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Tartar army on a particular occasion, "that one-third of the army should pass the river at midnight, divide
into several columns, subdivide successively, and thus overspread New Servia, burn the villages, corn, and fodder, and carry off the inhabitants and cattle. The rest of the army marched until it came to the beaten track in the snow, made by the detachment. This we followed until we arrived at the place where it divided into seven branches, to the left of which we constantly kept, observing never to mingle or confuse ourselves with any of the subdivisions, which we successively found, and some of which were only small paths, traced by one or two horsemen.
"Flocks were found, frozen to death, on the plain : and twenty columns of smoke, already rising in the horizon, completed the horrors of the scene, and announced the fires which laid waste New Servia. The care, the patience, the extreme activity, with which the Tartars preserve their booty, are scarcely credible. All researches after the inhabitants of Adjemka were useless, until the second day, when, at the moment of departure, the ricks of corn and forage which concealed the poor people, were set on fire. Then it was that they came and cast themselves into the arms of their enemies, to escape the flames which devoured their harvests and their homes. The order to burn Adjemka was executed so suddenly, and the blaze caught the thatched houses with so much violence and rapidity, that we ourselves, at leaving it, were obliged to pass through the flames. The atmosphere was loaded with ashes and the vapour of melted snow, which, having darkened the sun for a time, united and formed a gray snow, that crackled between our teeth. A hundred and fifty villages, burnt in like manner, sent forth their ashes twenty leagues into Poland.”
Since, then, the Chaldeans resembled in their destructive marches these Tartars, well might the prophet describe them as a "bitter and hasty (or swift) nation,
which shall march through the breadth of the land;" as "terrible and dreadful;" "supping up (consuming) as the east wind, and gathering the captivity (captives) as the sand." Well might he "tremble" at their coming, and express the devastation which should follow by "the flocks being cut off from the fold, and there being no herd in the stalls."-See Habakkuk i. 6—9 ; iii. 16-18. BARON DE TOTT's Memoirs; see HARMER'S Observations, vol. iii. pp. 414-418.
MATTHEW XXV. 18.
"But he that had received one (talent) went and digged in the earth, and hid his Lord's money."
The practice of hiding treasures, is one of almost daily occurrence in the East. In the year 1813, the Pasha of Egypt demanded fifteen thousand purses from those who kept the money of the country. Twelve hundred purses were required from an old man named Felteos, who had been a chief financier in former times. He refused to pay this, alleging his poverty, but at last he offered to give two hundred purses. The pasha sent for him, threatened, and, seeing him obstinate, ordered him to be beaten. After receiving five hundred strokes, and being nearly half dead, he declared he could pay no more than two hundred purses. The governor thought he was telling the truth, but his son, Ibrahim Pasha, who was present, said he was sure the man had more money. Felteos, therefore, received three hundred additional strokes, after which he confessed that he was possessed of the sum demanded, and promised to pay it.
He was then permitted to return home; and at the end of a fortnight, being so much recovered as to be able to walk about, commissioners were sent to his house by the pasha, labourers were called, and Felteos de
scended with them to a lower room in his house, at the bottom of which they removed a large stone which closed up a small passage, containing a vaulted niche, where two iron chests were deposited. On opening these, two thousand purses were found, twelve hundred of which the pasha took, and left the remainder to the owner, who died three months after, not in consequence of the blows he had received, but of grief for the loss of his money. Had he been able to remove the treasure secretly, he would probably have done so, had not a guard been posted in his house immediately on his promising to pay, -the Pasha conceiving that the money was concealed in some secret spot, according to a practice general in the East. BURCKHARDT'S Travels.
GENESIS Xxiii. 10, 11.
"And Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham,.... saying, Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee."
"In attempting to make purchases of the Persians, as we had repeated occasion to notice,...the article desired is always at the outset...a present to you; and its owner, your servant and your sacrifice. And if you request his terms, he reiterates the same assurance, until you strongly insist on his naming the price, when he at length tells you, that since you will not take the article without paying him for it, you must set your own price; for he can sell nothing to you. Name a reason
able sum, and he will flatly reply that you shall not have it for that; and by this time, his interest has got so much the better alike of his modesty and generosity, that he will demand twice or thrice its known value, which you must pay, or take the trouble of beating him down. This is done by simply leaving him, as he will
quickly call after you to take the article at the price you had offered. I know not how often I have in imagination, stood by the side of Abraham, negotiating with the sons of Heth for a place to bury his dead, when I had been purchasing even the most trifling article in Persia.
This contract exhibits less formality than business transactions commonly possess in Persia, at the present time. The bereaved patriarch was little disposed to be particular, in relation to the price he should pay for a place to bury his deceased Sarah; and his neighbours would not, probably, be apt, in those mournful circumstances, to practise all the finesse that was common in trade, or fully develope their avaricious propensities. The general resemblance, however, to Persian transactions, is very striking."-PERKIN's Residence in Persia, dc., pp. 167, 168.
The peasants in Egypt will often say, when a person asks the price of anything which they have for sale, Receive it as a present (as Ephron did to Abraham, when the latter expressed his wish to purchase the field and cave of Machpelah). This answer having become a common form of speech, they know that advantage will not be taken of it; and when desired again to name the price, they will do so.-LANE's Modern Egyptians.
LEVITICUS xix. 36.
"Just balances, just weights, (Heb. just stones,) shall ye have." Prov. xi, 1.
"In the market the people were using stones instead of regular weights, according to the ancient mode."
"In many of the shops (at Saphet) the only weights in the balance were smooth stones."-Narrative of a Mission of Enquiry to the Jews, pp. 98. 274.
GENESIS Xxiii. 16.
"And Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant."
EZRA viii. 25.
"And weighed unto them the silver, and the gold."
"Burmah has no coinage. Silver and lead pass in fragments of all sizes, and the amount of every transaction is regularly weighed out, as was done by the ancients."-REV. H. MALCOLM's Travels.