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religious mysteries to their disciples, they teach with their fingers, having the hands concealed in the folds of their robes.
27.- “ Can a man take fire in his bosom ?” When an individual denies a crime of which he has been accused, it will be asked, “ Will you put fire in your bosom?" “ I am innocent, I am innocent; in proof of which I will put fire in my bosom.” Does a man boast he will do that which is imposible, another will say, “ He is going to put fire in his bosom without being burned.”
VII. 10. 66 The attire of an harlot.” Females of that class are generally dressed in scarlet ! have their robes wound tightly round their bodies; their eyelids and finger nails are painted or stained; and they wear numerous ornaments. (2 Kings ix. 30.) See on Isa. iii. 16. and following verses.
X. 11. -“The mouth of a righteous man is a well of
life : but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.” “ The language of a holy man is like a well with good springs: thousands may be refreshed there.” “ The words of a bad man are like the springs of the sea ; though very strong they are not sweet."
“ Violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.” To cover the mouth is the sign of sorrow : thus, they who act violently will sooner or later reap the fruits thereof. They will have to cover their mouth in token of sorrow for the past, and in anticipation of the future.
XI. 22. — “ As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is
a fair woman which is without discretion." Nearly all the females of the East wear a jewel of gold in their nostrils, or in the septum of the nose ; and some of them are exceedingly beautiful, and of great value. The Oriental lady looks with as much pleasure on the gem which ADORNS her nose, as any of her sex in England do upon those which deck their ears. But as is that splendid jewel in the snout of a swine, so is beauty in a woman without discretion. She may have the ornament, her mien may be graceful, and her person attractive; but without the matchless jewel of virtue, she is like the swine with a gem in his nose, wallowing in the mire. “ The most beautiful ornament of a woman is virtue," Tamul proverb.
29. “ Shall inherit the wind.” This form of expression is still used in India. “I understand Kandan will give a large dowry with his daughter; she will, therefore, be a good bargain for your son.” -“ You are correct, my friend; she is to inherit the wind.” “I once had extensive lands for my portion; but now I inherit the wind.” “I know you would like to have hold of my property; but you may take the wind.”
XIV. 13. — “ In laughter the heart is sorrowful.” Few people are such adepts at disguising their feelings as those of this country, for they can laugh or weep as circumstances require.
Joab, no doubt, looked very pleasantly when he went to Amasa to kiss him, but his hand was ready to smite the unsuspecting victim to the ground. When they fawn and laugh, their hearts are often most fertile in plots against you.
XVI. 15. — “ In the light of the king's countenance is
life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain." Poets often speak of the generosity of the great as the clouds full of rain, but the uncharitable are like the clouds without rain. " O the benevolent man ! he is like the fruitful rain ; ever giving, but never receiving.”
XVII. 18. — “A man void of understanding striketh
hands." (xxii. 26. “ Be not thou one of them that
strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts."
“ He that hateth suretiship is sure.”) The Hindoo proverb says, “ Munindār muneruka-kaduvār, i. e. He who stands BEFORE may have to pay.” This, therefore, is the idea of a surety: he stands BEFORE the debtor, and covenants with the creditor for the payment of the money : he, therefore, who stands before, is literally betwixt the contending parties. In this respect " was Jesus made a surety” for us: he stood BEFORE, and became our MEDITns, or Mediator.
The melancholy instances of ruin, in consequence of becoming surety for others, are exceedingly numerous in the East. Against this they have many proverbs, and fearful examples; but nothing seems to give them wisdom. Nearly all the government monopolies, both amongst native and European rulers, are let to the highest bidders: thus, the privilege of searching for precious stones in certain districts, of taking up the chiar root, salt rents, fishing for chanks or pearls, is confined to those who pay a fixed sum to government. As the whole of the money cannot be advanced till a part of the produce shall be sold, SURETIES have to be accountable for the amount. But as such speculations are generally entered into, in order to better a reduced fortune, an extravagant price is often paid, and ruin is the consequence both to the principal and his surety. This practice of suretiship, however, is also common in the most TRIFLING affairs of life:
6 Pareellutha-vonum, i. e. Sign your name,” is asked for to every petty agreement. In every legal court or magistrate's office may be seen, now and then, a trio entering, thus to become responsible for the engagements of another. The cause of all this SURETISHIP is probably the bad faith which so commonly prevails amongst the heathen.
XVIII. 10. “ The Lord is a strong tower.” Men of wealth are called towers. Thus, when such a person dies, it is said, “ The pellata-koburam, i. e. strong tower, has
fallen.” “ I am going to my koburam," says the man who is going to his powerful friend.
18. — “ The lot causeth contentions to cease.” (See on
1 Chron. xxvi. 13, 14, 15, 16.) In nearly all cases where reason cannot decide, or where the right of several claimants to one article has to be settled, recourse is had to the lot, which “causeth contentions to cease. Though an Englishman might not like to have a wife assigned to him in such a way, yet many a one in the East has no other guide in that important acquisition.
Perhaps a young man is either so accomplished, or so respectable, or so rich, that many fathers aspire to the honour of calling him son-in-law. Their daughters are said to be beautiful, wealthy, and of a good family: what is he to do? The name of each young lady is written on a separate piece of olah; and then all are mixed together. The youth and his friends then go to the front of the temple; and being seated, a person who is passing by at the time is called, and requested to take one of the pieces of olah, on which a lady's name is inscribed, and place it near the anxious candidate. This being done, it is opened, and she whose name is written there becomes his wife !!!
Are two men inclined to marry two sisters, a dispuse often arises as to whom the YOUNGEST shall be given. To cause the “contentions to cease,” recourse is again had to the lot. The names of the sisters and the disputants are written on separate pieces of olah, and taken to a sacred place: those of the men being put on one side, and the females on the other. A person then, who is unacquainted with the matter, takes a piece of olah from each side, and the couple whose names are thus joined together become man and wife. But sometimes a wealthy father cannot decide betwixt two young men who are candidates for the hand of his daughter : “ what can he do? he must settle his doubts by lot.” Not long ago, the son of a medical man, and another youth, applied for the daughter
of Sedambara-Suppiyan, the rich merchant. The old gentleman caused two “holy writings” to be drawn up, the names of the lovers were inscribed thereon: the son of Kandan, the doctor, was drawn forth, and the young lady became his wife. Three Brahmins, also, who were brothers, each ardently desired the hand of one female; and, after many disputes, it was settled by lot, which “ causeth contentions to cease," and the youngest of the three gained the prize.
But medical men are also sometimes selected in the same way. One person tells the afflicted individual such a doctor has far more skill than the rest: another
66 He! what is he but a cow-doctor? how many has he killed! Send for such a person, he will soon cure you.” A third says,
6 I know the man for you; he had his knowledge from the gods; send for him.”* The poor patient at last says, “ Select me one by lot; and as is the name, so is the doctor.” But another thing has to be settled; the medical gentleman intimates that there are two kinds of medicine which appear to him to be equally good, and therefore the lot is again to decide which is best. " The lot causeth contention to cease."
XIX. 12.-“ His favour is as dew upon the grass. " “ The favour of my friend is as the refreshing dew.” “ The favours of that good man are continually DROPPING upon us.” " He bathes me with his favours."
XX. 10. — “ Divers weights, and divers measures.”
(Micah, vi. 11. “ The bag of deceitful weights.”) Here we have a true view of the way in which nearly all travelling merchants deal with their customers. See that Mahometan pedlar with his BAGS over his shoulder: the one contains his merchandise, the other his DECEITFUL WEIGHTS. He comes to your door, throws his bags on the ground, and is willing either to buy or to sell. Have you any old silver,
* He is the most dangerous of all the practitioners; he will not allow any suggestions ; for his nostrums must be right.
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