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vith his was to ler e fitstrands is
bread and drinking water which is the reasoni that the word bread is generally taken in Scrip ture for all sorts of victuals. They broke their bread without ćufting it, because they made use of none but small, long, taper rolls, ás is still done in several countries. The first favour that Boaz shewed Ruth, was to let her drink of the same water with his young men, and come and eat with them, and dip her morsel in the vinegar :* and we see, by the compliments she made in return, that this was no small favour. "
We may judge of their most commory provi: sions by the refreshment David received at different times from Abigail, Ziba, and Barzillai, änd by what was brought to him at Hebron. The sorts there mentioned are bread and ioint, wheat and barley, flour of both, beans, lentiles, parched corn, raisins, dried figs, honey, butter, oil, sheep, oxen, and fat çalves. There is in this account a great deal of corn and pulse, which was also the most common food of the antient Egyptians, and of the Romans in the best times, when they gave themselves mosk tó husbandry: Hence came the illustrious names of Fabius, Piso, Cicero, and Lentulus.f The advice of the Wise Man shew's the use the Israelites made of milk. Take care; says he; that thore have goat's milk enough for thy food; for the food of thy household, and for maintenance to thy matdens. $
Though it was låwful to eat fish; I do not find that it is mentioned till the later times.
Indee there was nooney. They coastry. In
It is believed the antients despised it, as too dainty and light food for robust men.* Neither does. Homer speak of it, or the Greeks, in what they write relating to the heroic times. We hear but little of sauces, or high-seasoned dishes, among the Hebrews. Their feasts consisted of substantial well-fed meat; and they reckoned milk and honey their greatest dainties. Indeed, before sugar was brought from the Indies, there was nothing known more agreeable to the taste than honey. They preserved fruits in it, and mixed it in the nicest pastry, Instead of milk, they often mention butter, that is, cream, which is the finest part of it. The offerings prescribed by the law shew, that, ever since the time of Moses, they had divers sorts of pastry,t some kneaded with oil, others without it..
And here we must not omit the distinction of meats allowed or forbidden by the law. It was not peculiar to the Hebrews to abstain from certain animals out of a religious principle; the neighbouring people did the same. Neither the Syrians nor Egyptians ate any fish; and some have thought it was superstition that made the antient Greeks not eat it. The Egyptians of Thebes would eat no mutton, because they worshipped Ammon under the shape of a ram :f but they killed goats. In other places they abstained from goats' flesh, and sacrificed sheep. The Egyptian priests used no meat nor drink imported from foreign countries:ş and
as to the product of their own, besides fish, they abstained from beasts that have a round foot, or divided into several toes, or that have no horns; and birds that live upon flesh. Many would eat nothing that had life: and in the times of their purification they would not touch so much as eggs, herbs, or garden stuff. None of the Egyptians would eat beans.* They accounted swine unclean whoever touched one, though in passing by, washed himself and his clothes. Socrates, in his Commonwealth, reckons eating swine's flesh among the superfluous things introduced by luxury.t Indeed, they are of no use but for the table. Every body knows that the Indian Bramins still neither eat nor kill any sort of animal, and it is certain they have not done it for more than two thousand years. - The law of Moses then had nothing new or extraordinary in this point: the design of it was to keep the people within reasonable bounds, and to prevent their imitating the superstitions of some other nations, without Teaving them quite at liberty, which they might have made an ill use of. For this abstinence from particular sorts of meat contributed to the preservation both of their health and morals. It was not only to tame their untractable spirit that God imposed this yoke, but to wean them from things that might be prejudicial. They were forbidden to eat blood or fat: both are hard of digestion : and though strong working people, as the Israelites, might find less inconvenience from it than others, it was better to provide whole
some food for them, since it was a matter of option. Swine's flesh lies heavy upon the stomach, and affords a very gross species of nutriment: so do fish that have no scales. The solid part is fat and oily, whether it be tender, as that of eels, or hard, as that of tunny, whale, or others of the same kind. Thus we may easily account for most of these things being forbidden, as Clemens Alexandrinus has observed. * • As to the moral reasons, all sensible people have ever reckoned gluttony a vice that ought principally to be guarded against, as the beginning of most others. The Socratic philosophers strongly recommended temperance; and Plato despaired of reforming the manners of the Sicilians, so long as they atę troo great meals a-day: but had he lived in these latter times, how great mụst his astonishment have been, to find perşons, Christians, professing the utmost purity of manners and elevation of mind, feeding themselves four, yea six or seven times in the day! It is supposed, that what Pythagoras aimed at by enjoining abstinence, was to make men just and disinterested, in using themselves to live on a little. Now, one of the chief branches of gluttony is a desire of variety of dishes. Too much soon palls, but, as variety is infinitę, the desire after it is inşatiable. Tertullian comprehends all these reasons in the following passage: If the law takes away the use of some sorts of meat, and pronounces creatures unclean that were formerly held quite otherwise, let us consider that
* 2 Pæd. 1. Cassian. Instit. 5.
+ Plat. Ep. vii, in Init.
the design is to inure them to temperance, and look upon it as a restraint laid upon gluttons, who hankered after the cucumbers and melons of Egypt, whilst they were eating the food of angels. Let us consider it too as a remedy at the same time against excess and impurity, the usual attendants of gluttony. It was partly likewise to ertinguish the love of money, by taking away the pretence of its being necessary for providing of sustenance. It was, finally, to enable men to fast with less inconvenience upon religious occusions, by using them to a moderate and plain diet.
THE purifications prescribed by the law had the same foundation as the distinction of meats. The neighbouring people practised some of the like nature: among others the Egyptians, whose priests shaved off all their hair every three days, and washed their bodies all over twice in the night, and two or three times a day.* The legal purifications of the Israelites were of advantage in preserving both their health and morals. The cleanness of the body is a symbol of the purity of soul: which is the reason that some devout people have affected to be dirty, to make themselves more despicable,
* Herod. l. ii. Porphyr. de Abstin.