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The Briar reflected for a few moments, for he was not an unreasoning plant, although he could scarcely realise truth which his actual condition placed it beyond his power to test experimentally.

“ I know, cousin," said he (for the time laying aside his jeering tone), “ that whatever you say is truly and conscientiously your experience—at least so you think—or I should fling myself back, “double quick,' to the liberty side of the fenee, rather than be made a fool of by such twaddle; but there is only one way of accounting for your choosing misery and reconciling yourself to your present fate : some subtle influence must be over you which deludes you into the belief you are happy. I should almost as soon believe the wild duck would be happy with a broken wing. You remind me of a scene I saw the other day. Two girls had had a very exciting run after a butterfly, which they caught on one of my branches.

« • Poor thing !' said one of them. What will you do with him now?

“ . Oh! I'll stick a pin through his head, and spread out his wings, and put him into my collection.'

“ ' You cruel creature ! do you mean to say you are going to stab the dear little thing through the head with a pin?'

“ ' He won't feel it, Mary. I'll first put him in a tightlystoppered bottle full of bruised laurel-leaves; the prussic acid will stupefy him gently, and then I can put him to a painless death.'

“ I couldn't but think of you, cousin, as being something like the gay butterfly, pinned and stretched out for the "collection. I think your Master must have . stupefied' you in some way to make you submit to the process.”

“ No, dear Briar, not stupefied-as your own senses can tell you. I am wider awake than ever I was; but a subtle and wonderful influence is at work, which I seek more of every day. It has changed the whole constitution of my mind, and given me that which by nature I cannot have : it makes me understand the why and the wherefore of everything my Master does to and for me: it makes me realize His direct operation in all that concerns me. I am not handed over to understrappers, who stand between Him and me, but He holds direct communication with me. He has shown me His gardening-book, which tells me what a perfect plant of my kind ought to be, and the method and seasons for so cultivating it; and not only this, but He has condescended Himself to let me know what my future is to be. Although I am now such a poverty-stricken thing, I am not fit to be left to myself; or, as you say, I should at once go back to my wild, hapless condition; yet, when I am sufficiently trained, I am to be sent to a flowershow, where all my defects will be removed, and I shall be admired for my own sake as well as my Master's cleverness. So the process of digging, and manuring, and pruning goes

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“ Yes—how about that?" interrupted the Briar. “I pity you most of all for that. How do you feel when He comes with a sharp knife and cuts away all your offshoots, and takes some things which must be very hard to part with, I should think ?”

"I feel very sad, for the pain is sometimes very hard to bear. Sometimes I think I must die, it is so great; but even that-I now say coolly and with deliberation—I gladly undergo for the sake of the comfort He brings. He always comes Himself. One time I had a lovely bud, the pride of the garden ; and when I saw the Master coming with His knife, I felt sure He would not touch it, as the full-blown rose was there, and He would surely take the one that was going to wither, and spare the opening blossom ; but no: He came and gathered the bud; but He knew the pain He was causing me, for He showed me, for my comfort, that there was a bouquet in the other hand which just wanted the rose-bud to be perfection, and my full blossom would not have suited it. This sent my thoughts on to the time I have mentioned, when I shall be used in the permanent decorations of my Master's house. The reason I have

spoken so much to you, Cousin Briar, is, that I am so anxious you should come into the garden and be cultivated by the Master, so as to be fit for the flower-show. You are just as entitled as I am to accept the perfection He has ready for us. If you would come now to Him, when your hedge is cut down

"Now I will not stand this preaching !" said the Briar ; " that is the most offensive part of you standards: you are not content with enjoying and priding yourselves on your own condition, but you are always condemning others who are not exactly the same as yourselves. We have a beauty of our own which many people admire more than you garden flowers; and yet you set up to say we are to be cut down, and not sent to the flower-show. Where is the great love and kindness you speak of as belonging to your Master if this is His determination ?”

“ You forget, cousin. You said, at the beginning of our talk, you would not for the world come to this side of the hedge and submit to my Master; you said, “We will not have this man to reign over us.' I spoke of His love to His own plants—those whom His own hands grafted ; and you want to appropriate this without belonging to Him in any way. Is this reason? Again : did you ever hear of a wild flower being exhibited in a collection of garden plants? In one of your own kind, I am sure you would gain a prize, for you are a fine specimen of the dog-rose. But I am only saying, for your benefit, what I heard my Master say, about every plant not of His Father's planting being rooted up."

“Well, I'll acknowledge to you, what I would not tell to any other garden flower I know of: that I often feel very uncomfortable about that same thing. I don't like this wild unsettled life. I am driven about by every blast of wind; I have no security. It is very beautiful, all this spontaneous natural vigour people talk of, but we have nothing beyond ourselves to lean upon-to trust to ; we know not why anything happens to us—’tis all chance, or fate, and we have

nothing to look forward to. I think I'll try the garden for awhile ; I'll come and grow here by your side, and, perhaps, if I straighten myself up a bit and make myself a standard, your Master will take a fancy to me; at all events, if I don't like the life, I can go back."

“Alas! dear cousin, you know very little of what you are speaking about. You could not live in my soil—it would kill you. Your nature must be changed by the Master Himself before you can be anything but the wild rose. You would hate my life, and all connected with it; and, finally, you could never return to your former life without being seven times worse than before. Some plants who got into the garden once, but who had not the root of the matter in them, said they would make themselves a captain and return —and they died. You cannot fit yourself to attract the Master's notice. First, lie at His feet as you are, and He will soon notice you and train you, as He is doing me.”

But while the “ Géant des Batailles” was speaking, his neighbour—who was vainly trying to make himself look like a standard rose—was caught by a gust of wind and blown back to the other side of the hedge.

KEEP your smaller differences; let us have no discord

on that account; but let us march in one solid
column, under the banners of the Captain of our

salvation, and with undivided counsels form the legion of the cross upon the territories of darkness and of death.

Calvin. The best way to oppose error is, to preach and spread abroad the truth as far and as wide and as fast as we can over the whole world.

The Bible contains the words of eternal life. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter.



“ Undertake for Me.”

ISAIAH xxxviii. 14.
n Lord, exalted far on high,

To me, in deepest need, draw nigh,
And hear my supplicating cry :

Lord, undertake for me.
As floods of guilt around me swell,
Each rising grief to Thee I tell,
Who showed Thy grace at Jacob's well:

Lord, undertake for me.
When the fierce tempter's fiery dart
Assails my weak and wayward heart,
Give faith to keep the better part:

Lord, undertake for me.
Amid the world's vain pomp and show,
Make me Thy deeper joys to know,
And foll’wing Thee all else forego:

Lord, undertake for me.
Thou, Lord of glory, life, and light,
Lighten my dull and blinded sight;
Grant me to hear Thy voice aright :

Lord, undertake for me.
My heart with Thy good Spirit fill,
And perfect all Thy holy will ;
Be my support in every ill :

Lord, undertake for me.
And when across life's stormy main
Fair Canaan's blissful coast I gain,
I'll ever sing that Thou didst deign
To undertake for me.

F. Burdett Hurcomb.

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