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áre now withdrawn from the light of the sun into the silence of the grave. But the great Parent of Nature is the same. To Him, and to his power, "there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning:" He now visits the earth, and blesses it with the same profusion as in its infant years; and when we too, and our children, are gathered to our fathers; when the age in which we live shall be lost in the obscurity of forgotten time, even then, the seasons of spring and harvest will return, and the voice of praise will be heard among the dwellings of man.

2. The second reflection which the return of spring teaches us, is with regard to the unchang ing goodness of the Almighty. This also, my brethren, is a truth which we learn by "the hear"ing of the ear;" but which nowhere can be learnt with such efficacy and power, as in those hours when" our eyes may see it." If there is an instinct which leads us now into the scenery of nature, it is not only to amuse us with a transitory pleasure, but to teach us just and exalted conceptions of "Him that made us." In no hours of existence are the traces of his love so powerfully marked upon nature, as in the present. It is, in a peculiar manner, the season of happiness. The vegetable world is bursting into life, and waving it hues, and spreading its fragrance around the habitations of men. "The desert" even, and "the "solitary place is glad, and the wilderness springs

"and blossoms as the rose." The animal world is marked by still deeper characters of happiness. Myriads of seen, and far greater myriads of unseen beings are now rising, from every element, into life, and enjoying their new-born existence, and hailing, with inarticulate voice, the Power that gave them birth. The late desert of existence is now filling with animation, and every element around us is pregnant with life, and prodigal of joy. Is there a time, my brethren, in which we can better learn the goodness of the universal God? Is it not wise in us to go abroad into nature, and to associate His name with every thing that, at this season, delights the eye, and gratifies the heart? And is there any image under which it is so useful for us to figure "him that inhabiteth "eternity," as under that of the Father of his Creation; as having called every thing into existence for "his pleasure ;" in communicating happiness; and as, in these moments, listening, with placid ear, to every articulate voice that speaks gratitude, and to every inarticulate voice that testifies joy.

II. Such, my brethren, are some of the reflections which most naturally arise at this time, with regard to the great Mind and Parent of existence. They are such as every age, however untaught, has felt; which the wise of every country have cherished; and by which, even amidst ignorance, they have been fully consoled. There are some

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other reflections, which, at this season, seem very naturally to arise to us as Christians; and there is a beautiful analogy, which I could earnestly wish to impress upon your minds, between the coming of the Gospel, and the arrival of the season of spring. In no respect, perhaps, is our conduct of religious education more imperfect, than in every thing that relates to the system of Christianity; and there is no light in which it can be represented to the young, so useful as that which unites it with every thing that is most exalted and most beautiful in nature.

1. The appearance of spring is then, in the first place, an emblem of the Gospel of our Lord, as it reminds us of the darkness and gloom by which it was preceded. When we look on the state of the world before the coming of Christ, there is no image that can more justly or more forcibly picture it to our minds than that of the winter of humanity. It was a season of moral cold and darkness,-when every expanding principle of piety and virtue was checked by ignorance and doubtand when men wandered amid the severities which surrounded them, uncheered by any effulgence from Heaven. It was a season also, we may remember, peopled with the phantoms of superstition, in which every power of darkness seemed to roam and bear sway, and of which the gloom was only enlightened by the dark flames of a sangui

nary altar. Such was the winter of our nature,

until the Son of God came to bring us light.

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2. The appearance of spring is, therefore, in the second place, an emblem of the Gospel of our Lord, as it reminds us of that light which his coming hath shed on all the concerns of men. It is in this magnificent and beautiful view, that the Gospel is always predicted by the prophets, and represented by the followers of Jesus. It is the "Day-spring from on high," which has come to visit us. It is "the morning spread upon the "mountains." It is the Sun of Truth, which shone upon those "that sat in darkness, and in "the shadow of" more than mortal "death ;" and when we look, accordingly, on the state of the world since the coming of our Lord, nothing can more accurately resemble the influence and the beneficence of spring. Wherever His religion has spread, a new verdure (as it were) has been given to the soul of man. Whatever blesses, or whatever adorns humanity, has followed the progress of his doctrines; laws have been improved, governments enlightened, manners refined, and the mild and gentle virtues of humanity and peace, have sprung into new life and fragrance. "Even "the desert," (in the beautiful words of the prophet,)" and the solitary place have been glad," and in many a "wilderness" of life-in many a "solitary place" of wo, where the eye of man comes not, the light of Heaven has been revealed, and many a flower of Faith and Hope have blown, unknown to all but the Sun of Righteousness" which cherished them.

How well, my brethren, would it be for us all, if, under those great and prescribed images, we represented to ourselves the Gospel of our Lord! -if, leaving for a while the narrow and selfish views of the closet, we went forth into the scenes which remind us of the present God, and saw in every instance of his beneficence, an emblem of the "glad tidings" of his Son. Nature herself would then become the friend of piety. The truths of natural, and the truths of revealed religion, would be blended together in our hearts; and every returning spring would bring us with it new motives of love to the God who made, and to the Saviour who redeemed us.

In what I have now said, my brethren, I have presented to you only the religious reflections which the season is fitted to excite. There are some other impressions of a moral kind, which it is also calculated to give us, and which it would be wise in us to associate with the present appearances of nature.

The first of these is the love of innocence. It is the youth of the year we are witnessing. The trees are putting forth their tender green; and the fields are covered with their young inhabitants. How well is this spectacle fitted to awaken every thoughtful mind to meditation! It reminds us of our own infancy, when the mind was pure, and the heart was happy. It reminds us of that original innocence in which man was created, and for

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