Hilkiah brought this scroll to Josiah's attention, and the king was greatly alarmed lest the calamities threatened in the book for non-observance of its commands should come upon him and his people. He sent to consult Huldah, who assured him that the evil foretold would indeed come, but not in his day; \"because,\" she said, \"thine heart was tender and thou didst humble thyself before the Lord.\" An assembly of the elders of Judah and Jerusalem and of all the people was called, and the ancient covenant with Yahweh was renewed.
The king then set himself to the task of cleansing the land from idolatry. Josiah encouraged the exclusive worship of Yahweh and outlawed all other forms of worship. The Temple in Jerusalem was purged by the removal of the instruments and emblems of the worship of Baal and \"the host of heaven,\" introduced by Manasseh. Then the corrupt local sanctuaries, or High Places, were destroyed, from Beer-sheba in the south to Beth-el and the cities of Samaria in the north. Josiah had living pagan priests executed and even had the bones of the dead priests of Bethel exhumed from their graves and burned on their altars, which was viewed as an extreme act of desecration. Josiah also reinstituted the Passover celebrations.
According to the later account in 2 Chronicles, Josiah even destroyed altars and images of pagan deities in cities of the tribes of Manasseh, Ephraim, \"and Simeon, as far as Naphtali\" (2 Chronicles 34:6-7), which were outside of his kingdom, Judah, and returned the Ark of the Covenant to the Temple.
I was for three years together wounded for sins, and under a sense of my corruptions, which were many; and I followed sermons, pursuing the means, and was constant in duties and doing; looking for Heaven that way. And then I was so precise for outward formalities, that I censured all to be reprobates, that wore their hair anything long, and not short above their ears; or that wore great ruffs, and gorgets, or fashions, and follies. But yet I was distracted in my mind, wounded in conscience, and wept often and bitterly, and prayed earnestly, but yet had no comfort, till I heard that sweet saint . . . Doctor Sibbs, by whose means and ministry I was brought to peace and joy in my spirit. His sweet soul-melting Gospel-sermons won my heart and refreshed me much, for by him I saw and had much of God and was confident in Christ, and could overlook the world . . . my heart held firm and resolved and my desires all heaven-ward.
The outward is easy, and subject to hypocrisy. It is an easy matter to rend clothes and to force tears, but it is a hard matter to afflict the soul. The heart of man taketh the easiest ways, and lets the hardest alone, thinking to please God with that. But God will not be served so; for he must have the inward affections, or else he doth abhor the outward actions. (pp. 88-89 below)
J.R. Ward is the number one New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series of vampire books. She is a winner of the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best Paranormal Romance and is a multiple RITA nominee. A graduate of Smith College, she was a double major in History and Art History with a medieval concentration in both and she still longs at times for a return to those days sitting in dark lecture halls, looking at slides of old triptychs and reliquaries. Prior to becoming a full time writer, she was a corporate attorney, serving for many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard Medical Schools premier teaching sites. Her idea of absolute heaven is a day filled with nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot and the Brothers, of course. 153554b96e