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solent joy, which man in the pride of his vain imagination conceiveth of his own worth, doth above all other passions blast our minds, as it were with lightning, and make us to reflect our thoughts upon our seeming inherent greatness, forgetting the whilst Him to whom we are indebted for our very being. Wherefore these mala mentis gaudia, “ the “evil joys of the mind," were not unaptly by the prince of Latin poets bestowed in the entrance of hell, and placed further inward than sorrows, cares, and fears; not far from the iron cabins of the furies. And certainly it is no unlikely token of vengeance near at hand, when these unreasonable flushes of proud and vain joy do rage in a mind that should have been humbled with a just repentance and acknowledgment of ill deserving.
This was verified upon Nebuchadnezzar, whose punishment was singular and unexampled. For he ran among beasts in the fields and woods, where for seven years he lived, not only as a savage man, but as a savage beast, for a beast he thought himself secundum suam imaginationem, as z Thomas noteth, and therefore fed himself in the same manner and with the same food that beasts do; not that he was changed in figure external, according to a Mediana, insomuch as he appeared a beast to other men's eyes, as St. Jerome, in the Life of Hilarius, (how true, God knows,) speaks of a woman that appeared to all other men's sight a cow, but to Hilarius only a woman; neither was he changed as Iphigenia the daughter of Agamemnon was said to be, into a hind, nor made a monster, as b Dorotheus and Epiphanius dreamed: but according to St. Jerome's exposition of these words, At the same time was my understanding restored unto me, &c. Quando dicit (saith St. Jerome) sensum sibi redditum, ostendit non formam se amisisse sed mentem; “ When he “ saith that his sense was restored unto him, he sheweth “ that he had not lost his human shape, but his under
standing.” Seven years expired, it pleased God to restore Nabuchodonosor both to his understanding and his i L. 2. de Reg. pri.
b Dor. in Synops. Ep. in Vit. • Med. 1. 2. de recta in Deum Fide, c. 7.
estate, for which he acknowledged and praised God all the rest of his life, C confessing his power and everlasting being ; that he was the Lord of heaven and earth, and wrought without resistance what he pleased in both; that his works were all truth, and his ways righteous. Which gave argument to many of the fathers and others not to doubt of his salvation; namely, St. Augustine, Theodoret, Lyra, Carthusianus, and others. And for that place of Esay the fourteenth, out of which his perdition may be gathered, the aforenamed authors apply the same to Balthasar, because Esay, both in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapter, speaketh of the king and the destruction of Babylon jointly.
Of Evilmerodach. HAVING already spoken what I could of the succession and years of Nebuchadnezzar's posterity, the most that may be said of him is said of Evilmerodach, which I will not here again rehearse.
He lost some part of that which his father had gotten; and left his kingdom burning in a war that consumed it to ashes. He lost Egypt by rebellion of the people, in the nineteenth year of his reign, which was forty years after his father had conquered it. But this agrees neither with the account of Herodotus, who allows to Amasis four and forty years of reign, nor with that of Diodorus, who gives him five and fifty, saying that he died in the third year of the threescore and third Olympiad, when Cambyses did conquer Egypt. There were indeed but seven and thirty years, which passed between the second year of the four and fiftieth Olympiad (which was the nineteenth of Evilmerodach, and the first of Amasis) and the fifth of Cambyses's reign, wherein he won Egypt, of which seven and thirty years it is credibly held that Psammennitus the son of Amasis reigned three; so that Amasis could be no longer king than four and thirty years. But seeing that these two Greek historians have been abused by Egyptian priests, in the substance of that which was spoken of Amasis, it is no marvel though they were also deceived in the length of his reign. This is the plain answer to this objection. For to say either that the numbers were miswritten, and four and forty set down instead of four and thirty, or that Amasis did temporise a while with the Assyrians, and not bear himself as absolute king of Egypt, until the nineteenth of Evilmerodach, (at which time, and not before, it hath been proved out of Ezekiel that Egypt became again a kingdom,) I hold it a superfluous excuse.
c Daniel iv. 32, 34.
Whether these Egyptian troubles did animate the king of the Medes to deal with Evilmerodach as with a prince greater in fame and reputation, gotten by the decayed valour of his people, than in present forces; or whether (as I rather think) some foil, received by the Assyrian invading Media, emboldened the Egyptians to rebel against him, I will neither undertake nor seek to define. Xenophon tells, that the first service of young Cyrus in war was under Astyages king of the Medes, his grandfather, in a prosperous fight against the Assyrian prince, who did set upon him; at which time Cyrus was fifteen or sixteen years old. If therefore Cyrus lived threescore and three years, (as he is said to have died well stricken in years,) which is held to be the ordinary term of no short life, then was this encounter in the third year of Evilmerodach's reign. Yet by the same reckoning it should follow, that the war began more early between these nations, forasmuch as the manner of their fight in former times, with other circumstances insinuating as much, are found in the same place of e Xenophon. And it may well be, that the death or destruction of Nabuchodonosor gave courage unto those that had felt him a troublesome neighbour, to stand upon prouder terms with the Assyrians, than in his flourishing estate they durst have used. Howsoever the quarrel began, we find that it ended not before the last ruin of the Assyrian monarchy. For the Babylonian, being too proud to digest the losses which he received by the Medes and their allies the Persians, drew « Xenoph. Cyropæd. I. 1.
* Xenoph. Cyropæd. 1.8.
unto his party the Lydians, and all the people of the Lesser Asia, with gifts and strong persuasions, hoping so to overwhelm his enemies with a strong invasion, whom in vain he had sought to weary out with a lingering war.
This happened after the death of Astyages, who left the world in the nineteenth year of Evilmerodach, at which time Amasis took possession of Egypt. So that the Assyrian having his hands already full of business, which more earnestly did affect him, seems thereby to have given the better means unto the Egyptians of new erecting their kingdom, which by long distance of place did sundry times find occasion to rebel in after-ages, and set up a king within itself, against the far more mighty Persian.
The issue of these great preparations made by Evilmerodach against the Medes, was such as opened the way unto the fulfilling of those prophecies which were many years before uttered against Babel by Esay and Jeremy.
For the Assyrians and their confederates, who, trusting in their numbers, thought to have buried the Medes and Persians under their thick showers of arrows and darts, were encountered with an army of stout and well-trained men, weightily armed for close fight, by whom they were beaten in open battle, wherein Evilmerodach was slain. So that great frame of empire which Nabuchodonosor had raised and upheld, being shaken and grievously cracked under his unfortunate son, was left to be sustained by his unworthy nephew; a man more likely to have overthrown it when it was greatest and strongest, than to repair it when it was in way of falling.
SECT. XIII. A private conjecture of the author ; serving to make good those
things which are cited out of Berosus, concerning the successors of Evilmerodach, without wrong to the truth, the quality, and death of Balthasar.
THOUGH I have already (as it seems to me) sufficiently proved that Balthasar was the son and immediate successor to Evilmerodach, yet considering earnestly the conjectures of those writers which, following Berosus, insert Niglisar, or
Niriglissoroor, and his son Labassardach between them; as also that which I find in Herodotus of Nitocris a famous queen of Babylon, who greatly adorned and fortified that city; I have thought it not superfluous here in this place to shew by what means it was possible that some error might have crept into the history of those times, and thereby have brought us to a needless trouble of searching out the truth, as it were by candlelight, in the uncertain fragments of lost authors, which we might have found by daylight, had we adhered only to the scriptures. First therefore I observe, that the time which Berosus divides betwixt Evilmerodach and the two next kings agrees with the years in which Nebuchadnezzar lived wild among brute beasts in the open field. Secondly, that the suddenness of this accident, which came in one hour, could not but work much perturbation in that state, wherein doubtless the honour of so noble a prince was highly regarded, his calamity pitied, and his restitution hoped; the prediction of Daniel finding reputation in that clause which promised his recovery, as being verified in that which had been more incredible. Now if we do in common reason judge what course was like to be taken by the great ones of the kingdom, for settling the government, whilst the king was thus distracted, we shall find it most likely that his son and heir did occupy the royal throne, with condition to restore it unto his father, when God should enable him to repossess it. In this his rule, Evilmerodach, being to supply the utter want of understanding in his father, as f protectors do the unripeness of it in young, but reasonable kings, might easily either commit the insolencies, or fall into the troubles, incident to such an office. That he had in him very small ability of government, it appears by his ill maintaining the empire, when he held it in his own right. That his sister Nitocris (if Nitocris were his sister) was a woman of an high spirit, it appears by that which Herodotus reports of her, saying, that she was more cunning than Semiramis, as appeared in her magnificent and useful works about the river of Eu
i Herodotus, l. 1.