« ForrigeFortsæt »
14.); Paul and Aquila were tent-makers, dvoro. Not only the Greeks, but the Jews also, esteemed certain trades infamous. At any rate the Rabbins reckoned the drivers of asses and camels, barbers, sailors, shepherds, and innkeepers, in the same class with robbers. Those Ephesians and Cretans, who were lovers of gain, aidxgoxegdes (1 Tim. iii. 8. Tit. i. 7.), were men, as we may learn from antient writers, who were determined to get money in however base a manner. In the apostolic age, the more eminent Greek tradesmen were united into a society. (Acts xix. 25.)
IV. We read nothing of the art of writing in Scripture, before the copy of the law was given by God to Moses, which was written (that is, engraven) on two tables of stone by the finger of God (Exod. xxxi. 18.), and this is called the writing of God. (Exod. xxxii. 16.) It is therefore probable that God himself was the first who taught letters to Moses, who communicated the knowledge of them to the Israelites, and they to the other eastern nations. Engraving or sculpture seems therefore to be the most antient way of writing, of which we have another very early instance in Exod. xxxix. 30., where we are told, that "holiness to the Lord," was written on a golden plate, and worn on the high priest's head. And we find that the names of the twelve tribes were commanded to be written on twelve rods. (Numb. xvii. 2.) To this mode of writing there is an allusion in Ezek. xxxvii. 16.2 In later times the Jews made use of broad
1 We know that the inhabitants of Yemen or the Southern Arabia were accustomed, in the remotest ages, to inscribe their laws and wise sayings upon stone. See Meidanii Proverb. Arab. p. 45. (cited in Burder's Oriental Literature, vol. i. p.. 198.) and Dr. A. Clarke's Commentary, on Exod. xxxii. 15. 2 Writing on billets or sticks was practised by the Grecks. Plutarch, in his Life of Solon (Vitæ, tom. i. p. 20. ed. Bryan.), and Aulus Gellius (Noct. Att. lib. ii. c. 12.), inform us that the very antient laws of that philosopher, preserved at Athens, were inscribed on tablets of wood called Axones. In later times a similar mode of writing was practised by the aboriginal Britons, who cut their letters upon sticks, which were most commonly squared, and sometimes formed into three sides; consequently a single stick contained either four or three lines. (See Ezek. xxxvii. 16.) The squares were used for general subjects, and for stanzas of four lines in poetry; the trilateral ones were adapted to triades, and for a peculiar kind of antient metre, called Triban or triplet, and Englyn Milwyr, or the warrior's verse. Several sticks with writing upon them were put together, forming a kind of frame, which was called Peithynen or Elucidator; and was so conducted that each stick might be turned for the facility of reading, the end of each running out alternately on both sides of the frame. The subjoined cut
rushes or flags for writing on, which grew in great abundance in Egypt, and are noticed by the prophet Isaiah when foretelling the confusion of that country. (Isa. xix. 6, 7.) Writing on palm and other leaves is still practised in the East.1
The other eastern nations made use chiefly of parchment, being the thin skins of animals carefully dressed. The best was made at Pergamos, whence it was called Charta Pergamena. It is probable that the Jews learned the use of it from them, and that this is what is meant by a roll (Ezra vi. 2.), and a roll of a book (Jer. xxxvi. 2.), and a scroll rolled together (Isa. xxxiv. 4.): for it could not be thin and weak paper, but parchment which is of some consistency, that was capable of being thus rolled up. St. Paul is the only person
is an engraved specimen of antient British writing, copied from Dr. Fry's elegant work intituled Pantographia. (p. 307.) The following is a literal reading in the modern orthography of Wales, with a correct translation:
"The weapon of the wise is reason:
Commerce with generous ones :
Let the very feeble run away; let the very powerful proceed :
The swineherd is proud of his swine:
A gale is almost ice in a narrow place :
Long penance to slander:
The frail Indeg has many living relations.
A continuation of this mode of writing may be found in the Runic or Clog (a corruption of Log) Almanacks, which prevailed among the northern nations of Europe so late even as the sixteenth century. See a description and engraving of one in Dr. Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire, pp. 418-422.
1 In the Sloanian Library, there are upwards of twenty manuscripts written on leaves, written in the Sanskrit, Burman, Peguan, Ceylonese and other languages. (Ayscough's Catalogue of the Sloane Library, pp. 904-906.) In Tanjore and other parts of India, the palmyra-leaf is used. (Dr. C. Buchanan's "Christian Researches in Asia," pp. 70, 71. 8vo. edit.) The common books of the Burmans, like those of the Hindoos, particularly of such as inhabit the southern parts of India, are composed of the palmyra-leaf, on which the letters are engraved with a stylus. (Symes's Account of an Embassy to Ava, vol. ii. p. 409. 8vo.) In their more elegant books, the Birmans write on sheets of ivory, or on very fine white palmyra-leaves: the ivory is stained black, and the margins are ornamented with gilding, while the characters are enamelled or gilt. On the palmyra-leaves the characters are in general of black enamel and the ends of the leaves and margins are painted with flowers in various bright colours. A hole through both ends of each leaf serves to connect the whole into a volume by means of two strings, which also pass through the two wooden boards that serve for binding. In the finer binding of these kinds of books, the boards are laquered; the edges of the leaves are cut smooth and gilt, and the title is written on the upper board. The two boards are by a knot or jewel secured at a little distance from the boards, so as to prevent the book from falling to pieces, but sufficiently distant to admit of the upper leaves being turned back, while the lower ones are read. The more elegant books are in general wrapped up 59
who makes express mention of parchment. (2 Tim. iv. 13.) In Job xix. 24. and in Jer. xvii. 1. there is mention made of pens of iron, with which they probably made the letters, when they engraved on lead, stone, or other hard substances; but for softer materials they, in all probability, made use of quills or reeds; for we are told of some in the tribe of Zebulun who handled the pen of the writer. (Judg. v. 14.) David alludes to the pen of a ready writer (Psal. xlv. 1.), and Baruch, as we are told, wrote the words of Jereiniah with ink in a book. (Jer. xxxvi. 18.) It is highly probable that several of the prophets wrote upon tablets of wood, or some similar substance. (Compare Isa. xxx. 8. and Habakkuk ii. 2.)
in silk cloth, and bound round by a garter, in which the natives ingeniously contrive to weave the title of the book. (Asiatic Researches, vol. iv. p. 306. 8vo. edit.) The Ceylonese sometimes make use of the palm leaf, but generally prefer that of the Talipot-tree, on account of its superior breadth and thickness. From these leaves, which are of immense size, they cut out slips from a foot to a foot and a half long, and about two inches broad. These slips being smoothed and all excrescences pared off with the knife, they are ready for use without any other preparation a fine-pointed steel pencil, like a bodkin, and set in a wooden or ivory handle ornamented according to the owner's taste, is employed to write or rather to engrave their characters on these talipot slips, which are very thick and tough. In order to render the characters more visible and distinct, they rub them over with oil mixed with pulverised charcoal, which process also renders them so permanent, that they never can be effaced. When one slip is insufficient to contain all that they intend to write on any particular subject, the Ceylonese string several toge ther by passing a piece of twine through them, and attach them to a board in the same way as we file newspapers. (Percival's Account of the Island of Ceylon, p. 205.) The Bramin manuscripts, in the Telinga language, sent to Oxford from Fort St. George, are written on the leaves of the Ampana, or Palma Malabarico. In the Maldive Islands, the natives are said to write on the leaves of the Macarciquean, which are a fathom and a half (nine feet!) long, and about a foot broad; and in other parts of the East Indies, the leaves of the plantain tree are employed for the same purpose.
1 The eminent antiquary, Montfaucon, informs us that in 1699 he bought at Rome a book wholly composed of lead, about four inches in length, by three inches in width, and containing Egyptian Gnostic figures and unintelligible writing. Not only the two pieces which formed the cover, but also all the leaves, (six in number.) the stick inserted into the rings which held the leaves together, the hinges, and the nails were all of lead, without exception. Antiquité Expliquée, tom. ii. p. 378. It is not known what has become of this curious article.
2 "The most antient people, before the invention of books and before the use of sculpture upon stones, and other small fragments, represented things great and noble upon entire rocks and mountains: the custom was not laid aside for many ages. Semiramis, to perpetuate her memory, is reported to have cut a whole rock into the shape of herself. Hannibal, long after the invention of books, engraved characters upon the Alpine rocks, as a testimony of his passage over them; which characters were remaining about two centuries ago, according to Paulus Jovius. It appears particularly to have been the custom of the northern nations, from that remarkable inscription mentioned by Saxo, and several ages after him delineated and published by Olaus Wormius. It was inscribed by Harold Hyldeland, to the memory of his father, and was cut out in the side of a rock, in Runic characters, each letter of the inscription being a quarter of an ell long, and the length of the whole thirty-four ells. Wise's Letter to Dr. Mead, p. 25. The custom was eastern as well as northern, as appears from that remarkable instance which occurs in Captain Hamilton's Account of the East Indies, Voyage, vol. ii. p. 241. The au thor, after giving a short history of the successful attack which the Dutch made upon the island of Amoy in China, A. D. 1645, adds, "This history is written in large China characters on the face of a smooth rock, that faces the entrance of the harbour, and may be fairly seen as we pass out and into the harbour." Burder's Oriental Literature, vol. i. p. 535.
Such tablets, it is well known, were in use long before the time of Homer (who lived about one hundred and fifty years before the prophet Isaiah). Zecharias, the father of John the Baptist, when required to name his son, asked for a writing-table (Luke i. 63.); and such tablets were also in use among the Romans and other antient nations, and were not finally disused until the fourteenth century of the Christian æra. They were in general covered with wax, and the writing was executed with styles or pens, made of gold, silver, brass, iron, copper, ivory or bone, which at one end were pointed for the purpose of inscribing the letters, and smooth at the other extremity for the purpose of erasing. In Barbary the children, who are sent to school, write on a smooth thin board slightly daubed over with whiting, which may be wiped off or renewed at pleasure. The Copts, who are employed by the great men of Egypt in keeping their accounts, &c. make use of a kind of pasteboard, from which the writing is occasionally wiped off with a wet sponge. To this mode of writing there is an allusion in Neh. xiii. 14., and especially in Numb. v. 23.; where in the case of the woman suspected of adultery who was to take an oath of cursing, it is said that the priest shall write the curses in a book, and blot them out with the bitter water. It appears that these maledictions were written with a kind of ink prepared for the purpose, without any calx of iron or other material that could make a permanent dye; and were then washed off the parchment into the water which the woman was obliged to drink: so that she drank the very words of the execration. The ink used in the East is almost all of this kind; a wet sponge will completely obliterate the finest of their writings.2
Epistles or Letters, which are included under the same Hebrew word with Books (viz., SePHER,) are very rarely mentioned in the earlier ages of antiquity. The first notice of an epistle in the sacred writings occurs in 2 Sam. xi. 14.: but afterwards they are more frequently mentioned. In the East, letters are to this day commonly sent unsealed: but, when they are sent to persons of distinction, they are placed in a valuable purse, which is tied, closed over with clay or wax, and then stamped with a signet. The same practice obtained in ancient times. See Isa. xxix. 11. (marginal rendering) Neh. vi. 5. Job xxxviii. 14. The most ancient epistles begin and end without either salutation or farewell; but under the Persian monarchy it was very prolix. It is given in an abridged form in Ezra iv. 7-10. and v. 7. The apostles, in their epistles, used the salutation customary among the Greeks, but they omitted the usual farewell (xage) at the close, and adopted a benediction more conformable to the spirit of the Gospel of Christ. When
On this subject and on the substances generally employed for writing, both in antient and modern times, see an Introduction to the Study of Bibliography, by the author of this work, vol. i. pp. 31-72.
2 Harmer's Observations, vol. iii. p. 127. Dr. A. Clarke on Numb. v. 23.
Paul dictated his letters (as he most frequently did), he wrote the benediction at the close, with his own hand. See an instance in 2 Thess. iii. 17.
Books being written on parchment and similar flexible materials, were rolled round a stick; and, if they were very long, round two, from the two extremities. The reader unrolled the book to the place which he wanted, avarrugas To Bẞov, and rolled it up again, when he had read it, rugas To Bißov (Luke iv. 17-20.); whence the name, a volume, or thing rolled up. (Ps. xl. 7. Isa. xxxiv. 4. Ezek. ii. 9. 2 Kings xix. 14. Ezra vi. 2.) The leaves thus rolled round the stick, and bound with a string, could be easily sealed. (Isa. xxix. 11. Dan. xii. 4. Rev. v. 1. vi. 7.) Those books which were inscribed on tablets of wood, lead, brass, or ivory, were connected together by rings at the back, through which a rod was passed to carry them by.
V. Poetry had its origin in the first ages of the world, when undisciplined feelings and a lively imagination naturally supplied strong expressions, gave an expressive modulation to the voice and motion to the limbs. Hence poetry, music, and dancing, were in all probability contemporaneous in their origin. As the nature and genius of the poetry of the Hebrews has already been discussed at some length in the second volume of this work, it is sufficient here to remark, that the effusions of the inspired Hebrew muse infinitely surpass in grandeur, sublimity, beauty, and pathos, all the most celebrated productions of Greece and Rome. Not to repeat unnecessarily the observations already offered on this topic, we may here briefly remark, that the eucharistic song of Moses, composed on the deliverance of the Israelites and their miraculous passage of the Red Sea (Exod. xv. 1—19.), is an admirable hymn, full of strong and lively images. The song of Deborah and Barak (Judg. v.), and that of Hannah the mother of Samuel (1 Sam. ii. 1.), have many excellent flights, and some noble and sublime raptures. David's lamentation on the death of Saul and Jonathan (2 Sam. i. 19.) is an incomparable elegy. The gratulatory hymn (İsa. xii.) and Hezekiah's song of praise (Isa. xxviii.) are worthy of every one's attention. The prayer of Habakkuk (iii.) contains a sublime description of the divine majesty. Besides these single hymns we have the book of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, and Lamentations; all of which are composed by different poets, according to the usage of those times. The Psalms are a great storehouse of heavenly devotion, full of affecting and sublime thoughts, and with a variety of expressions, admirably calculated to excite a thankful remembrance of God's mercies, and for moving the passions of joy and grief, indignation and hatred. They consist mostly of pious and affectionate prayers, holy meditations, and exalted strains of praise and thanksgiving. The allusions are beautiful, the expressions tender and moving, and the piety of the authors is singularly remarkable. The Proverbs of Solomon are a divine collection of many admirabie sentences of morality, wonderfully