« PreviousContinue »
sometimes of Deucalion; but I cannot think, that the name of Deucalion was ever in the ancient Indian an. tiquities; and the tradition itself not being understood by the Greeks, is applied to the vine of Bacchus, instead of himself. For it was not the vine more than any other tree, but the vine-planter, who was so wonderfully preserved, as it is hinted by this mythological tradition. I think I need offer no more upon this particular ; for any one, who impartially weighis what I have already put together, will admit that Noah was the Indian Bacchus; and that the heathen writers had at first short hints or memoirs, that after the deluge he came out of the ark in the place I have formerly hinted near to India : that he lived and died in these countries, and that his name was famous amongst his posterity, for the many useful arts be taught them, and instructions he gave them, for their providing and using the conveniences of life'; though we now have in the remains of these writers little more than this and a few other fabulous relations about him. The particular which Diodorus mentions, that Bacchus went out of the west into India with an army, is a fiction of some western writer: no western king or army ever conquered India, before Alexander the Great; for Semiramis only made some unsuccesful attempts towards it. And it is remarkable, that Diodorus himself was not assured of the truth of this fact; for he expressly informs us, that though the Egyptians contended that this Bacchus was a native of their country; yet the Indians, who ought to be allowed to know their own history best, denied it, and asserted as positiyely, that Bacchus was originally of their coun
try;t and that having invented and contrived the culture of the vine, he communicated the knowledge of the use of wine to the inhabitants of the other parts of the world. .
Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the Flood,' and died about the time when Abraham was born. He began to be a husbandman and planted a vine. yard " soon after the flood; he was the first that obtained leave for men to eat the living creatures ; ” and by teaching this, and putting his children upon the study and practice of planting and agriculture, he laid the first foundation for raising a plentiful maintenance for great numbers of people in the several parts of the world. It is very probable that men, whilst they were but few, lived a ranging and unsettled life, mov, ing up and down, killing such of the wild beasts of the field, or fowls of the air, as they liked for food, or which came in their way; and gathering such fruits of the earth, as the wild trees or uncultivated fields spontaneously offered. But when "mankind came to mnltiply, this course of life must grow very inconveninent; therefore Noah, as his children in creased, taught them how to live, a settled life, and by tilling the ground increase the quantity of pro
Diodrus lib. 4. p. 210.
"Gen, ix. 29. * Ver. 20.
Gen ix. See vol. i. b. 2.
Cornaque & in duris hærentia mora rubetis ;
vision, which the earth could produce, that hereby they might live comfortably, without breaking in upon one another's plenty. At whit particular time Noah instructed his children to form civil societies, we cannot certainly say ; but I imagine, it might be about the time when the persons who travelled to Shinaar P left him; and that they left him, because they were not willing to come into the measures, and sub. mit to the appointments which he made for those who remained with him. These men perhaps thought, that the necessity of tilling the ground was occasioned only by too many living too near each other; and that if they separated and travelled, the earth could still afford them sufficient nourishment, without the labour of tilth and culture, and this notion very probably brought them to Shinaar.
Diodorus Siculus has given us such an account of the ancient Indian polity, as may lead us to conjecture what steps Noah directed his children to take, in order to form nations and kingdoms. 9 The Chinese kingdom seems to stand upon these regulations even to this day ; being, as they themselves report little different now from what it was when framed by their legislators, as they compute, above four thousand years ago. The ancient writers called all the most eastern nations by the name of India. They accounted India to be the largest of all the nations in the world,' nay as large as all Asia besides ;" so that they took under that name a much larger tract
than what is now called India, most probably all India, and what we now call China; for they extended it eastward to the eastern sea,' not meaning hereby what modern geographers call the Eastern Indian Ocean, but rather the great Indian ocean, 'which washes upon the Philippine Isles. The ancients had no exact knowledge of these parts of the world, but thought that the land ran in some parts, farther East, than it is now supposed to do, and in others not so far; but still as they all agreed to bound the earth every where with waters, according to Ovid, i.
acord so their mare eoum, or Eastern Sea, was that which
terminated the extreme eastern countries, however im
perfect a notion they had of their true situation; and he (2 all the countries from Bactria up to this eastern ocean regulia were their India. Though the ancient antiquities of treils the countries we now call India are quite lost or de len tire faced; yet it is remarkable, that if we go farther East botes into China, to which so many incursions of the more iters e western kingdoms and conquerors have not so freDame
quently reached, or so much affected; we find great
remains of what Diodorus calls the ancient Indian a bezi polity, and which very probably was derived from the argers appointments of Noah to his children. But let us
st of ali
'Strebo . lib. 2. ubi sup.
enquire what these appointments probably were.-Now the Indians are divided into seven different orders or sorts of men. Their first legislatorconsidered what employments were necessary to be undertaken and cultivated for the publie welfare, and he appointed several sets or orders of men, that each art or employ, ment might be duly taken care of, by those whose proper business it was to employ themselves in it. 1. Some were appointed to be philosophers and to study astronomy. In ancient times, men had no way of knowing when to sow or till their grounds but by observing the rising and setting of particular stars ; for they had no calendar for many ages, nor had they divided the year, into a set of months ; but the lights of heaven were, as Moses speaks, for signs to them, and for seasons,' and for days, and for years. They gradually found by experience, that when such or such stars appeared, the seasons for the several parts of tillage were come; and therefore found it very necessary to make the best observations they could of the heavens, in order to cultivate the earth, so that they might expect the fruits in due season. That this was indeed the way, which the ancients took to find out the proper seasons for the several parts of the husbandman's employment, is evident both from Hesiod and Virgil. The seasons of the year were pretty well settled before Hesiod's time, and much bet. ter before that of Virgil; as may appear from Hesiod's mentioning the several seasons of spring, summer, and winter, and the names of some particular months. But
a Gen. 1.