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being perceived by any body. The guards had orders to let nothing pass without a strict examination; but the disguised peasant, who was one of the queen’s faithful servants, played his part so well, and there seemed so little appearance of deceit in a basket of figs, that the guards suffered him to enter. Thus all Cæsar's precautions were ineffectual.
He did not doubt Cleopatra's resolution, after having read the letter she had written to him, to desire that he would suffer her body to be laid in the same tomb with that of Antony; and he instantly despatched two officers to prevent it. But, notwithstanding all the haste they could make, they found her dead.
That princess was too haughty and too much above the vulgar, to suffer herself to be led in triumph at the wheels of the victor's chariot.* Determined to die, and thence become capable of the fiercest resolutions, she saw with a tearless and steadfast eye the mortal venom of the aspic glide into her veins.
She died at thirty-nine years of age, of which she had reigned twenty-two from the death of her father. The statues of Antony were thrown down, and those of Cleopatra remained as they were; Archibius, who had long been in her service, having given Cæsar 1000 talents that they might not be treated as Antony's had been.
After Cleopatra's death, Egypt was reduced into a province of the Roman empire, and governed by a præfect sent thither from Rome. The reign of the Ptolemies in Egypt, if we date its commencement from the death of Alexander the Great, had continued 293 years, from the year of the world 3681 to 3974.
* Ausa et jacentem visere regiam
Corpore combiberet venenum
Hor. Od. xxxvii.
Can awe the furious purpose of lier soul;
Provokes the serpent's sting, his rage disdains,
And joys to feel his poison in her veins.
She will not for her own descend,
llis poinpous triumple to attend ,
We have seen hitherto, without speaking of the first and ancient kingdom of Egypt, and of some states separate, and in a manner entirely distinct from the rest, three great successive empires, founded on the ruins of each other, subsist during a long series of ages, and at length entirely disappear; the empire of the Babylonians, the empire of the Medes and Persians, and the empire of the Macedonians and the Grecian princes, successors of Alexander the Great. A fourth empire still remains, that of the Romans, which having already swallowed up most of those which have preceded it, will extend its conquests, and, after having subjected all to its power by force of arms, will be itself torn, in a manner, into different pieces, and, by being so dismembered, make way for the establishment of almost all the kingdoms which now divide Europe, Asia, and Africa. Dehold here, to speak properly, a picture on a small scale of tile duration of all ages; of the glory and power of all the empires of the world; in a word, of all that is most splendid and most capable of exciting admiration in human greatness! Every excellence, by a happy concurrence, is here found assembled; the fire of genius, delicacy of taste, accompanied by solid judgment; uncommon powers of eloquence, carried to the highest degree of perfection, without departing from nature and truth; the glory of arms, with that of arts and sciences; valour in conquering, and ability in government. What a multitude of great men of every kind does it not present to our view! What powerful, what glorious kings! What great captains! What famous conquerors! What wise magistrates! What learned philosophers! What admirable legislators? We are transported with beholding in certain ages and countries, who appear to possess them as privileges peculiar to themselves, an ardent zeal for justice, a passionate love for their country, a noble disinterestedness, a generous contempt of riches, and an esteem for poverty, wbich astonish and amaze us, so much do they appear above the power of human nature.
In this manner we think and judge. But, whilst we are in admiration and ecstacy at the view of so many shining virtues, the Supren:e Judge, who can alone truly estimate all things, sees no thing in them but litileness, meanness, vanity, and pride; and whilst mankind are anxiously busied in perpetuating the power of their fainilies, in founding kingdoms, and, if that were possible, rendering them eternal, God, from his throne on high, overthrows all their projects, and makes even their ambition the means of executing his purposes, infinitely superior to our understandings. He alone knows his operations and designs. All ages are present to bim; “ He seeth from everlasting to everlasting."* He has assigned to all empires their fate and duration. In all the different revolutions which we have seen, nothing has come to pass by chance. We know that under the image of that statue which Nebuchadnezzar 82w, of an enormous height‘and terrible aspect, whose head was of guld, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, and the legs of iron mixed with clay, God thought fit to represent the four great empires, uniting in them, as we have seen in the course of this history, all that is splendid, grand, formidable, and powerful. And of what has the Almighty occasion for overthrowing this immense colossus? “A small stone was cut out without hands, which smote the inage upon his feet, that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and becamne like the chaff of the summer thrashing-floors, and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth."
- We see witij our own eyes the accomplishment of this admirable prophecy of Daniel, at least in part. Jesus Christ, who came down from heaven to clothe himself with flesh and blood in the sacred womb of the blessed Virgin, without the participation of man, is the small stone that came from the mountain without human aid. The prevailing characteristics of his person, of his relations, his appear. ance, his manner of teaching, his disciples; in a word, of every thing that relates to him, were, simplicity, poverty, and humility; which were so extreme, that they concealed from the eyes of the proud Jews the divine lustre of his miracles, how shining soever it was, anil from the sight of the devil himself, penetrating and attentive as he was, the evident proofs of his divinity.
Notwithstanding that seeming weakness, and even meanness, Jesus Christ will certainly conquer the whole universe. It is under this idea that a prophet represents him to us; “ He went forth conquering and to conquer.”I His work and mission are," to set op a kingdom for his Father, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom which shall not be left to other people;" like those of which we have seen the story; “ but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.'
• Ecelor mai. 20.
t Dan. I 34, 35.
1 Apoc. vi. 9
The power granted to JESUS CHRIST, the founder of this empire, is without bounds, measure, or end. The kings, who glory eo much in their might, have nothing which approaches in the slightest degree to that of Jesus CHRIST. They do not reign over the will of man, which is real dominion. Their subjects can think as they please independently of them. There are an infinitude of particular actions done without their order, and which escape their knowledge as well as their power. Their designs often miscarry and come to nothing, even during their own lives. At least all their greatness vanishes and perishes with them. But with Jesus Christ it is quite otherwise. “All power is given unto him in heaven and in earth.” He exercises it principally upon the hearts and minds of men. No thing is done without his order or permission. Every thing is disposed by his wisdom and power. Every thing co-operates, directly or indirectly, to the accomplishment of his designs.
Whilst all things are in motion and fluctuate upon earth; whilst states and empires pass away with incredible rapidity, and the human race, vainly employed with these outward appearances, are also drawn in by the same torrent, almost without perceiving it; there passes in secret an order and disposition of things unknown and invisible, which, however, determines our fate to all eternity. The duration of ages has no other end than the formation of the company of the elect, which augments and tends daily towards perfection. When it shall have received its final accomplislıment by the death of the last of the elect, “ Then cometh the end,t when Jesus Christ shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the FATHER: when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and power.” God grant that we may all have our share in that blessed kingdom, whose law is truth, whose King is love, and whose duration is eternity! Fiat, Fiat.