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Bible Commentaries

Simeon's Horae Homileticae

2 Chronicles 11

Verse 16

DISCOURSE: 400
THE DUTY OF PROTESTANTS

2 Chronicles 11:13; 2 Chronicles 11:16. And the Priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts — — — And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the Lord God of their fathers.

IN this age of Revolutions [Note: In 1822, after the attempted Revolutions in Italy, and in the midst of those in South America, and the commotions in Spain and Portugal, and in Greece.], it may be well to turn our attention to perhaps the greatest, speediest, completest and least sanguinary revolution that is recorded in the annals of the whole world. The empire of Solomon, if not large in extent, was exceeding powerful: but no sooner was he removed from it, than his son, instead of conciliating the regards of his subjects, disgusted them with the most insulting menaces, and drove them, in utter desperation, to revolt. Far the larger half of his people, even ten tribes out of twelve, formed themselves into a separate and independent state; and continued, throughout all successive periods of their existence, not only an independent, but an hostile nation. To enter into any discussion about the rights of the different parties, would be altogether foreign to our purpose, and to the occasion for which we are assembled: though we cannot refrain from expressing our most unqualified reprobation of Rehoboam’s folly, in listening to the extravagant counsels of his young friends, instead of following the sage advice of the elders. But, in a religious view, this revolution was pregnant with consequences of the most important nature. Jeroboam, in order to keep his new subjects from going up to Jerusalem to worship according to the Law of Moses, set up golden calves in Dan and Beth-el, that the people might worship them, or, perhaps, that they might worship Jehovah in and through them. Having appointed a new worship, he appointed new priests to officiate in it, excluding of course from that service all the ministers of Jehovah. What now must be done throughout all his dominions? Shall the godly conform to this idolatry? No: a schism was instantly created: and all the godly in the land, whether Clergy or Laity, forsook their country, and united themselves to the worshippers of Jehovah in Jerusalem; entering thus their solemn protest against the abominations which had been introduced.

Now this will lead me to set before you,

I.

The conduct of Protestants in that day—

It was not on account of some trifling regulations about non-essential matters, that they withdrew themselves, but on account of the utter subversion of their religion, and the establishment of idolatry in its stead. Nor did they rise up in rebellion against the government, or attempt to maintain their religion with the sword. They peaceably withdrew; and sought to enjoy in another country the blessings of which they were deprived in their own. Their conduct was altogether such as became the servants of the Most High:—

1.

They bore their testimony against the reigning abominations—

[Of all the clergy of the land, we read not of so much as one who consented to renounce his principles for filthy lucre sake. A noble exemple this! and nobly followed, too, by all the godly of the land! for it is said, “After them” that is, after their example, “out of all the tribes of Israel, such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel, came to Jerusalem.” It is probable that they had no hope of effecting my thing by remonstrance: but here was a testimony far more decisive than any mere remonstrance could be. It was open and visible to all; and could not but produce a very great sensation through the land. It spoke, in fact, so loudly and intelligibly, as to leave the whole nation without excuse.]

2.

They adhered steadfastly to the service of their God—

[It is said, “they came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers.” It was by sacrifice only that they could approach their God: and it was in the temple only that the sacrifices could be offered. Thither, then, they would go. Nothing should detain them from thence. They would not willingly offend man: but they were determined not to neglect their God. His honour and his authority were, in their minds, considerations of paramount importance: and, if enjoined to worship any other God, or to refrain from serving him, their answer was, “Whether it be right to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.”]

3.

They renounced all for conscience sake—

[The priests left their cities, their suburbs, their possessions, and abandoned all for conscience sake. The people, too, even all the godly of the land, forsook their all, that they might approve themselves faithful to their God. This was a severe test of their integrity: but their piety was equal to the occasion. And though, in individual instances, we may certainly find much greater sacrifices for conscience sake, yet perhaps, on so large a scale, this was never equalled in any country under heaven.]
But let us pass on to what more immediately concerns ourselves, namely,

II.

Our duty, as Protestants, at the present day—

The abominations of Popery are scarcely more tolerable than those which Jeroboam established. And it is a mercy to us that our forefathers had courage and piety enough to protest against them. But we have our duties also to perform—

1.

We should realize our own religious principles—

[To what purpose do we renounce the superstitions of the Romish Church, whilst we hold fast the greatest and most fundamental error of all, the doctrine of human merit? I grant that we do not maintain this error in the same open, gross, and avowed way in which it is held by the Papists: but on the subject of salvation by faith alone we have all the same jealousies as they. Yes, though Protestants by profession, the great mass of us are looking for salvation by our own repentances or reformations, rather than by the simple exercise of faith in Christ. In the ministry of the word, instead of bringing forward the great doctrine of justification by faith alone, as that which is universally admitted, approved, and gloried in, we are forced to make a thousand apologies, in order to ward off from ourselves the imputation of being Antinomians and heretics. O Brethren! it should not be thus. We ought all to rejoice that we are emancipated from the bonds in which Popery holds its deluded votaries, and to glory in the Lord Jesus Christ as all our salvation and all our desire — — —]

2.

We should shew their superior efficacy to sanctify the heart and life—

[There have been doubtless many eminently pious men in the Church of Rome: but they were pious in despite of their errors. So far as they were influenced by superstition, their piety was debased, rather than advanced. Christianity gives liberty to the soul, instead of reducing it to a state of bondage: and, if we possess that liberty, it should elevate us to a higher and nobler course than can be attained by the servile principles of Popery. Papists withdraw altogether from the world: we, whilst in the world, should shew ourselves above it; “dead to” its cares, and “crucified to” its allurements. They, in order to mortify the flesh, have recourse to absurd and self-tormenting usages, which, whilst they lacerate the body, puff up the soul with pride and self-applause. We must seek the elevation of the soul in high and holy affections, “having our conversation in heaven,” and delighting ourselves in God — — —]

Address,
1.

Those who are conforming to this vain world—

[Behold the conduct of the pious Israelites, and blush. They, for the honour of their God, forsook all that they possessed: and if you, either from the love of the world, or from the fear of man, are averse to make this sacrifice for your Lord and Saviour, glory not in being Protestants; but seek to become Christians: for on no other terms than these will Christ ever acknowledge you as his disciples [Note: Luke 14:33.] — — —]

2.

Those who, like the Israelites, are “setting their hearts fully to seek the Lord their God”—

[No man ever repented of “following the Lord fully.” Such persons may have less of this world; and may at times be reduced to great necessities, even as the Apostle Paul was on different occasions. But the presence of God with their souls, and the testimony of a good conscience, will amply compensate for all the losses they can sustain, and for all the evils they can suffer, in so good a cause. Even in this present life will those who give up their all for Christ, “receive in return an hundred-fold [Note: Mark 10:29-41.10.30.]:” but what they shall reap in the eternal world, who can tell? Ask those who are now in heaven, “whither they came out of great tribulations [Note: Revelation 7:14-66.7.17.],” whether they have ever for one instant regretted the sacrifices they made for the Lord: and take for your own comfort the testimony which you feel well assured you would, without one single exception, receive from them.]


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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 11". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shh/2-chronicles-11.html. 1832.