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leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not," Ruth ii. 15, 16. It seems to me, if I may say so without a want of proper reverence for holy things, that in autumn God, of his abundant goodness, not only scatters his bounty abroad by handfuls, but by arınfuls. He crowns the year with his goodness, and his paths drop fatness. What glorious crops ! What goodly trees! What orchards of ruddy fruit! Even the very brier of the hedge is richly laden. What banks of violets! What numbers of singing birds, what balmy breezes, and what glowing skies! Why, Thomas, if our hearts were as grateful as the heart of Ruth, the Moabitess, our eyes would swim with tears of gratitude and joy.
I hope, Thomas, that you have got your Bible with you, for a Christian ought never to stir abroad without it. I do not mean that he should carry it in his hand, nor even in his pocket, for that, to a labouring man, would be inconvenient and useless, but I mean that he should always have it with him in his heart. The psalmist says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart,” Psa. cxix. 11. This is the way to improve every season, and especially the season of autumn. Almost every thing on which a Christian man casts his eyes brings to his mind some instructing text, some necessary reproof, or some comforting promise. He goes on talking, as it were, thus to himself-" I am poor, but the Lord careth for me; I am a labourer, but the sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much,' Eccl. v. 12; and better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith,' Prov. xv. 16. I see the shepherd, there, in the meadow counting his sheep.
• The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul : he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake,' Psa. xxiii. 1-3. The cattle yonder are cropping the grass with an appetite. : Doth God take care for oxen?' 1 Cor. ix, 9. Yes, he provideth for them. Every beast of the forest is his, and the cattle upon a thousand hills,' Psa. 1. 10. The golden crops are almost ready for the sickle. What a proof of God's love is the abundance of autumn, but his love is unbounded. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,' John iii. 16.” In this way he turns all things to account, keeping his heart, like a harp, ever in tune, to set forth the praises of his heavenly Father.
You look strong, Thomas. Out-door labour keeps a man in health, but have a care, and let not health be a snare to you; for life is but 6
that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away," Jas. iv. 14. Country people who feel strong are too apt to think themselves secure. knew a farmer, a hale and hearty one as ever strode over a furrow. He rented nearly a thousand broad acres, and well he knew how to make the most of them. Up in a morning and among his men, he gathered in many a goodly crop. Labour seemed not to hurt him, for he was almost as strong as a giant. He knew all about his farm, but he knew not Him, whom to know is eternal life. He gathered in his harvests, but the Lord of the harvest remained unacknowledged. His barns were full, his friends were met, the feast was spread, and the sparkling cup was filled to the brim. There sat the farmer at the head of his own table, in rude health, you might have “ taken a lease of his life," as is said. Ay, Thomas, he is a fool that boasteth of to-morrow, for he knoweth not " what a day may bring forth.” In a moment he was struck for death, and carried away from the festive board : that night his soul was required of him. Are you ready, Thomas ? for if not, you ought to be.
,66 There is but a step between me and death,” 1 Sam. xx. 3. And “ the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night,” 1 Thess. v. 2.
It will be well for us, Thomas, to remember, especially in autumn, that as there is seed-time and harvest for the earth, so there is for the soul. Look at the fields before they are ploughed, how hard the ground is, how necessary then to break it to pieces ! Rather rough work to tear up the stubborn soil, to crush the clods and harrow them into anything like order ; but when all is done, and the seed has been sown, and the rain has fallen, and the sun has shone on the earth, man looks for his harvest. And do you not think that God will look for his harvest too? Does not he prepare our hearts with his dealings ?. Toil and care, and trials and afflictions, are his ploughs and harrows. Sabbaths, and seasons of prayer, and his holy word, and the voice of his ministers, and the means of grace, are his seed ; and daily mercies, and hourly blessings, and gospel promises, and kindly providences are the refreshing showers, and the grateful sunbeams, that should produce and ripen within us an abundant harvest of praise and thanksgiving. But if, after all, the seed never springs up, and the harvest is never gathered, what can we expect at the hand of our righteous Judge?
Thoughts of this kind should be uppermost with us at this season, for a sad mistake it will be if, busying ourselves with God's temporal gifts, we neglect our spiritual mercies. The harvest of corn about to be gathered in will be anything but a blessing, if it lead us to forget that harvest of souls when the good grain shall be gathered into the garner of God, and the chaff burned with unquenchable fire. Holy Scripture says, when speaking of this harvest, “ The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels,” Matt. xiii. 38, 39. Oh, Thomas, let us seek mercy from Him who died on the cross to save sinners, and who lives above now to plead for all that come unto God by him. Trusting in Christ we are safe, without him we are undone now and for ever.
As a man may die of hunger and thirst, surrounded with golden crops and rivers of water, so may a soul be lost when the means of salvation are at hand. A sinner should be in earnest in seeking a Saviour. Did you ever, Thomas, ask yourself, what is eternity? Why, " millions of ages rolling on millions and millions of ages” are no more to be compared with it than a drop to the ocean, and this eternity is to be passed in happiness or woe. Did you ever reflect on the incalculable value of your immortal soul ? Why, diamonds are as dust compared to it. You cannot set too high a price upon it; at this moment two mighty kingdoms are contending for it, the kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God. This being so,
labour among corn-crops, pray to the Lord of the harvest that he may not only give you food for your body, but also nourish your soul ; say to Him, “ I am a sinner, but thou art a merciful Saviour."
“ With pardoning grace hide all my sin,'
Though thunders round me roll;
CURIOSITY. “ MOTHER,” said Fanny Brooks, you tell us that curiosity is very dangerous, and ought not to be encouraged, but I heard Mr. Newton say yesterday that if young people did not make inquiries, and find out how everything was done, they would not learn much, and would remain ignorant of many useful things."
“ Mr. Newton was quite right, Fanny; but I think I am right too,” replied Mrs. Brooks ; " there is a difference, my dear, between curiosity, and a desire for information. For instance, I saw Miss Merton reading the other day to herself, when Richard Barrow was in the room; and as she went on reading he moved round the room by degrees until he got behind her chair and looked over the book, and then he went away again ; do you think he wanted to learn anything useful then?”
“ Oh, no; that was mere curiosity.”
“ I saw him also one day stand on the hearth, and look over what she was writing, without her seeing him ; and then I thought that curiosity was a very dangerous thing, and that the young lady might be brought into a great deal of trouble by that boy, who just could read a part of what she wrote, and, if he were so badly disposed, might tell it to others, perhaps in quite a different way from what she had really meant when she was writing. I saw Agnes, too, wasting her time in looking through her elder sister's drawers, opening everything she could, and tumbling the cloth sadly. She could learn nothing there, I am sure.”
Oh, no; but Mr. Newton said it was well to want to know how things were made, and all that,” said Fanny.
“ Certainly, a good deal of information can be gained by such inquiries,” said Mrs. Brooks, “and we should be cautious in checking them; though there are few habits more tiresome than that which some children are allowed to have, of asking a number of questions one after the other, while it is plain to see they ask from a mere love of asking, and scarcely listen to or care for the answers. Now I know Mr. Newton himself does not like that, for you may remember, Fanny, when we went to see the exhibition at the Mechanics Institution, when all his boys were asking so many questions, he said it was impossible to answer them all so as to convey any information, but if each would select some object that he wished to know about, he would explain all about that one to each of them in turns. You know one chose a little model steam-engine, and Mr. Newton told him all about it, and answered all his inquiries; and so on with the rest, because they wanted to know how things were made, and to get information.”
“ And do you remember, mother, what little Edward did
with the watch when he wanted to know how things were made ?” asked Fanny, laughing.
“ No, my dear ; what was it?"
“ He picked a beautiful gold watch all to pieces to see what made the wheels go on, and what made the watch tick."
“ And do you think that was curiosity, or a love of information, Fanny ?"
" Why, I think it was curiosity, and a love of mischief,” said Fanny,
66 for if he wanted to know about it he might be sure his father could tell him more than he could make out himself; and, though he was but a very little boy, he had been told he must not touch the watch, and knew it was wrong to do so; for he cried dreadfully when he was caught pulling it to pieces, and wanted to hide all the different parts.”
“ You see then, my dear, that curiosity is a dangerous thing, for it leads us to do many things we ought not to do, and often causes sins which perhaps those who indulge in it never meant to commit. It is a fault too, unfortunately, that does not belong to children alone, grown people are often sadly subject to it. In any station of life it is a mean and troublesome habit, for no one can feel safe or at ease when a very curious
person is about them, prying into every little secret, and wanting to find out matters that do not concern them. A busy-body in other men's matters' is always a troublesome character, and perhaps there would be fewer of these if the fault of curiosity were earlier checked in children; for we may be sure the faults of childhood will only be strengthened in age, if they are not repressed before they take deep root.
“ Do you know, Fanny, I have sometimes been astonished when I have been travelling in France or Italy, at the rude conduct of which curiosity made my country-people guilty; when I have seen the rude things that grown-up men and women would do to satisfy curiosity, when they could gain no information or improvement, to the annoyance of the natives of these countries, even in churches, I have been quite sorry. I have thought it no wonder the French should say that we English have more curiosity than any nation in the world; for they only judge of course by those they may see in France.”
“Do you know,” said Fanny, “ that though Mr. Newton likes his children to make inquiries, and to want to know a great deal, I heard Mrs. Newton complaining the other day that she did not know what to do with her maid ; she was so