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M. Yes, indeed it is; and I hope that with none of you it will be miracle seen in vain. I wish now to speak of two grand divisions in the vegetable kingdom, to which botanists have given very learned names: one is called exogenous, or growing outwardly; the other is called endogenous, or growing inwardly. Have you ever observed the rings in the trunk of a tree when it has been cut down?
Wilhelmina. Yes, I have; and I have also observed that the heart of the tree is much nearer the one side than the other.
M. Each of these rings is the growth of a year, so that you may know how old a tree is by counting them; at first it is only a little thin twig, but every year it gets thicker and thicker. There is a greater distance between the rings on the south side than on the north: the reason is, the heat of the sun increases the wood, and it never shines on the north side; but it is very remarkable that the bark is much thicker on that side, which helps to protect the tree. In the woods of America, when the Indian loses himself, and does not know which way to turn, he takes his hatchet and cuts off some of the bark from the different sides of a tree, and this tells him directly. Robert. That is very clever, and if ever I am lost in a wood I shall do that.
M. Now we shall speak of the endogenous plants: these add new layers inwardly, increasing by a growth to the centre;-the palms are all endogenous. The cedar of Lebanon, and all the trees you see growing here, are exogenous.
Georgina. Must we cut down a tree before we can tell to which of the two orders it belongs?
M. No, there is not the least occasion for that. Take a leaf and examine the veins, and if you see they are all branched and netted, running about in all directions over it, you may be quite sure it belongs to an exogenous plant; but if the veins run all in one direction from the stem to the point of the leaf, as in the leaves of grasses and lilies, it belongs to an endogenous plant. The difference between these two orders teaches us a very striking lesson. We read in Ps. xcii. 12, "The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon." We are apt in reading this verse to regard the cedar and the palm as a double emblem, conveying the same meaning. But when we consider the remarkable difference in their mode of growth, we find that they form together an apt and complete illustration of the work of the Spirit on the soul of man. A living Christian grows both outwardly and inwardly, as long as he is in this world. Year by year the peace of God rules more and more in his heart; he increases in spiritual strength and vigour; his character confirms. Duties which at first he thinks hard and almost impossible, become by degrees easy and familiar habits. He lives in an atmosphere of prayer; he is constantly on the outlook to find out how he can be useful; and means of usefulness are constantly pointed out to him. I think we cannot do better than finish this lesson by reading an extract from Dr. Hamilton's "Life in Earnest," where he speaks of the cedar and the palm :—
"There are some who have no business at all. They are of no use in the world. They are doing no good, and attempting none; and when they are taken out of
the world, their removal creates no vacancy.
When a cedar or any noble or useful tree is uprooted, his removal creates a blank. For years after, when you look to the place which once knew him, you see that something is missing. The branches of adjacent trees have not yet supplied the void. They still hesitate to occupy the place formerly filled by their powerful neighbour; and there is still a deep chasm in the ground-a rugged pit which shows how far his giant roots once spread. But when a leafless pole-a wooden pin is plucked up, it comes easy and clean away. There is no rending of the turf, no marring of the landscape, no vacuity created, no regret. It leaves no memento, and is never missed. Now, my dear children, which are you?—which would you like to be? Like cedars planted in the house of the Lord, casting a cool and grateful shadow on those around you? Like palmtrees fat and flourishing, yielding bounteous fruit, and making all who know you bless you? Would you like to be so useful that were you once away, it would not be easy to fill your place again; but people, as they pointed to the void in the plantation-the pit in the ground-would say, 'it was here that that brave cedar grew, it was here that that old palm-tree diffused his familiar shadow and showered his mellow clusters.' Or would you be a peg, a pin, a rootless, branchless, fruitless thing, that may be pulled up any day, and no one ever care to ask what has become of it?" I am sure I need not ask you which you would like to be?
Charlie. No, I am sure you need not. It is a lesson I hope we shall never forget, it was the same we had on the first day of this year from Dr. Guthrie,
when he laid his hands upon our heads and blessed us, and prayed that we might begin now to be useful, and grow up faithful and devoted servants of Christ.
FLAX THE EXCELLENT WOMAN.
PROV. xxxi. 10, 13, 20, 25-31.-"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
Charlie. I should like very much if you would talk about the flax to-day, we are reading about it at school, and I know it is a Scripture plant.
M. I shall be delighted, and you may choose your subject.
Catharine. The flax is mentioned in the 31st chapter of Proverbs; and may the subject be the excellent woman described in that chapter?
M. It may, and you could not have chosen a better. Have any of you ever seen flax growing?
Frances Jane. Yes, I have; it is about one foot and a half high, almost all stem, with very small leaves, and few of them, and most beautiful blue flowers.
David. Our lesson says, it is the fibres of the stem which is the flax, but there is a very great deal of labour required before it is fit to be spun. In hot climates there is not nearly so much required, before the natives can be clothed. The cotton grows there on trees in pods, all ready to be carded. I have seen a cotton pod.
Rachel. That teaches us one of the lessons the palm did. Man is not able to work much in hot climates, therefore God does not require it from him.
M. And there is another lesson we may learn ; God does not require from any one of us more than we are able to perform, neither ought we to require it from our neighbour. I am sorry to say this is done very often in our own country, and to women too. I shall only mention one instance. There are very many who have no other way of gaining a livelihood than by plain sewing; many of these are widows with families, they frequently work from six o'clock in the morning till ten at night, and all they can earn is a sixpence, and sometimes their work is not even SO well paid as that; and out of this hard earned sixpence a day they have to feed and clothe themselves, their children, and pay a house rent. Now, do not you think this is requiring more from our neighbour than she is able to perform?
Frances Jane. Yes, indeed it is, and it is very cruel too.
M. It is very cruel, and I hope none of you will ever encourage it; if you do, be assured God will re