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put to death, and drove all the rest out of the city, placing Macedonians in their stead, and giving the remainder of their territories to the Jews. Those who survived the calamity retired to Sechem, under mount › Gerizim, and from that time this place became the metropolis of the Samaritan sect. Those Samaritans, who were in his army, Alexander sent to Egypt, to prevent disturbances, and then pursued his course in quest of other conquests. In a short space of time he got possession of the whole Persian empire.

Darius defended his kingdom to the utmost of his power; but was at last treacherously seized by two of his generals, and bound with chains of gold, and afterwards mortally wounded by them, and left in a covered chariot, where he expired before the arrival of Alexander; who lamented his unhappy fate, and bestowed an honourable funeral upon him, and treated his family with the utmost kindness. Thus died DARIUS CODOMANUS, and with him ended the Persian empire, after having existed two hundred and nineteen years, from the beginning of the reign of Cyrus.

At the time the Persians conquered Babylon, they were a sober, laborious, and modest people; but, after they had completed their conquests, they degenerated from their natural character, and grew fond of magnifi cence, ease, and pleasure: till at length they became like the Babylonians, and were regarded as the most luxurious people in the world; therefore we cannot wonder that the Grecians were suffered to subdue them.

When Alexander had secured to himself the Persian empire, he resolved on the conquest of other nations, and after a variety of successes which are related in the Gre cian history, he took up his residence in Babylon. Here he employed his thoughts in plans for the embellishment of the city, and meditated future enterprises; but met

with obstacles at first, and died before the completion of his schemes. A supreme cause, unknown to men, overruled his actions, that the prophecies against Babylon, written 300 years before, might be accomplished.

Alexander intended to repair the temple of Belus, but God had ordained that it should never be rebuilt. The Jews, who were among Alexander's army, refused to take their turn in clearing away the rubbish, though they were repeatedly punished; but at length the king, admiring their constancy, discharged them and set them free.

What we have lately read, concerning the empire of the Persians, and the conquests of Alexander, is related in the works of Jewish and heathen writers. For the future we must have recourse to the antiquities of Josephus, a learned Jew, and the Apocryphal books, which are to be found in our larger Bibles. The authors of these books are not certainly known, and therefore they are not admitted as canonical; but they are notwithstanding much esteemed; some, on account of the excellent moral precepts they contain; and others, for the credible relations they give of the history of the Jews. Among the latter are the two books of the Maccabees; from the first of which the following Section is extracted.







AND it happened, after that Alexander, son of Philip the Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chittim, had smitten Darius king of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead, the first over Greece; and made many wars, and won many strong holds, and slew the kings of the earth; and went through to the ends of the earth, and took spoils of many nations, insomuch that the earth was quiet before him: whereupon he was exalted, and his heart was lifted up. And he gathered a mighty strong host, and ruled over countries, and nations, and kings, who became tributaries unto him. And after these things he fell sick, and perceived that he should die. Wherefore he called his servants, such as were honourable, and had been brought up with him from his youth, and parted his kingdom among them, while he was yet alive. So Alexander reigned twelve years, and then died. And his servants bare rule every one in his place. And after his death, they all put crowns upon themselves; so did their sons after them many years, and evils were multiplied in the earth.

This account of Alexander's death, &c. is corroborated by heathen authors, who relate, that whilst Alexander continued in Babylon he gave himself up to great


excesses. He was for ever solemnizing new festivals, and perpetually at new banquets. After having spent a whole night in drinking, a second feast was proposed to him. He went accordingly, and there were twenty guests at table. He drank to the health of every person in company, and then pledged them severally. After this, calling for the cup of Hercules, which held six bottles, he poured it all down, drinking to one of the company, who pledged him again in the same furious bumper. Alexander had no sooner swallowed it than he fell on the floor, conquered by intemperance. In this condition, he was seized with a fever, which very soon put an end to his life, at the age of thirty-two years and eight months.

Alexander did not name his successor, as he knew there would be great disputes on the subject, for his children were too young to assert their claim, and he had ro friend he could depend on as a guardian; he therefore, in his life-time, gave the government of different provinces to his principal commanders. This filled them with aspiring views, and made them, when their great leader was removed, desirous of sovereign power; agreeable to Daniel's prediction concerning Alexander's kingdom, That it should be rent asunder after his decease, and that it should not be transmitted in the usual way to his posterity *.

As soon as Alexander's death was known, there was a general lamentation, for he was greatly beloved and reverenced. His army in particular abandoned them. selves to immoderate grief. The state in which they were left, struck them with consternation, for they had many evils to dread in consequence of his loss. The only way to prevent them was by a speedy nomination

* Daniel viii. 8.

of a new sovereign; but no effort of human wisdom could establish a sole successor to that prince, because the purposes for which Alexander was raised to such a pitch of power were answered in the chastisement of the wicked nations he subdued; and the LORD, knowing that he would grow proud and arrogant, luxurious and impious, had ordained that his honour should not descend to his posterity.

After Alexander's death, Babylon gradually fell into decay, till at length the predictions of the prophets were exactly fulfilled, and the place where it stood is so completely occupied with wild beasts and serpents, that travellers tell us they dare not come near it; and thus we may be certain it will ever remain, for the Almighty has doomed it never to be inhabited. What a warning does the fate of Babylon afford to wicked nations!

Alexander had an infant son, to whom he had given the name of Hercules. He had also a brother named Aridæus, but he was young, and of a weak understanding. A variety of troubles and disputes arose amongst Alexander's chiefs; at length it was unanimously resolved that Aridæus should be made king, or rather that he should be invested with the shew of royalty. Perdiccas, one of the chiefs to whom Alexander had given his ring in his last moments, had the person of the prince committed to his care, and remained at Babylon as regent of the kingdom. The name of Aridæus was changed to Philip, and some time afterwards the son of Roxana (Alexander's queen), who was born after his father's death, was joined in the sovereignty with Philip. In the mean time the rest of the chiefs repaired to their several governments; and, as soon as they were settled in their provinces, they began to form confederacies, and make war on one another, till in process of time all


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