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He will continue thus to overturn and subjugate until every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father. Ignoring the appliances of carnal ingenuity or worldly policies, He moves on in the silent majesty of irresistible power. Going forward among the nations with even less ostentation than when He rode into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass, He gathers increasing multitudes, which no man can number, of all tongues and ranks and classes, all of whom greet their King with the exultant exclamation: “Hosanna to the Son of David !”
The public entry of Christ into Jerusalem symbolizes His second, but infinitely more glorious advent in the clouds of heaven to judge the living and the dead, and consummate His kingdom. As He purged the temple, so will He cut off every dead member of His Church. The net will be drawn to the shore, and the bad fish cast away. The tares will be separated from the wheat, and burned. To all the wicked, he will say : “ Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
But to the righteous He will say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” If the Jews greeted Him with glad hosannas when He rode over the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem, what will the welcome of His saints be, at His second coming ?
When all their doubts and fears are ended, when their trials and temptations, their sufferings and fierce conflicts are over, and they see their crucified King, the chief among ten thousand angels, coming in majesty and glory unutterable, what hosannas will then go up from patriarchs, and prophets, and apostles, and martyrs, and confessors, and saints of all ages! Behold the entire sacramental host of God unite, with one voice, in saying,
Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”
There is a connection between His public entry and His crucifixion. The greatest display of earthly glory and His ignominious death, meet. They occur in the same week-during the celebration of the same festival. His extraordinary teachings during three years, accompanied by the display of miraculous power in healing the sick and raising the dead, prepared the minds of the people to receive Him with enthusiastic shouts of applause, when He fulfilled the predictions of Zechariah. On the other hand, His ministry and miracles had gradually matured the hatred and enmity of the Scribes, Pharisees, and priests. The festal procession, the welcome by the multitudes, and the summary expulsion of traders from the temple, had doubtless filled them with indignation, and confirmed their determination to put Him to death. The people, disappointed in the expectation of a powerful political king, and mortified, perhaps, at their own enthusiasm, for which, in their opinion, there was no sufficient warrant, they readily gave way to a revulsion of feeling, when they saw Him taken, bound and seemingly powerless, in the hands of His enemies. From the point of profound submission and joyous exultation, they swung over to the opposite extreme of cold hate and blood-thirsty revenge. The hosannas of Sunday turned into the execrations of Friday. Like a wave on the sea, are the excited feelings of the multitude.
As regards Christ Himself, it is important to observe that His prophetical, priestly, and kingly offices are most intimately related. They are related in principle. To teach, to atone, and to rule, are mutually necessary in order that either may be effectual. Hence it is fitting, that the offices of Christ be associated in their external manifestation, as they were in fact. During the last week of His life, He taught, especially His disciples, some of the most profound and solemn truths concerning Himself and His kingdom. It was emphatically a week of instruction. So it was the week of outward demonstration of regal authority and power; and it was, above all others, the week of suffering. The manifestation of wisdom, power, and love, culminates in passion-week. He was able not to die, but He willed to die on the cross for the sins of mankind, and did die in the exercise of the same almighty power which He displayed in the festal procession. In virtue of that authority and power by which He swayed the multitudes and purged the temple, did He offer Himself a sacrifice on the accursed tree.
In this solemn transaction, the public entry of Christ into Jerusalem, every one may see an illustration of Christ dealing with individuals. No man can stand against the power of Christ. The world is like a ship at sea, moving with the wind. A
passenger on deck
walk in a direction opposite to the course of the ship, but he is carried forward, nevertheless, every moment. So does Christ govern each individual. He must kiss the Son, or fall by the way. He must submit to His authority in faith, and be exalted to honor, glory, and immortality, or he must perish. The wicked may join hand to hand; they may plot in secret, despise and curse the name of the true King; but they can neither check the course of His providence, nor even, for a moment, delay the consummation of His purpose. Weak as His believing subjects appear to the eye of the carnal understanding to be, they are nevertheless stronger than all earthly powers combined; and will as certainly share the honor and blessedness of His throne, as He overcame His foes, and is now seated on the right hand of God.
THE ALMOND TREE.
Heb. SHAKED. AMYGDALUS COMMUNIS.
BY I. K. L.
The almond tree is a native of North Africa and the mountains of Asia. It abounds in Persia, Syria, Sicily, and is very extensively cultivated for its fruit in Italy, Spain, and France. It is the type of the amygdaleæ, a sub-order of the rosaceæ. It grows to a height of fifteen to twenty feet, and has a thick stem. Its bark is rough, cracked or chapped, and of a bright green color. It has a few roots, and at times one only, which, however, is strong and grows deep. Its leaves somewhat resemble those of the peach, being about three inches long and three-quarters of an inch broad, but notched like a saw. Its flowers are sessile, large, of a pink color, va-. rying to white, † grow in pairs, and appear in January, and before the
*". Foliis' serratis.”
leaves. Its fruit an ovate, compressed nut, is of the peach kind, with the outer covering, thick, green, tough, dry, inedible, and marked with a longitudinal furrow, where it opens when fully ripe, which occurs in the month of March. Within this outer husk is a tough, perforated shell, which contains the kernel or almond.
There are two varieties of almond tree, the fruit of one of which is called sweet almond (amygdala dulcis), and of the other, bitter almond (amygdala amara); both varieties are indigenous to the East. Bitter almonds yield prussic acid, a powerful poison. Pliny says, that the sweet almond trees, becoming wild, degenerate into the bitter. The common almond is a sweet, soft, pleasantly-flavored fruit, highly esteemed as an article of food. It is largely exported from southern Europe and the Levant, whence England and the United States annually receive many hundred tons, to be used as an ingredient in confections, cookery and perfumery.
The almond tree has been introduced into England and America, and is raised in our nurseries as an ornamental tree, being highly esteemed for its beautiful, double, rose-colored flowers in spring. Its fruit does not ripen well in these countries, and it is seldom more than a niere shrub.
English Jews, when they cannot obtain palm branches for the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, carry a bough of flowering almond in their hands.
It is frequently alluded to by the classic writers of antiquity, it having then been extensively cultivated in Greece and Italy. The Greeks made a kind of almond-cake of its fruit-probably similar to our fruit-cakes. Several centuries before Christ, it was known among the Romans as the Grecian nut-nux Græca—having perhaps been introduced into Italy from Greece. Both ancient.and modern writers highly extol the medicinal virtues of this tree and its fruit.
Almond blossoms were anciently supposed to be an indication of the fertility of the year. Virgil doubtless alludes to this, when, in his direction to farmers, he advises them to “observe likewise when the nut tree in the woods clothes itself abundantly with blossoms, and bends the sweet-smelling branches."*
There is a beautiful significance in the Hebrew name of the almond tree and its fruit; for the same word, shaked is used to designate both, and literally means “the waker” or watcher, so called, says Gesenius, because it is the earliest of all trees to awaken from the sleep of winter.† Hence the Lord, when He called Jeremiah to be a prophet unto the nations, showed him in vision “a rod of an almond tree (Jer. i. 11, 12), symbolically setting before him the necessity of watching over the people committed to him, and exercising sedulous care to fulfil his commission “to root out and to pull down and to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.” In the same symbol we undoubtedly also have an allusion to the rapid approach of God's threatened judgments. “Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree. Then said the Lord unto me, Thou hast well seen; for I will hasten my word to perform it.”
The almond tree has been known to the ancients from the most remote period of antiquity. It was one of the charms of the fertile lands of Ca
Georg. 1, 186, et seq. † "Shaked est arbor amygdalarum, et sic dictur, quia flores mature profert ante omnes arbores.”—Cels. Hierobotanicon.
The first mention of it in the Bible dates back to 1707 years before Christ. It occurs in connection with the touching scene in the life of the patriarch Jacob. His sons had returned the first time from Egypt with corn for their father, themselves and their little ones in the famine. But this limited supply was soon exhausted, and still “the famine was sore in the land;" and the aged patriarch said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food." They went, and according to the custom of these times, carried with them, as a present from their father to the lord of Egypt, “a little balm, a little honey, spices, myrrh, nuts and almonds” (Gen. xliii. 11). This is an evidence of the fact that, though famine was in the land, almonds did not fail. Jacob names them among the best fruits of the land; and as they were productions of the high and mountainous regions of Canaan, he knew they would be most acceptable to an Egyptian prince. The sad pleasure with which Joseph received his father's gift, may be better imagined than described. To him they spoke of his father's destitution. They made him forget for a time the enmity of his brethren, the wild wastes of the desert, the bonds of slavery, his undeserved prison-life, and his advancement to the lordship over Egypt. Joseph is a "lad" once more, “seventeen years old,” feeding the flock, seeking his brethren in Shechem, and beholding, perhaps, the very trees from which these “almonds” were gathered by his sorrowing father.*
Artificial almonds constituted a part of the architectural ornament of the temple, and of its furniture; so also of that of the tabernacle before it, made according to the direction of Jehovah. “And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold—three bowls, made like unto almonds—in one branch; and three bowls, made like unto almonds, in the other branch” (Exodus xxv. 33, 34, and xxxvii. 19, 20). It is not clear what part, if
the almonds performed in the typical character of the golden candlestick. Certain it is, however, that the candlestick itself, “ with its knops and bowls made like unto almonds," was a type of Christ in His person, mediatorial character and grace.
It foreshadowed the Incarnate Son of God the great Antitype—the substance of all these shadows—Him who is Himself the Light of the world.
Aaron, the high-priest, was signally confirmed in his office (B. C. 1471) by means of an almond rod, when Korah and his company rebelled
against Moses and against Aaron.” Twelve rods were taken, upon which the names of the twelve tribes were written, “every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers,”—Aaron's name being written on the rod of the tribe of Levi. All these rods were then “laid up in the tabernacle of the congregation, before the testimony." "And it shall come to pass,” said the Lord, “ that the man's rod whom I shall choose shall blossom. And it came to pass that on the morrow, Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds,”—a miracle which confirmed the priesthood forever in the family of Aaron and his sons (Numb. xvii). The place where the Israelites were at this time encamped in the wilderness produced the almond tree; and all
* Orchards of almond trees are to this day found in the fruitful valley of Shechem-lineal descendants, perhaps, of some that once furnished almonds to Jacob; and that afterwards sheltered “the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt.”—Josh. xxiv. 32.
“ The hoary
the rods were evidently, of the same sort of wood, lest the miracle might be robbed of its intended effect on the minds of the unbelieving. This almond rod was afterwards laid up in the ark of the covenant, where it was kept "for a token against the rebels," and perhaps preserved to future ages, -but it seems to have been missing at the building of Solomon's temple, having probably been lost during the Babylonian captivity.
Thus God, in His wise providence, makes use of small means to accomplish His purposes. In His hand an almond rod becomes the instrument to silence and check the base designs of those, who would lay unholy hands on the priesthood, and to confirm the official authority of his servants who are sent forth by Him to guide and instruct His people, to feed the sheep and lambs of His flock, to bind and loose in llis name, on earth, having the assurance that He will ratify their official acts in His heavenly kingdom.
The almond is once more mentioned in the Bible.* In Ecclesiastes xii. 5, we have a beautiful description of old age and its attendant infirmities. “Fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish.”+ Some writers suppose, that the profuse flowering and white appearance of the almond tree, when in blossom, are here referred to. Says one: head is beautifully compared to the almond tree, both on account of its snowy whiteness and winter blossoming.” The similitude is certainly very apt in some respects. White blossoms of a tree furnish an appropriate symbol of the hoary head of the aged man, descending to his grave. So Horace speaks elegantly of the snows of the head.”
The flower of the almond tree, however, is not purely white, but rosecolored. There are, moreover, excellent Hebrew Scholars who translate this clause thus : anil the almond is spurned—that is, "rejected by the old and toothless man.” So Gesenius. Scott, adding his explanation to those of others, who have employed their ingenuity on this passage, and agreeing essentially with Gesenius, says, in his Commentary: "In old age, the relish for all pleasures is lost, and men grow indifferent even to those objects which once occasioned the most agreeable sensations. The teeth, which used to grind their food, are most of them gone, and the few that remain are become nearly useless. They have little inclination to eat, as they cannot grind or chew their food without pain or difficulty.”
How comforting to the aged and distressed disciples of our Lord, is the thought, that when bodily vigor fails, grace still thrives in the soulabounding more and more unto eternal life.
The plants of grace shall ever live,
Laden with fruits of age, they show
*If as Gesenius thinks it probable, the almond tree is denoted by the Hebrew Luz, in Gen. xxx. 37, it would take the place of the hazel in that passage, and thus exclude the latter entirely from our English Bible.
18o the Septuagint-και ανθηση το αμυγδαλον.