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are opened as if to watch the slumbers of her sister earth ; the bud just peeping from its leaves, and the full-blown flower with drooping head ; the blossom of promise, and the matured fruit bending as though seeking again its mother earth; all is beautiful; but the one object which surpasses all others in splendour, usefulness, and cheering influence, is the centre of our planetary system, that object which gives light and heat to this lower world, and beautifies the scene with every variety of colour.
It is not matter for wonder that the Laplanders, after their long winter-night hail with so much joy the sun's approach, and climb their highest hills to await his appearance above the horizon; we should probably partake the same feelings if we had not seen his face for nearly two months. Those know best how to value a blessing who have felt the want of it. But surely there is none who does not love sunshine ; many of our intelligent youths are going a step further, and seeking after the light of knowledge; some have taken still higher ground, they enjoy and reflect the beams of the Sun of Righteousness.
0! there is many a deep chasm in this variegated world of ours which needs but sunshine to make it perfectly sublime; there is many a dark mind which wants but the light of education to bring it into view, and exercise its noble powers ; there is many a benighted soul which, if it were but kindled from on high, would be a shining light, “shining more and more unto the perfect day.'
We want our youthful readers to use well the sunshine which they now enjoy. Childhood's years, childhood's feelings, childhood's energies, will not last for ever. A father's arm will not always be strong to provide and protect, neither will a mother's heart always throb responsire to every want and word. Your opportunities for improvement, and the inducements for the consecration of your all to God and his service, will never probably be greater than they are now. “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.”
Try also to diffuse sunshine. This you may do in many ways. Attention to the little things of life often goes a great way in promoting the happiness of others. A kind word, at least, is always at your command, and it will often shed a ray of hope, of sympathy, of comfort, of heaven's own light, to win back the wanderer, or to direct the homebound traveller on his perilous and weary voyage. Was there not a ray of hope wben the little Israelitish maiden said to her mistress ? “Would God, my Lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria ! for he would recover him of his leprosy.” Was there no sympathy in the hearts of the Jews, who went to comfort the sisters of Bethany; and in Jesu's bosom when he wept at the grave of their brother Lazarus? Yes! and there was a ray of comfort which cheered the widowed heart, when a little boy said to his weeping mother, “ Mamma, is God dead?” And a ray of heaven's own light beamed in the countenance of a little girl who, grasping her teacher's hand, said "O! teacher, I do love Jesus."
Would our young friends know the secret of all this? it is love, love to God and man. A father once asked his little girl, How it was that everybody loved her ? She answered,“ I do not know, papa, unless it be because I love everybody."
The Gospel standard of love is a high one, not simply ! love thy neighbour as thyself,” but “ that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
Let us each endeavour to reflect heaven's sunshine while here upon many a sorrowing and benighted soul, and at length, through our Father's love we shall enjoy its effulgence in a blissful eternity. To spend eternity in heaven's unclouded light;
From sorrow, sin, and frailty free,
Beholding and resembling Thee. 0! too transporting sight!
Prospect too fair
For flesh to bear ; Haste ! haste, my Lord! and soon transport me there. Fulford, December, 1856.
HOW LONG HALT YE? How long shall it be ?-yes, how long? It surely cannot go on always. You never intend that it should. The thought of never seeking the Lord would be perfectly intolerable. You always bring yourself to the conclusion that one day you shall decide as firmly as any one,—but how long shall it be till then ? So many years of life are gone already,—so many Sabbaths and their special mercies, and you are halting yet! Much, very much has been done for you already to gain you back to God and his kingdom,think of all that. Perhaps an early religious education, and all the advantages of a Christian household, -prayers offered for you,-serious conversation with you,—and still you are halting! Perhaps, moreover, you have had your share of life's sorrows and troubles,-disease may have brought you low,-death perhaps entered your dwelling,—the disappointments of life may have come heavily upon you, and saddened or even solemnised your heart,and still you are halting! Then think of the countless mercies which a beneficent God has richly showered upon you, all with one aim of drawing your heart to Him,and still, up to this day, all this goodness so far is yet frustrated ! So “long,” and you are halting between two opinions yet! If time had stopped, it had not been so serious; but all this while the sand of life has been running out. While you have been hesitating and resolving, feeling serious one day, then casting all seriousness to the winds the next,-weeping over your neglect, and then neglecting the same things again,-all this while the march of time has been steadily going on; and now, on looking back, it grieves you to think how long-how very long, you have halted between two opinions.
And, in the meantime, how many decisive steps you have taken in other things! Your sentiments on many great questions have been fixed long ago, and your part taken, perhaps, in many matters of business,-in your family arrangements,-in many worldly concerns,—there,
you have reflected, decided, firmly carried out your decision, and adhered to it to this day; but, whether to confess your sin to God, or to cloak it,-whether to come to Christ for pardon and life, or to reject Him,- whether to become a man of piety and prayer and peace, or to live and to die a hard-hearted and despairing man of the world—about this, unspeakably the most momentous subject that can occupy the mind of man, so many years of life are gone, and yet, about this, you continue to “halt between two opinions !"
Reader, go with me a step further, try to realise to yourself how this may end. Soon, at the farthest, life's race is over. 'How continually we are reminded that it is appointed to men once to die! Ah! if men could live over again - if they had to die twice-how differently they think they would live their second life! But that cannot be. « Once to die." We may see others die more than once, but to ourselves that eventful scene occurs but once,-no more than once, and then, after that, THE JUDGMENT!
Imagine the character of which we have been speaking summoned to give an account of himself to God. What is his life's history? In worldly matters perhaps prosperous, perhaps discouraging. Few will think much about that in another world. But what is his real history ? The books are open. The man at twenty was under deep conviction,felt the value of salvation,-was half resolved,– but, he halted then ; youth had too many pleasures to be sacrificed for the sake of religion, so he spent those years as others do,—he delayed and neglected. He lived to be forty. He placed himself under some awakening minister ; he thought it a good thing; others were serious around him, and he concluded he was sure to become serious himself. Sometimes religion prevailed, sometimes the world,-he was often impressed, but never decided ; and so again rears rolled on in worldliness, irresolution, and neglect. Then he received new calls. Trouble, perhaps death, visited his household; he wept,-he reflected, -he repented, he promised. He thought of his long delay, and reproached himself. Time however abated his grief, his serious desires abated too; and he yet halts between two opinions. Life
is yet spared, and he reaches perhaps his sixtieth birth-day. It awakens some grave reflections to find that he has now entered upon the last decade of man's mortal journey. Now, what will he do ? Troubles come more thickly, as they must do when life itself is going to break up; he feels too evidently, in some sense, that he is destined soon to be a failing man. His former hindrances to religion are removed in some degree ; the fiery passions of youth are burnt out; the heavy burdens of business and its cares are, one way or other, less pressing; but now he finds how hard it is for an old man to begin any thing new,—his energies are enfeebled, -his habits are formed,—he has less inclination to any change,--he cannot brace his mind to anything decisive. The time is now gone by. “ The harvest is past; the summer is ended,”—and he is not saved. Oh, the agony of mind such an one must then endure, when he awakes to this reflection!
How unspeakably wise will be your decision, reader, if this rery day you should lay these things to heart. For only think what God may call you to go through, if he should, as it were, resolve to force you to a decision. This, no doubt, is the secret of many a heavy trouble. Gentle means fail to make you serious. Therefore he uses strong measures,-imprisons you in your sick chamber, and there gives you time to think --touches you in other ways,perhaps entangles you 'with worldly difficulties,-strips you of providential comforts,—withers the fair flowers that made life look pleasant,-empties you from vessel to vessel, in the hope that, perhaps, in your affliction, you will seek him early.
No doubt, this is one grand purpose in God's dealings with men. The various storms which sweep over the earth,—the blight that withers the earth's fruits,- the pestilence that poisons the air we breathe,—the earthquakes that shake the kingdomy,--the wars now raging, that threaten to drain off their strength, strew plains with corpses, and redden seas with lood, -all these things have a voice-a voice proclaiming to the weary church that her redemption draweth nigh, and her Lord is near