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One poor fellow, whose arm had been amputated, was lying in a corner, The feeling of loneliness, and absence from dear ones, was crushing him, and, in his weariness at all things around him, he cried out—“Oh! that I could hear my sister sing !” The young lady began, in a low tone of voice, to sing a little ballad. As the sweet, plaintive tones, gradually pierced the air of the barn-filled, as it was, with the oppressive odor of suppurating wounds, and ill-restrained groans—all other sounds subsided, and each soldier listened, with almost breathless attention. Gradually, her tones became fuller and louder, and never had a prima donna such a delighted auditory. When the little ballad was ended, a dead silence prevailed for a few seconds. Then those, with hands, began to clap them together in delight. But the poor fellow, for whom the lady had been singing, had only one hand. Nothing intimidated at this, and wishing to join in the expression of thanks, which his fellow soldiers were giving, he pounded on the floor, with his only hand, crying,—“Oh, miss, you see I can't clap, but I must pound." No singer ever received a higher reward, than did this Christian sister of mercy, from the poor, wounded boy.
It is not by the great things which we do for the unfortunate, that the measure and value of our work cap be estimated. It is not by the much talking, or even the much doing, that we render most acceptable consolation to the afflicted. We should cultivate sympathizing souls, that shall ever beat in unison, with the claims of our suffering fellow-mortals, and this, because of love for Christ, and our brethren. Then the instincts of the Christian soul will show us, how to be most useful in the sick chamber,—how best to pour oil into the wounds, and to give wine to the depressed, and the afflicted. Let us know, more and more, the meaning of that pure religion, which visits the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, and we shall find less difficulty, in keeping ourselves "unspotted from the world.”
INFLUENCE.-A man cannot sin without having the influence, and, in some sense, the punishment of his sin fall upon others. Thus a man cannot indulge in the use of strong drink without having the sad consequences rest fearfully upon many helpless and innocent dependents. The bitter crime and treason of a few, have brought indescribable and innumerable
upon all the inhabitants of a great and once prosperous nation. Under the moral government of God, the results of moral actions are not limited to the agents of those actions. They descend to the third and fourth generations. They spread and spread, and when a wrong act is committed, there is no such thing as determining where its influence will stop. Wicked men do not often stop and think what trains they are starting, and what consequences will follow their rash and fool-hardy conduct. Drop a bottle in the sea, and you do not know to what shore the unseen currents of the deep will drift it. Utter the feeblest word, and you cannot tell over what hearts it may breathe, and into what forms it will crystalize, and live forever.
THE ALGUM TREE.
HEB. ALMUGGIM AND ALGUMMIM.
BY I. K. L.
Of all the trees of the Bible, none has occasioned so great a diversity of opinion, among writers on the Natural History of the Holy Land, as the Algum tree, or, as it is called, by a transposition of letters, the Almug tree. It is utterly impossible, to harmonize the many conflicting views, that have been advanced by travellers, naturalists, and archæologists. Ancient authors, already, are divided, and, as we come down to our own time, the breach, instead of narrowing, really widens; and no notion is so absurd, that it has not been made to weigh in favor of one or another hypothesis.
As to the origin of the name, various views are current, and men are at a loss to determine, whether it be of Hebrew, Arabic, or Indian origin; and as to the tree itself, they are in equal, or much greater doubt. One writer says, perhaps the Algum may be the Shittim, often mentioned in Scripture, and a description of which, will, hereafter, be given. The Jewish Rabbins translate it coral ; others render it brazilwood or pine. Josephus affirms, that it was a kind of pine. An old English writer, Dr. Dee, who examined twelve different kinds of trees, to identify the Algum, coincides with Josephus, in favor of the Pine or Fir. The Acacia, the Thyiņe, Aloe, Ebony, Cedar, Box, Rose of Jerusalem, Indian reeds, and many others, have their zealous advocates. Some suppose it to have been the Cypress, which is still used for harpsichords, and other musical instruments; while others conjecture, that the term Algummim denotes the Red Sandalwood of the East. This last view is favored by Geseniusand Kitto. Even the standard versions of the Bible, of different portions of Christendom, do not fully coincide, in rendering this word into their several languages.
To show the reader at a glance, both the original Hebrew, and its several translations, within our reach, Greek, Latin, German, French and English, in the three passages of Scripture, in which alone it occurs, we have collated them here: 1 Kings 10:11, 12.
2 Chron. 9:10, 11. Hebrew Almuggim.
Algummim. Algummim. Septuagint. Ξυλα πελεκητα. Πευκινα. .
Ξυλα πευκινα. Vulgate. Ligna thyina. Ligna thyina. Ligna thyinis. German. Ebenholtz.
Ebenholz. French. Bois d'Almugghim. Bois d'Algummim. Bois d’Algummim. English. Almug trees. Algum trees. Algum trees.
2 Chron. 2:8.
*Scribitur uno loco Almuggim et alio Algummim; sed nomen verum est Algummim. Such transpositions are not unusual in the Hebrew language.
We see, from this comparison, that the Septuagint translated Almuggim, wrought wood, in 1 Kings, 10: 11, 12. This translation it does, however, not adhere to, in the parallel passage, in 2 Chron. 2: 8, where it goes a step further, and points out the particular kind of wood, it understands by Almug, namely, fir-wood.* The Latin Vulgate renders it into Ligna thyina, which it consistently maintains throughout. The German text, with like consistency, advocates Ebenholz, but afterwards (Ezek. 27 : 15), interprets a different Hebrew term, by the same German word. The French and English translators, to avoid error, ,-ne aberrarent—allowed the original Hebrew word to stand, untranslated, in their versions. Wandering amid this Babel of conflicting opinions, and listening to the claims, warmly set forth, of scores of trees, we have calmly weighed the arguments in favor of, and against them, and arrived at the conclusion, that the Algum of the Bible, is either the Red Sandalwood of the East, or, which is more probable, the Thyine tree, mentioned in Revelation. Before passing to the second of these, we, briefly, notice the first.
The Red Sandal tree is a native of the East Indies, particularly of the Isle of Ceylon, but is also found, in various parts of Africa. It is the Pterocarpus Santalinus of botanists, and must not be confounded with the Yellow Sandal-wood, which, throughout the Orient, is so highly esteemed for its fragrance, and for musical instruments, fans, boxes, cabinets, &c. It is a lofty tree, and produces wood of a red color, t on which account, doubtless, the Rabbins translate Almuggim, coral. Its leaves are oblong, smooth-edged, and very green ; its flowers cup-shaped, of a dark blue color, and growing in bunches. Its fruit is of the size of a cherry, first green, then black, insipid, and falls easily. Its exterior wood is white, but the harder, central wood, is of a bright red color, and is susceptible of being nicely polished. It is this central wood, the heart of the tree, that is chiefly valuable, both for ornament in architecture, and for its coloring matter. The Bible, however, furnishes no reason, for believing that it was brought from India or Africa, for any use that might be made of it, in the way of dyeing. And, as this is the principal, it not the only use made of it in modern times, which may have been the case also, in antiquity, and, as it is not noted, either for fragrance or durability, we can not concur with those writers, who represent this as the Algum of the Bible.
If we allow the translations of Algummim, above given, to have any weight in the identification of this tree, we may learn several important facts
. The Vulgate is certain, that this tree is none other than that, which produced the thyine wood, spoken of in Revelation 18:12, where it ap
an article of merchandise; and the seventy-two interpreters (280 B. C.), thought to convey to the minds of Bible readers a proper conception of its character and properties, by likening it to fir-wood-wood that is easily wrought. From these, and the other versions above quoted, We gather that the Algum tree must possess susceptibility of polish, beauty of color, incorruptibility, fragrance, and the quality of being easily wrought. From the uses to which it was put by King Solomon, we infer that it possessed the further quality of refracting sound. The Thuja, or, as it is also
* That it cannot be the Fir, is evident from the fact that in this passage, 2 Chron. 2: 8, the Fir immediately precedes the Algum, and has a distinct name of its own. † Arbor rubri coloris.
called, the Callitris quadrivalvis, possessess all these properties, and an-, swers well the known uses of the Algum tree. It is an aromatic, coniferous, evergreen tree, allied to the Pine, and resembling, in some respects the Cypress and Cedar.* It is a native of Africa.This, or a certain part of this, is, we doubt not, the country which the Scripture calls Ophir. From this the Algum trees were brought. Winer, and other writers, are of the opinion, that Ophir was situated in the southern part of Arabia, and that, consequently, the articles which King Solomon imported were obtained there, or at least collected there from other countries, with which the Arabians may have had commercial intercourse. Whether the “gold and precious stones," which his ships brought back, were found in Africa, the land of the Algum tree, it is not for us to determine. The discovery, however, of gold and silver mines in Southern Africa, which appear to have been anciently and extensively worked, renders such a view very probable. Certain it is, that most, if not all the articles of merchandise, with which Solomon's ships were freighted, namely, peacocks, apes, spices, ivory, and ebony, are found in Africa.
In this tropical climate the Algum tree grows to a height of from sixty to eighty feet. It has a strong trunk. Its roots are long, and run deep into the earth. Its wood is hard, nut-brown, close-grained, and very sweet and balsamic, sending forth, when burnt, a pleasant perfume.I It exudes a white resin, which is believed to be the Sandarach of commerce, used in the preparation of parchment. Its bark, when young, is smooth, and of a brown color, but as the trees become old, it becomes cracked and rough. Its branches are almost horizontal, the smaller ones often crossing the larger at right angles. Its leaves resemble those of the Cypress, and overlap each other like the scales of a fish. They have a rank, oily scent, when bruised. Its flowers or catkins are produced on the young branches, and are succeeded by oblong cones of a gray color, having scales which end in acute, reflexed points, and contain one or two seeds.
The veins, or the lines of the woody layers, is what gave the Algum wood its beauty. Glossy veins and knotty wood were highly esteemed, and the wood was accordingly named tiger-citron, peacock's feather, &c. To improve the quality of the wood, the barbarians coat it with wax and bury it. While this process is said to cause it to lose in weight, it prevents it from splitting when wrought. Nothing is more beautifully veined than the root, nor is there elsewhere any workmanship more precious than that made of it. It is this wood which the servants of Hiram and the servants of Solomon” imported into the Holy Land, and which Solomon employed for the ornamenting of the temple and his own palace, and the making of musical instruments. “And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees and precious stones. And the king made of the almug trees pillars (2 Chron. 9: 11, has terraces,) for the house of the Lord, and for the king's house, harps, also, and psalteries for singers.” (1 Kings 10:11, 12.)
To the question, whether the Algum of Mount Lebanon, (2 Chron. 2: 8,) and that imported from Ophir, were one and the same kind of wood, it is impossible to return a satisfactory answer now. Celsus is of the opinion, that the Jews gave the name Algum to the imported wood because it resembled that which grew on Lebanon, and which was before known by that name. The Algum of Lebanon seems, however, to have been of an inferior quality, which accounts for Solomon's sending to Ophir for the superior article of that region. Hence the Bible, still speaking of this wood, says: “There came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.” "And there were none such seen before it in the land of Judah." (1 Kings 10:12; 2 Chron. 9: 11.)
*“Une espece de cedres, plus beaux que les autres." Marginal note in French Bible, Amsterdam, 1742.
† Citrum arborem Africæ peculiarem esse, nec alibi nasci. τ Οδμη θύου τανά νήσον δδώδει.
It has been doubted whether any trees at all answering to the Algum, ever grew on Mount Lebanon, because thus far modern travellers have failed to find it in Syria. The message of Solomon to King Hiram, however, should at once put to rest all doubt on this point. “Send me also algum trees out of Lebanon.” (2 Chron. 2: 8.) It is no extraordinary thing that no trace of this tree should remain in our day. The revolutions of more than twenty-eight hundred years may well account for the disappearance of one kind of tree, which may even then have been rare, and which at best was inferior to the Algum of Ophir. Then the Holy Land was a Paradise, now it is a desert. In far less time than twenty-eight centuries, entire cities have disappeared so as to make it a matter of the greatest difficulty for the antiquarian to discover their remains, or even the site on which they once stood.
The mention of Algum wood, in Scripture, in immediate connection with gold and precious stones, furnishes no unimportant intimation of its great value. In the New Testament, it sustains the same relation to the precious metals, and gems, as in the Old. In Rev. 18:12, it occurs under the name of Thyine wood' in connection with gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linen, purple, silk, scarlet, all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and many other valuable articles of merchandise. From this allusion to it, we may infer, that the Apostle John himself was acquainted with Thyine or Algum wood, and it is probable, that he and the other apostles, in their travels through various parts of the Roman Empire, met with it in the carved work and furniture of the mansions of the great.
In later times, we find this wood still employed in the architectural ornaments of the most costly structures.
The wood-work of the celebrated Cathedral of Cordova, originally a mosque, built in the seventh century, is of Algum or Thyine wood. Its balsàmic resin has resisted the ravages of insects and the power of decay for twelve centuries.
The artists and writers of classic antiquity have paid this tree a merited share of attention. Under the name of citrus, or citron-wood, it was highly prized by the Romans for furniture, and the ornamental wood-work of palaces and temples; also for tables, * bowls and vessels of different kinds. In Pliny's time there was a perfect mania for fine tables of Thyine wood, “with which,” he says, “the women reproach the men, when these complain of their vast outlay upon pearls.” “Cicero had a table of this wood, for which he had paid 1,000,000 sesterces, or about $40,000. That of Gallus Asinius, Pliny tells us, cost $44,000. Two tables, which had belonged to King Juba, were sold at auction, the one bringing $48,000
* Illa citrus, quæ citreas mensas dabat Romanis inter lautissima opera.—Celsus' HIEROB.