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affairs, during this period, it is necessary to notice, is, Judea. After the death of Alexander, the Jews fell under the dominion alternately of the Egyptian and Syrian kings, as the one or the other were able to take possession of Palestine. Judea was, consequently, during this period, almost constantly, the theatre of
Antiochus. Epiphanes, on his accession to the throne of Syria, B.C. 175, being much in want of money, received an offer of 350 talents from Jason, the brother of the high priest, on condition that he should be made high priest instead of Onias, and that Onias should be confined for life at Antioch. This contract was completed. Jason entered on the office, and being a zealous admirer of Greek customs, he suspended the worship of God in the temple, and gave himself up to Paganism. Jason was afterwards supplanted, in the same manner, by Menelaus, another brother, who offered 300 talents more, for the highpriesthood. A report afterwards, reached Jerusalem, that Antiochus was dead. The people could not refrain from expressing their joy, which coming to the ears of Antiochus, he entered the city, and put to death, it is said, 40,000 of the inhabitants, and sold as many more for slaves. Some years afterwards, Antiochus having been mortified by the Romans, resolved to wreak his vengeance on the Jews, and sent his general with the most sanguinary orders to put an end to their religion. A scene of carnage then com. menced that has hardly any parallel in history, till the people were driven to desperation; when a priest named Mattathias collected a small body of resolute men, and, after many struggles, succeeded in driving the Syrian army beyond the borders of the kingdom. He was succeeded by his son, the renowned Judas Maccabæus, who defeated the Syrians in five pitched battles, and baffled all their attempts to recover Palestine. Antiochus was in Persia, whilst this revolution was taking place in Judea. Mad with rage, he'hastened back, breathing out slaughter and destruction against the Jews, when he was seized with a mortal disease,
and died at Tabæ, a town on the frontiers of Persia and Babylonia. The Syrian generals renewed the war, and were defeated repeatedly by Judas, who was at length slain in battle, B.C. 161, and was succeeded by Jonathan, his brother. Jonathan, conducted the affairs of the nation with the same prudence and success, till he was treacherously murdered. He was succeeded in the command by his brother, Simon ; who, after governing wisely, for some years, was murdered by Ptolemy, who had married his daughter. Simon was succeeded by his son,
John Hyrcanus, who took the title of king. He was the first king, after the captivity; and in his reign, the nation rose to greater prosperity than it had enjoyed at any period since the restoration. On his death, B.C. 107, he was succeeded by
Aristobulus, his eldest son, who proved a tyrant and a murderer. After a short reign, he was ceeded by
Alexander Jannæus, B.C. 105, who made some conquests to the eastward of Jordan. Returning from his conquests and triumphs, he gave himself up to luxury and dissipation; and brought upon himself diseases, of which he died. He was succeeded by
Alexandra, his wife, B.C. 78, during the contests of Mithridates, king of Pontus, against the Roman power. In her reign, the Pharisees having obtained her ear, rose to influence, and persecuted the party that was opposed to them.
She died B.C. 70, and was succeeded by
Hyrcanus, her eldest son ; who, in three months, was driven from the kingdom by
Aristobulus, his younger brother. It was in the contest between these two brothers, that Antipater, an Idumæan proselyte, and the father of Herod, the first of that name, came into notice. Under pretence of supporting the cause of Hyrcanus, he contrived to ingratiate himself with the Romans, and, after Jerusalem was taken by Pompey, B.C. 63, in the war that ensued between Cæsar and Pompey, Antipater found an oppor
tunity of obtaining the favour of the former, and the result was, that
Herod, his son, was made king of Judea, by Mark Antony, B.C. 40. He became one of the most furious blood-thirsty tyrants, whose names stain the page of history. He had married the daughter of Hyrcanus, through whom his family enjoyed all its dignity and influence. Becoming jealous of the rank which she possessed independently of him, he caused her and all her family to be put to death. After he was firmly settled on the throne, he set himself to beautify his dominions. He rebuilt Samaria; calling it Sebaste, in honour of Augustus Cesar. He built a stately palace on Mount Zion : he also built the city of Cesarea ; which name was given to it also in honour of Augustus. But his most celebrated work was the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem, on a scale of great magnificence. It was towards the close of his reign, that the Lord Jesus Christ was born at Bethlehem; on which occasion he caused all the infants in Bethlehem, under the age of two years, to be massacred in cold blood, in the hope that the new-born Messiah would perish among them. He soon after died himself, in extreme torture, leaving his dominions divided among his four sons; who, from their inheriting a fourth part of the kingdom, were called Tetrarchs. One of these sons was that Herod, tetrarch of Galilee, who put to death John the Baptist, and who derided our blessed Lord, when he was sent to him by Pilate, the Roman governor.
Archelaus had Judea for his province; but, incurring the enmity of his subjects, they accused him at Rome, and ultimately procured his banishment. Judea was then made a Roman province, and continued to be so till the destruction of Jerusalem ; except for a few years, during which by the favour of Caligula and Claudius, that Herod reigned, who put to death the apostle James, and imprisoned Peter ; aid who, after a vainglorious speech, was smitten with the diseases of which he died. Agrippa and Bernice, before whom Paul pleaded his cause, while Festus was
Roman governor, were also of the same family. Agrippa reigned however, not over Judea, but over some of the neighbouring districts.
That portion of the history of the world, which followed the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, may fitly be called Modern History; because the institutions of the empire of Rome, which then had reached its height, still continue to influence the western world; and particularly, because that great revolution of religion, and generally of the human mind, which then commenced, has continued to advance; and, in the present day, is proceeding with unabated, or rather renewed, vigour.
This portion of history, like that which preceded it, from the creation of the world, might also be regarded as distributed into 'periods of 500 years, by remarkable
The first period of 500 years, after the Christian era, is marked pretty nearly by the reign of Justinian, and the fall of the western empire. The second period is marked by the reign of William the Conqueror, and the settlement of the Gothic nations. The third is marked by the discovery of America, the fall of the eastern empire, and the Reformation. These divisions, however, do not suggest the leading revolutions in the "the history of the world, since the birth of Christ. We rather, therefore, adopt the following eras, as our resting points. The dates are given in round numbers. I. The era of Constantine, marked by the toleration of Christianity, and the division of the Roman territory into the Eastern and Western empires, A.D. 300. · II. The rise of Mahomet, A.D. 600. III. The Crusades, A.D. 1100. IV. Charles V. of Germany, and the discovery of America, A.D. 1500. And V. Bonaparte and the French Revolution, A.D. 1800.
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of the Irish Kings.