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judgments!” A nurse who took care of his youngest son, placed her own in its room. Maurice, detecting the generous fraud, discovered it to the executioners, thus showing his rigid attachment to truth and justice. This tragic scene was closed by the beheading of the Emperor himself. The bodies of the father and his sons were cast into the sca, and their heads were exposed for some time to the insults or pity of the multitude at Constantinople.

18. Phocas, who now reigned (1.1. 502), a worthy rival of the Caligulas and Domitians of the first age of the empire, consummated his crimes by afterwards putting to death the only surviving son of Maurice, besides the Empress and her three daughters. But retribution followed. Within eight years he was dethroned, tortured, and beheaded, and his mangled trunk was ignominiously cast into the flames (1.D. 610).

19. Gregory's conduct, in not rebuking the cruelty of this tyrant on his accession to the empire, has been strongly censured by some historians. It has been observed that, although as a subject and as a Christian, it was his duty to acquiesce in the established government, yet, that in offering as he did a congratulation to the assassin, on his accession to the empiro, he sullied with indelible disgrace the character of the saint ; that he should have rebuked with decent firmness the guilt of blood, and urged the necessity of repentance, instead of flattering the tyrant, and praying for his present and eternal welfare. The best and indeed the only apology for the conduct of Gregory is, that he might have been ignorant of many of the circumstances under which he, Phocas, had been raised to the throne ; that he knew little or nothing of the cruelties with which it had been accompanied ; and that at this time he was 80 bowed down with infirmities as to be almost incapable of discharging any of the ordinary functions of his office. Gregory died about fifteen months after the promotion of Phocas, and probably had made no inquiry into his infamous transactions. Had health or opportunity offered, or had he been fully informed of his atrocious deeds, the vigour, boldness, and piety of his character, can leave no room to doubt that he would have censured the Roman tyrant as he deserved, and have silenced the accusations which have been thus thrown upon himself. His bodily afflictions were very severe, as he drew near the end of his life, and he was often forced to return to his bed when he had just left it, by the violence of his sufferings. To what degree, therefore, his condition at this period, and on this occasion, may excuse his conduct towards Phocas we cannot safely judge. But, upon the whole, his character as a man and as a ruler were deserving of the highest praise. The historian who has most strongly condemned this part of his life, sums up his character by passing the highest eulogium upon his general conduct. “The sword of the enemy ” he observes, was suspended over Rome; it was averted by the mild eloquence and seasonable gifts of the pontiff, who commanded the respect of heretics and barbarians. The merits of Gregory were treated by the Byzantine court with reproach and insult; but in the attachment of a grateful people he found the purest reward of a citizen, and the best right of a sovereign."

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SUMMARY OF ERA THE EIGHTH.

1. State of Rome at the end of the sixth century.—2. Gregory its restorer ; his family ; holds the office of prefect, and is sent as an ambassador to Constantinople.-3. Is chosen bishop of Rome; he endeavours at first by an artifice to escape the charge.-4. His pious conduct during the plague at Rome.-5. His employment of the large rerenues of the church at his disposal.-6. His devotion to works of charity ; his disinterestedness.—7. Singular legend illustrative of his readiness in alms-giving.–8. His remarkable saying concerning riches.-9. His sensibility of conscience; his humility in regard to his office as bishop ; denounces the title of Universal Bishop.–10. He acts as an umpire ; corresponds with Theudelinda, Queen of the Lombards, &c.— 11. Gregory's efforts to convert the Saxons in England ; the state of religion in Britain at this time.--12. Circumstance that gave rise to Gregory's design ; he sends Augustine and a body of monks to act as missionaries to the English.-13. Ethelbert becomes a Christian and abolishes idolatry in the kingdom of Kent.–14. Edwin, King of Northumbria, embraces Christianity, which extends itself gradually throughout the Heptarchy.-15. Gregory dies before this work is accomplished ; his literary labours.--16. His endeavours to improve the church services ; conduct with respect to images.-17. The tragical end of Maurice the Emperor and his family.-18. Phocas, his murderer; his fate.-19. Gregory's conduct in regard to Phocas doubtful; his long and severe illness; his general character.

167

ERA THE NINTH.

THE LIFE OF MAHOMET.

THE RISE OF THE MAHOMETAN RELIGION, AND OF THE

EMPIRE OF THE SARACENS.

1. AFTER the death of Theodosius the Great, the eastern branch of the empire of Rome rapidly declined from its former vigour, and from that period to the year 527 there is no Emperor whose name deserves much notice. But between this year and 565, the throne of the East was filled by Justinian—an Emperor of more notoriety, who occopies, in some respects, à conspicuous place in history. The victories gained by his general, Belisarius, over the Vandals in Africa (A.D. 534) and the Goths in Italy (A.D. 537–547) were so considerable, as for a season to threaten the extinction of these formidable enemies, and revived the remembrance of the ancient Roman valour. Justinian is also famous for his piety and learning. He was at once a poet, a philosopher, and a theologian. But he was still more eminent as a legislator. The body of laws which he enacted has ever retained the name of the Justinian Code, and has formed the basis of the principal regulations which have governed the communities of Europe from that time (A.D. 529) to the present day.

About four years after the death of this distinguished Emperor, or A.D. 569, when the empire was governed by Justin the Second, there was born at Mecca a remarkable individual, who was destined to be the founder of a sovereignty still more extensive than had belonged to Rome. The Arabian prophet, Mahomet (or, to write his name more exactly, Mohammed), was a personage whose singular era now commences. Within half a century from this time he laid the foundation of an empire which, after the lapse of about 800 years, entirely overthrew all that remained of Rome in the East, by the taking of Constantinople.

2. Mahomet sprung from a stock that was considered a noble one; for he belonged to the tribe of Koreish, and the family of Haskew, who were distinguished by being the guardians of the Caaba, or sacred temple at Mecca. He lost all his relatives in early infancy-his father Abdallah, his mother Amina, and his grandfather Abdol-Motalleb. Abu-Taleb, one of his 'many powerful uncles, became his guardian. The only patrimony he inherited was that of five camels and an Ethiopian female slave. But in his twenty-fifth year (A.D. 594), Mahomet married Cadijah, a rich and noble widow of Mecca, and was thus enabled to break through the barriers of poverty, and to obtain many advantages for his future career.

3. His person and features were much in his favour. According to the testimony of his companions, he was distinguished by the beauty of his countenance- --an outward gift which is seldom despised, except by those who do not possess it. The Arabian writers describe him as a man of middle stature, with a large head, a thick beard, eyes black and piercing, a hooked nose, a wide mouth, a large neck, and his hair long and flowing. Among these minute particulars, they do not fail to tell us, that he had between his shoulders a hairy mole, which, for some reason, was regarded as significant of his future dignity and mission.

4. His address and manners were, however, still more remarkable than his person. There was that majesty in his look and presence, which lends so powerful a charm to oratory; and the varied expressions of his face were well suited to win the affections, as well as to subdue the reason, of those to whom he spoke, either in public or in private. He understood, by a sort of natural instinct, the power of his looks and words; and while his countenance painted every emotion of the soul, his gestures enforced every sentiment to which he gave utterance.

5. In the familiar duties of life, he also knew how to obtain the good opinion of those with whom he conversed. He maintained much dignity of manner-a quality always impressive where it can be well sustained, and never forgot

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