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In the first of thefe Memoirs, the Abbé GUENEE proves, that from the captivity of Babylon to the war of Adrian, Judea was always confidered as a rich and fertile country. The pofitive and multiplied authorities of the writers of that period, Jews, Greeks, and Romans, not only atteft, in general, the fertility of that country, but many of these writers, entering into a particular detail of circumstances, prove it from the nature of the climate, the qualities of the foil, and the excellence and variety of its productions. These are confirmed by proofs of another kind, and ftill more refpectable and convincing, even those resulting from a great number of medals, ftruck under the reigns of the kings of Syria, under the kings of Judea, and under the Romans, both by Jews and Pagans, and which all bear the fymbols of a rich fertility. Add to all this, a multitude of facts, recorded in the hiftory of the Jews, during this period; the efforts of the neighbouring kings to conquer their country;-the long and bloody wars that the Jews carried on with vigour, and fometimes with fuccefs, against powerful princes and nations;-the tribute and taxes they paid to the kings of Egypt and Syria, to the Romans, and to their own princes;-the magnificence of their fovereigns, and among others, of Herod ;-the troops he raised and kept on foot;the temples, fortreffes, palaces, and cities, which he built and embellifhed, not only in his own country, but alfo in Syria, Afia Minor, and even in Greece;-the immenfe fums he lavished among the Romans, the donations he made to his own people, and frequently to his neighbours in time of want, and the vast treasures which he left behind him;-all these circumftances, which the learned Abbé has illuftrated with his ufual perfpicuity and erudition, concur in proving the fertility and riches of Palestine, during the epocha now under confideration.
In the fecond Memoir, the Abbé GUENEE Confiders the state of Palestine, as it was between the time of the emperor Adrian to the caliphate of Omar, which takes in a period of four centuries. He thinks the cause of religion little interested in the fruitfulness or fterility of the Holy Land, during the preceding period, but not at all in the period on which he now enters. "God," fays he, "engaged his promife to give the Hebrews "a fruitful country, but he did not promife them, that this "country fhould be always fruitful, even when they ceased to "be its proprietors." We do not much relish this method of avoiding the objections of unbelievers; we think it would do better in the mouth of an attorney (of the pettifogging clafs) than in that of a candid logician. Nor was this reflexion neceffary; for the manner in which our Abbé proves the fertility of Paleftine during this fecond period, and the judicious reafons he gives for the alterations which it may have undergone
in later times, are entirely fufficient to remove the duft that unbelievers have been endeavouring to raife in the face of Revelation, from this quarter.
This fecond Memoir is divided into two parts: in the first, the learned Abbé collects the principal facts in Jewish history, which tend to fhew, what was the state of Palestine during the period
The first of thefe facts is, the project formed by Adrian, of rebuilding and embellishing Jerufalem, of forming it into a Roman colony, and giving it his own name; a project, of which he never could have entertained a thought, if Judea, which he had feen and examined with his own eyes, had appeared to him fuch a barren and wretched country, as it is faid to be by fome, who have neither feen that country, nor examined the matter with attention and care.
The revolt of the Jews, and the war it drew upon them, is a fecond circumftance, which furnishes inductions in favour of the riches and refources of the land of Paleftine. Dion, an hiftorian, warmly attached to the interefts of paganifm, tells us, that in this war, 50 of the ftrong caftles of the Jews, and 980 of their largest towns were deftroyed, 580,000 of the rebels perifhed by the fword, without reckoning, fays he, the innumerable multitudes, who were confumed by fire, famine, and ficknefs, and great numbers of others, who, as feveral writers teftify, were fold as flaves at the fairs of Terebinth and Gaza. Our learned Abbé concludes from hence, that there were, at that time, in Judea, near two millions of Jewish inhabitants, befides the Hebrew and Gentile Chriftians, and the Syrians, Greeks, and Romans, who dwelt in that country, and took no part in the war.
Among the hiftorical facts relative to Jerufalem, our Author does not omit the embellishments which that city received from the munificence of Conftantine, when Chriftianity became the established religion of the Afiatic provinces. Thefe embellishments were carried fo far, that Eufebius compared the city in queftion, to the heavenly Jerufalem foretold by the prophets. Magnificent palaces were erected in it by order of the Emperor and his mother, a prodigious concourfe of Chriftians repaired thither, from different and remote quarters of the globe, to worship in the holy place. The most illuftrious perfonages of Rome fettled there, and paffed their days in a peaceful retirement, and in acts of beneficence;-two empreffes alfo fixed their refidence in Paleftine, where they built churches, erected monafteries, and endowed hofpitals. The donations alone of the empress Eudoxia amounted to 20,488 pounds of gold.
Under the children of Theodofius, Judea was divided into three provinces. Its ecclefiaftical ftate was composed of a
patriarch, thirty bifhops, a great number of priests and clerks, and from twelve to fifteen thousand monks and anchorites. At the head of the civil government, there were two prefects under the orders of a confular governor, who, by the external marks of his dignity, his appointments, his retinue, and the number of his affeffors, feemed to rank with the governors of the most diftinguished provinces. The military establishment confifted of between ten and twelve thoufand men, cavalry and infantry, under the command of a general officer, whofe poft must have been both honourable and important, as we fee it filled by a king of the Iberians, who was a friend of the Emperors, and whofe title was, Duke of the Marches (or frontiers) of Palestine.
Finally, among the hiftorical facts that compofe the firit part of this Memoir, our Author relates, after Procopius, the invafion of Cofroes, king of Perfia, who, allured by the fame that had been spread abroad, of the fertility and opulence of Palestine, marched to Jerufalem, befieged that city, carried off from thence an immenfe plunder, and a prodigious number of Christian captives, of which the Jews were rich enough to purchafe 90,000, that they might have the pleasure of cutting their throats. He mentions alfo the attempts of the Saracens, twenty-three years after Cofroes, to join Judea to the fertile country of Syria, of which they had finished the conqueft.
After giving a compendious view of the hiftory of the Jews, at the period now under confideration, the learned Author thinks it may be concluded, even from a general view of thefe facts, taken together, that Judea was far from being such a barren and miferable country, as fome have been fond of representing it; that, on the contrary, after all that it had fuffered from the defolations of war, both in ancient and later times, it still remained at the period in queftion, fertile, rich, and populous. This alfo is the idea, which the writers of the time, Pagan and Chriftian, as well as Jewish, have given of Paleftine.
In the fecond part of this Memoir, the learned Author quotes and examines the reports of thefe writers. The only Jewith writers he quotes are the Talmudifts; and he quotes them with fuch a degree of circumfpection and precaution, as their hyperbolical relations render neceflary. He does not, for example, give them credit, when they tell us, that in the two tribes of Judah and Simeon there were 900 cities, that the ftalks of corn in Judea grew as high as the cedars in Lebanon, and many childish ftories ftill more ridiculous than thofe : he, however, thinks their teftimony is not deftitute of weight, when it is conformable to that of feveral judicious and refpectable writers. Now this is the cafe, when thefe doctors celebrate the fertility of the plains of Joppa, Jamnia, Sarone, Jezreel, and of Galilee
In general; when they tell us, that all the places where the Jews had their principal fettlements, abounded in grain of the best kind, in excellent fruits, in wines and oils of the first quality; when they represent the environs of Sephoris, as an admirable country for its fertility; when they commend the mountainous parts of Judea, the gardens round about Jerufalem, fo famous for their figs, the arable grounds of Barcaim and Capharachum, the wines of Karium and Atolim, and the territory of Hebron, which, though ftony, is, according to them, fuperior to the most fruitful provinces of Egypt for its wines, pafture-grounds, and flocks. The encomiums the Talmudifts bestow upon Beth fan or Scythopolis, on account of the extent of its vineyards, its rich plantations of palm-trees, the beauty of its byffus (or fine flax) and the fine linens that were manufactured there, fuppofing them exaggerated, must have had at leaft fome foundation in truth; and when we confider that it was one of the common proverbs of the Talmudifts, that the land ef Ifrael was a paradife, and that Bethfan was its gate, it must be abfurd to imagine, that this paradife was no more than a wretched, barren country, without either fertility or culture.
From the Jewith writers, our Author proceeds to the accounts given of Judea by Pagan authors, and quotes, among others, Galen, Paufanias, Solinus, and Ammianus Marcellinus.Galen travelled in Judea, and examined its productions with the fpirit of a naturalift. He commends, as Hippocrates had done before him, the dates of that country, and reprefents them as excellent both for food and medicine. He enlarges on the two valuable productions of the Lake Afphaltites, its bitumen, which he prefers before all others, and its falt, of which he mentions both the excellent quality and the great abundance. He affirms, that the water of that Lake contains more falt than any other fea-water. Experiments, made fome years ago by the Academy of Sciences at Paris, confirm the affertion of Galen, and prove, that each quintal of the water of that Lake yields forty-four pounds fix ounces of falt. This falt, which Galen confidered as more deterfive and falubrious than any other, was ufed, exclufively, in the fecond temple, and must have been an important branch of commerce for the country.
Paufanias, who lived but a little after Galen, had alfo travelled into Palestine: it even appears, that he gave a defcription of that country, compofed in the fame method with his Voyage through Greece. This work has unhappily perifhed in the ruins of time; and the only paffages, relative to Judea, that can be cited from Paufanias, are fome accidental ones, that we find in his defcription of Greece. He there fpeaks of the Jordan as a fihy river, of the balfam-trees, dates, and other objects that announce fertility, as alfo, of a curious and magnificent tomb which Pp APP. REV. Vol. Ixii.
which he had feen near Jerufalem. Our Author confines, principally, his attention to what Paufanias fays of the Byus, which that hiftorian efteems highly, and in order to celebrate the Byffus of Elis, fays, that it was equal in fineness to that of Judea, though it was not fo yellow. Mr. Forfter, in his treatife de Byfo Antiquorum, thinks, that the Byffus of the ancients was a very fine fort of cotton, and concludes from these words of Paufanias, that this cotton is the Bomba of the ifle of Ceylon.
Solinus, who is fuppofed to have copied Pliny, is quoted by our Author, as fpeaking of the beautiful fireams of Jordan, of the rich and fmiling plains which it waters, of the lake of Tiberias, which has many beautiful towns fituated on its borders, of the culture of the balfam-trees of Engeddi, and of the famous forefts of Palm-trees, whole beauty had neither diminished by the ruins of time, nor by the devaftations of war. An hundred and fifty years after Solinus, a ftill more refpectable historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, fpoke in terms equally advantageous of Palestine. "It is, fays he, the remoteft of the Syrias: it is "very extenfive: it abounds with fertile and well-cultivated "lands: cultis abundans terris et nitidis: there are many warm fprings in that country, which prove wholefome in various "diforders, and alfo beautiful cities."-Egregias urbes, &c.— Thus, obferves M. Guentè, Pagan Authors of the first note, inftead of reprefenting Judea as a miferable country, barren, defert, and poor, fpeak in high terms of its cities, its waters, its foil, and its cultivation.
The Chriftian authors of the period under confideration, fuch as Eufebius, Epiphanius, Jerome, Theodoret, and others, fpeak a fimilar language; as alfo Antoninus Martyr, a citizen of Placentia, who, in the fixth century, travelled to Paleftine, and compofed an account of his voyage, which is ftill extant. But this writer is lefs known than Eufebius and Jerome. "The "canton of Nazareth, fays Antoninus, is not inferior to Egypt "in corn and fruits. The territory of that city is not very "extenfive; but it abounds in wine and oil, and excellent "honey." The country about Jericho appeared to him still more fertile. He praifes the wine, as a falutary remedy in fevers, the dates, the kidney-beans, whofe cods are fometimes two feet long, and the grapes, that are ripe in the month of May. He faw Mount Tabor, which he reprefents, as furrounded with cities:-he obferved, in the neighbourhood of Jerufalem, vineyards, great plantations of fruit-trees, and through the whole country, a confiderable number of hofpitals, monafteries, beau, tiful edifices, &c. Towards the end of his journey Antoninus paffed through Tyre. He obferves, that the morals in that city were depraved in a high degree, in confequence of the abuse of opulence; that its inhabitants were enriched by filken manu