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rightness, was distinguished as no other person ever had been at his prayer fifteen years were added to his life; and as a sign that he should be healed, the shadow was brought ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz,
This is the first account we have of computing time by means of measuring the progress of the sun.
At the beginning of the world, it is certain there was no distinction of time, but by the light and darkness; and the whole day was included in the general terms of the evening and the morning. The Chaldeans, many ages after the flood, were the first who divided the day into hours; for they were the first who applied themselves with any success to astronomy.
Sun dials are of ancient use; but as they were of no service in cloudy weather, and in the night, there was a further invention of measuring the parts of time by water; but that not proving sufficiently exact, they laid it aside for another by sand.
We find in Oriental Customs, that "The use of dials was earlier among the Greeks than the Romans. It was above 300 years after the building of Rome before that people knew any thing of them; but yet they had divided day
and night into 24 hours; though they did not count the hours numerically, but from midnight to midnight; distinguishing them by particular names, as by the cock crowing, the dawn, the midday, &c. The first sun dial we read of among the Romans, which divided the day into hours, is mentioned by Pliny, Nat. Hist. Lib. 7, cap. 20. as fixed upon the temple of Quirinus, by L. Papyrius, the Censor."
MANY of the kings of Judah, as Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah, were remarkable for their piety and zeal for the honour of God, and obedience to his law. Others, as Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Manasseh, are conspicuous, notwithstanding the denunciations of the prophets, and the judicial infliction of national calamities, for abandoning themselves to idolatry. Manasseh, in particular, not only "built up the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed, and reared up altars for Baal, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them," but, as it were in defiance of the true God, “built altars in the house of the Lord;" of which the Lord said, " in Jerusalem will I put my name." And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the Lord's house, and he set a graven image of the grove that he had made, in 11 Kings, xxi. 3, 7.
His conduct, during this period, was throughout consistent in wickedness: "He made his son pass through the fire; and observed times, and used inchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards ; and induced his subjects to do more evil than did the nations, whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel, and shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem, from one end to the other." 11 Kings, vi. ix. 13 and 16. Then the Supreme Being declared by his servants the prophets: "Because Manasseh, king of Judah, hath done these abominations, I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and I will wipe Jerusalem, as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down." These figures describe, in the most impressive terms, that the punishment of Judah should be similar to that which had overtaken Israel, to the utter subversion of the city of Jerusalem, and the complete removal of its inhabitants.
Captivity and anguish opened the eyes of Manasseh, and led him to bitter and durable repentance. But, excepting king Josiah, his successors imitated him only in transgression. It had been foretold from the days of Hezekiah, that the kings of Babylon were to be the instruments of executing the wrath of Heaven against Ju
dah. Having been already employed for the chastisement of Manasseh, they came up a second time before Jerusalem, unconscious that, while they were bent solely on ambitious views of aggrandizing their empire, they were sent forth by Providence to fulfil his determined purpose. For the Lord had declared: "I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there."
However, for his great name's sake, and for the sake of his servant David, God was pleased to fix a period for this first banishment of Judah from his presence: "For thus saith the Lord, that after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good B. C. word toward you, to return to this place."
According to the threatened punishment, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, was permitted to invade Judea, in the reign of Jehoiachim, and to besiege and take Jerusalem. He put Jehoiachim in chains to carry him to Babylon, but upon his humbling himself, and engaging to become tributary to Nebuchadnezzar, he was released, and restored to his kingdom. The children of the royal family, and many of the people, were however sent captives to Babylon; and