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highest posts in the German universities. They preside in the chambers of commerce and the academies of science. Among them are some of the richest families of Europe, allied with the powerful nobility, — representatives of a race that cannot be put down, that has preserved the traditions and laws and religion of four thousand years, and for whom great things are yet in store; God's chosen people, through whom all the families of the earth have been blessed according to the promise made to Abraham among the mountains of Judæa, when as yet he had no children. What other race upon the earth can distinctly trace its origin and greatness to a single man? What race has such proud recollections, such a wonderful history, such claims of ancient blood, such marks of divine favor ? Who can predict the future of such a people ?
There is but one inference, one deduction to be drawn from the beautiful story of Esther and Mordecai, — and that is the rule of God Almighty on this earth. No matter whether he rules through natural causes or supernaturally, still he is the great ultimate power to whom all things are subservient and all people personally accountable. In the narrative before us his name is not even mentioned; yet how plain his hand! Miracles do not more impressively show divine interference than the course things were made to take in the court of Ahasuerus. How signally good
was made to come out of evil! If we had no other record of God's dealings with man than the Book of Esther, we should know that the Almighty controls human affairs. Mordecai and Esther were signal instruments of His power from first to last; alike they show His benevolence and loving kindness. The fate of Haman is a crushing demonstration of divine judgment. He was on the threshold of success, and yet in a moment the hand of justice smote him. To all mortal calculations, it was morally certain that the Jews would be exterminated in the Persian empire ; and yet they were saved by a great deliverance, as marked as when the Israelites escaped the pursuing hosts of Pharaoh. The same almighty hand that led His people through the Red Sea, rescued them from the malignant vengeance of a powerful minister. Who turned the heart of a mighty monarch to a Jewish maiden and a Jewish captive? Who exalted Esther to a queenly rank, and Mordecai to exalted station ? Is it not as easy for God to direct and mould the mind of a king for the accomplishment of a great end, as to send pestilence or famine on a degenerate land ? Men are indeed free to act, but cannot the human will be influenced by external forces? We are influenced by other human spirits, why not by the Supreme spirit? When God ordained the overthrow of Napoleon, why did that wise and successful conqueror make so absurd a blunder as to invade Russia and Spain? It was as easy for God to inflate Napoleon with delusions as to harden the heart of Pharaoh, or send madness upon Nebuchadnezzar. Solve the delusion of the great French emperor, and you solve the madness of the king of Babylon. You cannot solve it, except by the recognition of Him who controls the flight of birds and numbers the hairs of the head.
Science cannot go back of the power which controls and sustains the universe. It may resolve the universe into atoms; but who created the atoms? Who raised up William of Nassau and Gustavus Adolphus and Martin Luther and Saint Augustine ? Who sent the Pilgrims to Plymouth Rock, when they designed to land on a more fruitful soil and find a more congenial climate ? Who protects a good man in danger, and saves the feeblest amid the billows of the sea? We extinguish all natural religion when we blot out God from the universe he has made. We destroy all faith in the world when we accept only what imperfect science demonstrates. Everything takes place according to law; but which is greater — the laws or the creator of them ? Has God abandoned the world to chance, or wound it up like a clock? What moral is there in history, if we discard the idea of divine interposition ? Even the ancient pagans were wiser than this, - take notice, 0 ye who seek to restore the exploded philosophies of Greece! What do you gain by blotting out God from the universe ? Do you prefer to be that stigmatized fool who says there is no God? What is the consolation of practical atheism? Why give up the doctrine of infinite benevolence? Will it benefit you to know that your steps are not ordered ?
The narrative of Esther also tells us that God ruleth in judgment. We cannot escape his eye or his hand, even if we take the wings of the morning and fly to the uttermost parts of the sea. Every hypocrisy shall be exposed, every sin shall find us out. The same natural forces, emanating from almighty power, which fill the world with glories and bounties, will cause sin to bite like an adder and sting like a serpent. This law is written on the heart of man. All the instincts of our nature, as well as the declarations of the Scriptures, point to personal accountability to God. Ah! who made conscience to be such a terrible scourge to the wrong-doer? It was he who created that sublime consciousness of virtue in the soul of man, to make him as confident of deliverance in danger as was Daniel in the lion’s den; as serene as Moses when he led the hosts of Israel; as bold and defiant as Mordecai when he sat in the outer court of the palace and saw the powerful Haman pass triumphantly by him, after issuing the decree of the king for the slaughtej of the Hebrew race.