Adam Clarke.

Manners of the ancient Israelites: containing an account of their peculiar customs and ceremonies, their laws, polity, religion, sects, arts and trades, divisions of time, wars, captivities, & c. with a short account of the ancient and modern Samaritans, written originally in French by Claude Fleury online

. (page 1 of 24)
Online LibraryAdam ClarkeManners of the ancient Israelites: containing an account of their peculiar customs and ceremonies, their laws, polity, religion, sects, arts and trades, divisions of time, wars, captivities, & c. with a short account of the ancient and modern Samaritans, written originally in French by Claude Fleury → online text (page 1 of 24)
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The Glenn Negley Collection
of Utopian Literature


Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
Duke University Libraries




ooMTktnna an account of their













For the Sunday School Union of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
at the Conference Office, 200 Mulberry-street.

/. Collord, Printer.





Every attempt to illustrate the Bible, the
oldest and most important book in the world,
a book that has God tor its Author, and the
eternal happiness of the human race for its
end, deserves the most serious attention of all
those who profess the Christian religion.

It is granted on all hands that this book has
many difficulties ; but this is not peculiar to
the Jewish Scripture-* : all ancient writings
are full of them : and these difficulties are ge-
nerally in proportion to the antiquity of such
writings ; for the customs, manners, and lan-
guage of mankind are continually changing ;
and were it not for the help received from the
records of succeeding ages, which are only ac-
cessible to the learned, many valuable works
of primitive times must have remained in im
penetrable obscurity. Scholars and critics have
exerted themselves in the most laudable man-
ner to remove or elucidate the difficulties oc-
curring in ancient authors ; and (thanks to
their industry) they have rendered the study
of these writers not only easy but delightful ;
and brought the literature of ancient Greece


and Rome within the reach even of our chil-

But the heathen writers have not been the
only ohjecls of regard in the grand system of
critical disquisition. A host of the most emi-
nent scholars that ever graced the republic of
letters, or ennobled the human character, have
carefully read, and diligently studied, the sa-
cred writings; have fell their beauties, and
prized their excellences ; and, by their learned
and pious works, have not onl) recommended
them to mankind at large, but rendered them
useful to all who wish to read 90 as to under-
stand. Some of these have been addressed to

the ilitidi 1. oilier- tO the Scholar, Mid some to

the plain unlettered Christian. The number

of the latter, it is true, has not been Lin at ; hut
what is deficient in quantity, i supplied by
the \ inTsrmation they impart.

Such works want only to be generally known,
to become universally esteemed.

In the first rank of such writers the Abbt
Fleury and Father homy stand highly and de-
servedly distinguished; the former by histrea-
i entitled Maurs des I r, (the book

now before the reader,) and the latter by his
Weil known work railed Apparatus HilAicus.

The former is i tul treatise on the

subject 1 h; met m ith.

In 173(> the Mauirs det Israelitt s was trans.
I by the Rev. Ellis F arnew ortk, and dedi-
cated to the bishop of Litchfield and Coventry.
How it was received I cannot tell, being long


before my time ; but if it sold in proportion
to the merit of the work, and the fidelity of
the execution, a considerable number must
soon have been disposed of. When I first
thought of preparing a I ,tion of this

work for the public, I intended to retranslate
the original ; but on reading over the trans-
lation of Mr. Farneworth, I was satisfied that
a better one. on the whole. Could scarcely be
hoped for. In general the language is simple,
pure, and elegant ; and both the spirit and
unction of the original are excellently pr<
ed. I therefore made no scruple to adopt it,
rving to myself the liberty to correct what
I thought amiss, and h notes as I

judged necessary to the fuller elucidation of
the work.

\s some judicious friends though I the origin-
a! work rather too concise, and hinted that
several useful additions might be made to it on
the same plan, I was naturally led to turn to
Father Lamy for ma work al

mentioned I considered as ranking next to that
of the Abbi Hairy. From Mr, Bundy's edi-
tion, much of the fourth part of the present
volume is extracted. Those points which I
suppose the Abbi* had treated too concisely to
make intelligible, I have considered more at
large ; and some subjects of importance, which
he had totally omitted, I have here introduced.
To the whole I have added a copious index,
by which any subject discussed in the work
may at once be referred to. I have now rea-


son to hope that every serious Christian, of
whatever denomination, will find this volume
a faithful and pleasant guide to a thorough un-
derstanding of all the customs and manners,
civil and religious, of that people to whom God
originally intrusted the sacred oracles. With-
out a proper knowledge of these, it is impossi-
ble to see the reasonableness and excellence
of that worship, and those ceremonies, which
God himself originally established among the
Israelites ; %nd by which he strongly prefigured
that glorious revelation under which we have
the happiness to live.

The late excellent bishop of Norwich, Dr.
Home, recommends this work in the following
terms : — " This little book contains a concise,
pleasing, and just account of the manners,
customs, laws, polity, and religion of the Israel-
ites. It is an excellent introduction to the
reading of the Old Testament, and should be
put into the hands of every young person." —
Discourses, vol. i.

This recommendation will have its due
weight both with the learned and the pious.



The former edition of this work has been
received by the British public with such flat-
tering marks of approbation as are highly ho-
nourable to the memory of its excellent author.
In no common case has the public opinion
been more correctly formed, nor more unequi-
vocally expressed. The editor, too, has had
his share of the public approbation ; and takes
this opportunity of acknowledging his grateful
sense of the praise bestowed on his part of
the work. Actuated solely by the desire of
doing good to his countrymen, and especially
to the plain unlettered Christian, he undertook
a work from which he neither expected nor re-
ceived any kind of emolument. He has, how-
ever, been amply rewarded by the satisfactory
consciousness of having endeavoured to promote
the study of those living oracles which testify
of Jesus, and the conviction that his labour has
been crowned with success.

When he found, from the rapid sale of the
first, that a second edition would soon be call-
ed for, believing the work susceptible of still
farther improvements, and consequently of
being more useful to the public, he determined
to spare no pains to render it fully worthy of


that patronage by which it has been already
so highly favoured. Having now accomplish-
ed his design, as far as circumstances would
permit, he thinks it proper to inform the reader
what has been done, in order to furnish him
with additional pleasure and instruction.

1. The translation has "been collated with
three copies of the original : the first edition,
published by the Abbe Paris, 1681, 12mo ;
The Paris edition of 1736, 12mo, with addi-
tional references ; and that in the Opuscules
de M. UAbbe' Fleury, tome i, a Nismes, 1780,
5 vols. 8vo. This collation has given rise to
inumerable alterations and improvements of
the translation.

2. The references not only to the Scriptures,
but also to the Greek and Latin writers, have
been collated with the authors themselves, and
a multitude of errors have been corrected
which had been increasing with every edition
of the work.

3. To render these references more service-
able to the reader, many of them have been
produced at full length, accompanied with an
English translation, where the matter appear-
ed to be of considerable importance.

4. A great variety of notes have been added
to illustrate and confirm what is advanced in
the text, and to make the meaning more easy
to be understood.

5. Some supplementary chapters have been
inserted, viz., On the Hebrew Poetry. — Instru-
ments of Music among the ancient Hebrews. — '


Hindoo and Mohammedan fasts, purifications,
&c, to illustrate those of the ancient Jews. —
A short History of the ancient and modern Sa-
maritans, which was certainly a desideratum
in the former editions, together with a short
sketch of the present state of the Jews, and a
copy of their ancient Liturgy.

6. To the work a Life of the Author is pre*
fixed, which had not been done in the former
English editions, and which, though short, will,
it is hoped, serve to bring the reader more par-
ticularly acquainted with the amiable spirit
of this excellent man.

On the whole, the editor hopes the work will
now more effectually answer the purpose for
which it was formed, viz., to render the study
of the Bible improving and delightful ; and
thus, especially to the young and inexperienced,
prove an antidote against deism, irreligion, and
impiety of all sorts. For he thinks it would
be impossible even for a prejudiced mind to
read over the history of this ancient people,
and compare their political and ecclesiastical
state with that of any other nation upon earth,
without being convinced that they had sta-
tutes and judgments such as no other people
could boast of, and such as the human mind
could never have devised for itself: in short,
that God was among them of a truth, and that
they were the people of his pasture, and the sheep
of his hand.

N. B. The notes which I have borrowed from Mr.
Fame worth, I have marked with E. F.



Those who have profited by the works of
the learned and pious, naturally wish to know
who the persons were from whom they have
received so much instruction ; and are glad to
meet with any account of lives which they
know must have been spent, not only innocent-
ly, but usefully. This disposition, so natural to
man, has been deeply studied by the inspired
writers ; hence their works abound with bio-
graphy and biographical anecdotes ; and thus
truth teaches not only by precept, but also by
example, and hereby seems to assume a body
and render itself palpable. Of the Abbe Floury
I have been able to meet with few anecdotes
which can be particularly interesting to the
pious reader, as most accounts which have been
hitherto published of him relate chiefly to his
literary history. The following memoirs,
which I have collected from the most authen-
tic sources, are, I must confess, very scanty,
but they are such as cannot fail to give some
pleasure to those who are admirers of the im-
mortal work to which they are prefixed.


Claude Fleury, in Latin, Claudius Flows,
was born at Paris, Dec. 6, 1640. He was son
of a lawyer, originally of the diocess of Rouen,
and was brought up to the bar. In 1658, he
was received advocate to the parliament in
Paris, in which employment he continued for
nine years, devoting all his time to the study
of jurisprudence and the belles-lettres, in which
he made uncommon proficiency. This kind of
life not entirely suiting his natural inclina-
tion, which was gentle, peaceable, and bene,
volent, he abandoned it, doveted himself to
the study of theology, entered into the ecclesias-
tical state, and soon arrived at the order of

From this time he devoted himself solely to
thestudy of the sacred writings, divinity, eccle-
siastical history, the canon law, and the works
of the fathers. He confined himself, for a con-
siderable time, to these studies alone, from a
persuasion that they were most suitable to his
clerical functions, and that a more extensive
range in the sciences, by diffusing the atten-
tion too much, must render the judgment and
understanding less profound.

His ddep piety and solid learning gained him
great reputation : and Lewis XIV., who was
well qualified to discern great and useful talents,
and well knew who to employ them, made him
preceptor to the princes of Conti in 1672,
whom he caused to be educated with the dau-
phin his son. These princes were, Lewis Ar-
mand and Francis Lewis, son of Armand de


Bourbon, prince of Conti, and chief of that
illustrious family.

The fidelity and accuracy with which this
amiable man discharged the duties of his office
in tliis important business procured him another
pupil from the royal family, for in 1680 the king
made him preceptor to the prince de VermaiU
dois, admiral of France, one of his legitimated
natural sons ; but this prince died in 1G83.

In 1684, the king, highly pleased with his
fidelity and success in the office of preceptor
to the princes, gave him the abbey ofLoc-lHeu,
in the diocess of Rhodes : and in 1 689 heap*
pointed him subpreceptor to his three grand-
children, Lewis, duke of Burgundy; Philip,
duke of Anjou; and Charles, duke of Berri,
sons of the dauphin* In this important em-
ployment he was associated with that most ac-
complished scholar, and most amiable of i
Monsieui Fenelon, afterward archbishop of
Cambray. Like his assistant, the Abb6 Fleu-
ry had a happy art of rendering virtue amiable
by connecting delight with instruction, and of
making the precepts of religion pleasant by
Qplifying them in a placid, steady, and up-
right conduct. Thus precept and example went
hand in hand, and mutually supported each
other. Never had pupils greater advantaj
and never were teachers more revered by their
pupils. Lewis, duke of Burgundy, became
dauphin, April 14, 1711, and died Feb. IS,
1712. Philip, duke of Anjou, became king of
Spain in 1700, with the title of Philip V.

M.AMHMBM or nn i~k.\i;lites. 13

In 1696 the French academy chose him for
one of its forty members : the highest lite-
rary honour in France — a choice due to the
merit of Abbe Fleury, and which was at the
time an honour to the academy itself.

The studies of the three princes being ended
in 1706, the king, who knew as well how to
reward merit as to distinguish it. presented him
with the priory of tfdre Damr d' ArgenteuU,
in the diocess of Paris : but this learned and
Conscientious man, an exact observer of the
canons, (which indeed he had made a particu-
lar object of study.) gave a rare example of
disinterestedness in d< livering up into the hands
of the king the abbey of / u, which he

refused to hold in conjunction with his priory '
an example which, in the present day, we may
hope in vain to find, as sinecures and plurali-
ties are sought after with an extreme avidity,
everyone seeking his gain from his own quar-
ter, and never saying in his heart, It is enough.

In 1716 the duke of Orleans, regent of the
kingdom, made him confessor to the young
king, Lewis XV, son to the duke of Burgundy.
In this important employment he continued till
1722, when his age and infirmities obliged him
to give it up. Had it not been well known
that the abbe had executed the office of pre-
ceptor to the father with the strictest zeal and
integrity, we may rest assured that he never
would have been intrusted with the dearest in-
terests of the son, and indeed those of the whole
French nation. This was the highest eulogium


that could possibly be given of the merit of
this extraordinary man. For many years he
had been in the very high road to preferment,
but his deadness to the world induced him stea-
dily to avoid any farther advancement ; and
being completely satisfied with his priory, he
refused to have any thing in addition.

Though he lived in the midst of a court
where pleasure reigned, and rational devotion
to God was unfashionable ; yet he steadily
pursued his course, and lived in the centre of
fashion and folly, as if he had been in the
inmost recesses of a cell, constantly refusing
the slightest compliance with any thing that
was not conformed to the purest principles of
the Gospel of Christ.

Having spent a long life in exemplary piety,
and laborious usefulness, he died of an apo-
plexy, July 14, 1723, in the eighty-third year
of his age.

On his death several of the academicians
signalized themselves by eulogiums to his me-
mory : a few extracts from which will show
in what estimation he was held by that learned
body. Mr. Adam, who was chosen to succeed
him in the academy, speaks of him in the follow-
ing terms in his inaugural discourse, delivered
before that august assembly, Dec. 2, 1723 : —

"Where shall we find so many inestimable
qualities united in one person ? An excellent
understanding cultivated with intense labour ;
profound knowledge ; a heart full of upright-
ness : not only innocent in his manners, but


leading a simple, laborious, and edifying life,
always accompanied with sincere modesty : an
admirable disinterestedness, an unfailing regu-
larity of conduct, and perfect fidelity in the
performance of his duty ; in a word, an assem.
blage of all those talents and virtues which con-
stitute the scholar, the honest man, and the

In answer to Mr. Adam, the Abbe de llo-
quelte spoke of this great man in the same high
strain of justly merited panegyric. "We shall
always deplore the loss of our late pious, learn-
ed, and illustrious associate. Nothing can oh.
literate the strong impression which his virtues
have made on our minds. Candour, upright-
ness, affability, meekness, and strict probity
seemed to constitute the very essence of his
soul. Nature had lavished her choicest talents
on his mind ; and study had put him in pos-
session of the riches of knowledge. In him a
solid judgment was combined with profound
penetration. An exquisite taste in every de-
partment of literature, with a vast and reten-
tive memory : and a fertile genius with an in-
fatigable ardour for application. To these gifts
of nature let us add those which he received
from grace : a sincere and intelligent piety ;
an ardent and insatiable thirst after truth ; an
unbounded love to mankind, and the most scru-
pulous fidelity in the discharge of every duty
imposed by religion ; a contempt of honour,
and detachment from perishing riches, the love
of solitude even in the midst of the pomps of


a court ; and to sum up the whole, a pure, ex-
emplary, and irreproachable life." Such truly
was the Abbe Fleury, and such the serious
reader will perceive him to be in every page
of the following inestimable work.

Beside the " Manners of the Israelites," and
the " Manners of the Primitive Christians,"
the Abbe Fleury published many other works,
the principal of which is his Ecclesiastical His-
tory, 20 vols. 12mo, or 13 4to, the first volume
of which was published in 1691, and the last
in 1722 : it takes in the history of the Church
from the birth of our Lord to the year 1414.
The author designed to have brought it down
to his own times, but was prevented by his
death, which took place the following year. It
was long well received by the public, and is
in general a truly excellent work, but it is now
become almost obsolete, the public having de-
cided in favour of similar works perhaps a
little more accurate in some dates and facts,
but much less spiritual, and consequently better
adapted to the depraved, reigning taste of the
times. His Historical Catechism, published
first in 1083, 12mo, is also a very valuable
work : it has gone through various editions,
and has been translated into several languages.
All his smaller works, which contain aboutybr-
ty different treatises, have been collected into
5 vols. 8vo, and published at Nismes, 1780,
under the title, Opuscules de M. TAbbe* Prieur
d'Argenteuil, et confesseur du Roi Louis XV.
This edition was printed to accompany a new


edition of the Ecclesiastical History, published
at the same place in 25 vols. 8vo. Great,
pious, and useful as the Abbe Floury was in
his life, his name would have long since been
extinct, had he left no writings behind him :
by these his memory has been embalmed, and
his fame is become imperishable. Every new
edition is, so to speak, a resurrection of this
learned and pious man ; and by tbe diffusion
of his works he who was during his lifetime
necessarily confined in courts among the great,
becomes introduced to every department of so-
ciety, teaching piety to God and benevolence
to men by his most excellent precepts and ami-
able spirit. It is to be lamented that no ac-
count has been given to tbe public of the reli-
gious experience of this eminent man, nor of
his last moments. As his life was holy and
useful, his end must have been peace : thus
far we may safely conjecture.

The testimonies of his contemporaries speak
much for him ; and his unspotted life confirms
all that his warmest friends have said of his
sincere and unaffected piety. [lis religion was
such as to emit a steady and brillant light in
the midst of a court which at that time had at-
tained the acme of worldly glory. Yet even
there the man of God was distinguished, and
all were obliged to own that the glory of that
kingdom which is not of this world infinitely
exceeds all the splendours which can possibly
adorn the most illustrious kingdoms of the uni-
verse. Reader, give God the glory due to his


name for the light which in his eternal mercy
he has caused to shine in a dark place, as a
testimony to his power and goodness : and let
this example encourage thee to confess thy
Lord amid a crooked and perverse generation,
among whom, if thou he not wanting to thy-
self, thou mayest shine as a light in the world.
Manchester, December 12, 1804.

Lot us pray, while solvation to us is declared,

For faith to be mixed with the word:
That falling' on ground, by devotion prepared,

It may not he unfruitful when head.
And O, that a dew from the Lord may descend,

To Best in abundance on all ;
For without it no blessings the Gospel attend,

Though preached by Apolle^ or Paul.



The Design of this Treatise.

The people whom God chose to preserve
the true religion till the promulgation of the
gospel, are an excellent model of that way of
living, which is most conformable to nature.
We see in their customs the most rational me-
thod of subsisting, employing one's self, and
living in society ; and from thence may learn,
not only lessons of morality, but rules for our
conduct both in public and private life.

Vet these customs are so different from our
own, that at first sight they offend us. We
do not see among the Israelites those titles of
nobility, that multitude of employments, or di-
versity of conditions, which are to be found
among us. They are only husbandmen and
and shepherds, all working with their own
hands, all married, and looking upon a great
number of children as the must valuable bless-
ing. The distinction of meats, of clean and
unclean animals, with their frequent purifica-
tions, seem to us as so many troublesome cere-
monies : and their bloody sacrifices quite dis-
gust us. We observe, moreover, that these


people were prone to idolatry, and, for that '
reason, are often reproached in Scripture for
their perverscness and hardness of heart ; and,
by the fathers of the church, for being stupid
and carnally minded. All this, joined to a
general prejudice, that what is most ancient
is always most imperfect, easily influences us
to believe that these men were brutish and io-no-
rant, and their customs more worthy of con-
tempt than admiration.*

And this is one reason why the Holy Script-
ures, especially those of the Old Testament,
are so much neglected, or read to so little pur-
pose. Several well-meaning people, who have
not quite got over such prejudices are discou-

Online LibraryAdam ClarkeManners of the ancient Israelites: containing an account of their peculiar customs and ceremonies, their laws, polity, religion, sects, arts and trades, divisions of time, wars, captivities, & c. with a short account of the ancient and modern Samaritans, written originally in French by Claude Fleury → online text (page 1 of 24)