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waits, as it were, to see whether I obey this command.
"Lord Jesus, give me grace to believe in thee."

This subject teaches a lesson of comfort. Pious
child, in all your afflictions remember, God sees you,
and pities you, and loves you. Not only so, but he
will bless and deliver you . In all the afflictions which
await you, say with Hagar. " Thou God seest me.''



QUEEN ESTHER. 57

LECTURE VI.

ESTHER BEFORE KI^G AHASUERUS.

" So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house-
royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the
seventh year of his reign. And the king loved Esther above
all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight
more than all the virgins ; so that he set the royal crown
upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti."
Esther 2 : 16, 17.

The history of queen Esther is very remarkable.
She was a young, and probably a poor Jewess. It is
very surprising how she was raised by Providence to
be a queen ; and it is also surprising why she was
elevated to such lofty rank.

Esther was of the tribe of Benjamin. Abihail
was her father, and her cousin's name was Mordecai,
her father's nephew. The name Abihail signifies,
father of strength. He proved mdeed the father of a
pious and lovely daughter, whom God employed to
be the strength, the defender, the savior of his church
and people. Little did Abihail imagine, when Esther
was born, that the babe, though a daughter, would
be preserved and raised up to save the church from
^'~~~-4he power and rage of its enemies.

The name Esthee, signifies a star or excellent
'myrtle. Among women she was a star for her
beauty. Perhaps she was the loveliest woman on
the face of the earth. She was a star of the first



58" LECTURES TO CHILDREN.

magnitude. Beauty is a poor inheritance without
piety. She was a star for irlety, which is the great-
est excellence. Little children, may God give you
grace. Then you Avill shme like stars. You shall
shine like the stars for ever and ever. Esther was
a star for iisefulness. Stars are useful when there
is no moon to shme. The traveller rejoices to have
the light of the stars. How useful are stars to sail-
ors on the great ocean. In former times they used
to sail by the direction of the stars. When the
church -was about to be exposed to a great storm,
Esther, like a star, guided them into a safe harbor.

Her name also signifies excellent myrtle. How
beautiful and fragrant is the myrtle. Esther was
beautiful w^ith humility, and her graces, more de-
lightful than the myrtle, breathed the fragrance of
heaven.

Her cousin's name was Mordecai, and that signi-
fied pressed myrrh. This herb has a most pleasant
and refreshing perfume, particularly when pressed.
It is said of Christ, " Thy garments smell of myrrh."
Mordecai Avas a most excellent man, and an eminent
saint. To the church in her dangers, he was like a
branch of myrrh. He was the means, in God's hand,
of raising Esther to the throne, by which she was
enabled to do the church the greatest service. He
himself was chosen too, after Haman's death, to be
the king's prime minister. In that exalted situa-
tion he vras a most eminent blessinof to the Jewish



\ QUE EX ESTHER. 5^



V



church, and therefore resembled a hunch of pressed
myrrh.

The name of the king was Ahasuerus. It is gen-
erally believed that this king was Darius Hystaspis,
a Persian of royal blood. Herodotus, a very ancient
historian, says that he married Atossa the daughter
of Cyrus, one of the most wonderful of kings. In the
beginning of his reign the Jews began to rebuild their
temple. They were encouraged in this great work
by Haggai and Zechariah, two eminent prophets and
servants of God. King Darius also gave them great
assistance, and commanded that if any should attempt
to interrupt them, they should be put to death.

This Ahasuerus was a very powerful king. His
empire extended from India, in Asia, to Ethiopia, in
Africa. It bore some resemblance to the Russian
empire at the present time. It was divided into
provinces. Their number amounted to a hundred
and twenty-seven. He built a most magnificent
palace in the chief of his cities, namely, Shushan or
Susa. It was situated on the banks of the river
Ulai. Daniel the prophet mentions this river. It
was on its banks he saAV a wonderful vision of a ram,
" which had two horns pushing westward, north-
ward, and soutlnvard ; so that no beasts might stand
before him." Daniel 8 : 2, 3.

The name Shushan signifies lilies. It seems to
have received this name from the number of lilies
growing around it. This great city was probably



60 LECTURES TO CHILDREN.

built by Memnon, a little before the Trojan war.
From the time of Cyrus, it was the winter residence
of the Persian kings. It was from the palace in this
city, that Darius or Ahasuerus issued his decree for
the rebuilding of the temple of Jerusalem. In grat-
itude for this noble deed, the Jews called the eastern
gate of their temple the gate of Shushan.

In the third year of his reign the king made a
feast for all his nobles and princes. The assembly
was great and splendid. The guests who attended
the feast were the power of Persia and Media. All
the nobles and princes of the hundred and twenty-
seven provinces were present.

Little children, there is a nobler feast in heaven in
the ivory palace of the new Jerusalem. King Jesus
is present at that feast. It is attended by the nobles
and princes of heaven. "VYho are they ? They arc
saints and angels, cherubim and seraphim, principal-
ities and powers.

Ahasuerus, at his feast, " showed the riches of
his glorious kingdom, and the honor of his excel-
lent majesty." The feast continued a hundred and
eighty days. When these days were expired, he
made another feast unto all the inhabitants of the
city of Shushan. None were exempted. It was
prepared for great and small. This appeared very
generous on the part of the king. It reminds me of
another feast prepared by another king, namely, King
Jesus ; he has prepared a feast of salvation for all



QUEEN ESTHER. 61

nations. Whenever the gospel is preached, the invi-
tation is delivered to all to come and taste the choice
blessings he has prepared for the chief of sinners.
The feast which Ahasuerus prepared for the inhabi-
tants of Shushan lasted seven days. The feast Christ
has prepared for sinners will last till time shall be
no more.

It was in the court of the garden of the king's pal-
ace that the feast was prepared. What a beautiful
spot. It was adorned with fragrant bowers, flowing
fountains, and sweet-smelling flowers. The place
where the people sat down to feast was surrounded
and closed in by a fence of marble pillars, and cur-
tains of white, green, and blue. These curtains were
fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver
rings. The place was paved with costly marble, red,
blue, white, and black. The people sat down on
sofas, according to the custom of those countries.
They were ornamented with gold and silver. The
dishes and goblets and cups were all different from
each other. They were formed of various patterns
and shapes. They consisted too of costly gold. Wine
in abundance was given to the people. It was wine
of the best description, royal wine, or wine of the
kingdom. The wine was drunk according to the
law. The people were not forced to drink more
than they were able to bear ; every man was per-
mitted to do according to his pleasure. This was the
express desire of the king.



62 LECTURES TO CHILDREN.

On the seventh and last day of the feast, the heart
of the king was merry with wine. He called his
seven chamberlains to bring Vashti the queen before
him. He ordered that she should come with the
royal crown upon her head. She was beautiful to
look upon. The king wished the people and princes
to behold and admire her beauty. The queen re
fused ; she was not willing to be gazed upon by the
multitude. The thought wounded her delicacy, and
shocked her mind. But the king was exceedingly
angry because she refused. It is said, he was " very
wroth, and his anger burned within him." He
could not endure this act of disobedience in the pres-
ence of his subjects, his nobles, and his princes.

The king called together his wise men and coun-
sellors to consult what should be done to queen
Vashti. It was resolved and advised that queen
Vashti should be sent away, and that another should
be chosen in her place ; tliis pleased the king.

When his wrath was appeased, the king gave
orders that the loveliest young virgins of his vast
empire shoul(J>fee brought to Shushan, that he might
choose one of them for liis queen. My young friends,
we are now come to a particular part of the history
of Esther. I wish you particularly to observe it, as it
furnishes a remarkable evidence of the providence of
God. Observe what follows, and you cannot fail to
be surprised at the manner in which the good and
lovely Esther was raised to be the queen of Ahas-



QUEEN ESTHER. 63

ueriis, one of the most mighty kings upon the face of
the earth.

One of the virgins chosen to be presented before
the king was this amiable yomig Jewess. There
lived in the palace at Shushan a certain Jew of the
tribe of Benjamin named Mordecai. I cannot tell
what situation this good man held. AYhatever it
was, he adorned it by his wisdom, humility, and
piety. He was taken a. captive from his native
country. Like Daniel, he was destined to rise to
great eminence in the land of his exile. There was
a little child, his own cousin, whom he educated and
brought up. She was the daughter of his uncle.
Her father and mother died. This was Esther.
Her other name was Hadassah. She Avas a helpless
orphan. Mordecai pitied her ; he took her to his
own home ; he became a father to her. It is said,
" When her father and mother were dead, he took
her for his own daughter." My dear children, are
any of you orphans ? take God for your father,
for he is the orphan's stay. And what a stay !

When many maidens were brought to the palace
of Shushan to be presented before the great Persian
king, Esther the young Jewish orphan was presented
among the rest ; she was preferred by the king before
them all. He chose her to be his queen ; he put the '
royal crown upon her head, and made her queen
instead of Vashti. How beautiful Esther looked with
her crown sparkling with costly jewels. How glori-



64 LECTURES TO CHILDREN.

ous Jesus looks in heaven crowned with a diadem
brighter than the sky. How glorious all the saints
in heaven must appear, for they too are crowned with
crowns of righteousness and of life that shall never
fade away.

While Esther lived in the palace, she never forgot
Mordecai who had been a father to her. He desired
her to conceal that she was a Jewess and an exile
from a distant land. She continued to obey Morde-
cai as faithfully as when she dwelt under his roof
She was lifted up to great rank, but she was not
lifted up with pride. She had a high station and an
humble heart.

Mordecai was accustomed every day to sit in the
palace-gate, to know how Esther was. While sitting
there one day, by a most remarkable providence he
received information respecting a plot which was laid
to murder the king. The persons who contrived the
plot were Bigthan and Teresh, his two chamberlams
who kept the palace-gate. Mordecai sent informa-
tion to Esther. She told it to the king. Thus his
life was preserved by Mordecai. Inquiry was made,
and the intended murderers were hanged upon a tree.
And it was marked in the records of the kmgdom
that Mordecai had given the information which saved
the king's life. At that time he received no reward,
but he was afterwards raised to great glory and
power.



QUEEN ESTHER. 65

LECTURE VII.

ESTHER AND KING AHASUERUS.

"Then were the king's scribes called on the thirteenth da/
of the first month, and there was written according to all that
Haman had commanded unto the king's lieutenants, and to
the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers
of every people of every province, accordmg to the writuig
thereof, and to every people after their language ; in the name
of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's
ring. And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's
provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews,
both yoimg and old, little .children and women, m one day,
even upon the thhteenth day of the twelfth month, which is
the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.
The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in
every province was published unto all people, that they
should be ready against that day. The posts went out, bemg
hastened by the king's commandment, and the decree was
given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat
down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed." Es-
ther 3 : 12-15.

We now proceed, my little children, in this lecture
to mention other remarkable particulars in the most
interesting life of Esther. We have seen how she
was elevated to be a Persian queen.

By the assistance of divine grace, we shall now
endeavor to show, as clearly as possible, ivhy she
was made queen. The reason was very important.
It was for the preservation of God's church from the
most dreadful destruction. The monster who laid

Lee. to Cbil.-Vol. II. f)



66 LECTURES TO CHILDREN.

tiie plan for having all the Jews put cruelly to death,
and that on one day, was the vile, the ^yicked Ha-
inan. His name signifies preparation. He indeed
prepared a cruel plot against the people of God.
Had his plan succeeded, nearly all of them, men,
women, and children must have perished. You
wall see, as we go on, how his plot was overturned
and defeated by Mordecai and Esther. It Avas for
this end Mordecai was raised to great honor ; it was
for this end Esther was elevated to fill a throne.

Who was Haman ? He was the king's prime min-
ister ; he was next to the king. It is a great blessing
when a good man rises to great power, but it is a
great curse when a bad man is raised to great influ-
ence. This truth is well expressed in the Proverbs
of Solomon, a book with which little children should
be well acquainted. Solomon says, "When the right-
eous are in authority, the people rejoice : but when
the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." Haman
was in authority, though a very wicked man. If
God had not prevented, his power would have been
used for the destruction of hundreds and thousands
of the people of the Most High.

The king placed Haman above all his princes.
When he passed through the palace-gate, all the
king's servants uncovered their heads, and bowed
and gave him reverence. This pleased the haughty
Haman. There was one man in the gate Avho would
not uncover his head when Haman passed, or give



Q.UEEN ESTHER. 67

him reverence. This was Mordecai. Why did he
refuse ? Because Haman was a had man ; therefore
he would not bow, to flatter his vanity, or feed his
pride. Haman observed how Mordecai the Jew neg-
lected and despised him. He was greatly displeased ;
he said within himself, "I must fall on some plan to
get this Mordecai, this contemptible fellow of a Jew
destroyed ; but I scorn to lay hands on him alone.
My plan must be so laid, that all his people shall be
destroyed, even all the Jews throughout the empire
of the king."

Thmk, my young friends, what a dreadfully wicked
man Haman must have been. Because one Jew
refused to bow before him, he is resolved that thou-
sands of Jews shall be murdered who gave him no
offence. As the devil planned the destruction of the
whole human race, Haman the devil's son planned
the destruction of all the Jews that could be found in
the dominions of kmg Ahasuerus See how much
the son resembles the father. The cruel son of a
cruel father ; the father is a murderer, and the son
is a murderer.

Haman cannot get these poor Jews destroyed \viih-
out the consent of the king. But how is this con-
sent to be obtained ? How can a king of any justice,
or any mercy, ever consent to such a deed ? He did
consent, and I will show you how the consent was
obtained. This Haman was a liar, as well as a mur-
derer. He had the presumption and impudence to



(58 LECTURES TO CHILDREN.

go to the king, and bring lying accusations against
the Jbavs.

Dear children, beware of lying. All liars are the
children of the devil. Hell is prepared for liars.
" All liars shall have their portion in the lake that
burnetii with fire and brimstone I" If any of you
are guilty of lying, think of this, and fear ; think of
this, and reform.

What did lying Haman say, when he went unto
the king ? He said, " There is a certain people scat-
tered abroad and dispersed among the people in all
the provinces of thy kingdom ; and their laws are
diverse from all people ; neither keep they the king's
laws : therefore it is not for the Idng's profit to suffer
them. If it please the king, let it be written that
they may be destroyed ; and I will pay ten thousand
talents of silver to the hands of those that have the
charge of the business, to bring it into the king's
treasuries."

Observe the wickedness and cunning of tliis wretch.
He does not tell the king that Mordecai had offended
him, by refusmg to give him reverence while he
passed through the palace-gate. If he had done this,
orders might easily have been given to cut off the
head of Mordecai, or to make him a prisoner for life.
The death of Mordecai would not satisfy Haman ;
he thirsts for the blood of all the Jews. To gain
this object, what does he say against the poor Jews?
He first represents them as a contemptible people.



QUEEN ESTHER. 69

Then he represents them as a dangerous people, and
therefore not worthy to be suffered to live. He rep-
resented their laws as bad, and contrary to those of
other nations. The laws he found fault with were
the laws of God. Now he turns blasphemer ; he is
not satisfied with reviling God's people, but he re-
viles God himself in reviling liis laws.

The king gave his consent that it should be done
as he desired. Lots were cast when the work of
carnage, cruelty, and death should commence. The
lot fell that it should take place on the thirteenth day
of the twelfth month, or some time in our month of
March, God mercifully directed this, for there was
a delay almost of a whole year. " The disposing of
the lot is of the Lord." This furnished time for
methods being contrived for preventing the calamity
which the wicked Haman intended.

Posts and letters were sent through all the king-
dom, giving authority to all the people to " destroy, to
kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and
old, little children and women, in one day, on the
thirteenth day of the month Adar, and to take the
spoil of them for a prey." what a cruel proclama-
tion I Perhaps there never was such another proc-
lamation m any period of the world before. When
Haman and the king had finished their plan and issued
their dreadful command, they sat down in the palace
of Shushan to drink wine, while the v/hole of the m-
habitants of the city were greatly perplexed.



70 LECTURES TO CHILDREN.

Mordecai was exceedingly afflicted. He rent his
clothes, and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went
along the streets of Shushan, lamenting and crying
with a loud and a bitter cry. He even stood before
the king's gate clothed with sackcloth. When the
bloody tidings reached the different provinces, "there
was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting,
and weeping, and wailing ; and many lay in sackcloth
and ashes." When the doleful tidings reached queen
Esther, she grieved exceedingly. She grieved for
herself, but she grieved more for her people. As you
know, my young friends, she was a Jewess, though
the king knew it not. She heard that her beloved
friend Mordecai stood day after day at the king's
gate clothed with sackcloth. She sent raiment to
clothe him ; but he received it not. Esther called
for Hatach, one of the king's chamberlains, to inquire
of Mordecai why it was that so cruel a command
had been delivered against the Jews. Hatach went
to Mordecai, and returned with a message to the
queen. He presented a copy of the horrible decree.
Mordecai requested that she would employ all her
powers with the king to prevent the destruction of
lier people the Jews. Esther returned an answer
to Mordecai. She stated that no one, not even the
queen herself, could go into the presence of the king
uncalled, on pain of death. Besides, she had not
Been the king for thirty days. This led her to sup-
pose that the king's love to her had begun to decay.



QL'EEX ESTHER. 71

Mordecai returns another message to the queen. It
was to the foUoAving effect : that even she, though
a queen, was not safe ; that even in the palace itself,
her hfe would most probably be taken away ; that
if she did not come boldly forward at tliis time and
entreat the king for her own people, God would send
deliverance from some other quarter, wliile she and
her father's house would be left to perish. He also
told her that God had probably brought her to the
kingdom for the very purpose of saving his people
and church from the cruel death Haman had con-
trived. This was the message which Mordecai sent
to Esther.

What the good Mordecai said was blessed. It
touched the queen's heart. She felt it was the voice
of God. It was a call she would not, she could not
resist. She returned the following remarkable, noble,
and pious answer. She said, "Go, gather together
all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye
for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or
day : I also and my maidens will fast likewise : and
so will I go in unto the kmg, which is not according
to the law ; and if I perish, I perish."

Think ye, little children, with admiration on queen
Esther, on the words she uttered, and the resolutions
she formed. She, though queen, was liable to be
put to death if she went into the king's presence
without being invited. But if she lose her life in the
attempt, she is resolved to make it and plead with



72 LECTURES TO CHILDREN.

her royai husband for the salvation of her people.
In attemptmg to save her people, she was willing to
die. She showed the spirit of Jesus. He died to
save sinners.

Esther enters most seriously on the work of accom-
plishing the salvation of Israel. She and her hon-
orable attendants humbled themselves before God.
They fasted three days, and prayed. She entreated
"Mordecai, that he, and all the Jews in the city of
Shushan, would join with her in the same holy and
solemn services. Here is a blessed example for us to
follow. If we expect blessings, temporal or spiritual,
we must seek them by prayer in the name of Christ.
Satan has laid a plan for our ruin. I assure you,
little children, it is the case. All who live and die
without prayer, nmst fall into the snare v/hich Satan
has prepared.

See the great blessedness of humihty. Esther
humbled herself before God, and thus obtained the
salvation of thousands. Some might have said, if
you wish to prevail with the king, you must not
mourn and fast for three days. No ; you must rather
pamper and please the flesh, that your appearance
may win and ovei'come the king. She knew that
God, and not herself, must work this change upon the
king's heart. She also knew that God could make
the tear falling down her cheek of more effect than
the smile sparkling on the loveliest cheek.

how noble this young queen appears, adorned



QUEEN ESTHER. 73

with grace. Great as the lovcHness of her counte-
nance was, it was nothing compared with this. She
had a lovely body, but she had a lovelier soul. Beau-
tiful were the royal garments of silk in which she
was arrayed, but far more beautiful the garments of
salvation with which she was adorned. Costly was
the golden crown she wore, but far more costly the
crown of righteousness which shed lustre upon her
soul. It is a great honor to be a queen, but it is a
greater honor to be a saint. Esther was both the
one and the other.



74 LECTURES TO CHILDREX.



LECTURE VIII.

ESTHER'S PETITION.

"And the king said again to Esther on the second day
at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther?
and it shall be granted thee ; and what is thy request ? and
it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom. Then
Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favor
in thy sight, king, and if it please the king, let my life be
given me at my petition, and my people at my request."
Esther 7 : 2. 3.

We shall now consider how this pious queen suc-


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