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It was typical of the purifying virtue of the bitter sufferings of Christ, and it is plain, from Psalm li. 9, that the Psalmist understood its import.

JUNIPER.—It is very questionable whether this shrub is mentioned in Scripture, though it is found in our translation. The generality of interpreters agree that the Hebrew retem signifies the genista, or spanish broom, which is still called by the Arabians retemeth, and is very common in the rivers of the desert.

In 1 Kings, xix. 4, we read of the prophet sheltering himself under a retem, (Eng. Tr. juniper-tree,] which has been thought to be inconsistent with the notion of the retem being the broom, which could afford but a poor shade from the scorching heat of the sun. But, as Parkhurst suggests, the text rather implies than contradicts this circumstance, and imports that the prophet took up with the shelter of a genista, which Bellonius mentions as growing in the desert, for want of a better; as Jonah was glad to avail himself of the frail covert of a gourd from the oppressive heat of the sun (Jonah iv. 6).




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A TREE is in Scripture called otz, from the verb otzeh, to fix, make firm, or steady ; and it is thus distinguished from herbage or plants, which are more soft and loose.

In that primæval period, when the earth to its early inhabitants seemed not only apparelled in celestial light, but when every part of creation seemed to be endowed with a strange and conscious vitality, trees, with their charming growth and waving branches, became objects of special regard and honour. Sacred trees appear in the very earliest mythologies, and they linger among the last vestiges of heathenism long after the advent of a purer creed. Either as direct objects of worship, or as forming the temple under whose solemn shadow other and remoter deities might be adored, there is no part of the world in which trees have not been regarded with especial reverence. Paradise itself, says Evelyn, was but a kind of 6 temple, or sacred grove," planted by God himself, and given to man, at the first, to minister in; and he goes on to suggest that the groves, which the patriarchs are recorded to have planted in different parts of Palestine, may have been memorials of that first tree-shaded Paradise from which Adam was expelled. Some have maintained that the consecration of groves to the gods of pagan antiquity was antecedent to the consecration of temples and altars.

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This, however, is very questionable, for the ashel of Abraham, rendered “grove” in the English version of the Bible, being differently expressed from the consecrated groves spoken of in other passages, is rather to be understood of a single tree; perhaps the oak, or the tamarisk. But, be this as it may, it is certain that the use of sacred groves for the celebration of mysteries is of very high antiquity, and perhaps of all others the most universal.

At first, there were in these groves neither temple nor altar : they were simple retreats, to which there was no access for the profane, or such as were not devoted to the service of the gods. Afterwards, temples were built in them, and, to preserve so ancient a custom, they took care, whenever they had it in their power, to plant groves round the temples and altars, which groves were not only consecrated to the gods in honour of whom the temples had been built, but were themselves a place of sanctuary or an asylum for criminals, who fled thither for refuge.

This very prevalent custom seems to have originated in the conception that shade and solitude gave an air of mystery and devotion to religious services, and were adapted to inspire the worshippers with a solemn and superstitious dread of those divinities which they were taught to believe were present in such sacred places. “They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks, and poplars, and elms, because the shadow thereof is good(Hos. iv. 13).

As these groves were the more immediate scenes of those impure and obscene rites which formed the leading feature of most of the systems of idolatrous worship, the Jewish legislator prohibited his people from planting trees around or near the altar of God; “Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees, near unto the altar of the Lord thy God” (Deut. xvi. 21). From their proneness to imitate the customs of the surrounding nations, however, the Jewish people became guilty of sacrificing in high places and in consecrated groves ; and one of their kings carried his impiety so far as to plant one of these groves at Jerusalem (2 Kings xxi. 7).

Landseer has attempted to show that the word ashreh, rendered“ groves” in our translation of the Scriptures, means rather a kind of orrery or armillary machine used for the purpose of divination, which he supposes to have been about the height of a man, with small balls branching off curvedly from the sustaining rod or axis; and referring to 2 Kings xxi., he says, “ The Sabæan ashre appears to have been erected within the precincts of the temple, where the altars also were built; but beside this, perhaps immoveable armillary machines, for the purpose of divination, which Manasseh had constructed in the courts of the temple, he had also a small copy, or

graven image' of the ashre within ;-doubtless to assist in the celebration of those Sabæan rites, which were performed in the interior during his idolatrous reign, and which are described by Ezekiel: for there can be no reasonable doubt, that the idolatries which the prophet saw in vision on the banks of the Chebar, were those with which the temple at Jerusalem had really been polluted.”


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The record of the creation and fall, preserved in the opening chapter of Genesis, seems to have been preserved, in some degree, in the religious * 6 Sabæan Researches”.

systems of the great nations of antiquity. The trees of life and of knowledge are at once suggested by the mysterious sacred tree which appears in the most ancient sculptures and paintings of Egypt and Assyria, and in those of the remoter east. In the symbolism of these nations the sacred tree sometimes figures as a type of the universe, and represents the whole system of created things; but more frequently as a tree of life,” by whose fruit the votaries of the gods are nourished with divine strength, and are prepared for the joys of immortality. The most ancient types of this mystical tree of life are the date-palm, the fig, and the pine, or cedar. Of these, the earliest of which any representation occurs is the palm—the true datepalm of the valley of the Nile, and of the great alluvial plain of ancient Babylonia-a tree which is exceeded in size and dignity by many of its congeners, but which is spread over two, at least, of the great centres of ancient civilization, and which, besides its great importance as a fruit-producer, has a special beauty of its own, when the clusters of dates are hanging in golden ripeness under its coronal of dark-green leaves. It is figured as a tree of life on an Egyptian sepulchral tablet, certainly older than the fifteenth century, B.C., and now preserved in the Museum at Berlin. The sacred tree which appears so constantly in Assyrian sculpture is apparently a traditional form of the date-palm.


THE APPLE, OR CITRON.—The tapuach, which the translators of the English Bible have taken for the apple tree, is, in the several passages

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