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“move in the breeze,and blossom in the spring;" and to read, in the changes which occur in the material world, the varied expression of eternal love. It is from the influence of Christianity, accordingly, that the key has been given to the signs of nature. It was only when the spirit of God moved on the face of the deep, that order and beauty were seen in the world.

It is, accordingly, peculiarly well worthy of observation, that the beauty of nature, as felt in modern times, seems to have been almost unknown to the writers of antiquity. They described occasionally the scenes in which they dwelt; but, if we except Virgil, whose gentle mind seems to have anticipated, in this instance, the influence of the Gospel, never with any deep feeling of their beauty. Then, as now, the citadel of Athens looked upon the evening sun, and her temples flamed in his setting beam; but what Athenian writer ever described the matchless glories of the scene? Then, as now, the silvery clouds of the Ægean Sea rolled round her verdant isles, and sported in the azure vault of heaven; but what Grecian poet has been inspired by the sight?

The Italian lakes spread their waves beneath a cloudless sky, and all that is lovely in nature was gathered around them; yet even Eustace tells us, that a few detached lines is all that is left in regard to them by the Roman poets. The Alps themselves,

"The palaces of nature, whose vast walls
Have pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps,
And throned eternity in icy halls

Of cold sublimity, where forms and falls

The avalanche, the thunderbolt of snow;"

even these, the most glorious objects which the eye of man can behold, were regarded by the ancients with sentiments only of dismay or horror; as a barrier from hostile nations, or as the dwelling of barbarous tribes. The torch of religion had not then lighted the face of nature. They knew not the language which she spoke, nor felt that holy spirit, which to the Christian, gives the sublimity of these scenes.

There is something, therefore, in religious reflections on the objects, or the changes of nature, which is peculiarly appropriate in a Christian teacher. No man will impress them on his heart without becoming happier and better; without feeling warmer gratitude for the beneficence of nature, and deeper thankfulness

for those means of knowing the Author of this beneficence which revelation has afforded. "Behold the lilies of the field," says our Savior; "they toil not, neither do they spin: yet, verily I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these." In these words we perceive the deep sense which he entertained of the beauty even of the minutest of the works of nature. If the admiration of external objects is not directly made the object of his precepts, it is not on that account, the less allied to the spirit of religion. It springs from the revelation which he has made, and grows with the spirit which he inculcates.

The cultivation of this feeling, we may suppose, is purposely left to the human mind, that man may be induced to follow it from the charms which novelty confers; and the sentiments which it awakens are not expressly enjoined as the spontaneous growth of our own imagination. While they seem, however, to spring up unbidden in the mind, they are, in fact, produced by the spirit of religion; and those who imagine that they are not the fit subject of Christian instruction, are ignorant of the secret workings, and finer analogies, of the faith which they profess.


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ONE day in spring, Solomon, then a youth, sat under the palm-trees, in the garden of the king, his father, with his eyes fixed on the ground, and absorbed in thought. Nathan, his preceptor, went up to him and said, "Why sittest thou thus, musing under the palm-trees?" The youth raised his head, and answered, "Nathan, I am exceedingly desirous to behold a miracle." "A wish," said the prophet, with a smile, "which I entertained myself in my juvenile years." "And was it granted?" hastily asked the prince.

"A man of God," answered Nathan, "came to me, bringing in his hand a pomegranate seed. Observe, said he, what this seed will turn to. He thereupon made with his fingers a hole in the earth, and put the seed into the hole, and covered it. Scarcely had he drawn back his hand when the earth parted,

and I saw two small leaves shoot forth, but no sooner did I perceive them, than the leaves separated, and from between them arose a round stem, covered with bark, and the stem became every moment higher and thicker. The man of God thereupon said to me, ' take notice!' And while I observed, seven

shoots issued from the stem, like the seven branches on the candlestick of the altar. I was astonished, but the man of God motioned to me, and commanded me to be silent, and to attend. 'Behold,' said he, 'new creations will soon make their appearance.'

"He thereupon brought water in the hollow of his hand from the stream which flowed past; and lo! all the branches were covered with green leaves, so that a cooling shade was thrown around us, together with a delicious odor. • Whence,' exclaimed I, 'is this perfume amid the refreshing shade?' 'Seest thou not,' said the man of God, the scarlet blossom, as, shooting forth from among the green leaves, it hangs down in clusters ?' I was about to answer, when a gentle breeze agitated the leaves, and strewed the blossoms around us, as the autumnal blast scatters the withered foliage. No sooner had the blossoms fallen, than the red pomegranates appeared suspended among the leaves, like the almonds on the rod of Aaron. The man of God then left me in profound amazement."

Nathan ceased speaking. "What is the name of the god-like man?" asked Solomon, hastily. "Doth he yet live? Where doth he dwell?" "Son of David," replied Nathan, "I have related to thee a vision." When Solomon heard these words, he was troubled in his heart, and said, "How canst thou deceive me thus?" "I have not deceived thee, son of David," rejoined Nathan. “Behold, in thy father's garden thou mayest see all that I have related to thee. Doth not the same thing take place with every pomegranate, and with the other trees ?"

"Yes," said Solomon, "but imperceptibly, and in a long time." Then Nathan answered, "Is it therefore the less a divine work, because it takes place silently and insensibly? Study nature and her operations; then wilt thou easily believe those of a higher power, and not long for miracles wrought by a human hand."




OUR road now lay between wild and rugged mountains, and the valley itself was stony, broken, and gullied by the washing of the winter torrents; and a few straggling thorn-bushes were all that grew in that region of desolation. I had remarked for some time, and every moment impressed it more and more forcibly upon my mind, that every thing around me seemed old and in decay. The valley was barren, and devastated by torrents; the rocks were rent; the mountains cracked, broken, and crumbling into thousands of pieces; and we encamped at night between rocks which seemed to have been torn asunder by some violent convulsion, where the stones had been washed down into the valley, and the drifted sand almost choked up the passage.

At every step the scene became more solemn and impressive. The mountains became more and more striking, venerable, and interesting. Not a shrub, nor blade of grass grew on their naked sides, deformed with gaps and fissures; and they looked as if by a slight jar or shake they would crumble into millions of pieces. It is impossible to describe correctly the singularly interesting appearance of these mountains. Age, hoary and venerable, is the predominant character. They looked as if their Creator had made them higher than they are, and their summits, worn and weakened by the action of the elements for thousands of years, had cracked and fallen.

The last was by far the most interesting day of my journey to Mount Sinai. We were moving along a broad valley, bounded by ranges of lofty and crumbling mountains, forming an immense rocky rampart on each side of us. We were moving, the whole day, between parallel ranges of mountains, receding in some places, and then again contracting, and about mid-day, entered a narrow and rugged defile, bounded on each side with precipitous granite rocks more than a thousand feet high. We entered at the very bottom of this defile, moving for a time along the dry bed of a torrent, now obstructed with sand and stones, the rocks on every side shivered and torn, and the whole scene wild to sublimity. Our camels stumbled

among the rocky fragments to such a degree, that we dismounted, and passed through the wild defile on foot. At the other end, we came suddenly upon a plain table of ground, and before us towered in awful grandeur, so huge and dark that it seemed close to us, and barring all further progress, the end of my pilgrimage-the holy mountain of Sinai.

Among all the stupendous works of nature, not a place can be selected more fitted for the exhibition of Almighty power. I have stood upon the summit of the giant Etna, and, over the clouds floating beneath it, have surveyed the bold scenery of Sicily, and the distant mountains of Calabria; I have stood upon the top of Vesuvius, and looked down upon the waves of lava, and the ruined and half-recovered cities at its feet; but they are nothing, compared with the terrific solitude and bleak majesty of Sinai.

An observing traveler has well called it a perfect sea of desolation. Not a tree, nor shrub, nor blade of grass is to be seen upon the bare and rugged sides of innumerable mountains, heaving their naked summits to the skies; while the crumbling masses of granite all around, and the distant view of the Syrian desert, with its boundless waste of sands, form the wildest and most dreary, the most terrific and desolate picture that imagination can conceive.




THEN sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying,

I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

The Lord is my strength and my song,

And he has become my salvation;

He is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation;

My father's God, and I will exalt him.

The Lord is a man of war: Jehovah is his name. Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea; His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea.

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