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for the guests, at marriage-feasts, to appear in splendid dresses ; but as the guests in the parable had neither time nor ability to prepare themselves, the king supplied them with robes for the occasion ; and this he might easily do, from the great quantity of clothes great men possessed.
Now, there could be no greater disrespect than to re. fuse a present from a superior, as the guest mentioned did, who was so foolish and obstinate as to prefer his own ragged and shabby clothes to the dress that was provided for him.
As the eastern monarchs have power to command whatever they please, we cannot be surprised to find this guest was considered as a rebel against the king's command, and an enemy, and treated accordingly. In how lively a manner this represents to us the bounty of our heavenly King, and our own sinful and wretched state by nature. Let us earnestly seek for the robe of the righteousness of Christ; see Rev. xix. 8. and beware how we pride ourselves on our own filthy ragged state; lest, like the guest mentioned in the parable, we should find ourselves cast out. Remember the advice, Rev. iii. 18. and go to Him who “waiteth to be gracious.
An ambassador in the east tell us, that he was invited, with his companions, to dine once with an eastern monarch. The interpreter told them that it was the custom that they should wear, over their own garments, the best of those which the king had sent them. At first they hesitated, and did not like to have their own robes hidden ; but being told that it was expected from all ambassadors, and that the king would be much displeased if they came into his presence without his robes, they complied. How completely the knowledge of this custom explains the parable.
THE JEWs rose about the dawn of the day, which, in their country, does not differ so much in the summer and winter as it does in England. They dined about eleven, and supped about five o'clock in the afternoon. These were the hours at which our ancestors dined and supped, till about two hundred years ago. “To rise early," is an expression often used as meaning to be diligent, either in good or in evil. My young readers will easily be able to say, who among their companions are most diligent ; those who rise early, or those who rise late.
We often find it mentioned of good men, that when they desired to fulfil the will of God, they rose early ; thus Abraham, Gen. xxii. 3, when, for the trial of his faith, he was commanded to offer up Isaac, “rose up early” in the morning, and this shows how ready he was to do the will of God, though very painful to him. Thus Jacob, Gen. xxviii. 18. and Moses, Exod. xxiv. 4. Joshua had much to do, and is often spoken of as rising early, Josh. iii. 1. vi. 12. vii. 16. viii. 10, see also 1 Sam. xv. 12. David rose early to fulfil his father's orders, 1 Sam.
xvii. 20. Job, to sacrifice for his children, Job i. 5. King Darius, to inquire after Daniel, Dan. vi. 19, and the pious women who went to the sepulchre to pay respect to the body of the Lord, went very early in the morning, Luke xxiv. John xx.
Morier, as he travelled in Persia, observed the people sleeping upon the house tops, and noticed that the wo. men were generally up the first, and stirring about with activity at an early hour, as is shown in the cut at the head of this chapter.
I hope my young readers will think of this ; for unless they rise early in the morning, they will seldom have time for reading the Bible and prayer ; when a day is not begun in this manner, it is seldom a happy day.
Lord Mansfield, who was a very celebrated judge in England some years ago, always asked every aged person who came before him as a witness, about his man. ner and habits of life ; he said that among the many hundreds he had spoken to, he always found that they were early risers, however they might differ in other respects. The late Rev. John Wesley was a striking ex: ample of the advantages of early rising, as well as many others whom I have not room to mention.
But there is another text of which I would remind my young readers, “Those that seek me early shall find me,” Prov. viii. 17. It is a promise of the Lord's, and He will keep it ; this means early in life, while they are young, as the hymn says,
From what we read in the Bible, it is clear that the diet, or food, of the Jews, was very simple and plain. It was chiefly bread, milk, honey, rice, and vegetables. John the Baptist is said to have fed upon locusts and wild honey. The locusts were an insect like grasshoppers in shape, but much larger. They fly in vast numbers together and devour the green herbs ; see Joel i. 4. The land of Canaan is described as a land flowing with milk (which includes butter) and honey, Exod. iii. 8. Jer. xi. 5, &c. these are still considered dainties by the Arabs. D’Arvieux tells us that one of the prin. cipal things with which the Arabs regale themselves at breakfast, is cream, or new butter, perhaps something like the clotted cream used in the west of England, mixed with honey.
The Jews seldom had animal food, except at their solemn feasts and sacrifices. As they did not often eat flesh, they appear to have considered it a great dainty. Jacob's pottage of lentiles,' which tempted Esau to sell his birthright, shows how simple the usual food of the patriarchs was ; and from Isaac's desire for "savoury meat," Gen. xxvii. 4. it appears not to have been his usual food. The feast which Abraham prepared for the angels, and that which Gideon and Manoah got ready on a like occasion, show that flesh meat was considered as something more than common fare. We may also recollect the feast got ready for the repenting prodigal, Luke xv. 23. and may notice the portion which Samuel set by for Saul, when he expected him; it was a piece of flesh meat, the shoulder with what was upon it, 1 Sam. ix. 24. This was put by for Saul as a mark of distinc. tion and respect; it was also at a solemn feast of the people, verses 12, 13. which explains why flesh meat was prepared. In Deut. xii. 20, &c. eating flesh is spoken of as a proof of wealth and prosperity. It was dressed in various ways, Jud. vi. 19. 1 Sam. ii. 15.
If we look at the list of the sorts of food brought to David by Abigail, 1 Sam. xxv. 18. by Ziba, 2 Sam. xvi. 1. and by Barzillai, 2 Sam. xvii. 28, 29. and those taken by David to his brothers and their captain, 1 Sam. xvii. 17, 18. we shall learn what was the usual food of the Israelites. The most common and useful article of food was bread, made in loaves of different sorts and sizes.
Bread is often mentioned in the Bible, Gen. xviii. 5. xxi. 14. i Sam. xxviii, 22. Exod. xvi. 3. Deut. ix. 9. It often means, eating bread alone; though sometimes it is used as a general expression for a meal, including other sorts of food, as Matt. xv. 2. Mark iii. 20. vii. 2. Luke xiv. 1. John vi. 23. Parched corn was grain