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on the conduct and characters of the several actors in this dreadful tragedy.

And in the first place, there can be no doubt that the most guilty and the most unpardonable of all the parties concerned in this murder of an innocent and excellent man was the abandoned Herodias. For it was she whose indignation against John was carried to the greatest length, and in the end effected his ruin. she who was continually importuning and urging Herod to put the Baptist to death, from which, for a considerable time, his fears restrained him. It was she who, as St. Mark expresses it, “ had a quarrel against John, and would have killed him, but she could not*.” The words translated, had a quarrel against him, have in the original much greater force and energy, éveixev autâ. She, as it were, fastened and hung upon John, and was determined not to let go her hold till she had destroyed himt.

We * Mark, vi. 19.

+ Hesychius explains evexeo by syXEITAI, sticks close to in hatred or spite. Doddridge gives still greater force to the expression; but Parkhurst does not allow it.

We here see a fatal proof of the extreme barbarities to which that most diabolical sentiment of revenge will drive the natural tenderness even of a female mind; what a close connexion there is between crimes of apparently a very different complexion, and how frequently the uncontrolled indulgence of what are called the softer affections, lead ultimately to the most violent excesses of the malignant passions. The voluptuary generally piques himself on his benevolence, his humanity, and gentleness of disposition. His claiin even to these virtues is at the best very problematical ; because in his pursuit of pleasure, he makes no scruple of sacri

the comfort, the happiness of those for whom he pretends the tenderest affection, to the gratification of his own selfish desires. But however he may preserve his good humour, when he meets with no résistance, the moment he is thwarted and opposed in his flagitious purposes, he has no hesitation in going any lengths to gain his point, and will


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fight his way to the object he has in view through the heart of the very best friend he has in the world. The same thing we see in a still more striking point of view, in the conduct of Herodias. She was at first only a bold unprincipled libertine, and might perhaps be admired and celebrated, as many others of that description have been, for her good temper, her sensibility, her generosity to the poor; and with this character she might have gone out of the world, bad no such person as John arisen to reprove her and her husband for their profligacy, and to endanger the continuance of her guilty commerce. But no sooner does he rebuke them as they deserved, than Herodias showed that she had other passions to indulge besides those which had hitherto disgraced her character; and that, when she found it necessary to her pleasures, she could be as cruel as she had been licentious; could contrive and accomplish the destruction of a great and good man, could feast her eyes with the sight of his mangled head

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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 reluctant 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 Vol. II.



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


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