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lous. The failure of identity in this particular makes seriously against the hyrax Syriacus being the animal intended by Shaphan, though the hyrax may reside in clefts of rocks, and be of gentle and timid habits. The Jerboa, on the other hand, whose jumping mode of locomotion corresponds with the root-meaning of Shaphan, and who prefers high and rocky haunts, is reported to chew the cud. It is also in favour of this view that Jerome explains the rendering of the Septuagint by a word which is found to signify the Jerboa. This is a small animal, of the size of a rat, but rather resembling a hare in shape, above seven inches long, with a broad flat head, short stumpy nose, and long bald ears. The fore feet, which are short, are placed near the neck. The hinder feet are three times their length, and half as long as the whole body; so that the animal springs or leaps like grasshoppers, and with great swiftness. The colour of the head and back is a bright brown: that of the belly and sides is white. The tail, said to be three times the length of the whole animal, is furnished at the end with a tuft of hair, and serves its owner, in jumping, for a rudder.”—II. 393.
Every person who has endeavoured to identify any herb or tree mentioned in ancient authors, one especially which happens to have been but seldom spoken of, and of which only few particulars have been stated, must have felt the difficulty of the task, and will be well aware of the obstacles which lie in the way of students engaged in such inquiries. The Mustard tree of the New Testament affords a familiar example of this uncertainty. Theological botanists have, in their perplexity and despair, turned themselves to every quarter to find some plant which might answer the conditions of the history or the parable: now they have converted the little annual mustard plant of our fields and gardens, by the force of climate, culture and a vigorous imagination, into a tree, in whose branches the birds of the air might lodge; now they have imported a plantation of the Phytolacca dodecandra from North America, where it is indigenous, and which is supposed to have crossed the Atlantic in time to furnish our Saviour with a simile, and then to have disappeared from Judea ; for no one professes to have seen it there since. We think this author has followed a much safer and more satisfactory method; so far as our present knowledge extends, no plant seems so likely to have been the one alluded to as that suggested in his article, the whole of which we now extract, premising that in the East, as among ourselves, it is common to name trees and plants popularly, not from scientific resemblances, but from some similarity in their products or in the uses to which these products may be applied. Thus we speak of the “love-apple," of the “ cabbage-palm,” &c. There is no resemblance between the stately tree last mentioned and the homely vegetable whence it gets its familiar name; yet the products of both, because in some respects similar, or at least available for a similar use, are equally termed cabbage ; and so the seed of a herbaceous plant and of a proper tree, if used for the same purpose and alike in taste and other qualities, might and probably would be designated by the same term-mustard, for example; and ultimately the name would be given equally and indiscriminately to the plants producing them.
“MUSTARD SEED, the seed of the (in Greek sinapi) mustard tree, whose identification has caused much difficulty. The best supported opinion is that of Professor Royle (see Hyssop), who holds it to be the tree called by the Arabs
Does not this word rather signify an animal which conceals itself in holes ? khardal (mustard), whose scientific name is Salvadora Persica, which he thinks better calculated than any other tree that has yet been adduced to answer to every thing that is required. We have in it a small seed, which, sown in cultivated ground, grows up, abounds in foliage, and produces a tree-like plant, or large shrub, twenty-five feet high, under which a horseman may stand, having numerous branches and leaves, among which birds may and do take shelter as well as build their nests. Its seeds have the pungent taste, and are used for the same purposes, as mustard. The tree abounds on the shores of the lake of Tiberias, where the parable (Matt. xiii. 31; xvii. 20. Mark iv. 31. Luke xiii. 19; xvii. 6) was spoken. The distribution of the plant—from the Persian gulf to Senegambia-renders it well suited to illustrate the fact, that the gospel, professed at the first by few, was eventually to spread far and wide over the world. Of this tree, Irby and Mangles, when near the Dead sea, saw specimens. They say, 'There was one curious tree which we observed in great plenty, and which bore fruit in bunches resembling in appearance the currant, with the colour of the plum. It has a pleasant, though strongly aromatic taste, exactly resembling mustard; and if taken in any quantity, produces a similar irritability of the nose and eyes to that which is caused by taking mustard. The leaves of the tree have the same pungent flavour as the fruit, although not so strong. We think it probable that this is the tree our Saviour alluded to in the parable of the Mustard Seed, and not the mustard plant which we have in the north; for, although in our journey from Byssora to Adjeloun we met with the mustard plant growing wild, as high as our horses' heads, still
, being an annual, it did not deserve the appellation of a tree; whereas the other really is such, and birds might easily, and actually do, take shelter under its shadow.'”—II. 261.
The extracts hitherto selected have only served for the elucidation of one or two passages of scripture; but many of the explanations illustrate almost as many texts as they contain lines, and these frequently of a kind which, from the difference of our manners and customs, are very liable to be mistaken by common readers. The following description of the houses of the Israelites affords an example of this fertility of application.
“ HOUSES (T). Human beings dwelt at first in caves, huts, and tents, which in warm climes afford a less insufficient shelter than they would do in cold and moist regions. At an early period houses were erected of such materials, whether of clay, brick, wood, or stone, as the country most readily supplied (Gen. iv. 17; xïi. 5). The houses of the Israelites were in all probability similar to those which are now seen in Palestine, and of course they varied in size and details according to men's condition in life and the progress of luxury (1 Kings vii. 2–6. Jer. xxii. 14). They were either detached or joined together, and sometimes had as many as three stories (Acts xx. 9). In all their varieties, regard was paid to the peculiarities of climate, which in Judea allows men to live much out of doors, and makes an open space or court within the house pleasant and desirable. Hence, for the houses of persons of substance, preference was given to the quadrangle which enclosed a court yard, having often in the midst a fountain, or receptacle of water (2 Sam. xvii. 18. Matthew xxvi. 69, for 'in the palace,' read, probably, in the court yard'), and the interior of which was furnished with colonnades or cloisters, galleries, baths (2 Samuel xi. 2), trees and plants. In this large paved and decorated court strangers were received and entertainments given. Comp. Esther i. 5. This court was entered by a gate or door formed in the middle of the front of the quadrangle. Beyond the court, and on the opposite side, was the harem or women's apartments, which were sometimes much decorated, and always guarded against strangers and every male except the master of the family. The court itself thus formed the middle of the house, and is intended, in Luke v. 19, by the words into the midst.' Over this open court, in order to shelter it from the burning sun, a curtain or awning was extended which could easily be withdrawn, so as to allow any thing to be lowered from the roof into the yard, which explains the proceeding in the passage last referred to. Comp. Mark ii. 4. The tops or roofs of these sides of the quadrangle were flat, having a low breast-work for protection. The roofs served for social and religious purposes. Here the family met to enjoy the cool of the day. Here members of it slept. Here worship was paid. With the roof and with the court yard were connected rooms of various sizes and for various purposes, made in the sides or wings of the quadrangular building. Of these apartments we mention the upper room,' a private apartment or closet (1 Kings xvii. 19. Acts ix. 37, 39), used especially for prayer (2 Kings xxiii. 12. Acts i. 13; xx. 8) and for sickness (Joseph. Antiq. xviii. 8, 2). From this upper room' were often two means of egress, one leading into the house, the other immediately into the street. Mansions and palaces had an outer court or porch (Judg. iii. 23. Jer. xxxii. 2. Mark xiv. 68. John xviii. 16), which was used as an ante-room, and from which, by means of stairs, sometimes 'winding stairs,' (1 Kings vi. 8), often made of costly wood (2 Chron. ix. 11), they went to the galleries and roof. A doorway led from the outer into the inner court. Into it looked the windows of the apartments, for on the outside there were in general only a few openings. The exterior was neglected for the interior, on which much care was sometimes bestowed (1 Kings vi. 15; xxi. 39. Jer. xxii. 14. Amos iii. 15). The doors moved on pins (Prov. xxvi. 14. 1 Kings vii. 50), and by handles, which, as a mark of love, were occasionally sprinkled with aromatic waters (Cant. v. 5), being fastened by a bolt within (Judg. iii. 25. Luke xi. 7).
"In the accompanying ground-plan
8 of a house in the East, B B repreк
sents the outer walls, and H the porch; having two entrances into the street, T, the large door, and r a small door, leading up the private staircase, h, to the private apartments
above. K K are the principal rooms
K of the house, arranged in quadranK
gular form on each side of a large court yard, C, and opening into it by four doors. Along the sides of this court yard runs a colonnade, D D, under which is the piazza, E E, which in houses of two stories is surmounted by a gallery of similar form. Next
to the porch, and opening into it, is the staircase, G.-As houses and walls of the common sort were made of clay, we see the force of those passages which speak of digging through them (Ezekiel xii. 5, 7. Matt. vi. 20), and imply their want of durability (Job iv. 19. Matt. vii. 25). In the case of houses that were united together, it was easy for a person to pass from one roof to another, and so make an escape without descending into his house (Matt. xxiv. 17)."—II. 36, 37.
We must here close our remarks on these useful volumes, for we have already devoted to them as much space as can be afforded to the notice of any work of this nature. In the course of our observations, we have not scrupled to express our dissent from the author's statements on some points, and from his inferences on others; but we have very inadequately conveyed our own convictions and impressions, if we have failed to express our high opinion of the author's learning, indus
try and judicious treatment of the subject in by far the greater portion of his work.
We can cordially recommend these volumes as an excellent companion to the Scriptures, calculated to be useful not merely to those who have not access to new and expensive books of the same kind, but to many who have valuable libraries at their command; for the information which can here be obtained in a moment, in reference to any topic that presents itself, is often scattered through a great number of volumes, and could not be collected, even by one who has them on his shelves,—which we suspect is the case with very few readers,—without much delay and inconvenience. To young ministers and candidates for the ministry, some work of this sort is indispensable; and without undervaluing those already published, we can truly declare that we know not any which can be preferred to this for accuracy, variety and condensation; while in some respects it has advantages over them all. To families whose heads are desirous of training up the younger members in the habit of reading the Scriptures with interest and intelligence,-to the managers and teachers of Sunday-schools,—it will prove an invaluable repertory. In short, the lovers of the Bible of every class will find the People's Dictionary an excellent store-house of interesting information; and we cannot pronounce upon it a higher eulogium than by declaring that it is, in our opinion, calculated to increase their number. On this ground we cordially wish and confidently expect for it an extensive circulation.
The reviewer has to apologise to the editor and readers of the Reformer, and especially to the author of the Dictionary, for an inadvertence in his former article. He there stated that the author must have made a mistake in referring to Is. xxviii. 18, as proving that skins covered with a thin coating of wax were used for writing upon, as “ there is in that text no allusion to any thing of the kind.” The error, however, was committed by the reviewer himself, who in examining the author's reference turned inadvertently to Is. xxxviii. 18, instead of Is. xxviii. 18. In the latter passage there is an allusion to some method of obliterating the contents of a written document; though whether the method employed was by rubbing down with the knob of the stylus the letters formed on a wax surface with its point, or by smearing over and daubing with dirt or a coarse pigment the surface of the document, and so rendering its contents illegible, may well be questioned. Compare Gen. vi. 14, - Thou shalt daub it over with pitch," where the same verb is used. But Gesenius, Rosenmuller, Henderweck, and probably others, agree with the author's interpretation.
DAVID HUME'S APOLOGY FOR A CHURCH ESTABLISHMENT. MR. HUME vindicates the policy of an opulent establishment, as a bribe which purchases the useful inactivity of the priesthood. They have no longer, he supposes, any temptation to court a dangerous dominion over the minds of the people, because they are independent of it.— Mackintosh's Misc. Works, III. 68.
LAYARD'S NINEVEH." This work, it may be literally said, is one of unprecedented interest, revealing as it does some curious glimpses of a great nation of high antiquity, previously almost unknown, and at length giving “a local habitation to a people, hitherto little more to us than a visionary though splendid "name.” The author shews himself fully equal to the importance of his undertaking and the unique interest of his subject; his patience, boldness and tact, as well as his good sense, learning and acuteness, being scarcely less remarkable than the brilliant success which has rewarded his labours. So strikingly is this the case, that the reader turns back to see if he read correctly the author's statement in his Preface, p. i, that he was induced to undertake the work “ under the united disadvantages of incapacity, literary inexperience, ill-health, and a very short residence in England." This is perhaps the only statement in the book which the reader feels inclined in great measure to discredit, without, however, questioning the genuineness of the modesty by which it was prompted. It shews that Mr. Layard, like every earnest thinker and worker, places a high standard before him in imagination, which makes the greatest actual achievements seem full of imperfection. The statement, however, is so far true, that his work may be considered to be as full of promise as of performance, detailing only the commencement of researches, which, we are led to hope, he will himself, ere long, be enabled to carry out more fully.
The greater portion of the work, comprising Part I., is occupied with a lively and graphic narrative of the origin and progress of the author's discoveries, including also the highly interesting episodes of his visits to the Chaldæan Christians in the sublime mountain scenery of Kurdistan, and the Yezidis or Devil-worshipers, and giving incidentally many characteristic traits of Arabs, Turks and Kurds. Part II. is devoted to specific treatises on the Assyrians--their probable origin, antiquity, language, arts, costume, mode of warfare, private life and religion—especially as illustrated by the remains now brought to light. In appropriate connection with these remains, there is frequent and intelligent reference to ancient writers, including some of the prophets of the Old Testament, much of whose language receives new and curious confirmation or elucidation from the results of Mr. Layard's indefatigable zeal.
The work thus presents several distinct features of high interest, ancient and modern, each of which might form the subject of a separate and elaborate review.
After a brief Introduction, stating the sources and substance of our acquaintance with Assyria before the commencement of his researches, the author opens his narrative with a fascinating sketch of a ramble over the East with a sympathising companion in 1839-40, when he first conceived the design of excavating a great pyramidal mound near the junction of the Tigris and the Zab, which he easily identified as
Nineveh and its Remains: with an Account of a Visit to the Chaldæan Christians of Kurdistan, and the Yezidis, or Devil-worshippers; and an Inquiry into the Manners and Arts of the Ancient Assyrians. By Austen Henry Layard, Esq., D.C. L. In two vols. 8vo. Pp. 399, 491. London--Murray.