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The wither'd flow'r, the drooping leaf,
Our monitors are made :
And soon like them must fade.
Fades not like ours away ;
Of pure unclouded day!
Of perfect peace and love,
My dwelling-place, above !"
In whom is life divine,
These heavenly gifts as mine.
Thou "art," tho' time be o'er;
Shall live for evermore!
Shall gaze upon thy face ;.
C. A. H.
· EXTRACT FROM MY FAMILY BIBLE.
St. Mark iv. 26—23. My dear family, the words in the 24th verse are translated by some learned men, “ take care, how ye hear," and according to that interpretation, this parable comes in with great force, as it does also after the words of our translation, “ take care what ye hear.” Wonderful indeed is the growth of corn seed in the ground. The unbeliever may reason as much as he pleases, and attribute all the productions of nature to the invariable laws of matter, but let him answer this. Supposing it is true that matter has such and such properties that must produce such and such certain effects, who gave it these properties to produce these effects? It is quite certain that man did not, for the wisest and most scientific of men cannot make or create a grain of wheat seed, nor create the property to make that seed vegetate. No, my family, with all their wisdom, men know not how this is brought about. All they can do is to improve the quality of the seed, by changing or manuring the soil in which it is grown, but all the properties or causes of improvement, as well as of the ordinary growth of the corn, are from God. Though man cannot create, still he is a poor husbandman who does not watch the growth of the corn he has put into the ground. Morning and evening is the diligent farmer in his fields. Thus in the spiritual field is the true Christian constantly found watching that which God has sown in his heart. He ponders over the word read or preached to him; he prays over it, yea, and sometimes he laments with bitter tears its slow progress in his soul. Sometimes, indeed, he is apt to look for what God neither in the natural nor the spiritual world brings to pass, namely, the growth of a perfect plant all at once. It is true that men are sometimes very suddenly converted to the truth as it is in Jesus, but even then, there follows a gradual and slow display of Christian graces. Before the harvest is ready for cutting, there are many anxious fears, and much patient cultivation. He is a presumptuousman who says at once, when the word of God has fallen powerfully on his heart and conscience, “I am saved, I can do no sin." Yet I am told something very like this is said by some. But, my dear family, let yours be humble profession. No Christian would wish you for a moment to abate one feeling of the joy of believing. Joy of the most sensible sort is that of the true believer; but, mark ye, he must make sure first that he has the signs of the true belief that brings the joy. There must be “the blade and the ear” before there is “the full corn in the ear.” When you hear the word, take care both what you hear, and how you hear. Meditate upon the truth, pray over it, and ask God for Christ's sake, that God the Holy Ghost may give the increase. God by his instruments, either his word read, or preached by one of his ministers, begins the work, you must be constantly entreating Him to enable you to do your part in rooting out with his power the weeds that choke it, and hinder its due growth. Remember you are required to work at the field of your heart with the instruments of God's appointment which He puts in your hands. Christianity is a system of holy living, as well as of assured hope and joy. You must observe that those parts of the Holy Scriptures which are most full of the hopes of the Gospel, are also as full of the precepts and rules of Christian duty. They speak and insist upon the fruits of the Spirit, as well as cheer by encouraging the cultivation of the joys of believing. Woe to that man, who, vain of his knowledge of the Gospel, and puffed up with notions of his safety, shall be found at the great harvest of souls with the seed of the Gospel only on the surface of his heart! Certainly he will be miserably mistaken as to his views, in that day when acts not fancies will be the proof of true belief. The great pain, grief, and sorrow of him that has most of the hope and joy and peace of the Gospel, is that he has done so little for Him who did so much for his salvation. But in this sorrow there is a principle of restless and untiring watchfulness over his thoughts, words, and deeds, that by the grace of God, the Holy Ghost, he may be more like Christ as he draws nearer to the hour at which he shall see Him in whom is his only hope of acceptance, a hope that makes him long and pray with all his heart, that he may purify "himself even as he is pure.” (1 John iii.
THE POOR GARDENER. Mr. EDITOR,- If you like to give insertion to the following simple lines, I think they will be read with pleasure, by those, at least, among your readers, who have visited Tunbridge Wells. · There are few who come to this place, and fail to notice an industrious man, with only one arm; who earns his livelihood by selling cakes and fruit, under the shelter of the trees at the foot of Mount Pleasant.
He followed the occupation of a gardener, till it pleased God to afflict him with a sad trial; he was obliged, in consequence of disease, to have one of his arms taken off. He bore the operation with great resignation and fortitude; and, when he recovered, those who were kindly interested for him, set him up in his present business. They contrived for him a barrow on wheels, which he
could move himself; and which carried his goods. The barrow was made to open and form a table, on which he might place his tempting stores. For many years he has thus almost entirely maintained himself; and for the last two years he has increased his store by sharing it with others—exemplifying what the wise King Solomon says-" There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth” (Prov. xi. 24.) During one of our late severe winters he was touched with compassion for some poor little sparrows; who, half frozen with cold, and half starved with hunger, eagerly sought any crumbs which fell from his stall. He learned to share his own dinner with them; and the birds soon knew his cheerful call, and flew down, readily, from the tree, to eat what their kind friend had provided for them. One, bolder than the rest, learned to perch upon his hand, and pick the crumbs from off it. He would come at his call, and do this to the great amusement of those who passed by; and many a child stopped, and spent a penny at his stall, for the sake of seeing this little feat performed. He named his favourite “ Dick," and was well pleased to find, when the warm weather returned, that Dick was still faithful to his call; and doubtless carried off the crumbs to feed his young nestlings.
I have now, I think, said enough to explain the lines; they were written by a lady, who is a well-known contributor to your “ Visitor," at the suggestion of one of the poor man's friends, who thought he might sell them for à trifle to those who admired his little favourite, and wished to carry away a remembrance of him.-I am, Mr. Editor, with much respect, your faithful and obliged, E. A...
Nov. 24, 1851.
In winter drear, Dick hover'd near,
To beg from me his bread,
My grateful bird is constant found,
And on my finger placed,
And tempts them near my stall to stray,
Hark, children! ere you turn away,
If Dick could speak he thus would say, “ Scorn not the weak, who ask your aid,
One day that help may be repaid.
From deadly snare a lion freed,
L. S. R.
SPARROWS. SIR,—I have seen some remarks of late, in your interesting little work, on the subject of sparrows, as to the question whether they did the harm in our corn-fields and gardens which they have been generally supposed to do, and which has brought them into such bad character that they are shot and netted in great numbers; and, in many parishes, are bought up by the farmers from the boys who take their nests. I do not like to see birds destroyed, and I am therefore inclined to take the part of the sparrows, and wish to believe that they do good instead of harm. I am afraid, however, that they do rob us a good deal: we know that they eat the corn and the seeds, and pull about the young buds and bark of the trees, though there are other little birds who are much greater enemies to the young buds, though some people say that they pick at the bud for the sake of getting at some little insect which itself would destroy the bud. I don't know how this is; I wish it may be so; but I am afraid I cannot altogether defend my little friends. I am sure, however, that the sparrows eat an immense number of insects which would otherwise make great destruction among our vegetables.
I was led to think of this subject by a remark which Mr. A., a friend of mine, made a few days ago. Mr. B. came to dine with him, and admired his excellent vegetables, saying that he could get no greens worth eating; the caterpillars, and slugs, and grubs having devoured or spoiled his cauliflowers, and brocoli, and all sorts of greens, and he had none worth bringing to table. Mr. A. said, “ Have you many sparrows ?” “No," said Mr. B., “we had a great many, but now we have hardly any; they pulled about the thatch of my house, and