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to a feast, is not so unlike what really happens in the East, as we are ready to imagine. Pococke speaks of the admission of the poor to the tables of the rich. In his account of a great entertainment, made by the governor of an Egyptian village for the Cashif with whom he travelled, he says, “ The custom was, for every one, when he had done eating, to get up, wash his hands, take a draught of water, and so, in a continual succession, till the poor came in, and ate up all, for the Arabs never set by any thing which is brought to table. When they kill a sheep, they dress it all, call in their neighbours, and the poor, and finish every thing.'. This celebrated traveller afterwards mentions what is still more surprising : in giving an account of the diet of the Eastern people he informs us, that an Arab prince will often dine in the street before his door,
and call to all that pass, even beggars, in the name of God; who obey the invitation, sit down, and when they have done, retire with the usual form of returning thanks." "*
“ How different this is to any thing we meet with.” “ It is, certainly, somewhat so.
But our Lord seems to have approved such a line of conduct; you recollect, that the parable you have noticed is introduced by a very striking admonition to remember the poor.
- When thou makest a dinner, or a supper,' says our Lord, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours, lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind; and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee; but thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.' (Luke xiv. 12–14.)
* Harmer, vol. ii. 125.
“ It was very common among the people in the East, when they particularly wished to honour a guest, who had been invited, to send a larger portion to him than to any other person; thus Joseph sent five times as much to his brother Benjamin as to any of his brethren. (Gen. xliii. 34.) It is still regarded as a distinction of value, to have any portion from the table of a monarch, or of a great
When a celebrated traveller dined in the
presence of an Eastern sovereign, he was thought to be greatly honoured, because the king tore off a handful of meat from the joint, and sent it him. A Dutch ambassador, * in similar circumstances, mentions it as a mark
* Van Braam.
of great honour, that some bones of mutton, with half the meat gnawed off them, were sent him from the table of the Emperor. Several nations do not, to this day, use knives and forks as we do.
“ We read, that Abraham prepared the feast for the angels under the shade of a tree, Gen. xviii. 8. They often in the East still take their meals out of doors. The people generally dine about noon; but supper, as was the case among the Jews, is often the principal meal, Mark vi. 21. Martha and Mary invited our Lord to a supper, John xii. 2. Luke xiv. 16. The communion of the Saviour with those who love him, is described as a supper, Rev. iii. 20. The feast of the Passover was also celebrated in the evening.”
“ The Jews would not eat with every one, father ?”
“ True; they were very particular on this subject. But how did you know this, Harry ?”
“ In the sermon on Sunday morning, about the woman of Samaria, the preacher read the passage, that the Jews did not eat with the Samaritans, John iv. 9. But why would they not do so ?” “ No doubt but they had some good rea
It is probable, that the Samaritans mingled some idolatrous rites with their meals, in which the worshippers of the true God could not join without offending Him. It was on this very ground that Peter objected to go and preach the gospel to the Gentiles, Acts xi. 3-8. The Jews were accustomed to break the vessels and cast them away, which had been touched by an unclean animal; this indeed was according to the divine command, Levit. xi. 33. Dr. Clark