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He carried out thence all the treasures
of the House of the Lord. 2 Kings xxiv. 13.
AMONGST these deported treasures must have been much of the sacred furniture of the Temple, and the holy vessels; because, in the days of Belshazzar, find them brought out to grace the royal banquet. BeIshazzar drank wine from them with his lords, wives, and concubines, whilst they praised the gods of Babylon, who had given them victory over their foes. Amongst the rest was the golden candlestick, whose flame afterwards illuminated the inscription of doom, written by God's hand upon the palace wall. By the command of Cyrus these precious vessels were finally restored (Ezra v. 14), and carried back to Jerusalem, by a faithful band of priests (viii. 33).
The whole story of the captivity is full of solemn lessons. ‑‑ The Church of God must make her choice between one of two courses: either she must keep from all entangling alliances, and from vieing for temporal power; or she must face the liability of being brought under the power with which she would fain assimilate. Israel wanted to be as the other nations around her, imitating their organization, and allying herself now with one, and then with another; in consequence she was swept into captivity to the very nation whose fashions she most affected (Isa. xxxviii.).
Have we never tasted the bitters of captivity? ‑‑ Borne away from our happy early homes to live among strangers, set to repugnant tasks, removed from all that made life worth living, we have known the exile's lot. Alas! if it be so; yet, even in our captivity, where the Lord's song is silenced, and our harps hang from the willows, if we repent, and put away our sins, and turn again to the Lord, He will not only have mercy, but abundantly pardon, and bring us again that we may be as we were in times past.