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You gather them up along your rambles, and sit down to make their acquaintance on some shaded bank, with your feet over the brook, where your
shoes feed their vanity as in a mirror. You sort them ; you question their graces; you enjoy their odour; you range them on the grass in a row, and look from one to another; you gather them up, and study a fit gradation of colours, and search for new specimens to fill the degrees between two violent extremes. All the while, and it is a long while if the day be gracious, and leisure is ample, you are conscious of various suggestions and analogies of life darting in and out of your mind. This flower is just like such a friend ; that one makes you think of mignonette, and mig. nonette always makes you think of such a garden and mansion, where it enacted a memorable part; and that flower conveys some strange and unexpected resemblance to certain events of society; and so your pleased attention strays through a thousand vagaries of fancy, or memory, or vaticinating hope.
Yet these are not home flowers. You did not plant them; you have not screened them; you have not watched their growth, plucked away voracious worms, or nibbling insects, and seen them in the same places, year
year, children of your care and love. Around such there is an artificial life, an associational beauty, a fragrance and grace of the affections, that no wild flowers can have.
It is a matter of constant gratitude that this finest gift of Providence was the most profusely given. Flowers cannot be monopolized. The poor can have them as much as the rich. It does not require such an education to love and appreciate them, as it would to admire a picture of Turner’s, or a statue of Thorwaldsen's. And, as they are messengers of affection, tokens of remembrance, and presents of beauty, of universal acceptance, it is pleasant to think that, in them, all men recognize a brief brotherhood. It is not impertinent to offer flowers to a stranger. The poorest child can proffer them to the richest.
A hundred persons turned together into a meadow of flowers would be drawn together in a transient brotherhood. It is often affecting to see how serviceable are flowers to the necessities of the poor. If they bring their little floral gift to you, it cannot but teach you to think that their grateful affection longed to express itself as much as yours. You have books, or gems, or services, that you can render as you will. The poor can give but little, and do but little; were it not for flowers they would seem shut out from the exquisite pleasures which spring from sincere gifts. I never take one from a child, or from the poor, that I do not thank God in their behalf for flowers!' And then, when death enters a poor man's house! It may be the child was the only creature that loved the unbefriended father-really loved him, loved him utterly; or, it may be, it is an only son, and his mother a widow, who, in all his sickness, felt the limitation of poverty, and did what she could, but not what she would, had there been wealth. The coffin is pine. The undertaker sold it with a jerk of indifference and haste, lest he should lose the selling of a rosewood coffin, trimmed with splendid silver screws. The room is small: the attendant neighbours are few. The shroud is coarse. Oh! the darling child was fit for whatever was most excellent, and the heart aches to do for him whatever could be done to speak love. But it takes money for fine linen--money for costly sepulture. But flowers, thank God, the poorest may have. So put white buds in the hair, and honeydew, and mignonette, and half-blown roses on the breast; if it be in the spring, a few white violets will do; and there is not a month till November that will not give you something. But if it is winter, and you have no single pot of roses, then, I fear your
darling must be buried without a flower, for flowers cost money in the winter.
And then, if you cannot give a stone to mark his burial-place, a rose may stand there, and from it you may, every spring, pluck a bud for your bosom, as the child was broken off from you. And if it brings tears for the past, you will not see the flowers fade and come again, and fade and come again, year by year, without learning a lesson of resurrection, when that which perished here shall revive again, never again to droop or die.
J. F. L.
PRAY FOR THE CHILDREN.
We pray for little children,
They sorely need our prayers,
They meet with many snares.
Orphan, or rich or poor,
From his abundant store.
for heathen children,
Truth's lamp may soon be lit;
For all 'neath heaven's wide dome,
In heathendom at home.
There are thousands of these children
In our over-crowded land;
We meet on every hand.
Neglect and want and evil,
Are the tales too plainly told
And prematurely old.
Which sin doth sadly mar;
Consider what they are.
And in them unawares,
To sow the baneful tares.
From the fearful thrall of sin ;
Strive we their souls to win.
They may better play their part,
Their sinfulness of heart.
CHRIST'S WILLINGNESS TO SAVE. I HAVE often been struck with the different manner in which Christ replied to the request of the father of the lunatic, and to that of the leper. The former doubting His power said, “ If Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us,” Mark ix. 22. Jesus, though intending to grant his desire, waited to show him that faith on his part was the only thing wanting ; but when the leper put forth the prayer, “If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean," Matt. viii. 3; the doubt of His willingness struck so tender a chord in the Saviour's breast, that immediately He put forth his hand and touched him, saying, “I will, be thou clean.”
At length the awakened soul, brought back by God's mercy from its mistaken course, pursues the right path, and reaches the Wicket-gate—that strait and narrow gate through which the path lies to Zion; and standing there, admission is sought. "Knock, and it shall be opened to you,” is the promise that encourages the eager applicant; and having knocked, and having found the portal open, the soul eagerly desires an entrance.
And then it often occurs, that the point of mercy becomes the point of danger. By the entrance