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188
FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
lie places. His private vices and debaucheries were also incessant, and revolting to every principle of decency and virtue. Yet this ty­rant, while acting in the plenitude of his power, and imagining himself beyond the control of every law, had his mind tormented with dread­ful apprehensions. We are informed by Taci­tus, that, in a letter to the senate, he opened the inward wounds of his breast, with such words of despair as might have moved pity in those who were under the continual fear of his ty­ranny. Neither the splendor of his situation as an emperor, nor the solitary retreats to which he retired, could shield him from the accusations of his conscience, but he himself was forced to confess the mental agonies he endured as a punishment for his crimes. Antiochus Epi-phanes was another tyrant remarkable for his cruelty and his impiety. He laid siege to the city of Jerusalem, exercised the most horrid cruelties upon its inhabitants, slaughtered forty thousand of them in three days, and polluted, in the most impious manner, the temple, and the worship of the God of Israel. Some time afterwards, when he was breathing out curses against the Jews for having restored their an­cient worship, and threatening to destroy the whole nation, and to make Jerusalem the com-
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