Billeder på siden

Twice in the Authorized Version the translators have rendered dagan by “wheat,” which is unfortunate, wheat having its own appellation, and the comprehensiveness of the inspired language being despoiled by the limitation. This occurs in Numb. xviii. 12, where the above quoted verse is anticipated, “ All the best of the oil, and the best of the wine, and of the dagan;" and in Jer. xxxi. 12, “ Therefore they shall come, and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for dagan, and for wine, and for oil; and for the young

of the flock and of the herd, and their soul shall be as a watered garden."

Another comprehensive Hebrew term, denoting field-seeds, or grain of every description, but now with the added idea of being threshed out, and cleaned ready for use, and again rendered in the Authorized Version by “corn,” is Bar. This one again occurs in the history of Joseph, when the seven years of plenty are foretold to Pharaoh:“Let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up bar under the hand of Pharaoh. . . . . And Joseph gathered bar as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering, for it was without number” (Gen. xli. 35, 49). The same is the sense of Prov. ii. 26, “He that withholdeth bar, the people shall curse him;" and of that beautiful figurative prophecy in Joel ii. 24, of the blessedness of God's own Church, where yet once again the comprehensiveness is marred in the Authorized Version by the substitution of "wheat,”- “The floors shall be full of bar, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.” The limitation of the sense to “wheat” by the Authorized Version has another example in Jer. xxiii. 28, and the same is the case with the allusions in Amos, “Your treadupon the poor, and ye

take from him burdens of bar; . . saying, When will the Sabbath be gone, that we set forth bar, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit, that we may buy the poor for silver,

yea, and sell the refuse of the bar ?" (v. 11, viii. 5, 6.) Doubtless the translators considered that in all these places “wheat” would serve the purpose; but when the inspired volume employs different terms, it cannot but intend different ideas, especially in regard to the interior or spiritual sense, and for the translator not to abide by them is hazardous. By a curious metaphor, David employs this word bar to denote the growing arable crops of early summer: "The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with bar; they shout for joy, they also sing." Here, as elsewhere, the especial beauty and significance

ing is

[ocr errors]

of the description come of corn and corn-fields being used in Scripture after the same manner as grass and pastures, namely, as representatives of man's heart and the Divine gifts thereto. Without the blessing of God, earned by industry, man cannot exist to any useful spiritual purpose.

“Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: Thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: Thou preparest them corn, when Thou hast so provided for it.” That all the generosities of the planet upon which we dwell, the " earth” of geographers, are referable to the beneficent operations of our Father in heaven, needs no argument. It is these to which the Psalmist refers as his temporal picture. That the productiveness is sustained by a munificent providence is also quite true, and the fact should be one of constant and thankful thought. But the main thing is the fertility of the “little world of man,” and that this one shall receive God's blessing is even more momentous. Canaan, representative of the Christian's home, is “a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and pomegranates; a land of oil-olive, and honey; a land where thou shalt eat bread without scarceness; thou shalt not lack anything in it." The parable of the sower is so obviously an account of the insemination into man of the Divine principles of right action, that even had we no other clue to the scriptural meaning of corn, this of itself would amply suffice. Similarly, in the sorrowful threats and warnings as to the destruction of the corn and corn-fields of the idolatrous, there is depicted the declension of man as to the best capacities of his spiritual nature, for these close up when God is forgotten. It was not without a purpose that our Lord walked with His disciples one Sabbath-day through the fields of corn.

The Hebrews received their corn-plants and the arts of agriculture from a long anterior race. From whom, in particular, it is impossible

Man must have made the cereals tributary to his wants at a very early period; but as to the time and scene of the original sowing, reaping, harvesting, and threshing, history leaves us totally uninformed. Even the legends of classic mythology leave the matter untouched, and simply and piously say that corn was the gift of heaven.

to say.

Prima Ceres ferro mortales vertere terram instituit.

To learn the primitive history of the cereals we need the pre-historic annals of mankind, and the history of civilization; and conversely it may be said with equal truth, that had we the history of the cereals,

we should be in possession of clear light with regard to the other. Civilization commences when man begins to make provision for the future, and to practise arts needful to his prospective security and comfort. Among the first things wanted are fixed abodes and a store of sustenance. The chase may enable him to provide himself with the latter, but going no further, he remains only a hunter. The storage of figs and dates, obtained by simple gathering and collecting, without call for the ingenuities and the industry which have to be devoted to the cerealia, advances him very little. It is in the degree that a wandering and predatory mode of subsistence is superseded by the exact and orderly one implied in agriculture, that he moves onwards in intelligence and morals. Agriculture implies the storage of good food in sufficient plenty to enable the more thoughtful portion of a community to bestow their time and talents upon refined pursuits. The varied and anxious details of industry in the field promote, in another section of the people, careful habits of observation. The general uniformity of the crops obtained by the tillage of the earth, and the usual immensity of the produce, induce men in general to congregate. Thus are the foundations laid of towns and cities, where education and science commence and flourish, and from which laws, good government, and enterprise alike emanate. If not absolutely inseparable, the history of the cerealia and that of man's civilization are virtually interdependent. In any region of the world, the presence of these plants, as objects of methodical culture, is a proof that man is there no longer a savage. The grains of wheat discovered in the ancient Egyptian sepulchres are no less convincing than the temples and the obelisks, that on the banks of the Nile the people were far in advance of the wandering Arab; the remains of wheat found in the ancient lake dwellings of Switzerland declare their inhabitants to have long emerged from the state of barbarism. It is to man, or in other words, to civilization, moreover, that the diffusion of the cereals over the world is wholly attributable. The seeds of other plants migrate accidentally, but the corn-grasses exist only where man has carried them. The distribution of human food over the earth comes not only of “natural causes;” there are moral causes as well, and it is in the history of the class of aliments diffused by means of the latter, that we find the most interesting of all the facts in any way identified with the history of human food.


How sweet the country air, how free
Its perfumes wafted o'er the lea!
How pure the lakes pellucid and the streams!
They picture wisdom at its birth, ere dreams

And fantasies of man
Swept o'er and marr'd earth's plan.
The humble tiller of the soil

Reaps richest harvest for his toils,
For Nature, while he works, works on and on,
Till mellow-tinted garments she may don,

her throne again
Where Peace and Plenty reign.
What fear has he of ills so rife

Within the city's walls, or strife
That mars the townsman's peace, however brief !
His heart is warm ; no chills of unbelief

Have on its tablet traced
The doubts too soon embraced.
His heart beats high, as ev'ry note

Forth-trembles from each little throat
Of Nature's choir in unisonance each;
His waving wheatfields faith unwav'ring teach.

He knows there is above
A God whose life is love.

How just the words of one whose lyre,

Attuned to true poetic fire,
Gave forth the truth, that Nature and her plans
Are God's alone, while only art is man's;

For man as tribute brings
But art and artful things.
And Nature's sweetest gift to man

Is that of loving, as we scan,
Truths simple yet sublime from out her book ;
The landscape, warbling song-bird, rippling brook,

and ear and heart
May each their joys impart.
Theirs is an universal speech

Which, if but understood, doth reach
The inmost mind through outward sight or sound;
A language varied with each season's round

To teach, if not control,
The willing heart and soul.


[blocks in formation]

The Sixty-sixth anniversary of this Society was held at the Society's House, 36 Bloomsbury Street, London, on Tuesday June 20th-H. R. WILLIAMS, Esq., occupied the chair. The room was crowded, and the meeting throughout most interesting and encouraging.

The Rev. Dr. BAYLEY opened the proceedings with prayer, after which the appointment of Messrs. GILBEY, GALLICO, and Howe, as Scrutineers.

The SECRETARY read letters of apology for non-attendance from the following gentlemen :--The Rev. Mark Wilks, Congregational Minister, a Member of the London School Board ; the Rev. W. A. Smith, Congregational Minister; the Rev. W. J. Bain, formerly of Leamington, and Secretary of the Birmingham Young Men's Christian Association; and the Rev. J. Elstob, Free Methodist Minister, Wisbeach.

The CHAIRMAN said he had recently had the pleasure of an interview with the Rev. Mr. Clissold at Tunbridge Wells, and held in his hand a communication from Mr. Clissold, some parts of which he would read. The following is the communication entire :-

“The leading question in the present day is that which concerns the relation between Church and State. The Church accuses the State of usurping a power belonging only to the Church; the State accuses the Church of usurping a power belonging only to the State ; in other words, the Church accuses the State of introducing Erastianism, the State accuses the Church of spiritual tyranny.

“In order to settle this question, and determine the limits of the Church in its relation to the State, we must first know what the Church is or claims to be ; more especially as the publications put forward by this Society proclaim the formation of a New Church, or, in other words, the reformation of Christendom.

“What then is the Catholic Church, and what are its claims ? It might seem to be an unfair exaggeration to say that the Church, as being Christ's Body, claims to be Christ Himself, to be the Word continually incarnate in its members—to be God manifest in the flesh—to be God Himself, so that to reform the Church is the same thing as to reform God, that any thing short of this is Erastianism, or the surrender to Cæsar of the things belonging unto God. But is this an exaggeration ? Let us see.

First, it is affirmed that the Church is Christ. 66 • What then is Christ's Church ?' asks a ritualistic clergyman ;' and he answers, The Church is Christ,' St. Paul says, and he is a yood authority. Again,

1 “First Principles versus Erastianism,” by A. H. Mackonochie, M.A., Perpetual Curate of St. Albans, Holborn, p. 15.

? Ibid. p. 20.


« ForrigeFortsæt »