« AnteriorContinuar »
deed be the emblem of each one of you; and if you are Christ's it will. It was the mind which was in Him, that holy, humble, meek, and quiet spirit, which was as a sweet savour unto God, and it is the same mind in the believer which is a sweet savour unto God in Christ. It is this spirit in the believer which sheds its sweetness everywhere, and leads others to look for Christ. This is the ornament which St. Paul says is in the sight of God of great price. I dare say you have often seen in the garden a kind of lily, tall, with bright orange flowers, and a most disagreeable perfume; people may look at it, but no one loves or admires it ; on the contrary, its disagreeable odour makes them turn from it with disgust: it may be called the emblem of pride. I am sure none of you would like to be compared to it.
Mary. No; that I am sure we would not.
M. But you may be compared to it if pride is in your heart; it will shew itself in all you do, in your dress, in your accomplishments, and in everything. They, like the vain lily, may serve to attract the eye for a time, and perhaps may be admired, but they very soon cease to please. But if God's precious ornaments, purity and humility, are in your hearts, they will also show themselves in all you do, in your dress, in your accomplishments, and in all your actions. It is to humility and purity of heart God looks, whether it be in an individual or a Church, this is the greatest ornament of both; it is not to the splendid grandeur of the building God looks-that is of no value in His eyes; it is the purity and holiness of its members, which is the chief or only ornament of a Church. Now, I think, we shall finish here, and I hope you all like the lessons
the Lily of the Valley has taught us, and that you will profit by them.
Catharine. Yes, we do like them. I did not know the works of God taught so many beautiful lessons. It is quite true what Cowper says,
"Theirs is indeed
A teaching voice; but 'tis the praise of thine,
M. Now finish by repeating those beautiful verses in Matt. vi. 28, 29.
Douglas. "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these."
THE ALMOND TREE.
"REMEMBER THY CREATOR IN THE DAYS OF THY YOUTH."
ECCLES. xii. 1-7.-"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease, because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened; and the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low; and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird; and all
the daughters of music shall be brought low: also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond-tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
M. Do you remember what your minister especially impressed upon you, when he catechised you, during the afternoon service yesterday?
Annie. Yes; and I hope none of us will ever forget it. It was, "To remember our Creator in the days
of our youth."
M. Do not you think it would be a good thing to make that the subject of our conversation to-day?
Catharine. Yes, I do think it would; and I know which plant we can talk about along with it. The almond-tree, which is spoken of in connexion with that very text in the 12th chapter of Ecclesiastes. Will you be so kind as to tell us all about it?
M. That I shall, with great pleasure. I am sure you will like the lessons the almond-tree teaches, and I hope you will all resemble it: it is a striking emblem of those who do "remember their Creator in the days of their youth." The almond-tree is a native of the Holy Land. Have you ever seen the fruit just as it is pulled off the tree?
Craigie. No, I never have; I have only seen those which are sold in the shops, some with the shell on, and others without.
M. The shell is enclosed in a green fleshy rind, like the peach or nectarine, and the rind is covered
with a very thick coating of short grey hairs, which feel like velvet to the touch.
Jane. Do they eat the rind?
M. No; the only part eaten is the kernel, which you buy in the shops. Our text says, And the almond-tree shall flourish." The flourishing here meant is not the blossoming of its pretty pink flowers, but the flourishing of its grey-haired hoary fruit. The Hebrew name of the tree is sheked, which means the waker or watcher, a name derived from the circumstance of its being the most early blossoming of all fruit-bearing trees, even before many others show any sign of vegetation it is covered with flowers; it also begins to flourish and bear fruit when it is very young, not above two or three feet high so that in a double sense it begins to blossom early. No sooner is the power of the sun's rays begun to be felt, than immediately it awakes, and hastens as it were to meet him, and reflect his beautiful rays; and it is thus early ready to drink in the morning and evening dews which the sun has prepared for it. It goes on flourishing and prospering, and in autumn is quite covered with its large ripe hoary fruit. Do you remember an instance mentioned in the Bible, when God caused a dry rod of an almond-tree to bud, blossom, and bring forth fruit in one night?
James. He caused Aaron's rod to do so.
M. Yes; that was a miracle. The law is, for the seed to be sown, and the plant to spring, grow up, blossom early, and bring forth fruit to perfection; but God can depart from this rule if He chooses, and as we learn from the Bible, make a dry rod flourish and bring forth fruit in one night. Now, give me some
texts to prove that God loves little children to seek him early.
Eliza. Eccles. xii. 1, "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth." Prov. viii. 17, "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me."
Patie. Ps. xxxiv. 11, "Come ye, children, hearken unto me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord."
Georgina. Ps. viii. 2; Matt. xxi. 16, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise."
Charlie. Matt. xix. 14, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
M. It is the will of God that all children should be brought to Christ, and to know Him, the first lesson they are taught. But always remember, that although your parents and teachers sow the seed, and God alone can prepare your hearts to receive it, and make it spring and bear fruit, yet there is still a great deal for you to do. What is that?
Catharine. The texts which have just been repeated tell us. We must remember him, we must love him, we must seek him, we must hearken unto him, and we must praise him.
M. Quite right. Do that and God's richest blessing will be poured out upon you. Be like the almondtree, wake up early and watch for Christ; then you will flourish and bring forth fruit while you are yet very young, and you will continue to do so as long as you are in this world, even should God spare you until you become old and grey-haired: and what a happy, very happy thought it will be on your death-bed to remem