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for the purpose of warming themselves through the whole winter ; they are necessary for cooking, but no fires were to be kindled through their habitations on their Sabbaths, Exod. xxxv. 3: there was to be no feasting then. It was to be a time of repose, not therefore of dancing, which it should seem is rather a violent exercise in those countries'.
But this prohibition of the Jewish lawgiver, and afterwards of Isaiah, did not arise from a sullen dillike of every thing pleasurable even in religious solemnities. In their feast of Tabernacles they were commanded to rejoice, and the injunction was redoubled”. They were commanded also to rejoice before the Lord in the feast of Pentecost. Ifaiah speaketh of a long in the nighi, when a holy foleinnity was kept, and gladness of beart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord to the mighty one of Israel*; and Da-. vid danced before the ark of God, when it was removed from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David'. But their Sabbaths were to
• See Dr. Chandler's Travels, p. 24. “Our janizary, e who was called Barneter Aga, played on a Turkish in« strument like a guittar. Some accompanied him with “ their voices, singing loud. Their favourite ballad con“ tained the praises of Stamboul or Constantinople. Two, « and sometimes three or four, danced together, keeping « time to a lively tune, until they were almost breathless. « These extraordinary exertions were followed with a dee mand of bac-fhill, a reward or present, &c.”
? Deut. 16. 13, 14, 15. 3 Ver. 10. 11. I * Ch. 30. 29.
5 2 Sam. 6. 14.
be observed in a more composed and silent way.
This arose then from other causes—from a principle of benevolence, that the labouring hand, the Nave, and even the cattle, might not be overborn with incessant work '-that they might gather together for religious purposes — that they might have time for meditation, and those devotional exercises of the heart which are so much it's natural confequence : “ Remember that thou wast a servant « in the land of Ægypt, and that the Lord “ thy God brought thee out thence, through “ a mighty hand, and by an out-stretched “ arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded “ thee to keep the Sabbath-day 3.” Every one knows how favourable cessation from business and solitude are to meditation, and it's attendant exercises : reading and prayer. · These are moral considerations, and all of them perfectly agreeable to the Christian dispensation, and consequently it should seem, that if we observe one day in the week as sacred, it should be observed, in general, after the same manner-as a time of cessation from business as far as may well be ; freedom from company; an attending public worship; and the exercises of devout retirement. Jewish peculiarites cannot be necessary; but the diffipation of the Greeks cannot be agreeable to the genius of the Gospel, which though
! Exod. 23. 12. ? Lev. 23. 3. 3 Deut. 5. 15.
by no means morose and gloomy, is serious and thoughtful'.
The stretching out the hand towards an object of devotion, or an holy place, was an ancient usage among Jews and heathens both, and it continues in the East to this time, which continuance I do not remember to have seen remarked.
“ If,” says the Psalmist, “ we have for“ gotten the name of our God, or stretched out " our hands to a strange God : shall not God * search this out,” Pf. xliv. 20,21. “Ethioo pia shall soon stretch out her hands unto « God,” Pf. lxviii. 21. “ Hear the voice “ of my fupplications, when I cry unto thee : “ when I lift up my hand towards thy boly “ oracle,” Pf. xxviii. 2.
I“ Work out your own salvation with fear and tremo « bling”, says the Apostle, Phil. 2. 12; to which may be added, that being “ lovers of pleasures more than lovers of “ God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power " thereof;" is the description the Apostle gives of those that are under the influence of a spirit, the reverse of that of the Gospel, 2 Tim. 3. 4. 5. Celebrating days devoted to religious exercises, after the manner the ancient heathens observed their festivals, by no means agrees with the apostolic instruction, Rom. 12. 2; as attention, recolo lection, and withdrawment from wordly cares and conversations, are what the Lord Jesus enjoins those that hear his word preached, as appear by the parable of the lower, Matt. 13. 19, 22.
That this attitude in prayer has continued among the Eastern people, appears by the following passages from Pitts, in his account of the Religion and Manners of the Mahometans, Speaking of the Algerines throwing waxcandles and pots of oil over board, as a present to fome marabbot, (or Mohammedan saint,) Pitts goes on', and says, “ When this is “ done, they all together hold up their hands, “ begging the marabbot's blessing, and a “ prosperous voyage.” This they do in common, it seems, when in the Straights-mouth”; “ and if at any time they happen to be in a “ very great strait or distress, as being chased, “ or in a storm, they will gather money, and “ do likewise ?.” In the fame page he tells us the “ marabbots have generally a little neat “ room built over their graves, resembling in “ figure their mosques or churches, which is “ very nicely cleaned, and well looked after.” And in the succeeding page he tells us, “Many “ people there are who will scarce pass by “ any of them without lifting up their hands, “ and saying some fort prayer.” He mentions the same devotion again as practised towards a faint that lies buried on the shore of the Red-Sea, p. 114.
In like manner, he tells us, that at quitting the Beat, or holy house at Mecca, to whicle
· P. 17, 18. : ? Where, on the Barbary shore, one of these marabbots lies intombed, Ib,
3 P. 18.
they make devout pilgrimages, “ they hold up *s i beir hands towards the Beat, making earnest “ petitions; and then keep going backward “ till they come to the abovefaid farewell “ gate. All the way as they retreat, they “ continue petitioning, holding up their hands, “ with their eyes fixed on the Beat, 'till they « are out of sight of it; and so go to their “ lodgings weeping,” p. 143, 144.
The threshold of the palace of a living prince, and the threshold of a dead highlyhonoured personage, are supposed to be the places where those that proposed to do them honour, prostrated themselves, touching it with their foreheads in token of folemn reverence.
For this reason it is, I imagine, that the prophet Ezekiel calls the sanctuary the threshold of God, and idolatrous temples, or chapels, (when more than one place were dedicated to the worship of distinct idols, in one and the fame building,) their thresholds, ch. xliii. 8. “ In their setting of their thresh“ old by my thresholds, and their posts by my • posts"; and the wall between me and “ them,” (or, according to the marginal translation, “ for there was but a wall be
Our translation differs from some other translations, in making these three words plural.