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REFLECTIONS ON SELECT PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE.
Psalm cxix. 97
Luke xii. 3
On the reading of the Historic Scriptures
On the reading of the Epistles
The Crucible, or Christian Self-Examiner
Hints to Parents on Pestalozzi's method, &c.
ASSISTANT OF EDUCATION.
A SKETCH OF GENERAL HISTORY,
(Continued from page 312, Vol. VIII.)
MACEDON, FROM THE DEATH OF DARIUS, B.C. 331, TO THE DIVISION OF
THE EMPIRE, B.C. 283. THROUGH plains, barren and covered with snow, in the most inclement season, where all the inhabitants he found dwelt in houses covered with tiles, the roofs rising in spires, with openings at the top, whereby they received light and let out the smoke, Alexander reached Mount Caucasus, B.C. 329. We cannot minutely follow him through these useless wars, nor relate the various cruelties exercised towards those who opposed him. Those who had the judgment to submit, suffered little injury by his victorious passage through their territories. But it seems to have been chiefly towards his own followers the violent passions of the monarch were indulged; inflamed and maddened as he was by success, and the adulation of those around him.. At a feast, where the courtiers endeavoured to exalt his glory by depreciating that of the gods and heroes Greece had so long worshipped, one Clytus, his faithful adherent, and his foster brother, expressed a hasty indignation at this impiety; and in doing so, depreciated the actions of
Alexander : on which the enraged monarch slew him on the spot. The deepest regret seems to have followed this action. But in habits of intoxication and excesses of every kind, Alexander was no longer master of his passions; and the policy, as well as virtue of his earlier life, was rapidly yielding to the corruption of unlimited power. He now affected divine honours, and required the signs of adoration paid to the Persian monarchs. To this the Asiatics made no objection; but the Greeks strongly opposed the innovation, particularly the philosopher Calisthenes, on whom Alexander afterwards took a cruel vengeance.
Meantime the European army advanced towards the Indies. In the Indians, Alexander had to encounter brave and formidable foes; and the advance was not made without many difficult sieges and hard-fought battles. We have spoken of these wars in a former section, as belonging more properly to Asiatic history.
In B.C. 327, Alexander passed the Indus and the Hydaspes. He would have proceeded, but the Macedonians refusing to follow him further, he was forced unwillingly to return: after having gratified bis vain desire of fame, by sailing down the Indus to the Indian seas, with considerable danger, bis mariners being unaccustomed to the tempestuous tides of the ocean, and not having seen any sea but the Mediterranean. Determined to return thence to Babylon by land, it was in vain represented to him that he must pass a trackless desert, where Semiramis, after conquering India, endeavouring to pass with her army, had lost all but twenty men; and Cyrus doing the same, had escaped but with jeven. Nothing was so likely to confirm Alexander in the project, his great ambition being to do what none before him could accomplish. He persisted in his purpose. The road was uncertain, and lay through deep, loose sands, perpetually sinking under their feet. There were neither towns nor habitations by the way, and scarcely any provision. The beasts of burthen either died of the heat, or were secretly eaten by the famished soldiers. Often the men perished for want of water; and when they met with it, died from drinking to excess. The conduct of Alexander in this dreadful march, gave the only encouragement to his followers; bearing ever himself the greatest privations, and incurring the greatest fatigue, by leading out parties in search of water for the rest. On one occasion, it is told, that a small quantity of water having been extracted from a muddy ditch, was brought to him as a choice present: but as his soldiers could not share it, the king thanked those who brought it, and poured it untasted on the ground.
On the arrival of the wearied army in a cultivated country, they are said to have celebrated a feast to Bacchus, and devoted seven days to rioting and drunk
It was soon after this time, that Alexander married two Persian ladies, Statyra and Parasitis, and encouraged his followers to form similar unions. In his march to Babylon, he collected all the statues and other curiosities brought from Greece by Xerxes, and ordered them to be carefully carried back. When he drew near to Babylon, the Persian Magi are said to have sent a deputation, requesting the king not to enter the city, as they foresaw it would be fatal to him. Various other sinister omens were observed, but the monarch disregarded them, entered the city, and amused himself with forming new projects of ambition. It is difficult to find the truth among the various recitals given us of the manner of his death. By some it is asserted, that he feasted to excess, and died next day of the effects of intoxication. By some, that he took a fever, and while under its influence, persisting in going daily to offer sacrifice, and prepare for an approaching expedition, grew gradually worse; and after lingering some time expired. And by others, it is positively maintained that he was poisoned by the contrivance of Antipater. Nothing is agreed upon, but that Alexander died, in the midst of youth and fame, B.C. 323; being about thirty-two years of age, and having reigned upwards of twelve years. We have already given our opinion of his character, as it is to be traced in the accounts of his life and actions. No doubt be was an instrument in the hands of Heaven, as designated by previous prophecy, to carry on the purposes of God in the destruction of the great Persian empire. But this was unknown to the conqueror; instigated only by the wildest ambition, to wars useless and unjustifiable, in which the desire of personal glory could not even shelter itself under the pretext of patriotism; for Greece was in no danger from Persia, and profited nothing by her destruction. In the false rhetoric of history, we are told that Alexander conquered the world, and Grecian story compliments him on the government of the universe. Certainly he held the largest extent of empire the world had before seen in one hand; but it was very far from all the then known world. It was but a part of Asia, a very small portion of Africa, and a yet smaller portion of Europe. And the empire was brief as it was extensive. It had been obtained in scarcely more years than it occupied to pass rapidly over it; and it ended with the termination of this triumphant journey no one king of Macedon ever after being monarch of the whole: such is the real amount of a greatness proverbial in all succeeding ages, as the most extraordinary in the annals of the world. - Alexander left many children. By Barsina, the widow of Memnon, he had a son named Hercules, who was afterwards murdered. By Roxana, a Bactrian, he had a posthumous son named Alexander, who for a short time had the title of king. By Cleophas, an In. dian queen, he had a son named Alexander, who sueceeded to his mother's kingdom. Two years having been spent in preparations for the funeral, the body of Alexander was conveyed with all possible magnificence to the city of Alexandria in Egypt, where it was deposited in a temple erected for the purpose.