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imparts the precious charm of modest concealment, preferring to shelter its delicate beauty in the shade of secresy. This is the love which loves parents and kindred much, but Christ more; which for His sake will leave father and mother, sister or brother, husband or child. And all this she does to attain her fadeless bridal crown, "an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.” And now my honored friend, behold the eyes of such a heavenly bride, beaming with a sanctified innocence and a spotless purity, and whether she be a child or a virgin, a wife or a widow, a mother or an aged hoary-headed matron, whether she serves or sways the sceptre, you will exclaim with ecstatic delight; “Yes, the chief and highest destiny of daughters for this and the future world, is to educate every one for a Spouse of Christ and a Bride of heaven.”
OUR LITTLE BOY.
AN IDLE WORD.
Matt. xii. 36.
woran on som ESTHER_THE ORPHAN QUEEN: OR GOD'S CARE FOR HIS PEOPLE.
BY R. P. THOMAS. Whatever is honorable in name-enviable in station, and commanding in dignity, always challenges a corresponding respect from the good and the admiration of the wise. So, whatever is virtuous in life, noble in character and dignified in conduct, must always call forth a ready response as if by sympathetic intuition from every candid and honest heart. Under this general view of the mutual sympathy that exists in our social relations, we can easily perceive why it is, that Esther-with the many illustrious characters who adorn the pages of sacred history-are made to stand out with such peculiar prominence; and that her career is filled with so much interest.
But the history of her life forms at the same time, a part of the Old Testament Canon : and who, we may ask, has ever read the short but thrilling record contained in the book bearing her name, without a copious flow of commingled sympathy, tears and most joyous emotions, as the scenes connected with its illustrious heroine open before the view ? She stands out in the history of her age like some lone brilliant star on the darkest mantle of night; or like the more dense, permanent coronet that sometimes crowns the converging and fitful corruscations of light that well up in flashing, waving streaks along the autumnal skies, when the bright Aurora gilds the northern heavens. From her surpassing beauty, virtue and sudden introduction upon the theatre of action, she seems more like some guardian angel, sent from the spirit-world on a mission of mercy to the chosen people of God, than a child of earth. Although not without those weaknsses and imperfections incident to human life in its very best stages, yet this Orphan Queen presents us, in many respects, with a model character-from the contemplation of which we may derive much to profit us, and
thatmay prove worthy of our closest imitation. And to bring ; out these prominent traits, therefore, with some moral reflections, by way of inference, shall be our present purpose. But we shall content ourselves for the present with the consideration of her elevation to the dignity of Queen, and the peculiar circumstances connected therewith, reserving her subsequent career for some future time. .
Before proceeding, however, to the proposed delineation of the character before us, we may remark, in a general way, respecting the book, that it seems to us more like some moving,
we inne . .." voranewinnen an wat nonsoul-stirring drama or tragedy, than a plain, simple, though most sublime chapter of Bible history. The diversified characters introduced—the rapidity with which the scenes change, and the subject matter of the narrative itself—all tend to clothe it with the most intense interest. We are first introduced into the august presence of his majesty, the rich and powerful Persian King Ahasuerus-seated apon bis dazzling throne, and wielding his golden sceptre, from India to Ethiopia, over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces. The dread, however, that we would naturally feel on being ushered into the presence of such a mighty Monarch under ordinary circumstances, is here dissipated in a great measure, by the otherwise attracting scenes and operations attending the busy, bustling arrangements just in process of execution for the magnificent royal feast about to be given to the princes and nobles of his vast Empire. Then comes the beautiful but unfortunate Vashti, who, through the wicked counsel of Meemucan, is doomed to a perpetual separation from her royal consort. Then follows the poor, despised Mordecai, with his adopted child Esther, who is just budding into that transcendant beauty and loveliness for which she became so distinguished—both the personifications of humility and christian meekness. But how changed now the actors, when the proud, wicked and supremely contemptible Haman enters upon the stage! Methinks I see his fiend-like nature stamped upon his very countenance, and traced in every lineament of his haughty, supercilious features and scowling, scornful smile. Zaresh, bis equally wicked wife, is worthy to stand beside him, and close the catalogue of prominent individual actors. Beside these, however, we notice also several interesting groups of privy-counsellors, princes, courtiers, chamberlains, &c., which give variety, fulness and agreeable turns to the whole scene.
With such an outline of leading and subordinate characters before us in the narrative, we say, it reminds us of some prized effort of dramatic genius, with its well conceived, arranged and harmoniously acted parts. But let us enter upon its contemplation as being something real: though it may truly be classed among that reality and that truth, which seems even stranger than fiction.
of the birth, childhood and earlier life of Esther, Sacred History gives us no account. She is first introduced to our notice as a poor orphan girl, just blooming into womanhood, and living among the captive Jews at the palace Shushan—those 66 whom Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, had carried away from Jerusalem" in the time of Jeconiah the King of Judah. We here find her, in addition to the generally sad and pitiable condition of her people, without father or mother—a lone, destitute orphan, in a strange land. And one would think, that just to be in a foreign country under servile bondage to an unfriendly and merciless despot-cut off from all the endearments and friends of our fatherland—would be enough in itself to cause one's heart to melt with sadness, and feel like the Jews did on another occasion, when they sat down by the rivers of Babylon and wept as they remembered Zion; and when they hung their harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. But how much more distressing even than all this, was the condition of this virgin slave! In addition to the causes now enumerated for mourning, she had one besides that touched the tenderest chords of her delicate soul. When thinking over her condition, tears would unconsciously and unbidden flow at the remembrance of her lost parents, whom she now, no doubt, called to mind with more than filial affection. Ah, how still more pungent grew her grief as she visited their last resting place, there to pour out the votive offering of her heart--to deck the loved mound with flowers and evergreens and hold sweet converse, as it were, with the spirits of the departed around the consecrated tomb. Those who have experienced the pangs and sorrows of parting with kind parents at death, may form some conception of the emotions that now must have filled the breast of Esther, with the endurance, in her peculiar circumstances, of this separation from those whom she loved with all the devotedness of her pure and tender heart. And methinks, when it savs, "she was fair and beautiful,” that it must have been from the effects of something of a home-sickness to be with the departed ones, that her soul was filled with such brilliant manifestations of divine illumination as to shine through her whole person, and give her an appearance somewhat similar to that of Moses, when he had to veil his face before the Israelites could look upon him; or to that of the blessed son of God on the mount of transfiguration. Methinks I can see that countenance lighted up with a heavenly smile as the tears trickle down her angelic face, only to moisten and give it greater beauty, and to tinge her cheeks with a deeper vermilion hue. Under such circumstances, is it any wonder that our sympathies should at once be enlisted in her favor ? and that we should mark with greater interest the course of her subsequent life?
But our anxiety for her welfare and security is greatly relieved when we call to mind the trusty “Guardian” into whose care she
des convencerias arra mannannannas min. has fallen. He took her "for his own daughter:" and from his general character, we may suppose that Mordecai watched over her with over her more than paternal solicitude. In return she loved him with an ardent attachment and child-like confidence. Her deference to him was as cheerful as it was characteristic. For when the decree had gone forth that Vashti should come no more into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and that “her royal estate should be given to another better than she;" and when it was known to Mordecai that Esther was to be Dumbered among the select company from which the future Queen was to be chosen, he charged her not to show her people or kindred; and she heeded with the strict obedience of a dutiful child. So that here, as with one stroke of the inspired narrator's pen, we have an evidence of the tenderest mutual relations that existed between them as father and child.
But now we are hurried on to a most eventful, strange and significant era in the life of Esther. As already remarked, she was designated as one of “all the fair young virgins” wbo were gathered together at Shushan, according to the king's decree, as candidates for the high and enviable distinction of Queen. She, more from necessity than choice, submitted to the fiery ordeal through which they were about to pass. But who will pretend to describe the feelings that now agitated her breast, as she is conveyed in pomp to the royal palace ? Simple, retired and diffident in her whole previous mode of life and manners, she now, no doubt, asked herself with great humility and strange emotions, “what recomendations do I-born and reared in obecurity-possess, so as to deserve even the notice, much less the favor of the king or his royal attendants?” In response to this significant question, each one of us is now ready to answer in the words of Moses: "Fear thou not,” noble Esther, “stand still and see the glory of the Lord, which he will show you to-day.”
Yet, however great we may imagine the anxiety of Esther to have been at this crisis of affairs, we are assured of no less deep emotions and concern on the part of Mordecai, who, we are told, “walked every da v hefore the court of the women's house, to know how Esther ind, and what should become of her.” Neither of them, we may readily infer coveted, or in the least expected the exaltation to which Esther was about to be raised for iis own sake. And in the deep anguish and solicitude of his heart, he no doubt often gave vent to the soul-stirring lamentation : “O, Esther! my child, my child, how shall I give thee up !"
Here the scene suddenly changes: the crisis is at length past wwwt ransione