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THE YOUNG CHRISTIAN'S RULE.
thy precepts." He was the Light shining in darkness, which the darkness comprehended not; there was astonishment at his understanding and his answers; but it is probable, very few, like Mary, kept his sayings in their hearts. Nothing can afford sweeter instruction to the young disciples of Christ, than the short but all-sufficient record of his early life. He had a work to do as the Son of God, in personally inquiring into the state of those who professed to be teachers of his Father's laws, and keepers of his Father's house; and this business being finished, he went down to Nazareth to do his work as the Son of Man, and was as subject to those whom he called parents on earth, as to his Father in heaven. And here, my dear young Christian friends, is the rule: your subjection to your parents ought to be constant, unhesitating, and complete, so long as their commands, be they painful or pleasant to you, do not prevent your entire subjection to God. “ Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” And, again, it is written, that “ to show piety at home is good and acceptable with God.”
CLOSE OF THE REIGN OF AUGUSTUS.-REIGN OF TIBERIUS.
STORY OF GERMANICUS.-SEJANUS.-GOVERNMENT OF JUDEA, -PONTIUS PILATE.—THE SANHEDRIN.--HEROD ANTIPAS.PHILIP THE TETRARCH.
UNDER a rapid succession of governors, the Jews were more and more bowed down apparently, whilst their irritation of spirit increased. Ambivius and Rufus quickly followed Coponius; and Gratus, the fourth procurator of Judea, was appointed by Augustus shortly before his death, A.D. 14.
This emperor recommended his adopted son, Tiberius, as his successor, and divided his fortune between him, the army, and the people. The name of Augustus was from this time given to all the emperors of Rome, and that of Cæsar was borne by their intended successors. By a decree of the senate, the late sovereign was numbered among the immortal gods ; and it was farther enacted, that every emperor, who neither
lived nor died like a tyrant, should be honoured in the same manner ; and the ceremony called the apotheosis, or placing among the gods, was performed at the funeral. Such a custom is the less surprising, when we consider the nature of polytheism, as before described ; and it is to be confessed, the history of the best of the Roman emperors proves that they far surpassed the characters commonly given to the heathen deities.
Towards the end of the reign of Augustus, Varus, the prefect of Syria, who had enriched himself by the spoils of the province under his government, was appointed commander of the armies in Germany. There he was surprised by some of the warlike tribes, headed by a bold chief called Arminius ; his army was destroyed, and the Roman standards seized. Varus killed himself in despair, and Augustus was astonished and distressed in receiving from the barbarians the head of his fallen general, instead of the submission he expected from them, A D. 10. Disturbed beyond measure at this first interruption of the success of the Roman arms, the emperor sent a fresh army into Germany, under the command of his younger son Drusus. For six years the war was continued, and the son of Drusus carried it on after his father's death, and was still abroad when Augustus died. His admiring soldiers, not contented with the rank of Cæsar given by Tiberius to their favourite general, at once saluted him emperor; but the young prince generously refused to interfere with his uncle's claim; and instead of leading his army to Rome, as they desired, he pursued the war till he was completely victorious, and succeeded in recovering the Roman standards.
It was the popularity of Drusus, who obtained the surname of Germanicus, that first drew forth the fierce and jealous passions of Tiberius, for many pleasing anecdotes are related concerning him during the early part of his reign. He began with a profession of obedience to the senate, and fatherly love towards his people; and even when it was proposed to increase the taxes, he refused to do so, saying, “A good shepherd shears, but does not flay his sheep.” His reply was not less to the point, when the senate desired to name the month in which he was born in honour of him, as July and August were so called in compliment to Julius and Augustus Cæsar. “ What, then," said Tiberius, “ will you do if there should
be thirteen emperors ?” as much as to say he did not deserve such a distinction. Again, when he was asked to appoint a new governor of Judea, he replied that he did not intend to change the provincial governors so often as his father had done, and to explain his humane principle of action, he said, “ A Roman province might be compared to the wounded man in the fable, who lay by the road-side covered with flies. A traveller passing by, kindly offers to drive away his tormentors; but the sufferer refuses, saying he would rather be left to those that were already glutted, as they would only be replaced by a more hungry swarm. If the governor expects but a short harvest, he will be likely to make the most of his time ; but if he holds his office longer, he may rob the people more gradually ; and it is even possible his avarice may be satisfied.” Tiberius was at first distinguished for his temperance and justice ; but having once given way to excess of wine, every vice followed. It was said of him that he was only intoxicated once in his life; because he appeared never to be entirely sober, after he gave way to the first temptation. This may, in some measure, account for the dark character of his remaining history. Under pretence of honouring the Cæsar, Germanicus, with a triumph, Tiberius recalled him from Germany. The reception which the delighted citizens gave to the young general, who brought back the standards of Varus, only increased the emperor's jealousy ; but he endeavoured to conceal his feelings, as Germanicus passed through the city in his triumphal car, with his wife Agrippina, and his five children ; and, at the close of the triumph, he pretended to unite in the general rejoicings, and entreated the Cæsar at once to accept the government of the eastern provinces, which had been disturbed by the Armenians. The unsuspecting Germanicus left Rome, little thinking that Tiberius at the same time appointed Piso to the prefecture of Syria, with directions to oppose him at every step, and to destroy him as soon as possible. He proved to be a fit instrument for such a wicked purpose, and found an opportunity of poisoning his victim at Antioch, A.D. 19. Great excitement was caused by the death of the heir of the empire, from whom the people expected so much ; and the public feeling was increased by the appearance of the widowed Agrippina, who carried her husband's ashes to Rome, and, according to his request, endea
voured to revenge his death. Tiberius pretended to share in the general sorrow, and laid all the blame upon Piso, though every one knew he was but the agent in this crime: indeed, the emperor's real guilt was shown by his continued jealousy towards the family of the murdered Cæsar. Agrippina was banished to an island, where it is supposed she died for want of food, and the elder sons were put to death. One of the younger sons, Caius Caligula, was afterwards adopted by Tiberius as his successor ; not in grateful remembrance of the father to whose moderation he owed the preservation of his empire, but because he thought that this young man's vices would screen his own memory from reproach. After the death of Germanicus, the fears of Tiberius were not at an end; and to secure his person, he increased the number of the Prætorian guards, and established them in a strongly fortified camp near the city. Augustus had kept only a few thousands at Rome, and placed the rest in the neighbouring towns; but in the reign of Tiberius they were assembled to the number of 16,000, and never again were much decreased. Sejanus, the Prætorian prefect, or chief of the guards, became the favourite of Tiberius; and, for his own advantage, excited the emperor's suspicions against the most distinguished citizens of Rome, and gladly executed his orders in putting them to death. When the subtle minister believed that all were removed who would interfere with his own ambitious desires, he persuaded Tiberius to give up the burdensome cares of the empire, and to retire to Caprea, a beautiful island where he might indulge in all the luxury and sensual pleasures to which he was inclined. He then placed guards around the emperor's person to prevent any intelligence reaching him from without, and boldly affirmed that he was the real head of the empire, and Tiberius only the dependant prince of Caprea. Sejanus, in his anxiety to get rid of all who were attached to the emperor, persecuted the Jews at Rome whom he had favoured. There seemed to be a just ground of complaint against some covetous Rabbi, who had made a proselyte of an honourable Roman matron, and obtained money from her under pretence that he would send it as her offering to the Temple. Upon this ground a law was passed which expelled all Jews from Rome and probably from Italy; and four thousand were drafted into the army and sent to serve in Sardinia, where most of them perished. The pride of Sejanus went beyond all 18
GOVERNORS OF JUDEA.
bounds: his statues outnumbered those of Tiberius, and the people were required to bow before them daily. At length a report of his proceedings reached the emperor in his luxurious retreat ; and he was informed that his haughty minister had even brought his character forward in ridicule at the theatre. Upon this he wrote to the senate, desiring that the Prætorian prefect should be imprisoned; but they went beyond his order, and Sejanus was strangled in his prison the same day. The populace loaded his name with curses, and insulted the remains of him whom a few hours before they had professed to adore. A.D. 31.
After considering the character of Roman government in general, it will be well to look at that of Judea in particular. Little is recorded during the eleven years that Gratus was procurator, except the frequent change of the high-priests. Nothing could prove more completely the departure of power from the Jews, than the fact that their high-priests were removed according to the pleasure of a stranger.
Ananus or Annas, who was accounted the happiest of men, because he himself, five of his sons, and his son-in-law were at different periods appointed to this high office, was probably high priest at the time the Lord sat among the doctors in the Temple. He was however displaced by Gratus, and Ismael appointed : but, after a short season, Eleazar, the son of Annas, was placed in his room : he was succeeded by Simon; and he in turn gave place to Joseph Caiaphas, son-in-law to Annas. In A.D. 27 it pleased Tiberius to appoint Pontius Pilate as the successor of Gratus. He proved far more troublesome to the Jews than either of the former governors : they had resided at Cæsarea to avoid any quarrel with the violent zealots of the capital; but Pilate chose at once to send his troops to winter at Jerusalem. They entered the city in the night; and the people who so fondly clung to the letter of the law, were filled with horror, when they saw the image of Cæsar and the silver eagles which formed the standards, glittering in the light of the morning sun. A deputation of Jews was immediately sent to Pilate, who had not yet left Cæsarea, entreating him to remove these abominations. For many days they waited upon him in vain ; and at length he brought out his remaining troops and tried to disperse them by force, saying, they had insulted the emperor in asking for the removal of his image. But the representatives of the citizens of Jerusalem declared that they would rather die by