« PreviousContinue »
whose kayak had been crushed by the ice, and who had not the means to build a new one. They voted him a loan. A third case was that of an old man, who received five shillings to buy a spear with; another was partly a loan and partly a gift to a man who had a family of girls, and required materials for an oomiak. Still another made application for, and received assistance to bury a dead husband.—Harper's Magazine.
Lessons from Daisies and Snowdrops.
BY ALICE A. CHESSON, LEAMINGTON.
ITH what joy do we hail the first flower, however humble, that meets
our gaze after a long and dreary winter ! Even the field daisy, hundreds of which we pass unnoticed in the summer time, is now an object of interest, and considered by its possessor a perfect treasure. For this little flower, which lifts its head to greet
the sunshine and to brave the storm, is justly considered the forerunner of those fair and lovely, yet more fragile and more delicate flowers, with which ere long our fields and hedges will be gay. While speaking thus of other flowers, you must not think I mean to slight the little daisy, for it is, indeed, a pretty flower, with its yellow centre, fringed with white or red, and plainly does it speak to us of its Creator's wisdom and love in making it so strong that it can brook the wild winds and chilling blasts of early spring, that by its presence it
bid our hearts rejoice in the prospect of lengthened days and balmy air. There are other lessons which this little flower would teach us, if we would but listen to its gentle voice. It would speak to us in kindly tones of patience and of courage
when in the path of duty; of forgiveness of injuries; of wearing a cheerful face under all circumstances; of putting our trust in God at all times; of believing in His wisdom and goodness when the rough winds of adversity and sorrow are beating upon our frail barks, as well as when the sunshine of prosperity is upon our path; of ever keeping our eye of faith directed upward, even when the sky is overcast with clouds, and the sun has been hidden for many days. So greatly do I prize the little daisy, which, in all weathers, and under all circumstances, presents the same appearance of cheerful contentment, that I do not consider a wild flower bouquet complete if ungraced by some of these homely, but deeply suggestive flowers.
On the 7th of February, 1871, I received a letter from a very dear friend residing at Penzance, that lovely spot where winter's reign is short, and where the mild genial air soon causes the trees to bud and the flowers to come forth from their prison-house to beautify the earth. Upon opening it, four beautiful snowdrops presented themselves to my astonished and delighted gaze. So lovely were they, with their pure-white blossoms and delicate green stems, reposing on the soft white paper, in which they had been carefully wrapped, that they looked almost too fair and lovely for this sin-stricken world. Without, a heavy fog had enveloped all things with its mantle of thick gloom; but the air within seemed to have changed most suddenly by the presence of these beauteous things, bringing with them as they did the promise of brighter days and sunny skies. How strange it seems that such lovely things as flowers should, with their bright tints and delicate hues, spring from the dark, damp, and dirty-looking earth. Yet God in His wisdom has suited them for each other. The earth acts the part of a tender mother to the roots, supplying them with nourishment and protecting them from the scorching rays of summer and the nipping frosts of winter ; while the flowers, in return for her care, unfold their glories upon her bosom, thereby making her look fair and beautiful. How liberally has God provided for our every want; and how thankful should we be that He has given us such a lovely world in which to pass our earthly life ; that when Adam sinned, He did not blot out of Creation all that was pretty and pleasing to the eye, and leave us only that which was necessary for the sustaining of life. What a wilderness world should we then have had, and how quickly should we have wearied of it! We should have had dark and gloomy forests, desolate moors, and wild prairies, unrelieved by the thousands of flowers of every colour and shade that now meet the traveller's eye. Our country roads would have presented a uniform and unattractive appearance. Our journeys from one place to another would have been extremely tedious, as the scenery through which we should have passed would have presented nothing to awaken our interest or excite our admiration. In our walks, we should have been uncheered by the music of the feathered tribes that now make our woods and lanes vocal with their joyous songs, and our fields and gardens would have been ungraced by the presence of those bright and happy creatures. Nature's silence would have been unbroken, save for the lowing of the cattle, the bleating of the sheep, the barking of the dogs, or the cry of some wild beast in search of prey. And we ourselves should have been gloomy and dejected. Instead of happy faces and beaming smiles, our countenances would ever have been expressive of sorrow and apprehension. For how could we have been mirthful it surrounded by only that which was uninteresting and tediously monotonous ?
As we turn from the contemplation of this dark picture, let us do so with feelings of deep gratitude to that great and Holy Being who, in His infinite wisdom and goodness, has willed it otherwise; and who, instead of treating us as we deserve, has graciously seen fit to give us this very wonderful and exceedingly lovely world in which to pass our probationary period, and has surrounded us by objects which, if rightly viewed, will fill us with awe and wonder, displaying as they do His marvellous wisdom and His boundless power. Thus is He seeking to draw us to Himself by displaying His great love for us, rather than by manifesting His wrath and displeasure, and driving us to an acknowledgment of our sins. And when, in addition to all this, we remember that He withheld not His only begotten Son from a life of sorrow and an ignominious death, that we through believing on Him might obtain a title to the unfading glories of Heaven, does He not indeed deserve our heart's best love and our ready, cheerful obedience to the laws which He has given us for the regulation of our lives? Is it any other than right that we should give ourselves to Him in youth, and prove by the devotion of a life-time that we appreciate His love and value His favour?
My friend's snowdrops gave rise to the following thoughts, which I will pen in the hope that they may be the means, in my Saviour's hand, of inducing some dear young readers to give their hearts to God. Once these lovely flowers were buried deep in the ground; above them lay layer upon layer of soil, through which they had to work their way, ere they could display their beauties to the passer-by. Even so the unsaved soul is lying so deeply embedded in iniquity, that God looks in vain for the fair fruits and flowers of a holy life. The heart's soil is so hardened by sin and wickedness, that the little germs of good are all blighted and withered, and only the noxious weeds of Satan's planting will grow. It is sad, very sad, to think that the soul which God made to adorn His moral world, and afterwards His Heavenly one, should, by yielding to the influence of evil, become a disfigurement to the one, and instead of ever being placed in the other, be cast aside as a worthless thing, into the burning lake. But what a blessing that this need not be our lot. As the tender leaves and shoots of the snowdrops could not force
their way through the frozen ground, before it was softened by the gentle rain, and the mild rays of the sun, so it is necessary for the softening of our hard frozen hearts, and the subduing of our wills, that they should be brought under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Living as we do in an age of gospel priviliges, with the Bible in our hand, listening Sabbath after Sabbath to God's ministers as they explain the way of Salvation, surrounded we are by evidences of the power of religion to effect a thorough change in the lives of many around us,-some of whom were hated for their wickedness and open rebellion,-what excuse have we for remaining in a state of barrenness and hostility? Yet remembering that it is as impossible for us to effect a change in our hearts, as it is for the flowers ever to reach the earth's surface if unaided by outward influences, let us ask the great husbandman, in whose vineyard we are, to remove the evil that is within us, to cleanse us from all sin, to take the stony out of our hearts, and to give us hearts of flesh, to water us from the river of life, to the winter of the grave. To the Christian there is nothing terrible in the thought of his vacated tenement being laid to rest for a season in the silent tomb, for he knows that that which is sown in corruption shall be raised in incorruption, and what is sown a mortal body shall be raised an immortal. He also knows that when the trump of God shall sound, his glorified spirit will be reunited to his glori. fied body, together to enjoy the felicity of Heaven. But it is far otherwise with the sinner. He dreads the thought of death. In the swellings of Jordan he knows of no strong arm on which to lean. The grave is unassociated with any cheering thought. For him there is no light beyond. No pleasurable emotions are called forth by the prospect of the reunion that will by-and-bye take place between his spirit and the resurrection body. Full well he knows that when his present state of existence is ended, he and happiness will part company for ever. He dreads the resurrection