by Clarence E. Macartney

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Great Nights of the Bible (2 of 16)
The Night of Dissipation
Clarence E. Macartney
Dan. 5:30

Midnight on the St. Lawrence River. In the darkness,
barge after barge loaded with British soldiers floats
silently down the broad river. As they near their
destination, the commander of the army is reciting to
the officers of his staff these lines:

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.1

When he had finished the stanzas, he told his officers
he would rather have been the author of that poem than
win the battle with the French on the morrow. By a
mountain path the army made its ascent in the darkness
from the river to the Plains of Abraham. When the sun
began to shine that morning on September 12, 1757, its
rays were reflected upon the bayonets and cannon of
the English army. The French army fought well and
courageously all that day, but their courage and their
heroism, and that of their gallant commander,
Montcalm, were all in vain. The battle had been
irrevocably lost by night. An empire, a kingdom, the
dominion of North America, had been lost by night. It
was not the first, and not the last, time that a
battle and kingdom were lost by night.

"In that night was Belshazzar the king of the
Chaldeans slain." What a night it was! In the East the
day is fierce and its light garish, but the nights are
full of wistful beauty and haunting mystery. The day
has passed, and now night comes down over the great
brown capital of Babylon, with its two hundred and
fifty towers and the tawny Euphrates flowing through
it, washing the walls of palaces, orchards, and
temples. The evening wind begins to stir. It shakes
the leaves and flowers of the Hanging Gardens, built
by Nebuchadnezzar for his bride, homesick on the flat
Mesopotamian plains for the mountains of her native
land ...

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