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“I can't think of what use it could be, father."
“I will tell you, Harry, somewhat about it. Do you recollect the command which Pharaoh gave
to the task-masters whom he set over the children of Israel ?”
“ Yes; he said, Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick as heretofore; let them go and gather straw for themselves.””
“ Well; this was a plain proof that straw was then employed in making bricks.
The Scripture account is confirmed by the statements of travellers. - The eastern bricks,' says
Sir John Chardin, “are only clay well moistened with water, mixed with straw, and dried in the sun.' So, it seems, that walls built with them would be little better than those built with beaten earth, or mud, among ourselves. Dr. Shaw tells us, that some of the Egyptian pyramids are made of brick, the composition whereof is only a mixture of clay, mud, and straw, mixed up together, and afterwards baked in the sun. · The straw which keeps
hese bricks together,' he adds, and which still preserves its original colour, seems to be a proof that these bricks were never burnt, or made in kilns.'
“ Another traveller, speaking of Cairo in Egypt, says, “that the houses, for the most part, are of bricks, which are only hardened by the heat of the sun, and mixed with straw to make them firm. The Chinese, also, use much straw in making their bricks.”
“ How much these accounts explain Scripture !”
“ They do, Harry; but they not only explain it,—they also prove the truth of it.”
“But did you ever see any of these bricks, yourself?”
“ Yes; many have been brought to England by travellers, and are preserved in cabinets as curiosities.”
" And did the Israelites make bricks to build the pyramids ?"
“ It is not unlikely but that such was the case ; at least, in reference to some of them.”
“ What hard work it must have been !”
“ It must indeed have been a laborious occupation, especially to the Israelites, who were slaves; and indeed as you see it now is, Harry. Yet, you may observe, that, as the persons are used to it, they do not find it unpleasant ; and, as they are not slaves, but are rewarded for their efforts, they do not feel them to be a burden. If Divine Providence has given us an easier task in life than others, we should be thankful; yet, we should never think any thing beneath us, which is our evident duty, and by which we may be useful to our fellowcreatures.”
“In the chapter which you read this morning, my dear father, we are told how readily Abraham received the three men who came to talk with him, and how willingly he made an entertainment for them."
“ It is true: let us read the passage again ; it is a fine picture of hospitality in the earlier periods of the world. The sacred historian tells us, that, as he sat in the tent-door in the heat of the day, he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo! three men stood by him;
and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, and said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant; let a little water, I
pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; and I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that
And they said, So do as thou hast said.'
“And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.'
“And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it to a young man, and he hastened to dress it. And he took butter and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them ;