Imatges de pÓgina

sterile places. In cultivated districts it has been employed for hedges from the most ancient times.1 Favourably circumstanced, it attains the height of fifteen to twenty and even thirty feet, but it never properly becomes a tree. Contrariwise, it would appear to be sometimes nothing more than a cornfield weed. Near the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Dean Stanley describes it as "springing up in the very midst of the waving wheat." In English gardens, where it occurs not uncommonly, it varies from three to six or eight feet in height, according as it is grown with or without the protection of a wall. The branches are slender and extremely numerous, as are the twigs, which are wiry and flexible, and strike away horizontally from the branchlets. The leaves are alternate, ovate, about an inch in length, serrulate, glabrous, and shining, and at the bases of these grow the prickles, which are coupled, and of two distinct kinds. One of each pair is about half an inch in length, slim, and exquisitely acute, like a berbery-prickle; the other is short, broad, and curved, so that we are reminded of that cruel contrivance adopted for the spear-heads of the feudal ages, a dagger and a hook conjoined. These twin-born prickles are exceedingly strong, and in their form and arrangement constitute the plant a genuine "wait-abit." No one can encounter a Paliurus with impunity, unless clad in leather. "Passing through the thickets of Paliurus," says one of the travellers, "every one was in rags." Flowers, of course, appear in their season. They are yellow, insignificant, but pretty, and are borne in little panicles; and in due time are succeeded by very curious fruits, compared, nearly 2000 years ago, to the vertebræ of an animal. When ripe, they are circular, a quarter or half an inch in diameter, dry, brown, convex in the middle, expanded at the edge into a broad thin rim, and so like a head wearing a broad-brimmed hat that the French call this plant Porte-chapeau. Internally it is three-celled at the base. This remarkable fruit is excellently sketched by another of those famous old botanists who stand to modern science just as the heroes and demigods of classical myth stand to the accredited characters of history, only that the former can be certified as having existed-the resemblance consisting in the bravery of their work—namely, by old Lobel, superintendent, for a time, of Queen Elizabeth's private pleasure grounds. His book is a very charming one. In all there are probably no fewer than 2000 woodcuts, and among them occur such Scrip

1 Columella recommends it for this purpose; xi. 3.

* Dioscorides, i. 119, who describes the "Spina Christi" as his third kind of ῥαμνος.

ture plants as the myrtle, the box, the pomegranate, and the acacia. Droll, in many instances, like a child's first efforts, they are always unmistakeable, and if justice be loved, we cannot afford to disdain them. Previously, the Spina Christi had been figured by old Dodoens the Dutchman.

Possessed of the qualities mentioned, no twigs could be found that would be better adapted for a crown of thorns than those supplied by the Paliurus Spina Christi. Pliant and of easy intertexture, with multitudinous sharp thorns projecting in every direction, a chaplet wrought of them could not fail to prick painfully. This, however, was not the purpose in view so much as insult. At the same time there can be no doubt that of two or more plants equally within reach, that one which would cause most suffering would be preferred by the tormentors. Once placed upon the Divine brows, it is probable that the crown remained there till the end. "They took the robe off Him;" but nothing is stated as to the removal of the crown, and in all likelihood He died wearing it. Left in public view it would comport well with the inscription, and make the latter better understood. A shrub which in Palestine is so remarkable and abundant as the Paliurus, must needs have attracted notice in times long anterior to those of our Lord, and the simple fact of the people being familiar with it would operate as a motive, one would suppose, for the selection. Of its being mentioned in the Old Testament there is certainly no evidence, simply because we do not know by what particular name, if by any name, the Jews were accustomed to speak of it. More than a dozen. different words are employed in the Old Testament to designate thorny and prickly plants, and one or another may possibly have special reference to the Spina Christi. Regarded as collective terms, they must needs, one or another of them, have included it. Some believe that the atad or athad of Jotham's celebrated apologue, when the trees went forth to choose a king, was the Paliurus. If so, perhaps it would be intended in Gen. 1. 10, "The threshing-floor of Atad," here becoming a topographical name. The twigs being dry and combustible, the Paliurus would at all events well suit Ps. lviii. 9, "Before your pots can feel the thorns." The Paliurus may possibly be intended also by the Hebrew chedek, the term employed in Prov. xv. 19, "The way of the slothful is as a hedge of thorns." In this case we must suppose it intended likewise in Micah vii. 4, where chedek again occurs. It is further possible that the Paliurus may be the naazuz or naatzutz of Isaiah, in the beauti

ful verse already quoted, "Instead of the naazuz shall come up the fir-tree; and instead of the sirpad shall come up the myrtle." Isaiah employs the same word (naazuz) in vii. 18, 19, where the Authorized Version very properly translates it "thorn." The shamir of the same prophet, in xxxii. 13, in the Authorized Version translated "briers," may again be regarded as possibly including or denoting the Paliurus; as may be the sillon of Ezekiel xxviii. 24, "And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel."

Several other names and passages might be quoted, as possibly having reference to the Paliurus, but nothing can be proved. Had we exact information, many a passage, moreover, would probably declare itself antetypical, the crown of the day of the Crucifixion giving finish to some solemn prophecy in the Old Testament.

The plant supposed by Hasselquist to have furnished the material for the crown of thorns, and thence likewise named Spina Christi, is a species of Zizyphus, a genus very nearly allied to Paliurus, and differentiated only by the fruit, which is olive-like, red and mucilaginous. This too, is one of the common ligneous and prickly shrubs of Palestine. "It fringes," says Mr. Tristram, "the banks of the Jordan, and flourishes on the marshy borders of the Lake of Gennesaret." Near Jericho Mr. Tristram found it abundant, and twenty or thirty feet high. The thorns agree in form and position with those of the Paliurus aculeatus.

(To be continued.)


ONCE a crown, methought, for my gift was brought
Which the bravest man should wear;
And I turned my sight to the deadly fight,
To mark what the valiant dare.

A form I espy with an eagle eye,

And an arm the sword to wield;

He is first to reach the unsheltered breach,
With the mine beneath concealed.

Like lion that bounds on assaulting hounds,
He leaps on the raging foe,

And full soon they feel his avenging steel
As they fall beneath his blow!

'Mid unequal strife he has dared his life,
In the fiercest combat's van;

For his country's gain he has scorned all pain ;—
Is not he the bravest man?

Then I turned my glance, if I might perchance
Another as brave descry;

And I note one now, with a thoughtful brow,
And a lustrous, deep-set eye.

Against wrongful might, for the truth and right,
He has made his voice be heard,
And like thunder-cloud on the angry crowd,
Comes pealing each truthful word!

He has dared to brook the averted look

And scowl of his childhood's friend,
Who by hopes of gain would his speech restrain,
And to falsehood's service bend.

For the public good he has firmly stood
Against faction's hostile clan,

He has risked his all with the truth to fall ;—
Is there yet a braver man?

Now I turn my gaze where no warfires blaze,
Nor resounds the bold harangue,

Nor in earthly death gasps the heaving breath
Amid martial weapons' clang;-

But a form I trace with tranquil face,

A serene and gentle air,

Who has dared to look in his own heart's book,
And to hate the evils there.

Oh, his eyes are bright with a glistening light
As of sunbeams seen through rain;

And glad in his smile, though it seems the while
Like the gladness after pain.

All beset with foes was the path he chose
With monsters of fiendish hue;

But he dared obey, and he fought his way
Against the infernal crew.

There was sensual grace, with its Gorgon face,
And the Hydra-heads of pride,

Chimæras dire that breathed hate's fire,
With many a fiend beside.

Each sensual thought to the death he brought
By aid of purity's shield;

He hath seared his pride-each Chimæra died
'Neath the truth that heaven revealed.
After conquests made, still he watched and prayed,
He was bruised and wounded sore,
And a living cross-not of earthly dross-
In his inmost soul he bore ;

As onward he went, with the one intent
Each evil to bind and slay,

The light on his face gained a milder grace
Through his battling day by day.

Then I dashed my crown into fragments down,
On my face I prostrate fell;

What earthly reward could I dare accord

To the soul that fought with hell!
"Not for such as I," was my heart's outcry,
"Any valiant deeds to scan,

But the angel-band shall outstretch their hand,
And shall crown the bravest man!"

T. W. B.


THE love which prompts men to brave the perils of the Equator and the Pole, in pursuit of objects not immediately connected with their own interests, is a singular characteristic of our race, and must have been implanted in our nature by the Creator for wise purposes, since it often leads to important results. In the individual it may be either the love of adventure or of knowledge, of glory or of utility; but, like many other actions and pursuits that are tinctured by our natural infirmities, the work of the explorer contributes to the general good. The higher the object and the purer the motive the greater the amount of benefit the traveller is likely to bestow upon his kind, and the warmer sympathy and admiration he may be expected to receive from those who feel an interest in his arduous undertaking. Livingstone had the noblest object in view, and may be credited with having pursued it with most self-denying zeal. As a Christian missionary, he sought to promote the glory of God by the Christianization of the heathen, but he sought it by other means besides those which the missionary commonly employs. He considered the best means of introducing Christianity among the natives of Africa was to bring them into relation with Christian nations, by opening up the interior of their vast continent to the beneficial and civilizing influence of commerce. Livingstone's Journal makes the desirableness of this more than ever obvious. At present a large part of the commerce of Central Africa consists of traffic in human beings. And as the natives are now in a great measure at the mercy of slave-dealers and slave-hunters, there seems little hope for their advancement, or even for their preservation, but by introducing among them the arts of civilized life, both as a means of protection and support.

Although the climate is deadly, and therefore repellent to Europeans, yet this arises in a great measure from that which makes some, and would make most countries in the temperate zone unhealthy-exuberant vegetation, with extensive swamps and marshes, and which culti vation can alone remove. Yet there are healthy parts in the centre of Africa, which the Arabs, who are the chief traders there, know how to

1 The Last Journal of David Livingstone in Central Africa from 1865 to his Death. London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. 1874.

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