In some places the salt is found mixed with earth. Then to retrieve it, water is poured into the salt, melting the salt. The salt water, which is now called brine, is then pumped out and boiled in large kettles till nothing is left but the salt.
In other parts of the earth, salt is found on the surface in large quantities. On the island of Carmen, in the Gulf of California, where there has been a large salt lake, there now remains a solid crust of salt that is several feet thick.
The wonderful “salt tree” grows wild in the northern part of India. Salt can always be found clinging to this tree. The natives gather it and eat it with great relish.
When we meet a friend in this country (America), we say, “How do you do?” but when one Arab meets another, they each produce a piece of salt for the other to touch with his tongue. This act means friendship and welcome. If an enemy eats salt at an Arab’s door, he becomes his friend forever, for by so doing he really asks to be forgiven, and the request thus made is never refused.
I wonder if we always forgive each other as freely as do the Arabs! Uncle Ben hopes that his boys and girls will remember this beautiful lesson. Don’t forget that we ask the Lord to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us.” (Matthew 6:12.)
What great Teacher said, “Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another”? Mark 9:50.
In merry old England, many years ago, the little dish containing the salt was so placed on the table that the rank of the guest could be known. The poorest folks always sat below the salt, and the rich ones above the salt. What a strange custom this was!
Who can tell us about a great feast that will soon be held when the rich and poor, great and small, will sit down together and to which “whosoever will” may come? And what great King will serve the guests at this feast?
Now just see what a wonderful article we are studying about. It is found in great mines, in the sea, in springs, in mountains, on the surface of the ground where salt lakes have been, and also on the salt tree of old, old India. Salt is useful for good for both man and beast.
One of the most valuable uses of salt is to preserve or keep. People of olden times even thought that salt was sacred because of its great power to preserve various articles from decay. Who can tell what Jesus meant when He said, “Ye are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13)?
The Jews at the time of Christ used rock salt, and sometimes salt obtained from the Dead Sea and the marshes.
Travelers tell us that this salt is of poor quality and that when it is left in the sun or is exposed to the air, it loses its saltiness, and is then, of course, good for nothing.
Jesus wants us to be just like the good salt of the earth. He wants us to keep ourselves pure, and to save souls from death by pointing them to Christ, who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). To do this we must have “salt in ourselves,” and never lose our saltiness.
This means we must always have the spirit of Christ in us, and love to do good as He did, and be always willing to speak the kind word and do the kindly deed.
Jesus said, “Salt is good; but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 14:34. Dear boys and girls, let us hear, and be the real salt of the earth—always ready to help one another, and to speak a word for our dear Saviour who has done so much for us.
Among all the voices of earth the Lord would have us hear His voice. He wants us to hear so that we shall remember it always, and believe just what He says, and do just what He commands. Then His truth will be as salt in us to keep us from sin and sinning.
Excerpts from Uncle Ben’s Cobblestones, W. H. B. Miller, Pacific Press Publishing Association., Mountain View, California, 1904, 29–40.