Images de page

anus, not having an adequate force to resist was obliged to shut himself up in Jerusalem, he sustained a long siege with incredible

[ocr errors]

At length, being reduced to the last nity for want of provisions, he caused prola of peace to be made to the king, and a treaty ntered into, wherein it was agreed that the red should deliver up their arms, that the deations of Jerusalem should be demolished, nat a certain tribute should be paid to the Antiochus was slain, not long after, in an tion against the Parthians; upon which trius, who was then a prisoner among them, et at liberty, and re-ascended the throne of

reanus took advantage of these revolutions, The commotions occasioned by them, to exis dominions. He laboured also to deliver untry from the yoke of foreign powers, in he was so successful that neither he nor escendants were in the least subject to the of Syria. As an able statesmen he took opportunity to strengthen himself, and to for his people the confirmation of their y, by which he rendered the Jews formidto their enemies. He renewed the treaty of Iship which his father, Simon, had made with Romans, who were now rapidly advanced to the lian of their power. (Year of the world, 3875.) was also successful in his wars with the Iduas, whom he constrained to embrace the religion e Jews; by which means they shortly after me so blended with that people that they ed being a distinct nation.

hus increasing in wealth and power, Hyrcanus rmined to reduce Samaria. He accordingly his two sons, Aristobulus and Antigonus, to

form the siege of that place, which, after holding out a full year, at length surrendered to Hyrcanus, who ordered it to be demolished, and it was not rebuilt till the time of Herod. Hyrcanus was now master of all Judea, Galilee, Samaria, and many places upon the frontiers, by which he became one of the most considerable princes of his time. None of his neighbours daring to attack him, he passed the rest of his days in tranquillity, with regard to foreign affairs, though his domestic peace was much disturbed towards the close of his reign by the contentions between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. These were two religious sects of great note, into which the Jews at that time began to be divided. They differed in their opinion on some leading articles of faith, and bore the greatest animosity to each other, The Sadducees admitted only the five books of Moses to be of divine authority, and denied the doctrine of the resurrection. The Pharisees, on the contrary, maintained that doctrine, and received all the Scriptures of the Old Testament, which we call canonical, as the word of God; but then they admitted the traditions of the elders as equal authority, pretending they were delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai, and had been handed down by verbal testimony to all succeeding generations. Thus they corrupted the Jewish religion, much in the same manner as the Roman Catholics (who in many particulars strongly resemble them) have done the Christian. They affected to lead an abstemious life, to be very zealous for the law, and to be constant and exact in the exercise of their devotion, by which they obtained the reputation of uncommon sanctity among the people; whilst a boundless ambition and insatiable avarice, were concealed under these specious pretences.

Hyrcanus at the beginning of his reign attached himself chiefly to the Pharisees, amongst whom he had received his education. But, being insulted in a public assembly by one of them, named Eleazer, who even called in question his title of high-priesthood, he conceived a disgust against the whole sect, which the opposite party took care to

heighten, till it grew to an irreconcileable enmity, and laid the foundation of that bitter animosity which proved a source of unspeakable misery to the Jews in the following reigns. Hyrcanus died not long after, having governed the Jews twentynine years as their high-priest and ruler. (Year of the world 3898.)

Aristobulus, his eldest son, succeeded him. He was the first, since the Babylonish captivity, who assumed the title of king. He was a monster in cruelty. He even put his own mother to death, because she aspired to the government in virtue of Hyrcanus's will. He also imprisoned all his brothers, except Antigonus, whom he treated at first with respect and confidence; but in a very short time he caused him to be slain, on an accusation which proved to be false. Finding he had been deceived, and had put his brother to death unjustly, he was filled the with deepest anguish. The remorse of his conscience for this murder, and for that of his mother, had such an effect upon his spirits, that after languishing some time, he at last expired, in the utmost agony of body and horror of mind, having reigned only one year. How true is the word, "the triumph of the wicked is short."

(To be continued.)

PARENTS' PAINS AND PLEASURES. DEAR YOUNG READERS,-None but parents, I am persuaded, can fully understand the above heading. Oh, the pains of godly parents to see their children serving sin and Satan, travelling the downward road to everlasting woe, showing neither fear__of God's threats in the law nor longing for His mercy revealed in the gospel! Is my reader one of this number, and perhaps impatient when hearing his or her dear parents vent their anxieties in anxious warnings and loving counsels ? Oh, dear young friend, I beseech you not to persist in paining, by despising the reproof of, those your truest friends. Think of your mother's tears, wetting her pillow at the midnight hour, over your sad returns for all her tender love, and of the deep groans you may be wringing from a father's anxious heart, who would spare no pains to benefit you, if possible, in this life and in the next. You cannot give yourself the grace of God, but you can use all those means, for your present and future good, that your dear parents so lovingly counsel you to use, and you can forsake those companions and places that your dear friends urge you to forsake. How many young persons have no godly friends to counsel them! But if you had no one else, you may reckon the Editor of your LITTLE GLEANER your friend, who counsels you for your real good. But parents have their pleasures as well as pains. What a pleasure does a parent derive from the loving obedience of a dutiful child, and, above all things, from seeing one of their dear children put in the narrow way that leads to endless life! Oh, the joy that must fill the bounding heart of a loving father or mother, to see their children brought to repent of sin, to

seek Jesus, to trust in the finished work of Christ, and to show to all around what a dear Saviour they have found! I have seen parents' eyes fill with tears of joy at the bare anticipation of such a lot for their dear children. Children, the lake that burns with fire and brimstone is at the end of the path of sin. A haven of unspeakable joy is at the end of the path that every new-born soul treads. Are you in the path to woe, or to happi

ness ?

I have made these remarks as a preface to two letters, in which a loving father, long since gone to God, sighs over an ungrateful son, who could cruelly keep his parents in anxiety about where he was, and rejoices over a child brought to glory. These letters are sent me by one who since seems to have been led to feel the value of such a father as his, and to taste the grace that Heaven freely bestows on the objects of everlasting love. He


I enclose you copies of two letters which were written by my dear father. Both of these letters are without date; they must, however, have been penned some thirty years past. The writer of them died about five-and-twenty years ago; I was not willing to send the originals, because the hand that wrote them shall never move again; I retain them, therefore, as memorials of parental solicitude and affection, and as often as I read them I realize a mournful pleasure. So firmly was I persuaded of the reality and power of the religion of Jesus Christ in my father, that I would have given my soul for his soul. I hope, too, that the account given of my dear brother was indeed the good work of the Holy Ghost in his heart; the sorrow, bitterness, and distress of mind, which he felt on account of sin committed against a holy

« PrécédentContinuer »