The King's Cup-Bearer eBook

Amy Catherine Walton
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 149 pages of information about The King's Cup-Bearer.

As Ezra read, a body of Levites went about amongst the crowd, translating what he said.  So long had the people lived in captivity that some of them had forgotten the old Hebrew, or had been brought up from children to talk the Chaldean tongue.  Thus many of Ezra’s words and phrases were quite unintelligible to them.  So the Levites acted as interpreters; and besides explaining the words, they also opened out the meaning of what was read.

’The Levites caused the people to understand the law:  and the people stood in their place.  So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.’

And at the end of six hours there came tears—­there was not a dry eye in the crowd—­men and women alike wept like children.  There was Ezra in his pulpit, his voice faltering as he read, and there were the people below, sobbing as they heard the words.

What was the matter?  What had filled them with grief?  St. Paul tells us the secret of their tears (Rom. iii. 20).

‘By the law is the knowledge of sin.’

You draw a line.  How shall you know if it be straight or not?  Lay the ruler beside it, and you will soon find out its crookedness.

You build a wall.  How shall you tell if it be perpendicular?  Bring the plumb-line, put it against it, and you will soon find out where the wall bulges.

You take up a drawing of wood, and hill, and tree; how shall you know if it be correctly sketched?  Put beside it the master’s copy, look from one to another, and you will soon discover the mistakes and imperfections of the pupil.

Take the perfect law of God, lay it beside your own life, as these people did, you will find out exactly what they found.  You will find that you are a sinner, that you have left undone what ought to have been done, that you have done what ought not to have been done, and that you yourself are full of sin.

’Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength.’

Have you done that?  No!  Then you are not like the copy.

‘Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord thy God.’

Have you done that?  No!  Then you are not like the copy.

So felt the company at the water-gate, as they listened to the word that day.  And with the knowledge came tears, bitter, sorrowful tears, as they thought of the past.  Each man, woman, and child amongst them was ready to cry out

    ’Red like crimson, deep as scarlet,
     Scarlet of the deepest dye,
     Are the manifold transgressions,
     That upon my conscience lie. 
     God alone can count their number,
     God alone can look within,
     O the sinfulness of sinning,
     O the guilt of every sin!’

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Project Gutenberg
The King's Cup-Bearer from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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