« ПретходнаНастави »
side, for it interprets this Psalm to be a prophecy of the Messiah, as all Christians do.
Psalm xlv. This Psalm also Christians interpret to be of the Messiah, and they have for it the authority of the holy penman of the epistle to the Hebrews, ch. i. ver. 8. In opposition hereto, the Jews apply it wholly and solely to Solomon, and will allow it no other meaning either literal or typical, but what is terminated in his person, and the marriage which he made with the daughter of Pharaoh ; but the Targum is on our side in this matter, and interprets it to be a prophecy of the Messiah, as all christians do.
Psalm lxxii. This Psalm also the Jews interpret of Solomon ; but Christians understand it as a prophecy of the Messiah ; and the Targum is on our side herein; for it applies it to the Messiah in the same manner as we do. Many other instances might be produced out of these Tar. gums, wherein the prophecies of the Old Testament are illustrated and explained for the advantage of the Christian cause against all opposers. But these are sufficient to give the reader a taste of all the rest, and also to shew how use. ful these Targums may be to a Christian Divine in all controversies about the Messiah, especially against the Jews. For these Targums being their own books, all arguments taken out of them, if any thing can convince that obsti: nate people, must be of a very convincing force against them, especially when they are out of the Targums of Onkelos on the Law, and Jonathan on the Prophets, for these they hold to be of the same authority with the sacred word itself.
Having already noticed the death of Herod, and the situations filled by his posterity, it is necessary to remark, that though he reigned, during his latter years, in apparent peace and tranquillity, no one ever suffered more than he did from the confusions and disaffections of his own family, the hatred of his subjects, and the contempt of all good men. We have already drawn his character in the preceding pages in a few words.
In his last moments the hand of God was evidently upon him; the diseases of his body and the torments of his mind were dreadful beyond all conception. The image of his murdered wife and her innocent children were continually before his eyes, and haunted his gloomy and affrighted imagination with inconceivable horrors.
Throughout his whole reign he possessed great activity both of body and mind, and this, joined to an undeviating perseverance, carried him through all obstacles, and enabled him to attain every object of his ambition, avarice, or revenge. In gratifying the latter passion no man ever equalled him. Though outwardly a Jew, and for political convenience an occasional conformist, he was throughout his whole life totally destitute of religion. Long before he died, the seeds of dissolution of the Jewish nation and government were thickly sown and universally diffused. We have glanced at a few of them while painting the monstrous absurdities, profane tenets, and hypocritical pretences of the leading sects of the Jewish people. But there was superadded to all these an almost universal laxity of all moral obligations, and Judea, long before the death of Herod, swarmed with robebrs and assassins. Many of these Herod had put to death, and the Roman soldiers stationed in various parts of the country, destroyed them by hun. dreds, but this, instead of diminishing, seemed only to increase the evil. The close connexions formed by the king with the triumvir, Mark Antony, and his frequent compliances with the idolatrous customs of the Romans, gave full scope to the hatred of the Jews against him, and some colourable sanction to the opinion which began very generally to prevail, that it was not lawful to pay tribute to the Romans. This absurd idea, under the assumed garb of patriotism, contributed in no small degree to the overthrow of the nation.
In his public buildings and founding cities, Herod displayed his taste and magnificence above most of the mo. narchs of his time. Having built Cæsarea as a sea-port to Jerusalem, and so named it in honour of his friend and benefactor the emperor Augustus, he there instituted games, which were performed every five years in imitation of the Olympic Games, and consecrated them to Cæsar. Vol. II.
In the isle of Rhodes he erected a magnificent temple to Apollo, and gave away vast sums wherever he travelled to embellish the different cities of Greece and Syria ; for his temper, though both covetous and brutal in the ex. treme, gave way on all public occasions to that passion, which men of the world call honour, and the generality of historians, the Love of Glory. -A fatal misnomer
, which has misled kings and conquerors equally astray from their own real happiness, and the good of their people, and deluged the earth with human blood ! Not long before the death of Herod, his eldest son, Antipater, plotted against his life, and with bis uncle Pheroras procured poison to dispatch him. This villainous design was kept a profound secret, until Pheroras falling sick while the poison was in his possession, was so affected at the sight of Herod when he came to visit him, that feeling some remorse, he directed it to be thrown into the fire. This was accordingly done by the wife of Pheroras ; but a small part of it was kept and laid by for her own use, should the tyranny of the king, which all of his family had so much reason to dread, and she in particular, oblige her to use it. Antipater was of a like temper with his father Herod, and had he not been cut off by the just hand of Providence, he would in all human probability have trod in his steps, and equalled him in cruelty. But his career was now almost at an end, and his fall affords a just example to all ages, that there is nothing however secret, that can be hid from the eye of God. He had been the principal contriver of the death of his two brothers, Aristobulus, and Alexander, the imocent sons of Mariamne, for no other reason, but, that they were on the mother's side descended from the family of the Maccabees, favourites with the people, and - though younger than himself, yet as he conceived, stood in his way to the crown. The death of his uncle Pheroras brought about the destruction and just punishment of Antipater : for Herod knowing, that the people suspected him of having destroyed his brother by poison, caused his domestics to be tortured to confess the circumstances of his death, and while in agonies, they confessed
the grand secret of Antipater's intention to poison the king! The former was then at Rome, but Herod fearing his son should escape him, wrote kind and endearing letters, desiring his return on account of his own increasing age and infirmities, carefully concealing from him his knowledge of the plot, and the confession of Phe. roras's wife, who when apprehended, threw herself from the top of her house, but being taken up alive, made a full confession of the whole affair, and produced as evidence of it the small remains of the deadly potion which she bad reserved when Pheroras ordered her to throw it into the fire. Just before his return from Rome, Antipater endeavoured to inflame his father Herod against two other of his brothers* then in that city, to which they had been sent for their education. Full of hopes that his endeavours for these base purposes would remove all obstacles, and destroy every competitor for the throne, he set out for Judea, litue dreaming of the fate which there awaited him. Being unexpectedly arrested, and on his trial confronted with his own servants, his guilt was completely proved, and he suffered death, by a just sentence, only five days before Herod himself expired. One of the last acts of that merciless tyrant's reign was of so monstrous a complexion, as would shake the credulity of the present age, were it not so fully attested by the Jewish historian Josephus as to leave no doubt of its reality. Aware that he was universally hated by the Jews, and that his death which was fast approach. ing under the pressure of diseases of the most horrible and painful nature, would diffuse a general joy instead of mourning for his loss, he formed a design every way worthy of such a tyrant, and the destroyer of the infants at Bethlehem. Having suffered beyond all that can be described, devoured while alive of vermine, and rotting piece-meal in his extremities, he went toward Jericho,
* Brotbers. One of these was Archelaus who succeeded Herod in the kingdom of Judea. He is particularly mentioned, Matt. ch. ii. ver. 22. After having seigned about nine years, his cruelty and tyranny gave such offence to the Romans, that they deposed and banished him to Vienne in Gaul, where he died.
and there, when near his end, having got all the chiefs of the Jewish nation together, under penalty of death, he shut them all up in the Hippodrome,* and then send. ing for his sister Salome, a woman almost as wicked as himself, and her husband Alexas, he earnestly entreated them that as soon as he expired, they would order his soldiers to slay every one of those unhappy men, that thus the whole nation of the Jews might be forced to mourn at his death! This they were obliged to promise, but he had no sooner expired than they were released from their fears and confinement, and the joy of his death was as universal as the terrors and hatred of the people had been throughout his whole life, which as well to his own family as his people, had been a reign of terror. But though we have thought proper thus to notice as a conclu. sion to the second volume, the end of this impious and cruel tyrant, we shall in the succeeding volume resume the narrative of events connected with the two last years of his life. Events the most stupendous in nature ; To Man the most interesting: To God the most GLORIOUS. The baptism of repentance by John ; the birth, life, death, re. surrection and ascension of the GREAT REDEEMER; the establishment of the Christian church, and the final destruction of the Jewish state, with their intire dispersion and ruin as a people and nation.
• Hippodrome. The place for the horse and chariot races.