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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,
Ultima possedit, solidumq; 'coercuit orbem,
so their mare eoum, or Eastern Sea, was that which terminated the extreme eastern countries, however imperfect a notion they had of their true situation; and all the countries from Bactria
to this eastern ocean were their India. Though the ancient antiquities of the countries we now call India are quite lost or defaced ; yet it is remarkable, that if we go farther East into China, to which so many incursions of the more western kingdoms and conquerors have not so frequently reached, or so much affected; we find great remains of what Diodorus calls the ancient Indian polity, and which very probably was derived from the appointments of Noah to his children. But let us
'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 legislator considered 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
+ Gen. 1.
both these poets bave given several specimens of the ancient directions for sowing and tillage, which men at first were not dirccted to perform in this or that month, or season of the year : for these were not so carly observed or settled, but upon the rising or setting of particular stars. Thus Hesiod advises to reap and plough by the rising and setting of the Pleiades,* to cut wood by the dog-star,' and to prune vines by the rising of Arcturus. And thus Virgil lays it down for a general rule, that it was as necessary for the countryman as for the sailor to observe the stars ; ? and gives various directions for husbandry and tillage in the ancient way, forming rules for the times of perform ing the several parts of husbandry from the lights of heaven. Men had but little notion of the seasons of the year, whilst they did not know what the true length of the year was; or at least, they must after a few years' revolutions be led into great mistakes about them. About a thousand years passed after the Flood, before the most accurate observers of the stars in
any nation, were able to guess at the true length of the year, without mistaking above five days in the length of it; and in some nations they mistook more, and found out their mistake later. Now it is easy to see,
what fatal mismanagement such ignorance as this, would, in six or eight years time, introduce into our agriculture, if we really thought summer and winter should come about five or six days sooner every year than their real revolution. And I think, that they
„Hesiod Egywy ra. Huepwr. Lib. 2. · Virgil. Georgic. lib. 1.
y Id. ibid. a Pref. to vol. 1.
who first attempted to till the ground mnst do it with great uncertainty ; and perhaps occasion many of the famines, which were so frequent in' ancient times, being not well apprized of the true course of the seasons, and therefore tilling and sowing in unseasonable times, and in an improper manner. They observed in a little time that the stars appeared in different positions at different times; and by trying experiments, they came to guess under what star, so to speak, this or that grain was to be sown and reaped; and thus hy degrees fixed good rules for their geoponics, before they attained a just and adequate notion of the revolution of the year. But then it is obvious, that any one who could give instructions in this matter, must be hghly esteemed; being most importantly useful in every kingdom. And since no one was able to give these instructions, unless he spent much time in carefully making all sorts of observations; the best that could be made at first being but very imperfect; it seems highly reasonable that every king should set apart and encourage a number of diligent students, to cultivate these studies with all possible industry ; and agreeably hereto, they paid great honours to these astronomers in Egypt, and at Babylon, and in every other country where tillage was attempted with any prudence or success. Noah must be well apprized of the usefulness of this study, having lived six hundred years before the Flood; and was without doubt wellacquainted with all the arts of l.fe, which had been invented in the first world, of which the observation of the stars had been one ; so that he could not only apprize his children of the necessity but also put them into some method of prosecuting these studies.
Another set of men were to make it their whole business to till the ground; and a third sort to keep and order the cattle, to chase and kill such of the beasts as would be noxious to mankind, or destroy the tillage, and incoinmode the husbandman; and to take, and tame, and feed such as might be proper for food or service. A fourth set of men were appointed to be artificers, to employ themselves in making all sorts of weapons for war, and instruments for tillage, and to supply the whole community in general with all utensils and furniture. A fifth set were appointed for the arts of war, to, exercise themselves in arms, to be always ready to suppress intestine tumults and disor- , ders, or repel foreign invasions and attacks, whenever ordered for either service ; and this their standing force was very numerous, for it was almost equal to the number of the tillers of the ground. A sixth sort were the Ephori, or overseers of the kingdom, a set of persons employed to go over every part of the king's dominions, examining the affairs and management of the subjects, in order to report what might be amiss, that proper measures might be taken to correct and amend it. And lastly, they had a set of the wisest persons to assist the king as his council, and to be employed, either as magistrates or officers to command his armies, or in governing and distributing justice amongst his people. The ancient Indians were, as Diodorus tells us, divided into these seven different orders or sorts of men; and the Chinese polity, according to the best accounts we have, varies but little in substance from these institutions; and according to Le Compte, it was much the same when first settled,