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gleams of fuccefs and prosperity, perlaps, brighten and adorn certain parts of his life, as the sun gilds the edges of a dark cloud, or imprints upon it the still more beautiful colours of the rainbow. But while we gaże, the sun fets, the colours fade, the bow vanishes, and the place " thereof knoweth it no more."
OF prophets, as well as of kings, it may be observed, that there is generally but a short interval between their imprisonment and their death ; the enmity which occasioned one, feldom leaving them till it have accomplished the other. And “ more “ bitter even than death itself is the şe woman whose heart is suares and s nets, and her hands bands *." He* Ecclef. vii. 26.
rod had thrown John into prison; but this would not satisfy Herodias. , Even there she heard him still preach-.. ing upon the old text, and reproaching her with her crimes. 66 She had “ a quarrel against him; everxev ausw,
"The fastened upon him, and would ..“have killed him, but,” for some
time, she “could not*.” For though Herod had not religion enough to produce in him the fear of God, he had policy enough to produce the fear of the Jews, among whom John's seputation, as a prophet, ran very high. Herodias, however, in her heart, had determined to effect her purpose by procuring, sooner or later, the execution of him whom she falsely deemeri her enemy. As if sin could * Mark vi. 19, &c.
not be committed with impunity, while John was living to hear of it; as if his blood would not cry louder than his voice had done; or the head : of the prophet could enter the palace, without reproving the adultery of the tetrarch. But an imperious luft, in the height of it's career, canbrook no obstruction; and were it. poffible, as well as necessary, the. world itself would be: blown up to: make way for it.
Sin being once resolved on in the heart, an opportunity of committing, it is seldom long wanting; and the mind is upon the watch, to embracer the very first that offers. “When, a, “ convenient day was come, that “Herod's birth day should be kept;, “he made a great fupper to his lords,
“ high captains, and chief estates of
" Galilee.” It is certainly no fin in . a prince to keep his birth day, or to .. make a great fupper upon it. But
how much it behoveth a man, at
fuch times of rejoicing, to be upon • his guard, left unawares he be indu
ced to facrifice truth and conscience to mirth, and gaiety, the melancholy catastrophe of this banquet may
ferve to fhew us; since neither He· rod, nor any of his guests imagined,
when they fate down to table on that 4. fa'cal evening, how horribly their ; great supper would conclude. But
foit liappened, that, before the night
was out, a deed was done, which dif• played to all succeeding generations E tlie malice and cruelty of Herodias, Wiwith the weakness and wickedness of
Herod; Herod; teaching us, at the same time, that the greatest of prophets and the best of men are not more fecure from violence, than from natural death, but rather more exposed to it than the rest of mankind, if with fidelity and fortitude they execute the trust committed to them.'
HERODIAS, by her lawful husband Philip, had a daughter tamed Sae lome, who condescended to grace the feftivity by dancing before the company, in a manner which "pleafed “ Herod, and them that fat with “him.” A pious prelate of our church, in his contemplations on this occurrence, obferves, that “dancing,
“in itself, as it is a set, regular; hare : “monious, graceful motion of the 1, "body, cannot be unlawful, any.