Cedars of Lebanon: Learning Among the Hebrews
Of the zeal for learning and the several classes of Doctors amongst the Hebrews
Whatsoever People and nation dedicated its memory to sempiternity, aspired thereto by Arms or Learning. The Greeks immortalized themselves by inventing the most noble Arts and Sciences, and the Romans by Triumphs and Empires.
As long as it was protected by Divine favor, the Hebrew Nation was celebrated for both Arms and Learning amongst all the peoples coeval with it. As for the handling of Arms, famous are the accounts unfolded in Holy Writ and the narrations of Josephus the Hebrew [Flavius Josephus]. It is noteworthy that even at the time they had fallen from Divine favor and sunk to the nadir of their Dominion, they were still capable of great valor and magnificent energy, after the manner of fire which at the very moment of its extinction redoubles its light and splendor. The human kind had already been subjugated by the Roman power, save that part of it which the intractability of the heavens [the climate], the sterility of the terrain, and hostility of the sea defended from so vexatious an oppression. Only the Hebrews, so insignificant compared to the multitude and number of other Peoples, took up arms to vindicate their liberty and defend their Religion; and willingly exposed their lives to slaughter. On which account such valiant Emperors as Vespasian and Titus, though able to draw upon the concourse of all men, fell often to doubting of their victory. Nor less famous and illustrious were the Hebrews in the exercise of letters and sciences, since by universal consent, to them is attributed the honor of having had the most lofty Doctrines; this, Eusebius shows most excellently in his Book of Preparation. And Holy Writ more often glorifies the Nation for its Wisdom than for its martial qualities.
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