Verse 38. "That he will send forth labourers" - opwv ekballh ergatav, that he would thrust forth labourers. Those who are fittest for the work are generally most backward to the employment. The man who is forward to become a preacher knows little of God, of human nature, or of his own heart. It is, God's province to thrust out such preachers as shall labour; and it is our duty to entreat him to do so. A minister of Christ is represented as a day-labourer: he comes into the harvest, not to become lord of it, not to live on the labour of others, but to work, and to labour his day. Though the work may be very severe, yet, to use a familiar expression, there is good wages in the harvest-home; and the day, though hot, is but a short one.
How earnestly should the flock of Christ pray to the good Shepherd to send them pastors after his own heart, who will feed them with knowledge, and who shall be the means of spreading the knowledge of his truth and the savour of his grace over the face of the whole earth! The subject of fasting, already slightly noticed in the preceding notes, should be farther considered.
In all countries, and under all religions, fasting has not only been considered a duty, but also of extraordinary virtue to procure blessings, and to avert evils. Hence it has often been practised with extraordinary rigour, and abused to the most superstitious purposes. There are twelve kinds of fasts among the Hindoos:-1.
The person neither eats nor drinks for a day and night. This fast is indispensable, and occurs twenty-nine times in the year.
2. The person fasts during the day, and eats at night.
3. The person eats nothing but fruits, and drinks milk or water.
4. He eats once during the day and night.
5. Eats one particular kind of food during the day and night, but as often as he pleases.
6. Called Chanderaym, which is, to eat on the first day, only one mouthful; two on the second; and thus continue increasing one mouthful every day for a month, and then decreasing a mouthful every day, till he leaves off where he began.
7. The person neither eats nor drinks for twelve days.
8. Lasts twelve days: the first three days he eats a little once in the day; the next three, he eats only once in the night; the next three, he eats nothing, unless it be brought to him; and, during the last three days, he neither eats nor drinks.
9. Lasts fifteen days. For three days and three nights, he eats only one handful at night; the next three days and nights, he eats one handful if it be brought him, if not, he takes nothing. Then he eats nothing for three days and three nights. The next three days and nights he takes only a handful of warm water each day. The next three days and nights he takes a handful of warm milk each day.
10. For three days and nights he neither eats nor drinks. He lights a fire, and sits at a door where there enters a hot wind, which he draws in with his breath.
11. Lasts fifteen days. Three, days and three nights he eats nothing but leaves; three days and three nights, nothing but the Indian fig; three days and three nights, nothing but the seed of the lotus; three days and three nights, nothing but peepul leaves; three days and three nights, the expressed juice of a particular kind of grass called doobah.
12. Lasts a week. First day he eats milk; second, milk-curds; third, ghee, i.e. clarified butter; fourth, cow's urine; fifth, cow's dung; sixth, water; seventh, nothing.
During every kind of fast, the person sleeps on the ground, plays at no game, has no connection with women, neither shaves nor anoints himself, and bestows alms each day.-AYEEN AKBERY, vol. iii. p. 247-250. How much more simple and effectual is the way of salvation taught in the BIBLE! But, because it is true, it Is not credited by fallen man.
FASTING is considered by the Mohammedans as an essential part of piety.
Their orthodox divines term it the gate of religion. With them, it is of two kinds, voluntary and incumbent; and is distinguished by the Mosliman doctors into three degrees:
1. The refraining from every kind of nourishment or carnal indulgence. 2. The restraining the various members from every thing which might excite sinful or corrupt desires. 3. The abstracting the mind wholly from worldly cares, and fixing it exclusively upon God. Their great annual fast is kept on the month Ramzan, or Ramadhan, beginning at the first new moon, and continuing until the appearance of the next; during which, it is required to abstain from every kind of nourishment from day-break till after sun-set of each day. From this observance none are excused but the sick, the aged, and children. This is properly the Mohammedan Lent. See HEDAYAH, prel. Dis. p. LV. LVI.
It is worthy of remark, that these children of the Bridegroom, the disciples, did not mourn, were exposed to no persecution, while the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, was with them, but after he had been taken from them, by death and his ascension, they did fast and mourn; they were exposed to all manner of hardships, persecutions, and even death itself, in some of its worst forms.