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is here assumed for genuine unsophisticated piety, and the assurance of hope, are the necessary and salutary effects of a lively and well-established faith... The natural beauties of the season which now surround us harmonize with these heavenly truths, which shed complacency and delight on every heart qualified to receive them. As in the sweet prime of the year flowers are scattered in infinite variety by the hand of a benignant Providence, in every field accessible to every son and daughter of creation-as the blooming blossom gives delightful earnest of the ripening and fragrant fruit-so the variety and pungency of the doctrines and precepts selected from the body of Scripture, diffuse themselves over the Christian soul with the most pleasing perceptions; they elevate and improve the understanding; they direct the will; they refresh the drooping and the dying; and, finally, bring to spiritual perfection every faithful purpose generated in so pure a soil, grateful and sweet as the smell of that field which the Lord hath blessed1!
The admiration which the Lord himself expresses of the lilies of the field, then, doubtless, displaying their fine tints before his eyes, adds a new beauty to this interpretation.
The moral lesson on the works of the creation is obvious and instructive. I pass it by as the daily manual of the pious and the thoughtful man. The
religious lesson is yet more instructive. Why were the verdant leaves of the tree of life blighted? Why was the very ground on which we tread cursed? Why did thorns and thistles usurp the place of the luxuriant and precious grain? And why are we condemned to eat the herb of the field with sorrow? Sin is the parent of sorrow; transgression is the cause of sin; the effects of sin, odious in the sight of God, have deformed the face of nature. The repetition of the denunciation in the case of Cain, confirms the fatal sentence-"When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength
Yet as a new creation was found for man, new beauties still spring out of the earth. "The earth is the Lord's and the abundance thereof!" As this is the religious picture of man's mortality, the season presents us with another of his restoration; which I will give in the language of an eloquent divine. "When we see the annual returns of cold shut up the passages of life in plants, and deprive them of that supply of juices which caused them to grow up and flourish on the earth: when the grass faileth, and there is no green thing, but every herb shall sicken and die, and every tree become a lifeless trunk; and yet, when we behold them all revive at the return of the genial spring; when we see the face of the earth renewed in the same beautiful manner it was, and a
1 Gen. iv. 12.
2 Ps. xxiv. 1.
new creation, as it were, open upon us, why should there be any physical difficulties in the doctrine of a resurrection? Why should it be thought a thing incredible that God should raise the dead1?"-"Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it remaineth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit"." Further, a spiritual resurrection is as much assured to us as a natural restoration to life; for what would a resurrection be to us without an immortality? And what would be the advantage of immortality without a participation of celestial joys? The same Almighty power that restores flowers to the spring and fruits to the autumn, pours forth a profusion of delights to the re-animated and faithful Christian. "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord 3." In this religious state of feeling, go to the
-" sylvan scene; where, as the ranks ascend,
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view 4:".
enjoy the prospect most grateful to the heart, breathing vernal delight and joy; partake of the relief and consolation which the happy season brings; meet its beauties with a pious, a peaceful, and an elevated mind; recall the past desolation of gloom and sorrow,
1 Tottie, s. 14.
3 Rom. vi. 23.
to give greater stability to the present calm satisfaction of the heart; raise one strain of praise to the Giver of all goodness, and sing the Song of Solomon himself. "The winter is past; the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land1."
"How fresh, O Lord! how sweet and clean
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
Like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.
"Who would have thought my shrivell❜d heart
All the hard weather,
Dead to the world, keep house unknown.
"These are thy wonders, Lord of power,
This or that is;
Thy word is all, if we could spell 2."
1 Song of Solomon, ii. 11, 12.
* The Temple; Sacred poems, by Mr. George Herbert.
It is a cordial in the midst of our anxieties to reflect, that there is something celestial mixed up with those feelings of affection, which the God of nature has implanted in the human breast. That the origin of these happy feelings is from heaven there can be no doubt, when we contemplate the infinite variety of blessings, which the Father of mercies, and God of all comforts, scatters around us with an unsparing hand. The communion of a pious and an affectionate family on earth; what is it, but the counterpart of the communion of saints in heaven!
That breast must be encased in an impenetrable and unnatural hardness, that can resist the sweet offices of reciprocal kindness. There is a hidden spring of benevolence in the most ungenial heart; and when that spring begins to flow, its remotest consequences are valuable. Every man's life will produce instances of the sacred stream. Thus it is not unusual to be sensible of a strong predilection and kindly feeling, even for a person you have never seen, from the representation of a private circumstance which is in unison with some delicate and tender fibre of the heart. Stories of romance, founded upon such facts, are often thought idle and incredible by those who have not made the deep recesses of the human heart their study. I deprecate the danger of