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God, and spreading forth his hands towards heaven, he thus prayed :—“ Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in thy sight to sit on the throne of Israel ; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me. And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father. But will God indeed dwell on the earth. Behold, the heaven, and heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded! And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwellingplace; and when thou hearest, forgive. If any man tresspass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house: then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head ; and justify the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness. When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house: then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers. Moreover, concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake; for they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm; when he shall come and pray toward this house : hear thou in heaven thy dwelling-place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel ; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name. If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the Lord toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name: then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; yet if they shall bethink themselves

; in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness; and so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name: then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling-place, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them: for they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron, for thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth to be thine inheritance."

These were the people who, beneath the willows of Babylon, wept when they remembered Zion. How different their prospects from those of their enslavers. It is as the answer to these solemn supplications at the dedication of the first Temple, that Jeremiah thus prophecies of the fate of its spoilers :-" It is the vengeance of the Lord: take vengeance upon her : as she hath done, do unto her. Woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation. The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, the vengeance of his temple—recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her; for she hath been proud against the Lord, against the Holy One of Israel. I will render unto Babylon, and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea, all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the Lord—the Lord God of recompences shall surely requite."

Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, encamped against Jerusalem, with a mighty host. He besieged and took the city of David, slew the princes of Judah, and carried the vessels of the holy temple, and all the treasures of Jerusalem, with him to Babylon. The chosen men of Judah also passed into captivity; a miserable remnant of the poorest of the people were alone left to serve as vine-dressers and husbandmen, that the conquered land might yield its tribute and sustain its spoilers. It seemed for a time as if God had forgotten his promise to his servant David, and had blotted out for ever from the cities of the nations the place where he had so long " dwelt with men But their prophets had foretold the fate both of Judah and of Babylon, though these words had seemed but as idle tales to their own people, and remained unheard and unknown to the luxurious idolaters of Babylon, even while they were being so strikingly fulfilled. Belshazzar, the king, made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and while he triumphed amid the splendour of his luxurious court, he commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple of Jerusalem; and he was obeyed. The vessels of the sanctuary, once sacred alone to the temple service of the one true God, were laid before the revellers of the Babylonish court; and the king and his princes, his wives and his concubines,

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poured into them the wine, and drank and praised the gods of gold and silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. They had filled up the measure of their impiety, and the hour of retribution was come. In the same hour came forth the fingers of a hand, and wrote upon the walls of the palace hall the mysterious writing which one of the children of the captivity interpreted to the affrighted king. The monarch was troubled and shook with fear, and the astonished revellers could offer no assurance or comfort. The Hebrew prophet was brought into the midst of that strange scene, and the king proffered to him the vain gifts and honours which were passing from his own grasp. But the hour of Judah's retribution was at hand, and the captive Hebrew replied with dignity, “Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation. O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory and honour: and for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive, and whom he would he set up, and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him, and he was driven from the sons of men ; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses; they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; but hast listed up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou and thy lords, thy wives and thy concubines. ave drunk wine in them; and thou hast

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praised the gods of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, por hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified. Then was the part of the hand sent from Him; and this writing was written. And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing : MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES ; thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. Then com manded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom.” The reader is probably familiar with the strange device by which the Babylonian capital was first taken by Cyrus. “ The walls of Babylon,” says Dr. Keith, “ were incomparably the loftiest and strongest ever built by man. They were constructed of such stupen. dous size and strength, on very purpose that no possibility might exist of Babylon ever being taken. And, if ever confidence in bulwarks could have been misplaced, it was when the citizens and soldiery of Babylon, who feared to encounter their enemies in the field,-in perfect assurance of their safety, and beyond the reach of Parthian arrow, scoffed, from the summit of their impregnable walls, at the hosts which encompassed them. But though the proud boast of a city so defended, and which had never been taken—that it would stand for ever,--seemed scarcely presumptuous; yet, subsequently to the delivery of the prophecies concerning it, Babylon was not only repeatedly taken, but was never once besieged in vain."

Walls, indeed, are a vain defence even against human valour, and how much less against divine judgments,

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