Imatges de pÓgina

Agrippa became nearly the same as those of his grandfather, Herod the Great. It was this Agrippa, called also Herod Agrippa, and by St. Luke (r) Herod only, who put to death James the brother of John, and imprisoned Peter. He died in the seventh year of his reign, and left a son, called also Agrippa, then seventeen years old ; and Claudius, thinking him too young to govern his father's extensive dominions, made Cuspus Fadus governor of Judæa. Fadus was soon succeeded by Tiberius, and he was followed by Alexander Cumanus, Felix, and Festus; but Claudius afterwards gave Trachonitis and Abilene to Agrippa, and Nero added a part of Galilee and some other cities. It was this younger Agrippa, who was also called king, before whom Paul pleaded at Cæsarea, which was at that time the place of residence of the governor of Judæa. Several of the Roman governors severely oppressed and persecuted the Jews; and at length, in the reign of Nero, and in the government of Florus, who had treated them with greater cruelty than any of his predecessors, they openly revolted from the Romans. Then began the Jewish war, which was terminated, after an obstinate defence and unparalleled sufferings on the part of the Jews, by the total destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem (s), (r) Acts, c. 12. v. I, &c.

by (s) By Titus, son of Vespasian, emperor of Rome.

by the overthrow of their civil and religious po- 70. lity, and the reduction of the people to a state of the inost abject slavery; for though, in the reign of Adrian, numbers of them collected together, in different parts of Judæa, it is to be observed, they were then considered and treated as rebellious slaves; and these commotions were made a pretence for the general slaughter of those who were taken, and tended to complete the work of their dispersion into all countries under heaven. Since that time the Jews have no where subsisted as a nation.

BRIEFLY as I have endeavoured to relate the history of the Jews, the period which commences with the close of the antient Scriptures is so little known, that it may be useful to collect the principal facts under one point of view, for the purpose of shewing more clearly the connexion between the Old and New Testaments; and as the nature of the Jewish government appears to be very frequently misunderstood, I shall take this opportunity of adding a few observations upon that subject, and shall also subjoin a short account of the land of Canaan, both of which may serve to throw some light upon Scripture history. The Jews had many revolations of peace and Q4



war, and some changes in the mode of their government, from the time of their return from the Babylonian captivity, to their complete subjection to the Romans; but their Sacerdotal goyernment, as it is sometimes called, continued with but little interruption through this whole space of about 600 years. Having returned into their own country, under the sanction and by the authority of Cyrus, they acknowledged the sovereignty of the kings of Persia, till that empire was overturned by Alexander the Great; they then became subject to his successors, first in Egypt, and afterwards in Syria, till, having been deprived of their religious and civil liberties for three years and an half by Antiochus Epiphanes, they were restored, both to the exercise of their religion and to their antient independence, by the piety and bravery of Mattathias and his descendants. Under these Maccabæan princes they became an entirely free state, supported by good troops, strong garrisons, and alliances not only with neighbouring powers, but with remote kingdoms, even Rome itself. This glory of the Jews was but of short duration; for though the decline of the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria, prevented their interference in the affairs of other states, yet the entire ruin of these two kingdoms, by the great accession of


power which it brought to the Romans, paved the way for the destruction of the Jewish commonwealth. Pompey compelled the Jews to submit to the arms of Rome, and from that time their country was tributary to the Romans, although it was still governed by Maccabæan princes. The last of that family was conquered and deposed by Herod the Great, an Idumæan by birth, but of the Jewish religion, who had been appointed king of the Jews by the Romans, and enjoyed a long reign over the whole of Palestine, in the course of which he greatly diminished the civil power of the high priest. He was succeeded in the government of the greater part of Palestine by his son Archelaus, whose misconduct caused Augustus to banish him, and to reduce his dominions into the form of a Roman province; and thus it appears, that with the exception of the short predicted tyranny of Antiochus Epiphanes, the kingdom of Judah, for soine time independent, but generally tributary, continued to enjoy its own religion, and the form of its civil government, till after the birth of the Messiah. During our Saviour's ministry the Jews were permitted to perform their religious worship without restraint or molestation; but Judæa and Samaria were then governed by a Roman procurator, who had power


of life and death, and Galilee was governed, under the authority of the Romans, by Herod Autipas, a son of Herod the Great, with the name of tetrarch. These circumstances of humiliation were far from producing contrition and amendment in the Jews. Having neglected all the means of repentance graciously afforded them, and at last filled up the measure of their aggravated wickedness by the rejection and crucifixion of their “ Lord and King,” they brought upon themselves the utter destruction of their national polity, and have now continued in an acknowledged state of punishment more than seventeen hundred years.

With respect to the nature of the Jewish government, which seems to be very improperly called Republican, we may observe, that it partook of the patriarchal form as much as was consistent with the condition and circumstances of a nation; and this accounts for our being left to form our opinion upon this subject from facts and canmands incidentally mentioned, rather than from a detailed relation of the different powers and ranks in the state in their regular order.

The Israelites had preserved the patriarchal mode of life and rules of government during their residence, nay, even 4


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