Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

tabernacle,* where it was hung up for a lasting monument of his victory. This makes me think there were no arms to be bought. · It seems likewise as if there was no bread sold; since, upon the same occasion, Abimelech the priest was reduced to give David the shewbread: which intimates moreover, that the people kept but little bread in their houses, it may be, upon account of the country's being so hot. So the witch, to whom Saul went, made him bread on purpose when she entertained him, that he might recover his strength. Every one had an oven in his own house, since the law threatens them, as with a great misfortune, that ten women should bake their bread at one oven.Í At Rome there were no bakers till five hundred and eighty years after the foudation of the city.ş . · Were we to reckon up all trades particularly, it would appear that many would have been of ho use to them. Their plain way of living, and the mildness of the climate, made that long train of conveniences unnecessary, which we think it hard to be without, though vanity and effeminacy, more than real want, have introduced them. And as to things that were absolutely nécessary, there were few of them that they did not know how to make themselves, All sorts of food were cooked within doors. The women made bread and prepared the victuáls, they spun wool, made stuffs and wearing apparel : the men took care of the rest. .

[ocr errors][merged small]

Homer describes old Eumæus making his own shoes, and says, that he had built fine stalls for the cattle he bred.* Ulysses himself built his own house, and set up his bed with great art, the structure of which served to make him known to Penelope again.“ When he left Calypso, it was he alone that built and rigged the ship; from all which we see the spirit of these

antient times. I It was esteemed an honour to · understand the making of every thing necessary

for life one's self, without any dependence upon others, and it is that which Homer most commonly calls. wisdom and knowledge. Now, I must say, the authority of Homer appears to me very great in this case. As he lived about the time of the prophet Elijah, and in Asia Minor, all the accounts that he gives of the Greek and Trojan customs, have a wonderful resemblance with what the Scripture informs us of concerning the manners of the Hebrews and other eastern people : only the Greeks, not being so antient, were not so polite. . But, however it might be in former times, we are sure that David left a great number of artificers in his kingdom of all sorts; masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, goldsmiths, and indeed all such as work in stone, wood, and metals.ll And that we may not think they were strangers, it is said that Solomon chose out of Israel thirty thousand workmen, and that he had eighty thousand hewers in the mountains. It is true, he

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

borrowed workmen of the king of Tyre,* and owned that his subjects did not understand cutting wood so well as the Sidonians, and that he sent for Hiram, an excellent founder, to make the sacred vessels.

But luxury increasing after the division of the two kingdoms, there is reason to believe they had always plenty of workmen. In the genealogy of the tribe of Judah, we may observe, there is a place called the valley of craftsmen,t because, says the Scripture, they dwelt there. There is likewise mention made in the same place, of people that wrought fine linen, and of potters, who worked for the king, and dwelt in his gardens. All this shews the respect that was paid to famous mechanics, and the care that was taken to preserve their memory. - The prophet Isaiah, amongst his menaces against Jerusalem, foretells, that God will take away from her the cunning artificers :f and when it was taken, it is often said, that they carried away the very workmen.$ But we have a proof from Ezekiel, that they never had any considerable manufactures, when the prophet, describing the abundance of their merchandise which came to Tyre, mentions nothing brought from the land of Judah and Israel, but wheat, oil, resin, and balm ;ll all of them commodities that the earth itself produced.

These were the employments of the Israelites, and their manner of subsisting. Let us now come to something more particular, and de

* 1 Kings vii. 13.
§ 2 Kings xxiv. 14.

fi Chron. iv. 14.
|| Ezek. xxvii. 17.

Isaiah iï. 3,

scribe their apparel, their houses, furniture, food, and whole manner of living, as exactly as we can. They rose early, as the Scripture observes in a great number of places, that is, as often as it mentions any action, though never so inconsiderable. Hence it comes, that, in their stile, to rise early signifies, in general, to do a thing sedulously, and with a good will: thus it is frequently said, that God rose up early to send the prophets to his people, and exhort them to repentance.* It is a consequence of country labour, The Greeks and Romans followed the same custom: they rose very early, and worked till night: they bathed, supped, and went to bed in good time.

CHAP, VI.

Their Wearing Apparel. As to the Clothes of the Israelites, we cannot know exactly the shape of them. They had no pictures or statues, and there is no coming at a right notion of these things without seeing them. But one may give a guess at them, from the statues which remain of the Greeks and other nations : for as to modern pictures, most of them serve only to give us false ideas. I do not speak only of those Gothic paintings, in which every person, let him have lived where

* 2 Chron. xxxvi. 15. Jerem, vii. 13. xi. 7. xxxv. 14.

[blocks in formation]

and when he would, is dressed like those the painter was used to see; that is, as the French or Germans were some · hundred years ago: I mean the works of the greatest painters, except Raphael, Poussin, and some few others that have thoroughly studied the manner or costume of each age, as they call it. All the rest have had no more sense than to paint the people of the east, such as they saw at Venice, or other ports of Italy: and for the stories of the New Testament, the Jews like those of their own country. However, as most Scripture painting is copied from these originals, we have taken the impression of it from our infancy, and are used to form to ourselves an idea of the Patriarchs with turbans, and beards down to their waist, and of the Pharisees in the Gospel with hoods and pouches. There is no great matter in being deceived in all this, but it is better not to be deceived, it possible.

The antients commonly wore long garments, as most nations in the world still do; and as we ourselves did in Europe not above two hun: dred years ago. One may much sooner cover the whole body all at once, than each part of it singly; and long garments have more dignity and gracefulness. In hot countries they always wore a wide dress, and never concerned themselves, about covering the arms or legs, or wore any thing upon the feet, but soles fastened in different ways. Thus their dress took but litr tle making: it was only a large piece of cloth shaped into a garment; there was nothing to cut, and not much, to sew, They had likewise the art of weaving gowns with sleeves all of one

« PoprzedniaDalej »