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King, and dwelt in his gardens. Aļl this thews the respect " that was paid to famous mechanics, and the care that was s taken to preserve their memory. The prophet Isaiah, a
mongst his menaces against Jerusalem, foretells, that God “ will take away from her the cunning artificers : and when it
was taken, it is often faid, that they carried away the very « workmen. But we have a proof from Ezekiel, that they s never had any considerable manufactures, when the pro
phet, describing the abundance of their merchandize which
came to Tyre, mentions nothing brought from the land of — Judah and Ifrael, but wheat, oil, resin, and balm, all of
them commodities that the earth itself produced. These were the employments of the Ifraelites, and their manner of subsisting.'
The Abbé now proceeds to describe the apparel of the Ifraelites, their houfes, their furniture, their food, their purifications, &c.
Their marriages and women fall next under consideration and here we are told, that, in the manner the Israelites lived, marriage was no incumbrance to them, but rather a convenience. The women were laborious as well as the men; wrought in the house, whilst their husbands were at work in the fields; dressed the victuals, and served them up, and commonly employed themselves in weaving Ituffs, and making wearing apparel.
• The Itraclites,' continues the Abbé, made great feasts and rejoicings at their weddings. They were so dresied out, that David could find no fitter comparison, to describe the fplendor of the sun by, than that of a bridegroom. The feast
laited seven days; which we see as early as the times of the A Patriarchs. When Jacob complained, that they had given
him Leah for Rachael, Laban said to him, fulfil the week of the marriage. Samson having married a Philiftine, made feasts for seven days, and the seventh day the feast ended. When young Tobias had a mind to go home, his father-in
law preiled him to stay two weeks, doubling the usual time, (because they were never to see one another again. It is
the constant tradition of the Jews, and their practice is
agreeable to it. Whoever thoroughly studies the song of « Solomon, will find seven days plainly pointed out, to repre& fent the first week of his marriage,
• We fee in the same song, the friends of the bridegroom, cand the companions of the bride, who were always at the
feast. He had young men to rejoice with him, and the young women, In the gospel there is mention made of the
s bridegroom's friends, and of the virgins who went fòrth to 4 meet the bride and bridegroom." He wore a crown in token 6 of joy, and the too, saccording to the Jewish tradition,
They were conducted with instruments of music, and their * company carried branches of myrtle and palm-tree im © their hands.
lyndi. As for any thing farther, we do not find that their mara ! riages were attended with any religious ceremony, except * the prayers of the father of the family, and the standers by,
to beg the blessing of God. We have examples of it in the
marriage of Rebecca with Isaac, of Ruth with Boaz, and % of Sara with Tobias. We do not fee that there were any • facrifices offered upon the occasion, that they went to the
Temple, or sent for the priests ;* all was transacted between & the relations and friends. So that it was no more than a civil contract.'
The Abbé now comes to treat of the education of their children, their exercises and studies; and here he tells us, that the education of children seems to have been very nearly the fame amongst the Ifraelites, as that of the Egyptians, and moft antient Greeks. They formed their bodies by labour and exercise, and their minds by letters and music. Strength of body was greatly esteemed amongst them, but they did not make the exercise of the body their main business, like the Greeks, who reduced it to a profession, and kudied the greatest improvements in it. They contented themfelves with labouring in the field, and fome military exercises, as the Romans did. Nor had they occafion for hard studies to improve their minds, if by ftudy be meant, the reading of many books, and the knowlege of several languages; for they despised learning foreign languages, because that was as much in the power of flaves, as those of higher rank.
It is not at all probable, our Author fays, that the Israelites Audied the books of foreigners, from whom they were so careful to separate themselves. This study might have been dangerous'; since it would have taught them the impious and extravagant fables, of which the theology of idolators was com. posed.
c. The Ifraelites,' continues he, were the only people that related truths to their children; capable of inspiring them
with the fear and love of God, and exciting them to virtue. 4 All their traditions were noble and useful. Not but they + made ufe of parables, -and riddles, besides simple narrations,
to teach truths of great importance, especially to morality. " It was a practice among the ingenious, to propound riddies
" to one another, as we see by the instances of Samson and " the Queen of Sheba. The Greeks tell us the same things c of their first sages. They made use too of these fables, as
Ælop did, the fietion of which is so plain, that it can ima pole upon no body. We have two of them in scripture, Jotham's, the son of Gideon, and that of Joalh, King of Israel. But the chief use of allegories, and a figurative way of speaking, was to comprehend the maxims of morality in few words, and under agreeable images, that children might learn them more easily; and such are the parables or proverbs, of which the fapiential books of Scripture are a collection.
These parables are commonly exprefsed in verse, and the verses were made to be sung; for which reason, I believe,
the Israelites learned mufic too. I judge of them by the • Greeks, who had all their learning and politeness from the ' eastern people. Now it is certain, that the Greeks taught
their children both to fing and play upon instruments. " This study is the most antient of all others. Before the use
of letters, the memory of great a&tions was preserved by songs. The Gauls and Germans retained the same custom in the times of the Romans, and it is well preserved amongst the people of America. · Tho' the Hebrews had letters, they knew that words in measure, and set to a tune, were always beit remembered ; and from thence proceeded that great care which they al
ways took to compose fongs upon any important event that ' had happened to them ; such are thole two songs of Moses,
one at passing through the Red Sea, the other when he died, to recommend the observation of the law. Such likewise is that of Deborah, that of Samuel's mother, and many others;
but, above all, the psalms of David. These poems are won• derfully instructive, full of the praises of God, the remem
brance of his loving kindness, besides moral precepts, and 6 such sentiments as a good man ought to have in every fta$tion of life. Thus the most important truths, and exalted
notions were agreeably instilled into the minds of children, by poetry set to music.-
After considering briefly the politeness of the Israelites, their pleasures, mournings, funerals; our Author proceeds to treat of their religion., . He observes, that some religious truths were revealed to them clearly, whilst others were still obscure, tho' they were already revealed. What they knew diftinétly, he says, was this: that there is but one God; that he governs all things by his providence; that there is no trust to be put
in any but him, nor good to be expected from any one else; that he sees every thing, even the secrets of the heart; that he influences the will by his inward operation, and turns it as he pleafes; that all men are born in sin, and naturally inclined to evil; that, however, they may do good by God's assistance; they are free, and have the choice of doing good or evil; that God is strictly juft, and punishes or rewards according to merits that he is full of mercy and compassion, for those that sincerely repent of their fins; that he judges the actions of all men after their death; that the soul is immortal, and that there is another life.
They knew besides, we are told, that God, out of his mere love and kindness, had chosen them from among all mankind, to be his faithful people; that from them, of the tribe of Judah, and the family of David, would be born a Saviour, that should deliver them from all their hardships, and bring them to the knowlege of the true God. The truths they were taught more obscurely, were, it is said, that in God there are three perfons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; that the Saviour they expected should be God, and the Son of God; that he should be God and man at the same time; that God would not give men bis grace, and the affirtance necessary to perform his law, but through this Saviour, and upon account of his merits; that he should suffer death, to expiate the fins of mankind; that his kingdom should be altogether fpiritual; that all men shall rise again; that in another life, there shall be a just reward for the good, and punishment for the wicked.
Whether the creed of the Ifraelites was so extensive as our Author makes it, or not, we shall not stop here to enquire; but proceed to give some account of what the Abbé lays of their idolatry. Their propensity to idolatry, he observes, appears to us very strange and absurd, and has given occasion to many persons to look upon them as a brutish and unpolished people. The existence of one intelligent and independent Being is now almost universally acknowleged, and thence we conclude, that such as believed more Gods than one, and worshipped pieces of wood and stone, ought to be accounted the'moft ignorant of mankind, and indeed perfect Barbarians. But, as the Abbé observes, we cannot call the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Romans, and other nations of antiquity, ignorant and barbarian, from whom all the polite arts have been handed down to us; and yet idolatry prevailed amongst them in the most absolute manner, at the very time when they had carried the polite arts to the highest degree of perfection.
This leads him to enquire a little into the source of this evil : part of what he says is as follows:
"The mind of man is so overcast since the fall, that while <he continues in the state of corrupted nature, he has no
notion of spiritual things; he thinks of nothing but matter
and corporeal subjects, and makes light of whatsoever does ( not fall within the compass of his senses;, nor does any thing
appear even substantial to him, but what strikes the groffeft o of them, the taste and touch: we see it too plainly in chil
dren and men that are guided by their pasions, they make no account of any thing but what they can see and feel ; every thing else they look upon as castles in the air. Yet
these men are brought up in the true religion, in the know« lege of God, the immortality of the soul, and a future < ftate. What sentiments had the ancient Gentiles, who ne<ver heard these things mentioned, and had only objects of (sense and matter laid before them by their wiseft men ? We
may read Homer, the great divine and prophet of the • Greeks, as long as we please; we shall not find there the Ć least hint that can induce us to imagine he had any
notion of things spiritual and incorporeal.
All mankind had preferved a constant tradition, that there was a nature more excellent than the human, capable of do+ ing them good or harm; and being acquainted with none
but corporeal Beings, they would persuade themselves, that this nature, that is, the Divinity, was so too: and consequently, that there were many Gods, that every part of the
creation might have some, and that each nation, city, and « family, had Deities peculiar to themselves. They fancied
they were immortal, and to make them happy, attributed
to them all sorts of pleasures, (without which they thought < there could be no true felicity) and even the most shamefud
debauches: which afterwards again served to countenance their own pasions, by the example of their Gods. They were not content with imagining them either in heaven or upon
earth ; they must see them and touch them : for which reason, they honoured idols as much as the Gods themselves, conceiving that they were united and incorporated with them: and they honoured these statues so much the more
for their beauty, or antiquity, or any other fingularly they < had to recommend them.
· Their worship was of a piece with their belief. It was wholly founded upon two passions, the love of pleasure, and
the fear of coming to any outward harm.-Their religion " then was not a doctrine of morality, like the true religion;