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hearing, that the sins which are not forsaken before the age of two and fifty years shall be punished with final impenitency. But against these two collections of Torniellus, I will lay two places of scripture, whence it may be inferred, as not unlikely, that Manasses continued longer in his wickedness than Bellarmine hath intimated, if not as long as Rabbi Kimhi hath affirmed. In the second book of Kings, the evil which Manasses did is remembered at large, and his repentance utterly omitted; so that his amendment may seem to have taken up no great part of his life, the story of him being thus concluded in the one and twentieth chapter; ?Concerning the rest of the acts of Manasses, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Juda? The other place is in the four and twentieth chapter of the same book, where, in rehearsing the calamities with which that nation was punished in the time of Jehoiakim, the great grandchild of this Manasses, it is said ; ' Surely by the commandment of the Lord came this upon Juda, that he might put them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasses, according to all that he did, and for the innocent blood that he shed; for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; therefore the Lord would not pardon it. Whoso considers well these places, may find small cause to pronounce it most false, that the repentance and amendment of Manasses was no earlier than fifteen years before his death ; or most probable, that when he was twenty-seven years old he repented, and becoming a new man, lived in the fear of God forty years after. I will no longer dispute about this matter, seeing that the truth cannot be discovered. It sufficeth to say, that two years of civil dissension in Egypt, fourteen or fifteen years following, wherein that kingdom was weakened by partition of the sovereignty ; the war of Psammiticus against his associates; and four and twenty years of the nine and twenty wherein the siege of Azotus continued, being all within the time of Manasses, did leave no one 4 2 Kings xxi. 17.
r 2 Kings xxiv. 3, 4.
part of his reign (after the first fifteen years) free from the danger of being oppressed by the Babylonian, whose men of war had continual occasions of visiting his country. All which I will add hereto is this, that the fifteenth of Manasses was the last year of Sethon in Egypt, and the one and thirtieth of Merodach's reign, or (accounting from the death of Asarhaddon) the twentieth : the seven and twentieth of Manasses was the tenth of the twelve princes, and the three and fortieth of Merodach : his fortieth was the twenty-third of Psammiticus, and the fifth of Nabulassar the son of Merodach in Babylon : but which of these was the year of his imprisonment, or whether any other, I forbear to shew mine opinion, lest I should thereby seem to draw all matters over-violently to mine own computation.
This was the first great mastery that the Babylonians had of the kingdom of Juda. For though Ahaz promised tribute to Salmanassar, yet Ezekias never paid it. True it is, that he hoped to stay s Sennacherib's enterprise against him, by presenting him with three hundred talents of silver and thirty of gold, besides the plate which covered the doors and pillars of the temple.
But Manasses being pressed with greater necessity, could refuse no tolerable conditions that the Babylonian would impose upon him, among which it seems that this was one, (which was indeed a point of servitude,) that he might not hold peace with the Egyptians, whilst they were enemies to Babylon. This appears, not only by his fortifying with men of war all the strong cities of Juda after his return, (which was rather against Psammiticus, whose party he had forsaken, than against the Babylonian, with whom he had thenceforth no more controversy,) but likewise by that opposition which Josias made afterwards to Pharaoh Necho, in favour of Nabulassar, which had been against all reason and policy, if it had not been his duty by covenant. Of this I will speak more in convenient place.
s 2 Kings xviii.
SECT. IV. Of the first and second Messenian wars, which were in the reigns of
Ezekias and Manasses, kings of Juda. . NOW concerning such actions as were performed abroad in the world, about these times of Manasses, the most remarkable were the Messenian wars, which happening in this age, and being the greatest action performed in Greece, between the Trojan and Persian wars, deserve not to be passed over with silence.
The first Messenian war began and ended in the days of Ezekias, the second in the reign of Manasses : but to avoid the trouble of interrupting our history, I have thought it best to rehearse them both in this place. Other introduction is needless, than to say, that the posterity of Hercules, driving the issue of Pelops and the Acheans out of their seats, divided their lands between themselves, and erected the kingdoms of Lacedæmon, Argos, Messene, and Corinth; all which agreeing well together a while, did afterwards forget the bond of kindred, and sought one another's ruin with bloody wars, whereof these Messenian were the greatest.
The pretended grounds of the Messenian war are scarce worth remembrance, they were so slight. Ambition was the true cause of it, wherewith the Lacedæmonians were so transported, that any thing served them as a colour to accomplish their greedy desires. Yet other matter was alleged, namely, that one Polychares, a Messenian, had slain many Lacedæmonians, for which the magistrates of Sparta desiring to have him yielded into their hands, could not obtain it. The Messenians on the other side excused Polychares, for that he was grown frantic through injuries received from Euæphnes a Lacedæmonian. This Euæphnes had bargained to give pasture to the cattle of Polychares, and was therefore to receive part of the increase ; but not contented with the gain appointed, he sold the cattle, and slaves that kept them, to merchants; which done, he came with a fair tale to his friend, saying, that they were stolen. Whilst the lie was yet scarce out of his mouth, one of the slaves, that had escaped from the merchants, came in
with a true report of all. The Lacedæmonian being thus deprehended, confessed all, and promised large amends; which to receive, he carried the son of Polychares home with him, but having him at home he villainously slew him. Wherefore the Lacedæmonians having refused, after long suit made by the wretched father, to do him right against this thief and murderer, ought not to pick matter of quarrel out of those things, which he did in that madness whereinto they themselves had cast him. So said the Messsenians, and further offered to put the matter to compromise, or to stand unto the judgment of the Amphictyons, who were as the general council of Greece, or to any other fair course. But the Lacedæmonians, who had a great desire to occupy the fair country of Messene, that lay close by them, were not content with such allegations. They thought it enough to have some show for their doings, which the better to colour, they reckoned up many old injuries, and so, without sending any defiance, secretly took an oath to hold war with Messene till they had mastered it: which done, they seized upon Amphia, a frontier town of that province, wherein they put all to the sword without mercy, very few escaping.
Hereupon the Messenians took arms, and were met by the enemy. A furious battle was fought between them, which ended not until dark night, with uncertain victory. The Messenians did strongly encamp themselves; the Lacedæmonians, unable to force their camp, returned home. This war began in the second year of the ninth Olympiad, and ended in the first of the fourteenth Olympiad, having lasted twenty years. The two enemy nations tried the matter for a while with their proper forces, the Lacedæmonians wasting the inland parts of Messene, and the Messenians the sea-coast of Laconia. But it was not long ere friends on both sides were called in to help. The Arcadians, Argives, and Sicyonians took part with Messene; the Spartans had, besides many subjects of their own, aid from Corinth, and hired soldiers out of Crete. So a second, third, and fourth battle were fought with as great obstinacy as the
es many subje of Crete. so instinacy as the first; saving that, in the fourth battle, the Lacedæmonians were enforced to turn their backs; in the other fights, the victory was still uncertain, though in one of them the Mes senians lost Euphaes, their king, in whose stead they chose Aristodemus.
Many years were spent, ere all this blood was shed; for pestilent diseases, and want of money to entertain soldiers, caused the war to linger. And for the same reasons did the Messenians forsake all their inland towns, excepting Ithome, which was a mountain with a town upon it, able to endure more than the enemies were likely to do. But, as t some authors tell us, the Lacedæmonians were so obstinate in this war, because of their vow, that having absented themselves ten years from Sparta, their wives sent them word, that their city would grow unpeopled, by reason that no children had been borne them in all that time: whereupon they sent back all their ablest young men, promiscuously to accompany the young women, who got so many of them with child, as they became a great part of their nation, and were called Parthenians. u Diodorus refers the begetting of these Parthenians to a former time. But in process of this Messenian war, when the Devil in an oracle had advised the Messenians to sacrifice a virgin of the stock of Ægyptus, that so they might be victorious against the Lacedæmonians; the lot falling upon the daughter of one Lyciscus, Ephibolus the priest, willing to save her, said she was only a fostered child, and not born of the wife of Lyciscus: which answer giving delay to the execution of the maid, Lyciscus secretly fled away with her into Sparta. Then Aristodemus, which afterwards was king, voluntarily offered his own daughter: but a young nobleman, being in love with the maid, when otherwise, he could not prevail, said openly that she was no virgin, but that he had defloured her, and got her with child: whereupon the father in a rage ripped up his innocent daughter's belly, to disprove * Strabo, 1. 9. Oros. l. 1. cap. 21. daughter of Cypselus king of Aru Diod. 1. 15.
cadia; of which Cresphon the chief * This Ægyptus was the youngest nobility of the Messenians was proson of Cresphon by Merope, the pagated.