EZEKIEL TO NEHEMIAH,
DANIEL, EZRA, AND ESTHER.
CONTINUED BY REV. HORACE HOOKER,
PUBLISHED BY THE
AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY,
IS NAISAV-*S1TBBT, SNW TORE.
gntwi aeoowding to thU At stofCge, t tiu n ear la52 by Mouam
ffoam, in the Clark's Ofoe of tbe Dstuic Court for te SOthr
Distriot offNw Yor.
A& oet&bM r aeemdI* do AMuNM Tie ugd$
LIFE OF MZXis5L.
Captivityofthe Jew, . . .... .
ehel' introuotla to the prophetto o0& . 1
Ezekiel made a wathman, . . . .. ..
Hs vision of idolatry at the temple, . . .. ..
Esekil denounme the f.Im prophte-the cheatr of hiO
writing, ............... .
ie pmlhrtsatory-daema of the dry boan, . -
Polablment of prophecie-Tyre wd Egypt, . 61
LIFE OF DANIEL.
Daiel curid captive to Babylo, . . . .
Hi pupilage in Babylon, . . . .. 75
Daniel beooome primanial.ter . . . .. 8
Th olden . ..... . 94
Nebuchadnemr' degement,. . ..... . 102
Propheo of Daniel, . . . . .. 110
Belshas r' frt, . . . . .. .117
Dniel ninth lon' den, ......... 19
Danil's old a.-coamluion, . . ... 1. 6
LIFE OF EZBA.
em from tf *ptivy, . .. . . 141
The mp rbilt, . . . . . .. 14
ER's mibion toPal tne, . . . . 16
Eus a redar-bme-hor elses th mwoa 1.
LIFE OF ESTHER.
Eathr mad quen, . . . . .. 177
ma plot again th Jew, . . . .. .18
The banquet, . . . . . . .. 1
BRuo of te Jw,. . . . . .. 0
LIFE OF NEHEMIAH.
Nehemiah gapa anthity fom Artuaxm to rberl Jm
sl-. ............. ..s
The wall of Jerouaem rise unadt reproach and oppo-
aitio, .............. 210
The walld of Jueru aem oopleted,. .... ... 224
Solemn festia-publo reading ofthe law, 23
Nehmiah' return from PerMda-Sbbath and other rform*-
his Obarater, . . . . . . 244
LIFE OF EZEKIEL.
CAPTIVITY OF TH JfWS.
Tin overthrow of the Hebrew commonwealth
might be explained on principles applicable to all
government. Internal diviiao among the tribes
were followed by war whih weakened alike the
kingdoms of Judah and Irael. They were laf
wvads exposed to pressure from Egypt and Asyria,
and by siding now with one of these power and
then with the other, they incurred the enmity of
both. Thus hemmed in, they would, on the prion
ciples of worldly calculation, fall under the demin-
ion of whichever of the two should gain superiority
over the other.
But the Hebrew commonwealth was a peculiar
institution. It was founded on a special covenant
between God and Abraham, and so long as the
nation fifilled the conditions of this covenant, they
were under the peculiar protection of Jehovah. The
dimensions between the tribes, and the alliance
LIFE OF NZLKILL.
formed with Egypt and Asyria, were only steps in
the apostasy which ended, at length, in the com-
plete overthrow of the nation.
This was not an unforeseen event. Moses pre-
dicted it as a result of forsaking Jehovah. He fore-
warned them that their life lay in obeying their
covenant God, and that death would be the inevi-
table consequence of revolting to the service of idols.
Before the tribes of Israel had passed over Jordan,
or taken possession of Canaan, Moses represents the
nations as inquiring after the oause of their removal
from it. "Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto
this land? What meaneth the heat of this great
anger? Then men shall say, Because they have
foraken the covenant of the Lord God of their
fathers, which he made with them when he led
them forth out of the land of Egypt. For they
went and served other gods, and worshipped them;
and the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger,
and in wrath, and in great indignation."
But though the Jews were fale to their vows,
Jehovah did not utterly cast them off. In wrath
he remembered mercy. The transportation to Baby-
lon was not wholly a punishment. It was designed,
in part, to reform a remnant, that "the offering of
Judah and Jerusalem might be pleasant to the Lord,
a in the day of old, and as in former year." If
the captives became fit for occupying the promised
CAPTIVITY OF TRE JSW. 9
land, they would return to it, and again rejo in
the divine favor.
Accordingly, as in providing seed to plant this
Western world God "sifted three kingdom," he
selected the best portion of the Jews to be carried
into exile, and o arranged the place and cirnm-
stances of their captivity, that, prified by trials,
they might be restored.to their country. Connected
with this better elua, there were, doubtless, a large
number attached to the worship of idol gods.
As stated in the previous volume, probably about
forty thousand people were transported with Jehoi-
oahin from Judah to Babylon. A part of them,
among whom was Eekiel, wen planted in a eowmy
on the river Ohebar, in Mesopotamia. This rive
empties into the Euphrates on the east side, about
two hundred miles north of Babylon. The country
where they were oolonied was a frontier province
of the kingdom, fertile and well fitted for agricul-
ture. While enough of the captives were taken to
the metropolis to attract the notice of the court, and
gain influence which could be sed for the good of
the whole body, a large part wre so far removed
from the centre of power that they could, with les
molestation, enjoy their own customs. At the sme
time, they would be less exposed to the allurements
We have remarked, in another place, that the
LIFE O7 EZlrIIL.
condition of the captive was far from abject. They
were not slaves, nor were the fruits of their labor
torn from them by their conquerors. Some think
that the exiles even had magistrates of their own.
In the early years of their captivity, they may have
been treated with more severity than at a later
period, when the influence of Daniel and his com-
panions was powerful at court, and their former
king Jehoioahin, released from imprisonment, ate at
the table of Evil-merodach, and received an annual
allowance corresponding with his regal dignity.
The Jews were, at that time, probably viewed as
respectable colonists, who enjoyed the peculiar pro-
tootion of their sovereign." At any rate, if their
circumstances had not been tolerable, more of them
would have embraced the offer of a free return to
their own country. They must have hadonsiderable
wealth; for the Jews who returned, about seventy
thousand in number, had more than seven thousand
slaves, and the first contribution for building the
temple amounted to about 120,000, or $600,000.
To none in that age was banishment more trying
than to a pious Jew. While the heathen, allowing
a plurality of deities, could easily fall in with the
worhip of the gods of another country, to him there
was but one God." He belonged to a peculiar
people." He was peculiar in his food, in his relig-
ions sentiments, in his mode and object of worship,
CAPTIVITT OF TRE JIWB. 1I
m his fests and observance of holy time. Jehovah
he was aeeustomed to regard u the special God o
Judah, and Jerualem as the place of his court and
peculiar presence. Away from the coniies of his
country, and amid the altar of foreign gods, he
could scarcely realize that he was within the limits
of the divine guardianship and care.
But by degrees he would learn to feel that Je
hovah is everywhere, that a true worshipper could
commune with him in Babylon or in Judah, on the
banks of the Chebar or in the courts of the temple.
His Jewish feelings would be expanded, his view
of the divine character be spiritualised, and his
mind be gradually prepared to aoquiesoe in the
extension of Jehovh's favor to other than the
children of Abraham.
In this remote country, too, the spirit which
tempted him to say in his native land, "The tem-
ple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple
of the Lord are these," would begin to vanish. The
outward and visible would give place to the in-
ward and spiritual, and thus the tendency to rely
on forms and ceremonies would receive a check.
The high distinction of the Jews among the na-
tions as alone favored with the oracles of God, and
the wonderful interpositions for their deliverance in
other times, made them look down on the heathen
with contempt. But the disasters which had of
Is LIFE OF EZEKINL.
late years befallen their country, and the personal
suferings of the captives, would subdue their spir-
itual pride, and humble them before the God of
Thus, in the case of the pious portion of the ex-
iles, affiction would tend to produce "the peace-
able fruits of righteousness." The amie circum-
stanoes, however, would only irritate the minds of
others, and make them more hardened in dsobe
*X 61OI31 TO PROPllt T.
ZBSvLB ~ WrOUnTIoK TO TKB PROF ETICO F0 e.
TamU may have been in the remote colony at
Chebar sme copies of the Pentateuch, and possibly
some writings of the prophets of a prooeding age
But during the first year of their exile, so far as it
appears, the dreriness of their dwellings was en-
livened by no living prophet. Daniel was riding
in the distant ity of Babylon, but he wu ooonpied
in directing the afin of a mihty empire; and or
solitary letter from Jeremiah, and his prophey
against Babylo, were, so far as we kow, the only
spiritual oonsolation from God's mesegers enjoyed
for year by the pionu colonists.
The fifth year was na slowly rolling on iee
the exiles, from the mountains north of Jeruslem,
had cast their last sad look on the temple and
palaoes of their beloved city. The hope of a speedy
return to their native land had been extinguhed
in the minds of these who gave credit to the me-
age of Jeremiah, noticed in the life of that prophet;
and with little heart for the work, they wer build
ing houses and planting vineyards, in view of a
banihment which, for most of their number, weald
it LIFE OF Z33sI1L.
end only with the close of their earthly pilgrimage.
The prospect filled their minds with despondency.
It seemed as if they were forsaken of Jehovah.
Cut off from the religious privileges peculiar to
their nation, could they expect that he would fol-
low them into these heathen lands with words of
comfort and warning by the mouth of his servant ?
Less perhaps from the expectation of being heard,
than to relieve mental agony, the prayer would
sometimes burst from the lips, "0 send out thy
light and thy truth-let them lead me." With
what joy, then, must the tidings have passed from
mouth to mouth, and from settlement to settlement,
that the Lord had indeed visited his people, and
raised up a prophet, "to give light to them that
sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to
guide their feet into the way of peace."
But filled with joy and gratitude as were the
hearts of the pious at the coming of a messenger
from the Lord of hosts, the great body of the exiles
were animated with far different feelings. They
still clung to the hope of a speedy restoration to
their country, notwithstanding the monitory voice
of Jeremiah. Like their brethren in Jerusalem,
they were infatuated with the belief that the gov-
ernment and temple would be safe, whatever the
sins and the idolatry of the people. Their king
Zedekiah had but a short time before been well
HI uenr i TO ProraEnS. i
received at the court of Babylon, and sent.home in
peace. The chastening of the Lord only made
them more complaining and idolatrou; and her-
ishing the hope that the power of their oppreseors
would soon be broken, they treated the advice of
Jeremiah with contempt.
One of Ezekiel's vigor, fervor, and piety, could
not easily brook such popular delusion. The stronger
the current, the greater the force with which he
would resist it. He venerated the aged prophet
whose admonitions they treated with such sorm,
and his mouth would utter his indignant feeling at
their thoughtlessness and impiety. A spirit lem
courageous might have been overawed, a heart less
ardent might have concealed its fire, policy more
calulating might have withheld rebukes. His
mind, already glowing with zeal,,was about to re-
oeive a new impulse. "Now it came to pas in
the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth
day of the month, as I was among the captives by
the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened,
and I saw visions of God. In the fifth day of the
month, which was the fifth year of Jehoiashin's
captivity, the word of the Lord came expressly unto
Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of
the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand
of the Lord was there upon him."
From what era the prophet reckons, in the fo-
16 LIFr or sZKIsL.
mer of these dates, commentators are not agreed.
Some suppose that it is the commencement of the
reign of Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnemar;
others, that it is the eighteenth year of the reign of
Josiah, when the book of the law was discovered,
and the national covenant with Jehovah renewed.
The thirtieth year after this memorable event in
Jewish history corresponds with the fifth of Jehoi-
At what age Ezekiel was inducted into the pro-
phetic office, the sacred record does not state; but
from the minute acquaintance with every part of
the temple shown in his writings, it is supposed
that he must have served as a priest before his
exile. He began to prophesy about a year after
Jeremiah's message to the Jews in Babylon, ad six
years before Jerusalem was taken. He exercised
the prophetic office from the fifth to the twenty-
seventh year of the captivity. Jeremiah began to
prophesy thirty-four years earlier than Ezekiel, and
for some years the two prophesied contemporane-
ously. The Jews and many of the early Chris-
tian writer supposed Ezekiel was the son or ser-
vant of Jeremiah. There is no proof of such a
relation between them; but both performed a simi-
lar service-the one in Palestine, the other among
the exiles in Babylon. The threatening of Jere-
miah confirmed the woes of REekiel; while the
HB BBsIfi TO PROPRa1 Y. if
trumpet-notes of the letter, rebounding from aar,
gav impresivenes to the ofter notes of the for-
We shall attempt only an outline of the sublime
theophany, or divine appearance, which attended
the indaution of Enekiel into the prophetic office.
While in reality by the river Ohebar, he seemed in
vision to be at the temple in Jerusalem. A whirl.
wind rising from the north bore onward a cloud
emboeoming fires of intense heat And brightness,
from which were revealed four living creatures
having "the likeness of a man," with the appear-
ance of bringg coal." They stood so as to form
a square. Each had four faes, which looked tow-
ards the four cardinal points. In front, opposite to
the view of the prophet, each had the face of a
man; behind, the face of an eagle; on the right,
the face of a lion; on the left, the face of an ox.
Their feet were straight, with soles like the soles of
a calf. Each of the living features had four wings,
beneath which were the hands of a man. The two
lower wings covered the feet-a token of reverence
at the Bast, in the presence of a ruler; the two
upper, outstretched from the shoulders, were joined
one to another." The living creatures went straight-
forward in the direction of either face, without
By each of the living creatures was a wheel of
LIFP OF EZEKIEL.
fearful height, whose rim was full of eyes, and in-
tersected at right angles by another wheel of equal
dimensions. The wheels, like the living ordktures,
moved towards either of the cardinal points, with-
out any lateral turning. The living creatures and
the wheels were all animated by the same spirit,
moving or standing still in harmony, and ever keep-
ing the same relative position.
Above the living creatures and resting on them
was a firm expanse, or pavement, clear as crystal-
like the sea of glass" in the Apocalypse. It was
surmounted by a throne of azure blue, canopied by
the brightness of a rainbow; and on the throne was
"the appearance of a man" glowing "like fire.".
This was "the glory of the Lord." The whole
combination-the wheels with the cherubs support-
ing the pavement-formed a magnificent living
chariot, controlled in all its movements by the di-
vine glory. When it rose from the earth, at the
word of command from the throne, the rushing of
the wings and the rumbling of the wheels were as
the noise of great waters, "the voice of the Al-
mighty, the sound of a host."
Daniel also describes the divine throne as placed
on movable wheels. It is "quite probable that the
Babylonian throne was constructed in the same way,
so that the monarch might move in processions with
all the insignia of royalty about him."
33 BEOINB TO PROPEBaY. If
The chief elements of this vision were derived
from the appearances of God to Mose, and from the
cherubim and the divine glory in the temple; but
from remains lately found among the ruins of Nine-
veh, some peculiar features seem to be taken from
scenes familiar to the prophet in the region of his
captivity. "The four forms chosen by Ezekiel to
illustrate his description-the man, the lion, the
bull, and the eagle-are precisely those which are
constantly found on Assyrian monuments as religious
types." One of the most prominent sacred types is
the eagle-headed, or vulture-headed human figure."
"The winged human-headed lions and bulls, those
magnificent forms which guarded the portals of the
Assyrian temples, not only are found as separate
sculptures, but, like the eagle-headed figures, are
constantly introduced into the groups embroidered
on the robes." Layard's Nineveh and its Remains,
vol. 2, pp. 362, 348, 349.
The prophet may have gazed on some of these
very representations, which, after having been hid.
den in the bosom of the earth for twenty-five ceu-
turies, have now come forth to illustrate God's holy
word, and bear witness to its truth. Figures so
vast, so peculiar, so novel, could not but deeply im-
press the susceptible, poetic mind of Ezekiel, as he
wandered among the magnificent Assyrian palaces,
or fail to furnish materials to decorate a vision de.
sO LIIr OFr nIZIK L.
signed primarily for thoue who, exiles like himself,
were familiar with similar forms.
Overpowered by the sight, Ezekiel fell on his
face, after the oriental manner of showing rever-
ence, and heard a voice, Son of man, stand upon
thy feet, and I will speak unto thee." Strength-
ened and animated by the Spirit of God, he rose
from the ground and listened to the heavenly mes-
age, which the previous soene had prepared him to
hear without a doubt of its divine origin. He was
commissioned to speak to the children of Israel, and
at the same time warned that in executing his office
among a nation "rebellious and obstinate of heart"
in every age, he would have to pass through briars
and thorns, and tread among scorpions. But im-
probable as it was that they would hear his mes-
sage, he must not on that account remit his work.
" Thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether
they will hear, or whether they will forbear." It
was not for the prophet to draw back and urge the
uselessness of so irksome a task. He was not re-
sponsible for the result. Rebellious, like their fa-
thers, and in a state of mind which gave no promise
that they would obey the prophet's voice, it was
right that they should be commanded to return to
their allegiance; and if by rejecting the message
they increased their guilt, the blame would rest
neither on the ambassador, nor on the Sovereign by
HBE SeOIN TO PROPERBY ft
whom ho wu sent. God may feed his children
with bread from heaven, even if his enemies, through
their own fault, convert it into the elements of di.
ease and death. The prophet must derive his m.o
tives from a higher source than the prospect of sue-
cen. He must execute his ministry fom a regard
to the divine will, from a desire for the divine honor,
or he will fail in the hour of trial. He wa the
messenger of Jehovah, and must do his bidding,
not indifferent u to the result, but undeterred by
the want of surce.
LIFE OF EZEKIEL.
EZEKIEL MADE A WATCHMAN.
A HAND now presented to the prophet a roll of a
book, and spread it out before him. "It was writ-
ten within and without," fall of lamentations and
mourning and woe." Books at that time were
commonly written only on one side of the parch-
ment. The roll in the vision of the prophet was
written on both sides, to denote the number and
magnitude of the calamities which were to be the
burden of his message. It was a significant emblem
that his ministry would be a denunciation of wrath,
equally disagreeable and dangerous.
To test the prophet's fidelity, and prepare him
for his work, he was commanded to eat the roll.
He complied without hesitation. "Then did I eat
it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness."
So absorbed was he in the scene which he had just
witnessed, so elevated above the relations and feel-
ings of kindred and country, by the contemplation
of the divine glory, that even the woes he was about
to utter lost all their bitterness.
With his mind thus disciplined and equipped, the
prophet was now ordered to go to his countrymen
in captivity, and speak the words which Jehovah
MADE A WATCHMAN.
should put into his mouth. He ws" not sent to a
people of a strange speeoh and of a hard language,"
but to the house of Israel. Had he, like Jonah,
been ordered to preach to the Ninevites near whom
he dwelt, they would regard his words, and return
from their evil ways; but a nation taught by proph-
ets from the beginning, would not listen to EBekiel,
for they had not listened to Jehovah himself.
Lest the prophet should be borne down by the
pride or the contempt, the reproaches or the threats,
of thee shameless idolaters, he is armed withforti-
tude and intrepidity equal to their hardihood in in.
Behold, I have made thy face strong against their
faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads.
As an adamant, harder than flint have I made thy
forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at
their looks, though they be a rebellious house." The
panoply in which this soldier of the truth was clad
by the Spirit, shows vividly what brazen-faced in-
iquity stalked abroad among the Jews both in their
own country and in Babylon, at this period of their
When God designs to accomplish a work, how
striking is the adaptation between the service and
the character and gifts of the agents whom he em-
ploys. No one of the prophets--ot even Elijah
himself-is more distinguished than Ezekiel for
strength and energy; and in no age were soh
24 LIFE OF UZEKIIL.
qualities more needed in a prophet. He was not
to be diverted from his purpose by a sneer, overawed
by.a frown, or disheartened by reproach. Presump-
tion he met with boldness, and the abominations
of idolatry "with words of onsuming fire." A
weaker or more susceptible mind would have sank
beneath the rough pressure which only roused his
spirit to bolder combat. He was made for his age-
he was a man for the times. "Great occasions," it
is sometimes said, "make great men." The Chris-
tian would rather say, that when God has ooasion
for the instrumentality of great minds, he create
them with powers and qualities suited to his end,
and so uses their agency that they who study his
providence may recognize his hand, and give him
The prophet was now, in vision, lifted up and
carried to Tel-abib, his usual abode, on the river
Chebar. As in spirit he left the temple, he heard
behind him a great rushing of the wings of the
cherubim, and their songs of praise to Jehovah.
Burning with zeal for the divine honor, and filled
with indignation against the wickedness of his coun-
trymen, he remained among them a mourner seven
day. This would awaken their attention to the
meager he was about to communicate, as well a
be a sign of the penitence and humiliation which
became them in view of impending calamities.
MADE A WATCHMAN. U
At the end of seven days, Ezekiel was made "
watchman to the hose of Israel." He uttered sv-
eral predictions against heathen nation more or
less connected with the Jews; but his special pror-
inee was to admonish and console his own ocun-
trymen. In the discharge of this duty, until the
overthrow of the Hebrew commonwealth, he di-
rected his chief attention to the Jews in Palestine,
still proud in their fancied seouity, and recklessly
provoking the vengeance of God by the grosset
wickedness. The warnings and the woes which he
uttered among the colonists on the banks of the
Chebar, were doubtlem soon tranrsitted to the
mother country; for in consequene of the depend-
ency of Zedekish on Babylon, a ready intercorse
was carried on between the exiles and their breth-
ren at home. But the mesages of the prophet con
corned also the idolaters of the captivity. Guilty
of the same sins, they were included in the ame
rebukes, and in a measure exposed to the ame
threatening with their countrymen in Judah. Be-
ginning to suoer the penalty of disobedience, their
own experience would give a deeper meaning to
the words of wrath.
To assur Esekiel of his call to the prophetic
office, and kindle in his soul a livelier awe of the
majesty of Jehovah, the vision of the divine glory
wa now renewed. He needed no ordinary impulse
96 LIFE OF EZBKIEL.
to carry him through the difficulties and danger of
his mision; and such a lifting of the veil to his
mental eye, such an opening of the heavens, would
encourage the prophet, in the greatest trials, to en-
dure "as seeing Him who is invisible." The fiery
cherubs and the glowing throne seem henceforth to
be ever burning in his heart, and glowing in his
speech. So the Son of God was revealed in bright-
ness to fit Paul for the apostleship. So John bore
witness to others of what he had "seen, and felt,
and handled of the word of life." So every minis-
ter of Christ must feel the divine glory burning in
his own bosom, or his efforts will be feeble and his
Ezekiel was now commanded to shut himself up
in his house, and forewarned that he should be
bound with chains. Some suppose that this was
literally done, either by his domestics regarding
him as a madman, or by his enemies enraged at
his predictions. Others consider it as figurative,
denoting that the malice and frowardnes of his
opposes would be like chains, confining him so that
he could not discharge his office. In like manner,
some interpret the prediction that Ezekiel should
be dumb, as literally true; while others think it
denotes, that in consequence of the "rebellious"
hearts of his countrymen, God would not suffer the
prophet, for a season, to rebuke them again.
MADB A WATCHMAN
Soon after this, the prophet was commanded to
portray on a brick or tile the city of Jerusalem,
and to lay liege to the picture, surrounding it with
mounts, and engines, and all the machinery of
ancient warfare. The tiles or bricks used in build-
ing at the East were very large. The most com-
mon method of keeping records in Asyria and Baby-
ion was on prepared bricks, tiles, or cylinders of
clay, baked after the inscription was impressed.
The characters appear to have been stamped.
Ezekiel, who prophesied near the river Chebar in
Assyria, was commanded to take a tik and portray
upon it the city of Jerusalem. Of such records we
have many specimens." Layard's Nineveh, eto.,
vol. 2, pp. 148-9.
The prophet was commanded to lie three hun-
dred and ninety days on his left side, and forty on
his right; and during this time to live sparingly on
a wretched diet, and to drink a limited quantity of
water. This was to denote the famine which would
attend the actual siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchad-
nezzar, and the length of time God had borne with
the wickedness of Israel and Judah. Chronologer
reckon that there were three hundred and ninety
years from the establishment of idolatry by Jero-
boam, to the final deflation of the land by Nebuzar.
adan. Some regard the forty days as denoting the
duration of the captivity after this overthrow.
2S LIFE OF EZBKIEL.
ELEIEL'I VISION OF IDOLATRY AT THE TEMPLE
SDEPRED of the temple service, the Jewish exiles
had no place for the public worship of Jehovah.
The synagogue service had not yet been established.
The pious portion of the captives would wish to
asemble for praise and prayer to the God of their
nation. They could not forget Jerusalem-as well
might the right hand "forget its cunning." They
would be drawn together to deplore their common
lot, and supplicate return of the divine favor. For
this purpose, they would naturally cluster around
the prophet Ezekiel. Indeed, he seems to have
been to them in the place of a temple and a priest
to serve at the altar. This was in aoeordance with
the promise, Thus saith the Lord God, Although
I have cast them afar off among the heathen, and
although I have scattered them among the coun-
trie yet will I be to them u a little sanetuary in
the countries where they shall come."
Esekiel was qualified for such a service by intel-
lectual attainments, as well as by piety and expe-
zience in the priestly office at the temple. The
exiles appear to have resorted to him not only to
obtain divine communications respecting the future,
VI8ION AT ITr Te MPLE. 1W
but for advice in forming such plans for the wor-
ship of Jehovah as their peculiar ciraumstanes
demanded. If they had rulers to take the lead in
civil matters, he was often doubtless consulted;
while he would be the leader in their religious
affair, just u venerated pators were the guides of
the pilgrims in the Western wilderness. On any
new emergency, the Jewish captives would gather
around Bzekiel for counsel, or for consolation.
In the discharge of their office, the prophets,
especially in the later periods of the Jewish dis-
pensation, not only foretold future events, but in-
oulcated general moral truths, sad urged men to
the performance of moral duties. So large a por-
tion of the work of Ezekiel consisted in the latter
kind of service, that he seems not unlike a preseher
of modern time. Other prophets, for the most part,
delivered their messages where men were casully
assembled, or met for other purposes; but many of
the prophecies of Ezekiel seem to have been spoken
at gatherings of the exiles at his house, somewhat
resembling social meetings held at irregular iter-
vals. His addresses, too, seem often to be the pun-
gent application of a sermon to the hearts and con-
sciences of his hearers, rather than predictions of
future events; and when the latter compose, as it
were, the body of the discourse, exhortation and
rebukes often form an application at the close.
30 LIFE OF EZEKIEL.
It was one of these interviews, perhaps, which
Ezekiel notes as occurring fourteen months after his
induction into the prophetic office. "And it came
to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the
fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house, and the
elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the
Lord God fell there upon me." The pious colonists
in that remote land, forgetting the gross wickedness
of their countrymen at home, found it hard to be
lieve Jehovah would desert the holy city and tem-
ple, so long the favorite place of his residence.
Affection would clothe absent friends and scenes
with fictitious charms, and they could scarcely real-
ize that he abhorred what was so precious in their
own remembrances. To justify his dealings with
the nation, God disclosed to the mind of the prophet,
and through him to the assembled elders, the scenes
of wickedness enacted in the temple.
Ezekiel, in vision, seemed to be lifted up between
heaven and earth, and brought to Jerusalem. In
the outer court of the temple, where the people
usually assembled for worship, stood an image of
Baal provoking the anger of Jehovah, and causing
him to retire from his sanctuary. The same ma-
jestic appearance which the prophet had seen on
the banks of the Chebar presented itself at the north
gate of the temple, as if the divine glory was about
to abandon the city.
VISION AT THE TZKPLJ. $1
The prophet was next brought to the court of
the priests, where, in a wall designed to screen their
wickedness from observation, he saw a hole which
he was directed to enlarge, that he might enter into
the secret recesses it concealed. Here, shut out
from the rays of the sun, he found a chamber lighted
with brilliant lamps. Its walls were covered with
pictures of beasts and reptiles, the favorite loath.
some gods of Egypt. Seventy men, perhaps the
individual members of the sanhedrim, or great court
of the Jews which sat here, in the attitude of ado-
ration, each with his censer, were burning costly
incense, and filling the chamber of imagery with a
cloud of perfume. The prophet at once recognized
" Jaaaniah the son of Shaphan," as the chief diree-
tor in these foul mysteries. If he was the son of
that Shaphan who was the scribe and chief adviser
of Josiah, Ezekiel might well be lost in amazement.
Perhaps he had in other days known Jaazaniih as
an ardent worshipper of Jehovah. The sight of
such a man in this den of impurity," would con-
vince the prophet that idolatry had hopelessly per-
vaded the heart of the nation.
A scene similar to this described by Ezekiel was
found by a traveller among the ruins of an Egyp-
tian temple. Considerably below the surface of
the adjoining building, my conductor pointed out to
me a chink in an old wal, which he told me I
33 LIFS or IZIKIBL.
should creep through on my hands and my feet,
the aperture was not more than two and a half feet
high, and scarcely three and a half broad. My
companion had the courage to go fint, and I fol
lowed. after creeping more than ten yards through
this narrow passage, we found ourselves," he adds,
"in a splendid apartment adorned with an in-
credibl prfusion of sacred paintings and iero-
The prophet was now commanded to notice a
still greater abomination. "Then he brought me
to the door of the gate of the Lord's home which
was towards the north; and behold, there at
women weeping for Tammuz." This is another
name for Adonis, a herodivinity," or man deified,
whose untimely death was celebrated among the
Phenicians annually, by a feast of seven days,
during which the whole nation appeared to be
mourners. Conspionous among them were hired
bands of mourning women. These feasts were
concluded by scenes of most revolting and licen-
But abominations still greater had gathered
around the sanctuary. His celestial conductor
turned the attention of the prophet to what was
passing between the porch of the temple, and the
brazen altar of burnt-oflering. Here, five and
twenty men, supposed to represent the chiefs of the
'ISION AT TRI TEMPLE. 5
twenty-fear conus of the priest with the hibg
priest at their head, turning their bake to the
Holy of holies a if in designed eonteapt' the
divine presence, were bowing in adoratio of the
ruing su. The worship of the un was common
st the ast, especially among the Poruis ; and to
guad against it, the ark of the ooenaUnt, over
which was the visible sign of the divine presence,
was placed at the west end of the temple. The
worshippers of Jehovah would, therefore, have to
turn their fces to the west. The priest, to whom
it belonged to assert the claims of the law, are here
reprinted a taking the lead in its violation.
When the prophet, restored to his natural tate,
reported the vision to his auditor, and added the
threatening of the insulted Qod of Israel, There
fore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall net
spare, neither will I have pity," their oeonscienee
must have responded, even amid the destruction of
their fondet wishes, Jut and true are all thy
ways, 0 thou King of saints."
While the prophet was, in vision, still at Jerua.
lem, he heard the voice of Jehovah calling aloud
to the minister of his vengeance to draw nigh,
armed with their instruments of slaughter. Where-
upon six men came from the north into the court
of the priests, and stood beside the brazen altar,
each holding a weapon in his hand. Among them
34 LIFE OF EIZKIEL.
was one dressed in white linen-a garment appro
private to the priestly order-with an inkhorn in
his girdle by his side, after the present custom of
literary men at the East. Corrupt as the nation
had become, there were still a few in Jerusalem
who were distressed at the detestable idolatries
they were daily compelled to witness. Derided
by the thoughtless multitude, and despised by the
princely scorners, their sighs and groaning were
regarded by heaven. Their interceptions could not
ward off judgments from their idolatrous country-
men, whose day of mercy was past; bat they
availed to shield these humble children of God in
the day of evil.
The man with the inkhorn was told to go
through the city, and with a seal dipped in ink
set a mark on the foreheads of all the worshippers
of Jehovah. It was a custom of very ancient date
in Asia, to mark their servants on the forehead. In
India, the Brahmins mark the Hindoo worshippers
on the forehead before they can enter the great
The same voice commanded the executioners of
wrath to follow hard on his steps, and smite with-
out pity the old and young, both maids, and little
children, and women;" but to come not near any
on whom this mark was found. The slaughter
began at the sanctuary, where none had received
VISION AT THR TIIPLU. U
the mark. The fint stroke of vengeance fell on the
priestly worshippers of the sun. The pavement
flowed with blood, and the court were defiled with
the bodies of the slain. Then the ministers of d
strution went forth into the city. While they were
completing the work of death in its streets, the
prophet, left alone at the temple in the midst ot
the slain, fell on his face to intercede for his eoun-
try. But it was too late. The limit of divine for-
bearance was reached, and the transgressor who
contemptuously said, "The Lord emth u not-the
Lord hath forsaken the earth '-were now to learn
that it i a fearful thing to fall into the hand of
the living God."
Who can fail to send forward his thoughts from
such a scene, to that day of greater wrath which
shall come upon the impenitent, or to entreat with
earnestness to be then found among the happy
number who are sealed by the Holy Spirit of God
"unto the day of redemption."
The prophet, standing at the temple, had men
the execution of the aportate priests. But not the
priests only had forsaken the covenant: the rulers
had shared in the revolt. Ezekiel now seemed in
vision to be carried to the eastern gate of the outer
court looking towards the mount of Olivet. This
gate was the most frequent entrance to the temple,
both for Jews and foreigners. Here the prophet
is LIFE OF EZEKIRL.
aw twenty-five men, princes of the people, gath.
ered on some business which concerned the public
welfare. The measures which they devised wee
framed with a wicked intent, and were full of
mischief to the country. These princes evidently
slighted, if they did not even jeer at, the predio-
tions of the prophets of Jehovah, and counselled the
people to treat them as false.
While Ezekiel, pressed in spirit, was in vision
denouncing against them the judgments of heaven,
Pelatiah, one of the leader in rebellion, seemed to
fall down lifeless-probably smitten by the execu.
tioner, who were still hastening on their work in
the city. In the deepest anguish, the prophet again
prostrated himself on the ground, and cried with
a loud voice, Ah, Lord God! wilt thou make a full
end of the remnant of Israel ?" But he was com-
forted by the assurance that the captives in Baby-
lon, whom their brethren in Judah regarded as out-
casts and unworthy to have a part in the land,
would be under the divine care. Jehovah would
be to them a sanctuary, while Jerusalem was burnt
with fire and the country left without an inhabi-
tant. And this remnant of Israel, with "a new
spirit," and "a heart of flesh" in place of their
"stony heart," should return to the inheritance
of their fathers and cleanse the land from all its
VISION AT TRI TIMPL1. 37
The message of wrath which Ezekiel seemed in
vision to speak to the leader in wickedness, wa
doubtless soon transmitted to Jerualem. And
when, after the destruction of that city, many of
its chief men were brought before Nebuchadnezsar
at Riblah, on the extreme northern limit of Pales-
tine, to hear their doom from his lips, the words
of the prophet would ring in their ears as the knell
of death: "Ye shall fall by the sword: I will
judge you in the borders of Israel."
The glory of the Lord, which, in the prophet's
vision, appeared at first on the north side of the
temple, then on the south side, and afterwards at
the eastern gate, at length seemed to ris with the
cherubs and wheels, as if for a final departure.
Hovering for a while over the godless city now
given over to its fate, the symbol of the divine
presence rested on mount Olivet. Here it awaited
the overthrow of Jerusalem, and the building of
another temple, into which the prophet in a later
vision, chap. 43:2, saw it enter. On the same
spot, the Son of God, the brightness of his glory,"
wept over the incorrigible city; hence, too, he
ascended to dwell for ever in the new Jerusalem,
and be the light of a holier temple.
Ezekiel now seemed to be brought by the Spirit
back to Tel-abib, where he reported to the elders
the scenes which had passed before his mind's eye
30 L17S OF NZXKIIL.
in their presence. Some, amid the rain overhang-
ing their native homes and country, would be con-
soled by the promise of favor and safety to the
exiles in Babylon; while others, perhaps, would
ridicule the whole matter as the hallucination of a
madman, or the figments of an impostor to keep
their minds in bondage to Jehovah.
MB DINOUNOIB FALSE PROPHET. s3
BZEIBEL DENOUNCES THE FALSI PROPDET--OHARAC-
TER OF HIS WRITING
On account of the obstinacy of the exiles and
their insensibility to the words of the prophet, God
now commanded him to represent by a viible ign
the ruin impending over the kingdom of Judah.
Prone to rely on the soothing promises of the false
prophets, many of them were still expecting to be
speedily restored to their country. BEekiel was
directed to prepare, in the daytime, to remove
from his habitation, and at evening to go forth in
the tight of the people with his face covered as a
token of ditress, and perhaps to avoid discovery.
To give significance to this action, he was directed
to dig through the wall of his house, and to carry
out his furniture through the opening. The walls
of houses in Asyria were at that time, and are
Itill, commonly built of sun-dried clay or bick, so
that they can be easily penetrated. This emblem
lenoted the fate of Jerusalem plundered of its tress-
ares, and especially the fate of Zedekiah, who,
flying from the city by night, was overtaken by the
Ohaldeans on the plains of Jericho, and arrived
sightless to Babylon.
LIFE OF EZEKIZL.
Emboldened by the divine forbearance, the Jews,
in their common intercourse, with a fool-hardy
levity made sport of the predictions of the prophet,
as if they were entirely false, or at least so slow
and late of fulfilment as to.be stripped of their ter-
rors. Son of man, what is that proverb which ye
have in the land of Israel? The days are prolonged,
and every vision faileth." They were told that this
proverb would soon eease-the vision would not
delay. Mockers would soon be silenced by the
presence of calamity, and false prophets, aghast at
the wide-spread ruin, would no longer be able to
frame a "flattering divination."
When God sheds his Spirit on his people, or eome
forth to denounce his fierce anger against obstinate
tranagrsors, in either ease false teachers may be
expected specially to abound. At such times, the
adversary of souls is anxious lest those led aptive
by him at his will," should break away from his
grasp, through desire for the good, or dread of the
evil. His most efficacious instrumentality to keep
them in subjection, is falsehood on the lips of men
who make great claims to superior light, and hold
forth large promises ofliberty to others, while "them-
selves the servants of corruption." Such teachers,
who would be thought too humane to believe Ged
in earnest when he threatens ill to the work of his
own hands, arm men against the fear of his di.
Xn InROUE3o rPALIB Pt OTPRXt. 41
pleaue, and practically annul hi moral gon-
ment. Asfrom thebeginning, "visionsof p e"-
visions which say one can ee and utter who owns
no allegiance to the truth, and feels no regard for
the souls of men or the claims of his Maker-re
their main dependence for seeuring dominion over
This lass will always abound, so long a men
are more ready to give heed to what quiets them in
sin, than what fits them for duty and heaven. So
long as some had rather be deceived than saved,
pleased rather than profited, there will be enough
others to "prophesy out of their own heart."
Such were the false prophets in the days of
Eekiel. Against no other els was he more
severe and caustic. Not for their impiety, avarie,
or corruption-though they were compieaes for
all these-but mainly because they led the people
to trust in a lie, by their pnrtended messages fro
the Lord. Ezekiel did not suppose that error
most harmless when let alone-that it is equally a
breach of charity and good policy, u illiberal a
inexpedient, to stem the tide of error by the barriers
of truth. His fervid spirit, always glowing in the
discharge of his prophetic office, blaed with nw
fires when he came in contact with those who
wrought evil under cover of peculiar devotedne
to the cause of humanity, and sought their owv
LIFB OF EZBRIEL.
interest under the pretext of special regard for the
public welfare. The false prophets, whether they
were conscious of speaking falsehoods, or whether
beginning with deception they at last believed their
own lies, Ezekiel declares should not be numbered
among the people, nor return with the exiles to
their native land. He calls them foxes, or jackals,
cunning, voracious, and mischievous; he terms
them workmen that daub with untempered mor-
tar" the wall of clay, which, strong as it appears,
and durable as the builder affirms it will be, beaten
by the tempest and drenching rain, and great hail-
stones, will speedily disolve and bury its founder
in the ruins.
But most melancholy of all-saddest evidence of
the triumph of depravity over principle in that cor-
rupt age-lips that should have commended truth
to the wayward heart, were perverted to give
charms to error. Women were found who, "for
handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread "-for the
smallest ana meanest reward-prophesied lies out
of their own heart," and strengthened the hands
of the wicked, that he should not return from his
wicked way, by promising him life."
Certain elders of the captivity whose heart
were st on idols came to consult Ezekiel, probably
respecting the fate of themselves and their brethren
in Judah. "Should I," aid Jehovah, "be inquired
KU DNOxUNOnE rALasd .norIIT. a4
of at all by them ? Therefore, speak unto them,
Thus faith the Lord God, Every man of the home
of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, aad
putteth the stumbling-blook of his iniquity before
his face, and oometh to the prophet; I the Lord
will answer him that oometh according to the mul-
titude of his idols." These elders did not gather
around the prophet in mockery. They manifestly
believed that Jehovah was able to disclose future
events, and that Ezekiel had more intimate aces
to him than the false prophets, who winked at, or
even encouraged their idolatry.
What a contradiction between the conduct and
the belief of these apostate Israelites! How un-
reasonable to expect a favorable answer from Je-
hovah, whom they set at naught both in their afeo-
tions and in their practice. But a counterpart to
this absurdity is now found wherever men assemble
for the public worship of the true God. The idols,
indeed, are diverse from those of ancient times or
in heathen lands, but they are none the less idols
for that. Whether they put on some outward shape,
as silver and gold, dress or equipage--or are with-
out form, as honor, pleasure, knowledge, taste-they
are worshipped with all the fervor of the elder of
Israel bowing down before their embodied gods of
wood and stone. Men in Protestant lands do not,
like the Jews in Esekiel' vision, paint the obeaots
44 LIFE oF ZlUIUL.
of their worship on the walls of the sanctuary, and
perfume them with clouds of incense; but the idol
portraiture that adorn the recesses of the heart
beam as distinctly on the omniscient eye, as the
abominations of the image-chamber glared on the
gaze of the astonished prophet.
And what can such men expect to obtain by
their worship, which might not have been expected
by the elders of Israel ? What other return than
the fearful reply revealed in the result of their
hypocritical service, "I will answer them accord-
ing to the multitude of their idols?"
The overthrow of the Hebrew commonwealth
was now drawing nigh. Such idolatry, profane-
ness, corruption, and shedding of blood, could not
much longer be suffered in the holy city. Nothing
could delay the stroke of vengeance-not even the
intereesions of Noah, Job, and Daniel, if they were
all dwelling in the land, and united in deprecating
the judgments of heaven. Their righteousness could
avail only to their own preservation. Such had
been the ways of Providence with the incorrigible
in other times, and much more should it be ex-
pected in the ease of Jerusalem. Noah could not
by his intercessions save the old world from the
flood, nor Job avert the fate of his children, nor
Daniel by any entreaties prevent the captivity of
his countrymen. Yet God would spare a remnant
HB DENOUNOS FALBS PROPRET8. 4g
of the people still in Judah, sad bring them to
Babylon-not for their own sake, nor for say humse
interposition in their behalf, but that the exiles
among whom Bsekiel was living might, from this
specimen, wee how low their countrymen had sunk
in depravity, and feel that God had ample provo-
cation for uprooting the kigdom.
Some think, however, the prophet specifies Noah,
Job, and Daniel, became their interoesions, in cer-
tain cases, had proved specially eflectual: Noah's,
in searing the safety of his family; Job's, in ob-
taining pardon for his friends; and Daniel's, in pre-
venting the execution of his three companions and
the wise men of Babylon.
Daniel, at this time, was from twenty-five to
twenty-seven years old. Had he been mentioned
alone, had it only been said that nt even the in-
terposition of Daniel for an apostate nation should
stay punishment, this would betoken a high degree
of moral excellence. But when he is united on
such an occasion with two of the distinguished
worthies of the Old Testament, it proves that both
in the estimation of his countrymen, and in the
judgment of heaven, he had reached a purity and
dignity of character to which few mortals attain.
What a proof have we here of the value of intern
memory prayer, and what encouragement to ofier it
for ou friean and our country. If the fervent sp-
LIFt OF UZZIKIL.
plications "of a righteous man" do not, in ordi-
nary circumstances, "avail much" in behalf of
others, how unmeaning, how absurd even, is the
language uttered by the prophet as he "was moved
by the Holy Ghost." Deny that such prayers com-
monly have power with God, and the exception-
for such the case supposed by the prophet mani-
festly is-has no force and no significance.
The character of Ezekiel's writings is unlike that
of most portions of the Bible. He is a prophet of
parables and allegories. What other sacred writers
present in one or two features, he often pictures in
full. Thus, the church, or people of God, is fre-
quently compared in the Scriptures to a vine.
Ezekiel extends the figure. "Son of man, What
is the vine-tree more than any tree, or than a
branch of the trees of the forest? Shall wood be
taken thereof to do any work; or will men take a
pin of it to hang any vessel thereon ? Is it meet
for any work ?" Other sacred writers compare the
relation which God holds to his people to the mar-
riage bond. Ezekiel gives force and vividness to
the apoetasy of Israel by the allegory of a wife, who,
after the kindest and most delicate treatment, had
become faithless to her vows. In like manner, the
revolt of the Jewish king from Nebuchadnezzar
with whom he had made a treaty, and his alliance
with Egypt, are represented by the allegory of a
OZARAlOTR OF IIS WRITING. 49
vie, which, planted ad carefully cherished by aa
eagle, bent its roots and shot forth its branches
towards another eagle, and is therefore threatened
Ezekiel, under divine guidance, employed this
method so often, doubtless, because it was well
fitted to gain the attention of his hearers, many of
whom were indifferent to the truth. In the age
and part of the world in which he lived, it was a
favorite kind of composition. This species of writ-
ing seems, also, much in unison with Ezekiel's
genius and turn of mind. The Spirit, in employ
ing men as the medium of a revelation to the world,
does not suppress the exercise of their natural pow-
er. The same truths would take a different shape
in paying through different minds. Hence, even
when inspired, the writers would exhibit their pe-
ouliar tastes. This gives an interest to the Bible
which it would never have, if all was formed on
the same model.
The unbelieving exiles, as men are ever prone
to do, loath to own themselves the authors of their
calamities, threw the blame on God, who, they
alleged, punished them for the sins of their ances-
tors. In their daily intercourse they so often made
this remark, that it passed into a proverb among
them: "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and
the children's teeth are mt on edge." The inspired
a LIFII 01F NSKIL.
prophet-preacher, on one occasion, probably whn
they were gathered at his house for social worship,
addressed to them a discourse on this subject, which,
for earnestness, pungency, and power over the con-
scienoe, as well as an expresion of God's desire for
the holiness and happiness of men, is rarely equal-
led in the Old Testament. The main thought is
turned over and over again, and yet is presented in
suoh a variety of forms that the attention never
flags. The truth is driven home to the heart.
Why, says the prophet in effect, should God treat
the fathers better than they deserved, at the ex-
pease of the children? Why let the idolates of
one generation escape punishment, and exact the
penalty from their innocent posterity ? Both an
his. "Behold, all sul are mine: as the sul of
the father, so also the soul of the son is mine." By
undeserved clemency to the former, he did the latter
no injustice; they suffered no more than was due
to their own iniquities.
But the objector might ask, Did not God threaten
to punish the ten tribes for the sin of Jeroboam,
and the kingdom of Judah for the crimes of Ma-
naeh ? True; but in both cases the nation, at the
time calamity fell on them, were actively practi-
ing the same ins, and deserved the punishment for
their own transgresions.
The objector may ask again, Does not God de-
ONAACOTER O1F2li3 WIITIN9.
elare in the dialogue, I am a jealous God, visit.
ing the iniquities of the fathers upon the children
to the third and fourth generation of them that
hate me ?" True; and the world over, it is plai
from observation, that this in fact is a principle
of God's moral government. Children often suffer
everywhere, in their physical constitution, even to
the third and fourth generation," for the trans-
gresions of their ancestors; they suffer in their
good name, often in their property, and in all their
worldly prospects. Their advantages for moral
culture, and even their hope of eternal life, are
materially ateted by the circumstances of their
ancestor. This connection and thee results the
prophet could not intend to deny. They are not
meant as punishments for the children, unless they
imitate their parents in transgression, but to deter
parents from sinning by the evil which it will cause
In view of the principle that God would judge
every one according to his ways, and that the peni-
tent would escape the punishment due to their sins,
the prophet closes with an urgent appeal to his
hearers, which shows that the spirit of the Mosaic
dispensation harmonizes with the spirit of the gos-
pel, and that the essential elements of piety are
the same in every age. "Repent and turn your-
selves from all your transgressions; so iniquity hall
sO LIFSr 07 ssKIL.
not be your ruin. Cat away from you all your
transgressions by which ye have transgressed, and
make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why
1rill ye die, 0 house of Israel For I have no pleas-
ure in the death of him that dieth, sith the Lord
God; therefore turn yourselves and live."
If an exiled patriot could say of old, "Where
liberty dwells, there in my country," well might
the Jewish captives feel that where such notes of
peace resounded, such voices from heaven greeted
the ear, there was the temple, and there the holy
city of God.
Under the figure of a forest wrapped in flames,
the prophet again foretells the destruction of Jeru-
salem, but without any salutary impression on his
refractory hearers. He complains of the levity or
contempt with which they treated his warnings.
Ah, Lord God! they say of me, Doth he not speak
parables ?" As men are wont, who strive to turn
aside the edge of truth, they pretended that his
teachings were disconnected, obscure, and not worth
regarding. Half afraid, perhaps, that his predio-
tions would come to pass, they tried to hush their
misgivings by finding fault with the prophet's man-
ner of delivering his message.
That they might have no excuse for mistaking
the purport of his predictions, Ezekiel was directed
to declare in plainer terms that the Lord bad drawn
COARAOTXl 0 BIS WRITING. af
his sword out of its sheath, and would return it o
more, nntil he had out off from Jerusalem both the
righteous and the wicked. Suspended over the de-
voted oity, sharpend, furhed, and thirting for
the blood of the guilty, it awaited only the signal
to begin its work.
The prophet then points out the king of Babylon
as the executioner of the threatened vengeance.
Designing an attack on Egypt, it was necessary for
Nebuchadnezzar to reduce under his power either
Jerusalem or Rabbath-Ammon, which lay in his
way. If he should fail in his enterprise against
Egypt, with both these cities unsubdued in his rear,
they might out off his retreat. When the king o
Babylon on his march should come to the place
where the road divided into two parts-one leading
to Jerusalem, the other to RabbathA mmon-the
prophet predicted that he would betake himself to
soothsaying to determine which of these cities he
should first attack. One mode he would employ
for this purpose would be divining with arrow.
This was probably done by placing in a quiver
arrows inscribed with the names of one or other of
these two cities. Providence would guide the hand
of Nebuchadnezzar to draw forth the fatal arrow
on which was inscribed the name of Jerusalem,
and he would march against that city.
This took place as predicted by the prophet
83 LIF OF EZSEKIL.
On the very day in which the siege begsn, the
Lord informed the prophet in the distant colony of
Chebar, that Nebouhadnezzar had invested Jeruss
lem. Doubtless Esekiel immediately informed his
fellow-exiles of this event. He was instructed to
note the day, that his countrymen might afterwards
be assured the intelligence was received from a
*I8 PRZBONAL KIITOIT. U
BZEKExL'8 PBFSONAL mHTORY--IIO OF TMB TALLT
OF DRY BONZB
Tn book of Ezekiel contains sare a traoe of
his personal or domestic history. A model of a true
servant of God, he forgets himself in the discharge
of his official duties. He had hopes and fears, joy
and sorrows, like the other exiles, but they seem
to be swallowed up by zeal for the honor of God
and the reformation of his countrymen. He was a
husband, perhaps a father. He had a home, per.
hape domestic anxieties-certainly, domestic con-
fort and peace. When chafed by the opposition or
indifference of his hearers, there was one to calm
his ruffled spirit. When wounded by the revilings
of his enemies, there was one to soothe the pain.
When wearied with the toils and perplexities of his
daily occupations, there was one to matter the
weariness with a smile. Calumniated, taunted,
hated abroad, at home there was encouragement,
confidence, and love. Like the great German re-
former-Ezekiel, intrepid and severe in rebuking
transgresors and denouncing idolatrous worship,
had, we may believe, in the family circle, all the
simplicity and gentleness of a child. We might be
satifiad that so earned a spirit must have been
(4 LIFB OF EZBEIIL.
united with deep sensibilities; but the proof would
have been wanting if Providence had not smitten
the rock and disclosed to us the fountains concealed
in its bosom. A touching incident interwoven with
his official history shows us that the domestic vir-
tues nestled warm in the breast of the prophet.
Ezekiel had just informed the exiles of the siege
of Jerusalem, and by a terrific image set forth the
utter destruction which awaited the city. Bending
beneath the burden of grief for his country, a new
woe hangs over him still more distresing. Another
message comes to him from Jehovah. "Son of man,
behold, I take away from thee the desire ef thine eyes
with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep,
neither shall thy tears run down. Forbear to cry,
make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thy
head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet,
and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men."
How was the prophet overwhelmed with sorrow.
Every earthly joy and hope crushed in a moment,
without any preparation for the blow; and denied
the privilege of relieving the bursting heart by tears,
or of showing respect for the dead by the signs of
mourning usual on the lightest occasion of grief.
But through the supporting hand of God, the com-
mand was obeyed. In full view of the descending
stroke, the prophet "spake unto the people in the
morning." The Bible does not state the subject of
HIS PISONAL KISTO1T. U
his dimounre. Whether he disclosed to hi heares
the aEliotion he was about to suffer, we know not.
But though the tear was forbidden to low, the
voice was not forbidden to tremble, the lips to
quiver, nor the countenance to reveal the deep
emotions of the heart. The address of the prophet
would have an unction, a tenderness, a holy eleva-
tion of thought and feeling, to which the most giddy
and hardened could not be insenible.
With a sublime brevity he records the desolation
of his home by the fulfilment of the prophecy: "At
even my wife died, and I did in the morning as I
was commanded." Not a murmur whispers in his
heart. "I was dumb, I opened not my mouth,
because thou didst it." "Shall we receive good at
the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive
The people, to whom doubtless the worth of the
departed, and the domestic happiness of the prophet
were well known, were autonished at his strange
behavior. Wilt thou not tell us what these things
are to us, that thouldoest so?" This gave the
prophet an opportunity to unfold the meaning of
his conduct. It was to be a ign unto them. God
would destroy the temple on which their hearts were
set; and would overwhelm the nation with such a
uccession of calamities, that the customary sins
of grief would be disregarded, either through fear
LIFK OF BZEKINL.
of provoking the wrath of the enemy, or beeauee
their woes were beyond the power of expression.
This was the last denunciation uttered against
the apostate city until its overthrow.
As the conduct of Ezekiel during his afliotion
attracted the notice of his neighbors, so the conduos
of Christians, under the los of friends, will be
watched by the world. Men expect calmness and
submission from those who profess to have the sup-
ports of religion in their souls, and the hope of eter-
nal joys to cheer them under earthly trials. The
Christian who regards either consistency of charao-
ter or the honor of the gospel, will seek to moderate
his sorrows, and to show that the consolations of
God can sustain the wounded spirit. The apostle
reckons "death" as well as "life," among the
treasures of the church. She plucks her brightest
jewels from the crown of the king of terrors, and
gathers her richest tribute and her most glorious
trophies from his gloomy domains. Not only the
serenity, the joy, the triumph of the dying saint
shed a lustre on the gospel yhich the world cannot
counterfeit, but the resignation, the cheerfulneu,
the mellowness of spirit manifested by afflicted
Christian friends, the softened light of heaven
beaming in their countenances, bear testimony to
the power and excellence of true piety that the
world can neither gainsay nor resist.
HISB IRIONAL HISTORY. f
Nearly three years had now pmsed sinee Bseie
announced the siege of Jersalem to his fellow.
exiles. Through this period he had bee silent in
respect to the sins and fate of his countrymen, at
least he had uttered no new prediction in reference
to these points. At length, in the twelfth year of
the captivity, and sixteen months after Jerusalem
was taken, one who had escaped out of the city
came to the prophet and informed him of that event.
The enemies of Ezekiel as well as hi friends, would
question the fugitive closely as to the time when
the city was invested by the Chaldeasn; and when
the day was found to coincide with that noted by
the prophet, one might think the scoffs and unbelief
of his opposers would have an end. But men do
not sooff at God's messengers, or disbelieve their
words, for want of evidence. The enmity has its
root in the heart. Such persons would not "be
penuaded, though one rose from the dead."
Unmoved by the destruction of the holy city, and
unchanged by the striking proof of Ezekiel's pro.
phetic character, many of the exiles treated him
and his teachings as lightly as ever. Son of man,
the children of thy people still are talking against
Sthee by the walls and in the doors of the houses,
and speak one to another, every one to his brother,
saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the
word that oometh forth from the Lord." In thi
68 LIFB OF BEBKIIL.
spirit they assembled at the prophet's house with
the true worshippers of Jehovah, and while they
gave externally a respectful attention to his words,
they were gathering materials for ridicule and sport.
To some who were lew light and ungodly, the proph-
et, even after Jehovah had so manifestly shown his
message to be divine, was "as a very lovely song
of one that hath a pleasant voice and can play well
on an instrument." They sought only amusement,
and perhaps entertained no less aversion towards
the truth, than those who turned it into jest and
merriment in the assembly of mockers. They loved
excitement; and this they found in the dark, start-
ling pictures which Ezekiel drew of the sins of the
people, and of famine, pestilence, and sword league
to desolate city and field. And when, after the
overthrow of Jerusalem and the temple, the proph-
et, to cheer the desponding captives, mingled the
notes of consolation with the blasts of woe, they
regarded this only as a pleasing variety in the
strains of his song.
Happy would it be for the world, if this class of
hearers did not everywhere abound. They listen to
the gospel, not for the sake of salvation, but for the
sake of excitement; and sport on the banks of the
river of life, when they should drink of its waters
that they may live for ever.
The Jewish commonwealth now existed only in
RIB PERIOXAL 1IUTOXY.
the purpose of God, and its restoration to its fomw
rtate was only a matter of faith. The nation had
broken the covenant with Jehovah, sad forfeited
all the blessing promised to obedience. But he
designed, after bringing them to a mnse of their
wickedness and a hatred of idol worship, to restore
them to their own country. Jeremiah had predicted
this in Palestine; Ezekiel had predicted the same
in Babylon; but now the divine purpose was be
coming more manifest, and favor, not wrath-oom-
passion, not vengeance, was henceforth the chiet
theme of his ministry. "I will," says Jehovah to
the captives, "take you from among the heathen,
and gather you out of all countries, ad will bring
you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle you
with clean water, and ye shall be clean: from all
your filthiness and from all your idols will I olease
you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new
spirit will I put within you; and ye shall be my
people, and I will be your God."
In the desperate state of their flurs, the Jews
were slow to embrace and take the full comfort of
thee promises. To strengthen their faith, and re-
move their despondency, the prophet uttered the
vision of the valley of dry bones; which, for aptness
of illustration, sublimity, and impressiveness, is
equalled by few portions of holy writ. Its applioa-
tion to the condition of the Jews was too plain to be
LI11 017 SIIIBL.
mistaken. What if their temple had been bunt
up; the city of their -sabmaiti levelled with the
ground; the people torn fem their country, and
scattered ameag the heahn? What if their king
was a power blind priueer in a Babylonish dungeon?
Were net the bone of the valley exceeding dry; and
yet, did not bone find his bone, and the sinews bind
them together, and the flesh oome upon them, and the
breath of the Lord animate them, and array them on
the plain a very great ot? And cannot God gather
the captives from among the nations, raie up Jeru*
salem, rebuild the temple, and fill the land with ina
habitants? "I any thing too hard for the Lord?"
After an interval of thirteen year, Ezekiel saw
the visis concerning the temple, the city, and the
holylsad, chapters 40-48. Commentator are not
agreed in their interpretation of this part of his
prophecies, some regarding it as an emblematical
description of the prosperity of the church in the
millennium; others, as an image of the restoration
of the Hebrews, and especially of the state of the
country in the time of the Maccabees.
Ezekiel denounced the vengeance of God against
the Ammonites, Edomites, and Philistines, for hat-
ing the Jew and insulting them in their distress.
He also foretold the desolation of Tyro and Egypt.
The predictions against these two letter countries
we will briefly illustrate by histeoiil facts.
VUL711K3NXT 07 130133012
rwFULFnar OF PFloUnoII-TT ANID BOYPT.
Tru. In the eleventh year of the captivity, four
months before Jerusalem was taken, Bekiel pro
dieted that Tyre, because it rejoiced in the appeaseo
ing fate of that city, anticipating an increase of
prosperity from its downfall, would be destroyed by
Nebahadnessar. Tyre was at thi time of the
richest and most commercial eitis in the world.
"Thus saith the Lord God. Beheld, I will brng
upon Ty Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, a
king of kings, from the north, with horses, ad with
chariots, and with honrmenua, d Ceeomlpai, ud
muh people. And he shall set agim of war
against thy walls, and with his aes dall he break
down thy towers. With the hoofs otfhi hoema
shall he tread down all thy streets: he shall lay
thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrs
shall go down to the ground Nebuehadaea
invested Tyre the second year after the destruetie
of Jerusalem, and took it, after a iee of thirteen
years. A part of the inhabitants, rwhk tlhy saw
that the city could not hold oat loq, wr t o beard
their uhip and sailed to Carthage, whik w a
68 LIFs O0 aIsZKxIL.
Tyrian colony. The rest took all their precious
things and carried them over to the neighboring
island, and either founded or enlarged a city called
New Tyre. Since that time old Tyre has perished.
Isaiah foretold that Tyre would be restored, after
seventy years, and return to her gain and merchan.
dise. All this took place; for the Tyrians, about
seventy years afterwards, aided the Ionians against
the Persians, and they furnished Xerxes with sev-
eral ships when he invaded Greece. This shows,
that though old Tyre was in ruins, the new city on
the island was flourishing.
Ezekiel predicted a second destruction: "Thus
saith the Lord God, Behold, I am against thee, O
Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up
against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come
up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus; and
break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust
from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It
shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the
midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the
Lord God." "And they shall lay thy stones, and
thy timber, and thy dust in the midst of the water."
"I will make thee a terror; and thou shalt be no
more: though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou
never be found again."
Not only is the destruction of Tyre here foretold,
but the manner in which Alexander the Great would
FULrfLMINT OF PROPZeSInS. $
oaduct the siege: They shall lay thy stones, ad
thy timber, and thy dust in the midst of the water."
" I will alo rape her dust from her." New Tyre
was not only strong from its situation on an island,
but its walls were one hundred and fifty feet high,
and thick in proportion. Alexander was enraged
at the obstinacy of the Tyrians and the length of
the si eg oh in the whole was even months.
He dete as he could not bring his army to
the city in any other way, to build a mound, or
cauey, from the main land across the water to
the island. For this purpose, he made use of the
uins of the old city, which, according to Pliny and'
Strabo, were scattered over a spaoe of nineteen
miles in circumference. The Tyrians and the sea
at first destroyed the work; but the remains under
water were a foundation on which he again raised
a mound, two hundred feet wide and three quarters
of a mile long. In constructing this mound, "the
soil and the very rubbih were gathered and heap-
ed." In this way, the prophecy was literally ful.
filled. This use of the ruins shows why traveller
are not able to determine the site of the ancient
city. "Thou shalt be sought for, and shalt never
The building of Alexandria in Egypt by Alexas
der, took away a great deal of the trade of Tyre.
But it was still so nourishing that a few years aSar
64 LIFr o0r zzzII L.
wards it was besieged fourteen months by Antigeoum
before it was taken. In the loiowng century, Tyre
was sometimes subject to Syria, and sometimes to
Egypt. It was conquered by the Romans, was
taken from them by the Saracens, and retaken by
the crusaders; and at length, in 1289, was plun.
dered and destroyed by the Mamelukes of Egypt
that it might not afford a shelter to thohristians
It now belongs to the Turks. God hasA.hflled his
word concerning Tyre: "I will make thee like the
top of a rock; thou shalt be a place to spread nets
upon." Shaw says, the port of Tyre "is so choked
up with sand and rubbish, that the boats of those
poor fishermen who now and then visit this once-
renowned emporium, can only with great difficulty
Tyre was half-ruined by an earthquake in 1837.
A recent traveller says, "Tyre has indeed become
like the top of a rook. The sole tokens of her more
ancient splendor-columns of red and grey granite,
sometimes forty or fifty heaped together, or marble
pillar*-lie broken and strewed beneath the waves .
in the midst of the sea; and the houses that now
nestle upon a portion of her site, present no contra-
diction of the dread decree, Thou shalt be built
Earn. About three years after the destruction
of Tyre, Ezekiel prophesied against Egypt: "Son
VULIILKLM T OF PRonP@r3O I.
of man, Nebehadneaar king of Babyloa ear ed
his army to ere a great service against Tyrus:
every head was made bald, and every shoulder was
peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army for
Tyrus, for the service that he had served against
it. Therefore thus faith the Lord God: Behold, I
will give the land of Egypt unto Nebechadnemar
king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude,
and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall
be the wage for his army. I have given him the
land of Egypt for his labor wherewith he served
against it, because they wrought for me, saith the
Lord God." Ezekiel 29: 18-20.
Neboohadnear invaded Egypt, which, weak-
ened by the contentions of Aprie and Amasi, two
rivals for the throne, fell an easy prey into his
hand. He made himself master of the whole eoun-
try, and transferred many of the Egyptians to the
territorybeyond the Euphrates. He leftAmais tobe
king of Egypt, who undoubtedly paid him tribute.
Ezekiel predicted that Egypt would become a
"base kingdom." This, from the appearance of
things at that time, could scarcely be regarded as
credible. Egypt was one of the most ancient king-
dome mentioned in history. It was a fertile coun.
try, being watered by the different branches of the
Nile, and was called the granary of the world. Its
inhabitants excelled in the arts and sciences, an
66 LIFx OF BZBKIEL.
persons from other countries travelled thither to
acquire knowledge. It is said of Moses, that he
was "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians;"
and of Solomon. that his wisdom excelled all the
wisdom of Egypt." Herodotus states that there
were twenty thousand cities in Egypt, and the
number of its inhabitants was incredible.
But Egypt had provoked the anger of the Lord
by its sins; and strong cities, and a large popula-
tion, and fertile fields, could not save it from pun-
ishment. "It shall be the basest of the kingdoms,
neither shall it exalt itself any more among the
nations." "I will make the land waste, and all
that is therein, by the hand of strangers. And there
shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt."
After the destruction of the Babylonian empire,
Egypt became subject to the Persians, and so con-
tinued, for the mostpart, until their kingdom was
overthrown by Alexander. It was governed by the
Ptolemies two hundred and ninety-four years. It
next came under the dominion of the Romans, and
was reduced by Octavius Csar into a Roman prov-
ince, about thirty years before the Christian era.
When the Roman empire was divided, Egypt fell
to the share of the Eastern emperors, whose capital
was Constantinople. They continued to govern it
until the year 641 after Christ, when it was con-
quered by the Saracens.
FULFILMENT OF PROPKENOIE. 87
During the wars between the Romur and &r.
aeens, the celebrated library at Alexandria, con-
taining seven or eight hundred thousand volume,
was destroyed. This library brought many learned
men from foreign countries to Egypt, and tended to
promote knowledge among the Egyptians. After
its destruction, Egypt sank into greater ignorance
and superstition, and became more "base."
About the year 1260, Egypt came under the
power of the Mamelukes. These were slaves,
brought young from Cireasia and other parts of
Asia, and trained up in military exercise. They
became the best soldiers of the Egyptian sultans,
and at length slew their sovereigns and seized on
the government. While the country was under
their dominion, it was "filled with war, battles,
injuries, and rapines." The Turks conquered Egypt
in the year 1617, and have held possesion of it
until the present time. Thus far, then, the predio-
tion has been confirmed: There shall no more be
a prince of Egypt." "It shall be the basest of the
The land too, as predicted, has been wasted "by
the hand of strangers." Volney, an infidel, says of
Egypt, that "deprived three and twenty hundred
years ago of her natural proprietors, she has seen
her fertile fields succesaively a prey to the Persians,
the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Georgians,
I "- T -
LIFE OF LZEKEIL.
and, at length, to the race of Tartas distinguished
by the name of Ottoman Turks." Gibbon speaks of
the Egyptians as condemned "to perpetual servi-
tude, under the arbitrary dominion of stranger and
In consequence of the enterprise of Mohammed
Ali Pacha, its late ruler, who sprung from Albania,
Egypt is more flourishing than it has been for cen-
turies. But it is no less "wasted by strangers."
On one occasion, when the Turks endeavored to dis-
place him, Mohammed exclaimed, "Cairo is to be
publicly sold; whoever will give the most blows
of the sabre will win it, and remain master." He
took "into his own hands the greater part of the
territorial possessions;" and even the owners of the
lands which he did not seize, were not masters of
the crops. Having created the commerce and man-
ufactures of Egypt, Mohammed Ali regarded them
as his own property, or at least, as so much under
his control that no one was permitted to fix a price
or choose a market for his products. "Not a fam-
ily in Egypt dared to spin and weave the cotton
which, they wear on their own bodies." Egypt,
then, is a monument more enduring than her pyra-
mids, to the divine mission of the prophet-exile.
LIFE OF DANIEL.
DAIBL OARU D CAPTIVE TO BABYLON.
In ancient times, prisoners of war, if their lives
were spared, were universally regarded a the laves
of the conquerors. This would have,been the lot
of the Jews in Babylon, according to the ordinary
practices of warfare. They were removed from
their country as a punishment for disobedience, but
in the divine purpose the punishment was deigned
to prepare them for the renewed favor of Jehovah.
What provision, then, should we expect he would
make to save them from drinking the fll dregs of
the oup of slavery ? By what means would he
render their condition tolerable, while in subjection
to a cruel, superstitious, and idolatrous nation? If
we look at his previous dealings with the Hebrews,
we may be guided in our answer to these inquiries.
God had promised the land of Canaan to the poa
terity of Abraham. But Abraham led a pastoral
LIFE OF DANIRL.
life, and so did his posterity.for several generations.
God meant they should be chiefly a nation of agri-
culturists in the land of Canaan. This would best
fit them for steady subjection to the laws and cere-
monies which he would establish for training them
up in his service. He therefore took them down to
Egypt, and planted them among an agricultural
people, that they might put off their roving habits,
and become accustomed to the regular, quiet occu-
pations of husbandmen. To give them favor with
the Egyptians, he sent before them a young Hebrew,
beautiful in appearance, of amiable temper, and a
comprehensive mind, and withal possessing the
power of interpreting dreams-qualities which fitted
him specially in those times to gain love and con.
fidence, and won for him the highest offices in the
In the process of preparing the Hebrews for a
residence in Canaan, and making them willing to
relinquish the luxuries of Egypt, God reduced them
to a rigid bondage. When the time of their release
came, he raised up among them an individual com-
bining beauty and dignity of person, with an intel-
lect, imagination, and taste, rarely equalled. Edu-
cated, through a directing Providence, at the court
of Pharaoh in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and
ended with an unsurpassed genius for devising and
talent for executing such plans as the occasion deo
CARRIED OAPTIVT TO BASYLON. 71
handed, he became the leader of his nation to the
In every subsequent crisis of their affairs, a
strength of body, or military prowess, or personal
influence, or wealth for adorning the temple, or
songs of praise for its worship, or even the divine
arm outstretched for their defence, were wanting,
the care and resources of heaven were exhibited in
a provision adequate to their need. Will a similar
foresight and kindness mitigate the hardships of
their impending exile ?
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, six
hundred and seven years before Christ, Nebuehad-
nezzar invaded the kingdom of Judah. Jehoiskim
was at this time tributary to Pharsoh-Necho, who
was with his army at Carchemish, on the river
Euphrates. Nebuchadnezzar probably made this
expedition against the Jews to prevent them from
sending supplies to the Egyptian army. Having
taken Jerusalem, he commanded Ashpenaz the
overseer of his household to select some of the seed-
royal and of the nobles to wait on the monarch in
his palace at Babylon. "That young persons ot
royal descent and of noble families should be chosen
for such a service, was almost a matter of course.
They could easily become acquainted with the lan-
guage and customs of the court, and were especially
capable of great personal activity." Thse children
LIFr OF DANIEL.
taken from the highest classes, were also designed
as hostages to secure the fidelity of the Jewish king
and his nobles. Hastening back to archemish,
Nebuohadnensar made himself master of that strong
city, and drove Neoho out of Asia.
In selecting these Hebrew lads for this service,
Ashpenau was ordered to take only those in whom
there was no blemish-who were "of goodly appear-
ance, and skilled in every kind of wisdom, and
acquainted with knowledge, and discerning in wci-
ence." This, too, is in accordance with the present
customs at the East. "Bvery thing is required to
be beautiful or magnifeent, which surrounds the
peron of the king." The orientals are speeially
taken by a comely or showy exterior.
Among these lads was one, probably from thirteen
to fifteen years old, whose early training was in the
days of Josiah; and if belonging to the seed-royal,
we may suppose him to have been brought up under
the influence, if not inspection, of that exemplary
monarch. At least, we can scarcely doubt, from
his subsequent history, that Daniel was educated
in a pious family, and taught by his parents to fear
and serve Jehovah. If they were at that time
living, it must have esot them a pang to surrender
into hopeless captivity, in a distant land, one so
beautiful, obedient, and promising; but it would be
a consolation to trust that he would be protected by
OARRIZD CAPTITV TO BABYLON.
the God of their father maid the temptations of
idolatry, and that the eed which they had early
sown in his youthful mind would bear a harvest
even among the thorns of heathenism. Parents
cannot begin too early the moral culture of their
children; for they know not how soon the family
circle may be broken, and their e96pring pas for
ever beyond their influence.
No less painful must the separation from his
friends and country have been to the young Hebrew.
Jerusalem contained every thing dear to him in
life. Rank, wealth, refinement, the means of know-
ledge, were his birthright. Elevated in station, still
higher honors would be within the reach of his in-
dustry, talents, and integrity. Here wa the tem-
ple in whose services he had so often mingled, and
whose sngs of praise had often awakened devotion
in his young heart. Here, too, were the ereles and
prophets of God, the chief privilege and boast of his
Surrounded by rough soldiers whose language
they could not understand, subjected not improbably
to neglect if not insult from their haughty conquer-
ors, wearied with fatigues to which they were un-
accustomed, and apprehensive of what would be
their treatment in Babylon, the hearts of these
captive children would be desolate, and dreary their
journey. They would be little disposed on their
74 LIFE OF DANIBL.
wiy to indulge the curiosity natural to the young
in novel and strange scenes. Even the palaces and
towers and temples of Babylon would seem, as they
entered that city, only frowning prisons where they
might wear out life in solitude and sorrows.
How imperfect an estimate can men form of the
effect of their conduct on the world. The Ishmael-
ites, when they brought along in their caravan a
Hebrew lad sold to them by his brethren, never
dreamed they were conveying to Egypt its future
governor, who, by the divine foresight, was sent to
that country to work "a great deliverance" for the
heirs of promise. The servants of Nebouhadnezzar,
when escorting from Jerusalem these Hebrew boys,
never suspected they were transporting to Babylon
its future prime-minister, dispatched by the same
divine foresight to make the residence of those about
to follow him into exile more safe and comfortable
in that hostile land.
PrurLAOl IN sAIYLON 74
DI)AIL'S PUPIL LO IN BABYLON.
On the arrival of the young Hebrews in Babylon,
Nebuchadnezzar gave them to the charge of Ash-
penaz, to be instructed three years at the king's
expense, in the language and sciences of the Chal-
dee, that at the end of this time, they might be
fitted for his personal attendants.
Among their number were Hananiah, Mishael,
and Azariah, kindred spirits with Daniel. who had
perhaps been his companions in Jerusalem. In this
land of strangers, they would find the value of
friendship founded on a similarity of tastes, tempers,
principles, and habits. A little band by themselves,
they would often recall the scenes of their home
and childhood, and encourage each other, in the
midst of idol gods and temples, to worship and serve
Jehovah only. Either of them alone, overcome by
ridicule or opposition, might have yielded to the
blandishments of a heathen court; but together, they
formed a coalition which, weak as it seemed, was
" strong in the Lord and in the power of his might."
This was now to be subject to a severe test.
A daily allowance was assigned to the young stua
16 LIFI 0O DANIZL.
dents "from the delicate viands of the king, and
from the wine which he drank." This, doubtless,
was meant as a kindness, to attach them to his per-
son and service, though it was a custom even in
respect to royal prisoners. But the effect would be
to separate them from their Jewish notions, and
make them more readily fall in with the feelings
and customs prevalent among the heathen. One
great design of the division of meats into clean and
unclean among the Jews, was to make it diflioult
for them to associate with foreign nations, that thus
they might keep olear from their corrupting influ-
The good effect of Daniel's early training in the
religion of his country was now een. And Daniel
anxiously sought that he might not defile himself
with the delicate viands of the king, mad with the
wine which he drank; and he made request of the
chief eunuchs that he might not defile himself."
Every thing outward bore him on to partake of the
king's bounty. To reject it might seem ungrate-
ful, and show a spirit peculiarly offensive to a
haughty, arbitrary monarch. It might seem only
self-will, or needles striotness, for others of the
young Hebrews made no scruple of enjoying these
delicacies. It might throw obstacles in the way of
his advancement, which, to a young man of Daniel's
talents, would naturally and properly be an object
PIUILAOX II BABYLONI.
of warm desire. It might at let displease the
king's "master-courtier," Ashpenaz, who seems to
have been disposed to befriend the young captives;
and this, one so suceptible as Daniel would gladly
avoid. He might, and probably would, be called
bigoted and narrow-minded by his fellow.-aptives
who yielded to the temptation. And he might have
tampered with his conscience, and called partaking
of the king's viaads and wine a trifle, which in the
eireuamtances would be overlooked by the God of
But he wisely determined to resist the beginning
of evil. There were greater sins than this, but
none would more surely prepare the way for an
entire relinquishment of his religion; and unless he
was ready to yield up one practice of his oountry-
men after another, and one principle of Judaism
after another, he must now take his stand on the
side of Jehovah, and trust the result to the divine
His resolution was formed in full view of the
danger of such a step. There was no appearance
of rashnes or self-conceit in his deportment-noth-
ing that seemed to say, "Stand by thyself, I am
holier than thou." He was calm, humble, courteous,
and evidently reluctant to give trouble or eause
danger to those who had the charge of his suste-
nance. He asked for a change of food as a favor,
78 LIFX OF DAN1IL.
rather than clamorously demanded it as a right.
There was no denouncing the king for his luxunous
habits, no cutting sarcasm against his companions
who did not assent to his views.
Ashpenaz seems to have sympathized with Daniel,
and to have been disposed to gratify his wishes, but
declined on the ground that he could not do it with.
out danger of offending the king. Daniel then ap.
plied to Melzar, who had the special charge of
furnishing him and his three companions with nu-
triment. Make trial now of thy servants for ten
days; and let them give us of the vegetables that
we may eat, and water that we may drink. And
let our countenance and the countenance of the
young lads who eat the delicate viands of the king,
be inspected by thee; and according to what thou
shalt see, deal with thy servants." Melzar con-
sented to the experiment, and after a short trial, it
was found to be completely suceesful. Providence
rewarded the piety and firmness of the young men,
and they were found to have thrived on their slen-
der diet, better than their associates who had, during
the same time, partaken of the king's dainties.
"Meat is not so palatable and nutritious in warm
climates as others; and fruits, consequently, bread,
olives, and milk, are the customary food." In a
climate so excessively hot as that of Babylon, a
vegetable diet, for many months in the year, would
PUVILAO@ IN IABNLON. 79
be better adapted to oooasion fairne of ountenanu
and fulnes of fresh, than a luxurious diet of vArioM
highly seasoned meats."
And not only did the special blessing of Providence
bestow on thee young Hebrews uch external marks
of favor, but success in their studies, and peculiar
mental gifts, above their fellows who yielded to the
temptations of appetite. At the close of the three
years allotted for their education all the young met
were brought before Nebuchadnezzar, that he might
personally examine them and judge of their literary
merits. It was a trying day-one to which they
had been looking forward with deep interest, and
probably with some anxiety. No doubt Daniel and
his three friends had often united their supplica-
tions to Jehovah for his support and aid on this
The young men might well feel a degree of awe
at the thought of appearing for such a purpose in
the presence of so great a monarch as Nebuchad-
nezzar. It was the turning-point of their life. With
a powerful intellect and keen discrimination of char-
acter, he would be quick to discover their capacities
and acquisitions; and they could expect no indul-
gence, if he should detect signs of negligence or de-
ficiency of attainment. "And the king communed
with them; and there was not found among them
all the like to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and
LIFa 0O DANIIL.
Asariah; and they stood in waiting before the king."
And not only did these four young men on examine
tion prove themselves superior to their comrades,
but in intelligence and discernment they were found
by the king far to excel "the magicians and astrol
oges that were in all his realm." They were now
received into his special service, and a brilliant and
useful career was opening upon their vision.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of know
ledge," the foundation of true wisdom, and the chief
element of success in its attainment. So Daniel
found it, and so it will be found as lopg as the world
shallstand. As arulingprinciple, itsavesyoung men
from wasting their powers in idleness, amusements,
or the pursuit of unworthy objects. It keeps them
from excesses and habits that unfit both the mind
and body for useful occupations. It preserves them
from associates whose company not only takes up
time which ought to be spent in mental acquisitions,
but excites a disrelish for study. It makes diligence
a duty, and quickens the intellect, when flagging or
indolent, by the spurs of conscience. It sets before
the young a higher object of living than mere selfish
enjoyment, and rouses to efforts in storing up know-
ledge worthy of one who has devoted himself to the
glory of God and the good of mankind. A more
powerful stimulant to action than any earthly good,
it regulates as well as impels the movements of
PUPILAOD IN BABYLON
the mind; not damping ardor by disappointed hope,
nor breaking down the mental powers by struggles
beyond their strength. It places one in harmony
with the physical and moral laws of God's govern-
ment, and secures that blessing which is "better
than life." "And unto man he said, Behold, the
fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from
evil is understanding."
LIFE OF DANIEL.
DANIIL BECOMES PRIME-MINITE.
GoD's method in giving a knowledge of his will
and of future events, is very different from what
men would have chosen. If the business had been
left to men, they would have thought it best to re-
veal the will of God to the whole world at once.
They would, if it were possible, have made every
thing so plain, that there should be no doubt re-
specting any fact or doctrine in the Bible. They
would have thought nbne ought to be prophets but
persons of worth and piety. God, however, has
ordered the matter differently. He has acted as
seemed good to himself, and not as would appear
best to men. In ancient times, he "spake often
and in various ways" to the world. Sometimes he
employed visions and dreams in communicating a
knowledge of future events. Sometimes, too, he
revealed to wicked men, as Abimelech, Pharaoh,
and Balaam, what would happen hereafter.
Of this class of wicked men to whom God made
known the future, was the heathen monarch of
Babylon. In the second year of his reign, Nebu-
chadnezzar "dreamed dreams, and his mind was
agitated, and sleep failed him." But how could
Daniel, who was carried into exile by king NebW
chadnezzar, have been three years a student in
Babylon before this dream in the second year of
Nebuchadnezzar's reign ? The Jews and the Ohal-
dees reckoned the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar's
reign from different epochs. The latter reckoned
from the time when he became sole king by the
death of his father; the former spoke of him as king
from the time of his invasion of their country, sev-
eral yearn previous. This was by anticipation;
just as we say, General Washington did this or that
in his boyhood, not meaning that he was then gen-
eral, but was so afterwards.
The ancient heathen thought much more of the
significance of dreams than men in Christian lands
do now. They had a cla of peron whose special
business it was to interpret thee fleeting, absurd
emanations of a diseased or overloaded body, or of
a wearied, troubled mind. No wonder Nebsehad.
nezzar, with the superstitions notions then prev-
alent, should have ben agitated by so strange and
startling a vision. He was the more disturbed,
because he remembered only the general nature of
the dream which weighed down his spirits. What
is unknown, or dimly seen, is apt to be magnified.
In his agitation, he commanded the wise men, "the
enchanters, the sorcerers, and the astrologers," to be
brought into his presence. They eame in haste,
a4 LISs oF DANIII.
dbubtlea expecting to gin riches and honar by
playing on the fears of the king, and deluding him
by their cunning impostures. With the customary
salutation, 0 king, live for ever," they requested
Nebuchadnezzar to tell them his dream, and they
would interpret it. But what was their consterna-
tion when they found that the king had forgotten
his dream, and demanded of them, under the terri-
ble penalty of being out in pieces-a pumshment
still common in the East-not only to inform him
what his dream signified, which they could easily
pretend to do, but to recall the fugitive phantoms
that had vanished even from his own mind. This
they justly told him, was what no human being
could do, and what no king or lord or ruler had ever
been so unreasonble as to demand of their raft.
The gods alone, they mid, who dwelt not in the
flesh, could accomplish such a task. The king,
unaccustomed to be disobeyed, supposing they
wished to gain time to invent some plausible fiction,
to palm off on him as hi dream, in great wrath
gave commandment to destroy all the wise men of
Babylon. The ministers of the king's vengeance,
as is usual at the oriental ourts, were in waiting,
and ready to fulfil the order. They went in search
of Daniel and his three friends, who were reckoned
among the wie men. These young Hebrews had
not been present on this occasion. They might
nlOK38 PRIU-MINIUTRI -
hae had other engagements, or they might not
wish to excite the jealousy of the older native ma.
gician. At any rate, God so inclined their minds
or ordered their circumstanes, that they should be
absent. He would make himself known to Nebu.
chadnezar and his ourt as a revealer of secret
things, whoa the worshippers of idol-gods had ex-
hausted their powers in vain.
In this strait, Daniel went and requested the king
to give him time to show the interpretation. This
would seem to he running into the very mouth of
danger. Perhaps Arioch the chief executioner, with
whom he had previously conferred, introduced him
to Nebuchadnessar; and Danielalay have relied on
the king's favor for procuring a suspension of the
order. Struck with the honesty implied in such an
exposure of lif&, Nebuchadneszar may have been
convinced that the young Hebrew was not aiming
to practise deception. He may not have been en,
tirely ignorant of the wonders wrought by.the God
of the Jews in their behalf: And feeling, after his
fury had begun to subside, that the order was un-
wise as well as unreasonable, he would be the more
ready to grant Daniel's request for delay in its
Daniel hastened home, grateful for sooess in his
mision, but oppressed with the responsibility of
meeting the demands of the king. Help must oome
M LIFZ OF DANIEL.
from Jehovah, or he and his companions, with all
the wise men of Babylon, would inevitably perish.
He communicated the danger of the crisis to Han-
aniah, Mishael, and Aazriah, that they might ask
compusion before the God of heaven in respect to
this matter. These young men had often prayed
together, as well as in secret; and now in both
these forms they would offer incessant and impor-
tunate supplications to the God of their country, that
he would grant them deliverance, and glorify his
name in the sight of the heathen. The prayer of
faith was heard and answered. In a vision of the
night, the secret was revealed to Daniel. His fint
thought was gratitude-his first act, thanksgiving
to Jehovah for this merciful interposition: Bleued
be the name of God for ever and ever; for wisdom
and might are his: and he changeth the times and
the seasons; he removeth kings, and setteth up
kings; he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and know-
ledge to them that know understanding; he reveal-
eth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what
is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
I thank thee, and praise thee, 0 thou God of my
fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and
hast made known unto me now what we desired
of thee; for thou hast now made known unto us the
king's matter." Daniel then requested Arioch to
bring him before the king.
BROOMSI PRIMI-MINISTBR. 87
Introduced into the presence-chamber, Nebuehad-
nezsar demanded of him whether he could make
known his dream and its interpretation. Daniel
modestly replied, that no wiae men, or astrologers,
or magicians, or soothsayers, would show the king
what he required, but that it would be revealed to
him by the God of heaven. He then proceeded to
unfold the vision which had troubled the mind of
Nebuchadnezzar. The monarch had been medi-
tating on his bed what would be the destiny of his
mighty empire. He saw in his slumbers a lofty
image of exceeding brightness, with a head of gold,
breast and arm of silver, the lower part of the body
and thighs of bras, the legs of iron, the feet partly
of iron and partly of clay. This image was demol-
ished by a stone out out of the mountain without
hands, and the materials were scattered to the four
winds of heaven like the ohaff of the summer thresh.
ing-floor. It represented four suooessive kingdoms,
of the first of which Nebuchadnezzar was the head.
This should yield to the Medo-Persian monarchy.
That, in turn, should yield to the Macedonian;
while the fourth, as most commentators suppose, is
the Roman empire. The God of heaven would
then set up a kingdom "which shall never be de-
stroyed," but "shall stand for ever." This, beyond
doubt, is the indestructible empire of Christianity,
destined to bring all the nations under its sway,
88 IFe OF DANIRL.
and retain them under its influence to the end of
Overpowered by the vivid reproduction of the
vision in his own mind, and its amaing import, the
king "fell upon his face and worshipped Daniel,
and commanded that they should offer an oblation
and sweet odors unto him." It is not certain that
Nebuchadnezzar meant in this manner to offer di-
vine worship unto Daniel, for prostration and burn-
ing incense are common in the East as marks of
special honor to kings, princes, and distinguished
men. We can scarcely suppose, however, that this
haughty monarch would thus prostrate himself be-
fore one of his subjects-a mere. youth, a foreign
exile-unless he had intended, through him at
least, to do homage to the God of the Jews, who
could perform such wonders. With impetuous feel-
ings and strong impulses that knew no restraint, it
is not wonderful that he expressed his astonishment
and awe in language which his subsequent conduct
showed to be only the result of temporary excite-
ment. "And the king answered unto Daniel, and
said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods,
and a Lord of kings, seeing thou couldest reveal
How sublime the cene! How impressively it
teaches with what ease Jehovah can bring down
the hanghtiness of kings and stain the pride of all
SBEOM38 PRIMZ-MI.rNIST o
glory, by the brightness of his presence and the
terror of his power!
Nebuchadnezar rewarded the services of Daniel
by many rioh gifts, and made him ruler over all
the province of Babylon, and chief overseer of all
its wise men. At the request of Daniel, who had
not in his new elevation forgotten his old friends
and the part they bore in supplicating the aid of
their common God, Nebuchadnezzar "set ha-
drach, Meshach, and Abed-nego"--o Daniel's three
friends were now called-" over the affairs of the
province of Babylon." But "Daniel sat in the
gate of the king." He was the leading courtier
who introduced to the king those who visited the
The sudden elevation of Daniel to so high a post
has its counterpart in many a page of oriental his-
tory. This rapid transition from a lower to a higher
station is an important element of the interest felt
not only by the young, but by readers of every age,
in the narratives of the Bible. This, to a great
extent, makes the scenes it describes of ordinary
life so picturesque and captivating. Take the life
of Joseph or Moses. It is the contrast between
what they were and what they became which
throws such a charm around their history. In
passing from one point of the contrast to the other,
there is incident, varied, striking, we might almost
LIFE OF DANIEL.
say, romantic. Had Joseph or Moses been the son
of Pharaoh, the most skilful biographer could not
weave the events which would have made up their
life into so enchanting a tale as the simple story of
the transition of the one from a shepherd-boy to be
ruler of Egypt; and of the other, from an exposed
foundling to become first an adopted prince of the
proudest empire on earth, and then leader and
lawgiver of the chosen people of God. The Bible
abounds in examples of this sort, and it does so
because it is a faithful transcript of Eastern life,
which is now nearly the same as it was three
thousand years ago. Similar occurrences are still
found in the court of the grand sultan; and the
late distinguished ruler of Egypt, Mohammed Ali,
was originally a poor boy on the plains of Albania.
This fixedness in the manners and customs and
habits of oriental life will facilitate the reception
of the Bible, and give it a special charm, when it
shall be circulated in the region of its original resi-
dence. It is a bird of eastern plumage, and when
it returns to soar and sing in its native skies,-the
notes will be easily recognized by the delighted
Rapid advances in wealth, office, or popularity,
are apt to make men giddy. They often leave
behind them the good qualities for which they were
distinguished in a humbler sphere, and seem as
much transfrmed in character u changed in po-
sition. Once they found their greatest delight in
the duties of piety and the practice of benevolence.
They were devoted in spirit and godly in life. But
when they have suddenly accumulated wealth, or
risen to higher circles in society, they are foremost
in fashionable scenes and amusements. They vie
with the ostentatious in dress, equipage, and costly
entertainments. Wil Damsid retin his principles
in his new station? Will the prime-minister of
Babylon be conspicuous for the abstinence and
moderation of the poor Hebrew student ?
On the pinnacle of power, Daniel will be sur-
rounded with difficulties and temptations. By
some sudden caprice of the monarch he may be in
a moment struck down to the ground. The post of
favorites to a king, always and everywhere slip.
pery, is specially so among the orientals. Their
fall is as sudden and unexpected as their elevation.
Will Daniel venture to say or do any thing which
might offend the pride or the prejudices of an idola-
trous despot? Will he not yield to fear ?
The love of distinction is one of the strongest
passions of the mind. Men will make almost any
sacrifice of comfort, property, principle, or charac-
ter, to gain high honors and offices, or to retain
them when in their possession. There is, too, some-
thing intoxicating in the exercise of power. Men
O9 LIFE 07 DANIEL.
will barter for its continuance every thing but life,
and often they will hazard life itself rather than
part with power. Will Daniel be able to resist
such a temptation? Will he sacrifice conscience
on the altar of office, and for the sake of remaining
a favorite become an apostate?
Daniel was at this time probably not more than
eighteen or nineteen years of age. To maintain
his elevated position demanded consummate wis-
dom and talents. He would be exposed to the
envy of the courtiers, who would omit no oppor-
tunity to weaken his influence with the king; and
the gratitude of the wise men for being saved
through his instrumentality from the wrath of
Nebuchadnezzar, would but slightly repress their
hatred against Daniel for supplanting them in the
royal favor. Not only his religion as a Jew might
be turned to his disadvantage, but the fact that he
belonged to a nation of whose fidelity the king was
in doubt, would expose him to jealousy.
And when Nebuchadnezzar marched to chastise
the treacherous Jehoiakim and the people of Judah
for their revolt, the rarest prudence only could have
saved Daniel from the suspicion of wishing success
to the rebels. It was a delicate task, in his high
station, to retain as he did, during this attack on
his country, the confidence of Nebuchadnezzar and
the good will of the Jews. When, after the over.
300 83 PRIMSiMKINIITIx i8
throw of Jerusalem, the exiles were scattered
throughout the province of Babylon, it was no les
difficult, in the administration of the government,
to obey the promptings of his patriotic heart, with-
out giving watchful rivals ground for charging him
with partiality to his countrymen. But from the
sacred history we know- that he was at once
"greatly beloved" by Nebuehadnezzar and the
Hebrew captives, while he retained a potless char-
acter in the sight of heaven.
Such favor, so long continued, could be only a
divine gift, though doubtless the king was too wise
to dispense with the services of Daniel for the
trifling caprices which often rule the measures of
an oriental court.
94 LIFE OF DANIEL.
THE GOLDEN IMAGE.
ArmsT his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's
dream, there is an interval of more than fifteen
years in the life of Daniel, which, though full of
interesting events in the history of his own country,
and doubtless, too, in his personal experience, he
passes by in silence. It was not his design to write
a book of annals.
During this time, Jeconiah and a large body of
his best subjects, among whom was the prophet
Ezekiel, were transported to Babylon. A Jewish
colony was formed on the river Chebar, Jerusalem
was taken, the temple destroyed, and the land
emptied of its inhabitants. Many of the prophecies
of Jeremiah were uttered in Judah, and most of
Ezekiel's among the captives in Chaldea, during
the same period.
Daniel was all this while waxing stronger in his
integrity, extending his influence, and acquiring a
reputation for wisdom which had already become
proverbial. Ezekiel with cutting irony reproves
the self-conceit of the prince of Tyre, "Behold,
thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that
they can hide from thee."
TNB GOLDNX IMAGO U
Nebuchadnesar had been urging on his vi.
torious career during a part of this period. At
length, having filled his kingdom with captives,
and his treasury with plunder from the conquered
nations, he set himself to enlarge and beautify hi.
metropolis with the spoils. He built the magnifi
cent temple of Belus, erected a splendid palace
and the hanging gardens, which were accounted
one of the wonders of the world; reared a new city
on the eastern side of the Euphrates; surrounded
Babylon, thus enlarged, with walls of great height
and strength; formed an immense lake to secure it
against inundation; and dug many canals for irri-
gating the country and for commerce.
As a token of gratitude to Belus-or, as has
been suggested, to procure divine worship for him-
self-he erected a huge idol of gold on the plain
of Dura, near to Babylon. The image was seventy
feet high and nine feet broad; but whether it was
of human shape, or in the form of a pyramid like
the Egyptian obelisks, which were "idol pillars,"
some of them one hundred and fifty feet in height,
the narrative does not inform us. Whatever was
its shape, it was not probably of solid gold, but
constructed with wood and overlaid with a strong
gilding or thin golden plates. If wholly of gold,
it must have been hollow. Perhaps it was sur-
mounted with an image of the natural sun, of