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There was nothing then in John of excessive rigour; nothing of an ostentatious departing from common forms of living, in order to indulge in delicacies, like those St. Jerom blames in that letter to Nepotian I have already cited;" but retiring into the deserts for meditation and prayer, he lived with great simplicity, after the manner of the inhabitants of those places, both with respect to dress and food.
But to proceed. Nothing more, I believe, is understood by us, in common, when we read those passages that speak of eating butter and honey, than the eating separately of each of them; but the modern Arabs, according to Rauwolff and d'Arvieux, often mix them together, especially when they would regale their friends more deliciously than usual, according to the last mentioned observer: and there is reason to think this is only retaining an ancient usage, and that the eating butter and honey in the Prophet, means, the eating them mingled together.....
Their account furnishes us with one correction more, and that is, that butter and honey are used by grown-up people, and are by no means appropriated to children: those learned men then, among whom is Archbishop Usher, who consider butter and honey in Is. vii. 15,
John was of camel's hair, Matt. iii. 4: they were not then exactly alike, but agreed in general in being of hair-cloth. The reader will find this circumstance resumed in another place.
as signifying infant's food," attach an idea to the words which seems to have nothing to do with them. Indeed, it is more probable, that they signify the contrary, and should rather be thus translated," Butter and honey shall he eat, when he shall know to refuse the evil, and chuse the good:" that is, though now Judah is terribly harrassed, and that occasions scar city, when this child shall be grown up to be able to distinguish between good and evil, both these kings shall be cut off, and this country shall enjoy such plenty, that it shall produce, as usual, a sufficiency of butter and honey for the support of its inhabitants
Honey not wholesome to Europeans in the East.
BUT delicious as honey is to an Eastern palate, it has been thought sometimes to have produced terrible effects: So Sanutus tells us, that the English that attended Edward I. into the Holy Land, died in great numbers, as they marched, in June, to demolish a place, which he ascribes to the excessive heat, and their intemperate eating of fruits and honey.
This, perhaps, may give us the thought of Solomon when he says,. It is not good to eat
See Lowth upon the place.
batt Hiw rebsat
• Gesta Dei per Francos, vol. ii. p. 224.
Prov. xxv. 27.
much honey. He had before, in the same chapter, mentioned that an excess in eating. honey occasioned sickness and vomiting; but, if it was thought sometimes to produce deadly effects, there is a greater energy in the instruc tion.'
But however that be, this circumstance seems, to illustrate the prophetic passage, which speaks of a book sweet in the mouth as a morsel of honey, but bitter after it was down,, producing pain bitter as those gripings the army of Edward felt in the Holy Land, from eating honey with excess: for of such disorders as are the common effects of intemperateness as to fruit, in those climates, Sanutus appears to be speaking, and the bloody-flux, attended with griping pains, is well known to be the great complaint.'
Flavour of Honey peculiarly excellent, when just expressed from the Combs.
THERE is no difference made among us, between the delicacy of honey in the comb, and after its separation from it, we may therefore be at loss to enter into the energy of that expression, Sweeter than honey, and the honey
& Rev. x. 9, 10.
Honey like other sweet things is generally supposed to produce bile, and on this account acids are often joined with it. EDIT.
comb, Ps. xix. 10; or, to express it with the same emphasis as our translation does the preceding clause, Sweeter than honey, yea, than the honey-comb, which last, it should seem, from the turn of thought of the Psalmist, is as much to be preferred to honey, as the finest gold is to that of a more impure nature."
But this will appear in a more easy light, if the diet and the relish of the present Moors, of West Barbary, be thought to resemble those of the times of the Psalmist for a paper published first in the Philosophical Transactions, and after that by Dr. Halley, in the Miscellanea Curiosa, informs us, that they esteem honey a wholesome breakfast," and the most delicious that which is in the comb, with the young bees in it, before they come out of their cases, whilst they still look milk-white, and resemble (being taking out) gentles, such as fishers use these I have often eat of, but they seemed insipid to my palate, and sometimes I found they gave me the heart-burn.”
This, however, is hardly all: there should be something more in it than this, if the present Moorish practice be allowed to be explanatory of the ancient Jewish diet, since there are no fewer than three very different Hebrew words translated honey-comb by us," and in a
• Whoever has eaten honey newly taken out of a honey comb, or chewed the fresh honey-comb before the cups or cells have been opened, must know that there is then felt a peculiar delicacy of flavour, which will be sought for in vain after the honey has been for any length of time expressed or clarified. EDIT. Vol. iii. y tsuph: see the
"These are yaar, 2 noph, and confusion of this Observation. EDIT.
language so little copious as that is, it would be very extraordinary if they should all signify precisely the same thing, and especially when there is such a variety of things of this kind.
The Septuagint translator of the book of Canticles, supposes bread is meant by the honey-comb of Cant. v. i. And the ingenious Dr. Shaw seems to imagine that the honies, as he calls them, of grapes, of the palm-tree, (or of dates,) and of the reed, (that is sugar,) were of such an antiquity, as to be referred to in the days of Moses, as well as that of bees. That paper too in the Miscellanea Curiosa gives us to understand, that honey may be called by different names, according to its different natural or artificial qualitics: for its author tells us, that when he was at Suse, he had a bag of honey brought him by a friend, who made a present of it to him, as being of great esteem, and such as they present to men of greatest note among them, telling him, he was to eat a little of it every morning to the quantity of a walnut. It was thick as Venice treacle, and full of small seeds. He breakfasted upon it several mornings, and found it always made him sleepy, but agreed very well with him. The seeds were of the bigness of mustard, and, according to the description of them to him, and the effects he found froin eating honey and them, they must have been a large sort, he says, of poppy-seed. The honey was of that sort they call in Suse izucanee, or origanum, which the bees feed on, and these seeds were mixed with."