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shall lose ourselves and find ourselves in the infinite felicities and marvels of the divine hand. Only as we delight in the work of God can we delight in our own work and find rest to our soul.
Lift, then, your eyes on high and behold the eternal lights, take the wings of the morning, brood over the flower, chase the subtle splendour of minute life through its secret hiding-places, revel in landscapes chequered with glowing colours, listen to the solemn. music of the sea, and the weariness of life is gone. "Give me a great thought," was the dying cry of Schiller; it is the agonizing cry of millions of the living, only they do not understand the secret of their discontent. Nature is a repository of the great thoughts of God which science interprets, and in those thoughts our soul walks at large-wonders, worships, and sings. "The world is yours." Do not give nature a passing glance, science an idle moment, but, look deeply and lovingly for the secrets of God's wisdom, power, and love; for, as Traherne puts it quaintly yet profoundly: "You never enjoy the world aright till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars; and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world."
There is, secondly, the larger thought which arises from our study of the government of God and our identification with the great causes that government fosters. In a fine passage Quinet celebrates the day on which he recognized his relation to the whole series of the past ages: "I discovered that frail and circumscribed as I may be, had any form of humanity been
wanting, I should have been other than I am. Old Chaldea, Phenicia, Babylon, Memphis, Judea, Egypt, Etruria, all have had a share in my education, and live in me. Our individual life may seem circumscribed; but looked at as forming a part of the harmony of the ages, it has a force and a meaning we have perhaps little dreamt of." And it is only as we realize our relation to the ages, to all who came before us, to all who succeed us, striving to do our duty to the whole, that we are conscious of dignity, strength, and satisfaction. Thinking imperially, recognizing ourselves in mankind, and becoming its helper, we taste a pure, vast joy impossible to a life centred in mean egotism and the narrow sphere of personal interests.
An essential way to redeem life from insignificance and satiety is to identify ourselves with a great cause. Mr. Sanborn writes thus of Thoreau: "The atmosphere of earnest purpose which pervaded the great movement for the emancipation of the slaves gave to the Thoreau family an elevation of character which was ever after perceptible, and imparted an air of dignity to the trivial details of life." Identification with a great cause imparts elevation to the humblest sincere and intelligent co-worker. One of the best things arising out of political partisanship is that it gives a touch of largeness to lives otherwise paltry and squalid. Identification with the temperance crusade, the cause of purity or mercy, or any other similar movement, lifts men into a larger sphere and creates a satisfying sense of the value and glory of life. A great enthusiasm tends to make small men great, or, at least to evoke the greatness that otherwise would
have remained latent. Best of all, let us recognize in its fullness the government of God bringing in the kingdom of Christ; here we have the sum of all great causes. To plan and pray for the establishment of Christ's reign in the whole earth is indeed to think imperially. Nothing small or mean can dwell in a soul dominated by this great thought and fired by this sublime passion. What many of us need, to forget our sorrows, to banish our weariness, to overcome our indifference and disgust with life, to fill our days with poetry and romance, is to enlist in a great cause, to serve our nation and race, to become workers in that kingdom that ruleth all, and that ruleth all to the end of filling the world with righteousness and peace. "For Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work: I will triumph in the works of Thy hands." Naturalists affirm that the size of the fish found in Central Africa is subtly influenced by the dimensions of the lake in which they live, the same species being larger or smaller in proportion to the scale of their habitat. Living in a small world, we men dwindle and wither; but as knowledge and imagination, faith and hope, make us citizens of a vaster universe, corresponding characters of glory are imprinted on our soul.
THE ASHES OF ROSES
The fading flower of his glorious beauty.-ISA. xxviii. 1.
N one of his nature-notes Mr. E. K. Robinson suggests the construction of a floral thermome"With us the convolvus can stand about one degree more of frost than the dahlia, and the canary-creeper one more than the convolvulus; and one might almost fill a large flower-bed with plants arranged according to their cold-resisting powers, so that on each morning of late autumn and early winter one could see how much frost there had been the night before by the plants that had suffered." But he adds: "When all was done, it would be only a gloomy pleasure that one would derive from counting the deaths of beautiful things." Yet in fact this is what we are ever doing. The world at large is a prepared cemetery, and we pensively mark the lapse of time by the vanishing of dear faces and the fading of beautiful things.
The fairy days of childhood soon flit away as the fairies do. Youthful love and beauty are grains of gold lost whilst they glitter in the coarser sand-heap of time's hour-glass. Bridal blossoms are as illusive as the flowers of a dream. The season when our children are about us is mockingly brief. The sweet
days and ambrosial nights of charming friendship vanish with the rainbow and the falling star. The perfection of our powers is the twinkling of an eye. "All times of our wealth" are snowflakes on the river, one moment white, then gone or ever. Hours of glorious life are auroral gleams. Cherished things of grace and joy perish in the using, as roses crumble into ashes with the dew still upon them. Life is over ere it is well begun, and the relics of its colour and perfume are a few sober memories, as in the museum at Cairo a handful of withered flowers gathered from the coffins of the dead is all that remains of the gardens of the morning world. And, once again, the things and sensations which have eluded us cannot be restored. It is fabled of Eastern magicians that they can take the dust of a flower and by their incantations restore it in phantom form as it was in life. But the ghostly bloom could only be a pathetic reproduction— the dyes, the lustre, the fragrance, all that constituted the fashion and glory of the sweet original, have perished. So by portraits, trinkets, letters, epitaphs, and biographies we seek to perpetuate lost delights; but the aching heart tells how unavailing these tricks are. The photograph of a rainbow, the ashes of a rose, go only a little way to retrieve the lost glories of heaven and earth, and no expedient of love or wisdom can bring back the light of other days.
Let us in the spirit of godliness realise all the gaiety and glory of life. The fading flower of the text is the symbol of pride, indulgence, and worldliness and its end can only be bitter dust. So is it ever with unholy loftiness, show, and jubilation. Verse 5 presents us