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Chap. I. verse 6. “ Put it into a bag with holes.” The Orientals, in general, keep their money in earthen vessels: hence, when a man's riches go faster than he can account for, or when he has missed some, he says,
66 The money pot has got holes.”
Chap. III. verse 2. — “ Is not this a brand plucked
out of the fire?” (Amos iv. 11. “ Ye were as a fire
brand plucked out of the burning.) (Jude 23.) When a man has had a very narrow escape from danger or from death, he is called a firebrand! Thus, when the cholera rages, should only one in a family escape, he is named " the firebrand.” When a person talks of selling his property in consequence of not having an heir, people say, “ Sell it not, there will be yet a firebrand to inherit it.” " Alas! alas ! my relations are all dead, I am a firebrand.”
IV. 10. — “ They shall rejoice, and shall see the plum
met in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” The margin has, instead of “they shall rejoice," " or since the seven
eyes of the Lord shall.” (iii. 9. “ Seven eyes.”) Dr. Boothroyd says, these eyes represent “ the perfect oversight and providence of God,” which I doubt not is the true meaning. It is a curious fact that the sun which shines seven times in the course of the week, is spoken of as the “ seven eyes” of the deity, because there is an eye for each day. Thus, the Sunday, the “first eye” of God shines, and so on through the rest of the days. In the 9th verse mention is made of laying the foundation stone of a temple for Jehovah, and again in the 10th verse it is asked, “ Who hath despised the day of small things ?” saying it is only the foundation, this is a small beginning : fear not, for the “ seven eyes s” of the Lord are over the work. His good providence shall accomplish the whole, because he has an eye for each day of
the week. Has a man suffered a great evil, has an antagonist triumphed over another, either in a court of justice or any other way, he says, in talking about his misfortunes, “God has lost his eyes, or I should not have fallen into this trouble."* “Well, friend, how is this ? I hear you have gained the day.”—“ True,
eyes of God were upon me.” Should there not have been rain for some time, the people say, “God has no eyes in these days,” i. e. he does not take care of us.
In the book Neethe-veanpā it is said, “ To all there are two eyes; to the learned there are three; to the givers of alms there are seven eyes (alluding to each day); but to those who through penance have received gracious gifts, there are innumerable eyes."
VIII. 7. — “ From the east country, and from the west
country.” The margin has, instead of “west coun
try,” “ country of the going down of the sun.” The form in the margin is exceedingly common; thus people do not always say, We are to go to the east or west, but “ to the side where is the going down,” or “ to the side where is the ascending place.”
66 In what direction are you going?”—“ To the place of the going down.”
XII. 3. — “ And in that day will I make Jerusalem a
burdensome stone for all people.” Thus was Jerusalem at last to crush her enemies; she was then to have the ascendency. “ Alas ! alas ! my enemy is now as a mountain upon me; he will crush me to atoms.” 6. Judah was to be like 66
a hearth of fire among
the wood.” Of one who conquers all, it is said, “ He is like fire amongst straw.” Jerusalem was again to be inhabited. The people were to “ look upon ” Him“ whom they had pierced.”
* This is in good keeping with,“ Curse God, and die.”
XIII. 9. — “ Refine them as silver is refined, and will
try them as gold is tried.” The people of the East try the QUALITY of gold by the TOUCH. Thus, they have a small stone on which they first rub a needle of known quality: they then take the article they wish to try, and rub it near to the mark left by the other, and by comparing the two, they judge of the value of that which they
try.” In those regions there are not any MARKS by which we can judge of the STANDARD, except in the way alluded to. Under such circumstances, there cannot be any wonder that there is much which is not“ fine gold ;” and such is the skill of some of the goldsmiths, they often deceive the most practised eye. The grand secret of ALCHYMY, by which other metals could be transmuted into gold, has never been FULLY! divulged, but multitudes believe that certain individuals have this knowledge. Nor was that invaluable acquirement confined to the Hindoos; for “ Diocletian caused a diligent enquiry to be made for all the ancient books which treated of the admirable art of making gold and silver, and without pity committed them to the flames, apprehensive, as we are assured, lest the opulence of the Egyptians should inspire them with confidence to rebel against the empire.” “ The conquest of Egypt by the Arabs diffused that vain science over the globe.”*
Numbers in the East waste their entire property in trying to acquire this wonderful secret. Not long ago a party of the “gold makers,” having heard of a very charitable man, went to him and said they had heard of his good deeds, and in order to enable him to be more benevolent, they offered, at a trifling expense, to make him a large quantity of gold. The kindhearted creature was delighted at the thought, and furnished the required materials, amongst which, it must be observed, was a considerable quantity of gold. The time came for making the precious metal, and the whole was cast into the crucible,
Gibbon's Roman Empire, vol. i. p. 19.
the impostors taking care to put in an extra quantity of gold. When it was nearly ready, the alchemists threw in some stalks of an unknown plant, and pronounced certain incantations : after which the contents were turned out, and there the astonished man saw a great deal more gold than he had advanced. Such an opportunity was not to be lost; he therefore begged them to make him a much larger quantity, and after some objections the knaves consented, taking good care immediately to decamp with the whole amount.
An ARMENIAN gentleman, who died at the age of 82, as is recorded in the Madras Gazette of July 22, 1830, had expended the whole of his property, amounting to 30,000 pagodas, in search of the philosopher's stone, but left the world a beggar.
“ With crucible and furnace, bursting on his trunk,
His last remains of blissful fervour sunk.”
XIV. 20. — “ In that day, shall there be upon the bells
of the horses, Holiness unto the Lord.” Round the necks of horses, elephants, bullocks, and buffaloes, bells are tied, for three reasons : first, to have the pleasure of hearing them; secondly, should the cattle stray, they can easily be found; and, thirdly, to frighten off the wild beasts.