« הקודםהמשך »
the Sathur-Agarāthe is Sāla-Kiramam; from Sālam, to have sexual intercourse, and Kirāmam, a stone. Professor Jameson calls it the Salamstone; and Werner, the Salenstein ; this, he says, is the Indian name for this gem.
6. It occurs principally in the Peninsula of India, and is so hard as to scratch all other minerals, except diamond. Its specific gravity is not determined. It is translucent, and exhibits a particular kind of opalescence in two directly opposite places." This description, as might have been expected, is very correct, but it involves more than that able mineralogist was himself aware of. The formation of the stone is said to have taken place when Siva and Vishnoo, under different sexes, had unlawful intercourse. The worm Vachara-tanthe is said to live in the stone.* It is a fact, that all the stones I have seen have the appearance of having had something inside, and this is the “particular kind of opalescence in two directly opposite places,” noticed by the learned Professor.
Some have this stone fastened to a particular part of the body, to preserve them from witchcraft. The Pandārams, the sect of Vishnoo, and some of the followers of Siva, worship it in their houses and other places. Having smeared a place with the ordure of the cow, the devotee presents incense, flowers, fruits, and cakes. Look then at the ORIGIN of this stone: read the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth verses, and then say, have we not found a probable illustration of “ the smooth stones of the stream," to which the profligate Jews had made their offerings ? For the Salamstone, is literally the stone of the brook or river (not valley), and it is identified with the same gross system of idolatry as that which prevailed in ancient Assyria, to whose kings or those of Egypt (Hosea xii. 1.), the Jews had sent messengers to form an unholy alliance, instead of trusting in the Lord their God.
* See the book Scanda Purāna, where the scene is described in the plainest terms.
LVIII. 9. — " Then shalt thou call, and the Lord
shall answer ; thou shalt cry, and he shall say,
from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and
speaking vanity.” This chapter commences with, “ Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” After this,
, the people are severely reproved for their hypocrisy, “ye fast for strife and debate, and smite with the fist of wickedness;" and then they are exhorted to cease from their oppressions, “to undo the heavy burthens and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke.” It appears they were tyrants under the garb of sanctity, and in contempt for the injured, they took delight in “putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity.” See that boasting tyrant, when addressing his humbled antagonist, he scowls and storms “ like the raging sea,” and then lifts up the fore-finger of the right hand to the height of his head, and moves it up and down, to show that punishment of a still higher nature shall be the award of the victim of his wrath.
10. — “ And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and
satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light rise
in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon-day.” Has a person in reference to temporal circumstances been in great difficulty, has he been delivered, then is he compared to a man in a dark place who suddenly finds a light, which enables him to walk with pleasure and safety in his appointed way. “ True, true, I was in darkness, but the light has come; it shines around me; there is no shade." *
LIX. 5. “ They hatch cockatrice eggs, and weave the
spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and
Meaning, it is noon; because in standing erect in the sun, at that time, there is not any shadow.
that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.”
The margin bas, instead of cockatrice, " or adders.” So far as the strength of the poison is concerned, I believe there is scarcely any difference betwixt the oviparous and the viviparous serpents.* The eggs of the former are generally deposited in heaps of stones, in old walls, or holes in dry places; and under some circumstances (like those of the large lizard), are soft and yielding to the touch. The pliability of the shell may be the result of being newly laid, as I have seen some shells as hard as those of other eggs. It is said of the plans of a decidedly wicked and talented man,
That wretch ! he hatches serpent's eggs.' “ Beware of the fellow, his eggs are nearly hatched.” “ Ah! my friend, touch not that affair, meddle not with that matter; there is a serpent in the shell.”
« Interfere not, interfere not, young serpents are coming forth.” “ I have been long absent from my home, and on my return I thought that I should have much enjoyment, but on opening a basket to procure some cakes, I found they were all serpents," meaning, instead of pleasure, he had found pain on his return. “ I touch it! No, no; the last time I did so the shell broke, and a young serpent gave me a bite, which has poisoned my whole frame.”
11. 6 We roar all like bears." In parturition those animals are said to make a tremendous noise: hence people in poignant sorrow say, “ We roar like bears.” “ Heard you not the widow's cry last night ? the noise was like that of a she bear.” “ What is the fellow roaring about ? he is like a she bear.”
15. — “ Yea, truth faileth ; and he that departeth from
evil maketh himself a prey.” The margin has, instead of “maketh himself a prey," or is accounted mad.”
* The remarks of the editor of Calmet on this subject are worthy of attention. Vol. iv. p. 670.
In the preceding verses, the wickedness of the abandoned Jews is strongly portrayed; and when they began to confess their sins and repent, as in the ninth and fourteenth verses inclusive, they were by some, as in the margin, “ accounted mad,” in consequence of their change of views and conduct. It is an amusing fact, that when the heathen become very attentive to the directions of their own religion; when they rigidly perform the prescribed austerities ; “ when they sell themselves to the gods, and appear like men of another world,” they are “accounted mad” by their neighbours. On the other hand, should a man begin to deride the national faith; should he never go near the temples, and laugh at idols and outward ceremonies, the people again exclaim, “ The fellow is mad !” But, above all, should a person embrace Christianity, the general story is, the poor fellow has gone mad. “Have you heard Suppiyan has become a Christian ?” -“ No; but I have heard that he has become a madman."
LX. 4. -“ Lift up thine eyes round about; and see,
all they gather themselves together, they come to see thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy
daughters shall be nursed at thy side.” Thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.” Some believe this alludes to the common custom of parents carrying their children astride on the hip. But how can this be considered a privilege, as is the evident meaning in the text? What does it matter whether they are carried on the hip or the shoulder ? The opinion of the Rev. Joseph Benson, as expressed in his valuable Commentary, is exceedingly judicious: they “shall have their education with thee, from their infancy; there, where the sincere milk of the word is to be had.” The Tamul translation takes the same view : “in thy place,” in thy lot, or near to thee. They were to be well trained in all holy doctrines and duties. What does this chapter refer to ? Is it not to the flourishing condition of the church of Jesus Christ in the conversion of the Gen
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tiles? The metaphor appears to be taken from parents who have marriageable daughters; who have been so well brought up; who have never wandered from one place to another; who have been secluded from society, and had a virtuous training, so that their fame has reached distant countries, and induced the young men of those regions to come and solicit their hand in marriage. To follow up the figure: in those days of spiritual prosperity to the Church, her sons shall come from far, and desire an intimate union with her; having heard of her fame, “they gather themselves together,” and come like “ doves to their windows."
7.- “ All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to
gether unto thee; the rams of Nebaioth shall
minister unto thee." Here we have unquestionably another metaphor, to illustrate the prosperity and influence of the church amongst the heathen. I think, therefore, it is trifling with the text, to suppose it alludes to a literal possession of the “rams of Nebaioth,” “ the flocks of Kedar," or the “ dromedaries of Midian.” I believe it refers to the people of those countries, who are spoken of in the passage, under the names of the animals for which their localities were most famous. This mode of speech is perfectly Oriental, and may often be heard in common conversation. Thus, for instance, the district of Mulliteevo is famous for its numerous buffaloes; hence the people of that place, when they go to another town, are often, by way of pleasantry, called buffaloes. The district of Poonareen abounds with the wild hog; and it excites a smile to call one of its inhabitants the pandy, i. e. pig of Poonareen. The islands opposite North Ceylon are noted for shells, and when the islanders come to the towns, it is asked, should a person? wish to have a little merriment at their expense, “ Why do these shells of the islands come hither ? ” Batticotta is celebrated for having numerous men who are expert in digging tanks: hence all the people, as circumstances