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and lest any Remains of the Family of the Afmoneans should hinder the Succefsion of his own Family to the Kingdom of Judea ; and for these Reasons he gave private Orders, that in case he died, both his wife and her Mother should be put to death: which dreadful Secret being communi. cated to his Queen, the resented it to such a degree, that she would never afterwards receive him ; but, notwithstanding all kind Addresses and Importunities, the perpetually followed him with sharp Reproaches of the Murther of her Relations, by which he secured the Crown to himself, and upbraided his Mother and his sister with the Meanness of their Parentage. So that between his Excesses of Love, and Rage, and Jealousy, he was fo tormented, and so wrought upon by the Artifices of his Mother and Sister Salome, that at last he put his beloved Mariamne to death, under a Pretence of an Attempt to poison him, and he executed her Mother too a little afer the Daughter for a real Plot against his Life.
15 Q. Did the Death of Mariamne relieve him from this Tumult of Paffions? A. By no means; for now his Love returned with Violence, and his Grief and Vexation joined with other Passions to render him a most miserable Wretch, a Torment to himself, and outrageous to all about him.
162 What course of Life did be follow afterward? A. He grew more arbitrary and cruel in his Government, he put what Persons he pleafed into the High-Priesthood, and turned them out again at pleasure : he made several Innovations in the Laws, Cuftoms, and Religion of the Jews, and introduced Spectacles of Wrestlers, of Combats between wild Beasts and Criminals, &c. in conformity to the Heathens, pretending it was
all necessary to please Cæfar: and this fet the Hearts of the Jews much more against him, who were very jealous of their Religion and Customs. Then thinking it needful for his Defence, as well as for his Grandeur and Glory, he built several ftrong Places and Towers within and without yerufalem, he raised Temples in several Cities, and dedicated them to Cæfar who was his great Friend ; and though fometimes he remitted part of the Taxes, and did several beneficent Actions to ingratiate himself with the People, it was all in vain, he could not obtain their Love.
17 Q. What was his greatest and most considerable' Attempt to please the People, and to perpetuate his own Name? A. He proposed to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem: for it having now stood near five hundred Years, and being so often injured, broken and repaired, he persuaded the People that a new one should be built with much more Magnificence and Glory.
18 Q. But could be persuade the Jews to conJent that their Temple should be demolished, in order to rebuild it? A Not till he had assured them that the old Temple should remain untouched till all Materials were ready to build the new one, which he actually provided at vast Expence and Labour in two Years time, by employing ten thousand Artificers for Work, a thousand Waggons for Carriage, and a thousand Priests for Direction
19 Q. Did he fulfil bis Promise in Building this new Temple ? A. Yes, he performed the Work with prodigious Cost and Splendor, as it is described by Josephus: It was built of large Stones, each twenty-five Cubits long, twelve Cubits broad, and eight in Thickness, which the Dirciples desired our Saviour to take notice of with Wonder, Mark iii. 1, 2. The Sanctuary, i. e, the holy Place, and the most holy, which were more properly called the Temple, were finished in a Year and an half, so that divine Worship was performed there, and in eight Yeas more he compleated the feveral Walls and Galleries, and Pillars and Courts according to his Design.
20 Q. How could it be said then, John ii. 20. Forty and six Years was this Temple in building ? A. It was begun near forty-fix Years before that Paftover, when our Saviour being near thirty-one Years old, was present at Jerusalem ; and though the grand Design and Plan was executed in nine Years and a half, yet Herod and his Successors were always building Outworks round it, or adding new Ornaments to it, even to that very Day when Chrift was there, and long afterward.
21 Q: When was it dedicated ? A. The fame Year when it was finished, and on the Anniversary-day of Herod's Accession to the Crown, and on this Account it was celebrated with a vast Nuntber of Sacrifices and universal Rejoicing.
Note, Within four Years after this Dedication Jefis Christ our Saviour was born, and was presented there an Infant according to the Law.
22 Q: Was not this then the third Temple of the Jews ? A. No, it was called the second Temple still, becaufe though it was built a-new from the Foundations, yet it was only by way of Reparation, it not having been rased and demolished with a ruinous Design, 'nor did it lie in Alhes or Desolation, as it did when Nebuchadnezzar de. Itroyed it.
23 Q. Did Herod do any thing after this in favour of the Jews? A. When the Jews who were scattered throughout Greece and Asia minor grew very numerous, and were much disturbed and oppressed by the other Inhabitants, Herod pricured for thein a new Establishment of their Liberties and Privileges, and Permission to live in cther Countries according to their own Laws and Religion, which had been granted them before by the Kings of Syria and by the Romans.
24 Q. What further Traubles did Herod meet with in his Family? A. His two eldest Sons by Mariamne, (viz.) Ariftobulus and Alexander, whom he had sent to Rome for Education, being returned to Jerusalem, in the Heat of their Youth they frequently expressed their Resentments for the Death of their Mother, and thereby they be. came obnoxious to the Rage of Salome, Herod's Sister and Favourite: And thus the who had been one great and constant Instrument to blow the Coals of Jealousy and Discontent between Herød and his Queen, and at last to occasion her Death, pursued the same Course to make him jealous of some Designs of his Sons against bis Life.
25 Q. What I que had these Quarrels and Jealousies ? ,4. They continued several Years: Plots were invented on both Sides: These gave Herod in his old Age perpetual Disquietudes, Suspicions and Fears: but Salome his Sifter prevailed so far by her Craft against his two Sons, that after many Accusations and Acquitments of them, she at lait procured their Condemnation and Execution by Herod's Order and the Consent of Auguftus Cæ. sar. This was about a Year or two before the Birch of Christ.
26 Q. That was the general State of the Heathen World about this Time ? A. All the known Parts of the World were subdued to the Romans, and the Nations were in Peace; on which Account the Temple of 7 anus was thut up at Rome, which had never been Thut but five Times since the first Building of that City, and then Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace came into the World, and was born at Bethlehem.
27 Q. Wherein does it appear that the IVorld was'thus all at quiet under the Government or Domia nion of the Romans? A. Auguftus Cæfar the Em. peror of Rome issued out a Decree that Year for a general Register of his whole Empire, which St. Luke calls a Taxing or enrolling of all the World, Luke ii. 1. This brought Mary the Mother of Christ to Bethlehem the City of David, to which Fainily she belonged ; and while she was there, she brought forth her Son Jefus, as it is written, Luke ii. I-II.
Note, This Year in which Christ was born, according to Bishop Uher's exact Computation, is the four thousandth Year from the Creation, which falls in with an old Tradition of the Jesus, that the World was to last fix thousand Years, viz. two thousand Years before the Law (or before Abraham, who was the Father of Circumcision and the Jewus) and two thousand under the Law, i. e. from Abraham to the Alessiah, and two thousand under the Meffiah.
And here I might conclude this Chapter having brought the Jewiss Affairs down to the Birth of Christ. But it may give some light to the New Testament, to carry it on a little further.