Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

The bank is thickly studded with them. We will pluck one, and having laid open with the penknife its delicate flower, present it to our juvenile readers. For a moment only we ask them to inspect

it; and they will see that the pistil unlike that in the “nodding flowers" alluded to, does not rise so high even as the base of the stamens. And why is this? simply because He whose eyes are in every place, looks on it in its green recess, and provides for its continuance by this self-same law of gravity. The minute particles of that

prolific dust which is necessary to its perpetuity will again tend downwards, under its influence ime pinging upon the very point where, and where only, they can answer the purposes of their existence.

We are not afraid of cross questions, and should be ashamed of “crooked answers” in a matter of this kind. We will therefore admit that there are exceptions to these interesting laws in the economy of the vegetable world. But it is in these very exceptions that we see most to admire. The principles that we read in nature, we apply to Revelation, and here we think that there is one of paramount importance. In some instances there is nothing in the organization of a plant tending to throw upon the crown of its pistil, the subtle dust of the stamina around it. But God who has made nothing in vain, has other agencies to carry on the work, and the bee, the breeze, the entangled and imprisoned fly, and man himself though toiling in the dark, are all effectual means in the hands of Him who will work and none can hinder. Now here is a principle of immense value when applied to the contingencies connected with the preservation of the word of God. He who has so beautifully put forth his kind protection over the records of his creating love presented in the teeming universe, cannot have allowed the brighter volumes of his redeeming mercy to have failed in one jot or one tittle.

We are perhaps passing into closer argument than will please our little readers. Let them come with us, then, over this sunny bank, stopping only to pluck a few of these hepaticas. But look

how very unlike they are to those that grow so thickly beside our garden door! A single row of purple petals only ; and so many stamens in the centre, that we question whether Linnæus himself could count them; whilst ours at home have none! We will look into De Candolle and solve the mystery. “ It is an important law of the whole vegetable kingdom,” says that writer, " that from every individual part of a plant, every other may be evolved—the roots may become stems and branches, these again may be changed into roots, leaves may become leaf-stalks, and the reverse, the calyx may become corolla, and the filaments may change to petals.” This then has been the case, and these closely.huddled flower-leaves were once stamens !

And now what becomes of those delightful provisions for producing and perfecting the seed, when the parts are wanting on which depended its formation? We are glad the question has been asked, since it gives us the opportunity of stating that flowers in their wild state, do not thus degenerate ; and when man thinks them worthy of transplanting to the garden or the green-house, he will take the trouble of preserving and propagating them by some other means. They are in God's province whilst they grace the untrodden districts of nature; but man has assumed the oversight of them, when he plants them within the pale of art. And yet with regard to the smallest plant no less than the shining hosts of heaven “ not one faileth.”

Let us yield to the “ breezy call” of this charming morning and pursue our ramble till we reach

THE HILLS.
Oh ! for those wild and heath-clad hills

With morning's rosiest radiance blushing,
Down whose dark slopes, like shining rills,

Forth from some cloudy fastness gushing,
Those foot-tracks, whitened in the breeze,

Attest the range of man's dominions;
Where nought beside the hum of bees
The unprisoned wand'rer hears; and sees

The gleaming cushat rest

On the air's balmy breast,
Or rising, burst away on sounding pinions.

Oh! on those mossy heights to lie,

Entranced in bright and holy musing,
To gaze into the deep, deep sky,

Its quiet o’er the heart diffusing-
To leave the hollow world behind,

And all its masked parade of pleasure ;
In every thing some good to find,
To trace in all th' Eternal Mind

Who made the glorious Sun,

" Who spake, and it was done"
Giving the sea its range, the heav'ns their measure.

To climb the rise where every turn,

New stores of mental wealth is bringing ;
The heather and the fragrant fern,

Around our silent footsteps springing ;
Or in the deep and slumb'rous dell,

Where the fresh gorse displays its gilding,
To fancy that the fox-glove's knell
Wakes the warm air with gentle swell,

Calling the mind apart

From the proud fanes of art,
To breathe its worship in a worthier building.

But whilst from this commanding height,

We mark the golden vale reposing
In all the luxury of light,

One after one its charms disclosing,
The spirit wand'ring unconfined,

(For who but He who formed can chain it)
Just feels enough to teach the mind,
How much unfelt remains behind,

And gently seems to say,

“Come, homeless one, away,
And seek your rest, where you alone may gain it."

And now we are upon the highest point; let us look around us on the prospect just emerging from the sleep of winter, and presenting instead of the full foliage of our summer months, “ a dotting scarce perceptible," as if the trees had been baptized with

trembling gold. It is just the season when we most forcibly realize the all-pervading energies of Deity

How awful is the thought,

Of the wonders under ground;
Of the mystic changes wrought

In the silent dark profound !
How each thing upward tends,

By necessity decreed ;
And a world's support depends,

On the shooting of a seed ! But look! we are walking on a pebbly bed around the very edge of a gravel-pit ; and we shall not be the first who have found 66 sermons in stones," if we trace “ the radiant Deity” in those which strew our pathway. They are smooth, oval, uniform ; and over them at some time or other the angry surge must have resounded, before it could have chafed them into roundness; so that they bear witness to the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep, when “ all the high hills that were under the whole heaven, were covered” by its roaring waters.

And here on so unpromising a soil, we are not without abundant vegetation-unique indeed, but beautiful! First in this sleek mossthe natural velvet of the rock, its warm tints so strikingly contrasted with the bleached pebbles scattered round it; then in those lighter, fibrous, sulphur-coloured specimens of larger growth, with here and there the summer-loving pimpernel amongst them, glowing like a rain-drop in the setting sunbeam, and lastly the thirsty heath, now indeed brown and withered, but full of the glorious promise of those days when it shall put on its rich array and flush the swarthy front of these acclivities with purple light. And all this herbage of the hills, what was it once? Only a slight discoloration of the bare and steril surface that required the aid of the microscope to develope its component parts, and to trace in it, those very minute leaf-buds, the decay of which was to furnish a soil for the larger lichens that succeeded it.

We have promised our readers to find all in all;' and we must finish our wanderings as soon as we can satisfy them that we have done so. We have plucked a snow-drop to illustrate the wisdom exercised in the creation of our earth : we have picked up a pebble on the hill-top to shew the terrors of the Lord in its destruction, and we have pored over the mouldering lichen to read its preservation, in those wondrous processes by which its features are renewed; but which are nevertheless hastening on that day “when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” We have seen God in wisdom, God in justice, God in providence; but we have not seen God in Jesus Christ reconciling the world unto himself. The canon of creation is silent on the subject; the mysteries of nature are unintelligible on this great point; the voiceless eloquence of heaven and earth are impotent to teach it. But the scriptures are able to make wise unto salvation through faith which is in Him, who filleth ALL IN ALL.

GIVE GOD THINE HEART. RELIGION must be all, or is nothing; it requires not only the . entire subjugation of the will, but also the regulation of every action of the life, in accordance with its precepts; it must exercise an undisputed authority over the heart and its affections. It must reign without a rival, or it will become utterly powerless and dead. The heart—the whole undivided heart is the empire which it claims.

We are informed, Mark x. 17-22, that when a young ruler came to Jesus and told him that he had scrupulously obeyed all the precepts of the law, our Lord immediately perceived that he was subject to the most lamentable self-deception. Accordingly to test this young man's sincerity, he addressed him in these words, “Go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.” On this we are told that “he departed sorrowing, for he had great possessions.” Under that fair and plausible exterior which looked so specious in the eyes of men, sin and the world maintained their ascendancy; and amid his many outward observances of those things that were fair, and honourable, and just, there was wanting one proof of entire self-devotedness to God, which religion imperatively demanded the sacrifice of that wealth which engrossed his every thought, the renunciation of that which had hitherto proved his chief motive to active exertion.

« ZurückWeiter »