« 上一頁繼續 »
the Punishment that besel his Brother and Predecessor; nor yet by the miraculous Chastisement of Hetiodarus, and the most exemplary Proof of that supernatural Power, which perpetually watched over the Preservation of the holy Temple, and the true Religion; but treading exactly in the fame execrable Steps, and even surpassing his Brother in. all Manner of Impiety and Wickedness, resotved to wreak his Vengeance on the y<wa, who had not in anywise ofsended him.
Bur, as nothing is more easy than to make a Handle of any Thing, when one is resolved upon quarrelling, so this execrable Tyrant, the lively and genuineType of Antichrist, having been falfly informed, that Judia had revolted against him, for which there was no other Foundation, than that J*so», who had wickedly supplanted his Brother, the good Bigh Priest Onias, and was himself undermined in his Turn, by his equally wicked,Brother Memlaus, had raised a Body of Forces to dispossess him of his Ossice, wherewith he had made himself Master of Jtmsalem, all but the Castle: This execrable Tyrant then, we fay, having been thus talfly informed, as also-that the Jetut, upon a flying Report of his Death,, whilst he was employed about his War in Egypt, and being greatly exasperated thereat, without vouchfasing to enquire whether these Rumours were true, or not, relblved to turn his Arms against them, and, if possible, to cxtermir nate the whoJe Nation.
Accordingly he invaded Judea with a diabolical Fury, laid Siege to Jerusalem, took it by Storm, and with unparalleled Barbarity, abandoned it for three Days to the Rage of his Soldiers, whom he had besore commanded to give no Quarter to Young or Old, Man or Woman; insomuch that there sell by the Sword no less than Fourscore Thoufand, of
al: all Ages and Sexes; besides Forty Thoufand that were raken Prisoners, and an equal Number that were fold for Slaves. However, not ratisied even with this unprecedented Inhumanity, nor yet with his impious Prophanation of the Temple, by entring into the Holy of Holies; nor with adding Sacrilege to Prophanation, by carrying away the golden Altar whereon they ofsered Frankincense, with the Table of Slicw-Bread, the Candlestick of Seven Branches, and all the facred Vessels and Utensils, likewise of the fame precious Metal, whicbhad been the Gift of divers Monarch*; this Monster of Cruelty, we fay, not fatissied with all these, and with* out having any fresh Occasion of Offence given him, resolved to make the innocent Jews seel once more, the dreadsul Effects of his merciless Disposition.
What induced him to, this was, his being highly exasperated at having been forced much against his Will, by the Interposition of the Romans his Con. qaerors, to desist from his intended Reduction of the Kingdom of Egypt, which he had almost wholly over-run,and whereof he thought himself sure. His natural wicked Temper, theresore, being greatly inbittered by this mortifying Difappointment, this impious and inhuman Tyrant, at his Return from that Kingdom, being to m3rch through Palestine, dispatched Afollonius, one of the chies Noblemen of his Court, and, as it appears, a proper Instrument for such an abominable Mailer, at the Head of Twenty two Thoufand Men, with Orders to destroy all the Men, and set to Sale all the Women and Children.
The inhuman Apolhnius having received this Command, and b:ing sussiciently inclined of himself punctually to execute it, that the poor innacent Victims, not being upon tbeir Guard, might
■either neither hide themselves, nor escape, kept his bloody Commission secret at his sirR Arrival, determining not to put it in Execution till the Sabbath Day, well knowing he should then sind his destined Prey in the Synagogues, none of the Jiivs who were able to stir out, staying at Home at that Time. But then this Butcher of Mankind, equally destitute of Religion and Humanity, at the very Moment that the whole Body of the People, not in the least apprehensive of the intended Massacre, as they were guiltless of any Crime, and without Intention cf offending any one themselves, being employed, on the contrary, in offering up their Prayers and Praises to their Great Creator; at the very Moment these poor harmless Sheep, were thus peaceably assembled at their Divine Worship, this hellish Minister of an incarnate Devil, let loofe all his Soldier* upon them, with a strict Charge to cut in Pieces all the Men, and seize all the Women and Children,in order to their being expnsed to Sale.
This inhuman Command was executed with the utmost Severity and Barbarity; not a single Man, whom they could meet with, escaping the general Butchery; insomuch that every Part of the To«o) streamed with Blood; This done the City was given up to be plundered; and, after all the rich Moveables were carried off, Fire was set to divers Parts of it. What Houses, or Remains of Houses, were yet standing, after the Devastation by the Flame«, were demo istied ; and wi'h the Ruins, was built a strong Fortress on the Top of one of the Hills of Da-viJ, which was just opposite to the Temple, and commanded if. Herein that impious and barbarous Wretch, Apolloniusy placed a strong Garrison, not oniy with Design to keep in Awe the whole Jpwish Nation, but likewise to watch strictly over, and destroy all, who came to worship the Living God
Accordingly, whenever any approached thereto, the Garrison rushed our, and cruelly butchering them, threw their Blood over every Part of the Sanctuary, or Holy of Holies; polluting it also by all other Means possible: Then was a Stop put both ro the Morning and Evening Sacrisices, as was prophesied many Years besore by Daniel, and the Abomination of Desolation set up in the Hols Place; insomuch that no true Worshipper durst come near it. Thus, this impious Tyrant, and his as wicked Agents, not content with treating their Fellow^ Creatures with all imaginable Cruelty, waged War, in a Manner, with the Most High Goo himself; and, as if it was not enough, not to acknowledge and serve him themselves, resolved to deter all others from doing ir, even at the Peril of their Lives.
But even this was not sussicient for the hellish Rage wherewith Antmhus was animated ; the bare Prevention of the outward Worship of theTrue God, in his People, would not fatisfy him ; no, he was determined, not only to force them to forbear from the Service of their Creator, but also to compel them to adore, or pretend to adore, the fame false Deities with himself; nay, with such implacable Malice, was this favage Monster actuated towards that unfortunate Nation, that withoat an implicit Obedience to such his impious Command, which he was pretty well assured, i\yejcivst the most tenacious of their Religion of any People upon Earth, would never pay, that he sully purpofed, on their Non-compliance therewith, utterly to extirpate them, and their Worship.
But did this Giant in Iniquity, whom we shall soon see humbled to the Dust, know with whom, he had then set himself at open Desiance? Did he consider, that in Imitation of the fabulous Tttant of Antiquity, he was then denouncing War against Heaven itself? That he was contending, not with the Romans, who, nevertheless, though mere Men, had been able to wrest a Kingdom out of his H.nd with a Word, but with a Power, who, with the Breath of his Mouth, could, in a Moment, precipitate him from the Height of Glory and Grandeur to the lowest Abyss of Misery and Wretchedness; could render him, in an Instant, no longer the Object of Fear, or Reverence, but of Scorn and Contempt, ro the very People against whom he was then breathing nothing bu: Slaughter; nay, which is yet worse, the Object of Loathing and Abho-rence to the meanest Slaves about him, and even To himself? No, he never reflected seriously, that there was a Pofsibi.ity of his undergoing so severe and deplorable a Reverse of Fortune; and for Want of this falutary, though mortifying Thought, behold him posting on to inevitable Destruction, andendiefs Woe; a memorable and. singular Example of the Divine Vengeance ; and a wholesome though perhaps difagreeable Mo.itpry, to all succeeding Princes, not to exalt themselves against the Mist High.
Heaven did not, however, think sit to put an immediate Stop to the impious Carreer of this abominable Tyrant ; no, the Lord being willing, for a Season, to e«pofe the Faith and Obedience of his People to a severe and siery Trial, permitted this Miscreant, morelikea destroying Angel, than any thing Human, to exercise his utmost Barbarity u,on them. Accordingly, in order to inforce the Execution of the besorementioned irrelgious and infamous Decree, Antiochus sent one of bis insernal Emiflaries, Athenœus by Name, into Judæa and o«maria, to see it punctually obeyed.
As for the Samaritans, they were so far from Slewing any Reluctance to comply thcrewiih, that