
1 2 Chr. xvii. 7-9.
2 2 Chr. xxix. 4—11, 34. xxx. 3, 15, 22.