Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/130

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called to the fact that soft flesh must be far sooner worn away than hard bronze; besides, lover's kisses being considerably more violent than those of mere respect. The physician then urged another reason, viz., that which kisses wear away from bronze lips is lost for ever, but that which is worn away from living lips is immediately replaced by renewal of tissue in the body.

The kiss of veneration came to play a very important part in Christian society. St Luke the Evangelist tells us that when Christ sat at meat in the Pharisee's house there came a woman who had been a great sinner, bringing with her a vase of ointment. "And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment" (vii. 38). When the Pharisee wondered at His having allowed such a woman to touch Him, He rebuked him by the parable of the two debtors, and added, "Thou gavest me no kiss, but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint, but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment."