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in a charger, could even make her own poor child the instrument of her vengeance, and, as I am inclined to think, a feluctant accomplice in a most atrocious murder. Here is a most awful lesson held out, not only to the female sex, but to both sexes, to persons of all ages and conditions, to beware of giving way to any one evil propensity in their nature, however it may be disguised under popular names, however indulgently it may be treated by the world, however it may be authorized by the general practice of mankind; because they here see that they may not only be led into the grossest extravagancies of that individual passion, but may also be insensibly betrayed into the commission of crimes of the deepest dye, which in their serious moments they always contemplated with the utmost horror. Let us now take our leave of this wretched woman, and turn our attention for a moment to her unhappy daughter. Here undoubtedly there is much to blame, but VoI. II. C there there is also something to pity and to lament. Her youth, her inexperience, her unfortunate situation in a most corrupt court, the vile example that was constantly before her eyes, the influence, the authority, the commands of a profligate mother, these are circumstances that plead powerfully for compassion, and tend in some degree to mitigate her guilt. Her first fault evidently was that gross violation of all decorum, and all custom too, in appearing and dancing publicly before Herod, and a large number of his friends assembled at a festive meeting, and perhaps half intoxicated with wine. But it is not probable that a young woman of high rank, and so very tender an age as she seems to have been, should have voluntarily taken such a step as this, or should have been able to subdue at once all the modesty and the timidity of her sex, and acquire courage enough to encounter the eyes and the observations of so licentious an assembly. There can be little doubt, that she was wrought upon by the persuasions of her artful mother, who flattered herself that this artifice might produce some such effect in the mind of Herod as actually followed. What adds great weight to this conjecture is, that her next dreadful transgression, her singularand sanguinary request to have the head of John the Baptist presented to her, was unquestionably the suggestion of the abandoned Herodias. The sacred historian expressly informs us, that it was in consequence of being before instructed of her mother, that she made this demand. Nor is this all; there is great reason to believe that it was with the utmost difficulty she was prevailed on to comply with the injunctions that were given her ; for the original words reoCiCarteiro. varo roc unreo;; which we translate before instructed of her mother, more strictly signifying being wrought upon, instigated, and impelled by her mother; for this is the sense in which that expression is used by the best Greek writers. This supposition receives no small confirmation from the manner in which she


is represented by the evangelist as delivering her answer to Herod. “She came straightway with haste unto the king;” she betrayed on her return the utmost emotion and agitation of mind. She had worked herself up to a resolution of obeying her mother; and was in haste to execute her commission, lest if any pause had intervened, her heart should relent, her spirits fail her, and she should not have courage to utter the dreadful demand she had to

make. All this seems to imply great reluctance on her part, and is evidently a considerable alleviation of her crime; yet does by no means exempt her from all guilt. For although obedience to parents is a very sacred duty, yet there is another duty superior to it, that which we owe to our Maker. And whenever even a parent would incite us to any thing plainly repugnant to his laws, as was the case in the present instance, we must, though with all possible decency and respect, yet with firmness and with courage, resist the impious impious command, and declare it to be our decided resolution “to obey God ra

ther than man.” The next person that claims our notice in this interesting narrative is Herod himself. We have already seen his inconsistent and undecided conduct respecting John. He had in a moment of exasperation thrown him into prison; but from a respect to his character, and fear of the consequences if he offered him any further violence, he suffered him to remain unmolested, and even frequently admitted him to his presence, and held conversations with him. And it is not improbable that after some time his resentment might have subsided, and he might have released his prisoner. But when once a man has involved himself deeply in guilt, he has no safe ground to stand upon. Every thing is unsound and rotten under his feet. He cannot say, “So far will I go in wickedness, and no farther.” The crimes he has already committed may have an unseen connexion with others, of which he has not the slightest - C 3 suspicion;

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