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CRUELTY OF PERSECUTION.

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who desired correct information on the subject, that the grounds of this edict were false and malicious—that its author had died in ignominy on the gallows—that a great change had taken place in the palace in regard to the Jews; and that it was now with peril that any one should lift his hand against one of the seed of Abraham; still he must be blind to all history, who does not know that, in all countries, and in all ages, there are those, and their name is legion, who are always waiting for a time of tumult and carnage, to gratify their own evil passions. It is of no consequence to them whether the war, or the slaughter, is for a good cause or in a bad one—whether the innocent and helpless perish or not. All they want is an opportunity for pillage and revenge. Excitement and sensual pleasure are more to them than justice and mercy. Such are found in all our cities in times of conflagrations and civil commotions. And again, he must be a very careless observer of mankind, who does not see that all who live godly in Christ Jesus do suffer persecution. The seed of the bond woman loves not the seed of the freewoman. The carnal mind is at enmity with God,

. and, of course, loves not God's children. The church of God would cease to be itself, if it were free, in this world, from all persecution. True Christians are the sect everywhere spoken against by the self-righteous, the vain and the ungodly. It was a saying of the good Bishop Hall, that God's people have but three suits of apparel; two of them they wear on earth, and the other in heaven. The two they wear on earth are the black robes of mourning, or the red robe of persecution; and the apparel reserved for them in their heavenly

wardrobe, is white-the glorious robe of triumph. Let us then be contented to make our way to heaven as Jonathan and his armor-bearer passed betwixt two sharp rocks—and even if the way is so thorny and sharp that we have to pass along on our hands and knees, still we are sure to come out at last in victory and triumph.

It is difficult to conceive of a greater calamity to a good man than to be rendered useless—to be paralyzed in the midst of his days, either by being hindered or opposed by his enemies, or by affliction; yet this is sometimes, and no doubt for good and sufficient reasons, a part of God's plan of governing the world at present. To persecute a really able and good man, is to do him great service; and to kill him outright, is to make him a martyr, and give him horses and chariots to ascend the skies to a throne of glory.

CHAPTER XVIII.

THE PICTURES TO BE STUDIED.

“ Few, but full of understanding, are the books of the library

of God, And fitting for all seasons are the gain and the gladness they

bestow : The volume of mystery and GRACE, for the hour of deep com

munings, When the soul considereth intensely the startling marvel of

itself; The book of Destiny and Providence for the time of sober study, When the mind gleaneth wisdom from the olive grove of his

tory."--Tupper. “And the two dragons are I and Haman. And the nations were there assembled to destroy the Jews; and my nation is this Israel, which cried to God and were saved—therefore hath He made two lots, one for the people of God, and the other for all the Gentiles. And these two lots came at the hour, and time, and day of judgment, before God among all nations.”—

Mardocheus' Dream.

66 Cursed be Haman! Blessed be Mordecai! Cursed be Zeresh! Blessed be Esther! Cursed be all idolaters ! Blessed be all the Israelites !"-Purim service.

It was by studying the laws of nature that Newton and La Place made such great discoveries in astronomy. The study of the heavenly bodies revealed to them the great laws of the planets. In the works of God, even in the smallest plant, there is perfect symmetry; so in the WORDS OF GOD, there is the most systematic perfection, and not only all, but each part of the sacred writings should be studied most carefully. The diction of the sacred writers is not like the language of any other writings; it is a language of its own, but still it has a precise meaning, and that meaning is within our reach. It was a saying, and a true one, of Origen, confessedly one of the most learned men of his age, or of any age, that there was no word nor phrase in the Holy Scriptures without its meaning, if they were carefully studied. A modern writer says: “We need not scruple to affirm, that in precision of expression, in pure and native simplicity, in delicacy of handling, in the grouping of words and phrases, in dignified and majestic simplicity, it has no rival in the world. As it is in the Book of Nature, so is it in the pages of Holy writ. Both are from the same Divine Hand.

And if we apply to the language of Holy Scripture, the same microscopic process, which we use in scrutinizing the beauties of the natural world, and which reveals to us exquisite colors, and the most graceful texture in the petals of a flower, the fibres of a plant, the plumage of a bird, or the wings of an insect, we shall discover new sources of delight and admiration in the least portions of Holy Writ.”Dr. Wordsworth.

There is as much system, plan, design and symmetry, in the Word of God, as there is in his works—as much perfection in the moral as in the physical world. It is for us, then, to study the great picture gallery of Shushan, into which we have been introduced by the Divine Spirit, the descriptive catalogue of which is the Book of Esther. We have feasts and wine banquets, princes of the empire, queens, conspirators and ser

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A PICTORIAL GALLERY.

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vants, and officers—a murderous plot almost consummated, but its author exposed and hanged, and the Jew, Mordecai, made Grand Vizier in Haman's place, and the Hebrew race so nearly cut off by a wholesale simultaneous murdering are saved. I wonder there is not in the Dresden, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Paris or London galleries, a whole series of historic paintings, by the first masters, illustrating the life of the HebrewPersian Queen. I know not where, whether in fable, romance or sober history, to find subjects more appropriate, and more suitable for displaying artistic skill. There are a few pictures of Esther, but her history is yet to be illustrated. The whole series of pictures as described by the sacred historian are in bold relief and wonderfully lifelike. The king of Persia, an aged man, of strong passions and an imperious will—absolute monarch of the wealth and power of the greatest portion of the globe; and Haman an ambitious, wicked man, prospering for a while, but then his end was dreadful; and the Hebrew maid that was made queen, as modest and pious as she was beautiful; and Mordecai the Jew, the man of genuine principles and living faith. These are pictures to be studied, in the light of Divine Providence; and, it seems to me, the lessons which we are here taught are more effective—ought to make a deeper and more lasting impression upon us, than if they had been announced in dogmatic terms, or embodied in phrases like the Decalogue. As we see men and women of like passions with ourselves—as we stand around the Persian's throne, or walk in his gardens, or visit his feasts, or wonder at Haman's gallows, and Mordecai's honorsso we behold in the concurrence of such ordinary agen

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