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sed to infidelity before, may see, as he passes along, arguments enough to support his faith against such scruples.
"For it is obvious for any one to observe, that these rocks and hills must have been anciently covered with earth and cultivated, and made to contribute to the maintenance of the inhabitants, no less than if the country had been all plain, nay, perhaps much more; forasmuch as such a mountainous and uneven surface af fords a larger space of ground for cultivation, than this country would amount to if it were all reduced to a perfect level.
"For the husbanding of these mountains, their manner was to gather up the stones, and place them in several lines, along the sides of the hills in form of a wall. By such borders they sup ported the mould from tumbling or being washed down, and formed many beds of excellent soil, rising gradually one above another, from the bottom to the top of the mountains.
"Of this form of culture you see evident footsteps wherever you go, in all the mountains of Palestine. Thus the very rocks are made fruitful. And perhaps there is no spot of ground in this whole land that was not formerly improved to the production of something or other, ministering to the sustenance of human life. For than the plain countries nothing can be more fruitful, whether for the production of corn or cattle, and consequently of milk. The hills, though improper for all cattle except goats, yet being disposed into such beds as are before described, served very well to bear corn, melons, gourds, cucumbers, and such like garden. stuff, which makes the principal food of these for several months in the year. The most rocky parts of all, which could not well be adjusted in that manner for the production of corn, might yet serve for the production of vines and olive-trees, which delight to extract, the one its fatness, the other its sprightly juice, chiefly out of such dry and flinty places. And the great plain joining to the dead sea, which by reason of its saltness might be thought unserviceable both for cattle, corn, olives and vines, had yet its proper usefulness for the nourishment of bees, and for the fabric of honey; of which Josephus gives us his testimony, De Bell. Jud. lib. v. cap. 4. And I have reason to believe it, because when I was there, I perceived in many places a smell of honey and wax, as strong as if one had been in an apiary. Why then might not this country very well maintain the vast number of its inhabitants, being in every part so productive of either milk, corn, wine, oil or honey, which are the principal food of these eastern nations? the constitution of their bodies, and the nature of their clime, inclining them to a more abstemious diet than we use in England and other colder regions." Thus far Mr Maundrell. II. Dr Shaw, in his Travels, gives the following account of the soil of Palestine.
Page 336.The soil both of the maritime and inland parts of
Syria and Phoenice, is of a light loamy nature, little different from that of Barbary, and rarely requires more than one pair of beeves to plow it." A little after he adds, "The Holy land, were it as well inhabited and cultivated as formerly, would still be more fruitful than the very best part of the coast of Syria or Phoenice. For the soil itself is generally much richer, and all things considered, yields a more preferable crop. Thus the cotton that is gathered in the plains of Ramah, Esdraelon, and Zabulon, is in greater esteem than what is cultivated near Sidon and Tripoly; neither is it possible for pulse, wheat, or any sort of grain, to be richer or better tasted than what is commonly sold at Jerusalem. The barrenness, or scarcity rather, which some authors may either ignorantly or maliciously complain of, does not proceed from the incapacity, or natural unfruitfulness of the country, but from the want of inhabitants, and from the great aversion likewise there is to labour and industry in those few who possess it. There are besides, such perpetual discords and depredations among the petty princes who share this fine country, that allowing it was better peopled, yet there would be small encouragement to sow, when it was uncertain who should gather in the harvest. Otherwise the land is a good land, and still capable of affording its neighbours the like supplies of corn and oil, which it is known to have done in the time of Solomon; see 1 Kings v. 11.
"The parts particularly about Jerusalem, as they have been described to be, and indeed as they actually are, rocky and mountainous, have been therefore supposed to be barren and unfruitful. Yet granting this conclusion, which however is fat from being just, a kingdom is not to be denominated barren or unfruitful from one single portion of it, but from the whole. And besides, the blessing that was given to Judah, was not of the same kind with the blessing of Asher or of Issachar, that "his bread should be fat, or his land should be pleasant, but that his eyes should be red with wine, and his teeth should be white with milk," Gen. lxix. 12. Moses also maketh milk and honey (the chief dainties and subsistence of the earlier ages, as they still continue to be of the Bedoween Arabs) to be the glory of all lands; all which productions are either actually enjoyed, or at
* Moses indeed often mentions it as one of the excellencies of the land of Canaan, that it flowed with milk and honey; but he no where, as far as I remember, calls milk and honey the glory of all lands. We find the expression, Ezek. xx. 6. "In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt, into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands." However, it is not certain whether the clause, which is the glory of all lands, should be referred to the words milk and honey alone, or to the clause, a land flowing with milk and honey. According to the latter construction, the land flowing with milk and honey, the land of Canaan, is called the glory of all landi, See also ver. 15.
least might be obtained by proper care and application. The plenty of wine alone is wanting at present; yet from the goodness of that little which is still made at Jerusalem and Hebron, we find that these barren rocks (as they are called) would yield a much greater quantity if the abstemious Turk and Arab should permit the vine to be farther propagated and improved.
"Wild honey, which was part of St John Baptist's food in the wilderness, may insinuate to us the great plenty of it in those deserts; and that consequently by taking the hint from nature, and enticing the bees into hives and larger colonies, a much greater increase might be made of it. Accordingly Josephus, Bell. Jud. lib. v. cap. 4. calls Jericho, μeitergopor xwear. We find moreover that wild honey was often mentioned in Scripture. "And all they of the land came to a wood, and there was honey upon the ground; and when the people were come to the wood, behold the honey dropped," 1 Sam. xiv. 25, 26." He made him to suck honey out of the rock," Deut. xxxii. 14. " With honey out of the stony rock have I satisfied thee," Psalm lxxxi. 16. Diodorus Siculus, lib. xix. speaks of the mλygio that dropped from bees; which some have taken parhaps too hastily for a honey-dew only or some liquid kind of manna. Whereas bees are known to swarm as well in the hollow trunks and in the branches of trees as in the clefts of rocks; honey therefore may be equally expected from both places." See the note, § 14.
"As the mountains likewise of this country abound in some places with thyme, rosemary, sage, and aromatic plants of the like nature, which the bee chiefly looks after, so they are no less stocked in others with shrubs and a delicate short grass, which the cattle are more fond of than of such as is common to fallow ground and meadows. Neither is the grazing and feeding of cattle peculiar to Judea. It is still practised all over Mount Libanus, the Castravan mountains, and Barbary, where the higher grounds are appropriated to this use, as the plains and valleys are reserved for tillage. For besides the good management and economy, there is this farther advantage in it, that the milk of cattle fed in this manner, is far more rich and delicious, at the same time their flesh is more sweet and nourishing.
"But even laying aside the profits that might arise from grazing, by the sale of butter, milk, wool, and the great number of cattle that were to be daily disposed of, particularly at Jerusalem for common food and sacrifices, these mountainous districts would be highly valuable, even upon other considerations, especially if they were planted with olive-trees, one acre of which is of more value than twice the extent of arable ground. It may be presumed likewise that the vine was not neglected in a soil and exposition so proper for it to thrive in; but, indeed, as it is not of so durable a nature as the olive-tree, and requires moreover a continual
tinual culture and attendance, the scruple likewise which the Mahometans entertain, of propagating a fruit that may be applied to purposes forbidden by their religion, are reasons, perhaps, why there are not many tokens to be met with, except at Jerusalem and Hebron, of the ancient vineyards. Whereas the general benefit arising from the olive-tree, the longevity and hardiness of it, have continued down to this time several thousands of them together, to mark out to us the possibility, as they are undoubtedly the traces of greater plantations. Now if to these productions we join several large plats of arable ground, that lie scattered all over the valleys and windings of the mountains of Judah and Benjamin, we shall find that the lot (even of these tribes which are supposed to have had the most barren part of the country) fell to them in a fair ground, and that theirs was a goodly heritage.
"The mountainous parts therefore of the Holy Land were so far from being inhospitable, unfruitful, or the refuse of the land of Canaan, that in the division of this country, the mountain of Hebron was granted to Caleb as a particular favour, Josh. xiv. 12. We read likewise that in the time of Asa, this hill-country of Judah, 2 Chron. xiv. 8. mustered five hundred and eighty thousand men of valour; an argument beyond dispute that the land was able to maintain them. Even at present, notwithstanding the want there has been for many ages of a proper culture and im provement, yet the plains and valleys, though as fruitful as ever, lie almost entirely neglected, whilst every little hill is crowded with inhabitants. If this part therefore of the Holy Land was made up only, as some object, of naked rocks and precipices, how comes it to pass, that it should be more frequented than the plains of Esdraelon, Ramah, Zabulon, or Acre, which are all of them very delightful and fertile beyond imagination? It cannot be urged that the inhabitants live with more safety here than in the plain country; inasmuch as there are neither walls nor fortifications to secure their villages or encampments; there are like wise few or no places of difficult access, so that both of them lie equally exposed to the insults and outrages of an enemy. But the reason is plain and obvious; inasmuch as they find here sufficient conveniences for themselves, and much greater for their cattle. For they themselves have here bread to the full, whilst their cattle brouze upon richer herbage, and both of them are re freshed by springs of excellent water, too much wanted especially in the summer season, not only in the plains of this, but of other countries in the same climate. This fertility of the Holy Land, which I have been describing is confirmed from authors of great repute, whose partiality cannot in the least be suspected in this account. Thus Tacitus, lib. v. cap. 6. calls it uber solum.
And Justin, Hist. lib. xxxvi. cap. 3. Sed non minor loci ejus apricitatis quam ubertatis admiratio est."
An account of the mountains and plains in Judea, see in the note on Luke iii. 3. § 14. An account of Perea, see in the note on John x. 40. An account of the country about Jericho, see in the first note of § 107. An account of Galilee, see in the note on Luke i. 26. § 4. An account of Idumea, see in the note on Mark iii. 8. § 47. An account of Samaria, see in the note on Jewish Antiquities, disc. iii.
Of the Climate and Vegetables of Syria.
I. Of the climate and vegetables of Syria, Dr Shaw gives the following account.
Travels, p. 335. "The first rains in these countries usually fall about the beginning of November, the latter sometimes in the middle, sometimes towards the end of April. It is an observation at or near Jerusalem, that, provided a moderate quantity of snow falls in the beginning of February, whereby the fountains are made to flow a little afterwards, there is the prospect of a fruitful and plentiful year; the inhabitants making upon these occasions, the like rejoicings with the Egyptians upon the cutting of the Nile. But during the summer season, these countries are rarely refreshed with rain, enjoying the like serenity of air that has been mentioned in Barbary.
"Barley, all over the Holy Land, was in full ear in the beginning of April, and about the middle of the month it began to turn yellow, particularly in the southern districts, being as forward near Jericho (see for a description of the country around Jericho, the note on § 107.) in the latter end of March, as it was in the plains of Acre, a fortnight afterwards. But wheat was
very little of it in ear at one or other of those places; and in the fields near Bethlehem and Jerusalem, the stalk was little more than a foot high. The boccores likewise, or first ripe figs, were hard, and no bigger than common plumbs; though they have then a method of making them soft and palatable, by steeping them in oil. According therefore to the quality of the season, in the year 1722, the first fruits could not have been offered at the time appointed; and would therefore have required the intercalating of the (718) veadar, and postponing thereby the passover, for at least the space of a month."
Page 336. "Though the corn which is produced near Latikea, is the best and the most early of that part of Syria, yet of late the inhabitants have neglected this branch of husbandry, together with that of the vine, for both which it was formerly famous, and employ themselves chiefly in the more profitable culVOL. I.