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plants that have become ragged, often of a certain subdued or overworn yellowish tint. The flowers, which are also very numerous, come out early in the spring, half hidden among the leaves, being small, and perfectly sessile; individually they are of distinct sexes, a solitary female occupying the centre of a little knot or cluster of males, the stamens pertaining to which last are yellow, and constitute the conspicuous portion of the bloom. In course of time the females ripen into curious two-valved capsules, each of the three compartments having a couple of horns, and discharging a couple of smooth black and brilliantly shining seeds. That two seeds should be contained in each of the three chambers is very curiously exceptional to the general character of the family to which the tree belongs, the rule being that the seed is solitary. When in perfection the flowers of the box exhale a powerful but rather unpleasant odour.
Besides the common sempervirens there is a larger and handsomer species of box, known to botanists as the Buxus Baleurica, and by gardeners commonly called the Sardinian box, being a native especially of the islands of the western parts of the Mediterranean, though by no means confined to them. Not only here, but in Turkey, both Asiatic and European, it grows in dry and rocky places, and would seem to hold a position corresponding to that of the holly with ourselves. In the gardens and shrubberies of the south of England the Balearica is not uncommon, and is easily distinguished by the brighter complexion. Pliny confounded the Sardinian plant with the common one, and there can be little doubt that by the ancients the wood of each was used indifferently.
These accordingly are the plants which are intended by the Authorized Version when it speaks of the box, and which there is good reason to believe are intended also by the Hebrew teasshur. But the exact meaning of teasshur has been disputed, and there is certainly no direct evidence that it denotes box and nothing besides. The best argument on the affirmative side is found in the ancient employment of box-wood, which was extensively used for cabinet-work, and for the manufacture, nerer discontinued and still in fashion, of various little articles more or less of the nature of the "box" pur et semeele, which article was itself named from it in the beginning, just as “marbles" were originally spheres of marbles, and “ canes" some kind of reed or currena. The wood in question is very hard, of a delicate tawny yellow, eloaded with darker shades, and so solid and close in texture that, when wrought or polished, it resembles a plate
of metal or of glass. Hence the adaptedness of box for the purposes of modern wood-engraving, which hitherto has looked to it almost exclusively. Among other things manufactured from it by the ancients were musical pipes or flutes, castanets, and ladies' combs.3 The original “ boxes,” small and dainty little receptacles of what was specially esteemed, were called pyxidia, from the Greek name of the tree, rucos, of which the Latin buxus is only a slightly altered form. Because of their elegance, the name of “pyx” afterwards received a very special application, denoting to this day, in the vocabulary of the Church of Rome, the box which contains the consecrated wafer. Botanists, for the same reason, term the most beautiful of the countless pretty little capsules produced by nature the pyxis or pyxidium. This is the capsule of the pimpernel, or “Shepherd's weather-glass," which is exactly globular, and opens by an equatorial line of dehiscence, so as to give both a cup and a lid, each exactly hemispherical, identical with the other, translucent, and with five meridians. The yokes of Priam's steeds were fabricated, old Homer tells us, of the same material.4 Inlaying, an art of which the ancients were very fond, of course soon ensued upon the simple employment of boxwood for pyxidia and little implements. The use of it for this purpose is re. ferred to in the celebrated passage in Virgil which describes the singular beauty of Æneas :
“Lo, in the midst, Venus' most worthy care, the young prince of Troy, his comely head uncovered, sparkles like the diamond which divides the yellow gold, an ornament for the neck or brow; or as shines the ivory by art inlaid in boxwood or the Orician terebinth” (x. 132-137).
Doubtless, this particular use was very ancient, for a material so beautiful as boxwood would be one of the first to attract attention, and herein we get the argument above adverted to in favour of boxwood being the teasshur of the Hebrew Scriptures. Ezekiel, in his description of the commerce of ancient Tyre, says, “ Of the oaks of Bashan have they made their oars; the benches of the rowers have they made of ashurim, inlaid with ivory brought out of the isles of 1 Ovid, Met. iv. 30; xii. 158 ; xiv. 537.
• Properius, Elegy viii. * Ovid, Met. iv, 311.
Iliad, xxiv. 269.
Chittim" (xxiv. 6). In the Authorized Version the original is rendered differently :-“The company of the Ashurites have made thy benches of ivory.” Scholars acknowledge, however, that this is wrong, while to the former rendering there seems not the slightest objection. Ashurim, it is hardly necessary to say, coincides, etymologically, with “ teasshur;" while the “isles of Chittim," sometimes rendered the “isles of Greece,"
. “Where burning Sappho loved and sang," appear to have been all and any that lay in the Mediterranean, beginning with the Levantine islands, Cyprus, perhaps, in particular, and extending to and including the remote ones we now call the Balearic. Corsica was always famous for its boxwood; there is a remarkable agreement also between Chittim and a geographical term several times met with in the Greek and Roman writers when they are speaking of boxwood, a term which, making allowance for difference of languages, is in truth identical. Ovid, speaking of the comb with which the idle coquette Salmacis was accustomed to dress her locks, says it was made of Citian (or Chittim) box, Cicero speaks of the Citians as a Phænician colony; and it is probably the same name which we have in Cytorum, famous for its boxwood, as appears in Virgil,2 and from Catullus, who bestows on it the epithet of buxifer.3
Not only for its beautiful wood has the box-tree been so long celebrated; it has been noted quite as much as an ornamental evergreen. Ovid refers to this in his “perpetuoque virens buxus ;"4 in another place he well characterizes the abundant and close-leaved foliage, “ densa foliis ;"5 Virgil speaks of the same in that beautiful passage where he describes the hills as undans, or “waving," the epithet, which properly belongs to the verdant branches of the trees, being transferred from the living thing to the inanimate one. Unhappily for the tree, when introduced into the intensely artificial gardens of the ancient Romans, it was subjected, with others, to that odious clipping into grotesque and unnatural forms which at one time was fashionable in England, and is still extant in ancient recesses,— practice consistent with the manners and customs of a people who loved barbarities and the blood of gladiators, but from which all genuine and cultured taste recoils. The clipping, however, brings out one of the peculiar and most marked characteristics of the box. No tree so speedily recovers from hurts and the edge of the knife. With sunshine and rain it revives and grows green again. Nothing in nature, unless it be the chamomile-plant, which thrives all the more
1 “Citoriaco pectine.”—Met. iv. 311. : Georgic ii. 437. 8 iv. 13. . 4 Met. x. 97.
* A. A, ii. 691.
for being trodden upon, is more resilient. Nothing in nature seems to cheer up, so irrepressibly, as this wiry and much-enduring little shrub. This would seem to be the reason why, in the "Language of Flowers," it stands as the emblem of fortitude. Is it not for the same reason, or because an image in nature, of Christian patience and trust in Providence, that the gift of the box-tree forms a part of that sweet and solacing promise, “I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the oil-tree; I will set in the desert the fir-tree, and the pine, and the box-tree together."1 All these trees are symbols in nature of things that belong to the life of the soul, which needs them, and receives them when asked for. So again, referring to the glory of the “ latter days,” it is said by the same prophet, “The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the boxtree together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary” (lx. 13). God's sanctuary is the heart of the man who keeps His laws; and the “latter days," whatever they may be to the Jews, or the Gentiles, or to any one else, are to you and me, who have a direct and personal concern with everything it has pleased God to intimate through the pen of His prophets, those happy ones which are given in this present life to every one who asks for them. If we do not realize the “glory of Lebanon" in this present life; if we do not here become recipients of the fir-tree and the box-tree, depend upon it we shall not realize either of them anywhere else. Far be it from me to speak or think selfishly, but I prefer to feel that the box-tree may become my own, if I try for it, and in this present life, rather than to consider it the perquisite of certain people not yet born. God gives to every man his own little personal and individual “millennium.” The latter days which constitute this, are the wisest it is to think of; they are days, not of the almanac, nor of the revolution of the earth, but the days when a man knows the meaning and rewards of peace such as accompanies the uprise of the prophet's evergreens. “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace. The Lord shall help them, and deliver them, and save them, because they trust in Him” (Psalm xxxvii, 37, 40). Amid a thousand follies and errors of the head, how sweet was the childlike innocence, retained to the very last, of the benevolent heart that in the “Deserted Village” foreshadowed these genuine “latter days :"
“But on he moves to meet his latter end, Angels around befriending virtue's friend ; Sinks to the grave with unperceived decay, While resignation gently slopes the way;
1 Isaiah xli. 19.
And all his prospects brightening to the last,
His heaven commences ere the world be past.” The main design and purpose of Divine prophecy is not to give vain inquirers a foreknowledge of what shall happen to future nations; but to serve, on its personal fulfilment and completion within ourselves, as a testimony of God's providence and overruling care and love towards you and me.
THE SUNDAY SCHOOL AND THE CHURCH.
(Continued from page 373.) Do not, I pray you, suspect for a moment that I am a foe to natural science, that I would limit its area, or discourage its pursuit. I hope nothing in this essay can be taken as tending to such a conclusion. The patient investigator in the rich field of nature is worthy of all honour if his theories do not soar beyond his subject, and seek to usurp the throne which religion has a right to occupy. His ascertained facts and modest conclusions will ever be a service to a basis for a genuine theology. But it is the frequent arrogance of modern scientific theory, the rash, the precipitate, the half-formed dealings with the subject, the rushing from narrow premisses to broad conclusions in regard to spiritual things, which the Sunday school teacher has most to fear. Neu of science too often lay down inflexible dogmas, but if the religious teacher presumes to dogmatize they charge him with the narrowest sectarianism. Science is stated to be exact, but theology is not seldom stigmatind es inexact and shadowy,—the floating scum of popular superstition, the myth of antiquity, the bubble of the puest. The great utilitarian tells us he would believe in a God if he
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