his hands were cut off upon the threshold, only the stump of Dagon was left unto him.” So was all idolatry destined to fall before the recorded word of the Almighty. What was achieved in the temple of Azotus was gradually accomplished throughout the land of Israel. Many times was Dagon set up in his place again. Many a time idolatry revived, the Ark of God was in the hands of the enemy, and the true religion about to be extinguished, when the Almighty interposed to vindicate his honor, and re-establish his worship, and at last obtained a triumph by the very means which at first sight threatened to overthrow it forever.

I have said that the objects of the national existence of the Jews were greatly promoted by the building of the temple at Jerusalem. It was a splendid edifice, calculated to awaken the curiosity, to attract the attention, and command the respect of the world. It furnished a place of appropriate convenience, beauty, and dignity, for the celebration of their daily sacrifices, and their national rites. It made more interesting their three yearly festivals, when all the males were obliged to present themselves before God. It gave them what we all want, some fixtures to their religion, a local habitation to their religious affections and associations. It connected the sentiment of religion with another no less strong, that of patriotism; and enlisted them both in the maintenance and defence of the national institutions of Moses. It led to the formation of a national literature, which gave expression to these two most powerful sentiments of the human bosom, and thus operated to call forth and strengthen them in each succeeding generation.

That literature is preserved in part in the Psalms, which taken together are the most exquisite specimens of lyric poetry that the world has ever seen. In them may be distinctly read the deep hold which the national religion, and particularly the temple worship at Jerusalem, had taken upon the feelings of the people. The one hundred and twenty-second Psalm we may suppose was composed by some pious Israelite as he went up to one of the annual feasts. It breathes the essence of piety and patriotism:

“I was glad when they said unto me,
Let us go into the house of the Lord.
Our feet shall stand within thy gates, 0 Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together,
Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord
Unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of

the Lord.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
They shall prosper that love thee.
Peace be within thy walls,
And prosperity within thy palaces;
For my brethren and companions' sake
I will now say, Peace be within thee;
Because of the house of the Lord our God

I will seek thy good.”
Still the Mosaic institutions, assisted by the magni-

ficence of the temple service, failed to extirpate entirely the propensity to idolatry. Occasionally it sprang up and overspread the country, till at last the Almighty saw fit to suffer that temple to be overthrown, his people to be carried into captivity, and his worship to be suspended for seventy years. And his judgments accomplished what his mercies could not effect. That very measure of divine severity, which at first sight threatened to destroy the worship of the true God from the face of the earth, and give up the world to the interminable dominion of idolatry, was the means of establishing it on a firmer basis than ever. Although Jerusalem was overthrown, and the temple razed to its foundation, the captive Jews carried the true Jerusalem in their hearts. Whereever they were, in the splendid cities of the East, or amid the fascinations of Egypt, or the tents of the wandering shepherds, still their affections were in the Holy Land. Like Daniel they turned their faces in their prayers toward the place where they and their fathers had worshipped, or like Nehemiah, when serving in the courts of princes, they mourned and fasted when they heard that the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, and her gates burned with fire." And that most exquisite elegy of some captive Jew, which we have in the one hundred and thirty-seventh Psalm, may be considered as expressing the sentiments of every captive who was led away into slavery.

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“ By the rivers of Babylon there we sat down,
Yea, we wept when we remembered Zion.
We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof,
For they that carried us away captive required of us a song,
And they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying,
Sing us one of the songs of Zion.'
How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget her cunning!
If I do not remember thee,
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,
If I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."

There in slavery they had time and opportunity to reflect

upon the causes of their calamities. There they read in the books of Moses, which were the companions of their exile, the awful curses which he had denounced against them if they forsook the worship of the true God, and felt them to be fulfilled in themselves. There they read the prophecy, which had been written by Moses almost a thousand years before, in the book of Deuteronomy: “If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, the Lord thy God, the Lord will scatter thee among all people from one end of the earth even unto the other. And among these nations thou shalt find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest, but the Lord shall give thee then a trembling heart, and failing eyes, and sorrow of mind. And thy life shall hang in doubt before

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thee, and thou shalt fear night and day, and have no assurance of thy life. In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were evening,' and in the evening, Would God it were morning,' for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see." ”

Smitten to the heart by the fulfilment of such awful threatenings, all propensity to idolatry was forever cured. Never after this period could the allurements of pleasure, nor the threats of pain, neither dens of wild beasts, nor the fiery furnace, neither instant death nor lingering torture, ever induce them to offer sacrifice to idol gods. That same Providence, which had scattered them in foreign lands, now restored them to their own. Their temple was rebuilt, the daily sacrifice was resumed, and was never intermitted, with the exception of about three years under Antiochus Epiphanes, till that great Personage appeared, who declared himself greater than the temple, for whose coming the Mosaic Economy had been preparatory, and who came not as the legislator of a nation, but as the Light of the world; and who declared that henceforth not in Jerusalem nor Mount Gerizim, nor any other particular spot, men should worship the Father, but wherever they could worship him in spirit and in truth.

Thus the mission of Moses was fulfilled. One nation was redeemed from idolatry, and consecrated

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