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"The works of the Lord are great: sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.”—Psalm cxi. 2.

WE all feel how much the value of any gift is increased to us when we love and revere the giver. How much more, consequently, must those persons, who love and reverence the bountiful Bestower of all good, enjoy the blessings which he has given, than they who love him not. To all who love the Lord, the face of that nature which he has made is continually charming. They not only admire its beauties and wonders, as objects of delight to the eye and the senses, but their hearts expand also with gratitude and devotion. And this is one of the causes why the religious man is always the happiest man. He feels that the great Creator has not only filled the earth with riches and plenty, but also

that he has done so through mercy and kindness. He sees that not man only has his wants supplied, and more than supplied, by the hand of God, but that all other living creatures are also provided with all things which can conduce to their own peculiar comforts and enjoyments. He exclaims with David, "O, sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving: sing praises upon the harp unto our God: who covereth the heaven with clouds, and prepareth rain for the earth; and maketh the grass to grow upon the mountains, and herb for the use of men who giveth fodder unto the cattle, and feedeth the

that call upon him.*”

young ravens

These words apply particularly to the present season of the year, the opening of the spring, when every object in nature puts on a new dress; and even inanimate things seem to be proclaiming the goodness of the Lord. Let not us, my dear children, be insensible to what is passing around us. The winter is over, and the earth, as if awakening from her

* Psalm cxlvii. 7, 8, 9.

repose, is putting forth signs of new life and fertility. The trees, that have so long shown only naked boughs, are beginning to be covered with the small green buds of the fresh leaves. The lowly early flowers are raising up their delicate blossoms. The mists are rolling away from the obscured sky, and the pleasant and reviving sun is again felt. He shines on the fields and meadows, and makes them look bright and cheerful. He dries up the humidity of the winter, and makes the paths dry and pleasant. Every object that we behold wears a smiling aspect. Even the smallest birds feel the enlivening influence of the season; and their cheerful notes are like songs of praise and thanksgiving. But amongst the many cheering objects which nature presents to us, nothing gives more pleasure to a reflecting mind than the newly springing up corn, which now begins to clothe the brown furrows with its green blades.

And why do we receive so much pleasure from the appearance of these simple blades? They are not so varied in their forms as the leaves, nor so gay in their colours as the

flowers. Why, then, are we so much rejoiced to see them? It is because we see in these blades of corn the promise of food and plenty for the coming year. The flowers are pleasing to the eye, and grateful to the scent; but it is the corn which is the staff of life. To this product the husbandman gives his chief attention. He fences it round that it may not be broken in upon from without: he endeavours to keep it clear of weeds within, and watches its progress with an anxious


And now, my dear young friends, having thus cast a glance on the appearances which come most immediately before our eyes and thoughts, in this spring-time of nature, let us proceed to the reflections which they may suggest.

As spring is to the year, so is youth to the life of man. Youth is the time when the bodily and mental powers, at first in a feeble and imperfect state, begin to shoot forth and show themselves. The helplessness of infancy is succeeded by the activity of childhood. But childhood, though. active, is imperfect.

Its faculties are only as the young buds, and the tender shoots of the spring: they must come to their growth before they can acquire strength and consistency. We admire the brightness and freshness of the spring of the year. In like manner most grown-up people take pleasure in observing the gaiety and simplicity of children. We delight in watching their innocent play, and in giving them indulgences. We love them in some degree because they amuse us, and are our playthings. But we love them still more dearly because they have immortal souls, and are with ourselves joint heirs of eternity. We listen to their harmless conversation: we are pleased to see their talents bud forth: they are like the flowers of the spring, which make gay the face of nature. But we watch with anxious care for the budding forth of any of the more solid and valuable qualities of the soul, and have a heartfelt joy in seeing the religious principles acquire vigour and growth for these are the qualities which we may liken not to mere flowers, but to blades of corn; and which produce that fruit

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