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divided into three factions. On the extirpation of one of these, each of the others contended for the mastery. The most ferocious and frantic-the robbers, or zealots, as they were indiscriminately called prevailed at last. They entered the temple, under the pretence of offering sacrifices, and carried weapons for the purpose of assassination. They slew the priests at the very altar; and their blood, instead of the victim's for sacrifice, flowed around it. They afterwards rejected all terms of peace with the enemy; none were suffered to escape from the city ; every house was entered; every article of subsistence was pillaged; and the most wanton barbarities committed. Nothing could restrain their fury. Wherever there was the appearance or scent of food, these human bloodhounds tracked it out; and though a general famine raged around, though they were ever trampling on the dead, and though the habitations of the living were converted into charnel-houses, nothing could intimidate, or appease, or satisfy, or shock them, till Mary, the daughter of Eleazer, a lady once rich and noble, displayed to them, and offered all her remaining food, the scent of which had attracted them in their search-the bitterest morsel that ever mother or mortal tasted—the remnant of her half-eaten suckling.
Sixty thousand Roman soldiers unremittingly besieged them; they encompassed Jerusalem with a wall, and hemmed them in on every side; they brought down their high and fenced walls to the ground; they slaughtered the slaughterers; they spared not the people; they burned the temple in defiance of the commands, the threats, and resistance of their own general. With it the last hope of all the Jews was extinguished; and they raised at the sight an universal but expiring cry of sorrow and despair. Every scene was one of horror. The
aqueducts and city sewers were crowded as the last refuge of the hopeless. Two thousand were found dead there, and many were dragged from thence and slain. The Roman soldiers put all indiscriminately to death, and ceased not till they became faint, and weary, and overpowered with the work of destruction. But they only sheathed the sword to light the torch. They set fire to the city in various places. The flames spread every where, and were checked but for a moment by the red streamlets in the streets. Jerusalem became heaps, as the high places of the forest. Within the circuit of eight miles, in the space of five months, eleven hundred thousand beings perished, and the tale of each was a tragedy. Could any prophecy be more faithfully and awfully fulfilled ? 66 The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth ; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land which the the Lord thy God hath given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, (which the Lord thy God hath given thee,) in the siege and in the straightness wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee.” (Deut. xxviii. 49, 52, 53.)
Foreseeing these horrors, the prospect of his own crucifixion when Jesus was on his way to Calvary, seemed to affect him less than the fall of this devoted city. How full of tenderness, and fraught with truth, was the sympathetic response of the condoling sufferer to the wailings and lamentations of the women who followed him, when he turned unto them and beheld the city, which some of them might yet see, wrapt in flames and drenched in blood, and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me; but weep for your. selves and for
APHORISMS OF ST. CYRRIAN. AMONGST the remains of St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, and martyr to the christian cause, A.D. 258, are the following excellent sentences, which cannot be too well treasured in every heart:
Let nothing sleep in thy treasures that may profit
Two things never wax old in man,—the heart ever imagining vain conceptions, and the tongue ever uttering the vain conceptions of the heart.
A covetous man only possesseth his goods for this reason,-because another should not have them.
Women that advance themselves in putting on silk and purple, cannot but lightly put on Christ.
They who love to paint themselves in this world otherwise than God hath created them, let them fear, lest when that day cometh of resurrection, the Creator will not know them.
To set out virtue in words, and destroy the same in facts, is nothing worth.
NOTICES OF THE MONTH.
THE CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST.
The rite of circumcision was first enjoined by God to Abraham, as a sign of admission into covenant with himself. It was commanded to be performed on the eighth day after the child's birth. Accordingly we read (Luke, ii. 21), “ When eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus ;" which signifies Saviour; “for he shall silve his people from their sins.” (Matt.i. 21.) Not only the Jews, but the Arabs, who are the descendants of Ishmael, retain the rite of circumcision to this day, performed at the age of thirteen.
The feast of the circumcision was instituted at the close of the twelfth century. It was not observed before, because it fell on the calends of January, which was celebrated among the heathen with profane revellings. Bishop Sparrow observes, “as at Christmas, Christ was made of woman like us in nature; so this day he was made under the law (Gal. iv. 4); and for us took
upon him the curse of the law; being made sin for us, and becoming surety to the offended God for us sinners. Which suretyship he sealed with some drops of that precious blood which he meant to pour out whole upon the cross. As by his birth we received the adoption of sons, so by his circumcision, the redemption from the law; and without this his birth had not arailed us at all.”
The word Epiphany in Greek signifies manifestation, or shewing of Christ to the gentiles; which first came
to pass when wise men, dwelling in the east, were led by the guidance of a star to Bethlehem, where the young child lay. What this “star" was cannot be ascertained. Some have supposed it a new star; others, that light which appeared to the shepherds on the night of the nativity. A learned commentator writes, “It clearly could not be one of the heavenly bodies, because it moved by intervals, whereas they move perpetually: their motion also is from east to west; whereas the motion of this was from north to south. They never hang over one country more than another, much less over any certain place. This shewed the place of Christ's nativity, and the very house of his abode. Whatever it was, its motion was undoubtedly miraculous, and the Magi knew the meaning and design of it, and the course they were to pursue; most probably because they had learnt it by a divine revelation, by which we find them afterwards guided. (Matt. ii. 12.) For we can scarcely suppose that they could infer from the rules of their art what it portended, though, their profession leading them peculiarly to the study of astronomy, they would plainly perceive it to be some new appearance.” The feast of the Epiphany is held on the twelfth day after Christmas.
THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL. Saul was a Jew of the sect of the Pharisees. He was born at Tarsus, a city of Cilicia, whose inhabitants enjoyed the same privilege as Roman citi. zens; and hence he says, (Acts, xxii. 25) “ I was free born." His name Saul, signifying destroyer, was after his conversion to christianity abandoned for that