« السابقةمتابعة »
MAY SCENES AND THEIR LESSONS.
BY REV. H. HARBAUGI.
SPRING has come once more. The lovely season is at the door. All nature smiles in the light of hope. God appears everywhere as the LIVING God. He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field. By them shall the fowls of heaven have their habitations, which sing among the branches. He watereth the hills from his chambers : the earth is satisfied with the fruit of his works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herbs for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth. O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So sings the grateful heart of the royal Psalmist.
The scriptures are wont to refer us to nature, not—as Deists would say—as a source, but as the occasion of religious instruction, and with a view of illustrating revealed truth. Revelation refers to the world around us, and the seasons as they pass, as a vast parable, which pictures to us divine truths in all their details, so that we may have them constantly before our eyes. Thus the broad surface of nature becomes to us a grand panorama, passing before us as the seasons pass, revealing in each move some new representation of God's wisdom and ways. Stupid indeed must he be who is not able to look and learn.
Let us make a May-day excursion into the animated world of life and love as it now lies in all the beauty of Spring around
What do we see? First of all, we see the spirit of gratitude and praise. There arises to heaven a varied and ceaseless hymn of grateful praise from all things. There is nothing dull—nothing silent-nothing dead. All life seems to feel itself blest in the fulness of its own being, and in a tremor of joy looks up to adore. Rivulets leap in joyful liberty, and pouring themselves a cheerful offering into larger streams, are still heard in softer, deeper, humbler tones to sing along, Praise Him. Seeds open, germs creep out to look up, and, double-bladed, spread forth two arms toward heaven, as did the High Priest when he prayed. In the bud the future flower begins to swell against the sides, like a heart that has more blessings than it can hold, till at length, upon the
very top of the plant, its bursts in beauty, sending its fragrance up to God, while it still holds wide its cup, as if to wait for his favor. The song-birds make the groves vocal, but
love best the trees nearest the house, as if they would join with man, who has been better taught than they, in saying, “Our Father who are in heaven.” Even insects creep forth, and become happier in the genial sun, as if they had heard the voice, “Praise him, creeping things."
Is man silent ? Can his heart remain dull and dead, when the very spirit of praise lives and breathes around him? Can he, the intelligent High Priest of Nature, stand with cold heart and closed lips before the altar ? Can he do this, and hope to be forgiven ?
Does not this lovely, active season of the year also teach us that we ought to work. All nature is not only active in praise but also active in doing good. Where is there any thing in nature that does not seem to be active with some good end in view. The "springs which run among the hills,” and glide through reviving meadows, betray by a "streak of livelier green" the modest secret of their own goodness. Plants are patiently laboring up to that point when, after having cheered man's heart, and regaled his senses, with their beautiful and odorous blossoms, they shall be able to shake their ripe fruits into his basket. Birds sing not merely to idle away time, else they would go to deep solitudes—where no singing birds are ever found—they sing only in the open country, and near the habitations of man, by which they seem to say, Not for us, but for you are all our songs. Even insects, however small
, and seemingly destructive, are
secretly serving man, or other orders of animated nature, and thus doing their part of work in the vast whole of Infinite Wisdom, Goodness and Love.
Is man idle ? Man, who has so high a commission from God, as to be lord of this lower world! Man who has
A God to glorify;
And fit it for the sky. Shall he be idle? If he will be idle, let him hide himself, as it becomes one ashamed! Let him not come forth into the presence of flowers, birds and insects-yea, let him ever hide himself from the view of the crawling worm, for is not he nursing the infant life of the future winged insect?
This lovely spring season teaches us to hope. Every thing around us is promise and fulfilment. Every thing is cheerful and gay; and all gloom seems to have gone with the winter.
It teaches us to hope for all that we need to sustain our temporal life. We see that the earth, like a kind mother, is preparing to feed all her children. Roots, seeds, germs, buds and plants, are all supplied with the needed nourishment. Beasts,
birds, insects and worms are all fed. Shall man alone want? Why take ye thought for what ye shall eat and drink! Behold all around, in growing herbs, in blooming trees, and in green field, is the promise of bread. If He water the fields with showers—if He feed birds, insects and worms—will He not much more feed you, O ye of little faith!
These May scenes inspire us to hope for a still farther renovation of our spiritual life. He who renews the face of nature into life, beauty, and bloom, will revive the humble christian's graces. The kingdom of spirits is nearer to God than the kingdom of nature. The graces of the Spirit in the hearts of saints, are more to his glory than smiling fields and flowery gardens. He will surely cause in his children's hearts, the spring to appear. As the south wind glides softly and sweetly over the earth, so will He cause the Spirit to "blow upon his garden that the spices thereof may flow out.” Then shall our beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
Spring time causes us to hope also for the world that lies dead in trespasses and in sins. We look around, and behold it is winter! Hearts are cold-all their affections are bound as by chains of ice. Desolation reigns among the hosts of the wicked. There is neither life nor love. We cry earnestly into this valley of death : "Can these dry bones live ?” There comes an answer every where from the world of nature.
He who changes dreary winter into cheerful spring, can so in like manner breathe upon this dead world of sinners, and cause them to arise and live.
Sweetest of all is the blessed hope which Spring inspires in our hearts in view of our beloved dead! The very grass
that grows upon their graves is a promise that they shall rise. The soft odorous breeze that plays around the spot where their bodies repose, seems to call to them : "Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out her dead!” We need not closely inquire whether the analogies of nature prove that the dead shall rise ; for this is. not necessary, since we know that the surer word of revelation teaches that those who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. It is enough if these May scenes, so full of life, love and hope, enable us, with firmer faith and sweeter unction, to pronounce that glorious Article of our common faith : I BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY!
See Truth, Love, and Mercy, in triumph descending,
And Nature all glowing in Eden's first bloom !
ACTIONS AND THEIR EFFECTS.
BY LIREM. Individuals make little circles of society, but miniatures of the whole world, as it seems to the looker on in some other planet. Far down to the end of the world must the influence of these circles extend. To relate the past does but show us how ourselves are placed. They warn and teach us not to delude ourselves with the thought that we are acting for ourselves alone, and the consequences stop with us. Had we presently before us this we would perhaps act differently. Can we bear the awful thought that our children will curse us even when we are dust? Is it so that they that were unborn while we live shall rise as witnesses against us? Have we ourselves no bitterness against any, whose very images and faces have faded from memory ? Alas, it is even so ! The actors in the scenes which have suggested these thoughts have long ago retired. None now live that saw them but their deeds have come down to us. They are tales now told, with many exciting but the feelings which virtue and vice commonly excite. The sorrow and wretchedness they caused has apparently passed, giving place to others; but in some hearts there is misery yet; and the influence is no doubt yet unseen working on. Some mounds, some marble slabs yet intimate there were such beings; but a more enduring memorial remains, to rise to its full height when the world is judged. Ah! many such there will be we list not of; they will be a surprise. An increasing joy to the good; an overwhelming terror to the bad. And if we would consider how far a virtuous life extends its influence, it would add to the warning derived from that of vicious actions. We rarely think of them, too, only as they concern our own life—which is infinitely insignificant beside the long train of good things which they effect for posterity, Viewed in this light they add greatly to the satisfaction of doing them. Our own virtue further gives hopes, too, of its continuance in our children. “To be assured of the continuance of virtue in one's children hereafter, is better than the continuance of life. All the enjoyments with which we meet are to be regarded as concerning us in relation to others. Even a man's honor gains a new value when he can feel that after he is dead a good action will be remembered as being done by his father. Such considerations sweeten the old man's evening, and his soliloquy delights him when he can sayı *No man can tell my child that his father was unmerciful and unjust my son sliall meet with many a man who will say, I am obliged to thy father, and be my child a friend to his child forever.'" No one travels alone nor in a solitary path ; yet it is his own path and he should take care that it be straight and not interfere with that of his companions, nor a stumbling and vexation to those who come after. For, by example or necessity, others may have to make theirs crooked.
OLIVER GOLDSMITH. GOLDSMITH was one of nine children of a very poorly endowed clergyman of the church of Ireland, in which country ho was born in the year 1728. Of academical instruction he had his full share ; for he attended successively the Universities of Dublin, Edinburgh, and Leyden. At the two last-mentioned places he studied medicine, which he had chosen as his profession, after having been originally intended for trade, and then successively for the church and the law. His eccentric, imprudent, and reckless habits, however, which had been constantly involving him in one difficulty or other from his boyhood, acquired strength with his years; and he had not been long at Leyden when he found himself reduced by his thoughtlessness and extravagance to a state of destitution, as bad as that which a short time before had forced him to take flight from Edinburgh. On this he left the university, and set out to travel over the Continent, possessed of nothing in the world but the clothes he wore and his flute. It was on the latter he depended for his support, his practice being, when, after walking all day, He arrived at a village in the evening, to assemble the inhabitants around him to dance to his music, in return for which they generally gave him lodgings for the night and wherewithal to procure him food for the next day. In this manner he walked over a great part of Flanders, the south of France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. At last he arrived in London with, it is said, only a few pence in his pocket. In this emergency he was fortunate enough to meet with his countryman and college acquaintance, Dr. Sleigh, and by the aid of this gentleman he obtained the situation of assistant teacher in a school at Peckham. Soon afterward he offered his services to an apothecary in the metropolis, and with him he lived for some time. It way to literary labor as a means of support. He began by writing for the Monthly Review and the Public Ledger, to which last he contributed the series of essays in the form of letters from d Chinese residing in England, to his friends in China, which were afterward collected and published under the title of the 201511o aid of ba