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forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshipped them, therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them !”

FANNY. Solomon himself at least, it might be hoped, would not apostatise in the face of this awful warning.

Mrs. M. Indeed, my dear, it is humiliating to human nature to confess that he did-his whole reign was the reign of peace and prosperity and prosperity corrupted his excellent heart! Respected, feared, and caressed by his subjects, his allies, and his neighbours, he became powerful beyond all other potentates upon the earth. Jerusalem was adorned with stately palaces for himself, and for his queen ; his throne was of ivory and pure gold, and all the furniture of his table was of gold. In his armoury were two hundred targets and three hundred shields of beaten gold. Presents of immense value poured in from the neighbouring kings, and his merchant ships supplied him with all the spices of Arabia, and the wealth of the East. Not-distracted, like his father, by wars, he had leisure to strengthen his empire. Going in person to Elath and Ezion-geber, he fortified those ports, and built a navy : by which judicious measures, the trade from the Red Sea became so profitable, that the abundance of gold in Jerusalem reduced the comparative value of silver to little acount in his glorious days. The queen of Sheba, also, came herself with a great train, not only to bring her preşents of precious metals to do homage to the celebrated Solomon, but to behold the magnificence, and to listen to the wisdom that were now blazoned through the world.

Happy,” cried she when she had seen all these things, and felt herself humbled in his presence." Happy are


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thy servants who stand continually before thee." a true report which I heard in mine own land, yet I believed not the words; behold, the half was not told me, thy wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame which I heard !”

Solomon was, nevertheless, for the greater part of his reign, a reighteous king, and a strict observer of the laws and statutes of Moses. But, towards the close of his life, perverted by his alliances with the heathens, he married their daughters, and became the victim of their arts. For them he dishonoured his high character, by erecting altars to their deities, and burning incense in their temples.

These flagrant defections could not go unnoticed in a pation the peculiar care of the Deity, whose extraordinary providence was ever perceived in sensible manifestations of his approbation on their national virtue, and sensible punishment on their apostacy. Accordingly the old enomies of Israel, the Edomites and the Syrians, became troublesome in the latter years of Solomon. But, in his own house, the most forinidable enemy arose in Jeroboam, a man of considerable note amongst his subjects, and whose conspicious abilities had obtained him a post of honour under the government.

A prophet, named Abijah, who is now first mentioned, was sent privately to Jeroboain, to inform him, in the symbolical manner of the ancieuts, by rending bis mantle into twelve pieces, and putting ten into the hand of the latter that thus should the kingdom be rent for the sin of Solow mon; ten parts should be given to Jeroboam, whilst two should remain, for the sake of Jerusalem, the seat of the temple, and for the sake of David, his father, with the house of Solomon. By what means this sentence was revealed to the king, we are not informed, but his menacing aspect, from that time, towards Jeroboam, obliged him to retire into Egypt, where he remained during Solomon's life, which terminated in the fifty-eighth year of his age, and the fortieth of his reign.

CATHERINE. Who now shall hope to persevere in virtue, if a prince, so indulged with every worldly gratifcation, and so highly endowed with intellectual accomplishments, did not “retain his integrity ?”

Mrs. M. Yet, let us not be discouraged, but rather profit by the result of his experience, and follow his own beautiful precept: “ In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy land; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper-either this or that -or whether both shall be alike good.” And there is reason to believe that the aberrations of this illustrious prince, though great, were but transient: for his book of Ecclesiastes, emphatically styled, “The Preacher," written in the latter part of his life, contains the abundant confession, that the pomp and the pleasures he had pursued, were but vanity! The better part of his life was spent in study, as he tells us, “ concerning all things that are done under heaven;" and he has left us, on record, the transcript of a mind exercised in the contemplation of man, in all his various relations and circumstances. His “ Proverbs,” a part of which only have reached us, are the inexhaustible mine, whence the boasted philosophy of the world has derived all her wealth. His temple and his palaces are crumbled into dust, and Jerusalem has fulfilled the prophecy, and become the by-word of the traveller :--but his transcendent wisdom has erected an edifice, which shall endure until earthly palaces are no more!

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CATHERINE. His book, called Solomon's Song, is not so happy. Indeed I do not pretend to discover its use.

Mrs. M. It is believed to be a prophetical allusion to the union of Christ and his church. It is altogether in the metaphorical style of the East, and therefore not understood by common readers. Yet much of its imagery is elegant, and obvious; though not so instructive as the plainer parts of Scripture.

On the death of Solomon, the people of Israel, with one accord, placed the crown on the head of his son Rehoboam. (B. C.975.) But, notwithstanding the flourishing state of the kingdom in the late brilliant reign, discontents had arisen, which the accession of a new king seemed to present a favourable opportunity of removing. Jeroboam, who still resided in Egypt, was accordingly invited to return, and contribute his talents to the meditated plan of reform. Headed by this formidable rival, their complaints soon reached the throne ; and three days were required by the prince to consider their petition. The old counsellors of his father were now consulted ; and readily gave their opinion, that his own interest would be promoted by compliance. But the inclinations of the king were opposed to the sage experience of years, and younger statesmen were called in to confirm them. Directed only by the pride of newly-acquired power, these tyros in the science of government, saw no way so likely to secure the obedience of the people, as that of increasing, instead of diminishing, their taxes. This then was the measure adopted; and the ungracious answer, my

hand shall be heavier than my father's," produced an immediate revolt. Jeroboam, and the malcontents, without farther deliberation, raised the standard of rebellion, proclaiming aloud, in the words of


the insurgent, Sheba, " What portion have we in David ? peither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel !Now see to thine own house, David !"

The two tribes of Benjamin and Judah, alone, adhered to their lawful monarch; whilst all the other ten, united against them, and declared Jeroboam their sovereign. Thus were the Israelites divided into two separate states, and thenceforth denominated the kingdom of Israel, and the kingdom of Judah.

FANNY. Then the rending of the prophet's garment was already realized, and by means the most perfectly natural in the common course of affairs ?

MRS. M. The affairs of the Israelites were generally conducted in that manner, although an extraordinary providence still directed them-nor had miracles yet ceased.

CHARLES. Did Rehoboam submit to the loss of his subjects, without an effort to recover them?

Mrs. M. He did not at first: but assembled an army of an hundred and eighty thousand men to reduce the revolted tribes : but he relinquished the pursuit at the command of a prophet, who was sent to forbid his opposition to the execution of the divine decree.

Jeroboam was less attentive to the will of the Most High. Notwithstanding he had been told that the ten tribes were taken from Solomon, because of his defection from the worship of one only God and that they should remain with the house to which they were transferred, so long as it continued faithful to the constitution yet not only was he diffident of a title sb substantial, and chose rather to confide in his own devices; but, ia so doing, he fell into the very sin, for which the kingdom had been

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