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"that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, "let us hold fast our profession." Let not those who know where he is, be ashamed of their connexion with him or dependence upon him. Boldly avow his truth and openly employ yourselves in his service. If you disown him you are far worse than Peter. Peter denied him-but he was then at Pilate's bar, and going to be crucified. But you deny him now he is Lord of all and coming to judge the world!

Thirdly, what encouragement can you want to rejoice in him? You have a brother at court. He says to you as Elisha said to the Shunamite, "wilt thou be spoken for to the king ?" In every difficulty you can go to him and say, "Lord, I am oppressed, undertake "for me." His ear is open to your prayer; his eye views all your walking through this great wilderness. His arms are underneath you. He will make you more than conquerors over all your enemies. And by and by he will "come again and receive you to himself "that where he is, there you may be also."

"But where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?" O beware of opposing-beware of neglecting him! It is unreasonable, it is ruinous. He is now "exalted to "be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto “Israel, and remission of sins." If you seek him, he will be found of you. But if you make light of these things, how can you escape? Remember, that he is ascended to be your Judge. "Behold he cometh with "clouds, and every eye shall see him. But who may "abide the day of his coming, and who can stand when "he appeareth? Prepare to meet thy God. Seek ye "the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him "while he is near."



O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cup-bearer.--Nehe. i. 11.

THIS book partially records the history of the children of the captivity, after their return from Babylon, in consequence of the decree and proclamation of Cyrus. The Persian Empire now flourished in all its grandeur; and Greece and Rome were rising to eminence in the world. But" the Lord's portion is his "people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance."

We find therefore the attention of scripture principally confined to the Jews; and the affairs of the surrounding nations, are no otherwise mentioned, than as they have some connexion with the concerns of the Israel of God. And Nehemiah in the view of the Su. preme Being, was a far more illustrious character than Demosthenes the orator,. Zenophon the commander, or Plato the philosopher, who lived about the same time.

The eye affecteth the heart, and so does the ear. Nehemiah was at too great a distance to see the ruinous condition of Jerusalem-But he heard of it, and the effect it had upon his mind, did him honor. "And "it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, that Hanani, "one of my brethren came, he and certain men of Ju“dah: and I asked them concerning the Jews that had

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"escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concer"ning Jerusalem; and they said unto me, the remnant "that are left of the captivity there in the province are "in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem "also is broken down and the gates thereof are burn"ed with fire. And it came to pass when I heard "these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned "certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of "heaven."

And thus he concludes his humiliation and devotion: O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of 'thy servants, who desire to fear thy name and pros'per, I pray thee thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cup-bearer.' These words furnish us with the follow. ing remarks.

I. God has his servants in all conditions and occupations of life. In his church there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither rich nor poor. We behold Zenas the lawyer, Erastus the chamberlain, Paul the tent-maker, Luke the physician, Zaccheus the publican, Peter the fisherman, Joseph the carpenter, Amos the herdsman, Daniel the minister of state, Nehemiah the cup-bearer-all, all standing in the same relation, swayed by the same influence, rejoicing in the same hope, and destined to live together in the same everlasting kingdom.

This is by no means a useless remark. Let it teach us two things

First, not to condemn bodies and professions of men indiscriminately. All such reflections are not only illiberal, but dangerous, and often produce very mischievous consequences. For too many are governed by opinion, rather than principle; and what they know they are commonly supposed to he, they are very likely to become; concluding that since they are doomed to wear the scandal of the character, they may as well have the profit of it. There may be exceptions, but in general

we shall find, that if we honour those with whom we have to do, with our confidence, they will feel a responsibility, and be concerned to repay us-but when we indulge suspicions, and behave towards our fellow creatures as spies, and enemies-is it likely that they will feel towards us as friends?

Secondly; let us not make our business an excuse for ungodliness. Some lines of life are indeed much less favorable to morality and religion than others; they afford fewer helps, or more hindrances than others—and this consideration should powerfully influence those who have the disposal of youth. But where the providence of God places us, the grace of God can keep us. And hereafter you will see many of the glorified taken from the same employments with yourselves. "These," says God, "these had the same nature, were partakers "of the same infirmities, and placed in the same cir"cumstances with yourselves. But they escaped the "corruption of the world, through lust. They found "time to serve me. They distinguished between the "duties and the vices of their calling, and so perform"ed the one as to avoid the other. They followed me "in the regeneration, and I appoint unto them a king"dom. Well done, good and faithful servant; thou "hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee "ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of "thy Lord."

II. If we have access to superiors, we should use it for good. Many of the Jews could not approach Artaxerxes, but the office of Nehemiah gave him an introduction; and he resolves to intercede for his country, and his people. In this way some have opportunities of usefulness which are denied to others-they have the eye, the ear, the favor of the rich and great. And they should lay hold of these opportunities-not to indulge and aggrandize themselves-but to mention truths which persons in elevated circumstances seldom hear; to recommend religion of which they generally entertain mistaken notions; to place before them scenes of P 2


distress, which are not often noticed in walking along the high places of the earth

Should it please God to call them by his gracethough their souls are no more valuable than those of the meanest slaves-they can be more extensively exemplary and beneficial than others: or if not-it is well to remove their prejudices, it is well to moralize them, it is well to derive from them external assistance in relieving the poor, and maintaining the cause of God.

Let us remember that we are answerable for all our talents, and this is one of them-the influence which in various degrees we have over others. How are we using it? Are we followers of him who went about doing good? He made this the grand business of life: it was his leading aim in every situation and company: to this he rendered every thing subservient. May the same mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus!

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III. The best way to succeed in any enterprize with men is to commend the matter to God. So did Nehemiah: "prosper I pray thee thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." And the propriety of this action fully appeared in his management of the undertaking, and the success with which it was crowned. Every thing is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. Nothing is too little to bring to the throne of grace. Our intercourse with God will best

prepare us for our dealings with men. It will repress every unhallowed purpose; it will give decision and vigor to good resolutions; it will inspire rectitude and dignity in action; it will enable us to bear disappointment, or success.

When we have thus commended a concern to God the mind is set at liberty, and feels satisfaction and composure. Hence, says Solomon, "commit thy works "unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established:" as if he had said, "an enterprize will necessarily give "rise to much thought and solicitude, but when we car46 ry it to God, and leave it with him, the mind is fixed, "and no longer driven hither and thither, troubled and

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