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OF ALL THE
QUADRUPEDS, BIRDS, FISHES, REPTILES, AND INSECTS,
TREES, PLANTS, FLOWERS, GUMS, AND PRECIOUS STONES,
The Sacred Scriptures.
COLLECTED FROM THE BEST AUTHORITIES, AND ALPHABETICALLY ARRANGED,
BY THADDEUS MASON HARRIS, D.D.
OF DORCHESTER, MASSACHUSETTS.
“ He spake of Trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out
1 Kings, iv. 33.
THERE are few things more difficult to be determined with any degree of certainty and precision, than those which refer to the natural history of the world in the earlier ages; for we have no ancient history of nature which describes animals, plants, &c. under their original names. This difficulty is always felt, and has always been regretted, in perusing the Sacred Scriptures; for our ignorance of the various. beasts, birds, and plants which are expressly mentioned or incidentally referred to there, prevents us from discovering the propriety of many allusions to their nature and habits, and conceals from us the beauty of many similes which are founded on their characteristic qualities. The utility of a clear and correct explanation of these will be apparent from the following considerations:
I. The distinction between clean and unclean ANIMALS forms an important part of the Mosaic ritual. Neither the indulgence of the former in the food of the Jews, nor the prohibition of the latter, was merely arbitrary, but founded, among other reasons, upon judicious rules of dietetic regimen, adapted primarily to the climate, or to the nature and qualities of the animals, as salutary or unwholesome, as proper or improper, to be eaten. To perceive the propriety of the regulations in this respect, it is highly necessary to determine what those animals were, and to point out those instincts, habits, and qualities on account of which they were either allowed or prohibited.