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rable witnesses to it in my own age. And besides, my country would have had little reason to thank me, for suppressing the miseries that she underwent at this time.
There was a certain woman named Mary, that dwelt beyond Jordan; her father was Eleazar, of the village Bethezob; which signifies the house of Hyssop. She was eminent for her family, and her wealth; and had fled away to Jerusalem with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time. The other effects of this woman had been already seized upon; such ! mean as she had brought with her out of Perea, and removed to the city. What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose. This put the poor woman into a very great passion; and by the frequent reproaches and imprecations she cast at these rapacious villains, she had provoked them to anger against her. But none of them, either out of the indignation she had raised against herself, or out of commiseration of her case, would take away her life. And if she found any food, she perceived her Jabours were for others, and not for herself: and it was now become impossible for her any way to find any more food, while the famine pierced through her very bowels, and marrow. When also her passion was fired to a degree beyond the famine itself, she cousulted with nothing but with her passion, and the necessity she was in. She then attempted a most unnatural thing: and snatching up her son, which was sucking at her breast, she said, “O thou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve thee, in this war, this famine, and this sedition?. As to the war with the Ro.
posed to have had two or three parallel examples in later ages. He might have had more examples, I suppose, of persons on ship-board, or in a desert island, cast. ing lots for each other's bodies. But all this was only in cases where they knew of no possible way to avoid death themselves, but by killing and eating others.Whether such examples come up to the present case may be doubted. The Romans were not only willing, but very desirous, to grant these Jews in Jerusalem both their lives, and their liberties, and to save both their city, and their temple.But the zealots, the robbers, and the seditious, would hearken to no terms of submission. They voluntarily chose to reduce the citizens to that extremity, as to force mothers to this unnatural barbarity; which, in all its circumstances, has not. I stillsuppose, been hitherto paralleled among the rest of mankind.
mans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves. This famine also will destroy us, even before that slavery comes upon us. Yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. Therefore, be thou my food; and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world; which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews.” As soon as she had said this, she slew her son, and roasted him, and ate the one half of him, and kept the other half concealed. Upon this the seditious came in presently; and smelling the scent of this food, they threatened that they would cut her throat immediately, if she did not show them what food she had gotten ready. She replied, that she had saved a very fine portion of it for them : and at the same time uncovered what was left of her son. Hereupon they were seized with horror, and amazement; and stood astonished at the sight : when she said to them, “ This is my own son : and what hath been done was my own doing. Come, eat of this food ; for I have eaten of it myself. Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother. But if you be so scrupulous, and abominate this my sacrifice; as I have eaten one half, let the rest be reserved for me also.” At these words the men went out trembling; being never so much affrighted at any thing as they were at this; and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately ; and while every body laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheard-of action had been done by themselves. So those that were thus distressed by the famine, were very desirous to die : and those already dead were esteemed happy; because they had not lived long enough either to hear, or to see such miseries.
This sad story was quickly told to the Romans, some of whom could not believe it; and others pitied the distress the Jews were under. But there were many of them who were hereby induced to a more bitter hatred than ordinary against our nation. But for Cæsar, he excused himself before God, as to this matter, and said, “I have proposed peace and liberty to the Jews, as well as an oblivion of all their former insolent practices: but they, instead of concord, have chosen sedition ; instead of peace, war : , and before satiety and abundance, a famine. They have begun with their own hands to burn down that temple which I have preserved hitherto : and, therefore, they have deserved to eat such food as this was. However, this horrid action of eating an own child ought to be covered with the overthrow of their country itself; and men ought not to leave such a city upon the habitable earth, to be seen by the sun, wherein mothers are thus fed, although şuch food be fitter for the fathers than for the mothers to eat of; since it is they that continue still in a state of war against us, after they have undergone such miseries as these." And at the same time that he said this, he reflected on the desperate condition these men must be in. Nor could he expect that such men could be recovered to sobriety of mind, after they had endured those very sufferings, for the avoiding of which it only was probable they might have repented.
OF THE PROGRESS OF THE SIEGE, AND THE DESTRUCTION OF THE
HOLY HOUSE BY FIRE.
NOW two of the legions had completed their banks, on the eighth day of the month Lous, or Ab. Whereupon Titus gave orders that the battering rams should be brought, and set over against the western edifice of the inner temple. For before these were brought, the firmest of all the other engines had battered the wall* for six days together, without making any impression upon it. But the vast largeness and strong connexion of the stones were superior to that engine, and to the other battering rams also. Other Romans did, indeed, undermine the foundations of the northern gale: and, after immense pains, removed the outermost stones; yet was the gate still upheld by the inner stones, and stood still unhurt : till the workmen despairing of all such attempts by engines and crows, brought their ladders to the
* Machines or engines were constructed for this purpose. Some in the form of a ram's head, from which circumstance they were called battering rams, were used to make breaches in the walls of fortified places. B.