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HISTORY OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAN.

185

probity, and even, though possessed of greater virtue, was yet unable to defend him from the potent fury of the Eagle of the North. "No sooner was the news of his révolt received in Babylon, than NEBUCHADNEZZAR, with a powerful army, dew, to satiate his vengeance in the blood'of that perfidious people, who had again provoked him by their treachery. Before their feeble pollcy. could calculate upon the means of opposition, his forces occupied the cities of Judea, and were advancing rapidly towards Jerusalem.'

Terrified' at movements so impetuous, and appreHensive of the horrors of a siege, a sudden feeling of compunction seized the inhabitants of that devoted city, and led them to reflect with 'shame upon the violations of their covenant with God. In the first moments of their terror, they resorted therefore to those acts of humiliation, which they thought most likely to restore them to the favour and protection of JEHOVAH ; conscious, like other sinners in the prosa pect of imniediate danger, that it is vain to look elsewhere for aid. For the attainment of this object, they released their brethren, who, in violation of the law of Moses, had been detained in servitude beyond the period of six years; bat, suddenly, on a supposed removal of the apprehended evil, they proved the insincerity of their repentance, and the baseness of.' their dispositions, by reclaiming those to whom they had so lately given their liberty.. . .

These transient and presumptuous expectations were excited by the tidings that an Egyptian army was advancing to the succour of Jerusalem; by whom, it was supposed, the King of Babylon would be compelled to quit the siege. This hope was strengthened, by his retiring from the city on the news of their

approach ; prompted, however, by a different motive than fear of meeting with the rival power. In order that his purposes of vengeance might be executed without interruption, he resolved to meet the force of Egypt before it reached Judea; which so intimi. dated the Egyptians, that they immediately retired; not daring to encounter the long-disciplined and warlike troops of Babylon, who, by repeated conquests, had now become the terror of the world. Thus, by the treachery of that power who had seduced him to the violation of engagements the most sacred, was Z&DEKIAH left alone, to bear the weight of that resentment, which, in his pride and folly, he had ventured to provoke.

Meanwhile the Prophet JEREMIAH, in addition to his share in the distresses of his country, was greatly exercised by personal afflictions, endured in the discharge of his important duties as a messenger of God. At the commencement of the siege, he was commanded to tell ZEDEKIAH, that Jerusalem should cer. tainly be taken, and reduced to ashes by the Con. queror, that he himself should be made prisoner, and sent to end his days in Babylon. By these unwelcome tidings the unhappy Monarch was so greatly irritated, that he ordered JEREMIAH to be put in prison, where, however, he was comforted by a renewed assurance, that the desolations of his country should continue but for an appointed time. · The departure of the Babylonish army, to meet the forces of the King of Egypt, led Z EDEKIAH and his people to imagine that the siege was finally relinquished. They therefore made no scruple of imme. diately returning to those sins, which, through the influence of fear, they had abandoned for a time.

HISTORY OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAN.

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Of the fallacy of such an expectation, JEREMIAN, whom the King, ashamed of his injustice, had restored to liberty, gave them the fullest warning; but so obdurate and insensible were this apostate nation, that every argument was ineffectual to restrain them from provoking to the uttermost the wrath of an offended God.

Unable to effect the smallest reformation, and foreseeing the calamities which would afflict the city on the renewal of the siege, the Prophet formed the resolution to retire to Anathoth, and leave Jerusalem to its impending fate. The temporary absence of the Babylonish army afforded him an opportunity for executing his design ; but on attempting to pass through the city-gate, he was detained as a deserter, and again condemned to suffer the distresses of imprisonment.

The retreat of the Egyptian army soon left the King of Babylon at liberty to execute his plans upon Judea. Accordingly, returning to Jerusalem, he vigorously renewed the siege ; and Z EDEKIAH, in the utmost consternation, began, too late, to tremble for the consequences of his perfidy and pride. Send. ing for JEREMIAH, he inquired what message had been sent him from the LORD; but hearing nothing, except the confirmation of his former sentence, he remanded him to prison; but was, however, so far influenced by his entreaties, as to allow of his removal from the gaol allotted to the lowest culprits, to a more wholesome and commodious place.

But the afflictions of this persecuted Prophet had not yet arrived at their extremity. His enemies, weary of his reproofs and threatenings, would fain have gratified their malice by depriving him of life ; and an occasion favourable to their cruel purpose, was afforded in the present season of distress. Pressed from without by the Chaldean army, and within by pestilence and famine, the King, in his perplexity, . again applied for counsel to the man whom he was injuring by unjust imprisonment. He wished for the advice, and for the prayers of JEREMIAH ; both of which, in happier seasons, he had slighted and contemned. Now, they were unavailing, for no reverse of the tremendous sentence could be obtained from the offended Judge. The only answer, therefore, that the Prophet could return to ZEDEKIAN's mes.. sengers, was a renewed assurance, that the judgments which he had formerly denounced against the King and his apostate people should be assuredly fulfilled. Their lives, however, might even yet; on one condition, be preserved ; which was, submission to the Conqueror. This was a specious pretext for accusing him of treason; and at their urgent importunity, he was delivered over to his bitter and malignant enes mies, to suffer, as a person leagued with the oppressors of his country, the heaviest punishment their cruelty could prompt them to inflict. Precipitated instantly into a horrible and loathsome dungeon, he was there left to perish by a lingering death: but He, whose eye pervades the deepest gloom of misery, saw him in his affliction, and provided needful succour for the moment of extreme distress.

(To be continued.)

A SISTER'S TALES.

No. VI. In a pretty little room, which was dignified by the name of the Study, Jane and Fanny L had one day been quietly working together for several hours;

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when suddenly the door of it was opened, and their sisters and brother came in, engaged in very earnest talk. Ooe voice at last rose above the rest, exclaiming, “ I must have my own way.“Do you know," said FANNY, “ that your own way is often the very worst, and even if it be a good one, it is well to learn how to give it up generally, as you cannot always have it.” The point about which the children were disputing was referred to Jane, who, after settling it, said, " Fanný has given you some very good advice ; but perhaps a story on the subject will not be so soon forgotten as her grave remarks.

“The desire of having our own way is common to every one; but the trouble it causes was never more deeply felt than by AugusTA DARNLEY. She was the only child of very rich parents ; but her mother had too much piety and sense to make her only child a bad one, by indulging her in every foolish whim and hurtful desire. Mrs. DARNLEY'S penetration early discovered the necessity of stricter discipline in the management of her little girl, than her affection would have suggested, or than would have been necessary towards a child of a different disposition. AUGUSTA, even in her cradle, showed sad symptoms of her naturally commanding and obstinate temper. It was not every toy that pleased her; and as she cried till she had the one on which her mind was fixed, it was always obtained from her nurse, when her mother was not present. The maid was a foolish and fond woman, who was very proud of her little lady, and would do any thing she wished ; and Augusta, finding her so willing a subject, became quite her mistress. This, however, was only in the nursery ; Mrs. DARNLEY allowed nothing of the kind in the drawing

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