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What though I trace each herb and flower
That drinks the morning dew,
How vain were all I knew !
My chief object and aim in writing this little book has been to induce those who read and love God's written word, to read and love the great unwritten book which he has every where spread abroad for our learning. In doing this we shall follow the steps of our Lord Jesus.
How constantly his lessons and parables are quickened and adorned by references not only to the use, but to the beauty, of the vegetable creation; saying of the Lily, “ Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these!” Observe, too, how the precursors of our own heavenly Teacher, the prophets, and the psalmist, and the writer of the Canticles, are perpetually setting forth the majesty and beauty of the heavens and earth, until we join them
, “Lord! how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all."
A second reason for printing an English Scripture Herbal is, that, of the best and most trusty books on the natural history of the Bible, the greater number are written in the learned languages ; and, of the many millions who read the Scriptures in my native tongue, how few there are who can decipher the inscription “ written in the Hebrew, and in the Greek, and in the Latin !"*
I feel, however, that I ought to give some account of the help I have had in composing my Herbal, a task which has occupied and comforted me during the last three years of a long and hopeless illness.
The title I honestly acknowledge I have borrowed from an almost forgotten little book t, which used to
* The principal books of this kind are:
Bochart's Hierozoicon, 1793.
† Theobotanologia, sive Historia Vegetabilium Sacra ; or a Scripture Herbal, by William Westmacott of Newcastle-under-Line, a physician, 1694. Many of his wonderful recipes are taken from Dr. Bates or Butts (perhaps Henry VIII.'s plıysician).
my admiration when a child, by the wonderful powers it ascribed to simples, especially if due regard were paid to gathering them at the rising and setting of their planets. It is a curious little work, and contains much that is rare, at least in our times.
I have made use of another but very superior English tract, namely, that of Sir Thomas Brown; which professes to treat of all the plants named in Scripture, from the Fig-tree in Genesis to the Wormwood of the Revelations.
Gerard's Herbal, and Dr. Philemon Holland's translation of Pliny, have been invaluable to me. Published but little before the authorised version of the Bible, the names of plants in them can hardly be other than those used by our venerable translators. The wood-cuts and histories in Gerard, and Pliny's descriptions under the English names supplied by Holland, have often guided me to the true plant of which I was in search.
Of the works written professedly on any branch of the natural history, I have made most use of the Hierobotanicon of Celsius. That learned man, who was in part the tutor of Linnæus, and his predecessor in the chair of natural science at Upsal, employed fifty years in composing his most laborious work; and, when