« PrécédentContinuer »
“ Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary. Praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts. Praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet. Praise him with the psaltery and the harp. Praise him with the timbrel and the dance. Praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals. Praise him upon the high-sounding cymbals. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.”
UNCOVERING THE FEET. The nations of the West uncover the head in token of reverence, civility, or respect; the nations of the East express the same sentiments by uncovering their feet. This is one of the most singular of not merely the differences, but the contrarieties, which exist between the usages of the Eastern and Western nations; and it is one for which it is most difficult to account. The difficulty is, however, not so much in accounting for the facts separately taken, as for the contrariety between them ; for uncovering the feet is not in itself a stranger practice than uncovering the head, although to us the latter act seems less strange than the other, from being more familiar; and to an Oriental, our own practice of removing the hat is even more
From Kitto's “Sunday Readings.”
strange than theirs of casting off their shoes is to us.
Notwithstanding the wide difference between these customs, there is a leading idea common to both. This is of uncovering, as a mark of respect. This is a very general, if not an universal idea. We have read of savage, or halfsavage nations, in which the people show their respect in the presence of a superior, by casting off their wrappers, so as to leave the upper part of the person naked. But where dress is not of this primitive style, the parts most easily uncovered, are the head and the feet, whence we suppose arises the customs which prevail in the East and the West.
We can give no better reason why the Eastern nations uncovered the feet rather than the head than this,—that in the East, men adopted coverings for the feet long before coverings for the head were in use; and if, therefore, they were to uncover in token of respect, it must be by putting off their shoes, as the head was always uncovered. It is true that in general the Eastern nations now cover the head ; but we know that customs continue long after the circumstances which gave rise to them have ceased. It is certain that in these nations the feet were generally covered, and the head uncovered, through all the long period which the Bible history embraces. We read of “ shoes” or
sandals,” very often, first in the time of Abraham, (Gen. xiv. 23,) but rarely of coverings for the head ; and in these rare instances, only in regard to the head-coverings of kings, priests, or soldiers ; and the use of head-coverings, even by these, seems to have been occasional rather
than constant, that is, on occasions of state, and when on actual service. This was the general usage of Western Asia, as is shewn by the sculptured remains of Assyria, Persia, and Egypt, and—which is of more immediate importance—in the Egyptian representations of persons belonging to the Syrian nations, in all of which, with the exception of kings, priests, and soldiers, the feet of the people are generally covered, and their heads generally bare.
The existing usages in respect of uncovering the feet in the East, are in the most exact conformity with those pointed out in Scripture. No native Christian will enter his church, no Mahomedan his mosque, no Pagan his temple, without taking off his shoes or sandals. To enter without doing this would be regarded as an outrageous profanation. In visiting, it is also usual to slip off the sandals in entering the room, leaving them outside the door, where they remain, or are taken inside by a servant, who promptly produces them when a visitor withdraws. Nothing could be a greater affront than for one to enter a room with the feet undivested of (at least their outer) covering; and if a European should, according to the custom of his own country, happen to do so, as is sometimes the case, he is regarded with disgust and aversion.
Aware of this feeling in the natives, Europeans, travelling in the East, are often deterred from calling upon native gentlemen, between the unwillingness to seem rude, and the dislike to remove feet-coverings unsuited to such custom. Resident Europeans manage better, either by defying the custom, or by conforming to it. However, as an Oriental removes his shoes and not his head-dress, according to his own customs, he may seem to have no just cause to complain, if the latter, in visiting him, removes his hat rather than his boots, according to the custom of the West. Perhaps he might think so himself, were it not that his floors are covered with costly carpets, on which he sits, and from which he eats, and which are therefore ill-suited to be trodden upon by unclean boots from the streets.
Joshua, before Jericho, like Moses at the bush, was commanded to remove the sandals from his feet, in the presence of the Lord. (Joshua v. 15.)
The sandals of the ancients seem to have been removed less easily than the shoes and slippers of the modern Orientals.
Hence they were usually unfastened by a servant; whence the performance of this menial office supplied a proverbial phrase for the designation of servi. tude, as when John the Baptist points out our Lord as one “ whose shoe-latchet,” (or sandal string,) “ he was not worthy to stoop down and unloose.” (Mark i. 7; Luke iii. 16; John i. 27; Acts xiii. 25.)
Answer to No. X., page 229. The first anointed king for Israel's throne, Was Saul, the son of Kish-man of renown.
(1 Sam. x.) Adam, the father of mankind-the one On whom the dreadful curse of sin was shown.
The first who sang of Egypt's fallen pride,
(Exodus xv.) From Ur of the Chaldees did Abram come His faith was tried in offering up his son.
(Genesis xi.) Esau the eldest did his birthright sell,That he should serve his brother his father did foretel.
(Genesis xxvii.) The tribe of Levi did the law preserve And in the temple of their God did serve.
(Deut. xxxi.) And now behold! before you stand, SAMUEL-last judge of Israel's land.
(Samuel x.) JANETTA SMART.
* page 229,
Answer to No. XI.,
(Deut. xxvii.) Olivet's mount the risen Saviour trod, And thence ascended to the realms of God.
(Acts i.) Lebanon's cedars, once of lofty fame, Cieled the first temple to Jehovah's name.
(1 Kings vi.) On mount Gilboa Saul did lifeless lay ; Slain, for neglecting God's command to slay.
(2 Sam. xv. and xxxi.) From Olivet was His ascension seen Who in like manner shall return again.
(Acts i.) On Tabor's heights, when Deborah judged the land She urged to victory.Barak’s chosen band.