Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

This impious applause was received by Agrippa without any mark of disapprobation, or the least regard to the honour of the Supreme Governor of the world, in whom he lived, moved, and drew his breath. He was immediately struck by an angel from heaven, with exquisite torments in his bowels, for not giving the glory to God, who had so exalted him. Before he quitted the place, (as Josephus informs us,) he thus addressed the people: Behold the deity you admired, and be convinced of your flattery and falsehood: see me here by the laws of fate condemned to die, whom just now you styled Iminortal. His pains increasing, he was removed to his palace. His acute torments dispatched him in a few days, being devoured of worms in a miserable manner. Thus died Herod Agrippa, the first prince that imbrued his hands in the blood of the christians, having reigned between seven and eight years.

You see, George, that death is no respecter of persons or places. Here is a king arrayed in costly attire, in all his pomp and state, receiving the adulations of a numerous assembly, struck with the dart of death. Many, from the gaities of a ballroom, have been quickly conveyed to their coffins, and from the scenery of a play-house to the tribunal of God. That you may be enabled to renounce the pomps and vanities of the world, and seek for those substantial enjoyments which end not with this life, is the earnest desire of

Your affectionate aunt.

LETTER XII.

MY DEAR GEORGE,

HEROD Agrippa, at his death, left one son named Agrippa, about seventeen years of age, and three daughters, whose names were Bernice, Mariamne and Drusilla. Young Agrippa was with the emperor at Rome, and would have obtained immediate possession of his father's dominions; but Claudius was overawed by his favourites, who represented that it would be dangerous to intrust such a kingdom to one so young. Upon which, he appointed Cuspius Fadus to be president of all Agrippa's dominions, so that the whole of Palestine now became subject to a Roman governor. About this time, the famine raged, which was

foretold by Agabus, Acts xi. 28. In the our Lord beginning of the year, Cassius Longinus

was sent as governor of Syria, in the room of Marsus. He and Fadus joined forces, and entered Jerusalem, declaring, it was the emperor's command that all the robes and ornaments of the highpriest should be lodged in the castle Antonia, that they might be at the disposal of the Romans. The rulers durst not make any opposition to this de mand, but obtained leave to send an embassy to petition the emperor. The ambassadors, on their arrival at Rome, applied to young Agrippa, who readily undertook the cause of his countrymen, and obtained a decree in their favour.

Year of

45.

two years.

48.

After two years, Fadus was removed from his government of Palestine, and Tiberius Alexander sent in his room: he continued in that office only

He was succeeded by Ventidius Cumanus, who was the ninth Roman governor. It was in his time that those troubles began, which ended in the ruin of the Jewish nation. The feast of the passover drawing near, Cumanus, Year of according to the example of former go- our Lord vernors, appointed soldiers to guard the porticoes of the temple, to prevent tumult and disorder.

What a wretched situation were the Jews in at this time, that they could not attend upon their instituted worship without being surrounded with foreign soldiers; who were often the cause of the tumults they pretended to prevent, as it happened at this time. On the fourth day, one of the soldiers, by his profane and indecent discourse and behaviour, highly provoked all the spectators; many of whom, being rash young men, prone to sedition, began with reviling, and then proceeded to violence; while others tumultuously repaired to Cumanus, requiring justice against the soldier. The governor, observing the number and fury of the Jews, sent a considerable force to secure all the gates of the temple ; which caused the people to fly with such precipitation and confusion, that great numbers were trodden to death; so that the festival was turned into lamentation and mourning This calamity was shortly after succeeded by another. About twelve miles from Jerusalem, one of the emperor's seryants being robbed, the governor took this occasion to pillage the neighbouring villages, for not pursuing and apprehending the robbers. In one of the villages, a soldier finding a book of the Holy Scripture, cut it in pieces, and burnt it; which so enraged the whole body of the Jews, that they repaired in vast throngs to Cumanus, then at Cæsarea, requiring that the soldier, who had treated their law with such indignity, should be given up to justice. Cumanus, perceiving that the Jews would not be appeased without satisfaction, by the advice of his friends, commanded the soldier to be beheaded in their presence, which ended the disturbance.

About four years after, a fresh tumult broke out, occasioned by dissensions between the Galileans and Samaritans; the latter of whom murdered great numbers of the former, as they travelled through their country to the passover. The magistrates of Galilee appealed to the governor; but he, being bribed by the Samaritans, took little notice of their complaints; which so exasperated them, that, being headed by a robber called Eleazar, they made great devastation in Samaria; but Cumanus, the governor, joining the Samaritans with his troops, a great number of the Jews were killed, and many more taken prisoners.

Quadratus, governor of Syria, was now called in, who, upon the first hearing, caused all the prisoners to be crucified; but, afterwards, finding that the Samaritans were the aggressors, and that Cumanus was corrupted, he commanded eighteen of the chief of the Samaritans to be beheaded, and ordered Ananias the high-priest, Cumanus the governor,

Year of

54.

and Celer a tribune, to go immediately to Rome, to answer to the accusations brought against them. Upon their arrival, they made all the interest they could, and would have prevailed over the weakness of the emperor, to have stopped proceedings against them, if it had not been for young Agrippa, who, with the assistance of the empress Agrippina, obliged him to do justice: which he did, by the execution of Celer and several of the Samaritans, and by the banishment of Cumanus; in whose stead, Claudius sent Felix to be governor of Palestine, a person noted for all sorts of vice and corruption's. The following year, the emperor our Lord Claudius died, and was succeeded by Nero, who, in the first year of his reign, added to Agrippa's dominions four cities.

The Jews, being forsaken by the God of their fathers, were given up at this time to rapine and murders. They had denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto them; and now, by the righteous judgments of God, they are overrun with robbers, murderers, and movers of sedition. Jonathan, the high-priest, who had, by his interest, procured Felix the government, took the freedom to reprove him for his misconduct, which he not brooking, resolved upon the death of Jonathan. To effect his design, he corrupted a confident of the priest with a great sum of money, engaging him to hire a number of persons to murder Jonathan Several of these came to Jerusalem under colour of religion, with short swords under their garments, and mixing with Jonathan's family, first accosted him civilly, and then slew him.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »