« VorigeDoorgaan »
they reckoned him a faint, that was neither murderer, trai
tor, nor guilty of perjury; who avoided the company of " those who had committed such crimes, who kept up the
rights of hospitality, and places of refuge; who faithfully performed his vows, and gave liberally towards sacrifices and public fhews. Religion was looked upon as a trade; they made offerings to the Gods, that they might obtain what they defired in their prayers. Debauchery was so far from being condemned by religion, that it was sometimes enjoined, there was no celebrating the Bachanal feasts in a proper manner without getting drunk, and there were women who prostituted themselves in honour of Venus, particularly at Corinth. It is well known what the God of gardens, and the mysteries of Ceres and Cybele, were. *Thus they honoured the Gods whom they thought kind and - beneficent. But forthe infernaldeities, Hecate, the Eumenides, the Parcæ, and others, with the stories of whom they were terrified; they were to be appeased with nocturnal facrifices, and frightful inbuman ceremonies. Some buried men alive, others facrificed children, and sometimes their own; as the
worshippers of Moloch, mentioned with so much deteftation • in Scripture, who still kept up this abominable custom in 6 Africa in Tertullian's time.
To this fear and dread were owing all the rest of their cruel and troublesome superstitions. All their lustrations or $ expiations for crimes, confifted in purifying the body by wa
ter or fire, and performing certain facrifices: but there was
no mention of either repentance or conversion. It will " seem strange, perhaps, that people so wise as the Grecians,
should give into such grofs fuperftitions, and so eafily suffer themselves to be imposed upon by Astrologers, Diviners,
Soothsayers, and many other forts of Conjurers. But it ( must be confidered, that, till Alexander's time, and the
reign of the Macedonians, they had made no great progress
in such learning as might cure them of fuperftition. They ( excelled in arts; their laws were wise ; in a word, they
had brought every thing to perfection, that makes life easy (and agreeable: but they took little pains in the speculative
sciences, Geometry, Astronomy, and Physics. The anao'tomy of plants and animals, the knowlege of minerals and meteors, the shape of the earth, the course of the stars, and the whole system of the world, were still mysteries to them. The Chaldeans and Egyptians, who already knew something of them, kept it a great secret, and never spoke
of them but in riddles, with which they mixed an infinite number of superstitious fables.
• A proneness to idolatry was not therefore peculiar to the • Ifraelites. It was a general evil; and the hardness of heart, « with which the scriptures fo often reproaches them, is not
for being more attached to earthly things than other people,
but for being so much as they were, after having received < such particular favours from the hand of God, and seen the
great wonders he had wrought for them. It is true, much
resolution is necessary to resist the influence of bad example « in all other nations. When an Ifraelite was out of his own
country, and amongst infidels, they reproached him with having no religion at all, because they did not see him offer
any sacrifice, or worship idols : and when he told them of his • God, the Creator of heaven and earth, they laughed at him, ¢ and asked where he was. Thele taunts were hard to bear: <David himself fays, that when he was an exile, He fed « himself day and night with his tears, because they daily alk( ed him, where his God was. Weak minds were staggered: ļ with these attacks, and often gave way to them.
The propensity that all mankind has to pleasure height( ened the temptation : as the Heathen feasts were very fre
quent and magnificent, curiosity easily prevailed upon young people, especially women, to go and see the pomp
of their processions, the manner of dressing out the victims, the dancing, the choirs of music, and ornaments of their temples.
Some officious body engaged them to take a place at the feast, < and eat the meat that was offered to idols, or come and lodge • at his house. They made acquaintance, and carried on love • intrigues, which generally ended either in downright de
bauchery, or marrying contrary to the law. Thus did idol! atry insinuate itself, by the most common allurements of
women and good cheer. In the time of Moses, the Israel' i:es were engaged in the infamous mysteries of Baal Peor, • by the Midianitish women, who were the strange zomer that perverted Solomon.
• Besides, the law of God might appear too severe to them. • They were not allowed to sacrifice in any place but one,
by the hands too of such priests only as were descended from • Aaro:1, and according to some very strict rules. They had
but three great feasts in the whole year, the Passover, Pen
tecost, and feast of tabernacles; a very few for people that "lived in plenty, and in a climate that inclined them to plea« fure: as they lived in the country, employed in husbandry,
they could not conveniently meet together but at feasts, and
* for that reason were obliged to borrow fome of ftrangers,
and invent others. Do not we ourselves, who think we are so spiritual, and no doubt ought to be so, if we were true Christians, often prefer the poffeffion of temporal things to the hope of eternal and do we not endeavour to recon• cile many diversions with the Gospel, which all antiquity
has judged inconsistent with it, and against which our instručtors are daily exclaiming? It is true, we hold Idolatry
in detestation, but it is now no longer a familiar sight, and • has been quite out of fashion above a thousand
We are not then to imagine, that the Israelites were more stupid • than other people, because the particular favours they had s received from God could not reclaim them from Idolatry.
But it must be owned, that the wound of original fin was • very deep, when such holy instructions, and repeated mira«cles, were not sufficient to raise men above fensible things. • We see, however, a much greater degree of blindness in
other nations, as the Greeks and Egyptians, who were, in • other respects, the most enlightened.
Our Author comes now to say something of the political state of the Israelites, their domestic power, their adminiftration of justice, and their wars. In the third part of his work he takes a short view of their last state, from the Babylonish captivity to their entire dispersion; but the extracts we have already given will be fufficient to convey to our Readers a just idea of the whole performance, and likewise render it unnecessary to say any thing of the translation.
The Civil and Natural History of Jamaica. By Patrick Brown,
M. D. continued from Page 43 of the Review for July, 1756.
THAT part of this Work which relates to the Civil
History of Jamaica having been already taken notice of, we now proceed to give some account of what relates to the natural productions, which, as has been before observed, employ a large share of this volume. It is here our Author's more arduous task begins; and truly his industry and application are particularly conspicuous. These subjects are treated of in three books; the first, besides a circumstantial account
of the Foffils of the island, their uses and properties; with ( some remarks on its waters, ores, and soil;' professes to 'contain a new and easy method of clasiing Fossils in general,
• with an account of the nature and properties of each class. The propofed improvements in the diftribution of Fofils is thrown into a synoptical table. With respect to the products of this class, peculiar to Jamaica, as they are here described, they afford very little worth particular attention.'
Book II. is intitled, a History of the Vegetable Productions, clafied and distributed nearly according to the Linnæan fyf• tem ; with the characters of fuch as were not hitherto
known, or have been but imperfectly represented: to which • we have added the Synonyma, from the most approved au
thors, as well as the best methods for cultivating and manufac• turing the more useful fpecies; with the properties and uses
of each in mechanics, diet, and phyfic.' Dr. Brown seems to think it no inconsiderable recommendation of this part of his undertaking, that, whereas Sir Hans Sloane hath not collected above eight hundred species of plants, in all his travels, he [our Author] has examined and described, in Jamaica alone, about twelve hundred. This exuberance may, indeed, be admitted as a proof of his affiduity, but will it be considered as an equal testimony of his judgment? Surely English readers could not want any information with respect to the artichoke, carrot, parsnip, and many other productions common at every table, and in, almoft, every garden in Great Britain.-But let the lowing extracts speak for our Author. « Zinziber. I. Foliis lanceolatis, Floribus spicatis, fcapo
florifero partiali. 'AMOMUM scapo nudo, Spicâ ovatá, L. H.C. & Sp. Pl. ' Zinziber & Gingiber Of. & Zingiber. C. B. Slo. Cat. 60. ' Zinziber Angustiori folio fæmineo, &c. Thez. Zey. & Inschi H. M. Part XI. t. 12.
Ginger. -- This plant is sometimes cultivated with great care in our
Sugar Colonies, and frequently furnishes a considerable • branch of their exports; but as the demand is uncertain, * and the price very changeable, it is not so regularly planted
as fo valuable a commodity ought to be: It is propagated by the smaller pieces, prongs, or protuberances of the root, each of which throw up two different stems; the first bears the leaves, and rises sometimes to the height of three feet, or more, though its usual growth seldom exceeds fixteen or eighteen inches : when this spreads its leaves, and grows to a full perfection, the second ftalk springs up, which is also fim
ple, and furnished only with a few scales below, but at the ' top is adorned with a roundish squamose flower-spike, and sels
i dom rises above two thirds the height of the other. The « plant thrives best in a rich cool foil; (that lately cleared is, 4 beft) and grows fo luxuriantly in such places, that I have <fometimes Teen a Hand of Ginger weigh near half a pound:
it is, however, remarked, that such as are produced in a « more clayey soil fhrink less in fealding, while those raised in
the richer free black moulds, are observed to lose more confiderably in that operation.
The land laid out for the culture of this plant is first well cleared and hoed, then slightly trenched, and planted about
the month of March or April : it rises to its height and « flowers about September; and fades again towards the end < of the year. When the ftalks are wholly withered, the • root is thought to be full grown and saturated, and then fit . to dig; which is generally done in the months of January
and February following. When these are dug up they are « picked and cleaned, and then scalded gradually in boiling
water t: after this they are spread and exposed to the sun, < from day to day, until the whole be fufficiently cured; they
are then divided into parcels of about one hundred weight each, and put into bags for the market. This is called Black Ginger,
The White fort differs little from this; it is, however, ! more agreeable to the eye, and generally more pleasing; . but the difference is wholly owing to the different methods
of curing them; for this is never scalded, but instead of that easy process, they are obliged to pick, wash, and scrape every root separately, and then to dry them in the sun and open air, which takes up too much time and pains for any real advantage it can produce. • But to preserve this root in syrup, as it is usually done, it must be dug while its texture is yet tender and full of sap, and then the shoots seldom exceed five or fix inches in
height: these roots are carefully picked, and washed, and • afterwards (calded until they become tender enough for the
** The larger spreading roots are called Hands in Jamaica. ** For this purpose they have a large kettle fixed in the field, or some convenient place, which is always kept full of boiling “ water, during the whole process; the picked Ginger is divided ' into small parcels, put into baskets, and dipped, one after another, ' in the boiling water, in which each is kept for the space of ten
or twenty, minutes; it is then taken up and spread upon the common platform : and thus they proceed till the whole is sealded; but they always take care to change the water, when it is highly impregnated with the particles of the root.!