Immagini della pagina

The construction of the tower, as another constituent part of the vineyard, might be accounted for, either by supposing it intended to be a storehouse of the fruit, a receptacle for the working implements, required in its culture, a lodging for its curator, and a proper place in which to keep guard over it; or by considering it an appendage, designed as much for pleasure and embellishment as for utility and convenience. The possession of towers might be a luxury not absolutely essential to the integrity of a vineyard, and so far characteristic of the gardens or vineyards of the richo. The provi

been analogous to the pipes, or receptacles of the wine itself, as soon as it was ready; the kovußnopa would answer to the lacus or únolúviov, in which the juice was received, as soon as extracted —to undergo the process of fermentation, and to be converted into wine.

Here the vidoe were vats hewn out of the rock; and the coAvußnopa, a plastered structure, probably of the same kind. According to sir John Chardin, wine-presses in Persia are still hol. low places made in the ground, and lined with mason's work: Harmer, i. 392. chap. iv. obs. xlix.

c Isaiah i. 8, the following allusions occur ; “ And the “ daughter of Sion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge “ in a garden of cucumbers:" upon which Jerome's commentary, iii. 12. ad calcem, is, Similitudo autem vastationis Templi et Jerusalem sumta est ab agricolis, qui quamdiu vinea uvarum plena est, ponunt custodes in umbraculis. in cucumerario quoque, quod Lxx pomorum custodiam vocant, parvulæ fiunt casulæ propter ardorem solis et radios declinandos : et inde vel homines, vel bestiolas quæ insidiari solent natis frugibus, abigunt. That the cucumber fields were liable to be infested by animals, appears from the note at page 4, just before. In his commentary on Isaiah v. Operum iii. 46. ad calcem, also, he observes on the part of the description relating to the tower, Ædificavi firmissimam turrim, in qua fruges reconderem ; et de qua insidiantes frugibus bestias contemplarer.

sion of such an appendage, therefore, over and above the other particulars of the constitution of the vineyard, in the present instance, would serve as a proof of the great care and pains bestowed on its forma

It is most probable, then, that the first and proper use of these towers in vineyards was for these two purposes, of receiving the fruit, and of keeping watch over the vineyard. In other respects, the existence of such buildings in vineyards, would seem to be only a part of a much more general custom then in existence in almost all parts of the country, especially the desert, or less inhabited parts; and the use to which they were put for the purpose of keeping watch in vineyards, to be the same to which they were put under all circumstances of their situation, as a station for watchmen, in the discharge of their proper duty. Thus towers were built by Uzziah in the desert, in all probability as places of observation, and a means of security against danger, in behalf of the flocks and herds, and their keepers, at certain seasons of the year : see 2 Chron. xxvi. 9, 10. Thus too we meet with the expression, “ from the tower of the “ watchman to the fenced city;" 2 Kings xviii. 8, which leads to the same conclusion. Cf. generally, Gen. xxxv. 21: Judges viii. 17; ix. 46, 47. 49: 2 Sam. xviii. 18: 2 Kings ix. 17: Canticles iv. 4 ; vii. 4; viii. 10: Isaiah ii. 15; xxi. 5 ; xxxii. 14: Jerem. xxxi. 38: Micah iv. 8: Habakk. ii. 1: Zechar. xiv. 10: Nehemiah iii. 1. 11. 25—27; xii. 38, 39.

It may very well be presumed, however, that if our Saviour, Luke xiv. 28, alludes to one of these towers, wont to be erected in vineyards or gardens; as it is most probable that he does ; they were luxuries, as well as conveniences, not necessarily essential to the integrity of a vineyard, and both requiring and implying a certain degree of affluence to build them and to possess them. It appears too, from Mr. Harmer, ii. 241, 242. chap. viii. obs. xxi. that a kiosk, or tower, designed for ornament and pleasure, as much as for use or convenience, always has been a common part of the furniture of a vineyard or a garden in the East ; that much pains is taken to decorate and embellish these buildings, and that their owners, with their families, are accustomed to spend in them the greatest part of their leisure time, especially in the summer season.

tion by its owner; and of his desire to render it as perfect as possible. A vineyard so furnished would possess more than enough for the ordinary integrity of vineyards; in which case, whatever was properly the business of its owner, and naturally to be expected beforehand from him, in order to the disposal of it subsequently in any proper way—it must be confessed would have been abundantly performed; and with respect to this vineyard, the same question might be asked, which the prophet Isaiah puts, under circumstances much the same, in behalf of another ; •What more could the owner have done

for it, that he had not done already?' And this, we may presume, is the conviction designed to be produced by the minute description of its formation, preliminary to the rest of its history.

After the plantation of a vineyard, for its usual purpose, the next step to the attainment of that end, is the cultivation of it; a part of the process which must either be the work of the owner, or of others engaged in his stead. The formation of parts of their estates into vineyards, and the letting them out subsequently to be farmed, were equally of common occurrence in Judæa, and wherever else the wealth of the rich, or the owners of land, consisted of income derived from such possessions, as much as from any other sourced. It is supposed that such is the disposal which the owner of the vineyard makes of

d Thus we find it observed, Song of Solomon, i. 6 : “ They “ made me keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard “ have I not kept;" whence it appears that it was usual, among the Jews, for the rich to commit the possession of their vineyards to keepers. See further, chap. viii. 11.

his property in the present instance ; viz. not to cultivate it for himself, but to commit it to others, to be cultivated by them in his stead. The choice of such persons would necessarily rest with him; and in fixing upon them, it is to be presumed, that he would not only select whom he himself might think best, but would exercise a sound discretion in making choice of such as were likely to answer the confidence reposed in them.

From this time forward, then, another description of persons begins to be concerned in the economy of the parabolic transaction, whose proper character is determined by the peculiarity of their relation to the vineyard, as the husbandmen by whom it is cultivated, on the one hand, and to the owner of the vineyard, as his representatives in the possession of it, on the other. The relation henceforward subsisting between the persons concerned in the parable, is consequently that of principal and subordinate ; because it is that of the landlord, and the tenants, of one and the same property in land. And as the vineyard itself could have no being, until it was planted, nor the lord of the vineyard that particular character, until he was possessed of one: so neither could the husbandmen have any being in their proper capacity as the farmers of the vineyard, until they had been appointed his tenants by its landlord, and had been placed in possession of it in his stead.

The relation of landlord and tenant, in order to be contracted between the proper parties, supposes the stipulation, usual in all such cases, to be deliberately made and agreed to on both sides beforehand; without which, it is not to be imagined that the owner of property in land, would transfer the use and possession of it to any besides himself. It is the object of all these contracts to provide for the interest and advantage of both parties in the relation, in proportion to their respective claims; so that while the rights of the principal party, as the owner of the soil, are first and principally consulted, the subordinate parties also, who cultivate his property for him, may find their benefit in it. It follows too, by virtue of the preliminary stipulation which must have preceded, before the relation of landlord and tenant could be contracted in a particular instance; that the recognition of the rights of the principal party in such cases cannot be left to the discretion of the subordinate, but by their own contract, it has become binding upon them : nor can they refuse to acknowledge these rights, after the relation in question has once been contracted, without being guilty of a deliberate breach of faith, and unjustly usurping or withholding what belongs to another.

Whether the returns which the tenants would be bound to render to the landlord, in consequence of the covenant between them, should be paid in money, or in kind, must depend on the nature of their agreement. In either case, the returns must be rendered and received, as the rent of the vineyard. The parable specifies no more, than that the owner of the vineyard expected to receive, and therefore by the nature of his covenant must have been entitled to receive, of the fruits of the vineyard. But the word which expresses these fruits, is capable of standing for the income derived from any species of property, and as productive in any way. The vine

e That vineyards were let out in Judæa for a pecuniary rent,

« IndietroContinua »