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in which Deborah celebrates that conduct. horrid use which conquerors usually made of victory, to which I allude. The wretched females of the vanquished people fell a prey to the brutal lust of the victors. This was a case so common that "the mother of Sisera and her wise ladies" are represented as so lost to feminine delicacy and compassion as remorselessly to exult in the thought of portioning out the virgins of Is-rael to Sisera and his soldiers, as the mere instruments of a brutal pleasure; as an article of horrid booty for the lawless plunderer. "The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots? Her wise ladies answered her, yea, she returned answer to herself, Have they not sped? have they not divided the prey, to every man a damsel or two? to Sisera a prey of divers colors, a prey of divers colors of needle work, of divers colors of needle-work on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil?" Verse 28, 39, 30. Now, may we not suppose both Jael and Deborah animated with a holy indignation against the intended violaters of their sex's modesty and honor, and with a holy joy, on the defeat of their ungracious purpose? May we not innocently suppose a mixture of virtuous female spirit inspiring what the one acted and the other sung? Our pity for the fallen warrior, and his untimely, inglorious fate, must of course abate, when we consider that a righteous and merciful Providence by whatever means, shortened a life, and stopped a career, which threatened the life, the virtue, the happiness of thousands.
In personifying the character of Sisera's mother and her attendants, Deborah presents us with a happy imitation of a passage in the song of Moses on the triumphant passage of the Red Sea; where the poet insinuates himself, by a bold figure of eloquence, into the counsels of Pharaoh, overhears their formidable resolutions, and in the close of the scene, rejoices in seeing
their counsels, once so much dreaded, turned into foolishness, by the grace and power of Heaven. "The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them; they sank as lead in the mighty waters,” Exod. xv. 9, 10. So here, Deborah brings in the matrons of Canaan as anticipating the fruits of victory, prematurely enjoying the triumph of the subjection of the Israelitish damsels to their own pride, and the pleasure of their warriors; and she inspirits the gratitude and joy of her fair country women, by gently hinting at the dreadful hazard which they had run. This too, of course, diminishes our concern for the cruel disappointment which the mother of Sisera endured, looking and looking, from her window, but still looking in vain for him who was never more to return; expecting and expecting that lingering chariot, which the ancient river Kishon had long ere now swept down its stream: flushed with hope, only to make calamity more bitter. And let that hope be forever blasted, which could be accomplished only by what humanity shudders to think of.
Having thus enjoyed self-gratulation, and called forth the grateful congratulations of her delivered country, and with heroic ardor trampled on disappointed lust, insolence and ambition, she now aims a nobler flight. The world and its transitory interests and employments disappear. The throne of God meets her enraptured eye. Private, personal, national animosity are no more: all, all is lost in the higher, unlimited, unchanging interests of the divine glory." So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord." This is but a prophetic enunciation of what needs must be. After one revolution has obliterated another, one mortal interest swallowed another up...after the distinctions of Jew and Gentile, Greek and barbarian, bond and free are lost and forgotten, the honors of the divine justice and
mercy shall flourish and prevail. They that are afar from him, of whatever other name or description, shall perish; and the workers of iniquity shall be destroyed.
But the pious leader of the heavenly theme, as if unwilling to shut up her song with an idea so gloomy as the awful displeasure of the great God against his adversaries, relieves herself and us, by taking up the more encouraging view of the favor of Jehovah to her friends, and thus she fervently breathes out her soul; But let them that love him, be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might."
Next to the great Lord of nature himself, who is,
........to us invisible, Or dimly seen, in these his lowest works;
that glorious creature of his power, the sun, is the most striking and impressive of all objects. And poets of every description bave enriched and ennobled their compositions by allusions to the glorious orb of day, "of this great world the eye and soul," as the brightest inanimate image of Deity here below, the fountain of light, the dispenser of vital warmth, the parent of joy. The inspired sacred writers have likewise happily employed it to represent the most glorious animated image of God in our world, a wise and good man going from strength to strength;" shining as a light in a dark place; silently, without expectation of return, without upbraiding, in an unceasing revolution of diffusing happiness; aiming at resemblance to his Creator by becoming a god to his fellow-creatures. It is thus that Deborah concludes her song; with a warm effusion of faith, and hope, and desire, that righteousness might abound and increase, that good men might be in succession raised up, each in his day a light to his country, to mankind; "going forth as the sun in his might," from lustre to still higher lustre, from useful
ness to usefulness, without diminution and without end. By the same simple but powerful imagery the wise man represents the progress of true goodness; "the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.' And Wisdom itself by a similar suggestion animates the zeal and supports the industry of those who were to teach his religion to the nations of the earth; "Ye are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
To the whole is affixed an historical note, short indeed, but highly interesting and important; " And the land had rest forty years.' This is the noblest eulogium of Deborah, the most honorable display of her talents and virtues. If there be feelings worthy of envy, they are those of this exalted woman, on reflecting that God had honored her to restore liberty and peace to her country; and to establish such a system of administration of justice, of civil government, of military discipline, and of religious worship, as preserved the public tranquillity for forty years. How effec tually may every individual serve the community! Of what importance, then, is every, the meanest individual! How lasting and how extensive is the influence of real worth! There is one way in which every man may be a public blessing, may become a saviour of his coun try....by cultivating the private virtues of the man and ‚the Chri-tian.
I proceed to illustrate the female character, its amiableness, usefulness and importance, in persons and scenes of a very different complexion; in the less glaring, but not less instructive history of RUTH, the Moabitess, and Naomi, her mother-in-law; happy to escape the scenes of horror and blood which are the subject of the remainder of the history of the Israelitish judges.
HISTORY OF RUTH.
Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Beth-lehem Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Beth-lehem-Judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. And Elimelech, Naomi's husband died; and she was left and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons, and her husband....RUTH i. 1...5.
ΤΗ THE perpetual vicissitude that prevails in the system of the universe, and in the conduct of Providence, is adapted to the nature, and conducive to the happiness of man. The succession of day and night, alternate labor and repose, the variations of the changing seasons lend to each, as it returns, its peculiar beauty and fitness. We are kept still looking forward, we are ever hovering on the wing of expectation, rising from attainment to attainment, pressing on to some future mark, pursuing some yet unpossessed prize, the hireling, supported by the prospect of receiving the evening's reward, cheerfully fulfills the work of the