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was not worth so much as my microscope and Bible. He said, Take now a present; a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds,' and 'go again to the man.' That was, to Joseph, who was in Egypt, though they did not know him. "Travellers tell us, that even the poor in the East do not visit without a present; either a flower, a few radishes, or dates, or fruit of some kind. This practice seems to illustrate 2 Kings, xviii. 31. Thus the Queen of Sheba did not visit Solomon, without bringing with her costly presents.
"As soon as guests arrived, water was brought to wash their feet and their hands, Gen. xviii. 4; xix. 2; and it appears that they were not unfrequently anointed with fragrant oil, Psalm xxiii. 5. Hence Mary Magdalen broke an alabaster box of precious ointment,
and poured it on the head and feet of our Lord. Simon, the master of the house, seems not to have received him in the respectful manner he ought, and according to the usages then common in society. Hence the Redeemer said to him, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet; but she hath washed my feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss; but this woman, since I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment,' Luke vii. 44 et seq. Matt. xxvi. 7. Prov. xxvii. 9.
"Presents ever were, and still are, very common in the East, when persons visit each other, especially when they have audience of those of quality. Hence many instances of
this kind occur in Scripture. Thus Thus it is said that the kings of Tarshish and of the Isles shall bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.""
"It does not say to whom, father."
66 Yes, the Psalm does; to Messiah. Maundrell says, 'After dinner we went to wait upon Ostan, the Basha of Tripoli; having first sent our present, to procure a propitious reception. It is counted uncivil in this country to visit without an offering in the hand. All great men expect it, as due to their character and authority, and look on themselves as affronted, and indeed defrauded, when this compliment is omitted. Even in familiar visits amongst inferior people, you shall seldom have them come without bringing a flower, or an orange, or some other such token of their respect to the person visited."
"I was reading, yesterday, in Rollin, father, of a singular sort of present which the Scythians sent to Darius; it was a bird, a mouse, a frog, and five arrows. The Persian king thought, that by these emblems they meant to give up to him their country and their weapons of war."
"And was that their meaning?"
No; one of his grandees explained the present very differently. Know,' said he, 'that unless you can fly away in the air, like birds; or hide yourselves in the earth, like mice; or swim in the water, like frogs; you shall in no wise be able to avoid the arrows of the Scythians.""
Truly, this was a present of a very peculiar nature, and unlike the usual presents in the East. These were often very numerous. D'Herbelot tells us, that a poet of Cufah, in
the ninth century, had so many presents made him in the course of his life, that at his death he was found possessed of a hundred complete suits of clothes, two hundred shirts, and five hundred turbans. We learn also, from Judges iii. 18, that there was often much parade and ostentation in bringing their presents. ‘Through ostentation, they never fail to load upon four or five horses what might easily be carried by one. In like manner, as to jewels, trinkets, and other things of value, they place in fifteen dishes what a single plate would very well hold.""
"How many garments that poet had given to him, father!"
"He had; the presents in the East are often very valuable. This appears not only from the case of the poet which I have mentioned, but from the circumstance, that Naa