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and artificers of God is to be repaired again, albeit sent in great sharpness of time: we see it now come to pass. Which being so, let us therefore, comparing time with time, look well to the matter every man what he hath to do. Such as be builders may take example of those good builders there, of whom we read, that with one hand they builded and with the other they held their weapon, that is, the spiritual sword of God's word to keep off the enemy. Such workmen the Lord send into his vineyard to be diligent labourers, not loiterers; not brawlers, but builders, labouring and working, not with one hand, but with both hands occupied. And likewise upon these labourers the Lord send good overseers, such as this good Nehemiah; who, not regarding his own private charges and expences, bestowed all his care in tendering and setting forward the erection of the Lord's house, to encourage the workmen, to provide for their necessities, to defend them from enemies, to keep them in good order from strife and variance. For as every good building there best goeth forward, when the workmen in one consent join themselves together; so contrariwise, nothing more hindereth the setting up of any work, as when the workmen are divided among themselves. Albeit during the time of Nehemiah we find no great stirs among the people; or if there were any, it was soon composed by the wise handling of that good governor, as in the fifth chapter may appear. Wherefore for the better example to be taken of those distressed days, I thought it not amiss, in this so dangerous building up of Christ's church in the perilous latter times, this treatise of Nehemiah, compiled by the right reverend and famous prelate, M. James Pilkington, of blessed memory, to be published and commended to Christian readers; whereby all good labourers and overseers of Christ his church may receive some fruitful advertisement to consider in these so great affairs of the Lord his business, what is to be done and looked unto.
THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH.
Benigme fac, Domine, in bona voluntate tua Sion, ut aedificentur muri Jerusalem.
Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.
Non moriar, sed vivam et narrabo opera DownNI.
THE ARGUMENT UNPERFECT, AND SO MUCH THEREOF As WAS FOUND IS HERE PUT DOWN. AND because both the books of Ezra and Nehemiah entreat only of such things as were done under the kings of Persia, which few other parts of the scripture do; it is not amiss something to touch the manner of living and behaviour both of the kings, people, and nature of the country, that thereby things may better be understood; as Strabo in his book, Leovicius in his Varia Historia, and others have left them in writing. Susia was that part of the country which lay towards Babylon, wherein was also the chief city Susa, which was like in building unto Babylon. These were a quiet people, never rebellious, and therefore kings loved it the better; and Cyrus was the first that made his chiefest abode there. Other houses the king had, which were strong and costly, and where their treasure was kept. At Susis they lay in winter, at Ecbatana in summer, at Persepolis in harvest, in the spring at Babylon: Pagasabia, Gabis, and other houses were not neglected, although destroyed with the kingdom shortly after by Alexander Magnus. The riches of the kings were great; for when all was brought to Ecbatana, men report that there were 180 talents. This country of Susia was so fruitful, that their barley and wheat would bring forth an hundredfold or two hundred as much as was sown. Their kings be of one kindred; and whosoever obeyeth not, he hath his head and arm cut off and cast away. They
marry many wives and keep many harlots. The kings yearly give rewards to them that have gotten most sons. The children come not in their father's sight before they be four years old. Their marriages are made in March. From five years old unto fourteen they learn to shoot, pick darts, ride, and chiefly to speak truth. Their schoolmasters be men most sober, applying all things to the profit of their scholars. They call their scholars together afore day by ringing of a bell, as though they should go to war or to hunt. They make one of the king's sons their ruler, or some great men over fifty in a band; and command them to follow their captain thirty or forty furlongs, when he runneth afore them. They ask account of those things that they have learned, exercising their voice, breath, and sides to heat, cold, rain, and passing of rivers. They teach them to keep their armour and clothes dry, and to feed and live hardly like husbandmen, eating wild fruits, as acorns and crabs. Their daily meat after their exercise is very hard bread, cardanum, salt, and flesh roasted. Their drink is water. They hunt on horseback with picking their darts, shooting their shafts, or casting with their sling. In the forenoon they are exercised with planting of trees or digging up the roots, or make harness, or apply themselves to working of line, or making of nets. The kings give rewards to those that get the best game at running and other games, which they use every five year. They bear office and play the soldiers on foot and horse, from twenty years old unto fifty. They be armed with a shield made like a diamond. Besides their quiver they have their crooked faulchion and daggers; upon their head a steeple cap, upon their breast a coat of plate. Their princes have their breeches triple-fold, and a coat with wide sleeves lined with white inside' to the knee, and the
[ The old edition reads, and syde to the knee. But the passage in Strabo, which is here translated, is: xitov 8é xepièards in Aous tes
outside coloured. Their apparel in summer" is purple, or else of divers colours; in winter of divers colours. Their caps like unto the mitres of their soothsayers; their shoes high and double. The common sort wear a lined coat to the mid-leg, and about their head a roll of sindal". Every man useth his bow and sling. The Persians fare daintily, having many and divers kinds of meat, and their tables shine with their plate of gold and silver. They debate their weighty matters at the wine. If they meet their fellows or acquaintance by the way, they kiss them: if they be poorer, they make curtesy. Their soothsayers they leave unburied to the birds. The greatest riches that the kings had were in buildings; and they coined no more money than served the present need. The people were temperate in their living, but their kings passed in excess. The king's attire of his head was of myrrh and other sweet gums. They kept commonly three hundred women, which slept in the day, and sang and danced all the night. If the king would go to any of them, the floor was covered with fine arras. He rode seldom but in his chariot. If he suffered any man to come to his speech, he sat in a throne of gold, standing on four pillars, with precious stones. At the head of his bed were five thousand talents of gold, which were called the king's pillow; at his feet were three thousand talents of silver, which was called his footstool: over his bed was a golden vine with golden branches and grapes drawn with precious stones. Thus far the Argument was finished, and no more thereof found.