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temper of his darling Absalom, were fruitful causes of disquietude: nor had he any counterpoise in the bosom of his family to assuage his troubled spirit.'

8. Time would fail to tell of the insurrectionary and impious temper of "Jeroboam who made Israel to sin; "2 of the exceedingly wicked temper of Ahab; and the equally atrocious temper of his wife Jezebel, who is emphatically denominated "this cursed woman." We may note likewise, the invidious and inveigling temper of Sanballat against the builders; the rancorous and diabolical temper of Haman in designing to murder all the Jews; the rash and daring temper of Jehoiakim in cutting and burning the roll; the violent and cruel temper of the princes of Babylon against Daniel and his companions; the base and abominable tempers of the Herods; the barbarous and fiendish temper of Herodias, and her daughter, in demanding the head of John the Baptist to be brought in a charger, and their peculiarly callous tone of nerve in exultingly gazing upon it, and dancing over it with cannibal delight; 10 the unreasonable and inveterate enmity of the Jews against the meek and lowly Jesus; the mad and brutish rage of the synagogue against the faithful and angelic-looking Stephen:


1 Read the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles.
2 See 1 Kings xi. xii. xiii.

3A sinner of peculiar infamy, depraved beyond the common measure of his species.'-Rev. T. ROBINSON.

4A woman of a fierce, persecuting, and abandoned disposition.'-Idem.

5 Book of Nehemiah.

7 Jer. xxxvi.

6 Book of Esther.

8 Book of Daniel,

a Matt. ii.; xiv. Luke iii. Acts xii.

10 Mark vi.

they even "gnashed on him with their teeth;” 1 the insolent temper of the worldly priest, Ananias, in commanding to smite the venerable Paul on the mouth; 2 the aspiring temper of Diotrephes, who would have the pre-eminence, and would neither take in the brethren himself nor suffer others to do it.3

9. The above, as will be perceived, is only a very rapid glance at facts, each of which might be largely amplified. The attentive reader will observe a striking contrast with the letter and spirit of the divine law. Pride, lust, covetousness, envy, and enmity to God and man, are the prevailing principles. The foul spirit of hatred is most prominent, and may be further exemplified in the conduct of Ahab, who, in the midst of peace, was bent on an unjust war against the the king of Syria, and for this purpose he tried to draw Jehoshaphat into his unrighteous scheme. But Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, very properly advised him to inquire of the Lord through the prophets. Ahab forthwith assembled his own paid and very subservient prophets, who knew better than to be guilty of speaking contrary to their master's will. With a pretended show of sincerity Ahab puts the question, "Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear?" One and all very pliantly answered, "Go up, for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king." Jehoshaphat was struck, as well he might be, at their unanimity, and rightly suspecting they were hirelings, he said, "Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we 33rd Epis. of John.

3 Acts vii.

2 Acts xxiii.


might inquire of him?" Ahab answered, "There is yet one man, Micaiah; but I hate him, for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil." Jehoshaphat, however, prevailed with Ahab to have Micaiah called, who, when he came, seriously assured Ahab that all his prophets were deceived with " a lying spirit;" for it was not the will of God that he should go to battle against Ramoth-gilead. This of course enraged Ahab, and one of the servants shewed his temper as well as his zeal for his master, by striking the prophet on the face. Ahab shewed his temper too, by sending Micaiah to a loathsome prison, ordering that he should be fed "with the bread of affliction, and with water of affliction." For further particulars, see 1 Kings xxii. Mark the expressions -I hate him. Why? "because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil:" that is, 'he does not pander to my lusts, and succumb to my will, as do the other prophets.' Are there not many in the world who, like Ahab, take a mortal offence at the faithful preaching of the Lord's true prophets; and who would as readily give them the bread and water of affliction? Prophesy unto us smooth things, is strong evidence of a vicious temper, that would gladly pluck out the eyes of a faithful preacher. Such, my reader, is a small part of the testimony of the truest and best book in the world, touching man and his tempers.




1. IF you cast your eye over the page of ecclesiastical history, you will at every step discover humiliating developements of the obliquity of the human temper.

2. Where will you find a character so lost to all sense of feeling and reputation as Nero? His barbarous murder of his mother, his brother, and his tutor, was only of a piece with his treatment of the innocent Christians. It was not enough for this incarnate demon to sign the death-warrants of his victims; but he must needs devote and disgrace the royal gardens as the scene of their tortures; and not content with ordinary modes of despatch, he aggravated their sufferings by every vile contrivance. Many were enveloped in pitch and combustibles, and set on fire; and as a further proof of the innate depravity of his heart, this miscreant affected to take delight in viewing the hellish illuminations from the windows of his palace.

3. The emperor Theodosius, much as he has been extolled by some, gave sad proofs of a pas

sionate temper. In a fit of anger he caused seven thousand Christians to be massacred in three hours, without trial and without distinction, at Thessalonica! The godly bishop Ambrose resolved to admonish him by a faithful letter. He wrote as follows:- You discover a zeal for the faith and fear of God, I own: but your temper is warm; soon to be appeased, indeed, if endeavours are used to calm it; but if not regulated, it bears down all before it.''

4. Time would fail to tell of Domitian, Trajan, Decius, Gallus, Valerian, Dioclesian, Celsus, Galerius, Romanus, Porphery, Julian, Phocas, &c.

5. How lamentable have been the effects of religious controversy in all ages! How cruel were the persecutions of the wicked Arians, who, in Egypt and Lybia alone, murdered thirty bishops, and hundreds of Christians, tormenting them with all savage barbarity: and all because they would not receive their unscriptural doctrines !

6. The Goths and Vandals committed the most unheard-of cruelties upon the harmless Christians: Sometimes they freighted a leaky vessel with martyrs, and let it drift out to sea, or set fire to it, with the sufferers shackled on the decks!' 2

7. What an appalling folio is the history of the Popish inquisition! What horrible murders, open and secret! It is calculated that not fewer than fifty millions have fallen victims to that seven-headed and blood-thirsty monster! Some pretend to say the papists are become quite divested of this sanguinary spirit of persecution;

1 Milner's Church History, vol. ii. p. 155. 12mo. ed.
2 See Foxe's Book of Martyrs.

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