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I SHALL treat of this fact only in the life of the holy king Hezekiah, as it is one of the most signal in Sacred History, and most proper to make us sensible of the omnipotence of God, and his watchfulness over those who place their confidence in him. And here I shall barely point out the principal circumstances, which the reader may see at large, if he consults the historical books, that give an account of it, and especially the prophecies of Isaiah, which contain a very clear and express prediction of it.
[[ ] Sennacherib, king of the Assyrians, was set out from Nineveh with a formidable army, designing to destroy utterly the city of Jerusalem with its king and inhabitants.  Ile assured himself of victory, and insulted before-hand the God of Jerusalem, saying, he would treat him as he had done the gods of all the other cities and kingdoms he had conquered.
 He knew not that he was but an instrument in the hand of God, who called him by an hissing (as the scripture espresses it) from the end of the earth, not to destroy, but to correct his people.
All opposition gave way before the victorious arins of this prince; in a little time he made himself master of all the fortified places in the land of Judah. [i] Jerusalem was in great consternation. Hezekiah had taken all necessary measures to put the city in a condition to make a vigorous defence; but he relied only upon the divine assistance for its deliverance. [k] God had engaged himself by a solemn and fie
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[f] 2 Kings xviii. 13.
[i] 2 Chron, xxxiii, 8, 8.
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quently repeated promise to defend the city against the assault of the king of Assyria, but upon condition that the inhabitants should depend only upon him, should remain quiet, and not seek aid from the king of Egypt.' In returning and rest shall ye be saved, [T] said he to them, in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. [m] He had several times declared to them, that the strength of Egypt should turn to their shame and confusion. [n] To render this prediction still more sensible to them, he had obliged the prophet Isaiah to walk naked and barefoot through the midst of Jerusalem, declaring that such should be the fate of the Egyptians and Ethiopians.
The great men, the politicians, could not be satisfied to continue unactive, and rely upon the prorrise of God.  They collected a considerable sum of money, and sent deputies to the king of Egypt to implore his assistance. Several of them thought fit to retire into that country, in hopes of finding a secure retreat there against the evils with which they were threatened. God several times reproached them for it by his prophet, but always in vain. And the holy king Hezekiah incessantly repeated to them, [p] The Lord will deliver us; Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the Assyrians. But they hearkened not unto him.  This holy king, fearing he had done wrong
in breaking the treaty he had made with the king of Assyria, resolved, in order to have nothing to reproach himself with, and all possible right on his side, to make him entire satisfaction. He therefore sent ambassadors to Lachish, and said to him, I have offended, retorn from me; that which thou puttest on me I will bear. And the king of Assyria appointed Hezekiah to give him three hundred talents of silver, and thirty
 Isa, xxx. 15.
[O] Ibid. xxx.
talents of gold. This sum he raised with much difficulty, and sent it to him. There was reason to hope, that such a step would have disarmed the rage of Sennacherib; but he grew more haughty upon it, and adding perfidyto injustice, he sent immediately a large body of troops against Jerusalem, with orders to Rabshakeh, who commanded that detachment, to summon Hezekiah and the inhabitants to surrender, in the name of the great king, the king of Assyria. This officer discharged his commission in terms full of contempt for the king of Judah, and insults against the God of Israel. When Hezekiah heard it, he rent his clothes, put sackcloth upon his loins, and went into the house of the Lord; from whence he dispatched his principal officers to Isaiah, to tell him the insolent words of Rabshakeh. The prophet replied, You shall say thus to your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not affraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land, and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.
[r] In the mean time Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, had sent messengers to Jerusalem, to assure the inhaLitants that he was coming up to their relief. And soon after he arrived with his whole army, joined to that of the Egyptians. [s] Upon the first news that Sennacherib received of it, he resolved to march against him. But first he sent his ambassadors to Hezekiah with a letter full of blasphemies against the God of Israel. The holy king, in great affliction, went strait to the temple, spread forth this impious letter before the Lord, and represented to him in a lively and pathetic prayer, that it was against him they fought, that the glory of his name was affected, and that for this reason he presumed to ask a miracle of him, that all the kingdoms of the earth might know, that he alone was the Lord and the true God. In that  Isa. xviii. 1, 3.
 2 Kings xix. 9, 34'.
moment Isaiah sent to tell Hezekiah, that the Lord had heard his prayer, and the city should not even be besieged. Whom, says God, addressing himself to Sennacherib, hast thou reproached and blasphemed? Against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lift up thy hands on high? Even against the Holy One of Israel. Because thy rage against me, and the tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put iny hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.
[t] The king of Ethiopia, full of confidence in the number of his troops, thought that the sight of them would suitice to put the Assyrians to flight, and set Jerusalem free. lle knew not the curse which God had denounced against him, for presuming to declare hiviself the protector and deliverer of Jerusalem and the people of God, as though both had been without hope or refuge, unless he had hastened to take upon him their defence. His army was cut to pieces. The slaugliter was so great, and the flight so swift, that there was no person left to bury the dead. After this victory, the king of Assyria carried the warinto Egypt itself. All there was in disorder and confusion. God had taken away counsel and prudence from the wise counsellors of Egypt, and mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof. He deprived their leaders of all strength and courage; so that they made no resistance, and the whole country lay exposed to the discretion of an avaricious and cruel prince, who carried away an infinite number of captives, as [u] Isaiah had foretold.
 When Sennacherib had returned with his victorious troops before Jerusalem, it is easy to imagine how great the consternation of the city must have been. They saw an immense army encamped at their gates and all the neighbouring country covered with chariots of war. The enemy was preparing to lay siege to the city, and lift up their voice against mount Sion. The time of their destruction seemed to draw nigh; but it was that of divine mercy, and their deliverance. (0) Isa. xviii. xix.  Ibid. xx. [x] Ibid. xxii. 1, 5,74
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That very night (which doubtless preceded the day appointed for a general attack) the angel of the Lord came into the camp of the Assyrians, andşlew an hundred and fourscore and five thousand men. Senna. cherib rising at the break of day, beheld the dead bodies, and immediately returned to Nineveh, where he was soon after slain by his own sons in the temple, and in the presence of his gods.
I. SEN NACHERIB THE INSTRUMENT OF GOD's.
[y] Isaiah, foretelling the departure of Sennacherib and his army, speaks of God in a manner suitable to the grandeur and majesty of the Almighty. Ile has only to give the signal, and set up the standard, and, all the princes of the earth repair to it. All the kings of the world are but as fies in comparison of him. All their power is weakness in his sight. [=] He hisses for them, and they march. It was a great consolation to the faithful of those days, to know for certain that all the evils which befel thein were ordained by divine providence; that God sent them as remedies, and not barely as punishments: that men were only the ministers of his justice; and that they were guided by his wisdom at the time they were thinking to gratify their own passions.
[a] It is God himself, that reveals to us the extravagant imaginations of Sennacherib, who being no more than a servant thinks himself the master, and not seing the hand which employs hiin, ascribes all to his own, and fears not to set himself in the place of God. Can the instrument, says God, boast itself against the artist who makes use of it? Does the work properly belong to the instrument or the workman? Is it not the height of folly, that the instrument should V) Isz. vii. 18. x. s.
of Assyria, Isa. vii. 18. [x] The Lord shall biss for the fly [a] Ibid. x. 73-15. and for obe bee that is ix ibe land