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aqueducts. They were broken antiquities long before she was born. Every thing about them bears witness to their extreme age. Examine a specimen of the work above Kefr Milky: the cement of the canal has turned to actual stone, or has been coated with a calcareous deposit as hard, so that the whole wall looks like an unbroken crystalline rock, as compact as the mountain limestone about it. But this will not help us to a date, nor will the very ancient-shaped arches which span the ravines. At Jerjua, a village near Neb'a et Tāsy, a tombstone was lately dug up, having the figure of a boy carved upon it, with a Greek inscription by the side of him; but it reveals nothing as to the origin of the canals.
The air grows chilly as the land-breeze reaches us from the snow-clad mountains, and we shall find the tent both safer and more comfortable.
My thoughts go back to Sidon, and the kind friends within her old walls. Your divan is now in full session.
Yes, and very likely we are the first topic discussed by every fresh arrival, and every thing which can be said about us will be repeated twenty times at least, mingled with prayers for our safety and prosperity.
I was greatly interested last night in your discussion about demonology, enchantment, charms, etc., etc., but, as my young dragomen were too much absorbed in it themselves to translate very adequately, I should like to go over the subject at our leisure. Indeed, I put this down on my list of subjects to study when I first decided to make this pilgrimage. The references to it in the Bible are many, and often not a little obscure. Do you find any thing in the country at this day which throws light on the question of demoniac possessions ?
Nothing very decided or satisfactory; and yet, perhaps, if we had the touchstone of a divine presence walking among us, this might bring out some very wonderful developments. The basis, so to speak, of these possessions, in all their variety, is still to be met with. In Sidon there are cases of epileptic fits which, in external manifestations, closely resemble that mentioned in Mark ix. 18, Matt. xvii. 15,
and Luke ix. 38. These fits have seized a young man in my own house repeatedly: And lol the spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out, and foameth at the mouth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and is cast down wherever he may be seized, and pineth away until you would think he was actually dead. Matthew calls him a lunatic, but according to Mark it was a dumb spirit. And there are cases in which the disease referred to accompanies, and in others it obviously occasions dumbness. I will not say that such unfortunate creatures are tormented by an evil spirit, but I am sure that no caviling skeptic can prove that they are not. The instance mentioned in Mark v. 2-16, and in Luke viii. 26-36, was most remarkable, but there are some very similar at the present day—furious and dangerous maniacs, who wander about the mountains, and sleep in tombs and caves. In their worst paroxysms they are quite unmanageable, and prodigiously strong. And this, I suppose, is about what the evangelists mean by their breaking the chains and fetters with which they had been bound. Mark and Luke certainly do not mean that no chains could hold them, but merely that those commonly used to confine such people were not sufficient for these infuriated demons. It also appears that they went naked; for when they were healed they were found clothed and in their right mind. And it is one of the most common traits in this madness that the victims refuse to wear clothes. I have often seen them absolutely naked in the crowded streets of Beirût and Sidon. There are also cases in which they run wildly about the country and frighten the whole neighborhood. These poor wretches are held in the greatest reverence by Moslems, who, through some monstrous perversion of ideas, believe them to be inspired and peculiarly holy. It would certainly be rash to decide that this calamity was the work of evil spirits, and yet the manifestations are so inhuman and satanic, and the real causes so mysterious, that I am not much disposed to dispute the point with the natives of the country, who ascribe the mischief to supernatural agency.
But this was not exactly the subject discussed last night. The conversation was started by one of the company
reading Deut. xviii. 10, 11: There shall not be found among you any one that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. His wish was to have these names in his Arabic Bible explained, many of which were unintelligible to him. Our first effort, you remember, was to affix definite ideas to the words themselves, and, with the aid of the doctor and our Syrian friend, we made quite a critical coterie in appearance with our English, Arabic, Syriac, Vulgate, Septuagint, and Hebrew. The results, however, were not very striking or important.
The first of these names we concluded was applied to any person who prophesied or uttered oracles, the means by which he obtained them being immaterial. The Septuagint translators seem thus to have understood it.
The second seems to look toward the clouds, and probably the professors of this art dealt in lucky and unlucky days, expounded omens, and prognosticated future occurrences mainly by observing the clouds. We have this sort of witchcraft in abundance.
The third is rendered by the Seventy, and those who followed them, by a word signifying to augur, from the flight of birds; but the Hebrew seems to connect it with serpents. Our translation is near the truth in calling these enchanters. Probably they employed serpents in their enchantments.
The fourth is obviously from a Hebrew root, which signifies to uncover, reveal, and may refer to fortune-tellers, revealers of stolen goods, hid treasure, and the like. The Seventy have Pharmakos, a compounder of drugs and magic charms, but by what authority I know not.
The fifth is Hobair Hūber. In Arabic this would mean a repeater of news, and may refer to giving forth auricular responses, or to a repetition of invocations and incantations.
The sixth name in our list the Seventy seem to have thought meant ventriloquism; and ’aobe may mean belly; but our English translation is probably correct, a consulter
with familiar spirits. It is not unlikely, however, that these diviners, by means of ventriloquism, pretended to converse with their familiars," and to receive audible responses from them. Even the wise Socrates laid claim to the aid of some such spirit.
The seventh were those esteemed supernaturally wise, magicians perhaps, and such as performed wonderful tricks by sleight of hand, superior cunning, or profounder insight into the mysteries of nature. And the eighth was a necromancer, a consulter of the dead, like the witch of Endor, and our modern dealers in “spiritual rappings."
Besides these, there are other kinds of divination, and other names employed in the Bible, whose signification is doubtful. The magicians mentioned in Gen. xli. 8, and Ex. vi. 11, and 22, do not appear to have belonged to any of these classes. Probably they were originally Egyptian priests, who alone understood the art of writing and interpreting their sacred hieroglyphics. It is plain, however, that they professed to work wonders by their occult sciences, of whatever sort they were. Joseph pretended to divine by the aid of his cup, and Isaiah mentions astrologers, star-gazers, and monthly prognosticators. Daniel several times speaks of the Assoppim, which the Seventy have rightly called magi or wise men. Our translators render it astrologers.
Well, have you been able to identify these ancient kinds of divination with practices still found in these countries? It occurs to me, however, that several of them are closely related, and that it is not necessary to suppose that the professors of these occult sciences were restricted to any one kind. On the contrary, they would resort to all, or to as many as they were masters of. Thus an astrologer would not only draw his astrolabic figures and diagrams, but observe times, compound magical drugs, recite incantations, write charms, and so on, through all the labyrinths of the black art.
Doubtless; for we find this true at the present day among the clumsy imitators of those ancient adepts. Perhaps the superstition most common at present is that of charms. People of every rank and station in society, and of every creed and sect, employ them for themselves, their children, their houses, their horses and cattle, and even for their fruit-trees. Amulets and charms are hung around the neck, or hid away in the bosom; they are suspended from the arch of a newly-built house; they dangle from the throat of horses and cattle; and fig and other trees have cabalistic signs drawn upon them to guard against the evil eye.
i Gen. xliv. 5, 15.
The charms most in repute among all sects are brief sentences from their religious books, written with certain formalities, and frequently accompanied with cabalistic diagrams, drawn by those skilled in these magic mysteries. I have examined many of them. They are sewed up in small sacks, generally heart-shaped, and suspended from the tarbush of infants, round the necks of larger children, and about grown-up people according to their particular fancy.