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necessary in the marshes about Babylon, to the fenny nature of which country the Psalmist refers, when he says, By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down,-- We hanged our harps upon the willows, in the midst thereof. Ps.cxxxvii.1,2. To these Isaiah appears to refer, in these words, Cast up, cast up the highway ; or, as the Bishop of London translates it, “ Cast ye up the causeway.”
Irwin also takes notice of its having been customary to light up fires on the mountains, within view of Cosire, (a town on the Red Sea, in which he then was,) to give notice of the approach of the caravans that came from the Nile to Cosire, though that custom was suspended, when he was there, on the account of the wild Arabs, who had been for some time roving about in that neighbourhood, and who, it was feared, would have made a bad use of such signals." These notices are of use on various accounts, and particularly to meet caravans with assistance.
It is to some similar management, I presume, Isaiah refers in this place, where he speaks of the lifting up a standard, or as the original word is of a much more general signification, and is used for any sign, Lift up a sign above the nations, (upon the tops of their hills,) announcing the approach of the captivity of
* P. 139.
* See Num. xxvi. 10; and perhaps it directly signifies fire, and a sign, Is. xxxi. 9.
Israel, returning to their own country, that they may meet them with refreshments,' and such assistances as may help them forward in their way to the land of their fore-fathers.
How lively the comparing the benefits derived from the edict of Cyrus, giving liberty and encouragement to Israel to return to the land of their ancestors, to the making causeways through marshy countries, piling up heaps of stone in unfrequented deserts, and meeting travellers with refreshments, and every other assistance that they might want.
The first clause, Go through, go through the gates, seems to refer to the custom of the East for travellers to assemble together, in some place out of the city, in order to get ready for journeying together in company, which I have elsewhere taken notice of, and therefore need riot, to repeat it here.
2 Deut. xx.3, 4.
EASTERN MODES OF HONOURING THE LIVING
AND THE DEAD.
PRESENTING gifts is one of the most 1 universal among the Asiatics ; and the use of them was, as well as is, much more extensive in the East than with us.
Such as are prejudiced against the Sacred History, and unacquainted with Eastern customs, may be ready, from the donations to the Prophets, to imagine they were a mercenary set of people, and rudely to rank them with cunningmen and fortune-tellers, who will not from principles of benevolence reveal those secrets, or foretel those future events, of the knowledge of which they are supposed to be possessed ; but demand of the anxious enquirer a large reward. This however will make impressions on none but those who know not the oriental usages, which Maundrell long since applied, with such clearness and force, to one of the most exceptionable passages of the Old Testament, that he has sufficiently satisfied the mind upon this point. As he has expressly applied it to a passage of Scripture, it would not have been agreeable to my design to have mentioned this circumstance, had I not had some additional remarks to make upon this head, which possibly may not be ungrateful to the curious reader, and which therefore I shall here set down. I suppose my reader acquainted with Maundrell ; but it will be proper, for the sake of perspicuity, first to recite at full length that passage in him I refer to.
- Thursday, March 11. This day we all dined at Consul Hastings's house; and after dinner went to wait upon Ostan, the bassa of Tripoli, having first sent our present, as the manner is among the Turks, to procure a propitious reception.
“ It is counted uncivil to visit in this country without an offering in hand. All great men expect it as a kind of tribute due to their character and authority; and look upon themselves as affronted, and indeed defrauded, when this compliment is omitted. Even in familiar visits, amongst inferior people, you shall seldom have them come without bringing a flower, or an orange, or some other such token of their respect to the person visited: the Turks in this point keeping up the ancient Oriental customs hinted 1 Sam. ix. 7. If we go, (says Saul) what shall we bring the man of
God ? there is not a present, &c. which words are questionless to be understood in conformity to this Eastern custom, as relating to a token of respect, and not a price of divination."
Maundrell does not tell us what the present was which they made Ostan. It will be more entirely satisfying to the mind to observe, that in the East they not only universally send before them a present, or carry one with them, especially when they visit superiors, either civil or ecclesiastical; but that this present is frequently a piece of money, and that of no very great value. So Dr. Pococke tells us, that he presented an Arab sheikh of an illustrious descent, on whom he waited, and who attended him to the ancient Hierapolis, with a piece of money, which he was told he expected ;' and that in Egypt an Aga being dissatisfied with the present he made him, he sent for the Doctor's servant, and told him, that he ought to have given him a piece of cloth, and, if he had none, two sequins, worth about a guinea, must be brought to him, otherwise he should see him no more, with which demand he complied. In one case a piece of money was expected, in the other two sequins demanded. A trifling present of money to a person of distinction amongst us would be an affront; it is not so however, it seems, in the East. Agreeably to these accounts of Pococke, we are told in the travels of Egmont and Heyman, that the well
• P. 26, 27. 6. Vol. ii. p. 167. Vol.i. p. 119.