« PreviousContinue »
CUSTOMS AND MANNERS OF THE EASTERN NATIONS,
THE JEWS, THEREIN ALLUDED TO.
COLLECTED FROM THE MOST
CELEBRATED TRAVELLERS, AND THE MOST EMINENT CRITICS.
As a due consideration of foreign testimonies and monuments often gives great light to what
AND SOLD BY
BUTTON, PATERNOSTER ROW; CONDER, BUCKLERSBURY; MATHEWS,
And the evening and the morning were the first day.
THE Mosaical method of computing days from sun
1 set to sun-set, and of reckoning by nights instead of days, prevailed amongst the polished Athenians. And from a similar custom of our Gothic ancestors, during their abode in the forests of Germany, words expressive of such a mode of calculation (such as fortnight, se’nnight) have been derived into our own language. The same custom, as we are informed by Cæsar, prevailed among the Celtic nations. “ All the Gauls,” says he, “ measure time, not by the number of days, but of nights. Accordingly they observe their birth-days, and the beginnings of months and years, in such a manner, as to cause the day to follow the night.”
No. 602.-iv. 3. Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.] “ To offer to the Deity the first-fruits of the tender herbage, springing up in the vernal season, and of the different kinds of grain and fruits matured by a warm sun, was the prac
tice of mankind in the infancy of the world. The earliest instance of these oblations on record is that of Cain, the eldest son of the first great husbandman, who, doubtless following paternal precedent, brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord; and of Abel, who also, to the sacred altar of God brought of the firstlings of his flock. The Jews, whose religious customs are, in many respects, similar to the Hindoos, in every age and period of their empire, inviolably consecrated to heaven, the first-fruits of their oil, their wine, and their wheat, and, by the divine institution, even whatsoover opened the womb, whether of man or beast, was sacred to the Lord. (Numb. xviii. 12.)
There was, according to Porphyry (De Abstinentia, p. 73.) a very curious and ancient festival, annually celebrated at Athens, to the honour of the Sun and Hours, which, in the simplicity of the offerings, remarkably resembled the practice of the first ages. During that festival, consecrated grass was carried about, in which the kernels of olives were wrapped up, together with figs, all kinds of pulse, oaken leaves, with acorns, and cakes composed of the meal of wheat and barley, heaped up in a pyramidal form, allusive to the sun-beams that ripened the grain, as well as to the fire in which they were finally consumed.” Maurice's Indian Antiquities, vol. v. p. 132. See also EUSEBIUS's Preparation for spreading the Gospel, b. i. p. 29. Eng. edit.
No. 603.-iv. 15. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain.] Among the laws attributed to Menu, the following appointment is a remarkable instance of coincidence with, if it cannot be admitted to have been derived from, the punishment of Cain. “ For violating the paternal bed, let the mark of a
**** •* be impressed on the forehead with a hot iron.
For drinking spirits, a vintner's flag:
Such is the ordinance of Menu." 66 Criminals, of all the classes, having performed an expiation, as ordained by law, shall not be marked on the forehead, but be condemned to pay the highest fine.”
No. 604.- viii. 11. And the dove came in to him in the evening, and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off.] The connection between Noah's dove and an olive leaf will not appear at all unnatural, if we consider what Dr. Chandler has related. He says, (Trav. in Asia Minor, p. 84.) that the olive groves are the principal places for shooting birds. And in the account of his travels in Greece, (p. 127.) he observes, that when the olive blackens, vast flights of doves, pigeons, thrushes, and other birds repair to the olive groves for food. See also Hasselquist, p. 212.
HARMER, vol. iv. p. 191.
No. 605.-xii. 7. There builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.] The patriarchs took care to preserve the memory of considerable events by