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from their homes, having no other reason than “ with him.” See the man going to a court of justice, he is accompanied by a large band of his acquaintances, who canvass all the probabilities of the case, and who have a salvo for every exigency. Perhaps a love of show is one motive; but the desire to have witnesses of what has been said or done, and to have help at hand in case of any emergency, are other reasons for their love of company. The Oriental is like the granivorous animals of his native deserts, who are all, more or less, gregarious in their habits; and, as it is, so it was in the most remote antiquity. The Psalmist says of those who were travelling to the temple at Jerusalem, “they go from strength to strength;” but the margin has it, “from company to company.” Thus did they stretch on, from one party to another, till they each appeared before God in his earthly “ Zion."
In the conduct, therefore, of Peter and his six companions, in the arrangement of our Divine Master in sending forth his disciples “ by two and two,” and in very numerous passages of Scripture, we see the simplicity, caution, and affection of those concerned.
XIV. 13. — “ Brought oxen and garlands.” When the gods are taken out in procession their necks are adorned with garlands, the priests also wear them at the same time. On all festive occasions men and women have on their sweet-scented garlands, and the smell of some of them is so strong as to be offensive to an Englishman. Does a man of rank offer to adorn you with a garland, it is a sign of his respect, and must not be refused.*
* In the latter part of 1832 I visited the celebrated pagoda of Ramiseram (the temple of Rāmar): so soon as I arrived within a short distance of the gates, a number of dancing girls, priests, and others came to meet us with garlands ; they first did me the honour of putting one around my neck, and then presented others for Mrs. Roberts and the children.
XXI. 11. — “ He took Paul's girdle, and bound his
own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind
the man that owneth this girdle.” This was significant of what was to occur to the apostle. Does a person wish to dissuade another from some project, he acts in such a way as to show what will be the nature of the difficulties or dangers. Thus, should he doubt his personal safety or fear disgrace, he puts off his sandals, to intimate he will die or be beaten with them. Or he takes off his turban, unfolds it, and ties it around his neck, or gropes as if in the dark to intimate the difficulty.
21.-“ Neither to walk after the customs." (xxviii. 17.
Lev. xviii. 30. Jer. x. 3.) In every part of the world man is too often the slave of custom; but in all the old countries of the East, where innovations have not been made, the people are most tenaciously wedded to their customs. Ask, Why do you act thus ? the reply is, “ It is a custom.” Their implements of agriculture, their modes of sowing and reaping, their houses, their furniture, their domestic utensils, their vehicles, their vessels in which they put to sea, their modes of living, and their treatment of the various diseases, are all regulated by the customs of their fathers. Offer them better implements, and better plans for their proceedings, they reply, “ We cannot leave our customs : your plans are good for yourselves, ours are good for ourselves : we cannot alter.”
40. — “ Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the
hand unto the people; and when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew
tongue.” The object of Paul in beckoning with his hand was to obtain silence. See that man who has to address a crowd, and who wishes for silence, he does not begin to bawl out,
Silence, that would be an affront to them; he lifts up his hand to its extreme height, and begins to beckon with it, i. e. to move it backwards and forwards; and then the people say to each other, “ pasāthe, pasāthe,” i. e. be silent, be silent.
XXII. 3. — “ Brought up in this city at the feet of
Gamaliel.” This form of expression is only used in reference to great saints or great teachers. “ He had his holiness at the feet of the gooroo, or his learning at the feet of the philosopher.”
CHAP. III. verse 13. — “ They have used deceit; the
poison of asps is under their lips.” Of a deceitful man, of one who speaks in smooth language, it is said, “ Ah ! at the tip of his tongue is ambrosia, but under it is poison.”
XIV. 2. — “ For one believeth that he may eat all
things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.” Thousands of Hindoos never (to their knowledge) taste of any thing which has had animal life; and to eat an egg would be as repugnant to their feelings as to eat flesh, because it contains the germ of life. They live on herbs, roots, fruit, grain, milk, butter, and honey. They appear to be as strong and as healthy as those who live on flesh, and they avoid the “sin” of taking life. They believe that all who take life for the purpose of food will assuredly go to one of the seven hells.
* It has a distressing effect on their minds to show them, through a microscope, the animalcules which exist in the water they drink; for they are convinced by this they must often destroy life.
CHAP. I. verse 28. — “ And base things of the world,
and things which are despised, hath God chosen ; yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.” Esdras vi. 56, 57.
Esdras vi. 56, 57. “ As for the other people which also come of Adam, thou hast
said that they are nothing.” “ And things which are not.” The venerable Mr. Wesley says, “ The Jews frequently called the Gentiles' them that are not,' in such supreme contempt did they hold them.” When a man of rank amongst the Hindoos speaks of low caste persons, of notorious profligates, or of those whom he despises, he calls them allā-tha-varkul, i. e. those who are not. The term does not refer to life or existence, but to a quality or disposition, and is applied to those who are vile and abominable in all things.
My son, my son, go not amongst them who are not." “ Alas! alas ! those people are all allā-tha-varkul.” When wicked men prosper, it is said, “ This is the time for those who are not.” “ Have you heard that those who are not are now acting righteously?” Vulgar and indecent expressions are also called “ words that are not." To address men in the phrase " are not,” is provoking beyond measure; their eyes will soon brighten, and their tongue and hands begin to move at the individual who thus insults them.
The Lord did select the “ base things of the world, and things which are despised hath God chosen; yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are."
III. 9. — “Ye are God's building.” (Heb. jii. 6. 1 Pet.
ii. 5.) It is said of him who is a great favourite with the king, “ What can injure him ? he is the king's palace.”