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liverance. I will give you one or two remarkable instances of this.
In two different parts of the Bible, we find recorded a very interesting account of a sickness with which it pleased God to visit this holy man.
This illness was a very severe one; the Bible tells us, that “in those days Hezekiah was sick unto death, and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amos, came to him and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, set thine house in order, for thou shalt die and not live.” Now we will see how Hezekiah received
Some persons say, that we ought not to feel our sufferings, but to behave under them as if they were
The Bible does not teach us so hard a lesson. It allows us to feel and to express our feelings under pain and sickness, only it teaches us to bring all our sorrows before God in prayer, and without sullen repining. The prophet of the Lord told Hezekiah to prepare to die. Immediately the king began to pray. Nor did this good king find any thing hard or strange in praying to God, as those men do who have never thought of prayer till they come to die. Hezekiah was doing what he had been long used to do. He had served God all his life long. He had served him when he was young; he had not allowed the pleasures of youth, nor all the temptations of riches and greatness, to make him forget God. He had also been accustomed in all his troubles to look immediately to God for help and comfort. His first thought, thereLore, when he heard the message of the prophet, was to spread his sorrows before the Lord in humble prayer. And be prayed unto the Lord saying, “ I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.”
E. Was he sorry that he was going to die, mother? I thought good men were not afraid to die ?
M. We must keep in mind, my son, that Hezekiah lived long before the Gospel of Jesus Christ was brought down from heaven, and that he did not know so much about the life to come as we Christians do.
We must not, therefore, wonder that Hezekiah was unwilling to die, and to leave the pleasure which he had enjoyed in the society of good men, and above all in serving God himself upon
earth. A long life was looked upon in those days as a sign of God's favour; so that it is not strange that Hezekiah should be grieved at the thoughts of dying young.
If we add to this, that though a good man, Hezekiah was not without some of the weakness of our fallen nature, we shall understand why he wept so sore when Isaiah said to him, “Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die and not live.”
He has told us himself what his feelings were on this trying occasion : he tells us that he said, “I shall
go down to the gates of the grave, I am deprived of the residue of my years, I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord in the land of the living. I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world. The grave cannot praise thee, O Lord; death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down to the pit cannot hope for thy truth."
But Hezekiah did not cry to God in vain. The Lord, to show that his ears are open to the righteous, and that if they cry unto him in their distress he will hear them, vouchsafed to raise the pious king from the bed of death on which he lay. Therefore he sent his prophet again to tell the king, that the Lord God of his fathers had heard his prayers, had seen his tears, and that he would add fifteen years more to his life. Nor would he even afflict him any longer with sickness; the prophet told him that in three days he should be well enough to go to the house of the Lord, as he had been used to do when he was in health.
Now at the very time that Hezekiah king of Judah had been stretched upon his dying bed, his country was invaded by the Assyrians.
E. By the same king Shalmaneser, mother, who had carried Israel away into captivity ?
M. No, my son, he was dead; but his son Sennacherib, who was then king in his father's place, had come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and taken them: for Hezekiah had offended Sennacherib by endeavouring to free himself from the yoke of Assyria, for which purpose he bad kept back the tribute money which he was engaged to pay to that country every year. The good king, however, had soon been convinced that he had acted unwisely, and had sent to the king of Assyria, saying, “I have offended; turp from me ; that
which thou puttest on me I will bear.” of Assyria was willing to listen to the request of Hezekiah, but he exacted from him an enormous quantity of gold and silver for his tribute money, which distressed the pious king very much, for he was obliged, in order to pay it, to take all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord, and to cut off the gold with which he himself, a short time before had overlaid the doors and pillars of the temple of the Lord. It must have been with great sorrow that the king made up his mind to strip the house of God of its treasures and its ornaments, but he could not help himself; he had no other way raising the money which was to save his country from destruction.
E. Did Sennacherib leave the land of Judah then, when he had received the money from Hezekiah ?
M. Yes; he did leave it for a time, but he soon broke the agreement which he had made with Hezekiah, and sent his servants with a great army which was marching towards Jerusalem, just at the time when to all appearance Hezekiah was lying upon the bed of death. This was one of the things, most 1. kely, which troubled him in his sickness, and made hil. 1.so desirous of living longer, for he was
hout his country, and unhappy at the thoughts of
dying at the moment when she was surrounded by
her enemies. But the Lord, to whom Hezekiah
told all his sorrows, not only raised Phim up from the b.
od of death, as you have heard, but accompanied the
blessing of a lengthened life,
with a promise that he would defend and deliver himself and Jerusalem from the hand of the king of Assyria.
Those great proofs of God's goodness towards him, revived the heart of Hezekiah, and encouraged him to do all he could to strengthen the city against her enemies, and to cheer the minds of his people. Comforted himself by God, he spoke comfortably to them, saying, “Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him, for there be more with us than with him ; with him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people placed great confidence in the words of their king. The faith, however, of Hezekiah and his people was about to be put to a severe trial. The armies of Sennacherib were now encamped about the city, and his servants were sent with a most insolent and threatening message to Hezekiah, and unto all that were in Jerusalem. And Rabshekah, the chief servant of Sennacherib, came and spoke his master's message in the Jews' language, before all the people, in hopes of persuading them to rebel against their king, and to yield up Jerusalem into the hands of Assyria without giving them the trouble of a long siege.
E. What did Rabshekah say?
M. He asked them in the name of his master, and in the most insulting manner, how they could be so foolish as to attempt to hold out in a siege against Sennacherib, and entreated them not to be