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EARLY CHRISTIANITY

fiery eye, they roved in the conscious pride of personal independence, with "no dwelling but the tent, no intrenchment but the sword, no law but the traditionary song of their bards."[1] The virtues of the Scenite were bravery, generosity, and hospitality; and he looked, as he still does, with contempt and indignation on the faithlessness and treachery which were too often the characteristics of his more polished neighbours.[2] But his virtues were more than overbalanced by his lawless and predatory life, his avarice, and his cruelty. The love of the Arabs for independence, placed them under the necessity of being continually in a posture of defence; by their perpetual hostilities they learnt to consider every one as their enemy, and one of their poets has justified their mode of life, by observing, that "he who drives not invaders from his cistern with strong arms, will see it demolished; and he who abstains ever so much from injuring others, will often himself be injured."[3] Their liberty thus became a precarious possession; for they were at every step in danger from their enemies, and every person and even place aroused their suspicious fears.[4] Plunder, much more

  1. Scenes and Impressions.
  2. "The term khayn, treacherous, is universally applied to every Turk in Arabia, with that proud self-confidence of superiority, in this respect, for which the Arabs are deservedly renowned." Burckhardt, Travels in Arabia, vol. i. p. 39.
  3. Zohair, Moallaca, couplet 53.
  4. "He ascends the sandy hillock of Thalbut, and explores