This is mealycup sage. Sage is a well-known type of aromatic herb, but the word has an older meaning, perhaps not entirely unrelated. A sage is a person of sagaciousness or sagacity. It could be translated as 'wise' or 'clever'. Surprisingly, it doesn't feature in the Authorised or Geneva translations of the Bible, though a Mr Sagacity helps introduce Part ii of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. While affirming the pilgrims’ escape from the City of Destruction, it's not clear if this gentleman, while claiming to be of that city, has himself departed. Philip Wainwright argues that in the seventeenth century, sagacious meant perceptive or clever rather than wise. This accounts for the early modern translators’ disregard for it, and Bunyan’s character’s ambiguous status.

Wisdom is both a gift from God and an emanation of God in the person of Christ, the divine logos. Many unbelieving humans, while technically rejecting the gospel by default, can still see the existence of God, our need of salvation, and the power of the Christian message. They may even applaud we believers for following Christ, while they themselves have a more abstruse spiritual existence. Such ones are sagacious, but no more; Mr Sagacities, but not fellow pilgrims of the narrow way.