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in wickedness one hour, the next, perhaps, utterly consumed with terrors. This, as you have seen, was exactly the case with Haman; and such lessons should teach us never to be led away, by circumstances or appearances, to do any thing displeasing in the sight of God, who is the great governor of the world. When Haman laid his wicked plans, how unlikely was it that they should be defeated. Yet God brought it to pass most unexpectedly that Mordecai and his people were saved, whilst he was destroyed; teaching the wicked that no worldly greatness can protect them from the anger of the Almighty, and at the same time encouraging his pious servants to trust in him at all times, even in their greatest difficulties.



M. WE have now, my dear Edward, finished the story of Esther, and must go back again to that of Nehemiah, who was cup-bearer, you may remember, to king Ahasuerus, at the very time, probably, that Esther was sitting with him on the throne as queen of Persia. I told you how Nehemiah obtained leave to go to Jerusalem, through the kindness, most likely, of this good princess, who did not in her high station forget either her God or her country.

E. Did Nehemiah wish very much to go to Jerusalem, mamma?

M. He did, my love, for he had heard that his people were in great distress, and that the wall of Jerusalem was still broken down, and he was very anxious to go and comfort them, and to remove, if possible, this reproach from them, for their enemies triumphed over them now on account of the ruined state of their once glorious city. This good man loved his country greatly, and though' rich, and in a high station, and enjoying largely the favour of the king of Persia, when he heard in what a sad state Jerusalem still continued, he could be happy no longer, but sat down and wept, and mourned many days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, beseeching the Lord to incline the heart of the king of Persia to grant his petition : for he was much afraid that his master would be unwilling to part with him.

After having thus earnestly sought for the blessing of God upon his undertaking, Nehemiah went into the presence of the king, and took up wine to give unto him. Then his royal master observed that Nehemiah looked unhappy, and he said unto him, “Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick ? This is nothing else but sorrow of heart.” Then Nehemiah told the king how much he grieved to think of the miserable condition of his country; and when the king listened kindly to his words, and encouraged him to say what he would wish, he humbly entreated permission to visit Jerusalem, and readily obtained it. Thus, as God had put it into the heart of Cyrus, to decree the building of the temple, and of Ezra, to restore the law to the Jews, and to call them back to their observance of it, so he put it into the heart of Nehemiah to stir them up to rebuild their walls. And

this they begun most diligently to do as soon as Nehemiah arrived among them, and persevered in it continually until their work was completed, although their enemies mocked, vexed, and annoyed them so much, that the builders were obliged to work with their swords by their sides, ready to defend themselves. “Every one, with one of his hands wrought in the work, while the other hand held the weapon;" and thus was fulfilled what Daniel had said nearly a hundred years before : “ that the walls should be rebuilt, though in troublous times."

But this was not the only service which Nehemiah rendered his country. He helped the people greatly in their private troubles, assisting them to get out of their debts, settling their quarrels, and showing them many kindnesses. But what was of more value than all the rest, he tried to bring them to a sense of their sins, and a remembrance of their law; and he urged them very much to keep holy the Sabbath day, which they had got into a sad way of profaning, by carrying burdens, and allowing strangers to buy and sell among them. These abuses Nehemiah did all he could to put an end to; he also endeavoured to persuade the people to keep themselves separate from the heathens about them, and to become once more what they had always been intended to be, a holy people, set apart from all other nations, to serve God, and to keep alive the true religion in the world, even till that blessed Saviour should come, who is called in Scripture the “ Desire of all nations,” and under whom we are all, both Jews and Gentiles, united in one church, one fold under one Shepherd. So wonderfully, Edward, had God preserved his chosen peo

ple, and so wonderfully did he still continue to preserve them, till the time was filled up of which Daniel had spoken in his prophecies.

And now, my child, we have gone through the whole of the history contained in the books of the Old Testament; but before we put it down, let us consider for a few moments what a number of different subjects, and interesting characters, we have talked about since we first began to employ our Sunday Evenings in this happy manner. You were then a little boy, and I was obliged to go on slowly with you, and to speak in very easy language, that so young a mind might understand the great and glorious things of which I told. By little and little, however, we went on, my boy growing older and wiser, so that by degrees he has been able to manage harder words, and more difficult subjects, and to enter, one by one, into all the delightful histories contained in the word of God. I would humbly hope, my love, that the blessing of God has been with us whilst engaged in this interesting employment, and that all the important truths of which you have heard, may not only have been fixed upon your memory, but deeply engraven on your heart.

Often, indeed, will you read of the same things, and that over and over again, in the Bible itself; and never, I trust, will you be tired of going back to that holy book, for never will you cease to find in it fresh treasures of instruction, which have not met your eye before, if you do but study it with a humble and tractable mind, remembering that it is the word of God, and praying that he will guide you by his Holy Spirit to a profitable understanding of it. It was to

help you in the knowledge of this precious volume, which has lain before us all the time that I have spent so many evenings in talking over the various parts of the history contained in the books of the Old Testament; and now let us consider for a few moments what it is we have gone through.

Beginning with the creation of mankind, we saw how our first parents fell by disobedience, and heard, notwithstanding the merciful promise which God made to Eve, that her seed should bruise the serpent's head ; that is, that one of her descendants should overcome the enemy who had tempted her to sin. This was the first promise relating to our Lord Jesus Christ, and from it we see that as soon as man fell, God was pleased to open to him again a door of mercy, and that in this way the glad tidings of salvation through him were in a manner preached, or at least hinted at, even from the first. But though God was so gracious in taking back sinners to his favour, we have seen that mankind were still rebellious, and how their wickedness soon increased to such a height that the Almighty destroyed the whole human race by a mighty deluge, saving only the faithful Noah, and the few souls that were with him in the Ark, Here was a terrible example of God's anger against Sin! but you will remember how, that even after the flood, men returned to their evil ways, till rebellion and idolatry once more filled the earth. Then it was, that in order to keep the true religion from being utterly lost in the world, God was pleased to call Abraham, and to give him a further promise of our Saviour, and after Abraham, to Isaac, and Jacob, and from the children of Jacob to raise up unto himself



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