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person aniongst them could absolutely lose his freedom, and become a bondsman. Many ofthe heathen writers thought, that this was an original institution in the first laws of mankind. Lucian says, that there was such an appointment in the days of Saturn,' i. e. in the first ages; and Athenæus observes that the Baby. lonians, Persians, as well as the Greeks, and divers other nations, celebrated annually a sort of Saturnalia, or feasts instituted most probably in commemoration of the original state of freedom, in which men lived before servitude was introduced ;* and as Moses revived several of Noah's institutons, so there are ap: pointments in the law to preserve the freedom of the Israelites." 4. We do not find any national priests appointed in the original institutions of these nations. This I think a very remarkable particular ; because we have early mention of the priests, in the accounts we have of many other nations. In Egypt they were an order of the first ránk, and had a considerable share of the lands in the time of Joseph ; according to Diodorus, they had the third part of the whole land of Egypt settled upon them.. Dionysius of Halycarnassus has given us the institutions of Romulus, and of Numa, for the establishing the Roman Priesthood; and in the times of Plato P and Aristotle,9 though the
Lucian. in Saturnal.
Atheneus Deipnos. I. 14. p. 639. » Leviticus xxv. & in loc, al. . • Diodor. Siç. I. 1. p. 66. ? Lib. 2. Rom. Antiq. 9 De Repub. 1. 7. c. 8
political writers were not unanimous how they were to be created, yet they were agreed, that an established priesthood' was necessary in every state or kingdom, But the ancient Indians, according to Diodorus, had originally no such order. Diodorus indeed says, that the philosophers were sent for by private persons of their acquaintance, to their sacrifices and funerals, being esteemed persons much in favour with the gods, and of great skill in the ceremonies to be performed on such occasions. But we must observe, that they were sent for, not as priests to sacrifice, but as learned and good men, able to instruct the common unlearned people how to pay their worship to the Deity in the best planner. Therefore Diodorus justly distinguishes, and calls the part they performed on these occasions, not astupya, which would have been the proper term had they been priests for the people, but vrupyian because they only assisted them on these occasions." It will be asked, how came these nations to have no national priests appointed, as there were in some other kingdoms ? I answer ; God originally appointed who should be the priest to every family, or to any number of families when assembled together, namely the first born or eldest ;' and as no man could justly take this honour to himself, but he that was called or appointed
Lib. 2. p. 125. His words are, omponecopos tayo Fragana hambavovlas uño Twy down as ra tus tu few Juolcans xa r187% των τετελευτηκότων επιμελειας, ως Θερις γεγονοτις προσφιλεςατοι, , και τσιρι των εν Αδε μαλισα εμπειρως εχονισ. .
Diodor. Sic. lib. 2. p. 125.
See vol. i. b. 5. p. 265.
by God to it; ' and as God gave no further directions in this matter until he appointed the priesthood of Aaron for the children of Israel; so Noah had no authority to make constitutions in this matter, but was himself the priest to all his children, and each of his gons to their respective families in the same manner, as before civil societies were erected. This I think must bave been the true reason for their having no established priests originally in these nations. And from this circumstance, as well as from those before-mentioned, I imagine, 5. That civil goverument was in these kingdoms built upon the foundation of paternal authority. Noah was the father, the priest, and became the king of all his people ; which was an easy transition ; for who could possibly have authority to set up against him: It is not likely that his children who continued with him would not readily obey his orders, and rank themselves in political life according to his appointment. At his death thc priesthood descended to the eldest son, and the rule and authority of civil governor followed of course ; for how chould it well be otherwise ? Somc. thing extraordinary must happen before any particular person would attempt to set himself above one, to whom his religion had in some measure subjected him; therefore the ellest son at the father's death being the only person who could of right be priest to his brethren and their children, unto him only must be their desire ; and he must be the only person who could without difficulty and opposition rule over them. This method of erecting governments is so easy and natural, that
? Hebrews v. 4.
some very learned writers cannot conceive how civil' government could possibly be raised upon any other foundation. However, the most convincing evidences against their opinion will appear, when we come to examine the kingdoms erected by the men who lived at, and dispersed from, the land of Shinaar. It is natural to think, that Noah formed his children who lived under him, in this method. And if he had even divided the world between his three sons, as some writers have without any reason supposed, giving Africk to Ham, Europe to Japhet, and placing Shem in Asia ; he no doubt would have instructed them to observe this method all over the world. But how can we imagine that Noah ever thought of making any other division, of the world, than merely to direct his children to remove and separate from one another, when they found it inconvenient to live together? He taught them a method by which many families might join, and make their numbers of use and service to the whole community ; but they who would not follow his directions took their own way, and travelled to a place far distant where they afterward settled upon different maxims, and at different times, as accidental circumstances directed and contributed to it. But, 6. By supposing that Noah founded the castern kingdoms of India and China upon the model I have mentioned, we see clearly how these nations came to be so potent and able to resist all attacks made upon them ; as Ninus and Semiramis experienced, when they attempted to invade and over-run them" If Noah appointed a
soldlicry in each of these kingdoms 'almost as numerous as their husbandmen ; and they began to form and ex. ercise themselves so early as about A. M. 1736; since it appears that Ninus did not invade Bactria and India until almost three hundred years after this time; these nations must, before he invaded them, have become wery considerable for their military strength, and far superior to any armies that could come from Shinaar. 7. The supposing these kingdoms to differ very little at present in their constitution from what they were at their first settlement, is very consistent with the accounts we have of their present letters and language. In both these they seem to have made very little or no improvement," but have adhered very strictly to their first rudiments; and why may we not very justly suppose that they have been equally tenacious of their original settlement and constitution. But let us now come to the nations and governors, which arose from and in the land of Shinaar. * Nimrod was the first of them. Polybius has conjectured, that the first kings in the world obtained their dominion by being superior to all others in strength ånd courage ; * and it very evidently appears that this was the foundation of Nimrod's authority. He was a mighty hunter, and from hence he began to be a mighty one in the earth. When the confusion of tongues caused the builders of Babel to separate, they must have known that it was necessary not to break into very small companies; for if they had, the wild beasts would have been too hard for them. Plato