Robert Smith.

The Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) online

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important article of diet in Arabia and Sene-
gal. Those who are engaged in collecting it,
live for a time almost entirely upon it ; and
six ounces have proved sufficient to support
an adult for twenty-four hours. It is on re-
cord, that a caravan, crossing the Desert,
their provisions being exhausted, preserved
themselves from famine by eating the gum
arable, which formed part of the merchandize
they were transporting. But no animals could
continue long to subsist on this ingredient
alone; since it contains no nitrogen, which is
still more essential to their support than to
that of plants.

Gum is almost the only organic substance
that seems to be immediately applied to the
nulrition of the plant, when absorbed from
without, instead of being first decomposed into
watf r and carbonic acid ; for a plant thrives
well in a solution of it. This is evidently
because it thus supplies an important ingre-
dient in the ascending sap, in which it would
otherwise have to be formed. The gum con-
tained in the elaborated sap appears to have
undergone some change, which renders it



more prepared for being converted into an roots would have done. These fibres, being
organized tissue. It is this, which, being intermixed with the cellular tissue produced
poured out between the bark and the newest j by the cambium, compose the new layers of



layer of wood, is the viscid substance termed
cambivm ; in which the rudiments of the cel-
lular tissue, that is to form part of the new
layer of wood, after a time present them-
selves. Even if this cambium be drawn off'
from the stem, its particles show a tendency
to arrange themselves in a form resembling
that of cells and vessels ; though no perfect
tissues are produced by this kind of coagula-
tion. The interior of young seeds is filled
with a glutinous pulpy fluid of a similar
description ; and partitions gradually appear
in this, converting it into a mass of cellular
tissue.

If a wound be made in the bark, a similar
glutinous exudation is thrown out from the
cut edges; and by the conversion of this into
solid tissue, the wound is gradually healed. If
a complete ring be cut away from the bark,
this exudation will be much the greatest on the
upper side, — showing that it comes from the
descending sap; but it is not altogether con-
fined to that edge since a portion of the des-
cending current, having been carried by the
medullary rays into the interior of the stem,
is not checked by this interruption to its flow
through the bark. Thus we perceive that
although there is not in plants, as in animals,
a regular continuous circulation of nutritious
fluid, — that which has once passed through
the system of the latter, being impelled again
through its vessels, after having undergone
I he necessary purification, — nature has pro-
vided for the reparation of their wounds in the
most advantageous manner.

From this form of gum, it would appear
that the materials of cellular tissue are pro-
duced ; but those of woody fibre are not the
same in chemical constitution, containing a
larger proportion of carbon. And thus we
see why it should be peculiarly necessary for
Ihe production of woody fibre, that the leaves
should be exposed to the full influence of



wood and bark, of which a new one is formed
every year; and it is in this way that those
additions are made to the quantity of solid
matter contained in the stem, which the sup-
ply of descending sap is principally intended
to furnish.

The production of new buds is accomplish-
ed, as already slated, by the cellular tissue
alone ; and as they are connected more or less
closely with the medullary rays, it is easy to
understand how they derive their nutriment
from the descending current. Nothing but
cellular tissue exisls in them, until they have
expanded themselves into true leaves, and then
ihey form the materials of woody flbre for
themselves. The same is the case with flower-
buds, seeds, and other young parts. The sub-
stance termed jjectin, which constitutes the
jelly of fruits, is very closely allied to gum,
and may be converted into it.

Although gvm seems to be the chief nutri-
tious product of the assimilation, by the plant,
of the substances which formed its aliment, it
is not the only one. Sugar, in many cases,
appears to have the same office, especially in
young and rapidly-growing parts. Thus, the
starch of seeds is converted into sugar in the
first stage of their growth, and the sugar is
dissolved by the water around, and carried up
the young stem to the leaves. The starch
existing in the disk of flowers, again, is con-
verted into sugar for the nourishment of the
young seeds; and it is the superfluous portion
of this which flows off' in the form of honey.
There are particular plants which contain a
very large proportion of sugar, just as we have
noticed others which abound in gum. Such
are the sugar-cane, the beet-root, and the
maple. The sweet juice which abounds in
the sugar-cane is exhausted by flowering, and
appears, therefore, destined for the develop-
ment of the sat of organs concerned in that
process. The same is the case with the beet-



light, by which alone the proper amount of root, and also in the maple; in Ihe former,



carbon can be introduced into the system. As
already stated, whilst cellular tissue increases
in every direction, woody fibres seem to grow
almost exclusively downwards. They may
be traced gradually descending from the
leaves, in which they always originate, just
as the roots make their way through the
earth. They pass down in the space between
the bark and wood, at the time the cambium
is there ; and this fluid probably contains the
materials for both tissues. If an obstacle
intervene, — as, for example, a branch passing
off" from the stem, — they do not stop in conse-
quence of it, but separate to one side and the
other, and re-unite below, just as a bundle of



the sweet juice does not begin to accumulate
in the roots, until Ihe development of the
growing parts has ceased for that year; in
the latter, the juice which was previously
sweet ceases to be so whilst the tree is putting
forth its buds, leaves, and blossoms ; in both
these instances, the use of the sugar in the
vegetable economy is clearly seen.

Of the importance of sugar, as an article of
commerce, lillle need be said. The annual
production in dilferent parts of the world, is
estimated at not far from twenty million hun-
dred weights, or a million of tons; and this
is nearly all obtained from a single kind of
plant, — the sugar cane. The soft spongy tis»



TUE FRIEND.



sue of this plant, previously to its niatuiily,
contains a large quantity of a sweet juice,
which is presseil out from llie stems by pass-
ing them between rollers. 'J'his juice is boiled
down into a thick sirup, which cryslailizes
and deposits the sugar il contains. Tliis is
what is commonly known as brmcn sugar ; and
it has to undergo a subsequent proce.-^s of re-
fining, in order to convert it into ichtte. In
Canada and other parts of North America, a
good sugar is produced from the maple, by
tapping the stem when the sap begins to arise
in the spring; the quantity of sugar obtained,
by boiling the sap that flows from one tree
during a period of six weeks, is sometimes as
much as thirty pounds.

(To be continued.)



For " The Friend."
HORRORS OF A SHIPWRECK.

It may be well for those who live in theii
" sealed houses," and in the full enjoyment of
the comforts of this life, to be occasionally
reminded of the poor mariner — of the priva-
tions, hardships, dangers, and disasters to
which his precarious mode of life continually
subjects him. The following is but one of
the many aftecting cases which frequently oc-
cur. The first paragraph is from the Boston
Courier, probably of the 7lh or 6th instant.
We copy from another paper.

Captain Kimball, of brig Shawmul, arrived
yesterday form Kio Janeiro, reports, that on
the 11 ult., lat. 28 10, Ion. .58 10, he fell in
with the wreck of brig Naiad, Pearson, late
master, of and from Halifax, September 14,
for Demarara ; 2'pe that through the
abundant mercy of God, in Christ Jesus, his
numerous transgressions would be pardoned.

Many were the inward conflicts, the fiery
baptisms he passed through, whilst the great
Purifier was purging his heart, burning up the
chafly nature, and preparing his spirit for an
admittance into the kingdom of purity and
peace.

In the early part of the Third month, 1839,
about two weeks before his close, his strength
began to decline rapidly, and sensible that the
termination of his earthly career was not far
distant, he expressed a desire to see as many
of his nearest connections as could conveni-
ently visit him. Such as came, had the satis-
faction of hearing him exclaim : " Oh I what
a sinner I have been ! and yet I am now en-
abled to look forward to my close with perfect
peace. How wonderful is the love of God in
Christ Jesus I Oh ! it is unspeakable ! I have
been snatched as a brand from the burning,
and made a partaker of heavenly joy, even
now."

On the eleventh, in taking leave of one of
his sons, he desired him to make religion the
first object of his attention, saying, " there is
nothing else worth living for."

In alluding to the time when he was first
awakened to a sense of his danger, lie said :
" The Lord has long been drawing me, but I
long resisted; yielding to I he persuasions of the
enemy, who strove hard to make nie believe,
there was no mercy for such a sinner; and
that it would be all in vain: that it was pre-
sumpiion in me to hope for pardon. In this
distress of mind, I prayed earnestly for ftiith,
and was mercifully favoured to receive
strength, to say eHectually, 'Get thee hence,
satan ;' and, oh ! I never can forget the feel-
ings I had for some hours after this, when I
had been made willing to turn my back on the
world, and give up my whole heait lo God,
wilh the assured belief that He accepted the
sacrifice, and would make it what was pleas-
ing in his sight. I scarcely can describe my
feelings — I was so happy : all iny doubts and



THE FRIEND.



fears wore removed : perfect love and coiifi'
dence seemed to take possession of my soul ;
and I appeared to be swimming in a sea of
love."

He was almost overwhelmed with gratitude
in relating this; and tears of tenderness were
seen to flow for some time after he had ceased
to speak. After laying quiet awhile, he ut-
tered, in a low voice: "O Lord! enable me
to return Thee thanks for all thy rnercy
towards me : Thy free, unmerited mercy, and
unbounded loving-kindness; for which 1 bless
and praise Thy holy name."

He took but little nourishment during the
last week of his life ; and slept very little,
seldom more than ten or fifteen minutes at a
time ; yet, from these short sleeps, he always
awoke refreshed, and often said, as he opened
his eyes : " What a favour to feel so comfort-
ably refreshed with this little sleep; it is one
amongst the numberless blessings I enjoy, and
for which, I hope, I do endeavour to be thank-
ful to my gracious Lord, who makes all things
easy to me."

He was averse to hearing conversation on
worldly subjects, saying, that he had done
with the world, and would not have his atten-
tion turned to it again ; remarking, on one
occasion, that he did not know how soon the
enemy might be permitted to d.aw his mind
back to the world, in a moment of unwatch-
fulness.

When able to listen, he much enjoyed
having portions of the Holy Scriptures read
to him, and often lamented having lived so
long in the neglect of these precious writings.
He was anxious that no books that he con-
sidered of a pernicious tendency should re-
main in the possession of his family. He
mentioned two, in particular, which one of his
son's had, and requested that they might be
sent for and destroyed.

On First-day morning, the 17th, he said,
he should like us all to sit down in the room,
and have our meeting there. He had his pil-
lows adjusted, and when we had taken our
seats, he said: "Now let us all try to get
under a little covering of sweet peace." His
cough had been unusually troublesome the
whole morning, and continued so during our
sitting of an hour. He remarked afterwards,
that it had been a trial to his faith, for he had
not been able to come at that stillness which
he generally enjoyed. Thus was he made
renewedly sensible, that " sweet peace" is not
at man's command. He added : " Pray for
me, that my faith and patience may hold out
to the end. I feel ray bodily sti-ength rapidly
decreasing. I think 1 shall not hold out much
longer; and, oh! how delightfid it would be
to hear it said, ' It is enough !' "

At one time, he said, " I feel greatly for
my wife, she has had much to pass through ;
and I pray that all her trials may be sancti-
fied to her soul. I trust that she will be
strengthened to give up her whole heart to
the Lord, and seek in good earnest the one
thing needful, and then He will be her comfort
and support under every affliction."

It was a great consolation to his mind, that
he had been able to leave her provided for, so
that " she would be more at liberty to devote



herself to the best things;" and mentioned, this for the soul that hungers after righteous-
in particular, the attendance of religious meet-| ness ! What a blessed haven for the tempest-



I tost Christian mariner! What



a sustainmg



He appeared in a very solemn frame of slafl"! M hat a firm rock to tread on ! What i
mind all day, often saying, "I am very near, blessed encouragement to the discouraged, to
my close. I feel my strength going rapidly, be assured, notwithstanding every fear and

! it is delightful to look forward and feel j every disappointment, that " there remaineth
nothing but peuce ! I want to be more thank- a rest to the people of God."

ful for this unspeakable mercy!" His tearsi Are you one of this people ? Have you the
which were often observed when no words' mark in the forehead? the token in the heart?
were uttered, showed the feelings of his heart, the witness in the spirit? Rejoice, then, with
In the afternoon he had a solemn opportu- 1 exceeding great joy. You may have been
nity with one who was in the habit of using in- ■ bufleted, and you may be bufl^eted again,
toxicating liquors. Whilst inciting him against j Weary you may be of worldly toil and trouble,
giving way to the temptations of the enemy, and weary you will be ; but what of that?
he exhorted him not to depend on his own In durable characters is graven the sen-
strength ; but to look earnestly to the Lord tence, "There remaineth therefore a rest to
for help, who could enable him to overcome the people of God;" and that rest shall assu-
his weakness. " Thou seest what he has done ; redly be yours.

for me. I could do nothing for myself All I This is a precious portion and promise for
my good resolutions were in vain, so long as L the beginning or the latter end of the year,
made them in my own strength. lam a dy- It will do for the spring; the summer; the
ing man : — it is an awful thing to die ! — but autumn, and the winter. It is an elixir of
what would it be to me now, if 1 did not feel life, that will keep without injury in all cli-
that my sins were forgiven !" Thei;
solemn manner, he warned hiin nut to trifle
any longer with temptation, but totally to ab-
stain from strong drink.

During the last two hours, it was deeply aflect-
ing to those around him to witness his sutfer-
ings, although they were^bundantly consoled
by his assurance, — in thexhost trying hour, —
that he was " comfortable — yea, happy."
Often saying, " Pray for me, that my faith
and patience may hold out to the end."

His utterance became more and more difii-
cult ; yet he was enabled, almost to the last,
to express, in an audible and distinct voice,
his gratitude to his gracious and mei'ciful Sa-
viour in these words, " O, Lord, I thank Thee
for all thy mercies, and particularly for what

1 am suflfering now." Sometimes adding :
" but O ! if it be Thy will, be pleased to cut
short this work, and say it is enough."

These expressions, which indicated the per-
fect resignation of his will, and his trust and
reliance on a merciful Saviour, were the last
he uttered.

Thus, having given up the intoxicating cup,
in obedience to the call of his Saviour, and
witnessed the purifying baptisms of his Holy
Spirit, in the hour of death he was sustained
by the consoling assurance that he should be
permitted to partake of the water of life for-
ever. — His death took place on the 18th day
of the Third month, 1839.



A PRECIOUS PROMISE.

From Old Uumiihiey's " Tlioughls for the Thoughtful."

Though you may not, like me, have grey
hairs on your head, yet you may have made the
remark, that there are many of the comforts
of this life suited only to particular seasons and
umslances; some for sunmier, and some
for winter ; some for day, and some for night;
some for health, and some for sickness ; but
the precious portions and promises of the
BookofTruthseem calculated forall times, and
for all situations in which we can be placed.

Let us take up one of them. " There re-
maineth therefore a rest to the people of
God." Heb. iv. 9. What a blessed portion is



mates, and may be taken at night or morning
with equal advantage ; na)', it may be a com-
forting coi-dial to you every hour of the day,
and every minute of the hour. Let come
what will, riches or poverty, health or sick-
ness, joy or sorrow, life or death, the promise
still holds good, " There remaineth therefore
a rest to the people of God."

THE TOO IIASIA' REPROOF.

From the same.

" Neighbour," said I, to one of my friends
who lives near me, " you have sadly splashed
your stockings ! In the state in which the
roads now are, a little care is required in
crossing them, which care, it is very plain,
you have not exercised. If you were a little
more careful, your appearance would not be a
whit the less respectable."

My neighbour civilly thanked me for my
excellent advice, and then added, that as I had
so narrowly scrutinized his stockings, it would
do me no harm to take a glance at my own.
This I immediately did, and found, to my
confusion, that if he had been in the mud, I
had as surely been in the mire. How it hap-
pened, I cannot tell ; but certain it is that I
was by no means in a fit state to call him to
account in the manner I had done. However,
this advantage attended the aflair, that I re-
solved another time to give a sharp look-out
for my own imperfections before I ventured
to rebuke those of another.

" O wad some power the giftie gie us,
To see oursels as others see us.
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
And foolish notion."

If it were only half as easy to amend our-
selves, as to reprove others; and if in giving
advice we could secure the benefits we are so
intent to confer on our neighbours, how often
would Old Humphrey be spared the mortify-
ing reflection that he was scattering abroad
what was wanted at home. Only two days



Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 37 of 154)