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the intrepidity of this young man, who scorned the utmost efforts of their cruelty.
The fourth was tortured in the same manner, and thus addressed the monarch : It is to onr advantage to be killed by men, because we hope that God will restore us to life at the resurrection: but thou, O king, shalt never rise to life.
The fifth, whilst they were tormenting him, said to Antiochus : Thou actest according to thine own will, though thou art but a mortal man: but do not imagine that God hath forgotten our nation : stay but a while, and thou shalt see the wonderful effects of his power, and in what manner he will torment thee and thy race.
The sixth came text, who the moment before he expired, said, Be not deceived; it is true, indeed, that our sins have drawn upon us these exquisite torments which we now suffer: but think not that thou shalt escape with impunity, after having made war against God himself.
*There yet remained the youngest, who, from his tender years, drew some pity even from the relentless Antiochus, who endeavoured to entice him by the allurements of riches, power, and rank; all which he offered him, if he would but forsake the law of his God. But this noble youth disdained his proposals with a steadfastness that did him more honour than all the preferments of Antiochus could have done. The king then advised his mother to inspire the child with salutary counsel. This she promised to do, and going up to her son with a pleasant countenance, not regarding the tyrant's
cruelty, she said him in her native language: Son, have pity on me, who have tenderly nursed thee, and fed thee with milk from my breasts for three years, and brought thee up ever since. I conjure thee, my child, not to fear that cruel executioner, but shew thyself worthy of thy brethren, by submitting cheerfully to death, in order that, by the mercy of God, I may receive thee with thy brethren in the glory which awaits us. She had scarcely done speaking, when the child cried out, I will not obey the king's command, but the law of Moses. Then turning to the king, he thus addressed him: As for thee, from whom all the calamities of the Hebrews flow, thou shalt not escape the hand of the Almighty; flatter not thyself with vain hopes, for there is no avoiding the judgment of the Creator, who is all-seeing and omnipotent. As to my brothers, after having suffered a moment the most cruel torments, they laste eternal joy. In imitation of the example they have set me, I freely give up my body and life for the laws of my forefathers; and I beseech God to extend his mercy soon to our nation, and force thee, by torments and plagues, to confess that he is the only true God.
The king was now transported with fury, and, in the excess of his rage, caused this last youth to be more grievously tormented than any of the rest. Thus he died with the same fortitude and resignation as his brethren, committing his soul into the hands of God. Their mother, supported with the hope of immortality and eternal life, beheld, with incredible resolution, all her seven sons die thus inhumanly in one day, and afterwards suffered death herself.
Those who had escaped into the deserts, of whom there were vast numbers, suffered much for want of food and other necessaries. The apostle Paul evidently alludes to these in the 11th chapter of his Epistle to the Hebrews, when, exemplifying the power of faith, he says, They endured trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, wandering in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth; of whom the world was not worthy.
But let us for a moment contemplate what they now are: they are sons and daughters of the King of kings; their associates are angels and the spirits of just men made perfect; their habitation is undefiled; their enjoyments are intellectual, and the duration of their bliss is everlasting.
What conclusion, my dear boy, will you draw from all this? Oh, could I hear you say, May I be a follower of them, who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises ! This would cause greater happiness than any thing the world can afford, to
Your affectionate aunt.
MY DEAR GEORGE,
the World tors.
IN my last, I gave yoụ an account of Mattathias and his family, with numbers more, flying to the deserts, and there resisting their enemies. The triumphant deaths of those noble heroes, with which my letter closed, strengthened the faith and courage of their brethren. Mattathias, finding his end draw near, exhorted his fiye sons to fight valiantly
for the law of God against their persecuYear of
He appointed Judas, surnamed
Maccabeus, for their general, and Simon for the president of the council. He soon after died, and was interred at Modin, all the faithful Israelites making great lamentation over him.
Antiochus left Judea, and returned to Antioch, with a view to celebrate games in commemoration of the victories which he had obtained : they were exhibited at Daphue, near Antioch. While he was amusing himself in this manner, Judas was acting a very different part in Judea. After raising an army, he fortified the cities, rebuilt the fortresses, and threw strong garrisons into them, by wbich he kept the whole country in awe.
Apollonius, who was governor of Samaria under Antiochus, thinking he should be able to check his progress, marched directly against him, but was defeated and slain by Judas, who obtained a decisive victory. Seron, another commander, in hope of retrieving this loss, risked an engagement with Judas, but met with the like fate; his troops being defeated, and himself killed in battle.
When Antiochus heard of this double defeat, he was exceedingly enraged, and immediately gathered all his troops together, which formed a great army, determining to destroy the whole Jewish nation, and settle other people in their country. But when his troops were to be paid, he found he had not money enough in his coffers, having foolishly exhausted his treasures in the games he had celebrated at Daphne. Other difficulties also arose; advice being received from the east and from the north, that his dominions there were in the utmost confusion.
Thus the Jews gained time, and Antiochus was obliged to divide his army into two parts. He gave the command of that designed against the Jews to Lysias, ordering him totally to extirpate them, and not to leave one Hebrew in the country, as he intended to people it with other inhabitants, and to distribute the lands to them by lot. Lysias lost no time in attempting to execute the orders of Antiochus. He made the more expedition on hearing of the rapid progress of Judas, being informed that he increased in strength by taking all the fortresses which he approached.
Philip, whom Antiochus had left governor of Judea, observing the success of Judas, had sent expresses to Ptolemy Macron, governor of Cælosyria and Palestine, pressing him to employ effectual means to support the interest of their king.