Page images


“ Did you say, father, that the people in the East make an engagement with strangers with bread and salt ?

Yes; salt was often regarded as the emblem of friendship and fidelity: hence it was mixed with their sacrifices and covenants.

« The divine Author of Christianity expects from his disciples universal benevolence; and they all exemplify it, who are really what they profess to be. Hence, at the day of final reckoning, he has told us, that he will say to them, I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and


visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.'

You often say that nothing is lost by kindness.”

True, Harry; and I do think that this is the case : it may be laid down as a general rule. He who shows kindness to his fellowcreatures, is sure to be repaid with kindness. The measure we mete to others, is very often, even in the present world, “measured to us again.' And every benevolent individual has an immediate, and a most gratifying reward in his own bosom.”


“How low that man bowed to you, father!"

He did, Harry; though I never wish people to do so; but when they do, I think it my duty carefully to return their courtesy."

“ Yes, I took notice; you bowed almost as low as he did ; and the man was but a labourer, was he?"

“ I believe not, Harry. Henry the Fourth of France,—who, by the way, was by far the best of the French kings,—was standing one day, with some of his courtiers, at the entrance of a village, and a poor man, passing by, bowed down to the very ground; and the king, with great condescension, returned his salutation just in the same manner; at which one of his attendants ventured to express his surprise, when the monarch finely replied to him,-“Would you have your king exceeded in politeness by one of the lowest of his subjects ?”

“ The Scriptures frequently mention acts of homage, which are not common among us.”

True, Harry; yet they are still common in the East; though, I think, their manners in this respect are not to be commended. Such humiliation as is there required by the great men from their inferiors is evidently improper from man to man; we ought thus to humble ourselves before God, but not before our fellow-creatures. A free people will approach their sovereign with heartfelt respect and esteem, but not as if they were his abject slaves. Though the individual upon a throne be adorned with royal magnificence, he is still


but a man; and no one ought to approach him in the same way that he would enter into the presence of the Divine Majesty.”

Will you mention some of the instances in the Scripture which show the manner of the Eastern homage ?"

There are many, Harry. When Joseph's brethren came before him, they bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. When a servant had a favour to beg, Our Lord represents him as falling down at his Master's feet; and the inferior servant as falling down before him who was in a higher station. So the Syrophenician woman fell down at the feet of Our Lord. Thus the Prophet Isaiah represents the nations of the earth as coming, with all humility and gratitude, into the Church of God. • With their faces to the earth,' he says, they shall bow

« PreviousContinue »