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less, that he was influenced by the holy Spirit to record these facts, rather than others, and express them in terms most proper for the purpose.
Besides, the Patriarchs took care to preserve the memory of considerable events by setting up altars and pillars, and other lasting monuments. Thus, Abraham erected altars in divers places where God had appeared to him*. Jacob consecrated the stone which served him for a pillow while he had the mysterious dream of the laddert; and the heap of stones, which was witness to his covenant with Laban, he called Galeed I. Of this kind was the sepulchre of Rachel, the well called Beershebas, and all the other wells'mentioned in the his tory of Isaac. Sometimes they gave new names to places. The Greeks and Romans relate the same of their heroes, the oldest of whom lived near the times of the Patriarchs |I. Greece was full of their monuments: Æneas, to mention no others, left some in every place that he passed through in Greece, Sicily, and Italy.
The very names of the Patriarchs were besides a sort of more simple and familiar monuments. They signified some remarkable circumstance of their birth, or particular favour received from God. So they were in effect a short history. For they took care to explain the reason of these names to their children, and it was hardly possible to pronounce them * Gen. xii. 7. xiii. 18. +Gen. xxviii. 18. #Gen. xxxi. 49. § Gen. xxvi. 33. | Pausan. Dion. Hal. lib. iii. Virgil. Æn. passim.
without without refreshing the memory with it. This care for posterity, and providence for the future, was an argument of true generosity and greatness of mind.
The Patriarchs enjoyed perfect freedom, and their family was a little state, of which the father was, in a manner, king. For what did Abraham want of the power of sovereigns, but their vain titles and inconvenient ceremonies? He was subject to nobody; kings concluded alliances with him : he made war and peace when he pleased. Princes sought the alliance of Isaac *. Ishmael, Jacob, and Esau, were likewise independent. We must not then suffer ourselves to be misled by names, nor think Abraham inferior to Amraphel or Abimelech, because the Scripture does not call him king as well as them. He was certainly equal to one of those four kings, whom he defeated with his domestic forces, and the assistance of his three alliest. The greatest difference was, that he did not shut himself up within walls as they did, and that his whole family followed him to any place whither he had a mind to move his tents. All authentic history testifies that kingdoms were very small, even in the east, at that time of day; and we find them so in other countries a great while after.
THE riches of the Patriarchs consisted chiefly in cattle. Abraham must have had a vast stock, when he was obliged to part from his nephew Lot, because the land was not able to bear them together*. Jacob had a great number when he came back from Mesopotamia; since the present that he made to his brother Esau was five hundred and eighty head of cattle of different sorts f. From which we may likewise learn what sort of beasts they bred, viz. goats, sheep, camels, horned cattle, and asses. There were no horses or swine among them. It was such plenty of cattle which made them set so great a value upon wells and cisterns, in a country where there was no river but Jordan, and rain very seldom. :'
They had slaves too: and Abraham must have had abundance of them, since he armed three hundred and eighteen men of those that were born in his house and trained up by himself f. In proportion, he must have had plenty of children, old men, women, and slaves that were bought with money. When he returned from Egypt, it is said he was rich in gold and silverll. The bracelets and ear-rings, which his servant Eliezer made a present of to Rebecca from his master, weighed six ounces of
gold *; and the purchase of his burying-place shews that money was in use at that time f. We see likewise by Esau's clothes, which Jacob wore to obtain his father's blessing, that perfumes and costly raiments were made use ofI.
With all their riches they were very laborious, always in the field, lying under tents, shifting their abode according to the convenience of pasture, and consequently often taken up with encamping and decamping, and frequently upon the march: for they could make but short days journeys with so numerous an attendance. Not but that they might have built towns as well as their countrymen; but they chose this way of living. It is without doubt the inost antient, since it is easier to set up tents than to build houses; and has always been reckoned the most perfect, as engaging men less to this world. So too is best represented the condition of the Patriarchs, who lived here only as sojourners waiting for the promises of Gods, which were not to be accomplished till after their death. The first cities that are mentioned were built by wicked menll. Cain and Nimrod were the first that erected walls and fortifications to secure themselves from the punishment due to their crimes, and to give them an opportunity of committing fresh ones with impunity. Good men lived in the open air, without being afraid of any thing.
The chief employment of the Patriarchs was
* Gen. xxiv. 22. + Gen. xxiii. 16. Gen. xxvii. 27. § Heb. xi. 9. Gen. iv. 17. x. 10.
the care of their cattle: their whole history shews it, and the plain account which the sons of Jacob gave of themselves to the king of Egypt*. Though husbandry be very antient, the pastoral life is the more perfect. The first was the lot of Cain, the other of Abel. It has something in it more simple and noble, it is less laborious, attaches one less to the world, and yet more profitable. Old Catot preferred a stock of cattle, though but a moderate one, to tillage, which yet he thought better than any other way of improving his fortune. · The just reprimand which Jacob gave to Laban, shews that the patriarchs laboured hard. at their work, and did not spare themselves at all: I have served thée twenty years, says he, in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from mine eyes I. One may judge of the men's laborious way of living by that of the young women. Rebecca came a good way off to draw water, and carried it upon her shoulders $; and Rachel herself kept her father's flock|l. Neither their nobility nor beauty made them so delicate as to scruple it, This primeval simplicity was long retained amongst the Greeks, whose good breeding we yet admire with so much reason. Homer affords us examples of it throughout his works, and Pastorals have no other foundation. It is certain, that in Syria, Greece, and Sicily, there were persons of eminence who made it their sole occupation to breed cattle for more than one
* Gen. xlvii. 3. t De Re Rustic. in Init. Gen. xxxi. 40. § Gen. xxiv. 15. Gen. xxix. 9.