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Loosestrife family, types of which we with the linen clothes, was wrapped the have in our cultivated and native Ly- body of our Lord; it was therefore a thrums.
very costly preparation. We have no The BALM OF GILEAD and that ren- plant of more approximate affinity than dered Myrrh, are the exuded sap from our hedge buckthorn. The aloe of two species of Balsamodendron, i. e., the the apothecaries is an entirely different B. Gileadense and B. myrrha, belonging article, and obtained from a plant of to the order Amyridacæ, the plants of the lily tribe. which abound in balsamic juices and SPIKENARD, of the Valeriar family, yield frankincense, olibanum, balsam has a most rare and agreeable perfume. copaiba and other fragrant resins and Our garden Heliotrope and the Cengums. This order belongs exclusively tranthus are of this order. Several of to tropical India, Africa and America. them yield a fragrance which intoxiIt has some alliance to the Orange cates the cat tribe, and that from one of tribe, but differing greatly in its dry them is said to be sufficiently powerful nut-like fruits. The Balm of Gilead is to throw even man into convulsions. believed to be one of the earliest arti- | The Nardostachys Jatamansi, of the cles of commerce known, even as far mountains of upper India, seems conback as the time of the patriarch Jacob,clusively proved by Sir William Jones as the Midianite merchantmen, to whom and Dr. Royle, to be the plant which Joseph was sold, were then on their way furnished the “ Alabaster box of Spiketo Gilead to complete their camel loads nard.very precious," with which Mary with a choice supply of that costly anointed the feet of Jesus, and which balsam for the Egyptian market. It Judas declared might have been sold often sold for twice its weight in silver. for three hundred pieces of silver; which It was cultivated only in the King's price, among other unguents, is given garden in Judea, the revenue from by Pliny, who remarking on the extrawhich belonged exclusively to the vagance of such preparations, says, “ We Crown.
have known the very soles of the feet Strabo speaks of it. Titus carried sprinkled therewith.” He also intisome of it to Rome. Pompey exhibited mates the form of the alabaster ointone of the trees in a triumphal entry. ment box. When Alexander visited Judea, one tea- l "Spikenard and Saffron, Calamus and Cinspoonful per day and seven gallons per namon.”-S. of S. year was the entire product.
SAFFRON is the yellow stigma of the FRANKINCENSE, so often mentioned Crocus sativus, or fall Crocus, belonging in Scripture, is a gum from a tree of to the well known Iris family, very this same order with the last. It has common in cultivation anong us. Sat: been used from the remotest times by fron was and still is used as a perfume, the Hebrews and Egyptians in their spice, confection, dye and medicine. Its sacrifices. It exudes from the straight collection required great patience, four trunk of the Boswellia-serrata, a lofty thousand flowers yielding but one ounce, tree, native of the mountains of Central and the entire product of an acre for the India. Frankincense is still used as season averaged but about ten or twelve incense in Catholic churches, and some pounds. It was formerly extensively what as a medicine.
cultivated at Welden in Essex, EngThe LIGN ALOE, Aquilaria Agallo- land, which hence has borne the name of chum, or Eagle-wood, is found only in Saffron-Welden. Asia. It grows sometimes to the height | A totally different plant, the Carthaof one hundred and twenty feet. The mus tinctoria, once familiar under the heart wood is loaded with aromatic pro- name of Saffron in our gardens, has been perties, and is one of the most grateful successfully used to adulterate the true of perfumes. It has been held more Saffron. precious than gold. “All thy garments Calamus aromaticus, "the Sweet cane, shall smell of myrrh, aloes and cassia.” fro:n a far country," is allied to our
This was one of the drugs, one sweet vernal grass. hundred pounds of which Nicodemus [In fragrance.-Ed.] brought after the Crucifixion, in which, | Cussiz, and Cinnamon, well known spices, were in the time of Ezekiel com- as they do such indispensable products, mon articles of trade with the merchants as fruits, wine, oil, molasses, &c. of Tyre. They belong to a family of The ALMOND and POMEGRANATE, which our Sassafras and Laurus benzoin with the numerous texts in which they are examples. Camphor of commerce are mentioned, received a share of atis from a tree of the same tribe. tention, and were found full of interest
The Hyssop and Mustard of Scrip- and instruction. ture, around which many inquiries The CRAB-TREE, Ceratonia siliqua, cluster, are not so satisfactorily identi- with its sweet pods or husks, furnished fied by modern investigation as would food for the poor; but the copious crops seem reasonable to expect. The former of the tree were generally fed out to is declared by the best authorities to mules, asses and swine. No doubt this be the Capparis Egyptica, or Caper fruit is referred to in the parable of plant, and not the officinal herb, Hys- the Prodigal Son, upon which he was sop; the latter, the Salvadora Persica, obliged to feed, "the husks that the a tree-like plant, sufficiently large for swine did eat.” birds generally to lodge in its branches. CUCUMBERS and MELONS are inSome still adhere to the common Mus- / vested with great historical interest on tard as that alluded to on two occasions account of the extent of their ancient by our Saviour. The uses of Mustard cultivation, and the great place they were well understood and described by filled in the diet of the ancient Hebrews Pliny, who was nearly contemporary. and Egyptians.
The FRUITS were identified and de- The LINTEL of Jacob and Esau ; the scribed. Among them the Palm tribe, PAPYRUS, from which paper was made, a family acknowledged by botanists to and which is alluded to in the Epistles be the princes of the vegetable king of John; the Zysyphus, the plant from dom, and to which, in Scripture, the which the “Crown of Thorns" was prorighteous are most fitly compared. bably made, have each an interest “ They shall flourish like the Palm tree, peculiarly their own. they shall bring forth fruit in old age.” The TIMBER TREES of the country, The whole Palm tribe are of immense and such as were used in the building importance to the countries in which of Solomon's Temple, received a passing they grow. The Date Palm yields year notice. by year, an even crop of perhaps three | Jonah's GOURD, ELIJAH'S JUNIPER, or four hundred pounds, and that for a the mythical APPLES of Sodom, and century together, scarcely ever mate- the Rose of JERICHO, received severally rially failing.
their share of explanation. The APPLE of Scripture is, without The foregoing plants were illustrated doubt, the Citron, Citrus medica. “A by colored representations, which served word fitly spoken is like apples of gold to fix their identification in the mind, in pictures of silver,” might be rendered, and added greatly to the interest of the “like golden citrons in silver baskets," subject. in allusion to a custom of the Jews of presenting that fruit in this manner at TAKE care that nothing comes betheir sacred feasts.
tween you and the hours devoted to God. The FiG, SYCAMORE-FIG and MUL Think of Daniel, Prime Minister of BERRY, of the Morads, a family peculiar Persia, with the affairs of one hundred for the manner in which their fruits are and thirty-seven provinces resting on formed, being an aggregation of cali- his mind, yet finding time to go into his ces consolidated into round, succulent chamber three times a day, that he heads. The manner of the flowering of might pray and give thanks to God. the fig, inside of the fruit, but having | Think of Alfred, with the cares of a all the requisite organs of true flowers, monarchy; Luther, buffeted by the was satisfactorily explained.
storms of Papal wrath; of Thornton, The OLIVE and VINE are among the encompassed with a thousand mercanmost signal of the bountiful gifts of tile engagements, yet never allowing the Providence, and would in their history hurry of business to intrude on his and economy exhaust volumes, yielding regular hours of devotion.
Christ Among Little Children.—No. 3. felt that their infants needed it equally
with themselves, and so desired earnestly Blessing Little Children. that they should stand in the same
relation to Christ. They no doubt reBY REV. J. W. STEINMETZ. alized the difficulty in the way of ac
complishing the desired object, as their None of the evangelists state defi- children were unable to understand nitely who brought the infants to the Christ's teaching, and to exercise a conSaviour: but it is most likely that their scious faith. But earnest souls full of mothers presented them. We infer this, faith and love think fast, so they must not only from the fact, that mothers have noticed that Jesus healed the sick in the Orient have the almost exclusive by His touch and word, and inferred care of children, but also that scarcely that He was equally able to bless their any but mothers would press through infants. Trusting in His goodness, the multitudes that thronged Him to their loving mother hearts impelled bring infants to His notice, when He them forward with their precious burwas so unremittingly engaged with dens to seek a blessing from the Blessed adults. Neither can we suppose that One. They came, carrying their babes, these were ordinary or indifferent mo- expecting virtue to pass from Christ thers. Their station in life may have upon them, if they could but bring been lowly, and yet, they most likely them into contact with Him. were distinguished, for their faith and But the disciples rebuked them, perpiety. We infer this from the fact, that haps saying, " Why trouble ye the Masthere is only one case recorded, of such ter with children? Is He not wearied a presentation of infants to the Saviour. enough with adults who come flocking We cannot conceive, that He would in upon Him, with their sick, or to hear have so graciously received the mothers Him speak? Our communion with and their children, if only a superficial | Him is almost continually interrupted or momentary impulse had prompted by them, and if you come with the the action, or if some blind superstitious children also, so that He must fondle notion had actuated them to make the and pet each one, we will soon have no singular request. The step taken was time with Him ourselves. Besides, what in itself certainly bold: yet the manner do you foolish mothers wish for your in which the request was made, is ten children from Him? They are entirely der, touching and modest, in the high- too young to derive any benefit from est degree. They request but the touch His teaching, as they cannot understand ing of His hand, and prayer over their or remember a word He speaks, neither children.
are they sick that they require healing." Such a request could only come from In some such way may they have adpious hearts. Hearts that had them- dressed those pious women, while their selves come under the benign influence countenances were knit with the furrows of the Son of Man. Hearts that had of their displeasure. They wished to felt themselves powerless to improve decide the question of their approach their own spiritual condition, and had themselves, without allowing the modest from Christ received what they had felt request to come to the Master's ears, the want of before. And they earnestly and so crush this new movement and desired, that their children should re-application for favor, at once and perceive something more and higher than manently. they had inherited from them, or than No doubt the pious mothers keenly they were able to confer upon them. felt the rebuke, which the chosen and They, themselves, have received a bless- permanent followers of the Lord admining from the Saviour, by yielding obe- istered unto them. They may already dience to His teaching and cherishing have turned to depart, their hearts Him in faith and love; and so it became chiding them for their presumption. also their hearts' desire, that their in- Deeply humbled, they, with burning fants who could not understand His cheeks and hearts, may have sadly teaching, should in some way become repented of their forwardness in appartakers of the same blessing. They | proaching the thronged Master, saying to themselves, “ Alas! that our mother's expect of Him who was born in a stable, love misled us so far, and made us so and for whom so many children had adventurous for our children. But unconsciously and innocently died. how could we help it? We only de- “Suffer little children to come unto sired Him to breathe the sweetness of me, and forbid them not,” He would His love and truth into their tender say, For I came as an infant into the hearts, and placing His hand upon their world in order to save humanity in all little heads, give them His favor and states of life. I became an infant to benediction. We but followed the faith ameliorate their temporal condition, to of our hearts in Him, and the instincts elevate the degree of regard due to of our love for our babes, and this is them to cultivate love in the hearts of the sad end!”
adults for them, to show the importance The disciples followed the natural un- of infants—to show how highly men derstanding in rejecting their appli- ought to esteem them, and how tenderly cation and dismissing them. Here we women ought to love them, by showing have a case where simple love and faith how supremely they are regarded by were right, as over against instructed my Father, and by the holy angels reason. Alas! this has not been the who hover as guardian spirits around last case of the kind, in the history of them. “Suffer little children to come our Saviour's followers.
unto Me.” They need not wait until Jesus was much displeased when He they have become as old as you are. noticed what the disciples were doing. Nay, you who think you have the preSo He is ever displeased with those who ference, and superior capacities to rein various ways hinder children from ceive my instruction, my grace and my coming unto Him. What a contrast blessing, let me tell you, you must rather between the disciples who with frowns become little children in trust and hurebuke the mothers for bringing their mility, if you would enter the kingdom children, and the smiling Saviour who of God at all. To the extent that you so tenderly invited the little ones to have lost the childlike, you are unfitted Himself!
for entering the kingdom of God—that The already retreating mothers were you must regain if you would be adrecalled with the words, “Suffer little mitted to its joy, and life, and blessing. children to come unto me, and forbid Let them come to me and obtain the them not.” What encouragement this grace and the life that shall admit them must have given to the mothers; but into the presence of my Father, and what a rebuke to the disciples, who had into heaven, my home. The greater forbidden their approach. And how number of the human citizens of heaven readily must they have shrunk back to enter it as children, so let children make room for the mothers. who came come. Do not forbid them, or hinder eagerly forward to accept the invitation them in any way; but help them to extended to their infants, bringing the come to me - carry and bring them lovely babes to the loving Saviour. unto me, for heaven is full of little chil
It appears that the disciples had dren, and childlike men and women. almost forgotten, that they had been “And He took them up in his arms, infants themselves, that infants needed put his hands upon them, and blessed the Saviour as much as adults, and that them.” St. Mark 10: 16. He had come into the world as an in- ! In this entire transaction of the Safant to save our entire humanity. The viour was fulfilled the prophecy of disciples failed to manifest true sympa- Isaiah 40:11, “He shall feed his flock thy with humanity as such, in depre- like a shepherd, He shall gather the ciating the children. Jesus' act shows lambs in His arms, and carry them in that He stood in deepest sympathy with His bosom, and shall gently lead those humanity as a whole, by fully appre- that are with young.” ciating childhood no less than age. His | Behold the great tenderness of the sympathy extended to all-fathers and Saviour. He took them up in His mothers, youth and maidens, old men arms-into His embrace, put His hands and infants. This is, moreover, what a upon them, and blessed them. This proper consideration would lead us to was much more than the mothers had asked, or even hoped for. They own person upon their persons. They had only asked the touch of His hand, received something in that blessing whereas He embraced and pressed them which they had not beforehand. This to His loving heart, where, of all the we believe to have been of a gracious disciples, only John, the beloved, was and benign spiritual character. privileged to lie. In all this Jesus When He embraced them, He took manifested the heartiness with which them into His kingdom; and when He He loved children. Our spiritual con- placed His hands on them, He gave sciousness shrinks with horror from the them the protection of His kingdom ; thought, that He did this simply to and so when He blessed them, He imsatisfy the mothers. Jesus was incapa- parted unto them in an incipient way, ble of any such deception. His em- | His own divine-human life—which is brace was the token of His unutterable the grace and blessing of the kingdom. love for them. It speaks more loudly. This He could impart unto them and clearly than any words.
only in an intuitive way, as He was So also in laying His hands upon Himself not yet glorified—the full blessthem and blessing them, He did it not ing of the kingdom could only come as a simple matter of form. He was with its full establishment, and that far too noble and true to be guilty of only with the coronation of the King, such hypocrisy. And His blessing was viz., Christ's ascension into Heaven and more than a simple worldly wish of sitting on the right hand of God. “good luck” in temporal things. The This incipient blessing He could howblessing of Jesus is more than an ordi- ever communicate unto them. We all pary vain wish. Men wish for that which receive life unconsciously. He taught they have not, and cannot obtain, Jesus His disciples and the Church of all wished nothing. He had the power to ages, that children need not wait until obtain and confer what was worth wish- they can understand the sermon of the ing for. So also here, if He wished minister in the church, or even the anything for the children, He had the simplest word in the sanctuary of home. power to confer it upon them. And Nay, infants can be brought into living this is just what St. Mark says He did, contact with the Saviour before their viz., He blessed them. And while minds can understand the Word. Even earthly prosperity was not necessarily the most intelligent Christian receives excluded from the blessing, we have more than he can understand. Regeneno doubt but that the main feature of ration is one of the profoundest acts of the blessing was of a spiritual charac- the Spirit; and does not depend upon ter. He blessed the children-their per our thorough comprehension of it; for if sons, and not only their surroundings. it did, none would ever be regenerated. And this blessing, as already intimated, Conversion follows the change of lifewas more positive and grace bearing change of life, union with Christ, is a
than a prayer in their behalf. As the the former is never in Scripture made embracing of their bodies was a gracious to depend on the latter, but the latter act, so also, and much more was His on the former. It is only when we conblessing them something real and effec-ceive the contents of Christ's blessing to tual.
have been the coinmunication of His When He blessed the loaves and life and grace, that His blessing of them fishes in the desert, there was an imme- | is real and substantial. Without this diate effect in the increase of the quan- there was no blessing imparted unto tity, and the intensification of the them from Christ as Saviour. The blessproperties. The infants were not lessing of Peter, James or John would, capable to receive His spiritual blessing, without Christ's official benediction, inasmuch as sin lay as yet dormant in have been equally good. In a word, their natures, and had not broken out we hold that Jesus really blessed the into acts of rebellion against Him, and children-blessed them as SAVIOUR. did not then offer any opposition of will Lange on Mark says: “The older rejecting the proffered blessing. With Church rightly appealed to this passage His blessing virtue passed out of His as over against the Anabaptists: For