Page images

It was not till 232 B.C., that a divorce occurred at Rome. Early and universal marriage, when the man and woman can furnish properly a house, is the safeguard of every country. Manlius beheaded his brave son for encountering and overcoining Metius, the Latin general, without orders. Pon. tius, the Samnite general, decoyed the Romans into some occupied defiles ; so that Livy says, The gods themselves could not have delivered them without a miracle. He made the Romans pass under the yoke. The Samnites paid dear for this deed. Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, was called to their aid, 271 B.C., and the Greek phalanx was opposed to the Roman legion. The physician of Pyrrhus offered to Fabricus to take off his master by poison. Fabricus sent the letter to Pyrrhus, Admirable Fabricus, said he, it would be as easy to turn the sun from its course, as thee from the paths of honour. Pyrrhus was glad to bid an eternal adieu to Italy 265 B.c. The Romans, wishing to have Sicily, declared war against Carthage. Regulus was reckoned the most consummate warrior that Rome could then produce. He was a professed example of frugal severity; but less austere to others than himself. He only reprehended their faults, he would rather have died than committed. His patriotism was greater than even his temperance; and all the private passions seemed to be extinguished in him, or swallowed up in one great ruling affection,-the love of his country. He wrote to the senate the following excuse :-A day-labourer, taking advantage of the death of a farmer who held my field, amounting to six acres, has robbed me of my implements of husbandry, and fled. My presence is therefore necessary for the cultivation of it, without which, I cannot maintain my wife and children. They sailed with 140,000 men, and overcame the Carthaginians, 245 B.C. The Carthaginians attained from Sparta Xantippus, a general who defeated the Romans with a dreadful slaughter, and took Regulus prisoner, who was put to death with the utmost cruelty ; Marcia, his wife, retaliating upon the Carthaginian prisoners. The Carthaginians sued for, and obtained peace, 223 years B.C.; and the Temple of Janus was shut for the second time since the foundation of the city. The Gauls who had attacked, were vanquished, and Viridomarus, their king, killed by Mar. cellus. The Carthaginians soon violated their treaty, and gave Hannibal the command, 205 B.C. He did all that man could ; but saw the curse pronounced on the posterity of Ham must be fulfilled. After Hannibal had conquered at Cannæ and Thrasymene, Scipio Africanus conquered him, the second Punic war ended, and Hannibal drank the poison. Lucius Scipio overcame Antiochus, the great king of Syria. The Romans, bent on the destruction of Carthage, demanded 300 hostages within thirty days, and all their arms; both of which they got, and commanded them to leave their city. This niade them fight to the last, till Scipio Omilianus seduced Phraneas, master of the horse. Carthage was levelled 146 s.c. Corinth met the same fate. Numantia in Spain was taken, and the whole reduced to a Roman province. According as they conquered, they departed from their ancient modesty, tenperance, and simplicity of life. The Greachi wished to renew the Licinian law, which forbade any citizen to possess more than 500 acres of land. Dispassionate and disinterested as they seemed to be, they were both cut off, although justice seemed to be clearly on their side. The senate, 120 B.C., had become a corrupt, hateful aristocracy. Jugurtha, the grandson of Massinissa, who usurped the throne of Hiem psal and Adherbal, bribed the senate, and declared Rome a city to be let. Caius Marius conquered him, and subdued the Cimbri, kill. ing 140,000, and taking 60,000. He took Theutobocchus, king of the Teutones, prisoner. These barbarians, pouring in from the North, seemed likely to overwhelm mighty Rome. The Teutonic language must have been spoken by the Teu. tones. Though Marius was the glory, he became the scourge of Rome. The Proteus Sylla was sent against Mithridates, the most powerful inonarch of the East. Sylla had to turn his arms against Rome, which he entered, sword in band, 87 B.C., and repealed the laws dictated by Marius. Sylla did not perceive the rising greatness of Cornelius Cinna. Marius and Sylla massacred all obnoxious to them without pity or remorse. Sylla returned to punish them. Marius died. Cinda was assassinated. Sylla and Pompey the Great carried on a civil war against young Marius and Carbo. The Samnites attacked Rome in her perplexity. Sylla arrived, and fought till the morning; and when he visited the field of action, 50,000 of the victors and vanquished were promiscuously blended. Marius was among the slain. Well had it been if Sylla had ceased to live when he ceased to conquer. Sylla committed almost inconceivable enormities, such as man could not be supposed capable of. Man is savage, cruel, fiend. ish. Dr. M'Lean and Mr. Lapslie were thought, by some in. exorable ; but they were controlled by law; but Sylla had no law. Lord, what is man? Surely the imagination of his heart is evil, only evil, and that continually. Notwithstanding Sylla's unlimited proscriptions, he permitted Julius Cæsar, who had married the daughter of Ciuna, to live, though he was heard to say, There were many Marius's in him. Thus the government of Rome, having passed through all the forms of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, began to settle into despotism. He said, No man had ever exceeded him in doing good to hi friends, or injury to his enemies. Pompey overcame Sertorius in Spain, who was temperate, just, merciful, and brave. He was then sent against Mithridates, king of Pontus, and Tigranes, king of Armenia. Mithridates performed wonders, collecting the Scythians, Germans, and Gauls; but was circumvented by his unnatural son, Pharnaces. Pompey compelled Tigranes of Armenia, Darius, king of Media, Antiochus, king of Syria, Phraates, king of Parthia Syria and Pontus were reduced to Roman provinces. Pompey even entered into the Holy of Holies, and looked with astonishment, but touched nothing. Cataline intended a general massacre; but the vigi. lance of Cicero prevented him, who was styled, by Cato, the father of his country,and received the public thanks of the senate. Pompey the most powerful, Crassus the richest, and Cæsar the most politic, formed the first Triumvirate. Cæsar gave Pompey his daughter Julia in marriage, and he wished Cicero removed, who continued a watchful guardian over the few remaining Jiberties of Rome. This great man, excellent orator, patriotic statesman, and real philosopher, was banished 400 miles from Italy, and his estates confiscated. Cæsar crossed over to Britain 54 years B.C, on the pretence, that the natives had furnished his enemies with supplies. Pompey, after Julia and Crassus were numbered with the dead, saw Cæsar's ambition, but rather too late to check it. Milo having killed Clodius, threw the city into anarchy. Cato would not allow Pompey to be created dictator, but sole consul. Pompey and Cæsar, after engaging at Asparagus, near Dyrrachium,- where Pompey had the superiority, had he pursued it,-met on the plains of Pharsalia, in Thessaly, where Cæsar lost 300, Pompey 15,000, and 24,000 prisoners. Pompey fled to Ptolemy, and was murdered, and had not one to bury him; but his old servant burnt the corpse,collected and buried the ashes, and this inscription was afterwards placed over his grave,-He whose merits deserved a temple, can now scarcely find a tomb. Scipio and Cato attempted to rally Pompey's party, assisted by Juba, king of Mauritania ; they were easily overcome near Tapsus. Cato fell at Attica by his own hand,-one of the most faultless characters in Roman bistory. Cæsar went into Spain to subdue the sons of Pompey and Labienus. All his enemies being subdued, he rebuilt Carthage and Corinth, undertook to level mountains, and drain the Pontines marshes; but a conspiracy

was formed against him, and he was assassinated in the senate-house in the Ides of March, 40 B.C. Mark Antony, Lepidus, and Octavius, grand-nephew and adopted heir of Cæsar, afterwards Augustus, formed the second Triumvirate. Proscribing relatives, friends, and foes, Augustus gave up Cicero, Lepidus his brother, Paulus, Antony his uncle, Lucius. Brutus and Cassius passed over into Thrace, and encamped near Phillipi, with an army of 80,000 foot, and 20,000 horse ; the Triumvirate 100,000 foot, and 13,000 horse. Brutus at Sardis saw a spectre, which called itself his evil genius. The Triumvirate easily conquered ; and Lepidus, shortly after, was banished, and Antony was overcome by Augustus at Actium, a city of Epirus. Augustus was now Emperor of the world,-an empire about 4000 miles in length, and 2000 in breadth, 27 B.C. Mecænas was his able minister, Horace his poet laureate Jesus Christ was born the twenty-fifth year of his reign, the 4003 of the creation.

We subjoin some of the Roman writers, the very best of whom lived in the time of Algustus; and we throw them together at this important epoch,—Terence, Cato, Cicero, Cæsar, Virgil, Horace, Sallust, Cornelius Nepos, Livy, Seneca, Ovid, Catullus, Phædrus, Lucan, Strabo, Suetonins, Plautus, Lucretius, the precursor of Hutton, Playfair, and Vestiges in Chambers, Celsus, Josephus, Silius Italicus, Pliny, Juvenal, Martial, Statius, Quintilian, Trogus Pompeius, Plutarch, Ptolemy, Artemidorus, Diogenes, Laertius, Aristides, Hermogenes, Justin Martyr, Justin, Longinus, Eutropius, Athenagoras, Hierocles, Lactantius, Quintus Curtius, Eusebius, Epictetus, Marcus, Antoninus, Claudian, Eunapius, Macrobius, Agathias, Procopius.

We have mentioned some of the best Roman writers, equal. ling any uninspired writers in any country in any age. Robert Chambers, Esq., in his excellent History of the English Language and Literature, has mentioned some of the best of our English writers in different ages. This short sketch shews the rise of the fourth and last of the ancient monarchies, from the smallest beginnings till it covered the earth. What follows, will shew its fall, and the history of mankind, so far as it can be dimly seen, to the end. Moses begins entirely at the commencement of the creation of matter and of mind in heaven above and the earth beneath, dismissing completely the dreams of geology. John carries us forward to the consummation of all things.



Revelation is a Scripture word, signifying making known those things that were previously hidden, concealed, or secret. Few, comparatively, in those days, had opportunity or ability to read; but they heard the manuscripts read in the congregations of the faithful. John dedicates his book to the Seven Churches of pro-consular Asia. The introductory vision shews the destiny of the Seven Asiatic Churches. After the first terrestrial vision, others, still more amazing, were vouchsafed to the enraptured apostle by successive openings in heaven, either in one or successive days, affording new and more extended prospects of futurity,-1. A door was opened in heilren, which gave him a view of the spiritual Church and worship, (Rev. iv, 1.) 2. The spiritual sanctuary was opened, (xi. 19.) 3. Again, (xv. 1.) 4. Heaven itself was opened, (xix. 11.) The book resolves itself into four celestial visions ; the first grand vision beginning chap. iv., and ending chap. xi. 18; the second beginning chap. xi. 19, and ending chap. xiv. 20; the third beginning chap. xv., and ending chap. xix. 10; and the fourth beginning chap. xix. 11, and ending chap. xxii, 5. Dr. John Guyse, in his excellent paraphrase, which ought to be read in every house, says, We may, with some probability, humbly attempt to settle the interpretation of the prophecies by historical facts, as they have been hitherto fulfilled, which reach to the time of the fifth or sixth vials, as expositors believe. He thinks Mr. Lowinan, in his paraphrase, has settled the periods of the seals, trumpets, and vials, in a regularly connected and progressive order of time, from the beginning to the end ; and therefore he has followed him in historical facts; and he has done so generally with respect to the successive course of every period, which is carried on by seven epistles, seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials, till all shall end in the glory of the Millennium and of the heavenly state. Guyse divides his exposition into six or seven periods, commencing at chap. vi. 1; viji l; xi. 1; xx. 1 ; xx. 7; xx. 1l ; xxvii. 1. A late writer says, The whole book may be divided into four parts,—the first includes the three first chapters, comprehending the preface and the epistles to the Seven Churches of Asia; the second part is the opening of the seven seals, from the fourth to the seventh chapter inclusive. The main sub

« PreviousContinue »