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means to be lost: and therefore he resolved at once to disgrace his master, and in him the religion of his God; to violate the truth, and to defraud Naaman, rather than leave his own vicious appetites unindulged. Doubtless he deemed the Syrian garments proper ornaments to adorn his person; and when that was done, the other conveniencies of life must be adjusted, and suited to them: this consideration made oliveyards and vineyards but necessary conveniencies, suited to the other circumstances of his dignity.
The spirit of the Prophet attended him, through the inmost recesses and windings of his heart, (which plainly demonstrates it to be the Spirit of God,) saw clearly into his most secret purposes, and immediately suggested a punishment most admirably accommodated to all the circumstances of his guilt: he inflicted a distemper upon him, which made all those vanities useless at once. Syrian ornaments would but ill become a leprous carcase; and would, in effect, but make his deformities more conspicuous : and, indulgence of appetite would but more inflame his incurable disease ; which must go down to his posterity, together with his ill-acquired inheritance.
Ah! how many unhappy Gehazis are there in the world, who trample under foot every duty they owe to God and man, and derive to themselves worse than leprosies, in consequence of their vanities of dress, and unruly indulgence of appetite; and convey the taint (but mostly without the inheritance) to their posterity !
The love of pomp, and of the glare of dress, is a false and fantastic appetite. And all such appetites are gratified with difficulty ; and not only so, but draw after them many other congenial and vexatious vanities, leading to enormities of
Gehazi's guilt was a taint, that had infected his soul; and it was chastised by an infectious disease, that bore an amazing and a dreadful analogy to it.
Sin is to the soul, what the worst diseases are to the body; ulcers, and loathsome corruptions, of every kind. And the disease now inflicted upon Gehazi was at once a most
shocking picture and punishment. How finely and how dreadfully instructive is this history to us! and how strictly and religiously should we be upon our guard, lest the inward defilements of our sins should descend, like those outward pollutions of Gehazi, to our latest posterity; and derive not only mortal diseases, but immortal miseries upon them !
That the people of this nation are overrun with strong appetites and unruly vanities of various kinds, as Gehazi was, is a truth equally lamentable and notorious. This is the true source of those pests that infect your cities and infest your highways. This is the true cause why so many of your sons grow up, not as healthful, but as poisonous plants; that your daughters grow up, not as the polished corners of your temples, but as the polluted corners of your cities. This is the true source of that great decay, that leading into captivity, and that complaining in your streets, far beyond the corruption and calamity of all former ages.
This is the true reason why so many of one sex openly act as if the laws of the Gospel were totally reversed to them; forgetting, or entirely neglecting, to adorn themselves with modest apparel, with shamefacedness, and sobriety ; but, on the contrary, glaring in the eyes of the world, with broidered hair, with gold, and pearls, and costly array, and an equal contempt of modesty and sobriety.--Delany.
ORIGIN AND MATERIALS OF BOOKS. Prior to the invention of paper, a variety of substances were employed for inscriptions, manuscripts, and books. An enumeration of some of these will tend to throw light on several passages of Scripture, which must appear very singular to persons who are not acquainted with the form and materials of ancient books.
1. Stone and Bricks.—It is generally admitted that stone was one of the first substances on which figures and afterwards letters were engraven. Of this there is abundant evidence in the fact of the decalogue, or ten command
and the obelisks of the Egyptians being covered with hieroglyphics, which have subsisted unimpaired from time immemorial. The use also of marble and stone to perpetuate remarkable events is attested by the Arundel marbles, and other monuments of antiquity now in existence. For several centuries the Chaldeans engraved or wrote their inscriptions and astronomical observations on bricks, some of which, brought from the real or supposed site of ancient Babylon, are deposited in the British Museum.
2. LEAD is a substance that was anciently used for preserving laws and particular sayings; a reference to which we have in the book of Job, chap. xix. 24. The method of writing or engraving upon it, was with a pen, graver, or style of iron, or other hard metal. Hesiod's works are said to have been written on tablets of lead, and deposited in the temple of the Muses at Roertia ; and Montfaucon relates, that in 1699, he bought at Rome a book entirely of lead, about four inches long, by three inches wide. Not only the two pieces which formed the cover, but also all the leaves, in number six, together with the stick inserted through the rings which held the leaves together, as well as the hinges and nails, were entirely composed of lead.
3. BRASS. The celebrated laws of the Twelve Tables among the Romans were engraven on twelve tablets of brass ; and the Syrian churches, which were visited by Dr. Buchanan, are in possession of six ancient tablets, containing grants of privileges made to their ancestors: they are composed of a mixed metal; the engraved page on the largest plate is thirteen inches in length, by about four in breadth. They are closely written, four of them on both sides of the plate, making in all eleven pages.
4. Wood.—Table-books, made of small pieces of wood, were in use long before the time of Homer. They were, in general, covered with wax, and the writing was executed with styles or pens made of iron, copper, ivory, &c., which at one end were pointed for the purpose of inscribing the letters, and smooth at the other end for the purpose of erasing. These tablets, when collected and fastened totrunk, from its resemblance to the trunk of a tree cut into several planks. In the Apocrypha, (2 Esdras xiv. 24, 37, 44,) we read of a considerable number, that is, two hundred and four books being made of box-wood, and written upon in the open field by certain swift writers. Several of the prophets also probably wrote upon tablets of wood, or some siinilar substance. (See Isaiah xxx. 8; Hab. ii. 2.) Za. charias, the father of John the Baptist, when required to name his son, asked for a writing-table, and wrote, saying, “ His name is John.” (Luke i. 63.)
The original manner of writing among the ancient Britons was by cutting the letters with a knife upon sticks, which were most commonly squared, and sometimes formed into three sides; consequently a single stick contained either four or three lines. (See Ezek. xxxvii. 16.) This kind of writing has been called bardic, from its being adopted by the British bards.
5. LEAVES and Bark of TREES.-Several ancient nations, amongst whom were the Egyptians, made use of leaves, particularly of the palm-tree, for the transmission of their ideas. In the Sloanian library there are upwards of twenty manuscripts written on leaves, in the Sanskrit, Burman, Ceylonese, and other languages. The palmyra-leaf is used in some parts of India.
The bark of trees has been used as a material for writing in every age and quarter of the globe ; by the ancient Latins the inner bark (liber) was preferred; which word in time was used to denote a book itself. The books of the Battas are composed of the inner bark of a certain tree, cut into long slips, and folded in squares, leaving part of the wood at each extremity, to serve for the outer covering. One of these books, in the Batta character, is in the Sloanian library, written in perpendicular columns on a long piece of bark, folded up so as to represent a book.
6. Linen.—The very old Egyptians were accustomed to write on linen such things as they designed should last for a long time. There is now deposited in the British Museum a piece of writing of this kind which was taken out of an
mummy by M. Denon, which is described in his travels.
7. SKINS, PARCHMENT, and VELLUM.-Dr. Kennicott conjectures that the first manuscripts of the Scriptures were upon skins, sewed together; and that many transpositions have been occasioned by the separation of skins from each other. In Exodus xxvi. 14, we read that rams' skins, dyed red, made part of the covering for the tabernacle; and it is a singular circumstance that in the year 1806, Dr. C. Buchanan obtained from one of the synagogues of the Black Jews, in the interior of Malaza, in India, a very ancient manuscript roll, containing the major part of the Hebrew Scriptures, written upon goats' skins, mostly dyed red.
Parchment is the skins of sheep and goats, prepared by such a process as renders it proper for writing upon ; vellum is made of the skins of calves, and is of a finer texture. The use of parchment is confessedly very ancient. Josephus says, that the copy of the law presented to Ptolemy, King of Egypt, was written upon parchment, in letters of gold. St. Paul, when writing to Timothy, desires him to bring with him the books, but especially the parchments. (2 Tim. iv. 13.)
The ancient writings upon skins, &c., were glued or sewed together, and rolled up, generally on cylinders of wood, and called rolls or volumes, from the Latin volvendo, to roll up. To this form of the ancient writings there are many references in Scripture. (Psalm xl. 7; Jer. xxxvi. 2; Ezek. ii. 9.) The literal rendering of Luke iv. 17, would be, “And unrolling the book he found the place," &c.
8. PAPER.—The most ancient kind of paper was made from the inner film of the papyrus, a species of rush growing on the banks of the Nile, whence it has been called Egyptian paper. The time of its discovery is not known to a certainty; but according to Varro, it must be dated from the founding of Alexandria in Egypt, by Alexander the Great. From this papyrus it is, that what we now make use of to print and write upon, is called papyr, or paper,