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knowledge which, he hoped, by the divine blessing, would make him wise and useful.
This excellent youth often noticed expressions and transactions that appeared singular in those parts of sacred writ, which were daily read in his hearing; and he did not forget to ask his father to explain what he could not understand; an example well worthy the imitation of all.
One morning, after Mr. Benyon had read to his family the interesting account of the healing of the Paralytic, (Mark ii.) he and Henry walked out to enjoy the cool breeze. It was one of those beautiful spring mornings, when, as Akenside
As they were standing at the end of the terrace in the garden, watching the tide gently creeping up in silvery streamlets on the coast, Harry said, “Father, I have been thinking about the poor man, of whom you read this morning; how could they get him to the top of the house, and then let him down before our Lord ? Did they take off the roof ?”
“ I am not surprised, Harry, that the account puzzled you. I will explain it. There are many other Scriptures which would seem very singular, and for the same reason; that is, because the houses in the East, where the Scriptures were written, are not like those which you see in this country. The houses in Judea were built with flat roofs; and they had battlements around them for safety, according to God's own command, (Deut. xxii. 8.) Hence the people in the East are accustomed to lay flax and linen to dry on the tops of their houses : we read that the spies concealed by Rahab were hid among these. (Joshua ii. 6.) The house-tops were the scenes of social intercourse and friendly conversation; so, we are informed that Samuel and Saul were talking together on the house-top. (1 Sam. ix. 25–6.) At the Feast of Tabernacles, the people were accustomed to make • themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts.” (Neh. viii. 16.) The prophet Jeremiah tells us, that the Israelites sometimes offered incense to their idols on the roofs of their houses.” (Jer. xxxï. 29.)
“And Peter, you know, father, went up to the roof at the house-top to pray.” (Acts x. 9.)
True, Harry. And Isaiah speaks of the inhabitants of a city having gone up to the house-tops. Houses in the East are built
with a court within, into which, chiefly, the windows open; those which open to the street are so obstructed with lattice-work, that no one, either without or within, can see through them. Whenever, therefore, any thing is to be seen or heard in the streets, any remark
able spectacle, or any alarm of a public nature, every one immediately goes up to the house-top, to satisfy his curiosity. In the same manner, when any one had occasion to make any thing public, the readiest and most effectual way of doing it was to proclaim it to the people from the house-tops. The people all running to the roofs of the houses, is a lively image of a sudden general alarm.' *
“ Dr. Pocock tells us in his Travels, that when he was at Tiberias in Galilee, he was entertained by the chief's steward (as the chief himself was particularly engaged); and that, for coolness, they supped on the top of the house, according to their custom, and lodged there likewise, in a sort of closet about eight feet square, of wicker-work, plastered round towards the bottom, but without any
* Bishop Lowth.