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of which goods of all kinds are bought and sold, or exchanged for one another.






The Egyptians had an inventive genius, and turned it to profitable speculations. The discoverers of any useful invention received, both living and dead, rewards equal to their profitable labours. The first li. braries were in Egypt; and the titles they bore inspired the reader with an eager desire to enter them, and dive into the secrets they contained. They were called “ Offices for the diseases of the soul,” and that very justly, because the soul was there cured of ignorance, the most dangerous of her maladies, and the parent of them all.–As their country was level, and the air of it always serene and unclouded, they were among the first who observed the courses of the planets. These observations led them to regulate the year

from the course of the sun; for their year, we are told, was, from the most remote antiquity, composed of 365 days and 6 hours. To adjust the property of their lands, which were every year covered by the overflowing of the Nile, they were obliged to have recourse to surveys; and this first taught them geometry. They were great observers of nature, which, in a climate so serene, and under so intense a sun, was vigorous and fruitful. By their study and application they invented or improved the science of physic. The sick were not abandoned to the arbitrary will and caprice of the physician. He was obliged to follow fixed rules, which were the observations of old and experienced practitioners, and written in the sacred books. While these rules were observed, the physician was not answerable for the suc. cess; otherwise a miscarriage cost him his life. This law checked, indeed, the temerity of empirics; but then it might prevent new discoveries, and keep the art from attaining its just perfection. Every physician, if Herodotus may be credited, confined his practice to the cure of one disease only: one was for the eyes, another for the teeth, and so on.

1.—The Pyramids, the Labyrinth, and that infinite number of obelisks, temples, and palaces, whose precious remains still strike with admiration, and in which were displayed the magnificence of the princes who raised them, the skill of the workmen, the riches of the ornaments diffused over every part of them, and the just proportion and beautiful symmetry of the parts, in which their greatest beauty consisted; works, in many of which the liveliness of the colours remains to this day, in spite of the rude hand of time, which commonly deadens or destroys them-all this, I say, shows the perfection to which architecture, painting, sculpture, and all other arts had arrived in Egypt.—The Egyptiansentertained but a mean opinion of that sort of exercise, which did not contribute to invigorate the body or improve health ; and of music, which they considered as a useless and dangerous diversion, and fitonly to enervatethe mind.-Husbandmen, shepherds, and artificers, formed the three classes of lower life in Egypt, but were nevertheless had in very great esteem; particularly husbandmen and shepherds. The body politic requires a superiority and subordination of its several members. For as, in the natural body, the eye may be said to hold the first rank, yet its lustre does not dart contempt upon

the feet, the hands, or even on those parts which are less honourable: in like manner, among the Egyptians, the priests, soldiers, and scholars were distinguished by particular honours; but all professions, to the meanest, had their share in the public esteem, because the despising of any man, whose labours, however mean, were useful to the state, was thought a crime. Thus arts were raised to their highest perfection. The honour, which cherished them, mixed with every thought and care for their improvement. Every man had his way of life assigned him by the laws, and it was perpetuated from father to son. Two professions at one time, or a change of that which a man was born to, were never allowed. By these means men became more able and expert in employments, which they had always exercised from their infancy; and every man adding his own experience to that of his ancestors, was more capable of attaining perfection in this particular art. Besides, this wholesome institution, which had been established anciently throughout Egypt, extinguished all irregular ambition; and taught every man to sit down contented with his own condition, without aspiring to one more elevated, from interest, vain-glory, or levity. I have said that husbandmen particularly, and those who took care of flocks, were in great esteem in Egypt; some parts of it excepted, where the latter were not suffered. It was, indeed, to these two professions, that Egypt owed its riches and plenty. The culture of lands, and the breeding of cattle will, in truth, be an inexhaustible fund of wealth in all countries, where, as in Egypt, these profitable callings are supported and encouraged. “For," says Abbé Fleury, “it is the peasant who feeds the citizen, the magistrate, the gentleman, the ecclesiastic: and, whatever artifice may be used to convert money into commodities, and these back again into money, yet all must ultimately be owned to be received from the products of the earth, and the animals which it sustains and nourishes." Rollin.


In Egypt, when any person died, all the kindred and friends quitted their usual habits, and put on mourning; and abstained from baths, wine, and dainties of every kind. The mourning lasted forty or seventy days, probably according to the quality of the person. Bodies were embalmed three ways. The most magnificent was bestowed on persons of distinguished rank, and the expense amounted to a talent of silver, or nearly L.140 sterling. They filled the body with myrrh, cinnamon, and all sorts of spices. After a certain time it was swathed in lawn fillets, which were glued together with a kind of very thin gum, and then crusted over with the most exquisite perfumes. By these means, it is said, the entire figure of the body, the very lineaments of the face, and the hairs on the eyelids and eyebrows, were preserved in their natural perfection. The body, thus embalmed, was delivered to the relations, who shut it up in a kind of open chest, fitted exactly to the size of the corpse ; and then placed it upright against the wall, either in the sepulchres (if they had any) or in their own houses. These embalmed bodies are what we now call Mummies, which are still brought from Egypt, and are found in the cabinets of the curious. This shows the care which the Egyptians took of their dead. Their gratitude to their deceased relations was immortal. Children, by seeing the bodies of their ancestors thus preserved, recalled to mind those virtues, for which the public had honoured them; and were excited to a love of those laws, which such excellent persons had left for their security. We find that part of these ceremonies was performed in the funeral honours done to Joseph in Egypt.-Before any person, however, could be admitted into the sacred asylum of the tomb, he underwent a solemn trial ; and this circumstance in the Egyptian funerals, is one of the most remarkable to be found in ancient history. It was a consolation, among the heathens, to a dying man, to leave a good name behind him: and they imagined, that this is the only human blessing, of which death cannot deprive us. But the Egyptians would not suffer praise to be bestowed indiscriminately on all deceased persons. This honour was to be obtained only from the public voice. The assembly of the judges met on the other side of a lake, which they crossed in a boat. He, who sat at the helm, was called Charon in the Egyptian language ; and this first gave the hint to Orpheus, who had been in Egypt, and after him to the other Greeks, to invent the fiction of Charon's boat. As soon as a man was dead, he was brought to his trial. The public accuser was heard. If he proved that the deceased had led a bad life, his meinory was condemned, and he was deprived of burial. Laws, which extended even beyond the grave, had a strong influence upon the minds of the people; and every one, struck with the disgraceinflicted on the dead person, was afraid to reflect dishonour on his own memory, and that of his family. But, if the deceased person was not convicted of any crime, he was interred in an honourable manner. A still more astonishing circumstance, in this public inquest upon the dead, was, that the throne itself was no protection from it. Kings were spared during their lives, because the public peace was concerned in this forbearance; but their quality did not exempt them from the judgment passed upon the dead, and even some of them were deprived of sepulture. This custom was imitated by the Israelites. We see, in Scripture, that bad kings were not interred in the monuments of their ancestors. This practice suggested to princes, that, if their majesty placed them out of the reach of men's judgment while they were alive, they would at last be liable to it, when death should reduce them to a level with their subjects. When a favourable judginent was pronounced on a deceased person, the next

thing was to proceed to the funeral ceremonies. In his panegyric no mention was made of his birth, because every Egyptian was deemed noble. No praises were considered as just or true, but such as related to the personal merit of the deceased. He was applauded for having received an excellent education in his younger years; and, in his more advanced age, for having cultivated piety towards the gods, justice towards men, gentleness, modesty, moderation, and all other virtues which constitute the good man. Then all the people shouted, and bestowed the highest eulogiums on the deceased, as one who would be received for ever into the society of the virtuous in Pluto's kingdom.



LYCURGUS thought proper to have very few written laws, being persuaded, that the most powerful and effectual method of rendering communities happy, and

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