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Grecian damesher bondwomen, did first move Darius to prepare for this war, before he had received any injury, and when he did not yet so much desire to get more, as to enjoy what was already gotten.
I will not here stand to argue whether Herodotus1 be morfe justly reprehended by some, or defended by others, for alleging the vain appetite, and secret speech of the queen in bed with her husband, as the cause of those great evils following; this [ may boldly affirm, (having, I think, in every estate, some sufficient witness,) that matters of much consequence, founded in all seeming upon substantial reasons, have issued indeed from such petty trifles, as no historian would either think upon, or could well search out.
Therefore it was a good answer that Sixtus Quintus the pope marie to a certain friar coming to visit him in his popedom, as having long before, in his meaner estate, been his familiar friend. This poor friar being emboldened by the pope to use his old liberty of speech, adventured to tell him, that he very much wondered how it was possible for his holiness, whom he rather took for a direct honest man, than any cunning politician, to attain unto the papacy ; in compassing of which, all the subtlety, said he, of the most crafty brains, find work enough ; and therefore the more I think upon the art of the conclave, and your unaptness thereto, the more I needs must wonder. Pope Sixtus, to satisfy the plaindealing friar, dealt with him again as plainly, saying, hadst thou lived abroad as I have done, and seen by what folly this world is governed, thou wouldst wonder at nothing.
Surely, if this be referred unto those exorbitant engines, by which the course of affairs is moved, the pope said true; for the wisest of men are not without their vanities, which requiring and finding mutual toleratioD, work more closely, and earnestly, than right reason either needs or can. But if we lift up our thoughts to that supreme governor, of whose empire all that is true which, by the poet, was said of Jupiter:
'Qui terrain inertem, qui mare temperat
* Ventosum, et urbes, regnaque tristia,
* Imperio regit unus aequo.'
* Who rules the duller earth, the wind.swotn streamy
'The civil cities, and the infernal realms;
'Who the host of heaven, and the mortal band,
'Alone doth govern by his just command.'
Then shall we find the quite contrary.' In hint there is no uncertainty nor change; he foreseeth all things, and all things disposeth to his own honour; he neither deceiveth nor can be deceived ; but, continuing one and the same for ever, doth constantly govern all creatures by that law which he hath prescribed, and will never alter. The vanities of men beguile their vain contrivers, and the prosperity of the wicked is the Way leading to their destruction: yea, this broad and headlong passage to hell, is not so delightful as it seemeth at the first entrance, but hath growing in it, besides the poisons which infect the soul, many cruel thorns deeply wounding the body; all which, if any few escape, they have only this miserable advantage of others, that their descent was the more swift and expedite. But the service of God is the path guiding us to perfect happiness, and hath in it a true, though not complete felicity, yielding such abundance of joy to the con-* science, as doth easily countervail all afflictions whatsoever;—-though indeed those brambles that sometimes tear the skin of such as walk in this blessed way, do commonly lay hold upon them at such time as they sit down to take their ease, and make them wish themselves at their journey's end, in presence of their Lord, whom they faithfully serve} Mil -whose ' presence is the fullness of joy, and at whose 'right hand are pleasures for evermore.' 'Wherefore, it being the end and scope of all history to teach, by examples of times past, such wisdom as may guide our desires and actions, we should not marvel, though the Chronicles of the kings of Judah and Israel, being written by men inspired with the spirit of God, instruct us chiefly in that which is most requisite for us to know, as the means to attain unto true felicity, both here and hereafter; propounding examples which illustrate this infallible rule, 1 the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wis'dom.' Had the expedition of Xerxes, (as it was foretold by Daniel,) been written by some prophet after the captivity, we may well believe, that the counsel of God therein, and the execution of his righteous will, should have occupied either the whole, or the principal room in that narration. Yet had not the purpose of Darius, the desire of his wife, and the business at Sardes, with other occurrents, been 'the less true, though they might have been omitted, as the less material; but these things it had been lawful for any man to gather out of profane histories, or out of circumstances otherwise appearing, wherein he should not have done injury to the sacred writings, as long as he had forborne to derogate from the first causes, by ascribing to the second more than was due.
Such, or little different, is the business that I have now in hand; wherein I cannot believe that any man of judgment will tax me as either fabulous or presumptuous. For he doth not feign, that rehearseth probabilities as bare conjectures; neither doth he deprave the text, that seeketh to illustrate, and make good in human reason, those things which authority alone, without further circumstance, ought to have confirmed in every man's belief. And this may suffice in defence of the liberty which I have ; ased in conjectures, and may hereafter use when occasion shall require, as neither unlawful, nor unbeseeming an historian,
The conspiracy against Athaliah*
When Athaliah had now six years and longer worn the crown of Judah, and had found neither any foreign enemy, nor domestic adversary to disturb her possession, suddenly the period of her glory and reward of her wickedness meeting together, took her away without any warning, by a violent and shameful death. For the growth of fhe young prince began to be such, as permitted him'no longer to be concealed; and it had been very unfitting that his education should be simple, to make him seem the child of some poor man, as for his safety it was requisite, when
.his capacity required, to have been endued with the stomach and qualities meet for a king. All this Jehoiada, the priest, considered, and withal the great
increase of impiety, which taking deep root in the court, was likely to spread itself over all the country,
•if care were not used to weed it up very speedily.
Wherefore he associated unto himself five of the capitains, in whose/fidelity he had best assurance; and
■ having taken an oath of them, and shewn them the
; king's son, he made a covenant with them to advance him to the kingdom. These drew in others of the principal men to countenance the action, proposing at the first only, that they should repair to Jerusalem, where they were further acquainted with the whole matter. There needed not many persuasions to win them to the business; the promise of the Lord unto the house of David, was enough to assure them, that the action was both lawful, and likely to succeed as they desired.
But,.in compassing their intent, some difficulties appeared, for it was not to be hoped, that with open force they should bring their purpose to good issue; neither were the captains and other associates of Jehoiada able, by close working, to draw together so many trusty and serviceable hands, as would suffice to manage the business. To help in this case, the priest gave order to such of the Levites as had finished their courses in waiting on the divine service at the temple, and were now relieved by others that succeeded in their turns, that they should not depart until they knew his farther pleasure. So by admitting the new comers, and not discharging the old, he had, without any noise, made up such a number as would be able to deal with the queen's ordinary guard; and that was enough: for if the tyranness did not prevail against them at the first brunt, the favour of the people was like to shew itself on their side who made head against her. These Levites were placed in the inner court of the temple, about the person of the king, who as yet was kept close; the followers of the captains, and other adherents, were bestowed in the outer
nough; king David had left an armoury to the place, which was now employed to the defence of his issue.
All things being in a readiness, and the day come wherein this high design was to be put in execution, Jehoiada delivered unto the captains, armour for them and their adherents, appointed a guard unto the king's person, produced him openly, and gave unto him the crown; using all ceremonies accustomed in such solemnities, with great applause of the people. Of these doings the queen was the last that heard any word; which is not so strange as it may seem; for insolent natures, by dealing outrageously with such as bring them ill tidings, do commonly lose the benefit of hearing what is to be feared, whilst jet it may be prevented, and have no information of danger, till their own eyes, amazed with the suddenness, behold it in the shape of inevitable mischief.
All Jerusalem was full of the rumour, and entertained it with very good liking. Some carried home
the temple itself had store e