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tributed the possession of the lands by lot, and rendered them inalienable.
The feasts, in which servants were put upon a footing with their masters, were apparently borrowed from the Jews *, and from the feast of tabernacles of: The Eleusynian mysteries also are thought to have had a similar origin
We know the reverence which the Jews paid to the state of the moon g. The prophets reprove them for their scrupulous fancies upon this subject. The Lacede. monians, who were supposed to have had an early connection with the Jewish nation, were influenced by similar impressions, as appeared upon a memorable occasion, since they were prevented from sending ihe assistance which they voted for the Athenians, (when the Persians were advancing with vast armies against them) on account of a superstition, which restrained them from marching till after the new moon : this delay deprived them of any share in the honor of the battle of Marathon, as they did not arrive till the day after it had taken place *.
. * Hospin. de Origin. Fest. Jud. Statius Antiq. Conviv. p. 63.
+ Brand's Popular Antiq, c. 31. Macrob. Saturnal. c. 16. # Macrob. 1. i. c 16.
§ 1 Sam. xx. 5. 2 Kings iv. 23. Prov. vii. 20. Isai. Ixvi. 23. || Isaiah i. 14.
i Mac, xii. 21.
On the Testimonies of Ancient Writers, with
respect to the Soil and Climate of Judæa, confirming the Sacred Descriptions of that Country.
The early promises which were made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with respect to the multiplication of their seed, seem to imply a proportionable fertility in the land of Canaan, which it was foretold at the same time should be given to them *
The prophetic assurances also which described the land, spoke of it as abounding with cattle and productions favourable to the support of human life.
Jacob, in expressing his blessing to Issachar, promises, that “the land should be pleasant;" and to Asher, that “his bread should be fat;" of Judah he says, that “ binding his fole unto
* Gen. xii. 7. xiii. 14, 15. xxvi. 4. xxvii. 28. xxxv. 11, 12
66 the vine, and his ass's colt unto the 66 choice vine, he shall wash his garments in “ wine, and his clothes in the blood of “ grapes, that his eyes shall be red with “ wine, and his teeth white with milk;" and when God appeared to Moses, he declared that “ he would bring the Israelites into a “ good land and a large, into a land flowing “ with milk and honey * ;" figures, expressive of abundance and the luxuries of a simple state.
The whole history of the Jews tends to demonstrate the accomplishment of the promises, with respect to the wonderful encrease of this peculiar people.' Notwithstanding the frequent wars in which the nation was engaged, and the wasting dispersions by which they were scattered, the country continued to maintain prodigious numbers in every age, excepting during the captivity.
The support of those numbers required a very large produce, and Judæa appears to have displayed a considerable fertility. The Sacred Writers describe, in interesting pictures, the multitude of its cattle
* Gen. xlix. 12. xiv. 20. Cant. v. 12. Gen. xlix. 8. Newton on the Prophecies, lib. i. 8. and Cant, iv. 11.
covering the hills, the luxuriance of its trees, and the rich produce of its vineyards. The grapes brought to Moses exhibited an early proof of the fidelity of the prophetic description; and the vast multitudes which are enumerated on various occasions confirmed the assurance. The people, not being addicted to commerce, cultivated the soil with regular industry, and with that attachment, which resulted from the nature of a tenure, which could not be alienated permanently, as the land reverted to its original proprietor every fifty years.
That the divine blessing encreased the exuberance of the soil may reasonably be supposed, as indeed was especially promised ; and a miraculous plenty must have been imparted every sixth year, or the land could not have remained uncultivated on the Sabbatical year, as we learn that it did, even from Heathen writers, who mention also many particulars which tend to confirm the report which has been given.
Notwithstanding these, testimonies, howerer, Mons. de Vo!taire, in order to indulge a sarcastic vein against the historical accounts of the Old Testament, gives vent to some remarks upon the subject, which are