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estions for us concerning our Leader. (1) Have we re-
(7) which.. Jerusalem," when he pillaged the put.. God, esp. in the temple of Bel. (8) Mithreven by Mithras), i.e. genius of the sun, wh. was object of worship. Sheshbazzar,d i.e. Zerubbabel. (9) chargers, receive blood of victims. knives, sacrificial knives. sons, with lids. (11) all.. hundred, or 2,901 of var. t specified above.
il of forsaking God.-If you put your finger in the fire, is not the pain suffered, but the destruction of the finger. is a good; it evinces the continuance of life in the esisting the fire that destroys it, and warning you to v it. The evil is complete when the calcined bone lies e consuming in the fire. So the evil of sin is not the which it causes, but the bosom pleasure which it gives. ering from sin is so far good as it shows the continuance sensibility. The evil is when the heart is happy-inin the fire.
CHAPTER THE SECOND.
(1) these.. province,a i.e. of Judah. (2) Zerub-
h-moab.. twelve, 2,818 in Neh.
13. (10) Bani, or Binnui. (13) six.. six, note the
power of the Church.-A thousand grains of powder, or a sand barrels, if you please, scattered a grain in a place and at intervals, would burn it is true, but would produce no
Neh. give a sum
men, and 7,337 men servants and maid ser
vants. Ezra's list
was first made B.C. 536, but not inserted in the record till he got
his commission from Artaxerxes,
B.C. 458. Nehe-
"Every Christian is born great because he is born
the people provide for the return
a Some of Eph raim and Ma
nasseh also returned and
1 Ch. ix. 3.
• One of the
CHAPTER THE FIRST.
1-4. (1) first.. Persia,a i.e. first year after cap. of Babylon. by.. fulfil, the 70 yrs. of Jer. date from B.C. 605, when Nebuchadnezzar took Jerus. Lord.. Persia, men are sometimes doing God's will when they think only of pleasing themselves. (2) saith.. Persia, etc., Cyrus was prob. acq. with the writings of Isa., Jer. and Dan.c (3) who.. you, my subjects. of.. people, the Jews, vv. 3-5 include the proclamation. (4) whosoever.. sojourneth,d some might have ties fr. wh. they could not be immediately released.
The decree of Cyrus.-From the circumstances of the case we learn-I. That with many afflictions, there go a consolation and a support. II. That we have a striking example of the fulfilment of prophecy. III. That God, when He has a purpose to perform, can easily bring it to pass. IV. This God, who thus fulfilled His word in this wonderful manner, is our Father. V. That this faithfulness of God is a caution to the impenitent.
The Persian god Ormuzd.-Two things are specially remarkable in this passage, the strongly marked religious character, very unusual in heathen documents, and the distinctness with which it asserts the unity of God, and thence identifies the God of the Persians with the God of the Jews. Both these points receive abundant illustration from the Persian cuneiform inscriptions, in which the recognition of a single supreme god, Ormuzd, and the clear and constant ascription to him of the direction of all mundane affairs, are leading features. In all the Persian monuments of any length, the monarch makes the acknowledgment that "Ormuzd has bestowed on him his empire." Every success that is gained is "by the grace of Ormuzd." The name of Ormuzd occurs in almost every other paragraph of the Behistun inscription. No public monuments, with such a pervading religious spirit, have ever been discovered among the records of any heathen nation as those of the Persian kings; and through all of them, down to the time of Artaxerxes Ochus, the name of Ormuzd stands alone and unapproachable as that of the Supreme Lord of earth and heaven. The title "Lord of Heaven,' which runs as a sort of catchword through these Chaldee translations of the Persian records, is not indeed in the cuneiform monuments distinctly attached to him as an epithet, but the common formula wherewith inscriptions open sets him forth as "the great god, Ormuzd, who gave both earth and heaven to mankind.'e
5, 6. (5) chief.. Benjamin, in whose inheritance the temp. was situated. (6) besides. . offered, they gave them due proportion, and a freewill offering beside.
Zerubbabel's return (vv. 5, 6)-Mentioned by Matt. i. 12.settled at Jerus. Among the ancestors of the Saviour, Zerubbabel has been regarded as a type of Him. I. Like him our Saviour was born in a strange land. II. Like him, a king in disguise, our Saviour dwelt among the people He came to save. III. Like him our Saviour seeks to gather the faithful together, and lead them forth into the glorious liberty of the children of God. IV. Like him our Leader meets and overcomes many difficulties. Learn :
blessings resulting fr. the cap. was, that the Judah and Israel was healed, and
Some questions for us concerning our Leader. (1) Have we recognised His presence? (2) Have we obeyed His voice? (3) Are we following His leadership? (4) Do we purpose in all things to do His bidding?
The Christian citizen.—An old English picture represents a king, with the motto beneath, "I govern all;" a bishop with this sentence, "I pray for all;" a soldier with the inscription, "I fight for all ;" and a farmer, who reluctantly draws forth a purse, and exclaims with rueful countenance, "I pay for all." The Christian citizen combines in himself the functions of these four. He is king, prophet, warrior, and labourer. He governs, prays, and fights for himself, and pays all expenses.
7—11. (7) which.. Jerusalem," when he pillaged the temp. put.. God, esp. in the temple of Bel. (8) Mithredath (given by Mithras), i.e. genius of the sun, wh. was object of Persian worship. Sheshbazzar,di.e. Zerubbabel. (9) chargers, basins to receive blood of victims. knives, sacrificial knives. (10) basons, with lids. (11) all.. hundred, or 2,901 of var. kinds not specified above.
The evil of forsaking God.-If you put your finger in the fire, the evil is not the pain suffered, but the destruction of the finger. The pain is a good; it evinces the continuance of life in the finger, resisting the fire that destroys it, and warning you to withdraw it. The evil is complete when the calcined bone lies insensible consuming in the fire. So the evil of sin is not the suffering which it causes, but the bosom pleasure which it gives. The suffering from sin is so far good as it shows the continuance of moral sensibility. The evil is when the heart is happy-insensible in the fire."
CHAPTER THE SECOND.
1-6. (1) these.. province,a i.e. of Judah. (2) Zerubbabel, putative grandson of Jeconiah. His name Babel. Jeshua, or Joshua. Nehemiah, not the Nehemiah of the next bk. Mordecai, not Esther's relative. (3, 4) Parosh ..Shephatiah, how carefully the family records were kept during the capy. (5) Arah.. five, Neh. gives 652. (6) Fahath-moab.. twelve, 2,818 in Neh.
A good citizen.-He who undertakes an occupation of great toil and great danger for the purpose of serving, defending, and protecting his country, is a most valuable and respectable member of society; and if he conducts himself with valour, fidelity, and humanity, and amidst the horrors of war cultivates the gentle manners of peace, and the virtues of a devout and holy life, he most amply deserves, and will assuredly receive, the esteem. the admiration, and the applause of his grateful country; and, what is of still greater importance, the approbation of his
7-13. (10) Bani, or Binnui." (13) six.. six, note the
The power of the Church.-A thousand grains of powder, or a thousand barrels, if you please, scattered a grain in a place and fired at intervals, would burn it is true, but would produce no
B.C. cir. 536. for heaven." Massillon.
c W. E. Boardman.
a Ne. vii. 24.
"As in Noah's ark there were the clean and the unclean, raven
and dove, leopard and kid, the cruel lion with the gentle
lamb; so in the
[Cap. ii. 14-30. concussion. Placed together, however, in effective position, they would lift up a mountain and cast it into the sea. whole Church, filled with faith, and fired by the Holy One who Even so the gave the tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost, will remove every mountain, fill up every valley, cast up the way of the Lord, and usher in the jubilee of redemption."
14-18. (18) Jorah, or Hariah.a
Latent power in the Church.-It is impossible to over-estimate, or rather to estimate, power that lies latent in our churches. talk of the power that was latent in steam-latent till Watt We evoked its spirit from the waters, and set the giant to turn the iron arms of machinery. We talk of the power that was latent in the skies till science climbed their heights, and, seizing the spirit of the thunder, chained it to our surface-abolishing distance, outstripping the wings of time, and flashing our thoughts across rolling seas to distant continents. Yet what are these to the moral power that lies asleep in the congregations of our country and of the Christian world -The right persuasion.— In terrible agony a soldier lay down in the hospital. A visitor asked him, "What Church are you of?" Christ," he replied. "I mean of wh at persuasion are you?" then "Of the Church of inquired the visitor. "Persuasion? eyes looked heavenward, beaming with love to the Saviour,—“ I said the dying man, as his am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor princic Teachers' Treas. height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to sepapalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor rate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus." the smaller companies: but the Messiah came hence. (21) an.. three, one of Azmaveth, or Bethazmaveth.c
Church of Christ on earth you will find the same diversities and differences of human charater."-Dr. Guthrie.
a Neh. vii. 25. ¿ Mic. v. 2.
c Neh. vii. 28.
This is the state
of the Church
militant: she is like the ark floating upon the waters, like a lily growing among thorns, like the bush which burned with fire,
and was not con
sumed; so the city of God is always besieged,
but never ruined."-- Henry Smith.
d J. Bate.
a Neh. vii. 33.
"Do you ask, 'Why not away with the Church, if its
19-24. (20) Gibbar, Gibeon."
dom of creation: divisions between the lands and waters; divisions Divisions in the Church.-There are divisions in the great kingbetween islands and continents; divisions between continents and continents; divisions between vegetation and minerals; divisions in birds, fishes, creeping things, animals of all kinds; divisions among men; and yet there are great principles, laws, and operations which unite them together, as the one harmonious workmanship of Almighty wisdom and power. So it is in the Church of Christ. There are divisions in regard to discipline, forms of worship, creeds of belief, means of grace, modes of working, names of distinction, places of abode, &c.; but beneath these, and of more importance, there run grand laws and elements which bind together the Church of Christ in one glorious body, of which He is the Head.d
25-30. (29) Called "the other Nebo,' Jordan in tr. of Reuben, but of that N. called Nob bef. the capy. "a i.e. not of N. beyond Diversity in the Church.-As he that entereth into a fair and goodly goldsmith-shop, richly furnished with precious pearls and costly jewels of all sorts, ought not to mistake those costly treamembers make sures because he seeth among them a black furnace, dusty coals, many misand sundry instruments of base metal (for these must be had to you take away make those jewels); so in the Church of God, where are innumethe lighthous rable men of diverse gifts and qualities, if a man see there some mariners, things which he dislikes, he ought not therefore to pick a quarrel through wrong with the Church, or to neglect his own duty on this account.
B.C. cir. 536.
their ships high and
the shore? out the lamp in Would you put your house because moths and
millers burn their wings in it?
What would the children do?'H. W. Beecher.
Character the evidence of religion.- Let me but once paint a glowing picture like the Madonna; would you criticise it by going behind it to see what the canvas was made of, or by examining the pigments, and inquiring how they were compounded? There is the result-a painting, which stands at the head of faces in the whole history of art. There is one process by which you can meet reasoning and sceptical tendencies that cannot be gainsaid, namely, produce in another man a character which represents God among men, in human form again, with His power to love, with His self-denying, self-sacrificing love, with His gentleness, His purity, His grace and beauty; set forth that character and say, "There is the evidence of religion." If you bring me an apple large and beauteous, and then undertake to persuade me by any argument that it is impossible that such a fruit should have grown in such a clime, I answer that no ship has touched this shore; here is the apple, there is the tree; there are others like it hanging on the tree, and this apple has grown upon this tree. You say it is impossible; that tree cannot grow here; the scason is too short, the climate is too cold for such fruit. But, after all, is not a tree full of apples better than any and all physiological arguments on the face of the earth? I do not care what botanists may say. Show me the tree with the apples on it, and I will take the tree as an argument against them all. Show me a man whose character lifts him above commen men; whose head shines like a lighthouse (no matter how he is built at the bottom); show me a man that carries in him the power of a Divine life (and no man can mistake what that power is when he sees it)-he is an epitome of Christianity, and I place him as an argument against the intel-c H. W. Beecher. lectual philosophies of any and every man.
"In all societies
it is advisable to associate, if possible, with the the highest are highest; not that always the best, but beause, if we can at any disgusted there, time descend; but if we begin with the lowest, possible."-Colton.
to ascend is im
a So it is given
in some copies.
31-35. (31) Elam, see v. 7. (33) Hadid, or Harid." Good people in every church.-There is not a height on the loftiest Apennine on which there is not some blossom which the winter frost has not nipped, some floweret which the hurricane has not blasted. There is no desert without an oasis. And so there is not a church or a communion under heaven in the bosom of which there are not here and there some witnesses that God b Dr. Cumming. has not utterly forsaken it."
36-39. (36) the priests, exactly as in Neh.a Jeshua,
You should, my lord, be like the robes you wear,
The king with constant motion; be ever beating,
To make it sound clear; and to feel remorse,
You should unlock his soul, awake his dead conscience,
coincidences show with what accuracy the names and nums. of the priests were reckoned."- Bp. Wordsworth.
b1 Ch. xxiv. 11. c1 Ch. xxiv. 14.
d Jer. xx. 1, xxi. 1; 1 Ch. ix. 12.
e 1 Ch. xxiv. 8. f Rowley.
"The distant vil
lage clock struck midnight, min