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them, or, erroneously anticipating the success of Antiochus, had they been altogether treacherous to him their king?
For some twelve years there was peace, and then once more Antiochus renewed the struggle for supremacy. Again his fortune varied with terrible results to these buffer states; but at last, B.C. 198, finally successful, he ended for good and all the overlordship of the Egyptian Greek.
For himself, he courts his new subjects, and in return is courted by them. Hellenism becomes especially popular, and is in full flood. No doubt it was as much politic as due to conviction, and was born of an intense eagerness to stand well with a new master. For the time it was not antagonistic to their worship in its outward forms. To this Antiochus was favourable, as well as his son Seleucus, who further took upon himself the charges for the daily sacrifice in the Temple. But its popularity grew apace, and when, some twenty-five years later, Seleucus dies and is succeeded by his brother Antiochus Epiphanes, who supplanted his son Demetrius, we are to find it high in favour with the rising generation, and almost established as the universal belief.
THE RISE OF HELLENISM.
35. A few material dates will best help us to understand the period that is to follow. As far as home politics are concerned, it is to witness the rise and triumph of Hellenism, which, as we have already observed, was beginning to make headway about B.Č. 250.
Judea, Palestine, etc. Onias III. High
Priest at Jerusalem. 187. Seleucus succeeds his father Antiochus the Great Subsidizes temple worship; but
Hellenism in full flood. 175. Death of Seleucus. His brother Antiochus
Epiphanes succeeds him. Onias supplanted by his brother Joshua, who takes the name of Jason. End of Temple
service. 172. Jason is supplanted by Menelaus, who also
murders Onias. 170. Jason, hearing rumours of the death of
Antiochus, again seizes the High Priesthood. Antiochus sees in this a general revolt; takes Jerusalem; razes its walls; massacres 40,000 of its people, and sells
as many more as slaves. 168. His general, Apollonius stamps out Judaism
and builds a citadel to overawe the city,
and Hellenism is practically established. 36. And now, once again, as ever, we are to find the people seeking strange gods. With Aaron we see them dancing naked before the golden calf; with their kings we see them prostrate before Baal; and yet again, weeping for Tammuz, it is a Syrian cult they have made their own. And now, in all its alluring seductiveness, it is Hellenism that is to subvert them as a nation. It is but a small band of grim purists which is to keep burning the lamp of their ancient faith. But it is anchored firm in their priceless books. And wild faction-fierce civil war-is to divide them as never in the past. In their recent troubles we have clue to their mutual rancour. As in similar stress, the one all-dividing question has been with which side to throw in their lot? And there has been the Egyptian party and the Syrian party, nor has either wanted occasion to reproach the other. And we see the Syrian Greeks standing for Hellenism in its fullest expression, and their party is altogether in the ascendant. And their opponents—a hopeless, helpless minority—are alone supported by their unshakable belief. Much is made of the monotheism of the Jews as
throw in thehe Syrian the other
differentiating them from their neighbours. As a matter of bald fact it is doubtful if ever this were the case. In Josephus we see a claim for Ptolemy's clemency is based on both Jew and Greek alike worshipping the same ZEUS, the same breather of life into man. We have seen how Aristotle took his Jew visitor for an Indian philosopher, and the Indians were notoriously pantheistic in their belief that God is everything and everything is God. No, it was not their monotheistic belief that distinguished them, but the insistence of their holy books that the God they worshipped above all was a God of righteousness. Maybe, in these fearful days, this little band themselves had no idea of the great world-principle for which they were fighting; they probably little realized that in their success was bound up one of the great world movements of all time. Little did this diminishing band of enthusiasts realize that, utimately triumphant, ultimately speaking for the race itself, they were to champion the highest revelation yet given to mankind. With all its exquisite beauty, with all its amazing thought, the Greek is still to be protagonist of a lower level of ethical development. And we trace it in the story of the two peoples themselves. With the loss of liberty the Greek became one of the most servile and contemptible of men. His wisdom became professorial and disputatious; Sophist, Rhetorician, and Philosopher alike reduced every subject to controversy, where words became all in all. No longer capable of great actions, he sought satisfaction in the magnificence of his sentiments—but sentiments which found no correspondence in the life he led. And this, to individual or nation alike, is fatal. On the other hand, the Jew—true we rarely see him as an amiable character-put his faith before his life itself. When a whole city was prepared to die rather than admit a statue to profane its temple, we are at the climax of human grandeur. Thus he steadily progressed and grew into a nobler man, and when as a
nation he is to finally expire, it is to be in a blaze of glory. As said, he does not command our ready sympathy. Above all, we see him fanatical, intolerant, and rancorous, delighting in differences and in their exaggeration. It is the old story of the Assyrian over again. The genial warmth of the Persian won his regard, but hate of Assyrian and Greek alike led him to seek every possible occasion of disagreement with both. An innate aversion to anthropomorphism was the feature of the Semitic race generally, but with the Jew in his antagonism to the Greek it bordered on fanaticism itself. Analyze the underlying belief, and there really was little to quarrel with in the anthropomorphism of the Greek. In the heyday of his greatness it was his delight to imagine his gods as he thought they might have been if by any chance they should really have taken human form. And so visualized, he delighted in giving them that perfection of grace and beauty that has made his art immortal. But to this fierce school Hellenism was to prove not only the enemy of their faith but the enemy of every national aspiration as well. Thus their exaggeration of every possible difference. Thus most holy their circumcision which effectually divided them from the shame of the palaestra or gymnasium of the Greek. Thus their meticulous observance of the law, their loathing of certain meats, swine's flesh in particular, and their intensified regard for the sabbath. In these they see, probably rightly, essentials of race preservation. These are all extremes, but not so much to please their God as to mark their loathing of a rival race. Through the ages it has been more than enough to account for one philosophy or doctrine that another hated school has held views exactly the opposite. Men at variance never are in want of a reason for showing their detestation of one another. Thus the Greek schools of philosophy, thus the divisions so numerous in church history. But had this alone distinguished the Jew of those days it is doubtful if they had been even heard of in centuries to come. But view
his notions as we please, the man himself was sound, and his life carried his faith. It was his faith materializing into acts—acts of devotion, acts of self-denial, acts of unparalleled heroism—that has made him worthy of a world's consideration. Principle and practice are twin. Principle without practice is the fig-tree that Christ cursed; practice without principle is a ship without a rudder.
37. As we have observed, for the story of this period, embracing the rise, success, and fall of Hellenism, we must go to the two books of the Maccabees. The first book begins with a masterly epitome of the events leading up to the noble stand made by Mattathias for the faith of his fathers, with which incident the history virtually commences; and it is continued until the death of Simon, his last son, and the final triumph of his party over Hellenism. The second book tells in more detail the earlier incidents, beginning in particular with the defection to Hellenism of Jason, brother of the High Priest Onias III., whom he supplants, and concludes with the triumph of Judas Maccabeas, his taking of Jerusalem, and his purification of the Temple. Thus in the first chapter of 1 Maccabees we read : “And it happened after that Alexander, son of Philip the Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chettim, 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 strongholds, and slew the kings of the earth. And went through to the ends of the earth, and took spoils of many nations, inasmuch that the earth was quiet before him, whereupon he was exalted, and his heart was lifted up.
(4) “And he gathered a mighty strong host, and ruled over countries and nations and kings, who became tributaries unto him.
(5) " 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