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was their exact situation with respect to Judea, which has Syria to the north, and Egypt to the south.
According to Daniel, the king of Egypt, who first reigned in that country after the death of Alexander, was Ptolemy Soter, whom he calls "the king of the south," and declares, that "he shall be strong." The exactness of this character is fully justified by what we have seen in his history; for he was master of Egypt, Lybia, Cyrenaica, Arabia, Palestine, Celosyria, and most of the maritime provinces of Asia Minor; with the island of Cyprus; as also several isles in the Egean sea, which is now called the Archipelago; and even some cities of Greece, as Sicyone and Corinth.
"The prophet, after this, mentions another of the four successors to this empire, whom he calls princes, or governors. This was Seleucus Nicator, "the king of the north;" of whom he declares, "that he shall be more powerful than the king of the south, and his dominion more extensive ;" for this is the import of the prophet's expression, "he shall be strong above bim, and have dominion." It is easy to prove, that his territories were of greater extent than those of the king of Egypt; for he was master of all the east, from Taurus to the river Indus; and also of several provinces in Asia Minor, between mount Taurus and the Egean sea; to which he added Thrace and Macedonia, a little before his death.
"Daniel then informs us, "that the daughter of the king of the south, came to the king of the north, and mentions the treaty of peace, which was concluded on this occasion, between the two kings." This evidently
Dan. xi. 6.
. Ibid. 6,
points out the marriage of Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy, king of Egypt, with Antigonus Theos, king of Syria, and the peace concluded between them, in consideration of this alliance; every circumstance of which exactly happened according to the prediction before us. The sequel of this history will shew us the fatal event of this marriage, which was also foretold by the prophet.
In the remaining part of the chapter, he relates the most remarkable events of future times, under these two races of kings, to the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, the great persecutor of the Jewish nation. I shall be careful, as these events occur in the series of this history, to apply the prophecy of Daniel to them, that the reader may observe the exact accomplishment of each prediction.
In the mean time, I cannot but acknowledge in this place, with admiration, the divinity so visible in the scriptures, which have related, in so particular a manner, a variety of singular and extraordinary facts, above three hundred years before they were transacted. What an immense chain of events extends from the prophecy to the time of its accomplishment! By the breaking of any single link, the whole would be disconcerted! With respect to the marriage alone, what hand, but that of the Almighty, could have conducted so many different views, intrigues, and passions, to the same point? What knowledge but this could, with so much certainty, have foreseen such a number of distinct circumstances, subject not only to the freedom of will, but even to the irregular impressions of caprice? And what man but must adore that sovereign power
which God exercises, in a secret certain manner, over kings and princes, whose very crimes he renders subservient to the execution of his sacred will, and the accomplishment of his eternal decrees; in which all events, both general and particular, have their appointed time and place fixed beyond the possibility of failing, even those which depend the most on the choice and liberty of mankind?
"As Ptolemy was curious, to an uncommon degree, in the statues, designs, and pictures, of excellent masters, as he also was in books; he saw, during the time he continued in Syria, a statue of Diana, in one of the temples, which suited his taste exceedingly. Antigonus made him a present of it, at his request, and he carried it into Egypt. Some time after his return, Arsinoe was seized with an indisposition, and dreamed that Diana appeared to her, and acquainted her, that Ptolemy was the occasion of her illness, by his having taken her statue out of the temple, where it was consecrated to her divinity. Upon this, the statue was sent back, as soon as possible, to Syria, in order to be replaced in the proper temple. It was also accompanied with rich presents to the goddess, and a variety of sacrifices were offered up to appease her displeasure; but they were not succeeded by any favourable effect. The queen's distemper was so far from abating, that she died in a short time, and left Ptolemy inconsolable at her loss; and more so, because he imputed her death to his own indiscretion, in removing the statue of Diana out of the temple.
• A. M. 3756. Ant. J. C. 248. Liban. Orat. xi.
This passion for statucs, pictures, and other excellent curiosities of art, may be very commendable in a prince, and other great men, when indulged to a certain degree; but when a person abandons himself to it entirely, it degenerates into a dangerous temptation, and frequently prompts him to notorious injustice and violence. This is evident by what Cicero relates of Verres, who practised a kind of piracy in Sicily, where he was pretor, by stripping private houses and temples, of all their finest and most valuable curiosities. But though a person should have no recourse to such base extremities, it is still very shocking and offensive, says Cicero, to say to a person of distinction, worth, and fortune, "sell me this picture, or that statue," since it is, in effect, declaring, "you are unworthy to have such an admirable piece in your possession, which suits only a person of my rank and taste." I mention nothing of the enormous expenses into which a man is drawn by this passion; for these exquisite pieces have no price but what the desire of possessing them sets upon them, and that we know has no bounds.
Though Arsinoe was older than Ptolemy, and too infirm to have any children, when he espoused her; he however retained a constant and tender passion for her to the last, and rendered all imaginable honours to her memory, after her death. He gave her name to several cities, which he caused to be built, and performed a
• Superbum est et non ferendum, dicere prætorem in provincia homini honesto, locupleti, splendido; vende mihi vasa colata. Hoc est enim dicere; non es dignus tu, qui habeas quæ tam bene facta sunt. Meæ dignitatis ista sunt. Cic. orat. de signis, n. 45.
Etenim, qui modus est cupiditatis, idem est æstimationis. eile est enim finem facere pretio, nisi libidini feceris. Id. n. 14.
number of other remarkable things, to testify how well he loved her.
'Nothing could be more extraordinary than the design he formed of erecting a temple to her, at Alexandria, with a dome rising above it, the concave part of which was to be lined with adamant, in order to keep an iron statue of that queen suspended in the air. This plan of building was invented by Dinocrates, a famous architect in those times; and the moment he proposed it to Ptolemy, that prince gave orders for beginning the work without delay. The experiment, however, remained imperfect, for want of sufficient time; for Ptolemy and the architect dying within a very short time after this resolution, the project was entirely discontinued. It has long been said, and even believed, that the body of Mahomet was suspended in this manner, in an iron coffin, by a loadstone fixed in the vaulted roof of the chamber where his corpse was deposited after his death; but this is a mere vulgar error, without the least foundation.
'Ptolemy Philadelphus survived his beloved Arsinoe but a short time. He was naturally of a tender constitution, and the soft manner of life he led, contributed to the decay of his health. The infirmities of old age, and his affliction for the loss of a consort whom he loved to adoration, brought upon him a languishing disorder, which ended his days, in the sixty third year of his age, and the thirty eighth of his reign. He left two sons, and a daughter, whom he had by his first wife
Plin. l. xxxiv. c. 14.
• A. M. 3757. Ant. J. C. 247. Athen, 1. xii. p. 19.