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gage in the sacred warfare ; nor doubt but that the Almighty Creator of the universe will be propitious to our nation, and avenge himself on the cruel tyrant.” With these words the brave youth expired.
While the spectators stood fixed in astonishment and admiration, the guards advanced with the second brother, and fixed his hands in manacles of iron : but, before they put him to the rack, they demanded if he would accept the conditions. Finding, by his reply, he had adopted the same noble resolution with his brother, they tore off his flesh with pincers, and flayed off the skin of his beard, face, and head. He bore this torture with singular magnanimity, saying, “How welcome is death in any form, when we suffer for our religion and laws! Art thou insensible, inhuman tyrant, that thou art rather thine own tormentor than mine, in finding thy tyrannic aims defeated by our constancy? The comforts of conscious virtue alleviate my pains, while the dreadful load of your impiety shall fall on your own head, and the Divine vengeance make an example of such a monster to the whole world.”
THE second brother having made this glorious exit, the third was produced, and pressed with arguments and entreaties to taste and preserve his life. But he replied, with vehemence, " Are you ignorant that I am the son of the same father and the same mother with those that went before me ? Shall I then, in this last scene of life, renounce the honour of that alliance? The same institutions were taught us all, and I will abide by them until death.” The freedom of this speech enraged the executioners, who, to express their malice and resentment, stretched his hands and feet on the engine, and broke them to pieces : but when they found this method did not deprive him of life, they drew off his skin at the ends of his fingers, and fayed him from the very crown of his head. Not content with mangling his body in this merciless manner, they dragged him to the wheel, where, being yet more distended, he saw his own flesh torn from him, and streams of blood gushing from his body. When at the point of death, he exclaimed, “Merciless tyrant ! we suffer thus for the religion and law of that God who is able to reward us : but remember, thou shalt suffer pains much more insupportable for thy impiety and cruelty.”
Having died thus equally glorious with his preceding brothers, the fourth was produced by the guards, and persuaded to bethink himself, and be wiser than those who had gone before him. His answer was, “Your fire has not heat enough in it to make me despond or renounce my opinion. I solemnly swear by the happy exit of my brothers, by the eternal destruction of the tyrant, and the glorious life of the pious, I will not renounce their magnanimity. Invent and bring thy torments, tyrant, and make the experiment whether I am not a branch of the same stock, and animated with the same soul, as those whose blood thy impious hands have spilt.” Antiochus, on bearing these words, was so excessively enraged, that all the force of passion was visible in his countenance, He gave immediate orders to cut out his tongue; whereupon he thus proceeded: “You may deprive me of the instrument of utterance : but that God who seeth the heart, knows the inward sensations of the silent. Here is the member; you cannot by this act, deprive me of reason. O that I could lose my life by inches, to support the cause of religion. Though you take away the tongue, which chants the praises of God, remember that his high hand will very soon let its vengeance fall down upon your head."
NO sooner had this brother, exhausted with pain, and miserably mangled, finished his course, than the fifth sprang forward of his own accord, exclaiming, “Prepare your torments: I am here ready to suffer the worst you can inflict. I come voluntarily to die in the cause of virtue ; and, by a cruel catastrophe, to procure an endless punishment on you for the barbarities you have committed on the bodies of my brothers. Mortal enemy to virtue, religion, and mankind, what have I done, wherein have I transgressed, to deserve this merciless treatment? Do we not worship the universal parent of nature according to his own decrees? Do we not act in conformity to the institution of his most holy laws ? cm
These are things that ought to meet with reward instead of punishment.”
While these words were in his mouth, the tormentors bound and dragged him to the wheel, to which fastening his knees with iron rings, they stretched him round the engine, and then broke his joints. Being miserably tortured in this manner, he thus spoke in unspeakable anguish : “Tyrant, thou doest us the greatest honour against thy inclination; for the glorious torments you inflict upon us, only serve to testify an extraordinary zeal for our laws and religion.”
When he had borne testimony to the truth of his religion, after the example of his heroic brothers, the sixth youth was brought before Antiochus, and being demanded, by the tyrant, whether he would accept deliverance in the terms aforementioned, resolutely answered, “It is true, indeed, I am younger than my brothers, but my mind is the same with theirs. We had all of us the same parents, and the same instructions, and it is but necessary that we should all die alike for them; therefore if you are determined to put me to the torment on my refusal to eat, torment me.” Hereupon they fastened him to the wheel, and having broken his bones, put fire under him. Then the guards heated their spears, and thrust them into his back and sides, till his very entrails were burnt up. In the midst of these torments he exclaimed, “O glorious conflict, in which so many brethren have engaged for the sake of their religion, and all came off victorious; for a mind rightly in
formed of the truth, and armed with steady principles of virtue, I must for ever be impregnable. I will accompany my brothers, and
relying on my own probity as my defence, now submit to death. But thou, tyrant, monst not think to avoid a punishment which your cruelties deserve; for a death, attended with the most dreadful of torments, hangs over your head. Six of us have baffled thy rage and malice. As for your fire, it feels cold to us; your tormenting engines are far from giving us pain, and all the violence you can use is fruitless, and of no consequence. For so long as our law is so nobly asserted, we retain a reason that all the world and its punishments cannot subdue."
THE sixth brother being despatched at last, by being thrown into a boiling cauldron, the seventh, and youngest, appeared, whom, when the tyrant saw fettered and pinioned, and though so implacably outrageous against the rest of his brethren, his heart began to relent. Calling upon him, therefore, to approach the tribunal, he endeavoured to sooth him with these words :
“ You see what kind of deaths your brothers have undergone; but their disobedience and contumacy have been the sole means of all their torments, and the cruelties they have sustained. Yet you, if you obey not my commands, shall be exposed to the same, nay, worse torments, and so suffer an immature death ; but if you comply with my desires, I will take you into the number of my friends, you shall have a considerable post in my kingdom, and be a governor in the state.” Not content with these persuasions to the son, he addressed himself to the mother, with seeming compassion for her loss, entreating her to prevail upon her child, in pity to her at least, to save this small remnant of the family, and not to bring on her the affliction of having all her offspring so sadly torn away at once. But his mother addressing him in the Hebrew tongue, exhorted him to suffer, as we shall show in the sequel. Upon this he suddenly exclaimed, “ Take off my fetters, for I have something to communicate to the king, and all his friends." The king and his nobles hearing the promise the young man made, seemed greatly rejoiced ; and his chains were immediately knocked off. Taking the advantage of this circumstance, he thus exclaimed ;
“ Impious and cursed tyrant, have you no fears nor apprehensions in your mind, after having received at the hands of the Almighty the kingdom and riches you enjoy, than to put to death his servants, and torment his worshippers ? These cruelties shall be returned with an eternal pnnishment from the hands of the Divine vengeance. Is your conscience touched with no scruples, jnhuinan monster, thus to deprive of their tongues those who share alike the same nature and passions with you, and who are born of the same elements, and thus put innocent persons to cruel torments, and take away their lives in the most unmerciful and barbarous manner? They have undergone a glorious death, and shown how much their piety and observance was for the maintenance of the true religion; whereas thou, impious man, shall be exposed to ills you little dream of, for taking away unjustly the lives of those who were worshippers of the Supreme Being. For this reason I will suffer death, and, in my last pangs, discover how much my desire was to follow the brave example of my brothers. I beg and entreat the God of my fathers that he would be propitious and merciful to our nation; but that he may chastise you while you live ; and after death, that your punishment may be augmented.” Having finished this address, he threw himself into the boiling cauldron, and so gave up the ghost.
FROM these particulars we have enumerated, it must be confessed that reason, guided and supported by religion, has power over the passions, when we see seven brothers in perfect agreement, and upon the same principle, despising and vanquishing the most exquisite pains, and even death itself. Is it not manifest, that had these men been governed by their passions, they had submitted to pollute themselves with unlawful ineats, refused no condition to procure ease and safety, and been totally subdued? But since they combatted these passions by a judicious use of reason, we are bound to acknowledge, with abundant praise to the holy martyrs who suffered, that, as they despised the most dreadful torments, so reason never more discovered its dominion over the subject passions than in those instances. For as the moles and forts upon the shore break all the force of the waves and weather, and render the harbour commodious and safe to ride in, so did this seven-fold fortification of reason protect the harbour of piety from all the storms and boisterous inundations of passion.
How moving, how affecting a sight was such a company, ev- , couraging and assisting each other in the exercise of their piety, like the voices which contribute, every one by his distinct part, to make up a perfect melody! With such a harmony of hearts did