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Vol. X. No. 263.
JANUARY 9, 1841.
Price 1ВЅ_d._










By the Rev. Thomas Bissland, M.A.,
_Rector of Hartley Maudytt, Hants._

There are some hearts little, if at all, impressed by the solemn
requirements of the Almighty; so dead, in fact, to everything which
relates not to the objects of time and sense, that they are unaffected
by the scenes of vice and of the misery which is its consequence,
every where presented to their notice. It is not until the mind is
under the gracious influence of the Spirit of God, that men feel any
anxiety to stop the torrent of evil, and endeavour to become the
humble instruments of converting the sinner and saving his soul. Many,
in fact, who feel deeply interested in their neighbours' temporal
comforts and prosperity, feel little anxious to supply their spiritual
wants; and to this may be traced the opposition which is not
unfrequently made, even by professing Christians, to institutions
which have a direct tendency to improve the moral and spiritual
condition of the human race.

Now there are many reasons which induce a truly converted man to
labour for the spiritual benefit of others. First, there is the
dishonour which men, in an unconverted state, cast upon God. This
feeling operated on the mind of the psalmist, when he exclaimed (Ps.
cxix. 53), "Horror hath taken hold of me, because of the wicked who
forsake thy law." For when men forsake God's law, they declare that
they are little impressed with a sense of the divine majesty and
infinite goodness of the Almighty; that they are not anxious to know
his will; that his threatenings alarm them not; that his promises in
no way affect their hearts; that, in fact, they are not desirous of
that favour which rests upon those only who walk in the path of his
commandments. The psalmist's zeal and jealousy for the glory of God
were fully manifested by his anxiety to erect a house, in some
respects suitable for the divine worship; by his earnest expressions,
that the divine glory should be made known throughout the world, as
when he exclaims "Tell it out among the heathen, that the Lord
reigneth;" and this holy desire rendered every action, by which there
was the most slight appearance of dishonour being cast upon Jehovah,
abominable in his sight. When he reflected on his own departure from
the law of his God, on those acts which had caused the enemies of the
truth to blaspheme, he was indeed filled with horror. The language
uttered, when from the depths he supplicated the divine forgiveness,
powerfully demonstrates the agony of his soul - convinces us that his
repentance was sincere, and that he was anxious that in every action
of his life he might for the future glorify that Being whose gracious
hand had conducted him through his earthly pilgrimage - whose favour
had raised him to the throne of Israel - the light of whose countenance
had cheered him in many a dark and dreary hour - and whose comforts had
refreshed his soul, when in the multitude of the thoughts within him
he became dispirited and perplexed. The first and great commandment
is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." The
psalmist loved God, and on this account he was desirous that he should
be had in reverence of all his intelligent creatures. He loved God;
he was seized with horror when he beheld myriads uninfluenced by this
principle, living in disobedience to this first commandment.

Sin is too often viewed by us merely with respect to its baneful
influence on the happiness of society. It is condemned by us, and it
is punished by us, not so much as it is the transgression of the law
of God, as it has a tendency to produce evil in the world. And hence
there are many offenders in God's sight who by their conduct cast
dishonour upon his name, who yet maintain a fair and respectable
character when weighed in the world's balance, nay, even are regarded
with reverence and esteem. We punish the murderer, the thief, the
robber, the perjured person. It is right that we should do so. The
welfare of society demands it. But do we punish the man who lives in
adultery, in drunkenness, in sensuality? Do we punish the man who is a
swearer, a gambler, a blasphemer, who habitually neglects the
sanctuary of the Lord, and does his own pleasure on the sabbath-day?
Human laws take no cognizance of these crimes. They are, however, as
dishonourable to God as others which are punished by man. They are
quite as detrimental to man's best interests; and fearful must be the
account rendered for their commission before that equitable tribunal,
where the children of men must answer for all their offences against
the majesty of heaven.

But there is a second reason why the true Christian will labour for
the conversion of others, namely, the reflection that the sinner is
ensuring his own destruction while he is at enmity against God; and
this induced Jeremiah to exclaim (ix. 1), "O that my head were waters,
and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for
the slain of the daughter of my people." How strong is the
expression - "_the slain_." The prophet knew full well the misery of
transgressing God's law. Tremendous, indeed, is the reflection, that
the path of sin inevitably leads to the regions of darkness - those
regions where there is "weeping and gnashing of teeth," where "their
worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." Whence is it, then,
that, without any apparent concern, we behold myriads of immortal
creatures fast hastening to these regions of destruction? Whence is it
that there is so much apathy, lukewarmness, and indifference to a
brother's eternal welfare. Is it not too often, perhaps, that there is
a latent scepticism which induces us to disbelieve the solemn
declaration of the Omnipotent - even when he swears by himself - that
every jot and tittle of his threatenings shall be accomplished? Surely
were it not for some such spirit, we should never rest satisfied with
the feeble efforts we may have made to lead the sinner back to his
offended God; we should esteem no sacrifice too great, whether of
time, or influence, or money, or talent, which could in any way
promote a brother's spiritual welfare. But we are too apt to forget,
if not to disbelieve, the solemn declarations of the bible; and
forgetfulness to all practical results is as pernicious as downright
infidelity. The man who forgets God is as little influenced by his law
as the fool, who in his heart says there is no God at all. Now, this
forgetfulness paralyzes our energies, damps our zeal, checks our
benevolence. We do not consider that sinners are heaping up wrath
against the day of wrath; and, though they may now enjoy an unhallowed
prosperity, and now in an unbridled licentiousness derive happiness
from the indulgence of fleshly lusts, yet that these war against the
soul, against its present peace, and its ultimate felicity, and that
ruin and destruction inevitably await them. Were our spirit that of
the psalmist, or that of the prophet referred to, our feelings would
be more lively, our endeavours to promote the good of mankind be more
energetic. Looking not every one to his own, but on his brothers'
good, we should be anxious to direct their feet into the way of peace.

How beautifully was this spirit manifested by St. Paul, when he
exhorted the converts of Philippi to be followers of himself - "For
many walk," says he, "of whom I have told you often, and now tell you
even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose
end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in
their shame; who mind earthly things." The apostle, indeed, appears to
have been influenced by the same anxiety as the psalmist and the
prophet; for the glory of the Redeemer, as well as the eternal welfare
of their souls, was dear to his heart, and he could not refrain from
weeping when he viewed the dishonour cast upon his adorable Lord by
these enemies of his cross; when he beheld them following divers lusts
and pleasures, even boasting of their recklessness of God's judgments;
and when he carried his thoughts forward to that day when the terrors
of the Lord would fall on all the children of disobedience, or those
who neglected the great salvation. This spirit is, in fact, no bad
test whereby we may try the state of our hearts and affections. If we
are really desirous for the advancement of God's glory, and deeply
interested in the welfare of our fellow-creatures, our feelings will
be very similar to those of the holy men of God referred to. We shall
not view, without the very deepest concern, that inattention which is
everywhere paid to the solemn requirements of the Almighty; we shall
at least make the attempt to stop the sinner in his career of guilt
and folly, that his soul may be saved from destruction in the day of
the Lord.

Melancholy is the reflection, indeed, that neither God's invitations
on the one hand, nor his threatenings on the other, appear to affect
their hearts; they are neither constrained by love nor fear. "Wide is
the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many
there be that go in thereat."

There was one that wept over the rebellion of man, and one infinitely
greater than David, or Jeremiah, or St. Paul - and that one was the
ever-adorable Saviour; who, beholding the guilty race of man
altogether gone out of the way, descended from the mansions of glory,
became a partaker of human impurity, and opened through his blood a
new and living way, whereby the guilty sinner might return in peace to
his God. How touching the description of the evangelist - "And when he
came near, he beheld the city and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst
known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong
unto thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes." Jesus wept at
the grave of Lazarus, for Lazarus was his friend; he sympathised
deeply with Martha and Mary, for he loved them as he did their
brother; but far more bitter were the tears he shed, when he reflected
on the waywardness of that people whom he would have gathered to
himself; the guilt of that city which had killed the prophets; when he
thought of those days of divine vengeance, when its enemies should
cast a trench about it, and compass it round, and keep it in on every
side, and should lay it even with the ground, and its children within
it. And did not this feeling operate when, even amidst the agonies of
a crucifixion, his mind rested on the sufferings of others, and not on
his own? "Daughters of Jerusalem! weep not for me, but weep for
yourselves and for your children." And shall we not, in this as in
every other respect, seek to imitate our adorable Lord? Shall we not
feel deeply interested in the spiritual welfare of our fellow-men? If
we do not, it is, alas! a fearful, a decisive proof, that the flame of
holy love, of devoted zeal, has not been kindled in our bosom; that we
do not feel the importance of that salvation which is offered us so
freely in the gospel; that we are not duly impressed with a dread of
that woe unspeakable, that shall be the portion of those whose souls
shall be for ever lost.



By Robert Dickson, M.D., F.L.S.

No. XI. Pt. 1.

"Lo! the oak that hath so long a nourishing
From the time that it 'ginneth first to spring,
And hath so long a life, as we may see,
Yet at the last wasted is the tree."


While the actions which lead to the various effects on the external
appearance of a tree, described in the former paper, are going on,
many important changes occur in the internal parts, producing
alterations not less admirable, whether in respect of the tree itself,
or of the ends to which it may be rendered subservient. The base of an
exogenous tree is not merely widened by the superposition of annual
layers of wood over the first shoot, by which it gains greater
mechanical power to support the extending head of wide-spreading
branches, but the central portion is, in most cases, progressively
rendered more and more solid by the deposition in it of various
secretions prepared by the leaves, and transmitted from them through
the medullary rays into this part as their ultimate resting-place.

The fibres descending from the developing buds on the stem, and
passing between the plates of cellular tissue, which constitute the
medullary rays, and the cells of which have a horizontal direction,
are but the basis of the vegetable fabric. The stem of an exogenous
plant has been compared to a piece of linen, of which the weft is
composed of cellular tissue, and the warp of fibrous and vascular
tissue - crossing each other. Now, after the portion is once formed,
which is woven every year by the wondrous machinery set to work for
this purpose, it receives no fresh texture, yet each fibre remains a
conducting tube to transmit the sap upwards, or, in the course of
time, becomes charged with various principles, prepared, as already
stated, by the leaves, and returned to the central part by that
apparatus or system of canals for their transit inwards, the medullary
rays, and at last are obstructed, so that no passage of fluid is
effected through the inner layers of wood. But for every layer that is
thus blocked up, a new one, which will continue pervious, is formed
exterior to those already existing, so that a constant provision is
made for carrying on the vital processes; to accomplish which, a free
channel from the points of the roots to the surface of the leaves is
absolutely necessary. The outer strata, produced by a tree of
considerable age, are observed to be thinner than those formed at an
earlier period, and become successively thinner and thinner, so that
ultimately, if accident should not have previously caused it, the
death of the tree is inevitable. The portions which are obstructed
constitute the _duramen_ or heartwood, the pervious portion the
_alburnum_ or sapwood. The original tissue is colourless; but
according to the nature of the secretions deposited in it, the
heartwood is either of a deeper colour, sometimes party-coloured, or
at least of a much greater specific gravity than the sapwood. The
removal of the juices by any solvent restores the wood to its
primitive hue, and renders it again light. The difference of weight of
a cubic foot of wood depends not merely on the different quantity of
vegetable tissue compressed into a given space, in the first
construction of the tree, but also on the quantity and quality of the
secretions ultimately lodged in it. The same species of tree will
present a difference in this respect, according to the country or
situation where it grew, and also according to the character of the
seasons during the time it flourished. According to the nature of the
tree, if placed in favourable circumstances in reference to soil and
weather, it invariably prepares and lodges in the stem those
principles which it was designed to elaborate - the oak preparing
tannin - the sugar-maple preparing its saccharine juice. That the
primary object of these was some advantage to the tree itself can
scarcely be doubted, but the secondary applications of which they are
capable, give reason to suppose that these also were contemplated in
their formation. The consideration of the means by which they are
formed, and the direct consequences of their formation on the air, by
abstracting certain elements from it, and supplying others, belong to
the subject of leaves; it is the object of the present paper to view
them as formed, and to show their amazing utility.

The mechanical properties of the stems of trees, both exogenous and
endogenous, render them extremely serviceable to mankind. The uses to
which a single species of plant may be put are numerous and important,
of which the reed (arundo phragmites) is an example, for after the
root has assisted in binding and consolidating the soil, the stem is
susceptible of the most varied applications[A].

In a low state of civilization the palm, or a palm-like grass,
supplies all that man requires; of the former of which, the _Mauritia
flexuosa_, or sago-palm of the Oronooko, and still more the _cocos
nucifera_, or cocoa-nut palm; and of the latter, the bamboo (_bambusa
arundinacea_, and other species) are proofs. The bamboo suffices for
all the needs of the humbler Chinese; even their paper, as well as
their abodes, are made of it; and from the materials furnished by the
cocoa-nut tree, not merely food, as shall be afterwards noticed, but
larger and more elegant houses, with all their appurtenances, are
constructed at Goa and other places. The obligations of the Guaraons
to the _Mauritia flexuosa_ cannot be expressed[B]. In proportion as
man rises in civilization, the importance of timber becomes greater,
being a material for which no adequate substitute can be found. It
combines lightness with strength, elasticity with firmness, and
possesses in many instances a durability rivalling, or even
surpassing, that of the rocks yielded to us by the solid substance of
the globe. The adaptation of timber to the numerous wants of civil
life is too familiar to require exposition; but in addition to all the
ends it serves in these points, we have an interesting view presented
to us in considering what a vast quantity of timber is required for
the construction of our shipping, from the countless boats and small
craft employed in our coasting trade up to the larger ships, which are
so many floating towns or communities. These conduce to the
accomplishment of objects of the most momentous nature. Were it not
for our shipping we should still be in the condition described by the
Romans, as Britons cut off from the rest of the world. - But by their
means we now visit without restraint,

"Earth's farthest verge, and ocean's wildest shore,"[C]

and though, in times past, they have been too often used as engines
fraught with destruction, directed by man against his fellow man, let
us hope that they may be required in future only to convey in amicable
interchange the produce of one country to another, or to bear to his
destination the missionary bent on extending the blessings of that
religion whose spirit is "peace on earth, good will among the children
of men[D]."

As a means of supplying fuel, without which man must remain constantly
in the savage state, wood is of inestimable value. In the process of
combustion, the elements of the trees enter into new combinations,
evolving both light and heat, which at once maintain life and render
it a state of enjoyment and usefulness. For this purpose in Britain,
we chiefly employ fossil fuel, stored up in the secret places of the
earth, and, therefore, we attach less importance to recent wood; but
other parts of the world are not so favourably situated, and to the
inhabitants of these places fresh, or but lately felled, wood is
necessary for their existence. Even in France, though partially
possessed of coal, it is estimated that the quantity of wood employed
to supply heat, whether for comfort, cooking, or in manufactures which
require a high temperature, amounts to seven-tenths of the entire
consumption. The superiority of wood fuel, whether fossil or recent,
over every other material resorted to with a like intention, shall be
shown in a subsequent part of this paper. I therefore pass on at
present to demonstrate the utility of vegetable substances in
affording the means of subsistence to man and animals.

In the observations I am about to make, it is impossible to avoid
anticipating some of the remarks which belong to the subject of fruits
and seeds as articles of food, since the same principles of nutriment
are found in the stems of certain plants as are deposited in the
fruits or seeds of others.

Though man is omnivorous, and can subsist either on animal or
vegetable food - an arrangement which fits him to dwell in any part of
the habitable globe, - yet he is subject, with regard to the actual
material of his diet, in a remarkable manner, to the influence of
climate, since a particular kind of aliment, which is very appropriate
in one country is improper in another; thus, as we advance from the
equator towards the poles, the necessity for animal food becomes
greater, till, in the very north, it is the sole article of
subsistence. Animal food, from containing nitrogen, is more
stimulating, and, therefore, less suitable for hot climates, where, on
the contrary, saccharine, mucilaginous, and starchy materials are
preferred; hence, in the zone of the tropics, we find produced in
abundance rice, maize, millet, sago, salep, arrowroot, potatoes, the
bread-fruit, banana, and other watery, or mucilaginous fruits.
Quitting this zone, we enter that which produces wheat, and here,
where the temperature is lower, providence has united with the starch
of this grain a peculiar principle (gluten), possessing all the
properties of animal matter, and yielding nitrogen and ammonia in its
decomposition[E]. Thus, by a gradual and almost insensible transition,
nature furnishes to man the food which is most appropriate for him in
each region. In the subtropical zone vegetable diet is still
preferred, but, in chemical constitution, the favourite articles
approximate animal substances. This holds also in the temperate zone,
not only in respect of wheat, but also in the chesnut, which is almost
the sole means of subsistence in some of the mountainous regions of
France, Italy, and Spain, though, instead of the gluten of wheat, this
seed contains albumen, the relation of which to animal food is even
closer than that of gluten. In reviewing the geographical distribution
of the cereal grains[F], we find that starch nearly pure is produced
in the greatest abundance in the hottest parts of the world,
particularly in rice and maize; it becomes associated in the
subtropical regions with an equivalent for animal food; and in still
colder regions, where wheat fails, oats and barley take its place.
These, though possessed of less gluten than wheat, are, nevertheless,
more heating, and, therefore, better calculated for northern
latitudes. The inhabitants of Scotland and Lapland, with their oaten
and barley or rye bread, are thus as thoroughly provided with the best
food, as the Hindoo with his rice or Indian corn[G].

It would be impossible to enumerate the plants which furnish starch in
large proportion, but a few may be given as illustrative of the above
positions. The chemical analysis of those proximate principles of
plants which are mere combinations of water with carbon
(hydro-carbonates or hydrates of carbon) has been already given, but
must here be repeated: -

100 parts consist of
| Water. | Carbon.
Gum (pure gum-arabic) | 58.6 | 41.4
Sugar (pure crystallized) | 57.15 | 42.85
Starch | 56.00 | 44.00
Lignin | 50.00 | 50.00

These are so many mutually convertible products, of which gum may be
looked upon as the basis; indeed gum is that organizable product which
exists most universally in the proper juices of plants. "There are

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Online LibraryVariousThe Church of England Magazine - Volume 10, No. 263, January 9, 1841 → online text (page 1 of 5)