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They sprang again from misery to might,
Seleucus ? even gave them civic right;
What surest wins affection ?- what reclaims ?
What beckons back from the most dizzy height
Of unbelief ?—what softens, soothes, or tames ? Toleration. "Tis toleration-spite the hypocrite
And such, we trust, with their best means and might,
1 The Jews had considerable privileges conferred upon them by some of the Syrian kings, but were cruelly treated by others.
2 Seleucus Nicator, one of the captains of Alexander the Great, and who succeeded to the government of Syria, admitted the Jews of his day to the rights of citizens, in those towns which he built in Asia Minor and CeloSyria, and even in Antioch, his capital. He was certainly one of the most powerful of the princes who got possession of any part of the Macedonian Empire after the death of Alexander. He was murdered 280 years B. C.
3 Antiochus the Great, third of that name, and King of Syria and Asia. He was humane and liberal, and very tolerant to the Jews; and even gave exemption from taxes to all of them who would come within a limited time and settle in Jerusalem.
Shall the wise rulers of that realm ordain
To which the wrong’d so oft have look'd for right
How did poor Israel writhe beneath the frown
Of that dread savage, whom the trembling Jew Styl’d Epimanes', who could impious crown
The basest deeds with sacrilege, and threw
A gloom of horror, which so frightful grew, So dark, so ominous, that, reft of home,
The poor Judean, maddening, furious flew, And sought amongst the beasts of prey to roam ; While thousands, lingering, suffer'd martyrdom !
The Greeks, who wood but science and the arts,
Nay, won them too, with souls of ardent fire,
1 He was called by the Greeks Epiphanes, or the Illustrious, but by the Jews Epimanes, or the Furious. He was, in fact, the fourth Antiochus.
by the Greeks.
Jews despised Despis'do that simple sect, both heads and hearts,
Who would not, could not, kindle at the lyre;
Nor dared, with rapt, creative skill, aspire
Believing those poor mortals mud and mire
ed by the Jews.
Greeks scorn- The Jew?, as scornful of the heathen rights,
Which they, and wisely, deem'd as most profane ;
The wayward Hellenes, who would maintain
He destroyed Jerusalem, and was perhaps the greatest scourge the Jews ever had, and a disgrace to Antioch. He died in 164 B. C., when his son, surnamed Eupater, succeeded to the throne of Syria.
1“ Graiis ingenium, Graiis dedit ore rotundo
2 See an admirably well drawn comparison betwixt the Greeks and Jews of those days, in Finlayson's Serinons, page 72.
Their lives with something much allied to sin.
Diana', poets say, was chaste, though vain ; But Venus's ? amours made no small din ;
And as for Jove he was a libertine.
'Midst great disparities, 'twere no surprise
That concord dwelt not, or could long subsist. With such defilements 3 oft before their eyes
The sons of Judah knelt, and grateful bless'd
The God who gave them laws they all confess'd : So, soon the Greeks, still jealous, prone to hate,
Commenc'd those frightful fights, which crowd the list
Who worshipped the true God.
1 Diana permitted a splendid temple to be dedicated to her in the Chersonesus Taurica, where human victims were offered up on her altar (Juvenal, xv. 116.); and it is singular that this temple was burnt the same day that Alexander was born.-See Jovency's Epitome de Diis, et Heroibus Poeticis, p. 71.
2 Venus, the wife properly speaking of Vulcan, had children by Mercury, Mars, Bacchus, Neptune, and Anchises ; but her prime favourite was Adonis, the son of Cinyras, King of Cyprus.-Ovid, Ep. iv. 97.
3 Juvenal, with his usual boldness, does not hesitate to affirm, that the heathen deities corrupted the morals of mankind by their debaucheries and crimes; and, in this way, the satirist has artfully exposed the baneful ef. fects of a false religion --Juvenal, xiii. 37-60.
Of horrors it were painful to relate,
Sufficient fair their state, by Romans told,
When the fam d Persian monarchs 1_liberal too!
Mutual good will.
Would neither injure, no! nor e’en withhold,
Their aid and support from the humble Jew;
Who loath'd not in his turn that faith he knew
Was far more sacred than the motley crew
1 From the time that, by the humanity of Cyrus, the Jews were released from bondage in Babylon, till the death of Darius Condamanus, when the monarchy terminated, which embraced a period of about 200 years, and during which thirteen kings had reigned, I am not aware that there is one instance of the Persians having injured the Jews, or, more properly speaking, treated them harshly.
2 The ancient Persians (Sabians), every one knows, worshipped the sun and moon and stars, by what Prideaux calls Tabernacles (Connexion, part i. p. 177–179),—that is to say, the orbs themselves; and, according to Herodotus, on the tops of mountains (Clio, sect. cxxxi.), disdaining to take their divinities from men, as the Greeks did. It may here be remarked,