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1 One may here take notice, that how tyrannical and extravagant soever Herod were in himself, and in his Grecian cities, as to those plays, and shows, and temples for idolatry, mentioned above, ch. 8. sect. 1, and here also; yet durst even he introduce very few of them into the cities of the Jews, who, as Josephus here notes, would not even then have borne them, so zealous were they still for many of the laws of Moses, even under so tyrannical a government as this was of Herod the Great; which tyrannical government puts me naturally in mind of Dean Prideaux's honest reflection upon the like ambition after such tyrannical power in Pompey and Caesar: "One of these (says he, at the year 60) could not bear an equal, nor the other a superior; and through this ambitions humor and thirst after more power in these two men, the whole Roman empire being divided into two opposite factions, there was produced hereby the most destructive war that ever afflicted it; and the like folly too much reigns in all other places. Could about thirty men be persuaded to live at home in peace, without enterprising upon the rights of each other, for the vain glory of conquest, and the enlargement of power, the whole world might be at quiet; but their ambition, their follies, and their humor, leading them constantly to encroach upon and quarrel with each other, they involve all that are under them in the mischiefs thereof; and many thousands are they which yearly perish by it; so that it may almost raise a doubt, whether the benefit which the world receives from government be sufficient to make amends for the calamities which it suffers from the follies, mistakes, and real-administrations of those that manage it."
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