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we are told, with processions, with music, and other tokens of joy; and we have reason to believe the account is true, from what is said in the book of Exodus, of the manner in which the Egyptianizing Jews observed the festival of the golden calf: it seems they eat and drank, and rose 'up to play, Exod. xxxii. 6, which is explained by ver. 18 and 19, which speak of their dancing and singing, as the visible object of their worship was in the Egyptian taste; the method of solemnizing the festival was, without doubt, after their manner also.
The sabbaths of JEHOVAH were to be observed in a very different form. Fires are often but little wanted 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 is rather a violent exercise in those countries."
But this prohibition of the Jewish law-giver, and afterwards of Isaiah, did not arise from a sullen dislike of every thing pleasurable even in religious solemnities. In their feast of Ta
u See Dr. Chandler's Travels, p. 24. “Our janizary, who was called Barneter Aga, played on a turkish instru. ment like a guittar. Some accompanied him with their voices, singing loud. Their favourite ballad contained the praises of Stamboul, or Constantinople. Two, and sometimes three or four, danced tog ther, keeping time to a lively tune, until they were almost breathless. These extraordinary exertions were followed with a demand of bacsbisb, a reward or present,” &c.
bernacles, they were commanded to rejoice, and the injunction was redoubled. They were commanded also to rejoice before the Lord in the feast of Pentecost. Isaiah speaks of a song in the night, when a holy solemnity was kept, and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty one of Israel ;' and David danced before the ark of God, when it was removed from the house of Obededom to the city of David.' But their sabbaths were to 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 slave, and even the cattle, might not be overborne 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 its natural consequence: Remember that thou wast a scrvant in the land of Egypt, and 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. Every one knows how favourable cessation from business and solitude are to meditation, and its attendant exercises : reading and prayer. * Deut. xvi. 13, 14, 15.
y Ver. 10, 11. z Chap. xxx: 29.
a 2 Sam. vi. 14. » Exod. xxiii. 12. e Ler. xxiii. 3. d Deut. v, 15.
These are moral considerations, and all of them perfectly agreeable to the Christian dispensation, and consequently 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 peculiarities cannot be necessary; but the dissipation of the Greeks cannot be agreeable to the genius of the Gospel, which though by no means morose and gloomy, is nevertheless serious and thoughtful."
OBSERVATION LXXVI. •
Of stretching out their Hands in Prayer.
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
e Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, says the apostle, Phil. ii. 12; to which may be added, that being lovers of pleasure 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. iii. 4, 5. Celebrating days devoted to religious ex. ercises, after the manner the ancient heathens observed their festivals, by no means agrees with the apostolic instruction, Rom. xii 2; as attention, recollection, and cessation from wordly cares and conversation, are what the Lord Jesus enjoins those that hear his word preached, as appears by the parable of the sower, Matt. xiii. 19, 72.
continuance I do not remember to have seen remarked.
If (says the Psalmist) we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god: shall not God search this out, Ps. xliv. 20, 21. Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God, Ps. lxviii. 31. Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee : when I lift up my hand towards thy holy oracle, Ps. xxviii. 2.
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 Mohammedans. Speaking of the Algerines throwing wax-candles and pots of oil over board, as a present to some marabbot, (or Mohammedan saint.) Pitts goes on,' and says, “ When this is done, they all together hold up their hands, begging the marrabbot'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 same 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
P. 17, 18. 5 Where on the Barbary shore, one of these marabbots lies intombed. Ib.
after.” And in the succeeding page he tells us, " Many people there are who will scarcely pass by any of them without lifting up their hands, and saying some short prayer.” He mentions the same devotion again as practised towards a saint that lies buried on the shore of the Red Sea, p. 114.
In like manner, he tells us, that at quitting the Beet, or holy house at Mecca, to which they make devout pilgrimages, '“ they hold up their hands towards the Beet, making earnest petitions ; and then keep going backward till they come to the abovesaid farewell gate. All the
way as they retreat, they continue petitioning, holding up their hands, with their eyes fixed on the Beet, until they are out of sight of it: and so go to their lodgings weeping," p. 143, 144.
Prostration at the Threshold, one Mode of honouring
Persons in the East.
The threshold of the palace of a living prince, and the threshold of a dead highly-honoured personage, are supposed to be the places where those that proposed to do them honour, prostrated themselves, tonching it with their foreheads in token of solemn reve.
For this reason it is, I imagine, that the