« VorigeDoorgaan »
waters of the great flood, by which the inhabitants of the world had been destroyed, had greatly subsided, a dove was allowed to escape out of the ark, and the dove not finding any resting place returned to the ark, and Noah took the bird into the ark. A week after this, he again sent the dove out of the ark, and in the evening Noah was rejoiced at the return of the dove, bearing in its mouth a leaf of an Olive-tree. By this Noah knew that the waters had greatly decreased, and was assured, that he and his family might soon leave the ark, and enjoy the fresh fruits of the earth. It is supposed that from the fact of the dove bringing to Noah a leaf of the Olive-tree, that a branch of olive has ever since then, been regarded as an emblem of peace and good-will. Hence when an offer is made to be reconciled, it is figuratively said, that “the olive-branch is held out.”
After the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, Nehemiah called upon the rich Jews to restore unto their poor brethren, “their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses; also when the Feast of Tabernacles was to be held, he directed that the people should go to "the mount and fetch olive-branches, and pine-branches, and myrtle-branches, and palm-branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths." Nehemiah v. 11. viii. 15.
We are informed that, the Olive rarely becomes a large tree; but two or three stems frequently rise from the same root, from twenty to thirty feet high, putting out branches, almost their whole length, covered with a gray bark. The leaves, which are about two inches and a half long, and not more than half an inch wide in the middle, are of a lively green on their upper side, and hoary under, and stand opposite to each other. The flowers, are small and white. The fruit is of a yellowish green, turning towards black as it ripens.
From statements made by the Apostle Paul, Romans ix. 17, 24, we learn that Olive-trees were grafted. He refers to “ wild Olive-trees” and “good Olive-trees,” which latter we suppose were
tho which from cultivation produce good fruit. Olive-trees were highly valuable, chiefly on account of the oil which they afforded. Large quantities of olive oil were used by the Jews; it was to them an important article of diet. They employed it to rub on their persons, and to burn in lamps. It was also used medicinally.
For the services rendered by Hiram, King of Tyre, in supplying materials and artificers, for the building of the Temple, Solomon promised to supply Hiram, yearly, for his own use, with two thousand five hundred quarters of wheat, and one hundred and fifty thousand gallons of pure olive oil; besides granting unto the men employed in Lebanon, an equal quantity of oil, besides wine, wheat, and barley.
Dr. Bowring in his “ Report on the commercial Statistics of Syria,” says—“The quantity of olive oil consumed in Aleppo, for all uses, is calculated at about eight to ten thousand cantars." The Syrian cantar is equal to the weight of five hundred and four pounds. The quantity consumed at Damascus is near five thousand cantars annually. The growth of Olives, and the expressing of olive oil, afford employment to many of the inhabitants of France, Italy, and other countries. The Tuscans have been large importers of olive oil. Hence it is frequently called Florence oil. Florence is the chief city of Tuscany. Large quantities of olive oil are brought into this country. It is also called sweet oil.
Dr. Kitto, after referring to the celebrated Mount of Olives, says" That any of the Olive-trees now found there should have existed in the time of Christ can scarcely be expected. Yet there are eight old trees on the lower slope of the mountain, towards the brook Kedron, standing in the supposed site of the garden of Gethsemane, to which this ancient date is ascribed by the monks, and which are in consequence, regarded with high veneration by the pilgrims. To this it has been objected that, according to the testimony of Josephus, all the trees within some distance of Jerusalem were cut down by the Romans, to be employed in the works raised against the devoted city.” That was when it was besieged by the Romans.
- And this, together with the improbability that such trees should exist for above eighteen centuries, has been considered
conclusive against the claim made for these old trees although it has not been denied that they probably are the oldest Olive-trees in the world." Dr. Wilde, however, thinks it is not improbable that those trees existed when our Saviour used to pray on the Mount of Olives. The
“It is true that the Romans cut down the wood about Jerusalem; but the timber of our Olive-trees would be of little value indeed in constructing engines, towers, and battering rams, to be used against the cyclopean (that is very strong) walls of Jerusalem; and these trees in particular must then have been so slender that the besiegers would have considered them unfit for any such purpose. They are undoubtedly the largest, and I may add with safety, the most ancient Olive-trees in the world. The largest is twenty-four feet in girth above its roots, though its topmost branch is not thirty feet from the ground. The trunks of most of them are hollow in the centre, and built up with stones.
“There is nothing unnatural in assigning an age of nineteen centuries to these patriarchs of the vegetable kingdom, whose growth is the slowest of any trees in existence. They have not borne fruit for some years past; but though their trunks are greatly decayed, yet from the hardness of the wood, and each part being so retentive of life, there is still a considerable head to each, whose light coloured silky leaves hang like so many silver locks over their time worn and aged stems, that now, in the evening of life, are fast tottering to decay.”
Olive oil is obtained by pressing the olive berries, which are about the size and shape of damsons. Green olives are eaten for dessert. The wood of the Olive-tree was used in the decorated parts of the Temple of Solomon, and is now used in the East for veneering and other purposes.
A DAY AT WINDSOR CASTLE.
By Old Winsford. WINDSOR CASTLE! Who has not heard of Windsor Castle, the seat of Royalty, and of many events which figure on the page of English history? Who, too, has not often desired to see it, with the beautiful river Thames, and the great park at Windsor, with its lake, its cascade, its walks, its drives, and its trees, which have seen generation after generation of kings and subjects swept away by the stern, ruthless hands of Time and Death ?
Who, then, could blame Old Winsford for having an ardent desire to gaze on what he had so often read of, and what more fitting object to view in connection with the Great Exhibition ?-a thing of yesterday—than Windsor Castle, which dates, at least, from William the Conqueror, who kept his Whitsuntide there in 1071, near 800 years ago.
Windsor is in Berkshire, about twenty-one miles, by rail, from London. The castle is raised on a hill, overlooking the valley of the Thames. The North Terrace is the favourite promenade, made by a long succession of monarchs, and commanding one of the finest and most magnificent prospects in the kingdom. The country below being flat, the eye
wanders over a vast extent of country, embracing so many entire counties, that Pepys, in his Diary, might well burst forth in passionate admiration, and say, “ But the prospect that is in the balcony of the Queen's lodgings, and the terrace, and walk, are strange things to consider, being the best in the world, sure.” Camden, too, observes, “Windsor Castle enjoyeth a most delightful prospect round about; for right in front, it overlooketh a vale, lying out far and wide, garnished with corn-fields, flourishing with meadows, decked with groves on either side, and watered from the most mild and calm river Thames; behind it arise hills everywhere, neither rough, nor over high, attired, as it were, by nature to hunting and game.”
But it is time that we should hasten inside ; and, through the kindness of Her Gracious Majesty, there is no difficulty to obtain, gratuitously, a sight of the state rooms; it being Her Majesty's command that tickets, to view the state apartments, be issued gratis in London. Along with a motley mass of English, Irish, Scotch, French, German, and American gentlemen, with a considerable number of ladies, we find ourselves ushered into the Queen's Audience Chamber, where we are left for some ten or fifteen minutes to examine its contents. There is no official either to interfere, or afford us the least information; but with our guidebooks, and other aids, we are not at a loss to ascertain what we are gazing at. The ceiling attracts considerable attention, having an allegorical painting on it, by a celebrated Neapolitan artist, Antonio Verrio. The painting was execated in the reign of Charles II, and yet has a degree of freshness about it, which bespeaks the ability of the painter. The walls of the room are embellished with three specimens of Gobelin tapestry, from the cartoons executed for Louis XIV., by Jean François de Troy, Director of the French Academy at Rome. They represent a portion of the history of Esther. One is Esther in the care of Hegai, keeper of the women. (Esther ii. 9.) The centre one, over the fireplace, represents the triumph of Mordecai. (Esther vi. 10, 11.) The third is Ahasuerus placing the crown head of Esther. (Esther ii. 17.) These tapestries are beautiful to look at, though, perhaps, excelled by some that were seen in the Crystal Palace. There is also a full length portrait of Mary queen of Scots. These with two or three more portraits, such as Frederick Prince of Orange, and William his son, father of William the Third, and two others, ornamented with the beautiful carving of Gibbons, form the objects of interest in this room.
From this room are conducted into the Old Ball Room, now usually styled “ The Vandyke Room,” on account of all the paintings contained therein, having been painted by Vandyke. We have here king Charles I., and his queen, Henrietta Maria ; Prince Charles, afterwards Charles II., and the princess Mary. Mary Villiers, duchess of Richmond, only daughter of George Villiers, first duke of Buckingham of that name, who was assassinated