« PreviousContinue »
PROVERBS xxxi. 30.
(From Nelson's “ Lot of Mortality,” &c.)
THE GOD OF PRAYER.
ALONE, O Lord, thou dost inspire
For purity and light !
Ere we can pray aright!
-These lispings of the soul;
The broken heart, makes whole.
We trust his boundless grace;
R. H. SHEPHERD.
PRIMITIVE FORM OF THE PLOUGH. In our last volume (page 417) we gave an interesting extract from Jamieson's . Paxton's Illustrations of Scripture,' relative to the ploughs of the East. In the annexed cut, a representation is given of the modern Egyptian plough, which retains much of its original character as figured on many of the ancient monuments of that country. “The ancient plough," says Sir G. Wilkinson," was entirely of wood, like that still used in Egypt. It consisted of a share, two handles, and the pole or beam; which last was inserted into the lower end of the stilt, or the base of the handles, and was strengthened by a rope connecting it with the heel. It had no coulter, nor were wheels applied to any Egyptian plough: but it is probable that the point was shod with a metal sock either of brass or iron. It was drawn by two oxen, and the ploughman guided and drove them with a long goad, without the assistance of reins, which are used by the modern Egyptians. From a passage in Deuteronomy (ch. xxii. 10.) it might
VOL. v. 4th SERIES.
be inferred that the custom of yoking two different animals together to the plough was common in Egypt; but since no representation of it occurs in the sculptures, we may conclude, if it ever were done there, that it was of very rare occurrence; and it is probable that the allusion is to Syria.” This enterprising and intelligent traveller suggests a very plausible reason for the interdict, when he says, “I have often seen it done in Italy: the cruelty of the custom is evident; the horn of the ox wounding its companion."
A smaller implement used as a hand-hoe by the ancient Egyptians, as well as their successors in the present day, is sometimes confounded with the plough. It was indeed not uncommonly used as a substitute for it, when the waters of the Nile, to which Egypt owes its fertility, had lain for any length of time upon the land, and left it in a state of liquid mud. Sometimes even this process was dispensed with, as in the days of Herodotus, or about two thousand three hundred years ago; for he says of Egypt:-“In no country do they gather their seed with so little labour : they are not obliged to trace deep furrows with the plough, to break the clods, nor to partition out their fields into numerous forms as other people do; but when the river itself overflows the land, and the water retires again, they sow their fields, driving the pigs over them to tread in the seed; and this being done, every one patiently awaits the harvest."
These remarks form an interesting commentary on the words of Moses, recorded in Deut. xi. 10:-" The land whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt whence ye came out, where thou sowest thy seed, and waterest it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs.” The paintings found in the tombs near the pyramids pourtray an analogous process in the clearest manner. The sower with a basket of seed on his left arm leads the procession, casting the seed behind him with his right hand. Other figures with long wands are driving a herd of goats over the moistened soil, and to obviate all possibility of mistake, the hieroglyphic characters S. K. the abbreviated form of “ skai," or tillage, followed by the demonstrative sign, a plough, appear above them.