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thaginians were held by the Romans to be artfuli and cunning. The Romans continued a plain people, with much simplicity of manners, when thei nations mentioned had made great progress in the arts of life; and it is a sad truth, that morality declines in proportion as a nation polishes. But if the Romans were later than the Greeks and Carthaginians in the arts of life, they soon surpassed them' in every sort of immorality. For this change of manners, they were indebted to their rapid conquests. The sanguinary disposition both of the Greeks and Romans, appears from another practice, that of exposing their infant children, which continued. till humanity came in some measure to prevail. The practice continues in China to this day, the populousness of the country throwing a veil over the cruelty; but from the humanity of the Chinese, I conjecture, that the practice is rare. The Jews, a cloudy and peevish tribe, much addicted to bloodshed, were miserably defective in morat principles. Take the following examples out of an endless number recorded in the books of the Old Testament. Jael, wife of Heber, took under her protection Sisera, general of the Canaanites, and engaged her faith for his security. She put him treacherously to death when asleep; and was applauded by Deborah the prophetess for the me? ritorious action*. That horrid deed would pro2 bably have appeared to her in a different light, had it
it been committed against Barac, general of the Israelites. David, flying from Saul, took refuge with Achish, King of Gath; and, though protected by that King, made war against the King's allies, saying, that it was against his own countrymen of Judah. " And David saved nei"ther man nor woman alive to bring tidings to "Gath. And Achish believed David, saying, He "hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor "him therefore he shall be my servant for e"ver *." This was a complication of ingratitude, lying and treachery. Ziba, by presents to King David, and by defaming his master Mephibosheth, procured from the King a gift of his master's in-` heritance; though Mephibosheth had neither trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the King departed till he returned in peace. "And it came to pass, when Mephibosheth was
come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the 46 king said unto him, Wherefore wentest thou not "with me, Mephibosheth: And he answered, My lord, O king, my, servant deceived me; for thy "servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may "ride thereon, and go to the king; because thy "servant is lame, and he hath slandered thy servant "unto my lord the king. But my lord the king "is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good "in thine eyes. For all my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet "didst
1 Samuel xxvii. 11.
"didst thou set thy servant among them that did "eat at thine own table: what right therefore "have I to cry any more unto the king?" Davidi could not possibly atone for his rashness, but by restoring Mephibosheth his inheritance, and pu nishing Ziba in an exemplary manner. But hear› the sentence: "And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have "said, Thou and Ziba divide the land *" The same king, after pardoning Shimei for cursing him, and swearing that he should not die; yet upon deathbed enjoined his son Solomon to put Shimei to death: "Now therefore, hold him not guiltless; "but his hoary head bring thou down to the grave with blood t." I wish not to be misapprehended, as intending to censure David in particular. If the best king the Jews ever had, was b so miserably deficient in morality, what must be thought of the nation in general? When David was lurking to avoid the wrath of Saul, he became acquainted with Nabal, who had a great stock of cattle." He discharged his followers," says Josephus," either for avarice, or hunger, or any "pretext whatever, to touch a single hair of "them; preaching still on the text of doing jus"tice to all men, in conformity to the will of "God, who is not pleased with any man that co“vets or lays violent hands on the goods of his 302/2014 303 196 gid sholadować neighbour."
2 Samuel xix. 24.
Antiquities, book vi.
"neighbour." Our author proceeds to acquaint us, that Nabal having refused to supply David with provisions, and having sent back the messengers with a scoffing answer, David, in rage made a vow, that he would destroy Nabal with his house and family. Our author observes, that David's indignation against Nabal, was not so much for his ingratitude, as for the virulence of an insolent outrage against one who had never injured him. And what was the outrage? It was, says our author, that Nabal, inquiring who the said David was, and being told that he was one of the sons of Jesse, "Yes, yes", says Nabal," your run-away ser"vants look upon themselves to be brave fellows, "I warrant you." Strange looseness of morals! I mean not David who was in wrath, but Jose phus writing sedately in his closet. He every where celebrates David for his justness and piety, composes for him the very warm exhortation mentioned above and yet thinks him not guilty of any wrong, in vowing to break every rule of justice and humanity, upon so slight a provocation as a scoffing expression, such as no man of temper will regard.
* European nations, who originally were fierce and sanguinary like the Greeks and Jews, had the same cloudy and incorrect notions of right and wrong. It is scarce necessary to give instances, the low state of morality during the dark ages of Christianity being known to all. In the time of
Louis XI. of France, promises and engagements were utterly disregarded, till they were sanctified by a solemn oath nor were such oaths long regarded; they lost their force, and were not relied on more than simple promises. All faith among men seemed to be an end. Even those who appeared the most scrupulous about character, were however ready to grasp at any subterfuge to excuse their breach of engagement. And it is a still clearer proof of self-deceit, that such subterfuges were frequently prepared beforehand, in order to furnish an excuse. It was a common practice some ages ago, to make private protestations, which were thought sufficient to relieve men in conscience from being bound by a solemn treaty. The Scotch nation, as an ally of France, being comprehended in a treaty of peace between the French King and Edward I. of England, the latter ratified publicly the treaty, after having secretly protested before notaries against the article that compre hended Scotland. Charles, afterward Emperor of Germany, during his minority, gave authority to declare publicly his accession to a treaty of peace, between his grandfather Maximilian and the King of France but at the same time protested privately, before a notary and witnesses, "That, notwithstanding his public accession to the said treaty, it was not his intention to be bound by every article of it; and particularly, that the "clause reserving to the King of France the soVOL. III. P "vereignty