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ashamed of his former pride and vain glory; for he had learned at length, that in the sight of the great and holy Lord God, all the inhabitants of the earth, even the most exalted kings, are reputed as nothing: and that “ he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among all the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay his hand, or say unto him, . What doest thou ?""
E. Did God give him back his kingdom, then ?
M. Yes, my son ; the glory of his kingdom, his honour and brightness, were returned to him again ; and his counsellors and lords gathered round him again acknowledging him once more as their sovereign, and he was firmly established in his kingdom with more excellent majesty than he had before. But we have reason to believe that he had learned a lesson which he could never forget, and that none of these things turned away his heart any more from God; for we read, that after he was restored to his throne, he published an account which he sent into all the different parts of his empire, of the strange things that had happened to him, and that he ended with saying, “ And now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol, and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment, and those who walk in pride he is able to abase.”
E. Did he reign long after this ?
M. No; he lived only one year longer, and then died, having been king of Babylon more than forty years. He was one of the greatest kings that had reigned over that country for many ages, and
you will easily believe, after all you have heard about him, that his name was famous for many generations, even as long as that Babylon which he had built continued to be talked of as the wonder of the world.
SIXTY-SECOND SUNDAY EVENING.
THE FALL OF BABYLON.
M. Last Sunday evening, Edward, we talked a great deal of the magnificence of Babylon, which Nebuchadnezzar had so much improved, and made so great, and strong, and beautiful. It was the capital, you know, of his kingdom ; the head of the Assyrian empire : but this same Assyrian empire, as we have heard in the dream which Daniel explained to Nebuchadnezzar, was to be broken up, and give place to another, called in history the Persian empire. The time for the fulfilment of this prophecy was now approaching. Had the people repented, and had their kings been wise and religious, perhaps it might have pleased God to put off the evil day; but such was not the case. Wealth and power made them thoughtless of every thing but their own pleasure and selfish indulgence; this was particularly the case with Belshazzar, or Nabonadius, as he is also called, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, and the fourth king after him.
For this conduct in Belshazzar there was no excusê; for the prophet Daniel was still alive, and still about the king's court, being, indeed, employed as one of the chief ministers or officers in the kingdom; and it is most likely that he took every opportunity of warning him of his danger. From Daniel, too, he had most likely learned that his kingdom was to be taken from him, and fall into the hands of the Medes and Persians.
Now just at this very time there was rising up in the heart of Asia a distinguished warrior, known in history by the name of Cyrus the Great. He was son of Cambyses, king of Persia, and general also of the armies of the Medes, who were then a powerful people, over whom Cyaxares, the uncle of Cyrus, was king. E. Where did the Medes live, mother?
M. Their country was called Media ; and it lay to the north of Babylonia, near the Caspian Sea. It had once been a part of the Assyrian empire, but was now a separate kingdom of great power.
The kings of Babylon, immediately before Belshazzar, had made war upon Media, which caused Cyaxares their king; or Darius the Mede, as he is also called, to send for Cyrus out of Persia, to come to his help; this led the king of Babylon to apply also for assistance to other nations, which brought about a general war; in which Cyrus, at the head of the Median and Persian army, gained great victories, making himself a mighty name, and extending the kingdom of the Medes and Persians more and more on every
side. E. Mother, was the Persia from which Cyrus came, the same with that Persia which I learn about in my map of Asia ?
M. Not exactly, my son; at the time I am now speaking of, it then formed only a small part or province of that country which was afterward known by the name of Persia. “For when, by the valour and wisdom of Cyrus, the Persians had obtained the empire of the east, the name of Persia was given to the whole of that vast tract of country which extends from the Indus to the Tigris, and from the Caspian Sea to the Indian Ocean.” But we must go on with the conquests of Cyrus, who had come with his armies into Babylonia, and had taken many of the towns and fortresses which belonged to the king of Babylon. Belshazzar, however, thought to get rid of him, by persuading Cresus, king of Lydia, to march up against him : but this in the end only added Lydia and Phrygia, and all the parts of Lesser Asia to the dominions of Cyrus. He also subdued Syria and Arabia, and the upper countries of Asia; after which he returned more powerful than ever to make war again upon Belshazzar, and having overthrown him in battle, he drove him within the walls of Babylon, and there besieged him. But even this did not bring Belshazzar to a sober sense of his danger, nor cause him to reflect upon those solemn prophecies which had been revealed to the Babylonians in Daniel's explanation of Nebuchadnezzar's famous dream.
Ë. I suppose, mother he trusted to the strength of those thick and high walls which surrounded Babylon, and to her brazen gates, and thought it impossible that Cyrus should get at him there.
M. Most likely; and then he might have felt that he had nothing to fear from famine, even were the siege to last for twenty years, so well was the city supplied with all sorts of provisions, partly in stores laid up, and partly from the great quantity of cultivated ground which lay within the walls of their city: therefore Belshazzar and his people only laughed.
E. Does the Bible tell us all this?
Mi No; the Bible does not mention all that I have told you, but we learn this, and much of what I have said, from valuable books of ancient history; which you will one day read for yourself. Cyrus continued his siege of. Babylon for more than two years without any chance of being able to take the city, but at the end of that time he gained his great object. I will tell you how he managed it.
But first I must point out to you some very important things to which you must pay great attention: One is, that the destruction of Babylon was foretold most distinctly by the prophets. Thus Jeremiah, who lived, as we have seen, at the beginning of the captivity, that is, seventy years before this time, said expressly, that the Jews should serve the king of Babylon seventy years, and then he adds, " it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, saith the Lord;" foretelling not only the fall