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exacted large sums from the people, yet he applied
he raised to the most public and beneficent purposes.
And while he saw it necessary to lay heavy taxes upon his subjects, he pursued, at the same time, the wisest and best measures to enrich the nation, and enable them to contribute largely to the national prosperity and happiness. Under such circumstances the people had no just cause of complaining of public expenses, but ought to have approved and admired an administration which made them extremely rich and prosperous. And had it not been for the false and artful misrepresentations of Jeroboam and his accomplices, the whole nation would have, most probably, been quite easy and contented under the government of the wisest prince that ever swayed a royal sceptre. Hence it appears to have been primarily owing to A POLITICAL DELUSION, brought about by Jeroboam himself, that the ten tribes were so unwise as to make choice of him, instead of Rehoboam, to govern the kingdom.
It now remains to show,
IV. What methods Jeroboam the son of Nebat employed to corrupt and destroy the people who had given him his power.
It is a melancholy truth that he did “ drive Israel from following the Lord,” and involve them in a series of calamities, until they were dispersed and ļost among the nations of the earth. There is something so extraordinary and so instructive in this part
of Jeroboam's conduct, that it deserves the deep attention of both rulers and subjects.
Conscious of having raised himself to the first seat of government, by corruption and delusion, he
felt the absolute necessity of cherishing and pro! moting these destructive evils, in order to maintain
his ill-gotten power and influence. Accordingly we are told, what it is natural to believe, that he was greatly afraid that the people would first kill him, and then return to Rehoboam, from whom he had caused them to revolt. Hence he was determined to “ drive Israel from following the Lord,” and effectually prevent their ever returning to the house and worship of God in Jerusalem. This appears from the account we find in the text and context. “ And they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin. For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets.” According to this representation Jeroboam was instrumental of corrupting not only that generation who made him king, but their children, and their children's children, until they were completely ripened for ruin.
The natural cause of moral corruption in the body politic is from the head to all the members. Accordingly we find that Jeroboam corrupted all the people of Israel, from generation to generation,
by corrupting all their kings and princés. It
appears from the history of the kings of Israel, that they were all corrupted, and became corrupters, by following the pernicious example of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Nadab, his immediate successor, imbibed his spirit, imitated his conduct, and lost his life. Baasha “ walked in the way of Jeroboam, and made the people of Israel to sin.” Zimri and Elah resembled Jeroboam in their character and conduct. Zimri died for the sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the Lord, in walking in the way of Jeroboam.” Omri “ wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him. For he walked in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in the sin wherewith he made Israel to sin." Ahab “ did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.” Ahaziah “ did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” Jehoram “ cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin; and departed not therefrom.” Jehu“ departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to siir." Jehoahaz "did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin; he departed
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not therefrom.” Jehoash “ did that which wai evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin; but he walked therein.” Jeroboam, the son of Jehoash, « did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” Zechariah “ did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his fathers had done; he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” Menahem “ did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” Pekahiah “ did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” Pekah “ did evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” Thus Jeroboam the son of Nebat “ drave Israel from following the Lord," not only through his lifetime, but for near two hundred and fifty years after his death. He corrupted twenty kings in succession, and almost all their subjects. And though his reign was comparatively short, yet he did more to corrupt and demoralize a virtuous and religious people than can be easily described or conceived.
The question now is, What methods did he employ to “ drive Israel from following the Lord?"
His character and conduct before he came to the throne will not admit of the supposition of his acts ing ignorantly or inadvertently. And it appears from his history, that he exerted all his talents to devise the most effectual means of extinguishing every spark of true religion and yirtue in the minds of his subjects. Here, then, it may be observed,
1. That he prohibited the worship of the true God, by substituting in the place of it the worship of graven images. The inspired historian gives us a particular account of this bold and impious method to banish all true religion and morality from his kingdom “ And Jeroboam said in his heart; Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David. If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto the Lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Wherefore the king took counsel, and MADE TWO CALVES OF GOLD, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, o Israel, which brought you out of the land of Egypt: And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one in Dan." This was taking advantage of the corruption of human nature. Mankind must have some religion, and they naturally prefer any false religion to the true, If Jeroboam had prohibited all religion, he would
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