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Christopher Wren, “ that could at one pull be demolished, I conceive it was an oval amphitheatre, the scene in the middle, where a vast roof of cedar beams, resting round upon the walls, centered all upon one short architrave that united two cedar pillars in the middle. The pillar would not be sufficient to unite the ends of at least one hundred beams, that tended to the centre; therefore, I say, there must be a short architrave resting upon two pillars, upon which all the beams tending to the centre of the amphitheatre might be supported. Now, if Samson by his miraculous strength, pressing upon one of those pillars, moved it from its basis, the whole roof must of necessity fall.'
“Dr. Shaw observes on this subject, that the Eastern method of building may assist us in accounting for the particular structure of the temple or house of Dagon, and the great number of people who were buried in the ruins of it, by the pulling down of the two principal pillars. We read that there was a multitude of persons on the roof beholding while Samson made sport; Samson must therefore have been in a court below them. Several palaces and courts of justice in the East are built in such a way, that on their festivals and rejoicings a great quantity of sand is strewed upon the area for the wrestlers to fall upon, whilst the roof of the cloisters round about is covered with spectators. I have often seen several hundreds of people diverted in this manner on the roof of the Dey's palace at Algiers, which, like many more of the same quality and denomination, hath an advanced cloister over against the gate of the palace, made in the fashion of a large penthouse, supported only by one or two contiguous pillars in the front, or else in the centre. In such open structures as these, in the midst of the guards and councillors, are the bashaws and other great officers assembled to distribute justice and transact the public affairs of their provinces. Here likewise they have their public entertainments, as the lords and others of the Philistines had in the house of Dagon. Upon the supposition therefore that in the house of Dagon there was a cloistered structure of this kind, the pulling down of the front or centre pillars only, which supported it, would be attended with the like catastrophe to the Philistines.”
“ PRAY, father, did you ever observe the brickmakers, on the side of the hill, just as you come into the village ?”
“Yes, Harry; I have often stood for a few moments, to remark with how much diligence and cheerfulness they labour.” “What hard and dirty employment it is!
I am sure I should not like it."
“ We are not always to have just what we like, Harry. You would have liked, the other day, to have ridden the bay pony ; but I knew you could not manage him; and perhaps had I indulged you
you might have been thrown off and killed. the brickmakers do not think their work any hardship; they seem very happy. It is a
ground of thankfulness to a poor labourer, that he has plenty of profitable employment. And it is very pleasant to a benevolent mind, to observe, that such persons, though engaged in hard labour, seem to have as much enjoyment of life as ourselves. God has more equally diffused felicity among his creatures, than we are sometimes apt to imagine.”
But, father, I looked at them, to see if they used any straw; you know, it is said that Pharaoh commanded the children of Israel to make bricks without straw, and that this was a great hardship.”
“So it was, Harry, on many accounts, which I cannot mention now. But the bricks in Egypt were somewhat different from ours. A quantity of straw was usually mingled with the clay.”