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cumstances of the Prophet, and obtained the royal sanction to employ the most effectual methods for his rescue ; which was accomplished by means of ropes and rags, let down into the dungeon, whereby he was drawn up out of its horrible and deadly gloom. The pious and humane exertions of this stranger were especially rewarded : he received from God a promise of protection and deliverance, in that season of calamity with which the land was shortly to be visited, accompanied with the divine approval of his conduct, as resulting from a principle of faith.
On being rescued from the dungeon, JEREMIAN was again shut up in prison ; where he received a secret message to attend once more upon the King. Full of perplexity and trouble, ZEDEKIAH wished to know if any revelation had been given him from the LORD; but hearing only a renewed denunciation of calamity, unless averted by such measures, as he persisted still in his determination not to take, he sent the Prophet from his presence, and sought no further intercourse with one whose admonitions were proving, and to whose counsels he had neither courage nor integrity to yield.
At length the hour arrived in which Jerusalem was to endure that dreadful vengeance, which its augmented iniquities had so long provoked. Having suffered from the siege, which lasted for a year, such miseries as pestilence and famine in their most fearful forms of devastation could inflict, the city fell at last into the hands of the Chaldeans, who put its wretched population to the sword. King ZEDEKIAH, seeing the leaders of the Babylonish army in possession of the several gates, fled with precipitation through a subterraneous avenue, in hopes of secretly
HISTORY OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAH.
effecting his escape. His sons and his nobility were sharers in his flight, but all of them were equally anable to elude the vigilance of their pursuers. Vainly hoping to effect the passage of the river Jordan, they were overtaken in the plains of Jericho, and brought to Riblah, where the King of Babylon had fixed his court. Pride, indignation, and a settled purpose of revenge, stifled those feelings of commiseration which a prostrate enemy should have excited in the bosom of the conqueror. By an infernal cruelty, the miserable ZEDEKIAH was compelled to witness the successive slaughter of his friends and children, and afterwards to have his eyes put out. His life, thus rendered bitter both by bodily and mental torture, was only spared that he might suffer the indignity of being dragged in chains to grace the triumph of the victor, on his proud return to Babylon. Too late, this feeble and infatuated Monarch learned to tremble at the terrors of an angry judge. His days were ended in the gloomy confines of a prison, where possibly he sought that favour, which in happier hours he had despised.
But while the King was thus compelled to drink so deeply of the cup of trembling, Jerusalem was suf. fering all the horrors with which imagination can invest a city in the hands of merciless invaders, who, having stormed its bulwarks, are quenching in the blood of the affrighted multitudes the ebullitions of their wrath. Equally cruel and rapacious, having stain the people and collected all the treasures, they set fire both to the city and the temple, and reduced to ashes that fabric whose magnificence has been the wonder of the world. The walls were razed to their foundations, and every tower and fortress overthrown. The shouts of conquest, and the groans of the expiring victims, were succeeded by a sullen silence ; and desolation, in the midst of the extended ruins, exulted over the calamities of man.
But, although judgments were inflicted on Jerusalem, such as no nation under the whole heaven had suffered, and though punishment was awfully proportioned to neglected blessings, yet did not the unsheathed sword fall indiscriminately, blending the righteous and the wicked in one common fate. The minister of mercy, preceding the avenger, secretly impressed the servants of JEHOVAH as with a sign, by which they were distinguished and passed over, when the weapons of destruction smote the rest.
The Prophet JEREMIAH, during this season of tremendous visitation, was preserved in an especial manner by the Providence of God. The King of Babylon, divinely prompted, faid an injunction on the officer to whose command the city was entrusted, not only to protect him from all danger, but to treat him with the utmost kindness, and dispose of him according to his wish. Immediately, therefore, upon the capture of the city, he was liberated from confinement, and received the option, either to continue in Judea with the miserable remnant of the poorest of his people, who were permitted to remain to dress the vineyards, and to cultivate the ground; or to accompany the King to Babylon, and there receive from his munificence an adequate supply of every want. Zion, the city of his God, though desolate, was dearer to the Prophet than the palaces of her oppressors : he therefore felt no hesitation in de.
* Dan. ix. 12.
+ Ezek. ix.
ciding to remain, and to pour, amidst her ruins, his prayers and tears for that afflicted people, whose dearest interests it had been his earliest and most cherished object to promote.
(To be concluded in our next.)
A SISTER'S TALES.
No. VII. “ Now for the Tale, or rather the Tales," said Jane, as the little circle formed around her;—" for I am going to give you two accounts, the first of a DESPISED Child, and the second of a Beloved LADY.
66 Mr. and Mrs. FREEMAN were the parents of a large family, consisting of two sons and five daughters. Şix of these were fine, active, high-spirited children. Ann, the fourth daughter, differed from all her brothers and sisters, in that she possessed none of these qualities. She was plain in her appearance ; silent and
grave in her behaviour. When a child, she did not seem fond of the usual amusements of children ; but generally walked quietly by the nurse's side, while the rest were sporting in the fields. Her usual seat was a little stool, which she always placed in the shadow of her mother's chair, that so she might be hidden by it. Ann seldom laughed, and this was counted a mark of ill-temper. She loved to be silent and alone, and this was reckoned sullenness. Her retired, reserved, unengaging disposition, rendered her a favourite with no one, MR, and Mrs. FREEMAN appeared to be less interested in her than in their other children; they indeed fed and clothed her in the same manner, but in every thing else she was differently treated. If now and then they said a kind word to her, it often brought the tears into her eyes;
and so her mother concluded that it did more harm than good. The most unpleasant tasks were given, and the greatest pleasures denied to her. The elder chNdren found Ann to be no companion, and the younger oues could not make a play-fellow of her. The Governess was much of the same opinion, namely, that she was a silent, stupid child. The visitors of her parents, who were always admiring Isabel's beauty and CAROLINE's wit, found nothing to notice in Ann but her extreme diffidence; and this was often done, most foolishly, in her presence, which was surely not the way to remedy the sad evil they lamented. It could not be perceived that this universal dislike and neglect gave her any uneasiness ; for she never complained of it. The only effect of such unkind and unnatural behaviour.was to heighten the defects that caused it; for instead of altering as she grew older, (which many kind prophetesses assured her mother she certainly would,) the peculiarity of her nature seemed to increase.
« Now I have done with the despised child, and am come to a pleasanter subject,—the BELOVED LADY. You will not wonder at my calling her so, when I tell you, that I mean our friend Mrs.
Virtue, sense, and sweetness, are so blended in her, that I can scarcely tell which quality is the greatest. I have often thought, that she is like a statue formed by some master-genius, the very perfection of which discourages imitation. Her husband, children, servants, friends, and neighbours, all feel towards her that deep attachment, which is firmly founded on admiration and respect. And would you think that this BELOTED LADY was once the DESPISED CHILD? It certainly was not a natural or expected consequence,