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had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could. not. For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy; and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birth day made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; and when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod, and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist. And the king was exceeding sorry, yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in the prison; and brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel; and the damsel gave it to her mother. And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.
A good man falls a victim to the caprice of a tyrant, dirécted by an artful and abandoned woman. We pity the sufferer, but do we envy his murderers? Could the grandeur of Herod compensate for the agony he endured, when the soul of John had ascended to its home in heaven? What peace could the depraved Herodias find, amid the storm of her own passions, in the thought that a servant of God had been murdered by her orders,—that another had been added to her dark list of crimes? The headlong passions of men make their own punishment. The malevolent may inflict agony on others, but for every wound he gives, a fiercer pain sinks into his own heart. The path of happiness is that of rectitude, though it lie amid dangers, and terminate in a violent and untimely death. That the length of life should be measured, not by its years, but its deeds, is an old observation. He in truth lives to most advantage, who has enjoyed most constantly true happiness; and this is to be found in the gratification of the generous and affectionate feelings, in the approbation of conscience, and in the love of God.
The monarch gave his edict forth,
His ready slaves obeyed,
The holy Baptist in his blood
Upon the earth was laid.
Yet who could then with envy view
Or not the prophet's fate prefer
Another's vengeance to perform,
The bloody deed was done; And now remorse and anguish sate With Herod on his throne.
The prophet's soul, by earthly pain
TO THE DEPARTURE OF JESUS FROM GALILEE.
FIVE THOUSAND MIRACULOUSLY FED.
MARK VI. 30.
AND the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while. For there were many coming and going; and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. And the people saw them departing; and many knew him; and ran afoot thither out of all cities. And when he came out, he saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep, not having a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed; send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat. He answered and said unto them, Give
ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? Go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds and by fifties. And when he had taken the five loaves, and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. And they that did eat of the loaves were five thousand
And he commanded them to
In one or two instances, and for the relief of a few thousands, was a supernatural provision made. We recognise the benevolence and the power thus manifested, but we pass by unthought of, the same divine attributes, as they are exhibited in the supply of our daily wants. Yet is that goodness which refreshed for a season the weariness of an assembly, more worthy of admiration than that which created and sustains, age after age, millions of happy creatures, nay, worlds and systems without number? If we reverence that power which afforded thus a temporary supply, with what feelings should we contemplate that which created our beautiful world, which brought into being the various races of animals, our own bodies " fearfully and wonderfully made," and - our thinking and immortal spirits,-which so balanced and harmonized the whole of this magnificent universe, that the daily, hourly wants of its countless members are met by the operation of regular and uninterrupted laws? We should