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ing of God. The Mohammedans of Egypt and Syria never salute a Christian in this manñer ; they content themselves with saying to them, Good day to you; or, Friend, how do you do? The Arabs of Yemen, who seldom see any Christians, are not so zealous but that sometimes they will give them the Salâm aleikum.”
Presently after he says, " For a long time I thought the Mohammedan custom of saluting Christians, in a different manner from that made use of to those of their own profession, was an effect of their pride, and religious bigotry. I saluted them sometimes with the Salâm aleikum, and I had often only the common answer. At length I observed in Natolia, that the Christians themselves might probably be the cause, that Mohammedans did not make the same return to their civilities that they did to those of their own religion. “For the Greek merchants, with whom I travelled in that country, did not seem pleased with my saluting Mohammedans in the Mohammedan manner. And when they were not known to be Christians, by those Turks whom they met with in their journeying, (it being allowed Christian travellers, in those provinces, to wear a white turban," that banditti might take them at a distance for Turks, and people of courage,) they
d Christians in common, being obliged to wear the sash of their turbans white striped with blue. Russell's Descrip. tion of Aleppo, vol. ii. p. 42.
never answered those that addressed them with the compliment of Salâm aleikum.
“One would not, perhaps, suspect that similar customs obtain, in our times, among Europeans : but I find, that the Roman Catholics, of some provinces of Germany, never address the Protestants that live among them with the compliment, JESUS CHRIST be praised; and when such a thing happens by mistake, the Protestants do not return it after the manner in use among Catholics, For ever and ever, Amen !'
After this, the words of our Lord in the close of the vth of Matthew want no farther commentary. The Jews would not address the usual compliment of Peace be to you to either heathens, or publicans; the publicans of the Jewish nation would use it to their countrymen that were publicans, but not to heathens ; though the more rigid Jews would not do it to them any more than to heathens : our Lord required his disciples to lay aside the moroseness of Jews, and express more extensive benevolence in their salutations. There seems to be nothing of embracing thought of in this case, though that, doubtless, was practised anciently among relations and intimate friends, as it is among modern Asiatics.
When then the son of Sirach speaks of silence before then that salute thee, ch. xli. 20, as a
• Descript. de l'Arabia, p. 43, 44,
just ground of shame, he cannot be understood to mean silence with regard to the salutations of those of another nation, for this was rather thought to be honourable among the old Jews, a proper expression of rough and inflexible virtue, and a paying a due attention to the prerogatives of the Jewish nation; it must be understood of not returning the salutations of their own countrymen; of such non-compliance with the forms of civility in use among those of their nation, he thought they ought to be ashamed.
Elisha's enjoining Gehazi not to salute any that he met, or to return the salutation of such, evidentally expresses the haste he would have him make to recover the child and bring him back to life. For the salutations of the East often take up a long time.
“The manner of salutation, as now practised by the people of Egypt, is not less ancient. The ordinary way of saluting people, when at a distance, is bringing the hand down to the knees, and then carrying it to the stomach. Marking their devotedness to a person by holding down the hand; as they do their affection by their after raising it up to the heart. When they come close together afterwards, they take each other by the hand in token of friendship. What is very pleasant, is to see the country-people reciprocally clapping each other's hands very smartly, twenty or thirty times together, in meeting, without saying any thing more than Salamat aiche halcom ; that is to say, How do you do? I wish you good health. If this form of complimenting must be acknowledged to be simple, it must be admitted to be very affectionate. Perhaps it marks out a better disposition of heart, than all the studied phrases which are in use among us, and which politeness almost always makes use of at the expence of sincerity. After this first compliment many other friendly questions are asked, about the health of the family, mentioning each of the children distinctly, whose names they know,' &c.
s 2 Kings iv. 29. Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and, go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not: and if any salute thee, answer him not again, &c.
If the forms of salutation among the ancient Jewish peasants, took up as much time as those of the modern Egyptians that belong to that rank of life, it is no wonder the Prophet commanded his servant to abstain from saluting those he might meet with, when sent to recover the child of the Shunamitess to life: they that have attributed this order to haste have done right; but they ought to have shown the tediousness of Eastern compliments.
But I very much question whether this was the cause of our Lord's forbidding the Seventy to salute, when he sent them forth to preach
& Maillet, Descript. de l'Egypte, let. 11, p. 137, 138.
the gospel, Luke x. 4, Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes, and salute no man by the way. Was the not making use of shoes expressive of greater expedition in travelling? I should rather suppose that either it signifies not saluting any in their journey, in the same sense as David saluted Nabal, 1 Sam. xxv. 5, 6,14," when he applied to him for some refreshment in the wilderness, leaving it to them to whom they preached to invite them to their houses, from first to last, in this journey; or else that it was, some how or other, a part of that meanness in which they were to appear, not to salute those they met.
Niebuhr tells us a story that is rather remarkable, relating to salutations among the Arabs of the desert of Mount Sinai: he says, that a woman who was on foot (and therefore seemed to be a person in low life) meeting him in a strait passage in the valley of Génne, she sat down by the side of the way, turning her back till they were past, but as he wished this woman peace, (which is their form of salutation,) and his Arab guides perceived by that he was not acquainted with their customs, they informed him that it was out of respect to strangers that she had turned her back, and
" David sent out ten young men, and David said to the young men ... go to Nabal, and greet him in my name ; after which we are informed that Abigail, Nabal's wife, was told by a servant, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master, and he railed on them.