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But attend the oriental to the refreshing shade of his garden, and then
“ Cool through the nerves his pleasing comfort glides ;
Not only the actual enjoyment of shade and water diffuses the sweetest pleasure through the panting bosom of an oriental, but what is almost inconceivable to the native of a northern clime, even the very idea, the simple recurrence of these gratifications to the mind, conveys a lively satisfaction, and a renovating energy to his heart, when ready to fail him in the midst of the burning desert. “ He who smiles at the pleasure we received,” says Lichtenstein, “ from only being reminded of shade, or thinks this observation trivial, must feel the force of an African sun, to have an idea of the value of shade and water.”[
These descriptions will enable us to form a more correct notion of the inexpressible delight which the longing Christian feels, when he is admitted to fellowship “ with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” The very conception of such fellowship, revives his fainting soul; the sure expectation, kindles a holy ardour in his bosom ; and the actual possession, fills his heart with “ joy unspeakable, and full of glory." " I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste; stay me with flaggons, comfort me with apples, for I am sick of love." It is therefore no small favour to provide a shelter from the destructive heats of an eastern sky: “ And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time, from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and Tray. in Africa, p. 104.
Song ii, 35.
for a covert from storm and from rain."t “ They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them.”u But who can conceive the joy and the peace which the true believer experiences under the protection of divine power and goodness ? " They shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads : they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."v
Parties of pleasure frequently repair to the Syrian gardens, in the spring and summer, to regale themselves with the fruits, or to gather flowers; a custom to which the royal preacher alludes in several parts of the Song. Thus the spouse, after inviting the refreshing breezes to awake, and blow upon her garden, that the spices, which adorned and enriched it, might exhale their fragrance, addresses her Lord: “ Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits;" let him regard with complacency, the delightful effects of his grace, produced in the hearts, .or displayed in the lives of his people : And to her invitation, he replies : “ I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse : I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honey-comb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk; eat, О friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved." In allusion to the same custom, she presents, in the seventh chapter, another supplication; “ Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages ; let us get up early to the vineyards ; let us see if the vine flourish; whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth ; there will I give thee my loves.” Like those that, weary of the + Isa. iv, 6.
Isa. xxxv, 10. u Isa. xlix, 10.
w Song iv, 16; and v, 1.
bustle and noise of the crowded city, and exhausted with the increasing heats of the rising year, long for the tranquil pleasures of the garden, or the fruitful field, the reviving coolness of the shade, and the murmur of the streaming rill,—the heaven-born soul desires to leave for a while, the cares and hurry of this world, to enjoy, in secret retirement or with fellow believers, the presence and smiles of his Lord; to mark the growth of divine grace in his heart; and whether the fruits of righteousness are advancing to maturity ; whether new dispositions of holiness are beginning to appear, and new resolutions to expand, which require the skill and care of the Great Husbandman, to defend and cherish. And while he requests the presence of his Redeemer, in the ordinances of his grace, he promises him the best affections of his heart; the renewed professions of his love; the ardent breathings of holy desire, kindled and sustained by the smiles of his favour; he engages to entertain him with a display of all the fruits of the Spirit, which are valuable and lovely as the mandrake, and numerous as the products of the varied year, devoted to his service, reserved for his honour, and exhibited for his glory.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE, FROM THE HOUSES,
CITIES, WALLS, AND TOWERS OF THE EAST.
The excavations of nature or art, the first habitations of mankind. The tent.
succeeded, and was supplanted by houses of mud or stone. Houses of the Kabyles, how constructed. The largest of them has rarely more than one chamber. Houses of the lower orders in Egypt.-Houses in Judea. Their walls composed partly of combustible materials.-Ruinous effects of stormy winds and heavy rains upon mud-walled houses.Unrivalled magna nificence of many oriental edifices. Their mortar, how made.-General style of building.-Streets narrow.-Entrance of their houses. Their doors opening into the court, very small.-House of a man in power known by the height of his gate.—Quadrangular court.- Cloister and gallery. Doors of their houses.-Windows.-Walls of their houses richly adorned. -Ceiling.-Floors.--Carpets.-Beds. Of what they consist.-Staircase. -Door at the top. The roof.-Battlements.-Arbour on the roof.—Com-. mon road along the roofs of the houses.-Back-houses.- Temple or house of Dagon. Their apartments, how cooled. Members of a family sleep in different beds. The houses lighted with lamps. Their furniture.--Nails. -Fires in winter. The houses decorated with trees, shrubs, and flowers. -Surrounded with lofty walls.--Method of securing their gates.-Locks und keys.-Watchmen.--Watch-tower. -Fortified cities. Citadel. Winter and summer houses.Shaded with trees.
The aboriginal inhabitants of those regions, appear to have taken up their abode in caves, in dens, and in holes of the rocks, the excavations of nature or art, of which many remain to the present times, and afford occasional shelter to the wandering shepherd and his flocks, and in times of danger, to the trembling fugitive and his family.*
a Odyssey, lib. ix, 1. 113, 114, 400. Josephus Antiq. book xiv, ch. 15, sec. 4. Buckingham's Trav. in Palestine, vol. i, p. 176, 191.. The whole VOL. II.
But as their flocks and herds multiplied, the Syrian shepherds were compelled to go in quest of distant pastures, from whence they found it impossible to return at night to their immoveable retreats. Necessity, the mother of the arts, taught them to construct the tent, which they might carry along with them in their wanderings, and set up and take down at their pleasure. But as the number of the people daily increased, and the necessity of applying themselves to the cultivation of the soil became obvious, they found the tent an incommodious habitation, and their fields often lay at a considerable distance from the cavern ; while the division of property, which was introduced at a very early period, and the natural desire in every family to live by themselves, suggested the idea of houses, constructed of more durable materials than the tent, which admitted of being placed sufficiently near for mutual assistance, and at the same time furnished the comfort which they so much desired, of living by themselves, and securing their own interests.
In the opinion of Pliny, the oriental barbarian took the hint of building a house for himself and his family, from the swallow ; and in imitation of his feathered instructor, made his first essay in mud. The Kabyles, on the coast of Barbary, raise their dwellings with hurdles, daubed over with mud, with square cakes of clay baked in the sun, or stones from some adjacent ruin. The roofs are covered with straw or turf, supported by reeds or branches of trees. The largest of them has rarely more than one of the caves on the coast of Palestine, which are very numerous, and many of them well designed and executed, our author thinks were the habitations of the ancient Canaanites, some of their strongholds near the sea, from which the children of Israel could not dislodge them. P. 192, 224, 288. Many of the grottoes around Jerusalem he views in the same light. P. 289. b Nat. Hist. lib. x, cap. 34.