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or superiors, they were enclosed in a bag of silk or satin, sealed and directed. Hence the insult of Sanballat to Nehemiah, in sending his letter to him by his servant open.'— It was just now said, that these letters were sealed ; I may remark, as an additional circumstance, that the very ancient custom of sealing them with a seal or signet set in a ring is still retained in the East. Thus “ in Egypt,” says Dr. Pocock, “ they make the impression of their name with their seal, generally of cornelian, which they wear on their finger, and which is blacked, when they have occasion to seal with it.” And Mr. Hanwayd remarks, that the Persian ink “serves not only for writing, but for subscribing with their seal : indeed many of the Persians in high office (he adds) could not write: but in their rings they wear agates, which serve for a seal, on which is frequently engraved their name and some verse of the Koran.” So Dr. Shaw, in like manner, says in his Travels, p. 247, that “ As few or none either of the Arab shekhs, or of Turkish and eastern kings, princes or bashaws, know to write their own names; all their letters and decrees are stamped with their proper rings, seals, or signets, which are usually of silver or cornelian, with their respective names engraved upon them on one side, and the name of their kingdom or principality, or else some sentence of the Koran, on the other.” It was perhaps to this that the apostle alludes, when he says, “ The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal or impression on the one side, The Lord knoweth them that are his : and on the other, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” The author of this work saw a letter addressed from a governor general of India to the king of Persia, in Persic, on beautifully glazed white paper, fifty inches long, and twenty inches broad. The written part, however, was only two feet long, and one foot broad ; the rest being filled with a beautiful ornamental painting at the head of the letter, and a very elegantly painted border round the whole sheet. The bag in which it was sent, and which the author also saw, was a cloth composed of gold threads and crimson silk. It was tied at the neck with a gold lace, which, after being knotted, passed through an immense red seal, four inches in diameter, and about an inch thick, of red wax; which seal was entirely covered with Persic characters, which were supposed to be the titles of the Persian king. In order to preserve the seal and lace entire, the bag was opened at bottom, to extract the letter, but the natural way of opening it would be either by melting the wax or cutting the lace between the wax and the bag. So much as to their manner of writing in general.
b Ch, vi, 5,
* Harm. Ob. vol. ii. p. 129. Neibuhr Arabie, p. 90.
Travels, vol. i. p. 317.
2 Tim, ii. 19.
Some Account of their principal Books. The Old Testament divided into the Pentateuch, former prophets, latter pro
phets, and Hagiographa. Account of the origin of chapters and verses. The Books referred to in Scripture, but at present lost. The Septuagint: Josephus. Of the Talmudical writings, the following are the most remarkable. 1st. The Midraschim, or Commentaries. 2d. The Midraschim Rabbot, or Great Commentaries. 3d. The Pirke Abbot, or Sentences of the Fathers. 4th. The Mishna, its origin, author, and contents described. 5th. The Gemara. 6th. The Talmud. 7. The Targum. 8th. The Commentary on the Old Testament by Aben Ezra. 9th. Maimonides, writings of, described. 10th. Abarbanel's Commentary on the Law.
The Hebrew Scriptures, which form the most ancient book in the world, are arranged by the Jews in a different manner from what they appear in our translation : for they are classed by them under the four following heads. I. The Pentateuch, containing the five Books of Moses, entitled Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deute. ronomy.
II. The Former Prophets, comprehending Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings. III. The Latter prophets, comprehending Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi: and IV. The Hagiographa, or Holy Writings, comprehending Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 and 2 Chronicles. They were first revised and arranged by Ezra, A.A.C. 444: the other members of the Great Synagogue carried on the work; and Simon the Just completed the Canon of the Old Testament A.A.C. 291, by adding 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Malachi: of which, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Esther, are supposed to have been written by Ezra : and Nehemiah and Malachi, by those whose names they bear, some time after his death."
In the time of Josephus, Daniel was esteemed one of the greatest of the prophets ;' but, since that time, the opinion of the Jews hath been changed; for, in order to invalidate the evidence that results from his writings in support of Christianity, they have, on the authority of a few doctors, agreed to remove him from among the prophets, and class him among the Hagiographa : which division, however, even upon their own rules, does not affect his pretensions to be considered as an inspired writer. The reason, among others, which induced the Jews to this degradation, is, that Daniel lived in the Babylonish court in a style of magnificencc inconsistent
Antiq. x. 11, 12
a Prideaux Connect. A.A.C. 292. 446. VOL. II.
with the restrictions observed by the prophets; and though the divine will was revealed to him by an angel, yet, as the prophet himself calls this revelation a dream, the Jewish writers, by an unintelligible distinction, consider this as a mode of revelation inferior to any of those specified in God's address to Moses. *
In the most ancient copies of the Scriptures there are neither chapters nor verses. The following is a short account of their origin: Some have asserted, that the present division into chapters was invented by Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, in the reigns of King John, and his son, Henry III. ; but the true author was Hugo de Sancto Caro, who from a dominican monk was advanced to the dignity of cardinal, and is generally known by the name of cardinal Hugo. He flourished A. D. 1240, and died A. D. 1262. This cárdinal was the first who composed a Concordance in the Vulgar Latin, by the assistance of the monks of his order; and divided the Vulgate into chapters, and letters, at regular distances along the margin, for the sake of reference. The subdivision into verses by Hebrew letters, as they stand in the margin of our Hebrew Bibles, was not adopted till two centuries after by Mordecai Nathan, or, as others call him, Isaac Nathan : who, seeing the utility of Hugo's concordance to the Christians, when arguing with the Jews, composed a Hebrew one for the Jews, to argue against the Christians; but, in place of adopting Hugo's marginal letters, he marked every fifth verse with a Hebrew numeral thus, x 1, il 5, 10, &c.; retaining, however, his division into sections or chapters. This Concordance of Nathan's was begun by him A. D. 1438, and finished A. D. 1445.
• Num. xii. 6. Gray's Key to the Old Testament, p. 403. Prideaux Conn. A.A.C. 534.
The last improvement as to the verses, was by Athias, a Jew of Amsterdam, in his beautiful edition of the Hebrew Bible printed in 1661, and reprinted in 1667; who marked every verse with our common numerals, except those already marked by Nathan with Hebrew letters, in the manner they now stand in the Hebrew Bibles. And it was by casting out these Hebrew letters from other Bibles, and putting the corresponding numerals in their place, that all the copies of the Bible, in other languages, have since been marked."
In the Old Testament Scriptures, a reference is often made to other books, such as the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel, and of Judah ;' of Jasher;' of Samuel the seer ;and of the chronicles of the kings of Persia : but all these are now lost, except some fragments of the last, which are preserved by the Persian poet Ferdosi, who lived in the fourth century of the Mahomedan æra (corresponding with the eleventh of the Christian,) and is reckoned the first of Persian poets. 6. He is the author of the Shah Nameh,” (says Sir John Malcolm,) " or Book of Kings, a noble epic poem, which, independent of its poetical merit, contains the only facts the Persians have of the more early periods of their history. It is formed from some fragments of the chronicles of the kings of Persia, a work which is noticed in Scripture; and which we are told by the Grecian author Ctesias, existed when he was at the court of Artaxerxes Mnemon."6
But, besides the Old Testament Scriptures, the Jews have several writings of human composure, which are in
* Prid. Conn, A.A.C. 446. 0 2 Kings i. 18. < 2 Kings viii. 25.
Josh, x. 13. 2 Sam. i, 18. • 1 Chron. xxix. 29. f Esther vi. 1. & Persia, a Poem, Note (a.) Sir John has nearly the same observations in his History of Persia, vol. i. ch. 7.