« ÎnapoiContinuă »
reference to Judas Iscariot; "I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen but that the scripture may be fulfilled, he that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.”e The traitor had lived for more than three years in the relations of peace and amity with his Lord: he had been called to the apostolic office, and had been admitted to the same familiar intercourse with his divine Master, as the other disciples had enjoyed. These invaluable privileges greatly aggravated his crime; but his eating bread at his Master's table, while he was plotting against his life, was the crowning point of his enormous wickedness.
The orientals were accustomed also to ratify their federal engagements by salt. This substance was, among the ancients, the emblem of friendship and fidelity, and therefore used in all their sacrifices and covenants. It is a sacred pledge of hospitality which they never venture to violate. Numerous instances occur of travellers in Arabia, after being plundered and stript by the wandering tribes of the desert, claiming the protection of some civilized Arab, who after receiving him into his tent, and giving him salt, instantly relieves his distress, and never forsakes him till he has placed him in safety. An agreement, thus ratified, is called in Scripture, "a covenant of salt." The obligation which this symbol imposes on the mind of an oriental, is well illustrated by the Baron du Tott in the following anecdote: One who was desirous of his acquaintance, promised in a short time to return. The baron had already attended him half way down the
* John xiii, 18.
'Forbes's Orient. Mem. vol. ii, p. 397. Orme's Hist. of the Military Transactions, &c. vol. ii, p, 204.
staircase, when stopping, and turning briskly to one of his domestics, Bring me directly, said he, some bread and salt. What he requested was brought; when, taking a little salt between his fingers, and putting it with a mysterious air on a bit of bread, he eat it with a devout gravity, assuring du Tott he might now rely on him. The Greeks and Romans uniformly sprinkled the head of the victim which was ready to be offered in sacrifice, with a salt cake, or with bran or meal, mixed with salt. Thus, in Virgil, the crafty Greek harangued the Trojans: "For me the sacred rites were prepared, and the salted cake and fillets to bind about my temples."
“mihi sacra parari
Et salsa fruges, et circum tempora vittæ." Æn. lib. ii, 1. 133. And when the Greeks, before Troy, sent back the daughter of Chryses with a hecatomb to appease the wrath of Apollo, the ambassadors, immediately after presenting the young lady to her father, placed the splendid sacrifice for the god, arranged in proper order, before the altar; and having purified their hands in water, took up salted cake :
Χερνίψαντο δ' απειτα και ουλοχύτας ανέλοντο. Il. lib. i, 1. 449. Another mode of ratification, was by presenting the party with some article of their own dress; and if they were warriors, by exchanging their arms. The greatest honour which a king of Persia can bestow upon a subject, is to cause himself to be disrobed, and his habit given to the favoured individual. The custom was probably derived from the Jews; for when Jonathan made his cove
s Mem. vol. i, p. 252, 253. Buckingham's Trav. vol. ii, p. 52.
* Morier's Trav. vol. i, p. 298, 299. D'Herbelot, vol. ii, p. 20.
nant with David, "he stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments; even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.” In a similar way, Julus, and the other Trojan chiefs confirmed their solemn engagements to Nisus and Euryalus:. "Thus weeping over him, he speaks; at the same time divests his shoulders of his gilded sword-On Nisus Mnestheus bestows the skin and spoil of a grim shaggy lion; trusty Alethes exchanges with him his helmet."k instance proves, that among the ancients, to part with one's girdle was a token of the greatest confidence and affection; in some cases it was considered as an act of adoption. The savage tribes of North America, that are certainly of Asiatic origin, ratify their covenants and leagues in the same way; in token of perfect reconciliation, they present a belt of wampum.
Written obligations were cancelled in different ways; one was by blotting or drawing a line across them, and another by striking them through with a nail; in both cases the bond was rendered useless, and ceased to be valid. These customs the apostle applies to the death of Christ in his epistle to the Colossians: "Blotting out the hand writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross." A rod was sometimes broken, as a sign that the covenant into which they had entered was nullified. A trace of this ancient custom is still discernible in our own country: the lord steward of England, when he resigns his commission, breaks his wand of office, to denote the termination of his power. Agreeably to this practice, the prophet Zechariah brake the staves of beauty, J1 Sam. xviii, 4. * Æneid. lib. ix, 1. 305, 306. 1 Col. ii, 14.
and bands, the symbols of God's covenant with ancient Israel, to shew them, that in consequence of their numerous and long-continued iniquities, he withdrew his distinguishing favour, and no longer acknowledged them as his peculiar people. This is the exposition given by the prophet himself: "And I took my staff, even beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people; and it was broken in that day. Then I cut asunder my other staff, even bands, that I might break the brotherwood between Judah and Israel."m
m Zech. xi, 7.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE FROM THE VARIOUS MODES IN WHICH THE ORIENTALS EXPRESSED THEIR RESPECT FOR ONE ANOTHER.
Difference of ranks maintained with scrupulous exactness.-Presents, a common mark of esteem.-No access to the great without a present.-Presents of different kinds and value.—Presents sent, even to persons in private station.-Sent with great parade.-Taxes levied under the form of presents. Often a token of submission by the king who receives them.—Employed to pervert judgment—As subsidies.—Salutations at meeting.—Attitudes and expressions of respect, very diversified and servile,-Prostration.—Kissing the hand.— Taking hold of and kissing the beard.—Kissing the shoulder.-A rider expected to dismount when he meets a superior.Sitting upon the heels.-Sitting on a seat.-Sitting in a corner.— -Ointments and perfumes presented as a mark of distinction.—Changing the dress. Right to use a gold cup in drinking.-Caffetan.-Vestments given. -Persons of rank ride on horseback.-Condescensions of the great.Giving peculiar names.—. -Putting a ring on the finger of a favourite.Applying the hand to the mouth, a mark of respect.—Music and dancing. -Preparing the way.-A spear carried in the hand, a mark of honour.A bracelet, a badge of power.-Chains of silver and gold.—A seat by a pillar.-Signet.-Expressions of reverence, homage, and submission, approach to religious adoration.-Compliments addressed to princes extremely hyperbolical.-Strewing flowers and branches of trees in the way of conquerors. Weighing the Mogul in a balance.-Orientals kissed the fringe of their sovereign's robe.— Mode of presenting a petition or a letter to their princes. The king's horse.-Etiquette at the Persian court.—Palanquin and chariot of an Indian prince.—Respect shewn to eastern princesses.— Procession of an Arabian princess.—The horn, a symbol of strength and power. Expressions of dislike; cutting off the beard.-Talking disre spectfully of the beard.-Sending an open letter.-Shaking the lap.-Spitting before one, and especially in his face.
In no quarter of the world, is the difference of ranks in society maintained with more scrupulous exactness than