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weak to furnish us with these, which in every other part of life are the first requisites, the day of the Church's prosperity must tarry; we may build churches, but they will not fill; we may affect to be the teachers of mankind, but we shall lack believers, and indeed we shall be like men trying to carry water without a pitcher.
We are a corporate body, and if the head turns in one direction, and the limbs determine to travel in another, Pharaoh's chariots with their wheels off will make better progress than ourselves. We must learn to sink our own wishes in the good of all ; do, not what we like, but what is the best under the circumstances, and not weaken our already too small army by internal disunion. Our motto must be that of Lepeletier, who sealed his last vote with his blood, and died happy in the cause of Liberty, “ Salus populi suprema lex esto.” Let the welfare of the people be the first great law.
R. R. R.
· (LEO GRINDON.)
GRASS—THE FIELDS—THE CEREALIA. Grass, like many other terms, has a particular meaning, and a general or collective one. With the botanist, it is limited to the members of a great natural order of indigenous plants, comprising the pasture and meadow grasses, numerous other weedy and uncultivated species, the cereals, the sugar-cane, the bamboo, and various descriptions of reed : in every-day language, it denotes the green vesture of the hills and fields, which includes much that is very different from botanical grass, and at the same time omits the cereals. The general or collective sense is the one employed in Scripture. In the herbage of warm and southern countries, such as Palestine, genuine or botanical grass is often quite a subordinate ingredient, the flocks and herds finding a large proportion of their food in the tips of little suffruticose plants. A surface like that of an English lawn is almost unknown. The constant verdure which renders England so cheerful, alike in mid-winter and during the hottest summer, and which it is the peculiar property of genuine grass to afford, is, by reason of its comparative scarcity in the countries of the olive and palm-tree, also almost unknown. During the long period of drought which ensues upon the cessation of
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the “ former rains,” and which lasts until the arrival of the “latter” ones, everything is dried up: even the turf of old England could not endure so severe a trial.
The Hebrew word rendered “grass," in about twelve of the most interesting texts in which it occurs, is chatzir, or chazir, a term connected by Gesenius with the Sanscrit harit, green. Thus: “Peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive.” “ Behemoth eateth grass as an ox.” “He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle.” “Who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.” “ As for man, his days are as grass.” . “ All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” The last is in beautiful reference to the passing away of the verdure of the spring, a phenomenon which in England we are strangers to, but which in the Holy Land is particularly striking. Chatzir is employed also in Ps. xxxvii. 2 ; xc. 5; cxxix. 6; and in Isa. xxxvii. 27; xliv. 4; li. 12. In Job viii. 12, it is put for plants indefinitely, and in the Authorized Version is translated by the oldfashioned expression “ herb.” “Can the rush grow up without mire ? Can the flag grow without water? Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other chatzir.” In Prov. xxvii. 5, and Isa. xv. 6, this word is by the Authorized Version rendered “hay,” a conspicuously incorrect translation, hay,—as we understand it in England, grass cut by the scythe, dried in the sun, and stored in the shape of stacks, having been unknown in ancient Palestine. “The hay appeareth, and the tender grass showeth itself, and the herbs of the mountains are gathered.” “The waters of Nimrim shall be desolate, for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth ; there is no green thing." By chatzir, in these two places, is clearly intended the earliest produce of the general pasture, so charming in England at the sweet season when “from field to field the vivid verdure runs." The inappropriateness of the rendering in Proverbs is particularly plain. If the “tender grass” is only just beginning to show itself, hay can in no sense be properly associated with it, much less can it be fittingly named as a precursor. In Isa. xxxiv. 14, chatzir is by the Authorized Version rendered “Court,” a curious expression, but reminding one that the Greek xoptos, the word universally employed for grass in the New Testament, meant, primarily, an enclosure for the safe keeping of cattle; thence the pasture into which the animals were liberated, and thence the herbage,
grass, or chutzir, which they ate.1 The Authorized Version allusions to “ mowing” are also incorrect, by defective rendering of the original :“He shall come down as rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth ” (Ps. lxxii. 6). “Let them be as grass upon the housetops, wherewith the mower filleth not his hand” (Ps. cxxix. 7). These two renderings, with a similar expression in Amos vii. 1, stand much in need of amendment.
Including the passages quoted, and those in the New Testament, the number of places in which grass is mentioned in Scripture is about forty. The New Testament allusions are parallel in character to those in the Old. “As the flower of the grass he shall pass away.” “And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth.” “He commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass." In the last quoted we have a very beautiful picture. It was in agreement with the sweet and boundless lessons communicated by our Lord that the scenes with which he connected them, or which he selected for their utterance, should be just what we always find them, instead of arbitrary or accidental. In the present instance it was in harmony with the Divine teachings that the vegetable forms around him, representative every one of them, in their own individual nature, of something spiritual, should be innumerable, and blended, at the same time, so as to present a surface of exquisite unity and simplicity. · From the idea of grass the mind naturally passes on to that of the fields, in Scripture mentioned more than 150 different times. But fields, as we understand them in England, definite green areas bounded by hedges, in Palestine, like hay and mowing, were unknown. When Scripture speaks of the fields, obviously not intending fields of grain, the reference is to such portions of the general country as were neither tilled nor occupied by orchards or vineyards, though capable of supplying nourishment to sheep and cattle, the wilderness lying beyond. The different properties and ownerships were indicated, not by hedges, but by large stones :-" Cursed be he who removeth his neighbour's land-mark.” The landscape of the country was thus very different from what is afforded in England by the interposition of countless living fences, the abode of the woodbine · and the wild rose. Practically, the marking out of the various ownerships by means of stones came to the same thing as when effected by fences : it is important simply not to confound the two conditions when mentally
i Compare Homer, Iliad, xi. 774, and Euripides, Iphigenia in Taur. 134.
surveying an ancient Palestine farm or country prospect. The scriptural references to the fields often involve the history of events which in tenderness of association are unequalled. “And Isaac went out to meditate in the fields at eventide, and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and behold the camels were coming. . . . And Rebekah lifted up her eyes . . . and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel, ... and she became his wife, and he loved her” (Gen. xxiv. 63-67). “ Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here, fast by my maidens” (ii. 8). “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy” (Luke ii. 8-10). “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin : and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith ?” In every one of these beautiful references, whether to pastoral surface, or to the cornlands, and in all others of similar nature, Scripture intends something more than appears in the simple literal narrative. The literal fact is good ; it is often picturesque, and not seldom impressive. More admirable still is the inner and higher life which transfers it from ancient Palestine to our own homes, and constitutes it a private and personal lesson. The whole matter is set forth clearly in the parable: “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field. . . . He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom," only that we are not to stop in the idea that “the world” is a thing purely and wholly outside of us. We do not more truly dwell in the world, than contain within ourselves representatives of everything it has pleased God to introduce into the world. The field and the world intended in the divine parable represent man's heart. Take this as the ruling idea intended in every instance where a field is mentioned in God's most Holy Word, and while it is learned what is the penalty of the slothful who “cleanse not” their field, a thousand glorious promises become visible that we missed before, and perhaps least expected. It is for every
man to watch his flocks in the field by night, and to hear in secret and for himself, “ Fear not, for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy.” It is for every man to recognize as a personal promise, “Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad. ... Let the field rejoice, and all that is therein, . . . For He cometh, He cometh, to judge the earth.” .
THE CEREALS.—Botanically, as said above, the idea of grass carries with it that of the corn-plants or cerealia. In many particulars the distinction is sharp enough. No one needs to be shown the difference between the juicy perennials created for the food of cattle, and the stiff straws, with their heavy ears of grain, that fall before the sickle of the reaper. But compared as to structure, there is little to keep them asunder,—the cereals are simply stout and annual grasses, the seeds of which are large and farinaceous. Four of them are mentioned in Scripture by name,—wheat, spelt, barley, and millet; the produce is also very frequently referred to under the general name of corn. “Corn,” however, is the rendering given in the Authorized Version, not only to the Hebrew word which properly and exclusively denotes the cereal grains, but to some other words of much more general application.
In the first place, it is given in the Authorized Version as the rendering of the Hebrew sheber, which denotes provisions of every description, including dried fruits, such as figs and dates. A conspicuous example of this occurs in the Authorized Version history of Joseph and his brethren, and of the events induced by the celebrated famine : “Now when Jacob saw that there was sheber in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look upon one another? Behold I have heard that there is sheber in Egypt. Get you down thither, and buy for us thence, that we may live and not die.” In Nehemiah x. 31, the same word is rendered, quite legitimately, by “victuals.”
Secondly, "corn” is sometimes given as the representative of dagan, which term is considered to have denoted edible seeds of all descriptions, those of the cereals perhaps in front, with beans, lentils, and other pulse, as supplementary. This is the word employed in the blessing bestowed by Isaac upon Esau: “God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of dagan and wine ;" and in the repetition a trifle further on, “ With dagan and wine have I sustained him” (Gen. xxvii. 28, 37). We have it again in Numbers xviii. 27, “the corn of the threshing-floor;" also in Deut. xxviii. 51, "corn, wine, and oil ;” and in Lam. ii. 12, "where is corn and wine?"