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and die. But I know there is salvation for Israel. The God of Jacob will not let tyrants root out and destroy His people. The Holy One of Israel will work miracles, as in days of old, sooner than that His promises to our fathers shall fail. And if you are not worthy of the post to which you are raised up, the honor of our deliverance will be given to some one else. It was to save lis people, Jehovah las placed you on the throne, and He will not fail because of your weakness. Thus, in Mordecai's remonstrances with the queen, we see: First, That, for himself, though belonging to the king's household, and related to the quecn, and for Her Majesty herself, there was no escape from Flaman's decree. No Jow, high or low, was to be allowed to live. The case, therefore, was her own, as well as his, and of all their people.

Secondly, We see his faith and courage. not in despair; for, even if the queen would not do her duty, still he was confideni the needful help would be obtained. Though one instrument, or agency, might

. fail, he did not doubl but God's people would be saved. The Divine covenant could not fail. He seems to argue thus: It may be God's rule to keep us in ignorance of our danger until it is necessary to arouse us to feel our dependence on Him, and to use the means which He has appointed for our deliverance. He may, in mercy, keep us ignorant also of our own strength and resources till we try ourselves what we can do. For it is only when we have done our utmost that we are authorized to commit our cause wholly to God, and rest alone upon Him for deliverance. It is when

He was

MORDECAI'S COURAGE AND FAITH.

189

Atrides sends his whole soul with his lance, that Jove carries it home to the heart of his enemy. Mordecai's faith was truly conquering. It was heroic. The clouds were thick and heavy. The decree is long, and broad, and deep, and it has gone forth to the utmost verge of the empire. And it is as irrevocable as it is cruel and bloody. The king is all-powerful. But still the Hebrew's faith failed not. He trusted in the promises of God — he thought them more powerful than the threatening decrees of a tyrant. “And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

Thirdly, Though assured of deliverance, from some quarter, Mordecai was jealous that the queen should have the honor of it. And who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? As if he had said, “ Can you suppose Divine Providence has raised you up from so low a condition, in a strange land, to become the queen of the Persian Empire, merely for your own sake? Was there not some great public interest to be secured by this? It cannot be, O my lovely, and now royal cousin, that the God of our fathers has so highly favored you merely for your own sake, or for your personal ease, dignity and enjoyment. No. He has raised you to the throne that you may have the honor of doing some great service to the Hebrew race, and to the Church of the one living and true God, in the midst of a corrupt and idolatrous empire.” To awaken her to a sense of her responsibility, and inspire her with faith in God, he is careful to urge her to recall to mind how Providence had taken care of her helpless orphanage, and had raised her to the throne, no doubt, for this very crisis. And that now, if she failed, it would show a great want of courage-great lack of love for her people, and a sad want of faith in God; and, for such a failure of duty, she must expect the wrath of God. For it was true then, as it is and has been ever since, that if, by sinful shifts, we seek to save our life, we shall loose it. That life is lost that is saved by sin, which is the highest dishonor.

It is enough. The queen now sees her responsibility. Her foster-father has, at last, touched the right cord — her duty, as a pious Israelite, to the faith of her fathers, and to her kindred. She, therefore, commanded Hatach to return this answer to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise: and so will I go in unto the king; which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him."

CHAPTER XII.

THE QUEEN INTERCEDING.

"God's ear is open and there still is room.”

The last chapter opened with wailing and sackcloth in the streets of Shushan. The Sultana's crown of jewels was heavier than lead. Royal hearts were pierced with many sorrows. O, the living world of anxieties and apprehensions in which we now dwell, nor are thrones and palaces free from them. But the chapter closed with a great solemn religious convocation. Mordecai assembles the people for fasting and prayer. Every Israelite is now to go to his knees, not before idols, nor in the temples of the Sun, but before Jehovah, the God of his fathers. And the queen, perhaps the only worshipper of the true God in the palace, with her maidens, are to join Mordecai and the people in fasting and prayer; and, afterward, she says, “I will go in unto the king." Heroic resolve, worthy a Hebrew

queen
of the race

of Miram, Deborah and Judith. Nor is life ever so well used as when to lose it is gain. Duty is more than life. Duty is ours, consequences are God's.

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We have found a Hebrew maid, an orphan and a captive, on the banks of the Choaspes—a lovely damsel, a beautiful odalisque, a graceful, charming wife, a most fascinating Sultana; but now we find her the Heroine. Never till now has her mission fully appeared. The process of her preparation for her work has been long and varied and most wonderful, but her work came to her at last, and nobly does she perform it. It is in the noble resolve that she will offer her life a sacrifice, if necessary, to save her countrymen, that her real strength of character begins to develop itself. Here, at once, she rises to the dignity of a martyr. The proud, heroic blood of Mordecai speaks out in her when she says: I will go in unto the king, and if I perish I perish. She scems to say: My mind is now clearly made up. It is my duty to try to save my people, and I am resolved to do so, and if I lose my life in the attempt, I shall yield it cheerfully, because I am in the way of duty.

Though it is strange that there is no mention of God in their fasting and ceremonies, nor of praying to Him, yet it is certainly implied. I do not know why prayer is not mentioned, nor why the name of God is omitted. But, surely, it was not supposed by Esther or Mordecai that there was any charm in their fasting or rending of clothes. They must have thought that, in and by such acts of penitence, and such marks of grief, they could awaken the people to a sense of their danger and arouse them to call upon the God of their fathers, in this time of their extremity. The Queen's resolve implied her profound regard for God, submission to His will, and a great regard for the lives of her

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