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winds on unkindly soils; that myriads would lose their germinating powers, by falling on the waters; and he has thus enriched the plant, that after all that are eaten and that are wasted, there may yet be enough left to sow the earth with fruits to feed us, and flowers to delight us. How many, as the seeds of the pea, or bean, are inclosed in pods as impervious to rain, as if they were little bags of canvass ; yet drying up as the seeds ripen, and, just at the time when they are fit for sowing, rolling round like a crumpled parchment, and letting their seeds fall out upon the land. See the hard shell of the cocoa-nut--so hard that, when we wish for the fruit within, we must employ the sharpest and firmest instrument to obtain it; yet it lies in the ground, and, after a while, the shell
green sprout rises into the air, and grows into a goodly tree; giving its shadow to the land, and the music of its waving leaves to the ocean. And why has the cocoa its hard shell, but that, growing as it does near the sea, it may be fitted to swim away to a distant continent; or to the island of the ocean, or the coral reef, which as yet is unclothed with vegetation ; but, in the progress of years, is to present a green spot in the waste of waters, where the birds of song shall find shelter, and man shall come to eat the fruits of the land? So light is the down that fills the thistle-tuft, that the very faintest summer breeze raises its millions of feathers into the air; and let a stronger blast arise, and
seeds of the ash are scattered far and near. Under the bough of the horse-chestnut tree, lies the nut wrapped in its green and prickly covering, till sun and rain have decayed its outer coat, and left it free to find its place in the soil; and the autumnal damps rot the hard woody cones of the fir-apple, and the seed, so carefully guarded till it is matured, finds its way into the land, and the dark forest of the north rises and thickens with its thousands of trees. Innumerable are the means which the great Creator employs in spreading fertility; from the gentle summer wind which ripples the waters, to the storm which lashes the waves into fury; from the humble and unintentional ministry of the fowl of the air, to the thoughtful plan and the unwearied pursuit of it, which characterises the works of his great masterpiece-man.
There are few who are disposed to resist these evidences of a Supreme Being, or to deny his power and beneficence as shown in creation. Though on looking around we see so much practical infidelity; though many are living and dying, and God is not in all their thoughts; yet most would acknowledge the fact of his existence, and welcome the proofs of his omnipotence. Far more general is the notion, that we can learn so much of God in his works, as that we need not study his Holy Word. We may listen to the sweeping winds with solemn awe, and a rapt and subdued feeling may take possession of our souls, and we may fancy it is devotion ; yet not one holy or spiritual emotion may be
called into action, which shall enable us to go forth resisting the temptations of sin, or which shall really constitute communion with God. We may look on the broad landscape, smiling in summer beauty, and speak with delight of the “temple of nature," and say with the poet
“ The turf shall be my fragrant shrine," and follow with reverence the man of science, as he displays God's wisdom in the creation of the universe ; and yet there may be no sense of God's holiness—no true penitence for sin-and no pleading of that atoning blood-without which, prayer cannot be acceptable to the majesty of God.
But though the knowledge of eternal life is not to be gathered from nature, yet we may not only trace God's love in the “flower of the
1,” but we may be reminded, by rural sights and scenes, of many portions of Scripture truth. Our Saviour himself bade us look upon this material world for this object. “And thus,” says that pious old writer, George Herbert, “our Saviour made trees and plants to teach the people : for he was the true householder, who bringeth out of his treasury things new and old : the old things of philosophy, and the new of grace, and maketh one to serve the other. And I conceive,” says he, “that our Saviour did this, that, by familiar things, he might make his doctrine slip more easily into the hearts even of the meanest; and that labouring people, whom he chiefly considered,
might have everywhere monuments of his doctrine; remembering in gardens, his mustardseed and lilies; in the fields, his seed-corn and tares; and so not to be drowned altogether in the works of their vocation, but sometimes lift up the mind to better things in the midst of their pains."
“ And not a leaf or sprig of green
On ground or quaking bush is seen,
In the cold and frosty January, where are we to look for the wild flowers? Their roots and seeds are safely covered by the snow, and if a bright clear sky, and a frosty air, should spread their influences, yet few will open to a January sune Man has, by skill, brought the flowers of other lands to enliven our winter; even at that season when the Almighty “scattereth his hoarfrost like ashes,” and none “can stand before his cold;" the golden clusters of the winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) have been brought us from the mountains of Italy, and their buttercup-like blossoms are bright as gold: the Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) stands like a flower of snow among its dark shining leaves; and the bright pink, and deep blue