« PreviousContinue »
CA. III.-DRESS AND CLOTHING.
In the first ages dress was very simple. We read, Gen. iii. 21. that God clothed Adam and Eve in the skins of beasts. Skins have continued to be the dress of savage nations. In cold climates, as among the Esqui. maux, they find them very warm and comfortable. After a time other articles were used for dress, made of wool or flax, see Lev. xiii. 47. Prov. xxxi. 13. At length garments of finer linen, and even of silk, were used by the rich, 2 Sam. i. 24. Prov. xxxi. 22. Luke xvi. 19. These were often dyed purple, or crimson, or scarlet. Jacob gave Joseph a coat of many colors, because he loved him more than his brethren, and it excited their envy, Gen. xxxvii. 3, 4. The daughters of kings wore vests or garments richly embroidered with needlework, see Psa. xlv. 13, 14. Judg. v. 30. also other texts. Such needlework still forms a principal part of the em. ployment of females in the eastern nations.
Dr. Shaw has given a very particular account of the eastern dress, which, with what other travellers relate, explains many passages of Scripture. He says, the usual size of the hyke (the upper garment commonly worn) is six yards long, and five or six feet wide. It serves for their dress by day, and to sleep in at night, as the Israelites did, Deut. xxiv. 13. Indeed such a covering was necessary in those countries, as, although the heat by day is very great, the nights are generally cold. Such a garment was loose and troublesome to the wearer; he was obliged to tuck it up, and fold it round him. This made a girdle necessary whenever they were actively employed, and it explains the Scripture expression, “ having our loins girded,” when called upon to be active in performing any duty.
Ruth's veil, which held six measures of barley, Ruth iii. 15. was, most likely, a garment of this sort. Theo kneading troughs of the Israelites were bound up, Exod. xii. 34. in their hykes. The plaid worn by the highlanders is much the same sort of garment; the principal article of dress worn in Java and other parts of the east,
is similar; it is of many colors, like the Scottish plaid, and reminds us of Joseph's coat.
A wooden or metal pin was used to fasten the folds of this garment together at the shoulder. The outer fold served for an apron to carry any thing in, as the lap full of wild gourds, 2 Kings iv. 39. See also Ruth iii. 15. Prov. xvi. 33. and other texts.
The burnoose is a sort of cloak worn over the hyke. It has a cape or hood to cover the head, as a shelter from rain. Under the hyke is worn a close-bodied frock, or tunic. The coat of our Saviour,“ woven without seam,' was probably of this sort. When persons thus clad are engaged in any employment, they usually throw off their burnooses and hykes, and remain in their tunics, which is what is meant by laying aside the garments. Thus, our Saviour laid aside his garments when he washed the disciples' feet; and when Saul, and David, and others, are spoken of as naked, it means that they had put off their upper garments, and had upon them only their tunics. This also explains Mark xiv. 51. Garments like these would fit a number of persons, Gen. xxvii. 15. 1 Sam. xviii. 4. Luke xv. 22. and would not need alter. ing, like our clothes, before they could be worn by others. These hykes, or upper garments, were spread in the way when our Saviour entered Jerusalem in triumph.
Loose trowsers are worn both by men and women in the east. The picture, page 24, represents an Arab of rank at the present day, in his usual dress.
The law of Moses directed the Israelites, Num. xv. 37–40. to put a fringe or tassel to each of the corners of their upper garments, that when they saw them," they might remember all the commandments of the Lord to do them.” Afterwards they wrote passages from the law, upon strips of parchment, called phylacteries, and fastened them on the borders of their garments, or round their wrists or foreheads. These were, by many igno. rant persons, considered as a sort of charm to preserve the warriors from danger; and hypocrites wore them, that they might be thought more holy than their neigh. bors, Matt. xxiii. 5.
The girdles were usually of worsted, sometimes richly worked, Prov. xxxi. 24. they folded several times round the body, and one end was sewn up, so as to make a purse or small pocket, Other things were often carried tucked into the girdle, see Ezek. ix. 2. The dress of females in Arabia is represented in pages 25 and 26.
The Grecian and Roman women, and those of many other nations, in ancient times, all wore their hair long. They took a great deal of pains to plait and adorn it, and thus employed much time in a very vain and unprofitable manner. The apostles, Peter and Paul, blamed the custom, 1 Pet. iii. 3. 1 Tim. ii. 9. They forbade it as improper for those who profess to love Christ, and desired them not to seek to be admired for outward finery, but for the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price or value.
There hardly is need to ask my readers which of their companions they like best, those who are proud of wearing fine coats or frocks, and other finery, or those who are kind, and gentle, and affectionate, though they have neither necklace nor ear-rings, and perhaps not even a smart riband to their bonnets, nor new coats.
The men always wore their hair short, except perhaps a few, who were something like the fops and dandies of our times, and this may explain 1 Cor. xi. 14, 15, The women in Judea and Greece, and some other countries, wore veils when they appeared in public. These were not loose as veils are now worn, but were wrapped closely round the face. See the pictures, page 27. The apostle Paul, in writing to the christians at Corinth, a city of Greece, blames the women who appeared in the house of God with their heads uncovered; see 1 Cor. xi. 5. This may remind us, that in our times females wear bonnets while at church, or other places of worship.
Absalom appears to have been vain of his beauty, and we read, 2 Sam. xiv. 25, 26. of his long hair. He prided himself upon it, and as God often is pleased to punish wicked and evil men, by those things which they have been most proud and fond of, so when he had re. belled against his father, and had been defeated in battle,