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rejoiced at, while little or no notice is taken of the birth of a girl. Even among the Jews, this was the case, as Jeremiah powerfully describes, xx. 15. Females are considered as inferiors, and much less cared for.

Morier describes the feast when children are weaned, like that made by Abraham on the weaning of Isaac, Gen. xxi. 8; also the bringers up of children to whom the boys are committed by rich fathers, when two years old; such were the bringers up of the children of Ahab, 2 Kings, x. 5.

In the east children are sometimes carried at the back, in the hyke, but often sitting on the shoulders, Is. xlix. 22, or astride on the hip, Isa. lxvi. 12. Lane describes the Egyptian mothers thus carrying their children, even when

They soon learn to hold on by the head and neck, when thus carried in walking, or even riding.

One peculiarly commendable point in eastern children is their reverence for their mother; so one way of showing violent anger against other persons is to speak reproachfully of their parents. A traveller's servant, seeing his master in a rage, said, “Strike me, but do not curse my mother.”

very little.


It was common among the ancients for persons to adopt children, either when they had none of their own, or when there was something particular to interest them for the children who were adopted. Eliezer, of Damascus, probably had been thus adopted by Abraham before he had children of his own, Gen. xv. 3. This is common at the present time among the Indians, particularly in North America. Persons, both grown up and children, who have been taken prisoners in their wars with the white people, have been adopted by the Indian tribes, and have lived many years among them.

Jacob's adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh, Gen. xlviii. 5, was something of this sort. It is still more fully shown in the case of Moses, who was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter, Exod. ii. 10; and of Esther, who was adopted by her uncle Mordecai, Esth. ii. 7. In these cases the adopted children were considered as though they had been really children of those who adopted them, and thus became subject to their authority.


The two instances above mentioned deserve notice : “ Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward,” Heb. xi. 24—26. Esther was strengthened and had courage given to her, so that she was enabled to declare that she belonged to the nation of the Jews, although they were ordered to be destroyed ; and thus her people were delivered. We also read, that, even after she had become queen, she still “ did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him," Esth. ii. 20.

Both these accounts show the power of Divine grace in the hearts of young persons : enabling the one decidedly to refuse honours, wealth, and the earthly advantages of being adopted by a king's daughter-perhaps, even the succession to the throne itself—when these things could not be enjoyed without acting contrary to the will of God, and being connected with wicked people. And in the other instance, a young person who had been raised to the actual possession of the greatest advantages this world could bestow, was ready to forego them all, and life itself, rather than displease God and forsake his people, Esth. iv. 16. These are useful and important lessons.

The custom of adoption is preserved among the Mohammedans to the present day. When a Turk thus adopts a child, it is passed through the shirt of its new father. This reminds of Elijah adopting the prophet Elisha as his son in the faith, by throwing his mantle over him, 1 Kings xix. 19. When Elijah was taken up into heaven, Elisha called after him, “My father, my father;" and, having caught his mantle, proceeded to fulfil the duties performed by his spiritual father, 2 Kings ii., by succeeding to his office.

There are several texts in the New Testament, as Rom. xiii. 14; Gal. iii. 27; Eph. iv. 24 ; Col. iii. 10, in which the apostle speaks of believers in Christ having “put on the new man,” which may refer to this custom of the manner of adoption as sons. But St. Paul speaks still more plainly, in Rom. viii., of the change thus effected in the believer. He there shows the obligation upon all who are made partakers of salvation through Christ, to forsake their former evil course, and to live according to the Spirit of Christ : “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage" (or slavery)" again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God : and if children, then heirs ; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ : if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together," verses 14-17. Also Gal. iv. 4, 5, that, “ when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son,—that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

These passages are explained by referring to the customs relating to adoption, and show most fully the great privileges of belonging to Christ.

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The first mention of physicians in the Bible is Gen. 1. 2. Joseph commanded the physicians to embalm his father ; that is, to wrap up the dead body with spices and medical preparations, to prevent it from decaying in the natural

This was in Egypt, and the physicians were Egyptians. From the simple, plain, and healthy manner in which the patriarchs lived, it is probable that they had not much occasion for medicine.

Even in the later times of the Jews, they do not seem to have known much of what is called the medical art. Their medicines were chiefly outward applications. Their


knowledge probably did not extend far beyond binding up a broken limb, or healing a wound. As for other diseases, they appear to have regarded them as immediate effects of the anger of God. Job's friends thought so, Job. v. 17, 18. Good people generally consulted the prophets or other ministers of God; while wicked men consulted idolatrous priests, or pretended magicians or sorcerers : the heathen nations do so still. When king Asa had the gout, and trusted to his physicians for a cure, without seeking God's blessing on the means used, we are reminded that this was wrong, 2 Chron. xvi. 12. When Jeroboam's son was ill, he sent his wife to the prophet Ahijah, to inquire respecting the event of his illness, 1 Kings xiv. Hezekiah, when almost at the point of death, was recovered by means directed by Isaiah, 2 Kings xx. 7. For the leprosy, in particular, no medicine seems to have been used. It is generally thought to have been considered as an especial mark of Divine displeasure ; the priests were directed particularly to watch the progress of the disease, and to keep all persons afflicted with it by themselves. Naaman came to consult Elisha for a cure of his leprosy ; but the prophet would not even see him, thus showing that his cure was to proceed wholly from God, 2 Kings v. 10. When Benhadad, king of Syria, was dangerously ill, he also sent to Elisha, 2 Kings viii. 7, 8. Ahaziah, king of Israel, who was a wicked man, sent to the idol Baalzebub at Ekron, to ask of the priest respecting his illness; 2 Kings i. 3. But he was solemnly warned of the folly and wickedness of turning from the Lord to idols.

Jeremiah inquires, “ Is there no balm in Gilead ? is there no physician there ? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered ?” Jer. viii. 22; see also xlvi. 11. This shows that there were physicians and medicines, although the words point out the great Physician of souls, the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone can heal our souls, which are full of evil, as the body of a sick person is full of disease. Our Lord spoke thus of himself when he said, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick,” Matt. ix. 12. He thus reproved those who fancied themselves free from sin, and therefore despised his salvation, just as sick people sometimes think that they are well. But our souls are full of disease, as the prophet Isaiah says, Isa. i. 6 ; let all beware of acting like the Pharisees, or the people of Laodicea, Rev. iii. 17; and reject not this great salvation, which is so fully and so freely offered to them.

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