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soil was

of canals, communicating with the rivers or brooks ; and thereby imparted to their fields the richness of gardens (Ps. i. 3, lxv. 10; Prov. xxi. 1; Isai. xxx. 25, xxxii. 2, 20; Hos. xii. 11). Springs, fountains, and rivulets were, therefore, held in as much honour and worth by husbandmen as by shepherds (Josh. xv. 9; Judg. i. 15); and we accordingly find that the land of Canaan was extolled for those fountains of water of which Egypt was destitute. The soil was enriched also, in addition to the method just mentioned, by means of ashes; to which the straw, the stubble, the husks, the brambles, and the grass, that overspread the land during the sabbatical year, were reduced by fire. The burning over the surface of the land had also another good effect, viz., that of destroying the seeds of the noxious herbs (Isai. vii. 23, xxxii. 13; Prov. xxiv. 31). Finally, the

manured with dung (Ps. lxxxiii. 10 ; 2 Kings ix. 37; Isai. xxv. 10; Jer. viii. 2, ix. 22, xvi. 4, xxv. 33; Luke xiv. 34, 35).

The culture of the soil was at first very simple, being performed by no other instruments than sharp sticks. By these the ground was loosened, until spades and shovels, and not long after ploughs, were invented. All these implements were well known in the time of Moses (Deut. xxiii. 13; Gen. xlv. 6; Job i. 14). The first plough was doubtless nothing more than a stout limb of a tree, from which projected another shortened and pointed limb. This being turned into the ground made the furrows; while at the further end of the longer branch was fastened a transverse yoke, to which the oxen were harnessed. At last a handle was added, by which the plough might be guided. So that the plough was composed of four parts; the beam, the yoke




which was attached to the beam, the handle, and what we should call the coulter (1 Sam. xiii. 20, 21; Micah iv. 3). It was necessary for the ploughman constantly and firmly to hold the handle of the plough, which had no wheels; and, that no spot might remain untouched, to lean forward and fix his eyes steadily upon it (Luke ix. 62). The staff by which the coulter was cleared, served for an ox-goad. In the east, at the present day, they use a pole about eight feet in length, at the largest end of which is fixed a flat piece of iron for clearing the plough, and at the other end a spike for spurring the oxen. Hence it appears that a goad might answer the purpose of a spear, which indeed had the same name (1 Sam. xiii. 21; Judg. iii. 31). Sometimes a scourge was applied to the oxen (Isai. x. 26; Nah. iii. 2). There seems to have been no other harrow than a thick clump of wood, borne down by a weight, or a man sitting upon it, and drawn over the ploughed field by oxen; the same which the Egyptians use at the present time. In this way the turfs were broken in pieces, and the field levelled. At a later period wicker drags came into use, which Pliny mentions. The modern Orientals, except in India, are unacquainted with the cart ; but formerly not only wagons (Gen. xlv. 19, 27; Numb. vii. 3, 6, 7'; 1 Sam. ix. 7, 8, 10, 11, 14 ; Amos ii. 13; Isai. v. 18; xxviii. 28), and warlike chariots, but also pleasure carriages, were used (Gen. xli. 43, xlv. 19, 21; 2 Kings v. 9; 2 Sam. xv. 1; Acts viii. 28.

The beasts of burden that endured the toils of agriculture, were bulls and cows, he-asses and sheasses (Job i. 14; 1 Sam. vi. 7; Isai. xxx. 24, xxxii. 20). But it was forbidden to yoke an ass with an ox (Deut. xxii. 10). Those animals, which in the Scriptures are called oxen, were bulls, for the Hebrews were prohibited from castrating, although the law was sometimes violated (Mal. i. 14). Bulls in the warmer climates, especially if they are not greatly pampered, are not so ungovernable but that they may be harnessed to the plough. If, indeed, any became obstinate by rich pasturage, their nostrils were perforated, and a ring, made of iron or twisted corn, was thrust through, to which was fastened a a rope, which impeded his respiration to such a degree, that the most turbulent one might easily be managed (2 Kings xix. 28; Isai. xxxvii. 29; Ezek. xix. 4; Job xl. 24).

Sowing commenced in the latter part of October; at which time, as well as in the months of November and December following, the wheat was committed to the earth. Barley was sown in January and February. The land was ploughed, and the quantity which was ploughed by a yoke of oxen in one day was called a yoke, or an acre (1 Sam. xiv. 14). The yoke was laid upon the necks and shoulders of the labouring animals, and with ropes was made fast to the beam of the plough. The ox beneath the yoke afforded metaphors expressive of subjugation (Hos. x. 11; Isai. ix. 4, x. 27; Jer. v. 5, xxvii. 2, 8—12, xxx. 8; Nah. i. 13; Ps. cxxix. 3, 4; Matt. xi. 29, 30). The Syrians, according to Pliny (xviii. 3), ploughed shallow. The furrows, and the ridges between them, were harrowed and levelled (Job xxxix. 10; Isai. xxviii. 24, 25; Hos. x. 11). The seed was most probably committed to the soil in the harrowing, as Pliny relates. Yet it seems to have been customary in some cases, formerly, as it is at present, to scatter the seed upon the field once ploughed, and cover it by a cross furrow. When it was prohibited



enclosed ;* that those most in request as articles of food should be so hardy and so abundantly prolific;t and that seeds in general, which are the sport of so many casualties, and exposed to injury from such a variety of accidents, should be possessed of a principle of lasting vitality, which makes it indeed no easy matter to deprive them of their fructifying power ! Plants are also multiplied and propagated in a variety of ways, which strengthen the provision made for their succession.

Nor is the finger of Providence less visible in the means for diffusing or spreading abroad vegetables, than in the provision made for keeping up their succession. The earth may be said to be full of the goodness of the Lord; but how comes it to pass, that in parts untrodden by man, and on the tops of ruinous buildings, so many varied specimens of the vegetable creation are to be found ? Is it not from the manner in which nature's great husbandman scatters His seeds about ? While the seeds of some. plants are made sufficiently heavy to fall down and take up their abode near the place of their nativity ; and others after having been swallowed up by quadrupeds, are deposited in the neighbouring soil ; some are carried by the fowls of the air to places more remote, or, being furnished with a soft plumage, are borne on the winds of heaven to the situations allotted for them. To prevent some from pitching too near, they are wrapped up in elastic cases, which, bursting when fully ripe, the prisoners fly abroad in all direc


* As in the walnut, we have first a thick pulpy covering, then a hard shell; within is the seed, enclosed in a double membrane.

† Wheat is not only a most prolific plant, but comes to maturity in hot and cold, as well as in temperate, climates.

tions; while, to prevent others from straying too far, they are furnished with a kind of grappling hooks, that arrest them in their flight, and attach them to the spot most congenial to their growth. These are some of the doings of the Lord, and are wondrous in our eyes !

In the construction of plants we observe a considerable difference in the consistence of the three classes. Compared with the shrubby race, how hard, firm, and tenacious is the trunk of the majestic oak; and, compared with the herbaceous tribe, how woody, tough, and elastic is the hawthorn twig ! But for this, how could the mighty monarch of the wood have been able to withstand the fury of the tempest? While the more humble and lowly shrubs stand not in need of such firmness of texture, their pliability and elastic toughness, together with the prickly coat of mail by which they are enveloped, render them less susceptible of injury in their exposed situation.

Softness, united with a still greater degree of flexibility, are the distinguishing characteristics of the herbaceous order; and how wisely has this been ordered for the various purposes for which they were created ! With the firmness of trees, to what a prickly stubble must Nature's soft and downy carpet have given way! With the tenacity of shrubs, how would it have answered as food for our cattle?

There are, besides, a number of other properties and peculiarities in the vegetable kingdom, in which the wonderful working of the Divine Creator is displayed. How strange, for instance, that if a seed is sown in a reverse position, the young root turns of itself downwards, while the stem refuses to sink deeper in the soil, and bends itself round to shoot up through the surface of the earth! How surprising,

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