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Greece, and Epirus ;-~-Lysimachus over Thrace and Bithynia ;-Ptolemy over Egypt, Arabia, Cælesyria, and Palestine ;--and Seleucus over Syria."
Short was the duration of the monarchy; shorter Kill that of the four kingdoms. Each of the self-created sovereigns vainly affected to be Alexander; and, not content to preside over a part of his dominions, strove to acquire the whole. Confederacies, ratified without sincerity, and suspicions which artifice could not conceal, prompted the antagonists to hostile measures. Hence a collision of contrary forces, fatal to all the parties, of whom none could be satisfied with any thing less than universal dominion. After a short space of about 19 years from the subversion of the Persian Empire, the result of discordant counsels, and of arms polluted with the blood of millions, was the formation of two independent principalities : Syria, where Seleucus erected his throne ;-and Egypt, of which Ptolemy Soter retained possession.
In the Books of the Maccabees these two principalities have one common title, The KINGDOM of the GREEKS: Its name is, from one of the sovereigns, called the era of the Seleucidæ. By it both these authors compute, the one from the 12th, the other from the 13th, after the demise of Alexander t.
* Sir I. Newton on the Prophecies, p. 29.
+ Dr. Prideaux explains the reason of this variation in rec. koning by the era of Seleucus, and exemplifies it in different dates assigned by the two authors for the same event. See Connex. Ann. 312.
In the subsequent schemes of historical transactions, with their dates, of coexistent magiftracies, and of chronological numbers, it was found, that the page was too narrow to admit the titles of several articles; much less the triple column of numerical notations in reckoning. The years of the Jul. Period, and those before the Dionysian era, are, for these reasons, unavoidably superseded, though they are expressed for the first and last years of each scheme.
Scheme 1. HISTORICAL events from the RISE of the GREEK
EMPIRE, A. P. J. 4383. Before A. D. 4330, and
A. M. 3678. Alexander dies in the 18th of Jaddua's pontificate 3685 Jaddua dies in the ad of Philip Aridæus 3687 Aridæus dies in the 5th of Onias the H. Priest 3692 Alexander Ægus deposed
3696 Slain, with his mother Roxane, by Callander 3699 The Pentateuchtranslated into Greek at Alexandria 3732 Pyrrhus expelled Italy
3735 Hannibal defeats Flaminius at the Thrasymenus 3792 Scipio conquers Hannibal at Zama
3807 Antiochus, the Great, routed at Thermopylæ. Carthage and Corinth desolated by the Romans 3863 Syria becomes a Roman province
3944 Pompey takes Jerusalem
3946 Its walls repaired Herod again takes the city
This compendious selection of notable incidents, taken promiscuously from the history of the Jews, Car, thaginians, Greeks, and Romans, is a specimen of the various materials whence the times of events may be defined by a diversity of national eras. The computation is thus brought down to A. P. J. 4683, or the 30th before the Dionysian era of our Lord's nativity.
Of this third prophetical monarchy Ptolemy's Afronomical Canon furnishes the inquisitive student with an authentic chronicle *. Even Ptolemy's exquisite collection betrays some instances of singularity in reckoning, though they.seldom involve error. Alexander Ægus was dethroned in the fourth of his reign, and flain in the seventh ; yet the canon continues his government to the eighth year of the Seleucidan era, and defers to the ninth the accession of Ptolemy Soter, to whom is assigned a reign of 20 years. Evident is the impropriety of extending the duration and honours of
royo alty, after the term of a sovereign's degradation ; much more, beyond the period of natural life. This over
* Its best edition in English is that by Prideaux, in his Chro. nological tables, where the years of Nabonnaffar are connected with the numbers of the Julian period. With respect to the names of the kings, thç series of succession, and the length of reigns, extremely inaccurate are the arrangements of the Abbé Dufrenoy; a writer, who has the merit of com. prising, in a very narrow compass, an immense repository of erudition in chronological antiquities. This is not the only period which exemplifies his negligence or credulity. But it may seem invidious to censure an individual, in a matter which affects many.
fight is effe&tually rectified by assigning to Soter a reign of 28 years, commencing from the date of the era.
It has already been observed, that Josephus, the only author whose works, ftill extant, contain a full history of the Jewish nation, is much more accurate in his account of the high priests since the return from Chaldea, than in former times. His registers are not al., ways complete, or his notations perfectly exact. In such cases, however, his deficiencies may be supplied, and his mistakes corrected, from genuine sources of information, here and there dispersed in other fragments of sacred antiquity, or in partial catalogues, among the writings of the Christian fathers.
“ The high priests of Josadac's posterity were 15, under a popular government, during the space of 414
As to the number of pontiffs, the author is exact. But the period of their administration did not exceed 370.
In the same passage, the author enumerates, by name, nine pontifis from Menelaus to Antigonus, all (except Menelaus) of the Asmonean family. The real number is ten ; but perhaps Alexandra, as a queen, was, on account of her sex, excluded from the priesthood ; for, in this period, the chief magistracy was sometimes united with the sacred character, and sometimes kept diftinct.
The duration of the Asmonean period was about 130 years. Jofephus is peculiarly attentive to mark the. years of vacancy in the pontificate, the length of in. cumbencies, and what high priests retained their dignities for life, were superseded, or held the office as colleagues : --notations of signal use in reckoning which, without the last danger of fallacy, exbibit every desirable criterion of truth. Under the direction of guides, uninspired indeed, yet almost infallible, a candid and docile spirit needs no extraordinary degree, either of sagacity or labour, to combine the several links in this part of the great chronological chain.
• Ant. XX. 10. 1. I 4
The report of Ptolemy, Josephus, the two writers of the Maccabees, &c. is but human testimony; but it is testimony strongly confirmed by the evidence both of prophecy and history ;--prophecy emitted, and history written, by divine inspiration. · This portion of the facred chronology is comprehended in the 70 weeks, of which the termination is fixed by an infallible character of time. To this sure word of prophecy, the preachers and disciples of the gospel, at its first publication, giving good heed, as unto a light Ihining in a dark place, acquired the full assurance, that the first coming of Christ, in the manner, and at the time foretold, was then past. Hence the apostle, reasoning with equal light and force of argument, concludes the infallible certainty of his second coming. The particular inference deducible from these principles, and applied to the present subject, is, that if the whole period of the 70 weeks be clearly elucidated by a luminous body of evidence, from the volumes both of prophecy