Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

quently provoked the Lord to send chastisements upon her; but hitherto she has not been totally abandoned to infidelity and vice. Many righteous have been found in her borders, for whose sake the Almighty has graciously averted his heavy judgments. O may the number of those faithful servants increase! may true religion flourish and abound! may the sabbaths of the Lord be properly observed! may the Saviouk of the world be duly honoured! may the rich exercise benevolence, and the poor act with integrity! may British youth of both sexes, and all conditions, impress upon their yet uncorrupted minds this important precept, that Righteousness Exalteth A Nation, But Sin Is The Destruction Of Anv People ; and may they regulate their lives accordingly! Then will the Lord not only spare our Tyre, but make us the Glory Of Nations, A Holy People ; and he will be near at hand to grant us all things necessary for our temporal and eternal welfare. Happy are the people who are in such a «ase, yea blessed are the people who have the Lord for their God.

SECTION LXXXVIIL

THE END OF THE PERSIAN, AND THE BEGINNING OF THE GRECIAN EMPIRE.

. Aftep. Alexander had subdued Tyre, he marched to Jerusalem ; the cause of his doing so was this. The Tyrians, being chiefly given to merchandise, were mostly supplied with provisions by their neighbours; and Galilee, Samaria, and Judea, being the countries from whence they were principally furnished, Alexander, during the siege of Tyre, was obliged to apply to the 6amtr' quarter, and therefore 'sent to require the inhabit

l ants ants of those places to submit to him. The Jews pleaded their oath of allegiance to Darius, which forbad their acknowledging a new master during his life; this exceedingly enraged the proud conqueror, and he resolved to punish Jerusalem. In this distress Jaddua the high-priest who had then the immediate government of the people under the Persians, being in great perplexity, resolved to seek the Lord, and trust to his AlMighty Protection. Sacrifices and prayers were devouly offered, and the Lord had compassion on his people ; and directed Jaddua in the visions of the night to go out and meet the conqueror in his sacred robes, with all the pries ts in their proper habits, and the people in white garments which they did; and advancing to a place called Sapha (an eminence without Jerusalem) there waited the coming of Alexander, and on his approach met him in a solemn manner. He was struck with profound awe at the spectacle ; and hastening forward, bowed down to Jaddua with a religious veneration, to the great surprise of those who attended him.

While all stood amazed, Parmenio, one of Alexander's generals, asked him.how it came to pass that he, whom all adored, should pay such adoration to the Jewish highpriest ; to which he answered, that he did not pay that adoration to him, but to the God whose priest he was. For that when he was. in Macedonia, and was deliberating how he should carry on the war against Persia, and was in much doubt about the undertaking, he saw in a dream this very man, who encouraged him to- lay aside all fear and diffidence, and pass boldly into Asia; promising him that Goo would be his guide, and give him the empire of the Persians. Therefore he was now confident he should succeed according to his desire: then turning to Jaddua,-he kindly embraced him, and entered Jerusalem in a friendly manner, where he offered

sacrifice* sacrifices to God in the Temple; and Jaddua having shewn him the prophecies of Daniel, which predicted the overthrow, of the Persian empire by a Grecian king, he went from thence with greater assurance of success, not doubting but he was the person meant by those prophecies*.

This account is a farther confirmation of the opinion which is justified by several passages in holy writ, that the great conquerors were by some means or other made acquainted with the prophecies relating to themselves, and with the existence and supremacy of the Lord God.

The Samaritans, encouraged by Alexander's treatment of the Jews, met him also with great pomp, and prayed that he would honour their city and temple, with his presence. He answered them kindly, but was not then at leisure, being on a hasty march into Egypt; and soon brought that country into subjection to him. Here he built a city, and called it, after his own name, Alexandria, and afterwards peopled it with colonies drawn from other places; among whom were many Jews: to these he gave great privileges, and allowed them the free use of their religion.

When Alexander had settled all his affairs in Egypt, he hasted toward the east to find out Darius. In his return towards Palestine, he learnt that Andronicus, a great favourite of his, whom he had made governor of I9yria and Palestine, had been murdered by the Samaritans ; who, rising in a tumult, had set fire to the house in which he was, and burnt him to death, on account, as is supposed, of their not having the same privileges granted to them as their enemies the Jews had. Alexander being exceedingly exasperated against the Samaritans, caused all who had any part in the murder to be

* See Dan. viii.

put put to death, and drove all the rest out. of the city, placing Macedonians in their stead, and giving the remainder of their territories.to the Jews. Those who survived the calamity retired to Sochem, under mount Gerizim, and from. that time this place became the metropolis of the Samaritan sect. Those Samaritans, who were in his army. Alexander sent to Egypt, to prevent disturbances, and then pursued his course in quest Of other conquests. In a short space of time he got possession of the who!': Persian empire.

Darius defended his kingdom to the utmost of h« power; but was at last treacherously seized by two of his generals, and bound with chains of gold, and afterwards mortally wounded by them, and left in a covered chariot, where he expired before the arrival of Alexander ; who lamented his unhappy fate, and bestowed an honourable funeral upon him, and treated his family with the utmost kindness, Thus died'Darius CodoManus, and with him ended the Persian empire, after having existed two hundred and nineteen years, from the beginning of the reign of Cyrus.

At the time the Persians conquered Babylon, they were a sober, laborious, and modest people; but, after they had completed their conquests, they degenerated from their natural character, and grew fond of magnificence. ease, and pleasure : till at length they became like the Babylonians, and were regarded as the most luxurious people in the world; therefore we cannot wonder that the Grecians were suffered to subdue them.

When Alexander had secured to himself the Persian empire, he resolved on the conquest of other nations and after a variety of successes. which are relatifl in the Grecian history, he took up his residence in Babylon. Here he employedhis thoughts in plans for the embellishment of the city. and meditated future enterprises; but met

with with obstacles at first, and died before the completion of his schemes. A supreme cause, unknown to men, overruled his actions, that the prophecies against Babylon, written 300 years before, might be accomplished.

Alexander intended to repair the temple of Belus, but God had ordained that it should never be rebuilt. The Jews, who were among Alexander's army, refused to take their turn in clearing away the rubbish, though they were repeatedly punished; but at length the king, admiring their constancy, discharged them and set them free.

What we have lately read, concerning the empire of the Persians, and the conquests of Alexander, is related in the works of Jewish and heathen writers. For the future we must have recourse to the antiquities of Josephus, a learned Jew, and the Apncri/phal' books, which are to be found in our larger Bibles. The authors of these books are not certainly known, and therefore they are not admitted as canonical; but they are notwithstanding much esteemed; some, on account of the excellent moral precepts they contain; and others, for the credible relations they give of the history of the Jews. Among the latter are the two books of the Maccabees; from the first of which the following section is extracted.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« ZurückWeiter »