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" is it to pursue after liberty while we are alive, and yet " to envy it to ourselves where it will be eternal ?. We, * therefore, who have been brought up in a discipline of “our own, ought to become an example to others of our “ readiness to die. Yet, if we do stand in need of foreign“ers to support us in this matter, let us regard those in- dians who profess the exercise of philosophy; for these “ good men do but unwillingly undergo the time of life, and “ look upon it as a necessary servitude, and make haste to let “ their souls loose from their bodies : nay, when no misfor“ tune presses them to it, nor drives them upon it, these “ have such a desire of a life of immortality, that they tell “ other men betore hand, that they are about to depart; " and nobody hinders them, but every one thinks them happy “men, and gives them letters to be carried to their familiar “ friends (that are dead :) so firmly and certainly do they “ believe that souls converse with one another [in the “other world.] So, when these men have heard all such “ commands that were to be given them, they deliver their " body to the fire; and, in order to their getting their soul “a separation from the body in the greatest purity, they “ die in the midst of hymns of commendations made to “ them ; for their dearest friends conduct them to their " death more readily than do any of the rest of mankind “ conduct their fellow-citizens, when they are going a “ very long journey, who at the same time weep on their 56 own account, but look upon the others as happy persons, 66 as so soon to be made partakers of the immortal order of “ beings. Are not we, therefore, ashamed to have lower “notions than the Indians ? and by our own cowardice “ to lay a base reproach upon the laws of our country “ which are so much desired and imitated by all man“ kind ? But put the case that we had been brought up “ under another persuasion, and taught that life is the “ greatest good which men are capable of, and that “ death is a calamity; however, the circumstances we “are now in ought to be an inducement to us to bear such “calamity. courageously, since it is by the will of God, “and by necessity that we are to die; for it now appears " that God hath made such a decree against the whole “ Jewish nation, that we are to be deprived of this life s6 which [he knew] we would not make a due use of. For “ do not you ascribe the occasion of our present condition “ to yourselves, nor think the Romans are the true occa
* sion that this war we have had with them is become so dc"structive to us all : these things have not come to pass by “ their power, but a more powerful cause hath intervened, “ and made us afford them an occcasion of their appeara ing to be conquerors orer us. What Roman weapeons, * I pray you, were those, by which the Jews of Cæsarea “ were slain ? On the contrary, when they were no way
disposed to rebel, but were all the while keeping their “ seventh day festival, and did not so much as lift up their
hands against the citizens of Cæsarea, yet did those citi. 6 zens run upon them in great crowds, and cut their " throats, and the throats of their wives and children, and " this without any regard to the Romans ihemselves, who “ never took us for their enemies till we revolted from “ them. But some may be ready to say, that truly the “ people of Cæsarea had always a quarrel against those " that lived among them, and that, when an opportunity « offered itself, they only satisfied the ald rancour they “had against them. What then shall we say to those of “ Scythopolis, who ventured to wage war with us on ac« count of the Greeks ? Nor did they do it by way of re“ venge upon the Romans, when they acted in concert with " our countrymen. Wherefore, you see how little our o good-will and fidelity to them prosited us, while they “ were slain, they and their whole families, after the most “ inhuman manner, which was all the requital that was " made them for the assistance they had afforded the others : “ for that very same destruction which they had prevented o from falling upon the others, did they suffer themselves 66 from them, as if they had been ready to be the actors a“ gainst them. It would be too long for me to speak at " this time of every destruction brought upon us ; for you 66 cannot but know, that there was not any one Syrian city, " which did not slay their Jewish iphabitants, and were “ not more bitter enemies to us than were the Romans 6 themselves : nay, even those of Damascus, * when they " were able to allege no tolerable pretence against us, fil66 led their city with the most barbarous slaughters of our “ people, and cut the throats of eighteen thousand Jews, 66 with their wives and children. And, as to the multitude 5 of those that were slain in Egypt, and that with torments
* See B. ii. ch. XX. s. 2, where the number of the slain is but 10,000.
« also, we have been informed they were more than sixty " thousand ; those indeed being in a foreign country, and “ so naturally meeting with nothing to oppose against “their enemies, were killed in the manner forementioned. " As for all those of us who have waged war against the “ Romans, in our own country, had we not sufficient reason " to have sure hopes of victory ? For we had arms, and “ walls, and fortresses so prepared as not to be easily ta“ken, and courage not to be moved by any dangers in the " cause of liberty, which encouraged us all to revolt from " the Romans. But then these advantages sufiiced us but “ for a short time, and only raised our hopes, while they “ really appeared to be the origin of our miseries ; for all “ we had hath been taken from us, and all hath fallen un66 der our enemies, as if these advantages were only to ren66 der their victory over us the more glorious, and were not “ disposed for the preservation of those by whom these pre“parations were made. And, as for those that are alrea“ dy dead in the war, it is reasonable we should esteem them “ blessed, for they are dead in defending, and not in be6 traying their liberty ; but, as to the multitude of those " that are now under the Romans, who would not pity their “ condition ? and who would not make haste to die, before “ he would suffer the same miseries with them? Some of 6 them have been put upon the rack, and tortured with fire 66 and whippings, and so died. Some have been half-de66 voured by wild beasts, and yet have been reserved alive “ to be devoured by them a second time, in order to 66 afford laughter and sport to our enemies; and such 66 of those as are alive still, are to be looked on as the s most miserable, who being so desirous of death, could “not come at it. And, where is now that great city, “the metropolis of the Jewish nation ? which was for“ tified by so many walls round about, which had 56 so many fortresses, and large towers to defend it, " which could hardly contain the instruments prepared for " the war, and which had so many ten thousands of men to u fight for it? Where is this city that was believed to have 8. God himself inhabiting therein ? It is now demolished to 6 the very foundations, and hath nothing but that monu66 ment of it preserved, I mean the camp of those that hath 66 destroyed it, which still dwells upon its ruins ; some unçs fortunate old men also lie upon the ashes of the temple,
* and a few women are there preserved alive by the enemy, “ for our bitter shame and reproach. Now, who is there “ that revolves these things in his mind, and yet is able “to bear the sight of the sun, though he might livé “out of danger? Who is there so much his country's “ enemy, or so unmanly, and so desirous of living, as “ not to repent that he is still alive? And I cannot but wish " that we had all died, before we had seen that holy city de“molished by the hands of our enemies, or the foundations “ of our holy temple dug up after so profane a manner. But “since we had a generous hope that deluded us, as we might " perhaps have been able to revenge ourselves on our enemies "on that account, though it be now become vanity, and hath “ left us alone in this distress, let us make haste to die brave"ly. Let us pity ourselves, our children, and our wives “ while it is in our own power to shew pity to to them ; " for we * were born to die, as well as those were whom " we have begotten ; nor is it in the power of the most “ happy of our race to avoid it. But, for abuses and slave. “ry, and the sight of our wives led away after an ignominious “ manner, with their children, these are not such evils as are “ natural and necessary among men ; although such as do “ not prefer death before those miseries, when it is in their “ power so to do, must undergo even them, on account of " their own cowardice. We revolted from the Romans " with great pretensions to courage, and when, at the very “ last, they invited us to preserve ourselves, we would not “ comply with them. Who will not, therefore, believe " that they will certainly be in a rage at us, in case they " can take us alive? Miserable will then be the young men, " who will be strong enough in their bodies to sustain many "6 torments; miserable also will be those of elder years, who 66 will not be able to bear those calamities which young “ men might sustain. One man will be obliged to hear the 66 voice of his son implore help of his father, when his “ hands are bound. But certainly our hands are still at “ liberty, and have a sword in them, let them then be sub• servient to us in our glorious design ; let us die before we « become slaves under our enemies, and let us go out of the “ world, together with our children, and our wives, in a “ state of freedom. This it is that our law's command us “ to do ; this it is that our wives and children crave at our “hands; nay, God himself hath brought this necessity up“ on us; while the Romans desire the contrary, and are “afraid lest any of us should die before we are taken. Let “us therefore, make haste, and instead of affording them “ so much pleasure, as they hope for in getting us uuder “their power, let us leave them an example which shall at “ once cause their astonishment at our death, and their ad. "miration of our hardiness therein."
* Reland bere sets down a parallel aphorism of one of the Jewish Rabhins, “We are born that we may die, and die that we may live."
How the people that were in the fortress were prevailed on by the
words of Eleazar, two women and five children only excepted, and all submitted to be killed by one another.
§ 1. Now, as Eleazar was proceeding on this exhortation, they all cut him off short, and made haste to do the work, as full of an unconquerable ardour of mind, and moved with a demoniacal fury. So they went their ways, as one still endeavouring to be before another, and as thinking that this eagerness would be a demonstration of their courage and good conduct, if they could avoid appearing in the last class ; so great was the zeal they were in to slay their wives, and children, and themselves also. Nor, indeed when they came to the work itself did their courage fail them, as one might imagine it would have done, but they then held fast the same resolution, without wavering, which they had upon the hearing of Eleazar's speech, while yet every one of them still retained their natural passion of love to themselves and their families, beeause the reasoning they went upon appeared to them to be very just, even with regard to those that were dearest to them ; for the husbands tenderly embraced their wives, and took their chil. dren into their arms, and gave the longest parting-kisses to them, with tears in their eyes. Yet at the same time did they complete what they had resolved on, as if they had been executed by the hands of strangers ; and they had nothing else for their comfort, but the necessity they were in of iloing this execution to avoid that prospect they had of the miseries they were to suffer from their enemies. Noi