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ous and composite orders of plants. Among these are
included cresses, lettuce, endive, chicory, elecampane.
" Dr. Geddes thinks that the wild endive, or succory, is
intended, the leaves of which may be eaten as a spring
salad, and the roots dried and made into bread." (The
Scripture Garden Walk, p. 41.)

The Greek word for "bitter herbs" is picsides, and the
name has been applied by some to Picris echioides, also
a composite plant.


]E have thus endeavoured to give a condensed
account of the trees, shrubs, and herbs men-
tioned in Scripture, so far as they can be
determined by reference to the best scientific
authorities. Although much has been done of late in
removing doubts, there are still many difficulties which
can only be solved by careful botanical and philological
inquiries in Eastern countries.

What an interesting field does the Holy Land present
to the Christian man of science, and how valuable might
his researches be in throwing light on our version of the
Bible. True it is that in regard to the grand truths of
salvation he that runs may read, and that the unlearned,
under the guidance of God's Spirit, will find the inspired
Word profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,
and for instruction in righteousness. But there are
hidden treasures, the beauty of which is fully displayed
only to . the enlightened student who applies all the
resources of science to their elucidation. We cannot too
deeply investigate the words of the Bible, written as
they were by holy men who were moved by the Holy


Ghost. Unless we have verbal inspiration we have
nothing. The Book not merely contains a revelation
from God, but it is, in its words and minutest details,
even to the very plants, given by Him. The highest
scientific talent may well be consecrated to the noble
task of illustrating the Natural History of the Bible.

The unsettled state of Palestine renders the examina-
tion of its flora a matter of some risk, and hence there is
not an opportunity for leisurely and carefully noting the
plants which grow on spots hallowed by associations of
the deepest interest. We may look forward to a time
when that country, now so desolate, shall be again
inhabited, and when its fertile soil will bring forth a
luxuriant vegetation ; when " instead of the thorn shall
come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come
up the myrtle tree : and it shall be to the Lord for a
name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off"
(Isa. Iv. 13).



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Southern Palestine and Jerusalem. First Volume of

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Online LibraryJohn Hutton BalfourThe plants of the Bible → online text (page 11 of 11)