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ORIENTAL CUSTOMS.

II.—WEDDING

MARRIAGE was considered by the Jews as a matter of the greatest importance. There was no greater reproach in Israel than that of celibacy. And hence the Jews married very young. The age presented to males by the Rabbins, was eighteen years. Females were ordinarily married at twelve years of age—whence the husband is called the guide of her youth; (Prov. 11: 7;) the husband of her youth (Joel 1: 8.) The not giving of wardens in marriage is in Psalm 7: 28-63, represented as one of the indications of the divine anger toward Israel. Among the Hindoos, at this day, the delaying of the marriage of their daughters, is regarded as a calamity and a disgrace.

No formalities appear to have been used by the Jews, in joining man and wife together; at least none were enjoined by Moses. The manner in which a daughter was demanded in marriage is described in the case of Shechem, who asked the daughter of Jacob in marriage. Gen. 34: 6-12.) We are informed by Jewish writers, that kisses were interchanged in token of an espousal, to which custom there may be an allusion in Canticles 1: 2. After this token the marriage was reckoned as consummated and ratified.

In both the old and new testaments, we learn that the Jews celebrated the marriage solemnity with great festivity and display. The ceremonies observed by them on such occasions, were common to the Greeks and Romans. From the Song of Solomon, 3:11, the ceremony of crowning merely married persons, was performed by one of the parents of the parties married. Among the Greeks the bride was crowned by her mother. These crowns were not only those made of natural flowers, but also of gold and silver, which material denoted the rank of the person presenting the crown. It is thought by some that these nuptials, crowns and other regalia, are referred to in Ezekiel 16 : 8-12. We certainly can get a very correct idea of the dress of the bride and bridegroom from Isaiah 7, 11: 10. The custom which still pertains with us—that of the bride and bridegroom having one or more attendants—is very ancient and peculiarly oriental. Sampson had thirty young men to attend him at his nuptials; their attendants were called children of the bride-chamber, as in Math. 12: 15; Mark 2: 9. It was also customary for the bridegroom to furnish his guests with garments; (Math. 22: 11,) and which (from Rev. 19: 8,) were white. The wedding garments referred to in these passages of Scripture were intended to be emblematical of true christian holiness and the righteousness of the saints. The bride was conducted by night to

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the house of her husband.' The attendants of the bridegroom usually attended her. She was also attended by a train of female companions—virgins with torches, music, and every kind of demonstration of festivity. To this custom our Saviour alludes in the Parables of the wise and foolish virgins—Math. 25. i: 12—and of the wedding feast given by a certain king in honor of his son's marriage. Math. xxii: 2. The Rev. Mr. Hartley, describing an Armenian wedding says: “ The large number of young females who were present, naturally and forcibly reminded me of the wise and foolish virgins in our Saviour's parable. These being friends of the bride, the virgins, her companions (Psalm 14: 14,) had come to meet the bridegroom, who had come to escort the bride to her home. It is usual for the bridegroom to come at midnight ; so that literally, at midnight the cry is made : behold! the bridegroom cometh; Go ye out to meet him. But on this occasion the bridegroom tarried : it was two o'clock before he arrived. The whole party then proceeded to the Armenian Church, where the bishop was waiting to receive them; and then the ceremonies were completed.” . Mr. Ward, in his history of the Hindoos, gives the following description of a Hindoo wedding, which strikingly illustrates the parable of the wedding feast in the gospel :

“At a marriage, the procession of which I saw some years ago, the bridegroom came from a distance, and the bride lived at Levampon, to which place the bridegroom was to come by water. After waiting two or three hours, at length near midnight, it was announced, as if in the very words of scripture, “Behold! the bridegroom cometh. Go ye out to meet him;' all the persons employed now lighted their lamps and ran with them in their hands to fill up their stations in the procession; some of them had lost their lights and were unprepared; but it was then too late to seek them, and the cavalcade moved forward to the house of the bride, at which place the company entered a large and splendidly illuminated area before the house, covered with an awning, where a great multitude of friends, dressed in their best apparel, were seated upon mats. The bridegroom was carried in the arms of a friend and placed on a superb seat in the midst of the company, where he sat a short time and then went into the house, the door of which was immediately shut and guarded by Sepoys. I and others expostulated with the doorkeepers, but in vain. Never was! I so struck with our Lord's beautiful parable as at this moment: and the door was shut!'”

The Scripture moreover informs us, that the marriage festivals of the Jews lasted a whole week, as they do to this day among the Christians and others of Palestine. Gen. 29: 26-27; Judges 14: 12. This week of festivity our Lord refers to in Mark 11, 19, 20. The Eastern people were very strict in their notions of

propriety. They did not permit the young women at marriages to be in the same apartments with the men. They did not, therefore, spend their time merely in eating and drinking, 'nor in libidinous and promiscuous revelry. The custom was for the men to propose questions and hard problems, in resolving which the wit and sagacity of the whole company were exercised. This was done at Lampron's wedding, where he proposed a riddle to divert his company. Judges 14: 12. Two interesting passages of Scripture derive their force and illustration from this custom, which we have been considering. The first is that of Luke 14: 8-10. In a country where the highest importance is attached to such a coveted distinction, the propriety of the advice is more striking than if applied to the manners of our own country. The other passage is that which occurs in the celebration of the Passover: He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. Math. 26 : 23. As there are very few, and those always the dearest friends or most honored guests, who are seated so near the waiter of the feast as to dip their hands in the same dish with him, the baseness of the treachery is the more increased and aggravated, when one of these very few and most highly honored becomes the betrayer. And no doubt the conduct of Judas was meant to be depicted in this light, by using that descriptive expression.

THE CANARY BIRD..

BY THE EDITOR. We have a little friend at the Parsonage who is a subscriber, and we are told also a diligent reader, of the Guardian. On a visit lately we found that she is very anxious to have a canary bird, and seemed very anxious to know all about these little songsters. Wishing to gratify the little girl as far as we can, and having no bird to give her, we at once concluded to do our part in the matter by telling her, and all our readers, something of what we have learned of the canary.

First of all then, let it be known that this little beauty derives its name from the fact that it was originally brought to the continent of Europe from the Canary Islands. It is, however, also found in the Cape Verde and Madeira Islands, where it is still found in its wild state, filling the beautiful groves with its melodious notes.

In its native Islands, the canary bird 6 is of a dusky gray color," and so different from those usually seen in Europe, and our own country, that they scarcely seem like the same bird. With us, they have that variety of coloring usual in all domestic fowls; some white, some mottled, some beautifully shaded with green; but they

THE CANARY BIRD.

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are more esteemed for their note than their beauty, having a high, piercing pipe, as indeed all those of the finch tribe have, continuing it for some time in one breath without intermission, then raising it higher by degrees, with great variety.

In Germany these birds have long been extensively raised and sold into different parts of Europe. From thence they have been introduced into England and this country. At first they were sold at very high prices ; but lately they are becoming cheaper; and yet in our cities, they ask from $2.50 to $5 “for a good singer.”

This little bird is not only beautiful, and very interesting on account of its song, which in some of its notes equal the nightingale, but it has also a great many pretty little ways about it. The canary is a social and familiar bird, and is capable of contracting an attachment for the person to whom it belongs. It will perch on the shoulder of its mistress, and peck its food from her hand or her mouth. It is also capable of being taught still more extraordinary feats. In 1820, a Frenchman exhibited four and twenty canary birds in London, many of which, he said, were from eighteen to twenty-five years of age. Some of these balanced themselves, head downward, on their shoulders, having their legs and tails in the air. One of them, taking a slender stick in its claws, passed its head between his legs, and suffered itself to be turned round, as if in the act of being roasted. Another balanced itself, and was slung backward and forward on a kind of slack rope. A third was dressed in military uniform, having a cap on its head, wearing a sword and pouch, and carrying a firelock in one claw; after some time sitting upright, at the word of command, freed itself from its dress, and flew away to the cage. A fourth suffered itself to be shot at, and falling down, as if dead, to be put into a little wheelbarrow, and wheeled away by one of its comrades; and several of the birds were at the same time placed upon a little firework, and continued there quietly, and without alarm, till it was discharged.

O Papa, it would be very nice to have a canary.” So it would, for you; but would it be just so nice also for the bird itself? Would it be pleasant for the little creature to be confined all the day long in its small cage, while the trees are so green, and the shade so cool, and it would be so joyous to hop and sing from branch to branch ? It would look so much like a little prisoner in its cage. It would seem so glad when some one would come to it; and while hopping and singing and putting out its little bill between the bars, it would almost seem to say, “O let me out!” Then the little girl at the Parsonage, if she had a tender heart would pity it, and perhaps almost wish she had never had a canary bird.

In addition to what we have said about the canary bird, we recommend to our little friend the following beautiful parable, from the German of Krummacher:

A little maiden, named Caroline, had a canary bird which was

very dear to ber. The tiny creature sung from dawn of day until the shades of evening closed around. It was very beautiful, of a golden yellow, with a dark-colored head; and Caroline fed him with seeds, and with cooling herbs, adding now and then a small lump of sugar, and daily she supplied him with fresh, clear water.

But all of a sudden the little bird began to droop, and one morning when Caroline brought him water, he lay dead at the bottom of the cage. Then the little girl wept and lamented sorely over her favorite ; so the mother of the maiden went out and bought her another bird, of still more beauteous plumage, and which sung even as sweetly as the former one, and she put it in the cage.

The maiden, however, wept only so much the more when she beheld the new bird. Her mother wondered much at this and said, “my beloved child, wherefore dost thou still weep and mourn so bitterly? Thy tears cannot recall the little bird to life, and here thou hast one which is not less beautiful than the other which thou hast lost.”

Then answered the child, “Ah, dear mamma, I have not acted rightly towards the little creature, and have not done all I might have done for him.”

"Beloved Caroline," answered her mother, “I thought thou didst always tend him most carefully.”

“Ah, no!" replied the child; "it was only a little while before his death, that, instead of bringing him a bit of sugar, which thou gavest me for him, I ate it myself.”

Thus spake the maiden with a troubled heart. The mother did not make light of Caroline's remorse, for she recognized therein the holy voice of truth which spake within the heart of the child. “Ah!” said she, “what must then be the grief of an undutiful child over the grave of its parents !"

BOYS, LOOK AT THIS. That “honesty is the best policy," was illustrated some years since, under the following circumstances: A lad was proceeding to an uncle's to petition him for a sick sister and her children, when he found a pocket wallet containing fifty dollars. The aid was refused, and the distressed family was pinched with want. The boy revealed his fortune to his mother, but expressed à doubt about using any portion of the money. His mother confirmed his good resolution, and the pocket book was advertised and the owner found. Being a man of wealth, upon learning the history of the family, he presented the fifty dollars to the sick mother, and took the boy in his service, and he is now one of the most successful merchants in Ohio. Honesty always brings its reward.

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