2 Chronicles 34:14
While they were bringing out the money that had been taken into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the Law of the LORD given by Moses.
Sermons
The Book of the LawT. Whitelaw 2 Chronicles 34:14-28
The Hidden TreasureW. Clarkson 2 Chronicles 34:14-28
Finding the Book of the LawB. Kent, M.A.2 Chronicles 34:14-33
Josiah and the Newly Found LawA. Maclaren, D.D.2 Chronicles 34:14-33
Restoring God's HouseSunday School Times2 Chronicles 34:14-33
The Book of the Law FoundG. E. Horr.2 Chronicles 34:14-33
The Book of the Law FoundJ. E. Jacklin.2 Chronicles 34:14-33
The Loss of the ScripturesA. Phelps.2 Chronicles 34:14-33
The Scriptures Found and SearchedMonday Club Sermons2 Chronicles 34:14-33
Whether this "book of the Law of the Lord" was indeed the original copy in the handwriting of Moses is a matter of sacred curiosity; but it is nothing more than that. The surprising and all but incredible thing is that Judah should have been reduced to any one copy of the "Law of the Lord." This discovery of Hilkiah and the surprise and the eagerness it occasioned speak to us of -

I. THE GUILTY NEGLIGENCE OF WHICH NATIONS AND MEN ARE CAPABLE. Judah had been concerning itself, had been "careful and troubled" about many things, but it had not thought it worth while to multiply copies of the "Law of the Lord," of its own sacred books; so negligent had it been that when one is accidentally discovered its warnings are read for the first time by its own sovereign in his manhood! Of what great and guilty negligence are we capable! We may be spending our time and strength, we may be exhausting ourselves and endangering our health and life in all kinds of unprofitable occupation, in fruitless labour or in amusement which begins and ends in itself, and all the time may be neglecting that one study or that one habit in the pursuit of which "standeth our eternal life." There are many men in Christian countries who expend their substance upon, and occupy their very life with, horses, or dogs, or guns, who do not afford even a few hours a year to the serious study of the will of God as revealed by his Son and recorded in his Word. The treasure which cannot be estimated in gold or silver lies untouched, as much buried from sight and use as if it had been hidden in some crypt of the temple. It may not be our deeds, but our negligences, that we shall most fear to face in the great day of account.

II. THE MELANCHOLY USE WE MAY MAKE OF DIVINE TRUTH. In that book of the Law of the Lord there were instructions and admonitions which, if duly heeded, would have ensured abiding peace and honour to the inhabitants of Judah. These had been waywardly and flagrantly disregarded. And now the time for employing them had well-nigh gone. What was left was the sad opportunity of verifying by bitter experience the truth of its threatenings. This was the alternative now open to Judah. Let us take care lest, by our disregard of the promises, we bring upon ourselves the warnings of the Word of God. "If we will not be ruled by the rudder, we must be ruled by the rock." If we will not take advantage of the beneficent laws and the gracious overtures of God, we must "show forth" the severity of those righteous laws which attach suffering and shame to vanity and guilt.

III. THE URGENT NEED OF KEEPING AN OPEN MIND AND A SENSITIVE SPIRIT. We are almost startled when we read of Josiah's vehemence (ver. 19). These solemn threats do not affect us in that degree. But we have to consider that he was hearing them read for the first time; to him they were new and fresh, and therefore striking and forcible. Here lies one of our great perils. Familiarity covers the truth of God with its own veil, so that we do not see what we are looking at. We want to read the words of Jesus Christ, to listen to the story of his great sacrifice, to hearken to his words of gracious invitation, as if we had never met with them before; we want to bring to them all the force of an unclouded intelligence, of an undulled interest. And so with the warnings as well as with the promises of Scripture.

IV. THE ATTENTION GOD PAYS TO INDIVIDUAL SOULS. (Vers. 26-28.) Wrath was to be poured out upon Judah, but Josiah was to be treated mercifully because he had acted rightly. Whatever penalties are due to our country, however we may be, as we are, suffering as the members of a guilty race, we may be quite sure that God has regard to the life we are living, to the choice we are making. If our heart is tender, and if our will is obedient and submissive, we also shall find mercy of the Lord. God has his dealings with communities and with Churches; but his most constant relation is with men, with individual souls. "The Lord looketh upon me; ... Christ died for me;" "What wilt thou have me to do?" And according to our individual choice will be our destiny. "Every man must bear his own burden." - C.







And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord.
Sunday School Times.
I. SPIRITUAL DESOLATION.

1. The negligent priesthood (ver. 5).

2. The dilapidated temple (ver. 7).

3. The perverted utensils (ver. 7).

II. ABUNDANT OFFERINGS.

1. Opportunity to give (ver. 8).

2. Called to give (ver. 9).

3. Giving cheerfully (ver. 10).

III. EFFECTIVE WORK.

1. Skilled workmen (ver. 12).

2. Diligent service (ver. 13).

3. Renewed devotion (ver. 14).

(Sunday School Times.)

1. We to-day are in some danger of losing the Scriptures. Not as a volume of literature.(1) It is possible for the Word of God to sink out of our consciousness through our indifference.(2) We may also make so much of prayer-books and creeds, of systems of doctrine and religious treatises, that the Scriptures themselves are seen only by a reflected light.(3) Because we have been acquainted with the Scriptures from childhood, as we grow older we may fancy that we know what they contain, and leave them unstudied and unread.(4) It is not unusual in public worship for the devotional services and the sermon to come between the soul and God's Word.(5) It is not unusual to find men so wedded to traditional interpretations, having origin in some theological theory, that when they read the Bible they are like one looking upon a landscape through coloured spectacles. When this tendency rules we are in danger of losing the Bible.

2. The discovery of "the book of the law" gave Josiah a new basis for faith. He must have felt when he read it, that he was supernaturally strengthened in his great task of reformation. There are few of us who do not desire to have our various undertakings approved by those in whose sagacity and moral discernment we trust. Josiah undertook his work with a new heart, for he felt that the Lord was with him.

3. We have here suggested the broad distinction between our certainty of what seems to be true and our certainty of what is vouched for as true by the Word of God.

4. This discovery of the law enlarged Josiah's conception of duty. The knowledge that came to him and to the nation, through this book, was what a flash of light is to a ship on a dangerous coast; the light reveals the rocks upon which she nearly struck; it also reveals the safe channel and the course to the harbour. The Bible performs this double office for all to whom it comes. It reveals sin; and it discloses the path to a better life. God's prohibitions are not restrictions upon life, but protections to it. God's calls to men are calls to blessedness.

5. This narrative illustrates the way truth enters a human life and recreates it.

6. Two reflections.

(1)The large importance to each one of us of our finding the truth of God.

(2)The chief blessing we can confer on others is to give them the truth God has given us. The men who went to the temple treasury came back with more than money.

(G. E. Horr.)

I. THE RESULTS OF LOSING THE LAW.

1. Knowledge of the truth was lost.

2. True religion passed away.

3. The services of the temple ceased.

4. The sanctuary was polluted.

5. False religion "came in like a flood." "The land was full of idols."

6. "Crimes of violence and deeds of oppression abounded everywhere." When man ceases to fear God he begins to hate his fellow-man.

7. " Immorality was rampant." Morality does not live without religion.

8. Misery and final destruction followed.

II. THE RESULTS OF FINDING THE LAW.

1. False religion was put away.

2. The people repented and turned to God.

3. The truth was learned.

4. The temple was beautified and opened for services.

5. A measure of mercy was found.

6. The truth was handed down to other ages.Miscellaneous lessons:

1. Temple and services are vain without the truth.

2. Those who seek to serve God discover his will

3. When men desire to do wrong they hate the Word of God.

4. The Bible will survive all efforts of man to destroy it.

5. Where leaders set an example of piety the people follow.

6. Sin, vice, misery, and destruction come where the truth is not possessed.

7. If the times are bad we should hold up the law of God.

8. The Bible is a lost book to those who
(a) neglect it;
(b) disbelieve it;
(c) disobey it.

9. Every child should own, read, and love the Bible.

10. One can be loyal to God amid the most opposing surroundings.

11. One's course in childhood generally determines what the youth and manhood will be.

12. The world greatly needs the services of children and men and women of righteousness.

(J. E. Jacklin.)

I. THE DISCOVERY OF THE BOOK OF THE LAW. We see here —

1. A striking instance of the indestructibleness of God's Word. It has a charmed life.

2. That honest efforts after reformation are usually rewarded by clearer knowledge of God's will. If Hilkiah had not been busy in setting wrong things right, he would not have found the book in its dark hiding-place. We are told that the coincidence of the discovery at the nick of time is suspicious. So it is, if you do not believe in Providence. If you do, the coincidence is but one instance of his sending gifts of the right sort at the right moment.

3. That the true basis of all religious reform is the Word of God. The nearest parallel is Luther's finding the dusty Latin Bible among the neglected convent books. Faded flowers will lift up their heads when plunged into water. The old Bible, discovered and applied anew, must underlie all real renovation of dead or moribund Christianity.

II. THE EFFECT OF THE REDISCOVERED LAW. If a man will give God's Word a fair hearing, and be honest with himself, it will bring him to his knees. No man rightly uses God's law who is not convinced by it of his sin, and impelled to that self-abased sorrow of which the rent royal robes were the passionate expression. The first function of the law is to arouse the knowledge of sin, as Paul profoundly teaches. Without that penitential knowledge religion is superficial, and reformation merely external.

III. THE DOUBLE-EYED MESSAGE OF THE PROPHETESS. Josiah does not seem to have told his messengers where to go; but they knew, and went to a very unlikely person, the wife of an obscure man, only known as his father's son. Where was Jeremiah of Anathoth? Perhaps not in the city at the time. This embassy to Huldah is in full accord with the high position which women held in that state, of which the framework was shaped by God Himself. In Christ Jesus "there is neither male nor female," and Judaism approximated much more closely to that ideal than other lands did. Huldah's message has two parts.

1. The confirmation of the threatenings of the law.

2. The assurance to Josiah of the acceptance of his repentance and gracious promise of escape from the coming storm.These two are precisely equivalent to the double aspect of the gospel, which completes the law, endorsing its sentence and pointing the way of escape.

(A. Maclaren, D.D.) \

Monday Club Sermons.
I. THE BIBLE LOST.

1. It is lost to nations. Sometimes kings and governments forbid its circulation.

2. In communities where it freely circulates in the vernacular of the people — by misconstruction, false teaching and disregard.

3. It is lost to individuals by the way they treat it. How many a man suffers the Bible to lie in his home unused, dust-covered, like the sacred roll in the Temple, until it be almost forgotten! How many cast it away because it reproves them as it reproved the wicked kings of Judah!

II. DEGENERACY INEVITABLE WITHOUT IT. The Word of God is the great source and conservator of moral life and health. It is sunlight to the moral world. It is the invigorating element in the moral atmosphere. No more surely do plants grow pale without sunlight, or animal life grow feeble without oxygen, than all that makes a worthy life in man, individual or collective, wanes and fails when deprived of the Word of God. How true was this of Judah! When the Word of God was lost, the nation sunk rapidly into wickedness and consequent weakness. False religion ran riot. The smoke of incense to heathen gods filled the land. The consciences of the people were debauched. And whenever the Word of God has been lost by prohibition or neglect, the downward tendency of national life has been marked. Other elements of strength may have withstood it, and, for a time, upheld with seeming success the fabric of state. But, the best elements being wanting, degeneracy and feebleness sooner or later inevitably appear. But illustrations of the matter under consideration are more open to observation in regard to communities. Whenever the Word of God is not set on high, and honoured as the arbiter in morals, the teacher in religion, and the guide in life, there wickedness and vice will prevail. But individual life furnishes the best illustration. Without the word of God abiding in the mind and regnant in the life, deterioration in all things good certainly supervenes. Take out of a man's life the distinctive truths of the Divine revelation, and he is utterly exposed. Every avenue of his being is open to temptation. He will surely run down, sink to a lower plane, and ordinarily to a plane lower and lower the longer he lives. How many parents weep over sons and daughters tarnished, degraded, lost, because they would not heed the voice of God!

III. ITS EFFECT WHEN FOUND.

1. In the case of Josiah, it was astonishment. That such a book should have existed, stating so clearly the Divine will, so full of denunciations against the sins of the land, filled him with amazement. This is natural and legitimate. Only let men to whom the Bible has been lost wake to the solemn reality that its statements are everlasting truth, and that they will hold with unrelaxing energy in life, in death, and in eternity, and amazement must overwhelm them. "Is it possible that these things are true and I have not realised them?"

2. Another effect was to set him to earnest study. God was speaking. It was necessary for him to know what was said that he might order his conduct accordingly. Investigation of the Bible follows naturally a realisation of its nature.

3. Another result was to awaken anxiety. Study of the "book of the law" revealed his true condition. And so it is always. The Bible does not create the facts of our existence, but it does reveal them. In it we see our necessities and our danger. The past is marked with sin, the present full of corruption; the future forbidding, through fear of coming doom.

4. Again, the Bible found leads to repentance and reformation. How thorough was it in the case of Josiah! How deeply he deplored the sins of the land, how strenuously put them away! So it is always. It shows men what they are, and what they have done. It reveals the intensity of their sinfulness and the multitude of their sins. New thoughts, new desires, new affections, new purposes dwell within; new conduct, new habits mark the external life. And the same thing occurs in a wider field. Communities are waked to newness of life by finding the Bible. All this is true of tribes and nations. Many are the nations which have been revolutionised by it in the past, and it is doing the same to-day. Freedom of conscience attends the Bible, and civil liberty follows close behind. The Bible is the charter of the world's hope and the mainspring of its reformation. How sad is the thought that to so many of our race there is no Bible!

(Monday Club Sermons.)

1. Many precious things are found when we set to work at repairs. Try to remove the dust from old sanctuaries of life and memory, and see what you will light upon.

2. How one good thing leads to another. First "walking in the way of the Lord"; then interest in the house of the Lord; then the book found.

3. The connection between pecuniary integrity and the Divine blessing. When they brought the money they found the book.

4. How many old things are new to us when we are in trouble and distress of mind.

5. The age of sixteen is a time of his life which no man ever forgets.

6. Devotedness to God at sixteen is so great a step in the life of a youth that it cannot be alone; you must make another onward into the sphere of spirit and of life.

7. God always finds some work to do for those who are His.

8. There is no deeper distress possible to us than that which pierces us in the discovery of our enmity to God.

(B. Kent, M.A.)

Consider what we should lose if we were to part with the Christian Scriptures, and with all the institutions and blessings for which we are indebted to them.

I. We should lose THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUE GOD. Mankind needs a book to keep alive in the earth the knowledge of a spiritual and personal God.

II. We should lose sooner or later OUR INSTITUTIONS OF BENEVOLENCE.

III. We should lose OUR INSTITUTIONS FOR POPULAR EDUCATION. Popular education is of Bible origin. Other than Christian religions build themselves on the ignorance of the masses.

IV. We should lose sooner or later OUR INSTITUTIONS OF CIVIL LIBERTY. History shows that the great charter of freedom in the world is the Word of God. The great free nations of the earth are the great Christian nations.

(A. Phelps.)

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