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clared that no monarch had ever been greater or happier than Dionysius. 2. “Hast thou a mind, Damocles,” says the king, “to taste this happinss; and to know, by experience, what the enjoyments are, of which thou hast so high an idea?”, Da mocles, with joy, accepted the offer. The King ordered that a royal banquet" should be prepared, and a gilded sofa, overed with rich embroidery, placed for his favourite. Side-boards, loaded with gold and silver plate of immense |value, were arranged in the apartment. .8. Pages" of extraordinary beauty were ordered to attend his table, and to obey his . with the utmost readi'ness, and the most profound submission. Fragrant' ointments, chaplets* of flowers, and rich perfumes, were added to the entertainment. The table was loaded with the most . delicacies of every kind. Damocles, intoxicated Wit Fo fancied himself amongst superiour beings. 4. But in the midst of all this happiness, as he lay indulg|ing himself in state, he sees let down from the ceiling, exactly over his head, a glittering sword hung by a single hair. The sight of impending, destruction put a speedy end to his joy and revelling. The pomp of his attendance, the glitter of the carved plate, and the delicacy of the Viands," cease to afford him any pleasure. 5. He dreads to stretch forth his hand to the table.--He throws off the garland” of roses. . He hastens to remove from his dangerous situation; and earnestly entreats the king to restore him to his former humble condition, having no i: to enjoy any longer a happiness so terrible. 6. By this device, Dionysius intimated to Damocles, how miserable he was in the midst of all his treasures;” and in possession of all the honours and enjoyments which royalty could bestow. - CICER0.
of Syria. g Tyr-an-ny, tir-ran-è, cruel govI-dol-a-ter, i-dò/-lä-tär, one who ernment. worships images: h In-dig-na-tion, in-dig-nā'-shan, |l Is-sue, ish-shū, to come out, pro- anger mingled with disgust: ceed, to send out. i Pre-dict, pré-dikt', to foretell, foreHaz-a-el, hāz'-à-él, one of the show. kings of Syria. k Je-ho-a-haz, jè-hô'-á-hăz, a king
1. IN the days of Joram," king of Israel, flourished the prophet Elisha. His character was so eminent, and his fame so widely spread, that Benhadad," the king of Syria, though an idolater," sent to consult him, concerning the issue" of . a distemper which threatened his life. The messenger empo on this occasion was Hazael," who appears to have een one of the princes, or chief men of the Syrian court. 2. Charged, with rich gifts from the king, he presents himself before the prophet; and accosts him in terms of the highest respect. During the conference which they held together, Elisha fixed his eyes steadfastly on the countenance of Hazael; and discerning, * a prophetick" spirit, his future tyrannys and cruelty, he could not contain himself from bursting into a flood of tears. When Hazael, in surprise, inquired into the cause of this sudden emotion, the prophet plainly informed him of the crimes and barbarities, which he foresaw that he would as terwards commit. The soul of Hazael abhorred, at this time, thoughts of cruelty. Uncorrupted, as yet, by ambi. tion or greatness, his indignation" rose at being thought ca, pable of the savage actions which the prophet had mention, ed; and with much warmth he replies; “But what? is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?” 4. Elisha makes no return, but to point out a remarkable change, which was to take place in his condition; “The Lord hath shown me, that thou shalt be king over Syria.” In course of time, all that had been predicted came to pass, Hazael ascended the throne, and ambition took possession of his heart. “He smote the children of Israel in all their coasts. He oppressed them during all the days of king Je. hoahaz:” and, from what is left on record of his actions, he plainly appears to have proved, what the prophet foresaw him to, be a man of violence, cruelty, and blood. 5. In this passage of history an object is presented, which deserves our serious attention. We behold a man, who,
in one state of life, could not look upon certain crimes
without surprise and horrour; who knew so little of himself, as to believe it impossible for him ever to be concern, ed in committing them; that same man, by a change of condition, and an unguarded state of mind, transform
ed' in an his sentiments; and as he rose in greatness, rising also in guilt; till at last he completed that whole character
tion, to venerate.
1. AHAsuerus," who is supposed to be the prince known among the Greek historians by the name of Artaxerxes,"
had advanced to the chief dignity in his kingdom, Haman," an Amalekite, who inherited all the ancient enmity of his race to the Jewish nation. He appears, from what is recorded of him, to have been a very wicked minister. Rais!. to greatness without merit, he employed his power solely ! for the gratification of his passions. A general adulations one person only stooped not to Haman. 3. This was Mordecai" the Jew; who, knowing this Ame
ekite to be an enemy to the people of God, and with virtu
4. Personal revenge was not sufficient to satisfy him. So
violent and black were his passions, that he resolved to
2. As the honours which he possessed were next to royal, his pride was every day, led with that servile" homage," which is peculiar to Asiatic courts; and all the servants of the king prostrated themselves before him. In the midst of this !ous indignation, despising that insolence of prosperity with , which he saw him lifted up, “bowed not, nor did him reverence.” On this appearance of disrespect from Mordecai, o Haman “was full of wrath: but he thought scorn to lay
to lands on Mordecai alone.”
exterminate" the whole nation to which Mordecai belonged. Abusing, for his cruel purpose, the favour of his credulous sovereign, he obtained a decree' to be sent forth, that, against a certain day, all the Jews throughout the Persian dominions should be put to the sword. 5. Meanwhile, confident of success, and blind to ap}. ruin, he continued exulting in his §. erity. nvited by Ahasuerus to a royal banquet, which Esther the queen had prepared, “he went forth that day joyful, and with a glad heart.” But behold how slight an incident was sufficient to poison his joy! As he went forth, he saw Mordecai in the . gate; and observed, that he still refused to do him homage: “He stood not up, nor was mov ed for him;” although he well knew the formidable designs, which Haman was preparing to execute. 6. One private man, who despised his greatness, and disdained submission," while a whole kingdom trembled before him; one spirit, which the utmost" stretch of his power could neither subdue nor humble, blasted his triumphs.” His whole soul was shaken with a storm of passion. Wrath, pride, and desire of revenge, rose into fury. 7. With difficulty he restrained himself in publick; but as soon as he came to his own house, he was forced to disclose the agony" of his mind. He gathered together his friends and family, with Zeresh his wife. “He told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and of all the things wherein the king had promoted him; and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. 8. He said, moreover, Yea, Esther the queen suffered no man to come in with the king, to the banquet that she had F.T.' but myself; and to-morrow also am I invited to her with the king.” After all this preamble," what is the conclusion? “Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.” 9. The sequel of Haman's history I shall not now pursue. It might afford matter for much instruction, by the conspicuous justice of God in his fall and punishment. But contemplating only the singular situation, in which the expressions just quoted present him, and the violent agitation of his mind which they display, the following reflections naturally arise: 19. How miserable is vice, when one guilty passion
creates so much torment! how unavailing is prosperity,
when in the height of it, a single disappointment can de
stroy the relish of all its pleasures' now weak is human nature, which in the absence of real, is thus prone' to form
to itself imaginary woes!
1. This excellent personage was descended from the royal line of England by both her parents.
She was carefully educated in the principles of the reformation; and her wisdom and virtue rendered her a shining example to her sex. But it was her lot to continue only a short period on this stage of being; for, in early life, she fell a sacrifice to the wild ambition of the duke of Northumberland, who promoted a marriage between her and his son, lord Guilford Dudley; and raised her to the throne of England, in opposition to the rights of Mary and Elizabeth.
2. At the time of their marriage she was only about eighteen years of age, and her husband was also very
young: a season of life very unequal to oppose the interest
ed views of artful and aspiring" men; who, instead of ex
posing them to danger, should have been the protectors of
their innocence and youth. 3. This extraordinary young person, besides the solid
endowments of piety and virtue, possessed the most en
gaging disposition, the most accomplished parts; and being
of an equal age with king Edward VI. she had received