« ElőzőTovább »
Solomon upon his guard against him. / his possessions. I do not think this so Barzillai and his sons, and the service certain. Ziba, I suspect, had some reathey had rendered him in the day of son in what he said, though probably his adversity, are all recommended to the colouring of the picture was his own. his friendly consideration; but of Me- Certain it is, or all but certain, that the phibosheth, who had played a part, such tribe of Benjamin, which was the tribe as it was, in the scenes of those eventful of Mephibosheth, did, in general, take times, which had called forth, for good part with the rebels. When David reor evil, a Chimham, a Barzillai, a Shi- turned victorious, and Shimei hastened mei, and a Joab, he does not say a syl- to make his peace with him, a thousand lable. Yet he was under peculiar obli- men of Benjamin accompanied him; gations to him. He had loved his father and it was his boast that he came the Jonathan. He had promised to show first of "all the house of Joseph,” to kindness to his house for ever. He had meet the king, 2 Sam. xix. 17—20, as confirmed his promise by an oath. That though others of his tribe (for they of oath he had repeated,' 1 Sam. xx. 17. Benjamin were reckoned of the house of On his accession to the throne, he had Joseph, the same mother having given evinced no disposition to shrink from it; birth to both) were yet behind. Went on the contrary, he had studiously in. not then the heart of Mephibosheth in quired after the family of Jonathan, and the day of battle with his brethren, having found Mephibosheth, he gave rather than with his benefactor ? David him a place at his own table continually, himself evidently believed the report of for his father's sake, and secured to him Ziba, and forthwith gave him his masall the lands of Saul, 2 Sam. ix. 6, 7. ter's inheritance, 2 Sam. xvi. 4. The
Let us, however, carefully examine battle is now fought, on which the fate the details of the history, and I think we of the throne hung in suspense,
and shall be able to account satisfactorily David is the conqueror. And now, many enough for David's apparent neglect of who had forsaken, or insulted him in his the son of his friend; for I think we distress, hasten to congratulate him on shall find violent cause to suspect that his triumph, and to profess their joy at Mephibosheth had forfeited all claims his return; Mephibosheth amongst the to his kindness.
rest. There is something touching in When David was driven from Jerusa- | David's first greeting of him; " Wherelem by the rebellion of Absalom, no fore wentest thou not with me, MephiMephibosheth appeared to share with bosheth ?" A question not of curiosity, him his misfortunes, or to support him but of reproach. His ass was saddled, by his name, a name at that moment of forsooth, that he might go; but Ziba, it peculiar value to David; for Mephibo seems, had taken it for himself, and gone sheth was the representative of the house unto the king, and slandered him unto of Saul. David naturally intimates some the king; and meanwhile “thy servant surprise at his absence; and when his was lame.” The tale appears to be as servant Ziba appears, bringing with him lame as the tale-bearer. I think it a small present of bread and fruits, (the clear, that Mephibosheth did not sucline of the king's flight having apparently ceed in removing the suspicion of his carried him near the lands of Mephibo- disloyalty from David's mind, notwithsheth,) a present, however, offered on standing the ostentatious display of his his own part, and not on the part of his clothes unwashed, and beard untrimmaster, David puts to him several ques- med; weeds which the loss of his estate tions, expressive of his suspicions of might very well have taught him to Mephibosheth's loyalty: “What mean
“What mean- put on: for otherwise, would not David, est thou by these ? - Where is thy mas in common justice both to Mephiboter's son ?” 2 Sam. xvi. 2, 3. Ziba re sheth and to Ziba, have punished the plies in substance, that he had tarried at treachery of the latter, the lie by which Jerusalem, waiting the event of the re he had imposed upon the king to his bellion, and hoping that it might lead to own profit, and to his master's infinite the re-establishment of Saul's family on dishonour and damage, by revoking altothe throne. This might be true, or it gether the grant of the lands which he might be false. The commentators ap- had made him, under an impression pear to take for granted that it was a which proved to be a mistake, and remere slander of Ziba, invented for the storing them to their rightful owner, purpose of supplanting Mephibosheth in who had been injuriously supposed to
have forfeited them by treason to the which present themselves, on the ordicrown? He does, however, no such nary supposition of Ziba's treachery, and thing. To Mephibosheth, indeed, he Mephibosheth's truth; difficulties which gives back half, but that is all; and he I cannot better explain, than by referring leaves the other half still in the posses- my hearers to the beautiful “ Contemsion of Ziba; doing even thus much, in plations” of Bishop Hall, whose view of all probability, not as an act of justice, these two characters is the common one, but out of tenderness to a son, even an and who consequently finds himself, in unworthy son of Jonathan, whom he this instance, it will be perceived, enhad loved as his own soul. And then, cumbered with his subject, and driven as if impatient of the wearisome exculpa- to the necessity of impugning the justice tions of an ungrateful man, whose ex of David. It is further valuable, as excuses were his accusations, he abruptly onerating the king of two other charges puts an end to the parley (the convers- which have been brought against him, ation having been apparently much yet more serious than the last, even of longer than is recorded) with a Why indifference to the memory of his dearest speakest thou any more of thy matters ? friend, and disregard to the obligations I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the of his solemn oath. But these are not land," 2 Sam. xix. 29.
the only instances in which the character Henceforward, whatever act of grace of David, and indeed of the history itself, he received at David's hands, was purely which treats of him, has suffered, from a gratuitous. His unfaithfulness had re- neglect to make allowance for omissions leased the king from his bond; and that in a very brief and desultory memoir, or he lived, was perhaps rather of suffer from a want of more exact attention to ance than of right; a consideration which the under-current of the narrative, which serves to explain David's conduct towards would, in itself, very often supply those him, as it is reported on an occasion sub- omissions. sequent to the rebellion. For when pro These simple facts I leave to make pitiation was to be made by seven of their own impression. I will not weaken Saul's sons, for the sin of Saul in the their effect by dwelling upon them longer, slaughter of the Gibeonites, “the king, but commit them confidently to the conwe read, spared Mephibosheth, the sideration of every ingenuous hearer, be son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because his spirit what it may, as testimonies to of the Lord's oath that was between the general truth of Scripture not to be them, between David and Jonathan the despised. At the same time, I may be son of Saul,” 2 Sam. xxi. 7; as though permitted to confess for myself, that, he owed it to the oath only, and to the during the course of the investigation of memory of his father's virtues, that he Holy Writ, which I have thus been put was not selected by David as one of the upon, into which I have gone by no victims of that bloody sacrifice.
means delicately, with a desire to follow Now, under these circumstances, is it after truth, lead me where it might; a subject for surprise ; is it not rather a with no heated mind, (if I know myself,) most natural and veracious coincidence, and not without a full sense of the diffithat David, in commending on his death culties that occasionally cross the pathbed some of his staunch and trust-worthy that during this investigation, the thought friends to Solomon, his son, should have has forced itself upon me very often and omitted all mention of Mephibosheth, very powerfully, Howextraordinary an act dissatisfied as he was, and ever had been, of presumption, to say the least of it, it is with his explanations of very suspicious in any man to sport with documents so conduct, at a very critical hour? con- attested, upon the strength of a cursory, sidering him, with every appearance of or perhaps of no examination of their reason, a waiter upon Providence, as such contents whatever! and how immense a persons have been since called; a pru- hazard he is running, who determines to dent man, who would see which way the set them aside, live as he lists, and abide battle went, before he made up his mind the issue! I judge him not; but let not to which side he belonged ? This coin- my soul be with his, lest I should find cidence is important, not merely as car- after all, that in that hour, when heaven rying with it evidence of a true story in and earth shall pass away, this word shall all its details, which is my business with not pass away, and I remain "to be it ; but also as disembarrassing the inci- confuted by the flames.” - Rev. J.J. dent itself of several serious difficulties Blunt.
in French it is aune, in German oller, (Alnus glutinosa.)
and in Italian alno. There are several
ough and seems full of clefts : in the EXPLANATION OF Cut-a, male catkin. 6, three spring, while the sap is rising, it is male flowers in single calyx. C, single male easily separated from the trunk. To flower. d, female flower. e, calyx to female this Virgil alludes, flower. f, ripe cones. NATURAL ORDER. Betulacæ.
“As alders in the spring, their boles extend, LINNEAN ARRANGEMENT. Monæcia Tetran And heave so fiercely, that the bark they rend.”
DRYDEN, Barren Flowers in a loose cylindrical catkin, The leaves are of a deep bright green, numerous, imbricated all round. Calyx a wedgeshaped scale with two minute lateral scales three- from three to four inches long; before flowered. Corolla composed of three equal florets, expanding, they are enclosed in a very attached to the inner part of the scale, each of one glutinous pale green sheath.
Their Anthers roundish, two lobed. Fertile Flowers in and in the species before us, is always segments. Filaments four, shorter than the corolla. margin is deeply and irregularly notched, an oval imbricated catkin, shorter and smaller than the other. Scales, ternate, concave, each scale rounded at the summit. The footstalk containing two embryos. Corolla none. Germen is long, and continued under the leaf compressed, two celled. Styles two, tapering, parallel, deciduous. Stigma simple. Nut, egg
as a prominent midrib ; this diverges shaped, hard, angular, two celled. Kernel, soli- into the other veins, and at each angle is tary, ovate, acute. Low trees, with rugged bark,
a little white downy tuft. and crooked spreading smooth branches. Leaves alternate roundish, waved, serrate, glutinous,
The natural colour of the wood is downy at the branching of the waves beneath, with white : on being cut, the surface of the twin deciduous stipules. Catkins terminal, pa- wound becomes red; but afterwards it nicled, pendulous; appear before the foliage in March. Grows in moist and wet situations. assumes or retains a lighter hue. It is “Yon alder, leaning o'er the brook,
soft, easily worked, and extremely pe-
not stand twelve months, nor will the "The alder, owner of all waterish grounds.” timber do for posts or anything else
where it is in contact with the ground, The alder is one of the largest and except under water." But in this latter most picturesque of our aquatic trees. situation it becomes hard and durable Its very name points out the situation as stone, and is generally preferred to most congenial to its growth. Some any other timber for water wheels, pipes, etymologists have traced it to two Latin sluices, piles, and foundations for bridges, words, alitur amne, that is, “it thrives by or even buildings in low, marshy situthe water.” Others again consider it to ations. The famous Rialto at Venice is be derived from the Celtic al, near and built on alder piles, and Vitruvius tells lan, edge of water. This latter idea us that the morasses about Ravenna were appears the most correct, as the tree piled with this timber before that city is in different places known as the aller, was built. Pliny applies the epithet oller, or owler, and the same common eternal" to piles of alder : large plantorigin may be traced in other lan-ations of it are grown in Flanders and guages derived from the Celtic. Thus Holland for similar purposes. Logs of
L. A. TWAMLEY.
alder which have lain long in bogs have pally employed as fuel when & slow the colour and appearance of ebony; and not fierce heat is needed, as in these are much prized in Scotland, and brick and lime burning, heating ovens, inlaid cups and other small articles are etc. But the chief use made of the formed by blending veneers of bog oak alder is as coppice wood, which is and alder with the wood of the birch cut every five or six years, and conor holly, which are white, and that of verted into charcoal for the manufacture juniper, which is of a brownish tinge, of gunpowder.. Large plantations are The timber of this tree is also applied kept up for this purpose by the proto many domestic purposes, being soft
, prietors of the Hounslow and other homogeneous, and easily worked; such gunpowder manufactories, the charcoal as spinning wheels, trenchers, bowls, of the alder being considered superior dairy utensils, clogs, pattens, kneading to that of any other tree for this purtroughs, etc.
It is also used to line pose. stone carts and wheelbarrows, not being The alder is the most aquatic tree likely to split or shiver by the sharp of the European Sylva, even more so edges of the stones. Even when young, than the willow or poplar. A damp, the wood is valuable as staves for marshy spot is most congenial to its herring barrels; and in Scotland whole growth ; but though moisture is nebanks of alder are every year cut for cessary, a rich soil is equally indispenthis single purpose,
The timber of sable. If planted in a dry and elevated old trees is full of knots, and not in- situation, it dwindles to a dwarf and ferior in beauty to the maple. It is stunted shrub. It is then by the standmuch valued by the cabinet maker; and ing pool and the dank, cool marsh, the being of a rich deep reddish hue, is limpid brook, the full deep flowing sometimes designated as Scotch maho- stream, and in the “cool green shadowy gany, and manufactured into chairs, river nook,” that we must seek if we tables, and articles of furniture. It is would find the alder. With such scenes necessary, however, previously to im- and spots it has become as it were merse the wood in water saturated with identified, and its dense shade and lime, as it is otherwise liable to the bright green foliage well harmonize attacks of a small beetle.
with the surrounding scene, and invite The bark of the alder possesses as
beneath their welcome shelter the wantringent properties, and almost every derer oppressed with heat, and blinded part of the tree is used in dyeing. The by the rays of the summer sun. Thus young shoots dye red, yellow, or brown, have the poets both of ancient and and black when mixed with copperas ; modern times depicted it. the catkins yield green and the young wood a snuff colour. The red dye with
In living rills a gushing fountain broke; which the Laplanders stain their leather Around it and above, for ever green,
The bushy alders formed a shady screen. garments is obtained by mastication of the bark. In the Highlands, too,
" By a brook the verdant alders rise, where oaks are scarce and stunted,
When fostering zephyrs fan the vernal skies." the inhabitants formerly evaded the tax on leather by tanning the hides of their
I looked around, and there,
Where two tall hedge rows of thick alder boughs, own cattle with alder and birch bark,
Joined in a cold damp nook, espied a well and thus manufactured their brogues or Shrouded with willow flowers and plumy fern.” shoes. Nor is the alder unknown in the herbal. The inner rind, when dried,
“ The Phaethonian alder next took place
He loves the purling streams, and often laves is employed in decoctions, and if beaten Beneath the floods, and wantons with the waves." with vinegar, is said to heal cutaneous eruptions,
The leaves are detersive, The alders at Bishop Auckland, in and used for gargles, etc., and Evelyn the bishop of Durham's Park, were asserts that, when applied fresh to the some of the largest this country ever foot, they relieve weary travellers. The produced. The trunk of one of them branches used to be often spread over measured, in 1818, eleven feet in the fields, and left to decay before circumference. Gilpin tells us, ploughing them in as manure ; some who would see the alder in perfection times the sprays are used to fill up must follow the banks of the Mole, in drains in a moist soil before they are Surrey, through the sweet vales of covered over.
They are now princi- | Dorking and Mickleham, The Mole is
From out the cavern'd rock
far from being a beautiful river: it is grown, may have suggested to some a quiet and sluggish stream; but what | bold enterprising spirit the first idea beauty it has, it owes greatly to the of navigating the watery element, and alder, which everywhere fringes its afforded him the means of achieving the banks, and in many places forms very venturous task. If the ancient poets pleasing scenes.” It is rare to meet may be considered as authorities, this with an old alder, as they are generally is no mere chimera. Ovid tells us, cut down before they have attained per
“Trees rudely hollowed did the waves sustain, fection to fulfil some of the various
Ere ships in triumph ploughed the watery useful purposes to which man applies main;" them, yet in different parts of the and Virgil still further corroborates the country are some which have attained idea : to an extraordinary size. At Woburn
" When hollow alders first the waters tried," is one seventy feet high, the diameter and again, of the trunk four feet, and that of the
“And down the rapid Po light alders glide." space shaded by the branches sixty-five Perhaps the unnumbered annals of hefeet. Another at Syon, near London, is sixty-three feet in height, the dia: roism scarcely present a grander exmeter of the head sixty feet, and that ample of dauntless daring and imof the trunk three feet. At Oxford, portant achievement than that which in the Botanic Garden is an alder from accident or design, first floated on
was accomplished by the individual who, tree fifty-five feet in height, though this dangerous element; and it would only planted forty years ; and at Belvoir be difficult
, nay impossible, to point to Castle, one only twenty-six years old is sixty feet high. These are all of the
a single fact in the history of civilization, cut-leaved variety, (Alnus glutinosa la- fraught with more important and benecinata,) so called from the leaves, ation. In the alder, then, we have the
ficial results to every age and generwhich are deeply notched or pinnatified. It has been stated that this variety was
origin of that mighty power, which by first discovered in France, and thence the directing hand of Him who giveth propagated over Europe.
man knowledge, has triumphed over imThe alder is propagated by truncheons, regions, made the billowy main a high
measurable distance, united far-severed cuttings of the root, layers, or seeds ; this latter method appears to succeed way to the sons of business, enterprise better than any other, though in each, that fostered her, civilization, wealth,
or pleasure, and spread around each spot care is requisite, as the young plants, if not well rooted, are frequently washed and knowledge. away by the stream. It is well cal- big with importance to mankind, have culated for planting in parks and orna
transpired within those frail yet mighty mental aquatic scenery, not only from tenements, which, from the light coits picturesque form, and the vivid racle to the stupendous man-of-war, colour and density of its foliage, but may trace back their origin to the length of time it retains its leaves.
“ The floating alder by the current borne !" It is even useful in such situations, for In an ark of gopher wood constructed the shelter it affords is beneficial to the in obedience to the Divine behest, the grass beneath it, and grateful to cattle, remnant of the old and the progeniwhile they will not touch its leaves, if tors of the new world were preserved other food be within reach. Alder cop unharmed when the fountains of the pices are sometimes appropriated for great deep were broken up, and the winter grazing of the out-door stock.
windows of heaven were opened,” while “ The alder, whose fat shadow nourisheth,
“the waters prevailed exceedingly, and Each plant set near him long flourisheth."
the mountains were covered, and every
living substance was destroyed which In a former number of these papers, was upon the face of the ground, both we alluded to the noble ash under the man, and cattle, and the creeping things, character of “the husbandman's tree,” and the fowl of the heaven." See and we may with equal propriety dis- Gen. vii. It was by means of her fleet tinguish the alder as “the navigator's that the little isle of Tyre became “ tree.” Professor Martyn suggests that mart of nations, the crowning city, the hollow trunk of an alder falling whose merchants," it was said, into the stream beside which it had princes, whose traffickers are the honour