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set too high a value on any earthly possession, or too inordinate an affection on any created enjoyment. If these gourds are afforded us, while we enjoy their shade, let us be thankful to the Giver; yet let us remember they are but gourds, very short-lived at best, and liable to the sudden blast and the gnawing worm; let us hold ourselves ready to resign, when He who gave, recalls them; nor let us be satisfied, till we can say, The Lord is my portion, saith my soul, therefore will I hope in Him."
This is an umbelliferous plant, in appearance very much resembling fennel. It grows very abuudantly in Asia, and other warm climates; its seed has a warm pungent taste, and was probably used to flavour bread. The Jews sowed it in their fields, and when ripe thrashed out the seeds with a rod, Isa. xxviii, 25, 27., a method still used in the island of Malta. This is one of the lesser herbs, in paying tithes of which the Pharisees were so scrupulously observant, while they neglected the weightier matters of the law, and the common duties of humanity. Their conduct was severely reprehended by our Lord, and heavy judgments threatened against them for their base hypocrisy, see Matt. xxiii. 23.—Anise, or Anethum, or Dill, is a plant of similar description with cummin, and is mentioned in the same connexion.The same expression of censure includes several other herbs, of which, as they are well known among
ourselves, and are not elsewhere mentioned in the sacred writings, a bare enumeration will suffice: "Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe Mint and Rue, and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone," Luke xi. 42. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of Mint, Anise, and Čummin, and have omitted," &c. Matt. xxiii. 23.
The seed thus denominated in our English Bible, is in all probability the gith or nigella, a plant well known in our gardens. It grows about a foot in height; its leaves are small, like those of fennel; the flower is blue, and resembles that of a larkspur; on its disappearing, an ovary, like that of a poppy, presents itself; it is oblong, is furnished with little horns, and divided by membranes into several partitions and cells, in which are enclosed seeds of a black. colour, in shape resembling those of a leek, of a fragrant smell, and pungent taste, as powerful as pepper, but of a flavour more resembling that of carraway; it was used as a seasoning to bread.
This is a strongly aromatic plant. It bears a small round seed, of an agreeable smell and taste; it is used in medicine as a carminative. The manna given to the Israelites, is said to have resembled
coriander-seeds, most likely in form and shape, as its colour is compared to that of bdellium, Exod xvi. 31. Numb. xi. 7.
This is with us a common garden herb.
It shoots out numerous suckers from one root; is a hard woody shrub, and grows a foot and a half, or two feet high. It has long spiral leaves, and a blossom of a pale blue colour, at the top of the stem, somewhat resembling an ear of corn. The leaves have a pungent bitterish taste. It is of a warm and cleansing nature, and is frequently used in medicine. There are two sorts, the garden hyssop, and the mountain hyssop; the latter of which is very small, and resembles a diminutive kind of moss. This kind appears to have been referred to by the sacred historian; when speaking of the extensive knowledge of the royal naturalist, Solomon, it is said that "he spake of trees, from the cedar-tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall," 1 Kings iv. 33.
With some allusion, probably, to its medicinally cleansing qualities, hyssop was commonly made use of in ceremonial purifications, for the purpose of sprinkling the blood of the sacrifice; and was typical of the purifying virtue of the bitter sufferings of Christ. The blood of the paschal lamb was sprinkled, with a bunch of hyssop, on the lintel and doorposts of the dwellings of Israel, Exod. xii. 22.
vas also used in the cleansing of a leprous person, Lev. xiv. 4, 6, 51, 52., and in composing the water of purification, and in sprinkling it on those who had been separated from the congregation for some ceremonial uncleanness, Numb. xix. 6, 18. In allusion to the import of these types, the psalmist, when praying that his sin might be pardoned, and his nature sanctified, thus entreats, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow; hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities," Psal. li. 7, 9. And the apostle Paul makes the same allusion, when speaking of all the services of the Levitical law as typical of pardon and purity through the blood of Christ, Heb. ix. 19. St. John, in his narrative of our Saviour's sufferings, relates that the by-standers "filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth." Some critics have supposed it necessary to conjecture, that there was a kind of hyssop which grew to a height sufficient for a person standing at the foot of the cross, to reach with it the mouth of the dying sufferer; but it is much more natural to suppose, that the hyssop was fixed at the end of the reed or cane mentioned by the other.. evangelists, and on that elevated to the height required: see John xix. 29. Matt. xxvii. 48. Mark xv. 36.
The references to this plant are confined to the parables of our Lord, in which He speaks of it as
arising from the smallest of all seeds, yet growing so vigorously as to become the greatest among herbs; in fact, a tree so considerable, that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches. Many attempts have been made to reconcile these features of description, with the common mustard plant cultivated in our own gardens for the supply of salad, in its early growth; and, in its maturity, of a pungent sauce prepared from its powdered seeds. It has been justly observed, that some soils being more luxuriant than others, and the climate more congenial to the nature of particular plants, they have been brought to a size and perfection almost incredible to those who have only witnessed their growth in a poorer soil or a colder climate. We have credible accounts of the common cabbage, so well known in our gardens, attaining, in one of the Norman isles, a growth of from seven to nine feet in height, and a proportionate circumference. These are certainly striking specimens of great difference in the same species, but they do not go to destroy the identity of character; a cabbage, though it were ten times as large in one climate as another, would preserve its character as an annual plant, and never partake of the nature of a perennial shrub or a woody tree. Now, if the observations of our Lord respecting the mustard tree of Judea, should be applied, on this principle, to the mustard herb of Britain, they certainly would require that its very nature should be changed, and that in several, and contradictory respects; such