Imatges de pÓgina
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to unite with the distant horizon, let us receive with mute attention the instruction it conveys to us. A memento of the power of God, it spreads itself forth as his benevolence expands, and bears to all the shores of life a rich and endless variety of blessings. It speaks to us of health, and of the advantages of civilization, the exchange of the necessaries and luxuries of life, the social relations of people who dwell in the uttermost parts of the earth. When we hear the murmur of the deep as it lies in contented and placid majesty—a mirror of the brightness of heaven--or rolls with mighty swell and darkened colour at the impulse of the tempest; when we listen to the breathing of the wind upon the sails of the mariner's vessel, as it carries him along to enterprise and fortune, is it not the voice of God calling upon us to revere his majesty of which the ocean is a faint emblem-and to rejoice in the ample provision he has made for human industry, the exercise of intrepidity and genius, and the reciprocal welfare of distant nations ?

And now let the Heavens engage your thoughts. Do they put forth no voice ? Have you ever attentively observed them when, from East to West and from North to South, they presented to the eye a beautiful expanse of blue-all blue saye a thin and white cloud which only heightened, by its contrast, the richness of the colour? Have you not heheld the clouds, rolling in masses like the billows of the deep, and bursting open to give a passage to the lightning's fire, or gathering themselves together to receive and to reflect the last rays of the parting sun ? How frequent are these displays of beauty and grandeur!

And the sun is ever in his place, measuring his course from East to West, shedding his generous beams upon the earth, and lighting it up with his magnificence, that all who live upon it may exult in the day, and taste of the enjoyment activity brings to them. And when night cometh, the season of rest and sleep, the aspect of the heavens is changed--but it is still an aspect of grandeur and glory. The stars keep their silent watches, though the eye of man is closed. They are the diamonds of heaven. Look around you, and count their number and measure their magnitude. See how the gentle lustre they emit spreads itself over the sky, and sheds a soft light even upon the earth. And see, the moon is rising, she travels upwards; and as she is obscured for a little while by the fleecy clouds which cross her path, and then shews her beautuous face above them, she seems to picture virtue moving amid the clouds of life; and though occasionally hidden from the eye, again reappearing, and rising to higher grace and more distinguished beauty. Say, have you beheld these things with an indifferent eye? Have not this splendour and glory excited your admiration? Because they are of daily and nightly occurrence, have your thoughts scarcely been fixed upon them? Has no sound come to you from their remoteness, to inspire ideas of Him who spread out the heavens like a curtain, and gave the stars their names and appointed them a habitation? Believe me, silently as the sun travels his daily path in the sky, and the planets move in their appointed orbits, and the stars dwell in their pavilions and send forth their brightness to guide the benighted traveller, they call to the soul of inan—and emotions of piety rise at their bidding. There is, in their silence, an eloquence which words possess not. Listen again, and tell me, what ideas and thoughts you can form of Infinite and Beneficent power which they do not inspire. Where will you seek evidences of the Creator's power and grandeur, his magnificence and goodness, if the vault of heaven with its infinity of worlds, glowing and rushing along their course with exquisite harmony and unbroken order, does not bring them home to you? And in what portion of his works would you seek the superintending presence of God, or hear the echo of his voice if you discern them not amid the noblest and the best? From the glorious spot on which he has erected his throne, he speaks to his human offspring. His voice comes to them from the sun as he blazes on high, from the moon in her milder light and beauty, from the stars in their countless number and infinite distance, to wake their minds to conceptions of natural beauty and magnificence; to call into life their slumbering feelings, and to teach them what are the treasures of an exalted and refined devotion.

And is there no voice sounding even within us, and coming at once to the heart ? Does it not bid us reflect on our own powers, on the attribute of reason, and on the strength and delight of human affections ?

When our soul has been disturbed and troubled with human ills, has no gentle whisper come to console us? When despondency, like the darkness of midnight, has come upon us, and we have felt lone and comfortless, has not the same whisper poured its comfort into our soul, and exhorted us to take courage? Our Father has been near ús, in all our distresses, if we have not seen him. He has spoken peace to our troubled soul, if we have not heard him. And the same voice which springs from the green herbage, and is wafted along on the odorous breeze-which is blended with the murmur of the forest, with the dash of ocean's wave, and rises above the fury of the storm—the voice which sends its softest echoes through the vast concave of heaven, and side by side with every ray of light that voice tells the unfortunate and the sorrowing, no less than the prosperous and the happy, of infinite goodness and never failing mercy.

It says to human sadness, be consoled; to human pride, lie prostrate; to human piety, awake, receive my inspiration, and live and glow for ever.

We wish to excite a livelier attention to the works of nature, and a quicker perception of the lesson which their variety, and order, and beauty, and uses convey to the inquiring mind.' The works of God 'will continue to proclaim his perfections, and to declare his greatness and majesty, whether we listen to them or not. Beauty, aud sweetness, and grace, and fragrance will overspread the face of the earth—the seasons present their varied charms and the heavens their magnificence by day, their softened splendour and glory by night, notwithstanding our inattention and insensibility. But this indifference will rob us of one of the purest and most exalted pleasures which we are capable of enjoying

that of learning to reverence and love the Creator through the medium of his works. Call those pleasures after which men are so frequently and eagerly hastening !-speak not of them at the same time with the pleasures of intellect—those which devout admiration of the ks of creation, and the frequent study of them, supply to the mind. These are pleasures which may be safely pursued; there is wisdom in the pursuit of them, for they not only solace us when care and distress come over us, but they are productive of good to our moral nature; they strengthen our religious impressions, and render our pious feelings more susceptible, more vigorous, and more fruitful of offerings to our Father in Heaven.

We need state no other reasons for calling upon the young, before other and less valuable habits are formed, to accustom themselves to contemplations on the Divine works, that they may see God in them, and hear the music or the awfulness of his voice. Nature presents to them a book in which they may always read; she speaks to them in a language which they may always hear. And with the disposition to learn of her, they will find mental profit as well as health even in a walk. They cannot see an object which is not curious and wonderful. A tree, a plant, a flower, the rippling brook, or the broader or more majestic river, the spirit of the morn, the brilliancy of mid-day, and the silence and sweetness of eventide, the earth lighted up by day, and the heavens with their own lustre by night-all these objects, and all the phenomena of nature, will pour knowledge into their minds, and peace and joy into their hearts. And they will go to revelation for new lessons, and listen with increasing reverence, and piety, and hap

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