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Before I conclude this article of Daniel's prophecies, I must desire the reader to remark what an opposition the Holy Ghost has put between empires of the world and the kingdom of Jesus Christ. "In the former every thing appears great, splendid, and magnificent. Strength, power, glory, and majesty, seem to be their natural attendants. In them we easily discern those great warriors, those famous conquerors, those thunderbolts of war, who spread terror every where, and whom nothing could withstand. But when they are represented as wild beasts, as bears, lions, and leopards, whose sule attribute is to tear in pieces, to devour, and to destroy. What an image and picture is this of conquerors ! How admirably does it instruct us to lessen the ideas we are apt to form, as well of empires as of their founders or governors !
In the empire of Jesus Christ it is quite otherwise. Let us consider its origin and first rise, or carefully examine its progress and growth at all times, and we shall find that weakness and meanness if I may be allowed to say so, have always outwardly been its striking characteristics. It is the leaven, the grain of mustard-seed, the little stone cut out of the mountain. And yet, in reality, there is no true greatness but in this empire. The eternal Word is the founder and the king thereof. All the thrones of the earth come to pay homage to his, and to bow themselves before him. The design of his reign is to save mankind; to make them eternally happy, and to form to himself a nation of saints and just persons, who may all of them be so many kings and conquerors. It is for their sakes only that the whole world doth subsist; ard when the number of them shall be complete, Then (says St. Paul)+ cometh the end and consummation of all things, when Jesus Christ shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father: when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power.
Can a writer, who sees in the prophecies of Daniel that the several empires of the world, after having subsisted during the time determined for them by the sovereign Disposer of kingdoms, do all terminate and centre in the empire of Jesus Christ; can a writer, I say, amidst all these profane objects, forbear turning his eyes now and then towards that great divine one, and not have it always in view, at least at a distance, as the end and consummation of all others.
The last years of Cyrus. The death of that prince. Let us return to Cyrus. Being equally beloved by his own natural subjects,t and by those of the conquered nations, he peaceably enjoyed the fruits of his labours and victories. His empire was bounded on the east by the river Indus, on the north by the Caspian
* 1 Cor. xv. 24.
t Cyrop. I. viii. p. 233, &c
and Euxine seas, on the west by the Ægean sea, and on the south by Ethiopia and the sea of Arabia. He established his residence in the midst of all these countries, spending generally seven months of the year at Babylon in the winter-season, because of the warmth of that climate; three months at Susa in the spring, and two months at Ecbatana during the heat of the summer.
Seven years being spent in this state of tranquillity, Cyrus returned into Persia, for the seventh time after his accession to the whole monarchy; and this shows that he used to go regularly into Persia once a year. Cambyses had been now dead for some time, and Cyrus himself was grown pretty old, being at this time about seventy years of age; thirty of which had elapsed since his being first made general of the Persian forces, nine from the taking of Babylon, and seven from his beginning to reign alone after the death of Cyaxares.
To the very last he enjoyed a vigorous state of health,* which was the fruit of the sober and temperate life which he had constantly led. And whereas they, who give themselves up to drunkenness ad debauchery, often feel all the infirmities of age, even whilst thuy are young : Cyrus, on the contrary, at a very advanced age, still enjoyed all the vigour and advantages of youth.
When he perceived the time of his death to draw nigh, he ordered his children, and the chief officers of the state, to be assembled about him; and, after having thanked the gods for all their favours towards him through the course of his life, and implored the like protection for his children, his country, and his friends, he .declared his eldest son Cambyses, his successor, and left the other, whose name was Tanaoxares, several very considerable governments. He gave them both excellent instructions, by representing to them, that the main strength and support of the throne was neither the vast extent of countries, nor the number of forces, nor immense riches; but a due respect for the gods, a good understanding between brethren, and the art of acquiring and preserving true and faithful friends. I conjure you, therefore, said he, my dear children, in the name of the gods, to prepect and love one another, if you mean to retain any desire to please me in future. For I do not think you will esteem me to be no longer any thing, because you will not see me after my death. You never saw my soul to this instant: you must have known, however, by its actions, that it really existed. Do you believe, that honours would still be paid to those whose bodies are now but ashes, if their souls had no longer any being or power? No, no, my sons, I could never imagine, that the soul only lived whilst in a mortal body, and died when separated from it. But if I mistake, and nothing shall remain of me after death, at least fear the gods, who never die, who see all things, and
* Cyrus quidem apud Xenophontem eo sermone, quem moriens habuit, cùm admodum senex esset, negat se unquam sensisse, senectutem suam imbecilliorem factam, quàm adolescentia fuisset.--Cic. de Senect. n. 9
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STORE IT IMMEDIATELY TO THE EARTH.
whose power is infinite. Fear them, and let that fear prevent you from ever doing or deliberating to do, any thing contrary to religion and justice. Next to them, fear mankind, and the ages to come.
The gods have not buried you in obscurity, but have exposed you upon a great theatre, to the view of the whole universe. If your actions are guiltless and upright, be assured they will augment your glory and power. As to my body, my sons, when life has forsaken it, enclose it neither in gold nor silver, nor in any other matter whatsoever. RE
Can it be more happy than in being blended, and in a manner incorporated with the benefactress and common mother of human kind? "After having given his hand to be kissed by all that were present, finding himself at the point of death, he added these last words: Adieu, dear children; may your lives be happy: carry my last remembrance to your mo
ther. And for you, my faithful friends, as well absent
as present, receive this last farewell, and may you live in peace.
After having said this he covered his face, and died equally lamented by all his people.
The order given by Cyrus to RESTORE HIS BODY TO THE EARTH, is, in my opinion, worthy of observation. He would have thought it disgraced and injured, if enclosed in gold or silver. RESTORE IT TO THE EARTH, says he. Where did that prince learn that it was from thence it derived its original? Behold one of those precious traces of tradition as old as the world. Cyrus, after having done good to his subjects during his whole life, demands to be incorporated with the earth, that benefactress of the human race, to per petuate that good, in some measure, even after his death.
A. M. 3475.
Character and Eulogy of Cyrus.
Cyrus may justly be considered as the wisest conqueror, and the most accomplished prince mentioned in profane history. He was possessed of all the qualities requisite to form a great man; wisdom, moderation, courage, magnanimity, noble sentiments, a wonderful ability in managing men's empers and gaining their affections, a thorough knowledge of all the parts of the military art, as far as that age had carried it, a vast extent of genius and capacity for forming, and equal steadiness and prudence for executing, the greatest projects.
It is very common for those heroes, who shine in the field, and make a great figure in the time of action, to make but a very poor one upon other occasions, and in matters of a different nature. We are astonished, when we see them alone and without their armies, to find what a difference there is between a general and a great man; to see what low sentiments and mean actions they are capable of in private life; how they are influenced by jealousy, and governed by interest; how disagreeable, and even odious, they render themselves by their haughty deportment and arrogance, which they
think necessary to preserve their authority, and which only serve to make them hated and despised.
Cyrus had none of these defects. He appeared always the same, that is, always great, even in the slightest matters. Being assured of his greatness, of which real merit was the foundation and support, he thought of nothing more than to render himself affable, and easy of access : and whatever hu seemed to lose by this condescending humble demeanoạr, was abundantly compensated by the cordial affection and sincere respect it procured him from his people.
Never was any prince a greater master of the art of insinuation, so necessary for those who govern, and yet so little understood or practised. He knew perfectly what advantages may result from a single word rightly timed, from an obliging carriage, from a reason assigned at the same time a command is given, from a little praise in granting a favour, and from softening a refusal with expressions of concern and good-will. His history abounds with beauties of his kind.
He was rich in a sort of wealth which most sovereigns want, who are possessed of every thing but faithful friends, and whose indigence in that particular is concealed by the splendour and affluence with which they are surrounded. Cyrus was beloved,* because he himself had a love for others : for, has a man any friends, or does he deserve to have any, when he himself is void of friendship? Nothing is more interesting than to see in Xenophon, the manner in which Cyrus lived and conversed with his friends, always preserving as much dignity as was requisite to keep up a due decorum, and yet infinitely removed from that ill-judged haughtiness, which deprives the great of the most innocent and agreeable pleasure in life, that of conversing freely and sociably with persons of merit, though of an inferior station.
The use he made of his friends may serve as a perfect model to all persons in authority. His friends had received from him not only the liberty, but an express command to tell him whatever they thought. And though he was much superior to all his officers in understanding, yet he never undertook any thing without asking their advice : and whatever was to be done, whether it was to reform any thing in the government, to make some change in the army, or to form a new enterprise, he would always have every man speak his sentiments, and would often make use of them to correct his own: so different was he from the person mentioned by Tacitus, who thought it a sufficient reason for rejecting the most excellent project or advice, that it did not proceed from himself: Consilii, quamvis egregii, quod ipse non afferret, inimicus.
Cicero observes, that during the whole time of Cyrus's govern
* Habes amicos, quia amicus ipse es. Paneg. Trajan. † Plot. I. iii de Leg. D. 694. Hist. 1. i. c. 26. Lib. i. Epist. 2. ad Q. fratrom
ment, he was never heard to speak one rough or angry word: Cuju summo in imperio nemo unquam verbum ullum asperius audivit.
What a great encomium for a prince is comprehended in that short sentence! Cyrus must have been a very great master of himself, to be able, in the midst of so much agitation, and in spite of all the intoxicating effects of sovereign power, always to preserve his mind in such a state of calmness and composure as that no crosses, disappointments, or unforeseen accidents, should ever ruffle ts tranquillity, or provoke him to utter any harsh or offensive expression.
But what was still greater in him, and more truly royal than all this was his steadfast persuasion, that all his labours and endeavours ought to tend to the happiness of his people;* and that it was not by the splendour of riches, by pompous equipages, luxurious living, or a magnificent table, that a king ought to distinguish himself from his subjects, but by a superiority of merit in every kind, and particularly by a constant, indefatigable care and vigilance to promote their interests, and to secure to them tranquillity and plenty. He said himself one day, as he was discoursing with his courtiers upon the duties of a king,t that a prince ought to consider himself as a shepherdị (the image under which both sacred and profane antiquity represented good kings;) and that he ought to have the same vigilance, care, and goodness. It is his duty, says he, to watch, that his people may live in safety and quiet ; to burden himself with anxieties and cares, that they may be exempt from them; to choose whatever is salutury
for them, and remove what is hurtful and prejudicial ; to place his delight in seeing thein increase and multiply, and valiantly expose his own person in their defence and protection. This, says he, is the natural idea, and the just image of a good king. It is reasonable, at the same time, that his subjects should render him all the service he stands in need of : but it is still more reasonable that he should labour to make them happy; because it is for that very end that he is their king, as much as it is the end and office of a shepherd to take care of his flock.
Indeed, to be the guardian of the commonwealth, and to be king; to be for the people, and to be their sovereign, is but one and the same thing. A man is born for others when he is born to govern, because the reason and end of governing others is only to be useful and serviceable to them. The very basis and foundation of the condition of princes is, not to belong to themselves: the very characteristic of their greatness is, that they are consecrated to the public good. They may properly be considered as light, which is placed on high, only to diffuse and shed its beams on every thing below. Are such sentiments as these derogatory to the dignity of the regal state?
* Cyrop. 1. i. p. 27. | Ib. I. viii. p. 210.
# Thou shalt feed my peopce, caid God to David. 2 Sam. v. 2.- Nosféra adil, Homer, in many places