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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

As Ahab's covenant with Benhadad


with all, to whom the moral

ground is applicable, and the danger of insnaring the people of God. It is clear likewise, we must have nothing to do with the wicked, but to treat them and with them as enemies, Psal. cxxxix. 21, 22. with whom, as such, there can be no confederation; for that supposes always the enmity is laid aside, but that can never be between the professors of religion and the professed enemies thereof: but that must always be the language of their practice, "Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, for the Lord hath heard me," Psal. vi. 8. The command is peremptory and perpetual, "Forsake the foolish," Prov ix. 6. "Make no friendship with them," Prov. xxii. 24. "Say not a confederacy to them." Isa. viii. 12. where it is clear from the opposition in that text, betwixt confederating with the wicked and the fear of God, that the one is not consistent with the other. There is an express discharge to yoke or have any fellowship with them, 2 Cor. vi. 14. to the end--"for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?--what concord hath Christ with Belial?--wherefore come out from among them, and be separate."--2. Many sad and sharp reproofs for such transactions and confederations do conclude the same thing, Judg. ii. 1, 2, 3--"I said,--ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land, you shall throw down their altars: but you have not obeyed my voice, Why have you done this? Wherefore--I will not drive them out from before you--." It cannot be expected, the Lord will drive out
these enemies, if we swear subjection and allegiance, and come under confederations with them; for thereby we contribute actively to their settlement and establishment, and bring ourselves not only under the misery, but the guilt of strengthening the hands of evil doers. So Jer. ii. the people of God are reproved, for making themselves home-born slaves. How? by outlandish confederacies, verse 18. "Now what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria?--The Chaldee paraphrase hath it, What have you to do to associate with Pharaoh king of Egypt? and what have you to do to make a covenant with the Assyrian?" So may we say, what have we to do to take their oaths and bonds, that are as great enemies as they were? Ephraim is reproved for mixing himself among the people, Hos. vii. 8. by making confederacies with them. What follows? He is a cake not turned, hot in the nether side, zealous for earthly things, but cold and raw in the upper side, remiss in the things of Christ. And this we have seen in our experience to be the fruit of such bargains, or bonds, or oaths, that they that were engaged in them, have always in some measure fallen from their former fervour for Christ. Nay we shall find, that such transactions are seldom or never recorded in the book of God without a reproof, or some greater marks of God's displeasure put upon them? which doubtless is set purposely as beacons, that we may beware of them. And therefore, 3. We may take notice of many disallowed and condemned examples, on which the Lord set marks of wrath, as Ahab's covenant with Benhadad, 1 Kings xx. 32. to the end. Asa's covenant with Benhadad, which the prophet calls a foolish deed, 2 Chron. xvi. from beginning to verse 10. proceeding from an evil heart of unbelief, as all such transactions are overawed compliances. Jehoshaphat's with Ahab hath the same censure, though he kept himself free of Ahab's idolatry, and Ahab seemed to have been penitent before he joined with him, and his relation to him was very near, the enemy of both was an infidel, the cause was good, to recover a city of refuge, the manner of his proceeding was pious, consulting the prophets, and his end good; yet all this did not justify that wickedness, related 2 Chron. xviii. and reproved 2 Chron. xix. 2. Jehu the prophet is sent to him, "Shouldst thou love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord." After this, when he joined himself with Ahaziah, who did very wickedly, the Lord brake his works, 2 Chron. xx. 35. to the end: which made him afterwards mend his fault, for he would not again join with him, when he sought the like association, 1 Kings xxii. 49. So Amaziah's bargain with the Israelites, when the Lord was not with them, is condemned by the prophet, admonishing him to disjoin himself from them, 2 Chron. xxv. 7,--20. and Ahaz's bargain with Tilgath Pilneser the Assyrian, 2 Chron. xviii. 16 &c. is plainly disallowed. 4. The complaints, confessions, and lamentations of the Lord's people, mourning over this sin, demonstrate the evil of it, Ezra ix. 14. "Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? Wouldst not thou be angry with us, till thou hadst consumed us, so that there shouldst be no remnant nor escaping?" Psal. cvi. 35. "They were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works."

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