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Tobiah came unto them. 18 For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah: and his son Johanan had taken the sent letters to put me in fear. LECTURE 737.

daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.

19 Also they reported his good deeds before me, and uttered my words to him. And Tobiah

The importance of the work we have to do.

This is a remarkable saying, the answer which Nehemiah sent to his enemies, when they sought to decoy him into a place of danger: "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down." And it is a conviction which we shall do well to impress deeply upon ourselves, that whatsoever be our station in life, and whatsoever our appropriate employment, it is a great work that we have to do; for this reason, applicable to every one of us, that it is the work to which God has called us. To be not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, as serving the Lord, is the duty of every Christian. See Rom. 12. 11. To do all the daily work of every day on a principle like this, and under this conviction; and frequently whilst we do it to be lifting up our hearts in prayer to God and saying, "Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands." This will give a firmness to our character, and a dignity to our employments; this will give us courage in the midst of danger, and in the midst of difficulty success.

To those who would decoy us from this straightforward path of duty and of safety, we shall readily make answer, "why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?" Though they repeat their solicitations, we shall still answer them after the same manner. If they try to hinder us by inventing false reports, and threatening us with cruel slander, we shall be enabled to say calmly, "There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart." Nay even if our life be threatened unless we will swerve from fulfilling God's work, we can still say with Nehemiah, "Should such a man as I flee?" Thus we could answer, in each case, if all along we are under the conviction of Nehemiah, I am doing a great work. I have a soul to be saved. I have my salvation to work out with fear and trembling. I have God to please. I have Christ to glorify. I have to see to it that in no one instance I resist the Holy Ghost, but rather uniformly act upon his godly motions. I have Satan to watch against, to fight with, to overcome. I have hell to escape. I have heaven to reach forward to. Such are the walls of the city which we are engaged in building. And such is the spirit in which we are most warranted to look for success in building them. May we all have grace to form this high estimate of the work we have to do for God in this life! And whilst we stedfastly thus make answer unto those who would obstruct us in the way of God's commandments, may He enable us in his good time to finish the work which He has given us to do, and to enter into rest eternal!

The register of the people.

1 Now it came to pass, when thousand, an hundred seventy the wall was built, and I had and two. set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed,

2 That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.

3 And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house.

4 Now the city was large and great but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded.

5 And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein,

6 These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city; 7 Who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number, I say, of the men of the people of Israel was this;

8 The children of Parosh, two

9 The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two. 10 The children of Arah, six hundred fifty and two.

11 The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand and eight hundred and eighteen. 12 The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four. 13 The children of Zattu, eight hundred forty and five.

14 The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore. 15 The children of Binnui, six hundred forty and eight. 16 The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and eight. 17 The children of Azgad, two thousand three hundred twenty and two.

18 The children of Adonikam, six hundred threescore and seven. 19 The children of Bigvai, two thousand threescore and seven. 20 The children of Adin, six hundred fifty and five. 21 The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight. 22 The children of Hashum, three hundred twenty and eight. 23 The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and four.

24 The children of Hariph, an hundred and twelve.

25 The children of Gibeon, ninety and five.

26 The men of Beth-lehem and Netophah, an hundred fourscore and eight.

27 The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight. 28 The men of Beth-azmaveth, forty and two.

29 The men of Kirjath-jearim,

Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty and three.

30 The men of Ramah and Gaba, six hundred twenty and

one.

31 The men of Michmas, an hundred and twenty and two. 32 The men of Beth-el and Ai, an hundred twenty and three. 33 The men of the other Nebo, fifty and two.

Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

35 The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty. 36 The children of Jericho, three hundred forty and five.

37 The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty and one.

38 The children of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred

34 The children of the other and thirty. LECTURE 738.

Of doing what God appoints.

66

It is not improbable that Nehemiah was absent on a visit to the king of Persia, during the time that his brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, had the charge over Jerusalem. And it is observable, that the person whom he joined with his own brother was one who was a faithful man, and feared God above many." This was consistent in one who himself so greatly feared God, to select a godly man for a place of trust and honour. And this will be consistent in us, if we fear God, and love Him, and serve Him, never to promote another to any office, as far as we can help it, except he be one who fears God, and loves Him, and serves Him, above all out of whom we have to choose.

Though the walls of the city were now built, and the gates set up, it was but thinly inhabited. And Nehemiah remarks this with concern; as knowing that the strength of a state consists not in the height or solidity of its walls, but in the numbers and character of its people. And he was led to think of gathering together" the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy." "My God put into my heart," he says, still referring devoutly every good thought to Him who was indeed the Author of it. This we may suppose occurred before Nehemiah's absence in Persia. And having found the register of those who came up at first out of captivity, he probably compared the list with the families then settled in the land, in order to see how many had since come up, and how many had returned, and in order to provide for bringing back with him some members of such families as might still be missing. But whatever was his object in this new reckoning of the people, we are sure that it was a good work to do it, since it was God who put it into his heart. Things which otherwise seem trifling cease to be so when they are plainly of God's appointment. And when God's word and Spirit unite to testify with our own conscience, that God has put any matter into our hearts, then whatever others may think of its importance, it must be with us the first of all things to be done.

The register is concluded.

39 The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three. 40 The children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two.

41 The children of Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and

seven.

54 The children of Bazlith, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha,

55 The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Tamah,

56 The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.

42 The children of Harim, a 57 The children of Solomon's thousand and seventeen. servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Perida,

43 The Levites: the children of Jeshua, of Kadmiel, and of the children of Hodevah, seventyand four.

44 The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred forty and eight.

45 The porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, an hundred thirty and eight. 46 The Nethinims: the children of Ziha, the children of Hashupha, the children of Tabbaoth,

47 The children of Keros, the children of Sia, the children of Padon,

48 The children of Lebana, the children of Hagaba, the children of Shalmai,

49 The children of Hanan, the children of Giddel, the children of Gahar,

50 The children of Reaiah, the children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda,

51 The children of Gazzam, the children of Uzza, the children of Phaseah,

52 The children of Besai, the children of Meunim, the children of Nephishesim,

53 The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur,

58 The children of Jaala, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel,

59 The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Amon.

60 All the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon's servants, werethree hundredninetyandtwo. 61 And these were they which went upalsofrom Tel- melah, Telharesha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer: but they could not shew their father's house, nor their seed, whether they were of Israel.

62 The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred forty and two.

63 And of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai, which took one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite to wife, and was called after their

name.

64 These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they,as polluted, put from the priesthood.

65 And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with

Urim and Thummim.
66 The whole congregation to-
gether was forty and two thou-
sand three hundred and three-
score,

67 Beside their manservants and their maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven and they had two hundred forty and five singing men and singing

women.

68 Their horses, seven hundred thirty and six: their mules, two hundred forty and five: 69 Their camels, four hundred thirty and five: six thousand seven hundred and twenty

asses.

sure a thousand drams of gold, fifty basons, five hundred and thirty priests' garments.

71 And some of the chief of the fathers gave to the treasure of the work twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand and two hundred pound of silver. 72 And that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand pound of silver, and threescore and seven priests' garments.

73 So the priests, and the Levites, and the porters, and the singers, and some of the people, and the Nethinims, and all Israel, dwelt in their cities; and when the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in

70 And some of the chief of the fathers gave unto the work. The Tirshatha gave to the trea- their cities. . LECTURE 739.

Of being registered in heaven.

This register differs from that given in the Book of Ezra ; Ch. 2; perhaps owing to the one having been made before the several parties set off from the land of their captivity, and the other after their arrival at Jerusalem. It is of great importance to a state to have lists like these of all its members, faithful registers of each family, and of the increase of each. It is a happy circumstance, when the members of the church coincide so nearly with the members of the state, that the register of the one serves for a sufficient list and genealogy of the other. But alas, when we consider our baptismal registers, as lists of those who are pledged to set forward, from the land of their captivity, to the heavenly Jerusalem, how great would be the difference, we fear, between the names entered here on earth, and those which will be found written in the book of life, when it shall be opened before the judgment seat of Christ! How many purpose to go up, and to do the work of the Lord, who tarry behind, and linger far away from the city of their God! How many set forward, and look back, yea and also turn backward, and mix themselves again with the abominations of the land which they had left! It is consoling to reflect, that if thus many who were found are afterwards lost, there are also many who seem lost, that are afterwards found. And as we know it to be God's pleasure, that his house should be full, we doubt not that though He send out for this purpose even unto the highways and the hedges, it will be at length filled abundantly.

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