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felt towards them as He felt, would gradually become a tyrant, laying on his subjects Egytian burdens, compelling them to do the work of beasts, proving that he valued the stones, the iron, and the brass which formed the materials of God's house above the living beings who were to draw nigh to offer their supplications in it. So the wise king may prepare his subjects for rebellion and his kingdom for division.
A lesson surely full of instruction and wisdom for all kings and for all men ; for those who think and for those who act; for those who study the secrets of the human heart, and for those who investigate the meaning of nature; for those who despise the arts and wealth of the world, and for those who worship them; for those who hold strength and glory to be the devil's, and for those who covet them and hunt after them as if they were divine; for nations upon which God has bestowed mechanical knowledge and the blessed results of it; for nations which look upon human beings as only the machines and the producers of a certain amount of physical enjoyments. But though so full of instruction it would be utterly melancholy and oppressive-seeing that it speaks of retrogression instead of progress, of folly coming forth from wisdom, death from life—if there were no sequel to the story. But the Wisdom which Solomon prayed for and pursued with so true and earnest a heart was not a Wisdom which could die with him, or which his forgetfulness of it could kill. « The Lord possessed me," says the writer of the book of Proverbs, “in the beginning of His way before His works of old. I was set up for everlasting, from the beginning or ever the earth was.” “In the beginning was the Word,” says Saint John, " and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” “And this Word,” so we shall read on Christmas-day," was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth.” This is the King “who shall be found as long as the sun and the moon endureth, whom all nations shall call blessed.” This is that Son “who shall judge the people with righteousness and the poor with judgment." This is He in whom the prayers of David are ended.
Brethren, every one of us may ask that Divine Word who is near to us and with us, for an understanding heart. Every one of us who feels that a great work is laid upon him and that he is in the midst of a people which God hath chosen, and some of whom, at least, he must teach and judge, and that he is but a little child, may crave for a spirit to discern the good and bad in himself and in all others. And if we feel, as most of us perhaps do, that what we need above all things else, is that sense of responsibility, that consciousness of a calling, that feeling of feebleness which were the source of Solomon's prayer, let us ask for these gifts first. He who took upon Himself the form of a servant and became a little child has said, Come unto me and take my yoke upon you for I'am meek and lowly of heart. He promises us His own meekness in place of our pride. He who was straitened till his work was accomplished will teach us to understand the object and the blessedness of ours. He whose delight was to do the will of His Father who sent Him, will make us enter into the delight of shewing forth God's love to His children. And so we shall understand more and more clearly that we are called
to be kings and priests in that city which He hath set up, and in which He reigns, a city in which there is no one visible Temple ; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of it; a city into which the kings of the earth shall at last bring their glory and honour.
THE RENDING OF THE KINGDOM.
LINCOLN'S INN, 2ND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY.-Jan. 18, 1852.
1 KINGS, XII. 21—25. When Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all
the House of Judah with the Tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men which were warriors, to fight against the House of Israel, to bring again the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying, “ Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the House of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel. Return every man to his house, for this thing is from me.”
The thing which the prophet declared to be from the Lord was the separation of the tribes of Israel, the revolt of Jeroboam from the house of David, the establishment of a new kingdom. Yet these events, to all appearance, contra
the very purpose for which the chosen people existed, use their history. Their early records had reminded
they were the descendants of one man. The of Moses had carefully preserved the feeling
that they were kinsmen, while he had given them the new bond of a common law, and a common tabernacle. To these Joshua added a common country. The portions of land assigned to the different tribes kept them distinct; but the one tribe, whose cities were scattered over the whole country, which had no separate property, which waited upon the tabernacle and offered the sacrifices for the nation and for its individual members, testified that the greatness and security of each tribe stood in its fellowship with the rest and in its relation to the whole society. This community of interests had been imperfectly realised during the time of the judges. One of the great blessings of David's government was, that he asserted it and established new tokens of it. After the revolt of Absalom, the other tribes showed an evident jealousy of the one to which the king belonged, and that one exhibited something of the pride of a favoured class. But these differences were softened, if not obliterated, after the restoration of the king. The wisdom of Solomon proved itself, we may believe, in nothing more than in his successful efforts to unite his people by making them feel that they had an equitable and impartial ruler over them. Surely one would have thought, à priori, that the breaking up of such a state of things was not from the Lord.
And this conclusion appears to be strengthened by all subsequent experience of the effects of this revolt. Jeroboam, the author of it, is represented throughout Scripture as the man who made Israel to sin. The history of the ten tribes is a record of continually deepening degeneracy. From this time too all the brilliancy passes away from the house of David. His grand anticipations of what should come to pass in after times, if they had a partial accomplishment in the days of his son, seemed to be