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it came to the turn of the Jewish soldiers, who were in his ariny, to work as the rest had done, they could not be prevailed upon to give their assistance ; but excused themselves with saying, that as idolatry was forbid by the tenets of their religion, they therefore were not allowed to assist in build. ing of a temple, designed for idolatrous worship ; and accordingly not one lent a hand on this occasion. They were punished for disobedience, but all to no purpose ; so that at last Alexander, admiring their perseverance, discharged and sent them home. This delicate resolution of the Jews is a lesson to many christians, as it teaches them, that they are not allowed to join or assist in the commission of an action that is contrary to the law of God.
One cannot forbéar admiring the conduct of providence on this occasion. God had broke to pieces by the hand of his servant Cyrus, the idol • Belus, the god who rivalled the Lord of Israel : he afterwards caused Xerxes to demolish his temple. These first blows which the Lord struck at Babylon, were so many omens of its total ruin ; and it was impossible for Alexander to complete the rebuilding of this temple, as for Julian, some centuries after, to restore that of Jerusalem.
Although Alexander employed himself in the works above mentioned, during his stay in Babylon, he speat the greatest part of his time in such pleasures as that city afforded ; and one would conclude, that the chief aiza, both of his oco cupations and diversions, was to stupify himself, and to drive from his mind the melancholy and afflicting ideas of an im pending death, with which he was threatened by all the predictions of the magi, and other soothsayers : For though, in certain moments, he seemed not to regard the various notices which had been given him, he was however seriously affected with them inwardly ; and these glooniy reflections were for ever returning to his mind. They terrified him at last to such a degree, that whenever the most insignificant thing happened, if ever so little extraordinary and unusual, his imagination swelled it immediately to a prodigy, and in terpreted it into an unhappy omen. The palace was now filled with sacrifices, with persons whose office was to per: forin expiations and purifications, and with others who pretended to prophesy. It was certainly a spectacle worthy pailosophic eye, u see a prince, at whose nod the world trem. bled, abandoned to the strongest terrors ; so true is it, says Plutarch, that if the contempt of the gods, and the incredu. lity which prompts us neither to fear or believe any things
"God gives hin this game in Isaiah,
be a great misfortune, the superstitious man, whose soul isa prey to the most abject fears, the most ridiculous follies, is equally unhappy. It is plain that God, by a just judgment, took a pleasure in degrading, before all ages and nations, and in sinking lower than the condition of the vulgar, the man who had affected to set himself above human nature, and equal himself to the Deity. This prince had sought in all his actions, that vain glory of conquests which men most admire, and to which they affix, more than to any thing else
, the idea of grandeur : and God delivers him up to a ridiculous superstition, which virtuous men of good sense and understanding despise most, and than which nothing can be more weak or groveling.
Alexander was therefore for ever solemnising new festivals, and perpetually at new banquets, in which he quaffed with his usual intemperance. After having spent a whole night in carousing, a second was proposed to him. He met 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 Hercules's cup, whick held six bottles, it was filled, when he poured it all down, drinking to a Macedonian of the company, Proteas by name, and afterwards pledged him again in the same furious bumper. He had no sooner swallowed it, but he fell upon the floor. “Here then,” cries Seneca", describing the fatal effects of drunkenness, “is this hero ; “ invincible to all the toils of prodigious marches, to the “ dangers of sieges and combats, to the most violent ex“ tremes of heat and cold ; bere he lies, conquered by his Sintemperance, and struck to the earth by the fatal cup “ of Hercules!"
In this condition he was seized with a violent fever, and carried half dead to his palace. The fever continued, though some good intervals, in which he gave the necessary or ders for the sailing of the fleet, and the marching of his land-forces, being persuaded he should soon recover. But at last, finding himself past all hopes, and his voice beginning to fail, he drew his ring from his finger, and gave
it to Perdiccas, with orders to convey bis corpse to the temple of Ammon.
*Alexandrum tot itinera, tot prælia, tot hientes, per goas, vida temporum locorumque difficultate, transierat, tot Aumina
es ignoto cadentia, tot maria tutum dimiscrant ; intemperantia bibeodi
, ce ille Herculancus ac fatalis scyphus condid. Senec, epiß. 83.
Notwithstanding* his great weakness, he however strug gled with death, and raising himself upon his elbow, presented his soldiers, to whom he could not refuse this last tes. timony of friendship, his dying hand to kiss. After this, his principal courtiers asking to whom he left the empire, he answered, “to the most worthy;" adding, that he foresaw the decision of this would give occasion to strange funeral games after his decease. And Perdiccas inquiring further, at what time they should pay bim divine honours, he replied, “when you are happy." These were his last words, and soon after he expired. He was thirty-two years and eight months old, of which he had reigned twelve. He died in the middle of the spring, the first year of the 114th Olympiad.
İNo one, says Plutarch and Arrian, suspected then that Alexander had been poisoned ; and yet it is at this time that such reports generally prevail. But the state of his body proved that he did not die that way : for all his chief offi. cers disagreeing among themselves, the corpse, though it lay quite neglected for several days in Babylon, which stands in a hot climate, did not show the least symptoms of putrefaction. The true poison which brought him to his end was wine, which has killed many thousands besides Alexander. It was nevertheless believed afterwards, that this prince had been poisened by the treachery of Antipater's sons : that Cassander, the eldest of them, brought the poison from Greece ; that Iolos, his younger brother, threw the fa. tal draught into Alexander's cup, of which he was the bearer; and that he cunningly chose the time of the great feast mentioned before, in order that the prodigious quantity of wine he then drank might conceal the true cause of his death. The state of Antipater's affairs at that time gave some grounds for this suspicion. He was persuaded that he had been recalled with no other view than to ruin him, because
*Quanquam violencia morbi dilabebatur, in cubitum tamen ereclus, dextram omnibus, qui cam contingere vellent, porrexit. Quis autem illam osculari non curreret, quæ jam fato oppressa, maximi exercitus complexui, humanitate quam spiritu vividiore, sufficit ? Val. Max. I, v, c, I.
FA. M. 3683, Ant, J. C. 321.
fle is pretended that this poison was an extremely cold water, wbich distils drop by drop, from a rock in Arcadia, called Nonacris. Very little of it falls ; and it is so vastly Marp, that it corrodes whatever vefsel receives it, those excepted which are made of a mulcs hoof. We are cold, that it was brought for this horrid porposc from Greece to Babylon, in a vessel of the latter soro. of his mal administration during his vice royalty ; and it was not altogether improbable that he commanded his song to commit a crime, which would save his own life, by taking a way that of his sovereign. An undoubted circuinstance is, that he could never wash out this stain ; and that, as long as he lived, the Macedonians detested him as a traitor who had poisoned their king. Aristotle was also suspected, but with no great foundation.
Whether Alexander lost his life by poison, or by excessive drinking, it is surprising to see the prediction of the magi and soothsayers, with regard to his dying in Babylon, so exactly fulfilled. It is certain and indisputable, that God has reserved to himself only the knowledge of futurity, and if the soothsayers and oracles have sometimes foretold things which really came to pass, they could do it no other way than by their impious correspondence with devils, who, by their penetration and natural sagacity, find out several methods whereby they diveto a certain degree into futurity with regard to approaching events, and are enabled to make predictions, which, though they appear above the reach of human understanding, are yet not above that of malicious spirits of darkness. The knowledge * those evil spirits have of all the circumstances which precede and prepare an event; the part they frequently bear in it, by inspiring such of the wicked as are given up to them, with the thoughts and desire of doing certain actions, and committing certain crimes; an inspiration to which they are sure those wicked persons will consent : by these things, devils are enabled to foresee and foretel certain particulars. They indeed often mistake in their conjectures, but tGod also sometimes permits them to succeed in them, in order to punish the impiety of those, wiro, in contradiction to his commande, inquire their fate of such lving spirits.
The moment that Alexander's death was known, the whole palace echoed with cries and groans. The van. quished bewailed him with as many tears as the victors, The grief for his cleath occasioning the remembrance of his many good qualities, all his faults were forgotten. The
*Dæmones pervers's (solen:) malefa&ta suadere, de quorum mo. ribus ccrti sunt quod sint eis calia suadentibus consensuri. Suad. ent autem miris et invisibilibus modis. S. Aug. de Divinat. Dæmon. p. 509.
+ Facile est et non incongruum ; ut omnipotens et juftus, ad corum podpani quibus isca prædicustur- occulto apparatu ministe. riorum suorum ctiam fpiritibus talibus aliquid divinationis impartiat. 8. Aug. de Div. Quæst. ad Simplic. 1, ii, Quæft 3.
Persians declared him to have been the most just, the kinda est sovereign that ever reigned over them ; the Macedonians the best, the most valiant prince in the universe ; and all exclaimed against the gods, for having enviously bereaved mankind of him, in the flower of his age, and the height of his fortune. The Macedonians imagined they saw Alexander, with a firm and intrepid air, still lead them on to battle, besiege cities, climb walls, and reward such as had distinguished themselves. They then reproached themselves for having refused him divine honours, and confessed they had been ungrateful and impious, for bereaving him of a name he so justly merited.
After paying him this homage of veneration and tears, they turned their whole thoughts and reflections on them selves, and on the sad condition to which they were re, duced by Alexander's death. They considered that they were on the farther side (with respect to Macedonia) of the . Euphrates, without a leader to head them, and surrounded with enemies, who abhorred the new yoke. As the king died without nominating his successor, a dreadful futurity presented itself to their imagination, and exhibited nothing but divisions, civil wars, and a fatal necessity of still shedding their blood, and of opening their former wounds, not to conquer Asia, but only to give a king to it, and to raise to the throne perhaps some mean officer or wicked wretch.
This great mourning was not confined merely to Babylon, but spread over all the provinces; and the news of it soon reached Darius' mother. One of her daughters was with her, who being still inconsolable for the death of Hephæstion her husband, the sight of the public calamity recalled all her private woes.
But Sysigambis bewailed the several misfortunes of her family ; and this new affliction awakened the remembrance of all its former sufferings. One would have thought that Darius was but just dead, and that this unfortunate mother solemnised the funeral of two sons at the same time, She wept the living no less than the dead : “ who now," would she say, “ will take care of my two daugh
Where shall we find another Alexander ?” She would fancy she saw them again reduced to a state of captivity, and that they had lost their kingdom a second time; but with this difference, that, now Alexander was gone, they had no refuge left. At last, she sunk under her grief. This princess, who had borne with patience the death of her fatha er, her husband, eighty of her brothers, who were murdered in one day by Ochus; and, to say all in one word, that of Darius her son, and the ruin of her family; though she had,