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the moderns are carried on principally by sea. Since Europeans sailed round the southern promontory of Africa, they bave traded in most of its ports; but its interior regions are but little known. The ancients, who had but a very imperfect knowledge of its coasts, except where they are washed by the Mediterranean, and the Red Sea, were accustomed to penetrate into its inland provinces; and if we may rely on the testimony of Herodotus, and Diodorus Siculus, had explored many parts of it, now altogether unknown'.
“ Of all the nations of antiquity,” says Bigland,“ the highly polished Romans, notwithstanding their advancement in literature, in science and philosophy, were the most uniformly cruel in the treatment of their captives. They had a savage delight in the groans of the wounded and of the dying. And, figuratively speaking, the temples which they erected to military fame, were cemented with the tears of miserably distracted widows, and of desolate orphans. The prisoners they took in war were generally made slaves; and slavery entailed upon their posterity, from generation to generation.
“Gibbon computes, that one half of the people of that extensive empire, were excluded from every privilege of society, and from every blessing
of life; and as the inhabitants of the Roman territories, could not be fewer in number than those of modern Europe, which, by general calculation, amount to 120,000,000; consequently, the number of Roman slaves could not be less than 60,000,000 ; a circumstance which exhibits, in the most striking manner, the tyranny of man
These unhappy beings were dependant on the caprice of imperious masters, who might* torture, maim, or put them to death, in what manner soever their caprice or their cruelty dictated.
“It is a melancholy consideration, that a state of slavery existed among all the nations of antiquity of whom we have any knowledge, the Jewish only excepted.”—The repeated injunctions of universal benevolence in the Mosaical law, most strikingly display the superior excellence of its moral doctrines, when compared with the institutions of the most celebrated Pagan Legislators, and afford no unreasonable presumption in favour of its Divine origin.
In the preceding page we have made quotations from the judicious letters of Bigland, and we shall conclude the present chapter in this author's appropriate and perspicuous language : “ In the age immediately preceding the coming of Christ, the whole mass of mankind, the Jews, and perhaps the Persians, only excepted, was bewildered in the intricate maze of unintelligible mythologies.
“The philosophy of Epicurus had gained the ascendance at Rome. It was of an easy and aceommodating kind, and suited the libertinism of a polite, but immoral age. Corruption of manners, and religious scepticism were at their full height; and most of the greatest and most learned men, wavered between the theistical and atheistical systems.
“ Man had lost himself in the labyrinth of speculation, and his imagination had launched out into all the extravagancies of which it is capable, when reason overpowered, leaves it to run into wild exuberance.
“ Such a state of the moral and intellectual world, as is here delineated, clearly points out the necessity of a Divine revelation, which, by giving supernatural aid to the feeble efforts of human reason, might fix the wanderings of the mind, and furnish man with certain information concerning what it is so much his interest to know, his most important and everlasting concerns.
“ This grand purpose was to be accomplished by the Christian revelation, which was to communicate to mankind just ideas of the Supreme Being, of his attributes and agency; of the means
of pardon; and the most acceptable mode of worshipping Him.
« Of all the various revolutions which had ever taken place in the world, this was far the most important; and its effects the most wonderful, extensive, and durable. The rise and fall of the Assyrian, Persian, and Grecian empires, and the immense aggrandizement of Rome, were trifling events, which sink into insignificance when put into the scale of comparison with the establishmeut of Christianity that great and important event, which was designed to effect a fundamental revolution in the ideas of mankind, and to produce a total change in the moral aspect of the world."
ON THE JEWS UNDER THE MACCABEES AND
In the thirtieth chapter of this work, the his. tory of the Jews was brought forward to the time of Malachi, the last of the prophets. The continuation of it, to the time of the coming of the Messiah, will comprise a period in which the Jews were alternately subjected to the Greeks, and the Romans. For perspicuity of arrangement, we have given a sketch of the origin of these two nations, and of their advancement to extensive dominion and empire, previously to their history being connected with that of the Jews.--This people had many revolutions of peace and war, and some changes in the mode of their government, from the time of their return from the Babylonian captivity, to their complete subjugation to the Romans.
They acknowledged the sovereignty of the kings of Persia, till that empire was overturned