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Which made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:

Which e.xecuteth judgment fur the oppressed, which givtth food to the hungry. The Lord looseth the prisoners:

The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous:

The Lord preserve!h the strangers: He relieveth the father/ess and widow: but the way of the wicked he turn. eth upside down.

The Lord shall reign for ever, even thy God, 0 Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the Lord.

Praise ye the Lord : for it is good to sing praises unto our God, for it is pleasant, and praise is comely.

The Lord doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

He telleth the number of the stars. He calleth them all by their names.

Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite.

The Lord lifteth up the meek: He casteth the wicked down to the ground.

Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving: sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

. Who covereth the heaven with clouds. Who prepareth rain for the earth. Who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.

He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which try.

He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: He taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.

* Paulm cxWii.

The

The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy.

Pra ie the Lord, 0 Jerusalem; praise thy God, 0 Zion.

For He hath strengthened the bars of thy gates: Hi hath blessed thy children -within thee.

He maketh peace in thy borders, andfilleth thee with the finest of the wheat.

He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: His word runneth very swiftly.

He giveth snow like wool: He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.

He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before His cold?

He sendeth out h,s word, and mclteth them: He eauseth His wind to blow, and the waters flow.

He sheweth His word unto Jacob, His statutes, mid His judgments unto Israel,

He hath not dealt so w>th any nation: and as for His judgment*, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord.

* Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the "lord from the heavens: prahe Him in the heights.

Praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts.

Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars of light.

Praise Him, ye heaven of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the Lord : for he commanded and they were created.

He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass. Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons and all deeps. * I'aalm cxiviii.

Fire, and hail; snos, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling His uord;

Mountains and all hills ;fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cat tin;- creeping things, andjlying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all . judges of the earth:

Both young men and maidens; old men, and children:

Let them praise the name of the Lord :for His name

thneis excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven.

He also exalteth the horn of His people, the praise of

all His saints; even of the children of Israel, a people

near unto Him. Praise ye the Lord.

Cyrus and Darius had assigned the tribute clue to them from Samaria to be paid towards the building of the Temple, and furnishing the Jews with sacrifices, that oblations and prayers might be offered there for the king and royal family, and the welfare of the Persian empire. This was a great mortification to the Samaritans, and they used their utmost endeavours to get rid of what they thought an indignity, but could not succeed, and, on pretence that the temple was finished, they refused to let the Jews have the annual sum any longer; on which, complaint was made to Darius, and the Samaritans were enjoined to pay it, as formerly.

Darius, desirous of enlarging his empire, entered into India, and brought into subjection that large country; from which he annually received a considerable sum. Some years after, he invaded Greece, but was repulsed with loss: he therefore resolved to make an invasion on it in person; and, notwithstanding the Egyptians revolted from him, he persisted in his design, but determined to send a part of his forces to reduce Egypt. Darius was at this time a very old man; and, as there was a contest amongst his sons about the succession, he thought it necessary to settle this point before he went

pa on his expedition, and declared Xerxes his successor. When all things were ready for the Grecian war, Darius fell sick and died, having reigned thirty-six years. He was a prince of wisdom, clemency, and justice.

The Divine being who appeared to Daniel, declared, that the fourth king of Persia after his time should exceed all his predecessors in power and riches; that he should be puffed up with an idea of his grandeur, which would rise to the highest pitch: that he would assemble all the people in his boundless dominions, and lead them on to attempt the conquest ef Greece. This prediction was remarkably fulfilled.

Xerxes, who was the fourth king of Persia, in the first year of his reign, carried on the preparations for the Grecian war: he confirmed to the Jews all the privileges granted to them by Darius, especially that of the tribute of Samaria. In the 2d year of his reign he subdued the Egyptians, and reduced them to a heavier yoke than before. Elated with this success, he resolved upon a war with Greece, and made great preparations for it. Joshua, the high-priest of the Jews, died about this time, in the fifty-third year of his priesthood, and Jehoiakim his son succeeded in that office. Early in the next spring, Xerxes set out on his expedition against Greece, with a land army, consisting of one million seven hundred thousand foot, and eighty thousand horse, and a fleet proportionable; but, being vanquished by Themistocles, the Athenian general, in a memorable battle at Salamis, he escaped in a small fishing-boat, and returned home, leaving three hundred thousand soldiers, under the command of one of his generals, to conquer Greece; which army was, not long after, entirely destroyed at Platea, by Pausanias the Spartan.

Xerxes, on his return home towards Shushan, passing through Babylon, made great devastation there by destroying their temples and images, by which he helped

to

to fulfil the prophecies of Jeremiah and Isaiah. The gold and silver, of which the images were ui:ide, he, converted to common uses. Being at last wholly discouraged by his losses and defeats, he gave his mind entirely up to luxury and dissipation, and grew into freat contempt with his people. Artabanes, the captain of his guards, conspired against him, and with the assistance of Mithridates, his chamberlain, got into the royal, apartment and murdered him while he slept in his bed. Artaxerxes, one of the sons of Xerxes, succeeded to the throne: he is by the Greek historians called Longimanus, on account of the great extent of his dominions. But in some parts of Scripture he is called Ahasuerus, and we have part of his history in the, Sible.

SECTION LXXI.

AHASUEKUS MAKES A ROVAL FEAST.

From Esther, Chap. i.

Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces :) That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shuehan the palace,

. In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the powers of Persia, and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: when he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom, and the honour of his excellent majesty, many days, even an hundred and fourscore days. . And when those days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the prophets that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven dayy, in the

Vol. iv. M court

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