Imagini ale paginilor

told the king how nearly he was related to her, and he was made a prince of the empire. Probably up to this moment, although others were aware of it, the king did not know that Mordecai was her foster cousin, and most likely, till the queen told him in her petition for her life, the king did not know that she herself belonged to the seed of the Jews. The house of Haman was given by the king to the queen; that is, his estates. These he had justly forfeited, so that the king could rightly bestow them on the queen as a sort of compensation for the danger she had been in. And Esther made Mordecai her steward over Haman's estates, and the king gave him the signet ring which he had formerly given to Haman. And as to both the queen and Mordecai, we should observe how respectful and modest they were. It is some four or five years since she was crowned, and yet she has not troubled the king to provide for her relations. And Mordecai, too, was as modest and diffident in presenting his claims as he had been brave and faithful in deserving honor and rewards. He has been diligent in educating and protecting the queen in her helpless orphanage, and he saved the king's life when his chamberlains had conspired against him ; but, up to this time, where is his reward? Why he has had the best of all rewards, an approving conscience and the approbation of his God; and now both the king and queen conspire to heap honors upon him. Ahasuerus makes him lord keeper of the Privy seal, or Lord High Chancellor, in the place of Haman, removed, and the queen makes him Lord High Steward in the management of Haman's estates. How happy a change for the Jews! Instead of the wicked Haman, they



have now near the throne a bosom friend in whom they may repose, without fear of confusion, and on the throne a queen all powerful, acknowledged to be of their own blood. How true the Bible proverb, he that heapeth up riches, knoweth not who shall gather them; and that other saying, also, “Promotion cometh neither from the east nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one and setteth up

another. All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted, saith the LORD.Ps. lxxy and xxxix.

Haman has fallen-Mordecai has risen, and God's people are saved. Haman inherits the gibbet he had prepared for Mordecai, and Mordecai falls heir to the house and place and honors of Haman. It is the Lord's doings, and is truly marvellous in our eyes. And yet both reaped as they had sown, and gathered the ripened fruits of their own doings. Evil doing and honest innocence have now paid their debts to both their clients. There was no injustice nor overreaching, nor double-dealing in all this. No unlawful nor violent proceedings had in the case, for Haman having justly forfeited his life and his estates, and Mordecai being fully entitled to reward for his services, and morally fitted to enjoy the royal favors, why shall he not have them? But how terrible are the reverses of princes, and how sudden the fall of statesmen. Wolsey, Raleigh, Essex and Louis Phillippe, are only a few out of many, that illustrate how slippery are the steps of thrones and the standings around them. One hour changed the whole face of the Persian empire. In the morning every knee but that of Mordecai bows to Haman, but in the evening, he hangs “like a despised vermin, for a prey to the ravens ;” and he who in the morning was designed for the gallows, is now prime minister, and rules over the princes and captains of the empire. He who was faithful to his God and loyal to his king at the gate, is now called from the gate to sit up next to the throne. How wonderful are the retributive providences of God? And on that very day did the king give the house of Haman, the Jew's enemy, unto Esther. If the proud and wicked courtier had place and wealth to do mischief with, but has forfeited them, why shall they not now be given to the queen to do good with, and why may not Mordecai take care of them? If the arch-plotter is hanging on his own gallows, and Mordecai is possessed of his estates, is it not as the good Book saith : “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children ; and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just ?” Prov. xiii: 22. And again : “ This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty. If his children be multiplied, it is for the sword : and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread. Those that remain of him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep. Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay. He may prepare it, but the just shall put


and the innocent shall divide the silver. He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh. The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered : he openeth his eyes and he is not. Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night. The east wind car




rieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place. For God shall cast upon him, and not spare : he would fain flee out of his hand. Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place." Job xxvii: 13, 23. .

But we must not forget that, though the queen and Mordecai are now saved, and their great adversary is out of the way, still the cruel decree is in force against the Jews, throughout the Persian empire. We are not, then, surprised that the queen wept, and besought the king to arrest the mischief designed her people by Ha

And it pleased the king to accept her supplication. So he held out the golden sceptre. And when the queen arose and stood before the king, she made a most beautiful and eloquent plea. By various welltimed expressions, she insinuates her purpose into the king's mind, and shows her profound respect for him, and submission to his good pleasure. She is careful to ascribe all the mischief devised against the Jews to Haman. She relieves the king from any suspicion of envy and hatred toward them, and repeats, again and again, that IIaman was wicked and deceitful and selfish and treacherous. She shows the king that Haman , had imposed upon him—that, in this whole business, he had contrived to gratify his own malice, fill his own chests, and despoil the kingdom. The decree was obtained by craft and on false pretences, and should, therefore, be repcaled. And then, mildly, she closes by an appeal to the king's regard for her: “I cannot see the destruction of my kindred. My heart will sink under it. It will kill me to see such a catastrophe come unto my people. And she fell at the king's feet,

and besought him, with tears, to put away the evil of Haman and his device against the Jews.” (Esth. viii: 1–6.) Her pleading is remarkable for its respectful tone—its earnestness and feeling. She does not seem to have any tears for herself, when her own life was chiefly at stake; but the fountain of tears was unsealed, when she came to plead for her kindred. David had tears to shed over the wickedness of men, though he had slain a bear as a lion rends a kid, and Goliath of Gath with a smooth stone from the brook. And Jeremiah's head was a fountain of tears, because of the desolations of Zion, and the calamities of his countrymen. And so of Paul; we read not of his tears when he was stoned and left for dead, or shipwrecked, or beaten with stripes, or contending with wild beasts. Neither the lions nor the axe could bring tears from his eyes; but anxiety for the salvation of his countrymen, the Jews, overwhelmed him with many tears. His heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel, was that they might be saved. It is proper to feel an earnest desire for the salvation of our fellow men, and to do all we can for them. John Knox was known to spend much of his time in prayer, and was often heard pleading with God alone in his chamber, as a man talketh earnestly with his friend, saying: “Give me Scotland or I die.” And God heard him, and he gave Scotland an open Bible, and education to her people, and a preached Gospel, and Scotland has nobly honored him, and there she is, to-day, a monument of Knox's prayer and faith. What heroism is greater than to live for the Church of the living God and die for her interests ?

« ÎnapoiContinuați »