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whatever to the grape-vine; they apply to totally different things, and that the words stand as they do in the A. V. is a great pity. “ Vine" is merely a form of the word “ bine,” the substantive of the verb “to bind," and applies to any plant whatever, of any class or order, that is of limp and climbing habit, whether it mount, like the hop, by spiral twisting of the stems; or by means of the “little strong embrace" of tendrils, as in the bryony; or by means of palmate suckers, as in the Virginian creeper. In North America “bine” always has this sense, and in England we acknowledge it in “ bindweed” and “wood bine.” In Kent and Worcestershire the people speak of the “bines" of the hops. The grape-producing plant is properly the “grape-vine,” and it is simply because this last is the vine par excellence that in England the appellation of vine has become limited or absolute. The Hebrews had a term which was precisely equivalent, namely, gephen, the complete name of the grape-vine being gephen-hay-yayin. In 1 Kings iv. 39, however, the expression is gephen-sadeh, and this, as we shall see by and by, denotes the colocynth-vine—a very different thing from a wild Vitis vinifera. Gephensadeh is probably the same as gephen-sedom, the “vine of Sodom” of Deut. xxxii. 32, as will also be noticed in due course. As for the “ wild grapes” of Isaiah v. 2, 4, the word in the Hebrew, so far from being that which denotes the fruit of the Vitis vinifera, in any state or condition, is beushim, the plural of besha, which in Job xxxi. 40 is by the A. V. translated “cockle.” “Let choach grow instead of wheat, and besha instead of barley.” There is no direct evidence, but the allusion is probably to the fruit of the Solanum nigrum, or common garden nightshade, a disagreeable cosmopolitan weed, the black berries of which are sufficiently like wretched grapes to give point to the comparison. In colour and form they are almost identical with the Uve Corinthiace, those celebrated little grapes which, when dried, become the “currants” we import from the Morea.
In Egypt, though the cultivation was so ancient, the vine, as in Palestine, was almost certainly an introduced or exotic plant, and the culture, though wide, was by no means universal. In the portions of the country which were then, as now, overflowed annually by the Nile, it was probably seen but seldom, or not at all. The districts devoted to it were those which still constitute Egypt proper, or the long green strip of land which forms the valley of that famous river, and in these probably it was co-extensive with the national power. That the vine was familiar to the people of Egypt generally, may be
concluded from the narrative in Genesis xl., when Pharaoh's chief butler saw in vision “a vine with three branches,” Joseph acting as interpreter of the dream. Whether the grapes were as fine and good we have now no means of ascertaining; it would seem that they were inferior to those of Palestine ; and the bunches of fruit would appear to have been smaller, for when the spies who visited Eshcol carried back specimens of the products of the Promised Land, the cluster of grapes was borne "
on a staff between two.” Here, however, we must be careful not to suppose more than is really meant. There is no need to exaggerate in the way that has often been done in pictures. We are not told that the famous bunch actually required for its conveyance the physical strength of the two men who bore it homewards. They slung it, in all likelihood, not because of its weight, but to prevent damage and bruising, simply anticipating the precautions of exhibitors at modern fruit-shows. That Eshcol produced bunches of immense size is no doubt true. And that Syria in general excelled Egypt in regard to its grapes may be inferred perhaps from the classical writers, who praise the fruit of Sarepta, Libanus, Ascalon, and Tyre. Geographically, Eshcol is arrived at soon after leaving Hebron for Jerusalem. Today the vine has in Palestine, as in Persia, the look of an aboriginal. Upon Hermon "young vine-shoots depend from every rock, and climb up the rough stone heaps."
(To be continued.)
SHORT LESSONS FOR SIMPLE MINDS.-No. VI.
Psalm cxxii. 1.
David, in this psalm, expresses the joy which we should all feel at entering the house of the Lord. The appointment of one day out of seven, in which we may rest, after six days of toil, is an invaluable blessing to our weary minds and bodies. The cares and troubles which have harassed us through the week are put aside, and the joyful privilege of worshipping Him from whom proceed all our worldly comforts, as well as all our spiritual blessings, is granted to us. It is then that we can sit down and read those loving words, “Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” How sweet the thought of rest is, especially when we turn our attention to our own hearts, and find that from them had proceeded so many of the anxieties and troubles which the past week
had brought us. We had not committed our way unto the Lord as we should have done. Instead of trying to remember that His watchful eye is always over us, and that He is only waiting for us to pray for His guiilance that He may grant it, we have hurried through our day's work, satisfied with having perhaps asked Him, in a careless way, to be with us through the day, and defend and protect us, but not having endeavoured to realise the answer to our prayer, by waiting upon Him in our hearts, “lifting them up to the Lord," as the Psalmist expresses it, and letting Him fill them with that knowledge and love of goodness and truth which we required for the right performance of our duties.
Thoughts such as these, and others equally important, are brought before our minds when we “enter the house of the Lord” in a right spirit. But it is evident from the succeeding verses that not merely the building, which we are accustomed to call “the Lord's house,” is meant, but the Church which makes that building what it is. That must first find its place in our hearts. In answer to the question, Isaiah lxvi. 1, 2, “Where is the place of my rest ?" the Lord answers, “ To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” To feel that we have nothing but sin that we can call our own, is to be poor indeed, and such a conviction must bring with it a contrite spirit. A feeling how unspeakably small the return we have made for the innumerable blessings we have received may well work in us true contrition for our past sins, and a trembling at the judgments which are denounced in God's Word upon the rebellious and impenitent. But to those who thus tremble, the Lord promises that He “will appear to their joy," and in speaking of Jerusalem, that Church which must dwell in every Christian, and be at the same time their dwelling-place, He says, “I will extend peace to her like a river." Let it be our resolve, then, that “our feet shall stand within the gates of Jerusalem.” We have before considered the signification of the feet in the regenerate life. “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.” The gates of any city are outside of it, so the gates of Jerusalem are those truths which relate to the outward life ; if we obey them, our feet are within the boundary line of the Church, and as it is one with the New Jerusalem which descended out of heaven from God, “ there shall in nowise enter into it anything that defileth, neither worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.”
I. JOHNSON'S Boswell, in a certain conversation with his hero, ventured to say a word or two in favour of Berkeley's idealism. The Doctor, by way of reply, set his foot “with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it," and exclaimed, “I refute it thus !"
The argument was striking and forcible, but it would not have convinced the Irish Bishop; neither would that other, respecting which the same Boswell tells us that,—being in company with a gentleman who had defended the transcendental notion of things existing but as perceived in thought,—when the gentleman was going away, Johnson said to him, “Pray, sir, don't leave us; for we may per haps forget to think of you, and then you will cease to exist !”
Either of these arguments would have been accepted by Swedenborg : Bishop Berkeley would have repudiated both; and yet each of these distinguished thinkers set out from the same Cartesianism ! For other reasons, then, besides that of the advantage always derivable from mental calisthenics, it may be worth while inquiring how these two men came to conclusions so widely different.
GEORGE BERKELEY was born at Kilcrin, Kilkenny County, in March 1684. After receiving a good rudimentary education at the Irish Eton--the Grammar School of Kilkenny-he was removed to Trinity College, Dublin, where, in 1707, the year in which he obtained his fellowship, he published his first work—"An Attempt to demonstrate Arithmetic without the aid of Algebra." The essay was in Latin, and the title of it suggestive of an intellect fond of abstract reasoning, and given to paradox and innovation. Such was indeed the case. In his Commonplace-Book, and while speaking of certain mathematical works, he tells us he was “ distrustful at eight years old, and consequently by nature disposed for these new doctrines." It may thus be said that there was with Berkeley a constitutional bias towards idealism. Singularly enough, he could subsequently ascend to one of the highest dignities in the Church, and yet this spirit of sceptical scrutiny and innovation should never touch his Anglican orthodoxy—even though the age was that of Chubb and Tindal! Here Berkeley could do much, as the Norwegian does with his nine-feet skates, in speeding along towards an obstacle—make a transcendent whisk upwards and forwards in front of the danger, and alight safely on the other side. Thus the divine whose philosophy could revoke into doubt our
belief in an eternal world, and could shake our faith in a God who is more than an idea ; could rail against Collins, and declare that “if ever a man deserved to be denied the common benefits of air and water, it is the author of ' A Discourse of Freethinking;'” yea, could even declare, in regard to the religion of Protestantism, “in this a humble implicit faith becomes us, such as a Popish peasant gives to propositions he hears at mass in Latin.”
In this strange spirit of seeming doublemindedness, Berkeley published, in 1709, his contribution “ Towards a Theory of Vision,” and sought to draw a distinct line between perceptions solely visual and those in which complex perceptions are produced through the conjoint operation of sight with one or more of the other senses. A year later and his celebrated “ Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge" came from the press; it gives us the idealistic philosophy called Berkeleyism. When the work appeared it confirmed the opinions of those two different parties with whom Berkeley during his student years had necessarily come into contact—"those who were slightly acquainted with him and took him for a fool, and those who shared his intimate friendship and thought him a prodigy of learning and goodness of heart.” He had read in Descartes how the latter, up to a certain period, had admitted many things as “clear and evident” which had afterwards been found doubtful, such as the earth, the sky, the stars, and all those other objects he had been wont to perceive by the senses. “What was it that I clearly perceived in them?” the Frenchman had asked in his self-scrutiny. “Only this, that the ideas and thoughts of those objects were presented to my mind. But I had also affirmed, what in truth I did not perceive at all, I mean the existence of objects external to me, from which those ideas came, and to which they held a perfect resemblance. It was here I was mistaken, or, if I judged correctly, this assuredly was not traced to any knowledge I possessed of these things” (Médit. iii.).
It was the idea of God involved in this reservational “if” that carried Descartes safely beyond the dismal swamp in which Berkeley foundered. To the French philosopher it became evident, upon more careful search, that God existed ; that God was 'truthful, that God willed every man should have a firm belief that the human mind received impressions from spheres which were outside mind ;-from their God, from heaven, from external nature. For such a belief to be willed of God and yet be grounded upon a delusion--" the baseless fabric of a vision"—this was to impugn the Divine veracity.