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their religion. I have watched the process of imprinting them, and it is not a little painful. A number of needles are bound tightly together in the shape of the desired figure, or so that the figure can be marked out by them. The skin being punctured in the required pattern, certain mixtures of coloring matter are rubbed in, and the place bound
with a tight bandage. Gunpowder, variously prepared, is very commonly employed, and it is that which gives to the tattooing of these Bedawîn its bluish tinge. Mr. Lane tells us that in Egypt smoke-black mixed with the milk of a woman is used, and subsequently a paste of fresh-pounded leaves of clover, or white beet, is applied, so as to give a greenish blue color to the marks. It is well ascertained that this tattooing prevailed in Egypt even before the time of Moses. If he appropriated it to sacred purposes, the patterns may have been so devised as to commemorate the deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage. Possibly the figure of the Paschal Lamb, whose blood on the doorposts caused the Angel of Death to pass over their houses, was wrought into these tokens and frontlets. The command to have the great acts of the Lord as signs upon the hand, etc., may appear to contradict the prohibition in Leviticus, where the people are forbidden not only to make any cuttings for the dead, but also to print any marks upon themselves. But the direction in Ex., xiii. 9, 16, specifies certain purposes for which such signs and frontlets were to be used, and this in Leviticus mentions others for which they were made by the heathen, and which Moses forbade the Jews to imitate. No doubt these cuttings and prints had an idolatrous or superstitious signification which Moses desired to condemn. In the last song which he taught the children of Israel, he upbraids the foolish people and unwise, because their spot was not the spot of God's children.2 It is probable that the worshipers of the true God had peculiar marks to distinguish them from idolaters, which these “corrupters” refused to wear, imprinting others used by the heathen. In the Revelation, allusions to such religious marks are too numerous to be specified. Isaiah, however, has a most beautiful reference to them, which we may quote, to strengthen our trust in the watchful providence of our heavenly Father. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will not I forget thee.
1 Levit. xix. 28.
2 Deut. xxxii. 5.
Behold, I have graven thee on the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. As to these Arabs, whose blue lips started us off upon this digression, we shall have many occasions to notice their strange ways and singular customs. Those dingy brown things peeping out of the bushes on the mountain side are their tents, and they are found spread over the whole country, from Egypt to Mount Taurus.
Here are men on our left digging stone out of this sandhill, and you may be certain that they are uncovering the remains of some ancient town. The Jerusalem Itinerary places Porphyreon in this neighborhood, and I suppose that these sand-covered ruins mark the exact site of that city. This whole neighborhood is now called Jîyeh.
What place is this to which we are coming ?
Neby Yûnas—the prophet Jonas—or, rather, his tomb.
Indeed! That starts inquiries which I have long had on hand in reference to some of the incidents in the experience of that very remarkable prophet. Is this low building on our left the tomb ?
The first is a khân; that south of it contains the grave, or mausoleum. It has rooms attached for the keeper, and also
1 Is. xlix. 15, 16.
JONAH AND THE WHALE.
for the accommodation of pilgrims--mostly Moslems and Druses—who come to discharge certain vows made to the shrine. It is in the hands of Moslems, and this crooked, club-footed anatomy, hobbling toward us for a būkshîsh, is the keeper. I have repeatedly spent the night here, and listened again and again to his exaggerated account of Jonah's awkward cruise with the whale. He devoutly believes that the prophet was safely landed on this sandy beach; and, for aught I know, he may be correct, though several other places claim the honor; and Josephus says he was landed on the shores of the Euxine—far enough from this, certainly.
I care very little about these discrepancies as to the place. There are other questions, however, which I wish to have answered. The Bible says that the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up the prophet;' but in Matthewit is called a whale by our Saviour. Now, if I am correctly informed, there are no whales in the Mediterranean. How do you explain this?
Simply by the fact that the multiplication of ships in this sea, after the time of Jonah, frightened them out of it, as other causes have driven all lions out of Palestine, where they were once numerous. It is well known that some of the best fishing stations, even in the great oceans, have been abandoned by the whales because of the multitude of whalers that visited them. This sea would, of course, be forsaken. If you could stock it thoroughly with these monsters to-day, there would be none left a year hence. But, up to the time of Jonah, navigation was in its infancy, ships were few and small, and they kept mostly along the shores, leaving the interior undisturbed. Whales may therefore have been common in the Mediterranean. And there are instances on record of the appearance of huge marine creatures in this sea in ancient days. Some of these may have been whales. The Hebrew word dag, it is true, means simply any great fish; but nothing is gained by resorting to such a solution of the difficulty. Our Lord calls it a whale, and I am contented with his translation; and whale it was, not a shark or lamia, as some critics maintain. In a word, the whole affair was miraculous, and, as such, is taken out of the category of difficulties. If a whale had never before been in the Mediterranean, God could bring one to the exact spot needed as easily as he brought the ram to the place where Abraham was coming to sacrifice Isaac. He could also furnish the necessary capacity to accomplish the end intended. It is idle, and worse—cowardly, to withhold our faith in a Bible miracle until we can find or invent some way in which the thing might have happened without any great miracle after all.
1 Jonah i. 17.
2 Matt. xii. 40.
Is there any gourd in this country of growth so rapid as to lay a foundation for the statement that Jonah's grew up in a night?
Certainly not; but, without any of that anxiety about the how and the possible in miracles, we may remark that there is an economical propriety in selecting this vine rather than any other, and for several reasons. It is very commonly used for trailing over temporary arbors. It grows with extraordinary rapidity. In a few days after it has fairly began to run, the whole arbor is covered. It forms a shade absolutely impenetrable to the sun's rays even at noonday. It flourishes best in the very hottest part of summer. And, lastly, when injured or cut, it withers away with equal rapidity. In selecting the gourd, therefore, there is not only an adherence to verisimilitude, which is always becoming, but there is also an economy, if we may so speak, in the expenditure of miraculous agency. The question is not about power at all. The same God who caused the gourd to grow in a night, could make a cedar do so likewise; but this would be a wide departure from the general method of miraculous interposition, which is to employ it no farther than is necessary to secure the result required. When Lazarus was to be raised, for example, Martha must guide to the tomb, some must remove the stone from the cave's mouth, and others loose the risen-Lazarus from his grave-clothes. So, when Jonah was to be sheltered from the burning sun, that