The Young Captives: A Story of Judah and Babylon
118 pages
English

The Young Captives: A Story of Judah and Babylon

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118 pages
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Publié le 08 décembre 2010
Nombre de lectures 28
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Young Captives, by Erasmus W. Jones This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: The Young Captives A Story of Judah and Babylon Author: Erasmus W. Jones Release Date: June 30, 2004 [EBook #12792] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE YOUNG CAPTIVES *** THE YOUNG CAPTIVES The royal chariot halted at the door of Daniel's residence. THE YOUNG CAPTIVES A Story of Judah and Babylon By ERASMUS W. JONES 1907 PREFACE. PREFACE. This volume is the fruit of my leisure hours; and those hours in the life of a pastor are not very abundant. That the story has suffered from this, I do not believe. Whatever its defects may be, they are not owing to "the pressure of other duties." So, dear reader, if this little work proves a failure, let not that deep calamity be attributed to any lack but the lack of ability in the author. The semi-fictitious style of the writing, while displeasing to some, will be well-pleasing to others. "What I have written I have written;" perhaps in a way peculiar to myself. I know of some who could write charming books on this subject in a very different and perhaps a far superior style; but these I dare not try to imitate. I must write in my own way. It may be inferior to the way of others; but then it is much better to move around on your own limbs, even if they are rather "short metre," than to parade abroad on stilts in mid-air. In the colloquies, I have not thought it best to follow strictly the Oriental style. However pleasing this might have been to some, I am well persuaded that it could not meet the approbation of the generality of readers; and as the great design of the work is to bear with weight upon some of the corrupt usages and wicked policies of the present day, I thought it advisable to shape the phraseology in conformity with modern usages. In the prosecution of this work, I have consulted the following authorities: Josephus, Rollins' "Ancient History," Smith's "Sacred Annals," "Daniel, a Model for Young Men," by Dr. Scott, Clarke's, Henry's, Scott's, and Benson's Commentaries; with some other smaller works. In following the "Youths of Judah" through their various trials, at home and in a land of strangers, I have received much genuine pleasure and lasting profit; and that the reader, likewise, may be greatly pleased and benefited, is the sincere desire of his unworthy servant, Erasmus W. Jones. THE YOUNG CAPTIVES THE YOUNG CAPTIVES A STORY OF JUDAH AND BABYLON By ERASMUS W. JONES. A CHAPTER I. CLASH of swords and the cries of excited men resounded through the streets of the city. Two guardsmen were endeavoring to disarm and arrest a number of boisterous youths. The latter, evidently young men of good social position, had been singing bacchanalian songs and otherwise conducting themselves in a manner contrary to the spirit of orderliness which King Josiah was striving to establish in Jerusalem. The youths were intoxicated, and, when the two officers sought to restrain them, they drew swords and made a reckless attack on the guardians of the peace. Although the latter were outnumbered, they were courageous and skillful men, and soon had three of the party disarmed, accomplishing this without bloodshed. The fourth and last of the marauders, a handsome and stalwart young man apparently about twenty-one years of age, although at first desirous of keeping out of the mêlée, sprang to the aid of his companions. He cleverly tripped one of the watchmen and grappled with the other in such a way that the officer could not use his sword arm. This fierce onslaught gave the other members of the party new courage, and they joined in the battle again. The conflict might then have been settled in favor of the lawless party but for an unexpected circumstance. As one of the guardsmen gave a signal calling for reinforcements, the second made a desperate attempt to throw his young antagonist to the ground, and, as they struggled, his face came in proximity to that of the offending youth. He uttered an exclamation of surprise. "Ezrom! Ezrom!" cried he; "don't add crime to your other follies! Do you realize what you are doing? See how you are about to bring disgrace upon your relatives. Make haste away from this place before the reinforcements come, or nothing will save you from the dungeon. I beseech you in the name of the king and your beloved family!" Instantly the plea had its effect. The young man drew back, and, hastily uttering a few words to his companions, led them away before they could be recognized by the gathering crowd. "The officer is a loyal friend of our house," the youth explained, "and we have him to thank for getting us out of this trouble, temporarily at least. But the affair has attracted enough notice so that there is sure to be an inquiry to-morrow, and I for one will put the city of my birth behind me before the dawn of day. The son of Salome and the nephew of King Josiah will never again bring disgrace upon those he loves. To-night I flee to parts unknown, and bitter indeed will be the punishment of those of you who are apprehended for our offenses." In the vicinity of the Temple stood a beautiful dwelling. From outward appearances one would readily conclude that the inmates of that fair abode were not common personages. Wealth and taste were shown on every hand. To this house, in the heart of Jerusalem, came the young man who had rendered himself so conspicuous in the quarrel with the guard. He reached the place by a circuitous route and hastily entered. Although the hour was late two Hebrew maidens of rare beauty awaited his coming. They were in a state of anxious solicitude for the return of their erring brother, whose conduct of late had been such as to cause the most intense anxiety on the part of the pious household, for Ezrom belonged to the nobility of Judah and was a blood relation of the reigning monarch. Seeing his excited countenance, the sisters understood that something unusual had befallen him, and the elder of the two sprang to his side. "What calamity has occurred to you, my dear brother?" she cried. “Be calm, sweet Serintha," he replied, "and I will tell you all." He then informed his sisters that with his three friends he had been guilty of taking up arms against the authorities—a crime punished with great severity. As Ezrom and his young men companions were connected with families of high station in Jerusalem, even having royal blood in their veins, they had the privilege of carrying weapons and were in the habit of going armed with swords. This unfortunate custom had only served in the end to get them into serious trouble, and Ezrom for one felt compelled to leave home during the night. These startling disclosures brought from both of his sisters a cry of agony. They implored him to remain, promising to exert every influence to save him from punishment. Ezrom's mind was firmly made up, however, and he declared that he never would face the impending exposure. He gathered together a few articles of clothing while his sisters followed him from room to room with painful sobs. He was soon ready. His younger sister, Monroah, fell on his neck in a paroxysm of grief. Ezrom could utter but a few broken words when he essayed to bid them farewell. His favorite harp stood by his side. "Take this, my sweet Monroah," he said, in trembling accents, "and whenever thy hand shall strike its chords of melody remember that thou art loved with all the strong affection of a brother's heart. And now, in the presence of Jehovah I make the solemn vow that from this hour I shall reform my ways." He then kissed his beloved sisters, and, with burning brow and tear-dimmed eyes, rushed from his father's house and away to a land of strangers. CHAPTER II. N EARLY a quarter of a century had rolled away, and again the city of Jerusalem was ablaze with light and social gayety. But vastly different was the moral tone of the government. The good King Josiah had been called to rest, and his profligate son Jehoiakim was on the throne. Nightly the walls of the royal palace rang with the sound of high revelry. Laughter and drunken song echoed through every part of the proud edifice. Jehoiakim, following the example of some of his predecessors, did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord and filled the Holy City with his foul abominations. His counselors also lived in forgetfulness of the God of Israel. They flattered the king's vanity and encouraged his excesses. Pride and infidelity promenaded together. Crimes of the darkest hue were being perpetrated with official sanction, and, although God's prophets had the courage to rebuke the sinful rulers and warn them of their fearful doom, the moral standard of the city went lower and lower. The night was serene and calm. The glorious orb shone brightly in the eastern skies and shed her silvery beams on the glassy lakes of Judea. In the clear moonbeams, those lofty towers of spotless white stood forth in majestic grandeur on the walls of the great metropolis. Nature, with smiles of lovely innocence on her fair countenance, was hushed to sweet repose; but not so the busy thousands that thronged the wide thoroughfares of Jerusalem. This day was one of the anniversaries of Jehoiakim's reign, and at an early hour the city presented a scene of excitement. The king's vanity provided everything requisite for a general display; and, although far from being loved by his numerous subjects, yet because they could eat, drink, and be merry at the expense of others, the streets of Jerusalem were thronged with those who cared far more for the gratification of their appetites than they did for their vain sovereign. The royal palace was thr
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