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RIVERS AND MOUNTAINS. *
“ Now Zion's Hill Delights me more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd Fast by the oracle of God."
As in life there are different stages or periods of existence from infancy to old age; so in the day, which is an epitome of of life, there are the periods of morning, noon, and eveningand likewise in the year, the varying seasons of spring, summer, autumn, winter. Just as the infant varies from the man, so does the spring differ from the autumn. As the morning rises bright with hopes, or buoyant with anticipated pleasure, so the evening brings with it the languid frame, the pensive thought, the hour of melancholy musing ; all that has been gained by the experience of the day passes in review before the mind;
all that has been suffered in the rubs and toils of life; all that has been accomplished in the paths of duty; all that has been added to the being, the history, or the moral acquirements of the man are silently summed up. As the energies of the morning expand themselves in action, in business, or in study, so the subdued feelings of the evening subside into the repose of contemplation. Each period of the day has its peculiar sphere of duty, and its peculiar source of satisfaction.
In like manner the different seasons of the year have their own shade of thought, and are each colored by a fainter or brighter tone of feeling ; and there are few to whom the summer's sun does not suggest a sentiment differing in kind froin that of winter's gloom. For my own part, the ideas of green retreats, of forest glades, of mountain streams, and of foun. tains of water present themselves to my mind on a summer's day, as naturally as heat suggests the idea of the sweetness of the cooling shade. And that such sentiments are common to our nature, may be proved by the delight with which all men have recognised those feelings which poets only have been able to express. At such a time, the soul, like the bart of the
* See two Maps of Chief Rivers and Mountains in Youths' Magazine for July and August.
VOL. v. 3rd SERIES,
desert, pants for the living stream; or as the poet sings, we long to wind by the margin of some river dear to song, to stand upon the mountain's brow, inhaling the cooling breeze, or on the ocean's side, listening to the murmur of its ceaseless
In examining the Map of Chief Rivers, inserted in the Youths' Magazine for July, I missed so many of those “ Rivers dear to song,” that I was led to a rapid retrospection of early and once treasured recollections with which they were associated in my mind; and I wondered that the Ilyssus, the Tiber, the Minico, &c., rivers which have flowed so long to the eye of imagination, and which have so often refreshed the pensive student, should have found no place there. The Avon, devoted by its own bard to all the sweet uses and delights of poetry, is not there. The Tweed, the scene at once of pastoral life and feudal strife, and of chivalric story, which has so often listened to the oaten reed, and shepherd's pipe, and minstrel's harp, is not there. The Euphrates, and the Ganges, and the Nile, are there—but those rivers, broad and large, the Gihon and the Hiddekel, which “ Once through Eden flow'd," are passed unnoted. In vain also have I looked for that river, the streams whereof make glad the city of our God.
Thus science has disappointed two classes of readers, the pious and the poetical. The former indeed cannot be said to
ely disappointed, for the river of which he thirsts to drink, no mortal hand may trace, while those that are de. lineated on the chart, all proclaim the glory of Him who was set up from everlasting, when there were no depths, no fountains abounding with water-of Him who first pointed out to the rivers their way, and who has caused them to refresh, fertilize, and beautify all the regions of the earth, through which they have rolled for six thousand years. But while the waters of the Nile have cooled the Ethiop's lip, and the Ganges has received the votive offering of the Indian, and the Euphrates has swept over the ruins of the once mighty Babylon; the river whose streams make glad the city of our God, has been quaffed by men in every age and clime, has rolled through many a city and many a zone-neither continents nor islands can impede its course-mountains, and valleys, and deserts are
free to it, as it is free to all, and it shall continue to flow and to bring health, and purity, and salvation to thousands yet unborn-till time shall be no more. It is a stream from which patriarchs and prophets before the flood, and patriarchs and prophets since the flood, and apostles and martyrs in every generation have quaffed life and immortality—a stream, by the margin of which the righteous have flourished like the palmtree, and the young have sprung up as among the grass, and as willows by the water-courses—a river by whose side many a tree has been planted which has brought forth his fruit in his season in everlasting and unfading verdure—a stream which has made the wilderness and the solitary place glad; yea, which has made the wilderness to blossom as the rose, and the desert to rejoice as Eden—its waters have brought health to the sick, strength to the weak, life to the dead-to the guilty, pardon; to the dejected, hope; to the polluted, purity-Yea, though your
sins be as scarlet, it can make them white as snow, though red as crimson they shall be as wool. Though unbelief should reject this truth, yet He who hath said it abideth faithful, and of this promise it may be said as of every other scripture that is written—" What I have written, I have written."
The summer's sun not only reminds us of rivers, but of mountains. We long for the upland lawn,—the refreshing
ze, and we traverse the ountain's side, and repose upon the mountain's brow under the fair canopy of the heaven's de. licious blue. Hence, as if on Zion's hill, refreshed by Siloa's brook, we look down upon the waste of life in city cares, and toiling strife below; this is the mount and moment of contemplation, from which the world and all that it inherits diminish to a speck—the heavens expand—the stars appear-the clouds open, and the pious soul, like Stephen, deaf to the shouts of his murderers, sees Jesus standing on the right hand of the Majesty on high. On such a spot the soul attains its proper attitude,
" And here the heart's first impulse will be prayer."
We think of Horeb and the glorious manifestations of the prophet's God we think of Carmel and the confusion of the idol's priests-we think of Tabor, and the joy of the disciples' hearts—we think of Calvary, and desire to draw all men to him that died thereon. 0! wbat is Parnassus or Olympus, to such a scene as this ! How long shall the doting world delude the young by such illusions as can only spring from fables such as these, while truth, eternal and immortal, heaven-born, and radiant as its native heaven, invites their gaze-invites the concentration of all their faculties—the consecration of all their affections, and not only teaches the young idea how to shoot; but how to shoot upward to the Empyrean!
But we think of valleys also in this sweet season of the year, and long to thread their devious way, and wander through the primrose paths of vernal beauty ; and as rivers and mountains bring to the pious mind their tribute of sacred associations, so likewise the vales and plains. We remember the plains of Moab, where Israel appeared in all his great and gloriou panoply, proof against all enchantment-strong as a great lion, and lifting himself up as a young lion—his tents spread out as the valleys, and his tabernacles as gardens by the river's side. We remember Aijalon, and the valley between Shoccoh and Azekah, where the Lord appeared in behalf of Israel in the days of Joshua and of David-or we muse on the great deliverance wrought in the valley by the hill of Moreh, where the christian hero went forth to combat against the enemies of the Lord—when the Midianites and the Amalekites, and all the children of the East, lay along in the valley as grasshoppers for multitude, and their camels were without number, as the sand of the sea, for multitude. How often is it even thus with the christian !-his enemies come to fight against him, like the Midianites, without number, they thirst for his blood, and lie in wait to destroy him. But though in himself
be weak as the bruised reed, or all unarmed as David ; yet shall they tremble and fall before Him, as Midian trembled at the barley cake, and Goliath fell before the shepherd's sling; though they be “high as the moon, or lofty as the sun at noonday, in the elevation of their power and strengthprayer can chase them backward; prayer can make them stand still”—for there is no enchantment against Israel, neither any
divination against Jacob; the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.
By such meditations as these, we shall be led to pursue our pilgrim.path in peace and confidence, none daring to make us afraid. Thereby, also, shall we be prepared to pass through the valley of the shadow of death, neither shall our feet stumble upon the dark mountains; in that gloomy valley we shall meet the Prince of light and life, his rod and staff shall comfort us. From this land of our exile we shall arrive at Mount Sion, and join the hosannahs of the many thousands of Israel - there the Good Shepherd shall lead us by living fountains of water, and God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes. Thus those very feelings which the beauty and glory of creation inspire in the heart of the devout worshipper, or young enthusiast, shall one day have their full fruition ; and
shall the affections of the beart, the capacities of the soul, and the faculties of the mind be satisfied; but there shall be rivers of pleasure to satiate all those minor sources of enjoyment which arise from taste, imagination, genius, the perception of excellence, and sense of admiration of all that is fair or lovely in creation, whether it be in the wide magnificence of heaven, or under it, in the everlasting hills.
The christian therefore has his classics. The scholar, in his summer walk by the river's side, may dream of Pactolus or Ladon; or on the mountain's brow, heap Pelion upon Ossa ; the christian has his imagination sanctified as well as every other diviner faculty ; his associations are as strong and deep, as bright and vivid as the other's; but in purity, in sanctity, in delight, how superior! in elevation of thought, how much more lofty-in magnitude of importance, how much greater ! in beauty, not less-in reality, alone substantial-all others are but the shadow of a shade. If ever there was a mind imbued with classic literature, it was that of Milton; if ever a mind could appreciate the charm of genius or its achievements, it was the mind of Milton ; yet when he invoked his heavenly muse, he seated her
“ Far above the Auonian Mount;"