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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



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 no friend he could depend on as a guardian; he therefore, in his life-time, gave the government of dif ferent 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 themselves 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 chaged 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


were destroyed except Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Seleucus, and they divided the whole empire among them.

In this division PTOLEMY, whom the Greeks call SoTER, having taken possession of Egypt,resolved to make himself master also of Cœlo-Syria, Phoenicia,and Palestine. CŒLO-SYRIA was a part of Syria; PALESTINE that country which was formerly the inheritance of the children of Israel; and PHOENICIA the maritime parts of both. Ptolemy succeeded in his enterprizes against these provinces, but the Jews for some time refused to yield to him, on account of the oath they had taken to the governor whom Ptolemy deposed; upon which he marched his forces into Judea, and, having got possession of most of the country, laid siege to Jerusalem. This city was strong enough, both by nature and art, to have made a long resistance; but Ptolemy came upon them on the Sabbath-day, when he knew they would not defend themselves, and took the place by storm. At first he treated the inhabitants with great rigour; but afterwards, considering how faithful they had been to their former governor, he employed them in his army and garrison, and granted them great privileges, upon which the whole nation of the Jews became subject to the king of Egypt.




THREE years after the death of Alexander the Great died Jaddua the high priest of the Jews, who was succeeded by his son Onias. Onias died in the fifth year of the reign of Ptolemy Soter, king of Egypt; and his son Simon, who, on account of the sanctity of his life,

was called Simon the Just, succeeded him. Simon continued in his office nine years, during which time he did many beneficial acts, both for church and state, but particularly in collecting together the books of the Old Testament. Those of Ezra, Esther, and the prophet Malachi, are supposed to have been added by him to those before published by Ezra. Simon was the last of the Great Synagogue, which consisted of a succession of men who attended to the preservation of the accuracy of the scriptures, that they might not be corrupted; and it is by means of such persons as Simon that we have had them transmitted to us.

Simon was succeeded by his brother Eleazar, for his son Onias was a minor when his father died. After the death of Simon, the Jews did not rigorously confine themselves to the doctrine of scripture, but tradition began to prevail; by tradition is meant, the sayings of the ancients, delivered down by word of mouth. Antigonus Socho, an eminent scribe in the law of God, president of the Sanhedrim, or senate of the elders at Jerusalem, was the first teacher of this secondary law of tradition. Afterward (as we find in the New Testament) all the teachers or doctors of the Jewish law were sometimes called scribes, and sometimes lawyers, or those who sat in Moses' seat.

Ptolemy Soter established a museum. This was a large edifice in the city of Alexandria, designed for the habitation of such learned men as made it their study to improve philosophy and all useful knowledge. This college produced a number of persons eminent for literature, and occasioned Alexandria to be regarded for many ages together, in all parts of the world, as the school of learning.

In this museum was a library, said to have consisted of four hundred thousand volumes; and there was anotop do ther

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