« VorigeDoorgaan »
the loss of which no attainments of mortality can make any compensation. It reminds us of that greater spring "which awaits the righteous : when “ the pure in heart shall see God; when the Lord 6 shall feed them like a shepherd, and lead them 6 to fountains of living water, and when God shall 66 wipe all tears from their eyes."
The second impression which the season of spring is fitted to make upon us, is the love of nature and of humanity. The ordinary scenes of life have a tendency to limit our benevolence, and to confine our interest in nature to the few that surround us. The spring yearly returns, as it were, to dissolve this insensibility, and to expand our affections to a greater circle. We are then the witnesses of the benevolence of God, the Father of Nature seems to come from the dark clouds that surround his throne, to bestow life and happiness over the universe of nature. “Hope riseth 66 in the heart of man;" and every animated being pours forth its song of joy. Is it possible we can contemplate this scene, without feeling our own benevolence exalted ? without being reminded anew of the ties which relate us to all the family of God; and without blending with the love of Him “ who alone is good,” the love also of every thing that He hath made ?
The last impression which this season is fitted to make upon us, is that of the love of industry. It is the time when the great labour of nature is
carrying on; when the breath of the Almighty is operating upon the earth and upon the deep, " and “making all things work together for good.” How simple, but how solemn is the call which this scene makes upon man! We also, my brethren, are parts of the system of God: to us all, some share is delegated in the administration of the universe,--some power of contributing to the happi. ness of the world which he hath made. How happy for us would it be, if we suffered Nature to teach us those unreproaching lessons; if every spring, as it returned, awakened us to new zeal in the service of God, and kindled the noblest ardour of religion, that of being fellow-workers with him in the good of humanity!
I have thus presented to you, my brethren, some of the reflections which seem most naturally to arise at this season, and pointed out some of the uses to which they may be applied. If they are not the direct exhortations of religion, they are not perhaps less important. To contemplate nature'with the eye of piety,—to associate the image of God with every thing that is great or beautiful in his works,-to see every different scene around us, as only varying testimonies of his love,-and to feel those analogies which unite the system of Nature with that of Revelation,—are acquisitions which every wise man would wish to make, and which no man can make, without becoming happier and better.
May this, my brethren, be the case with us all! May the mighty scene which we are now permitted to see, exalt our minds to legitimate conceptions of “ that God who inhabiteth eternity, and 6 yet humbleth himself to behold the things that " are upon earth.” And, while Heaven is pouring forth its bounty, and Nature rejoicing around us, may we lift our hands in humble adoration to the Parent of Existence, and feel, with the grateful transport of Job! “ I have heard of Thee by the “ hearing of the ear, but now MINE EYE SEETH C6 THEE.”
ON THE YOUTH OF SOLOMON.
1 KINGS III. 7, &c.
* And Solomon said: And now O Lord my God! Thou hast made
thy servant king instead of David my father ; and I am but a little
child : I know not how to go out and to come in. “Give, therefore, thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy
people, that I may discern between good and bad, for who is able
to judge this so great a people? * And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this
These words are part of that celebrated prayer in which Solomon is represented as addressing himself to God on his accession to the throne of Israel. The form of the book in which it is related, permits it only to be considered as a fact in the history of his reign, and necessarily leaves the sentiments and disposition which led to this beautiful address, to the imagination of the reader to supply: But in the apocryphal book of his wisdom, it is related at much greater length; and represents the feelings and character of the author, with a simplicity which is singularly affecting, and with an eloquence which cannot be too much ad
mired. It opens with a very beautiful description of the character and effects of wisdom, and of the early admiration which it had excited in his mind.
“Now, when I considered these things,” says he, “by myself, and pondered it in mine heart, how 6 that to be joined to wisdom is immortality, and “ great pleasure in her friendship, and glory by 56 communing with her, I went about seeking how “ I might take her unto me. Nevertheless, when I “perceived that I could not enjoy her, except God Śr gave her me, I went unto the Lord and besought “ Him, and with my whole heart I said,
60! God of my Fathers, and Lord of Mercy, “ who hath made all things by thy word, and or66 dained man through thy wisdom, that he should “ have dominion over the creatures which Thou “ hast made, and govern the world according to “ equity, and execute judgment with an upright 6 heart, give me that wisdom which sitteth by thy “ throne, and put me not out from among thy chil66 dren; and send her out of thy holy Heavens, and 6 from the throne of thy Majesty, that she may “ dwell with me, and that I may know what is plea“ sing unto 'Thee. So shall my works be accepta“ ble, --so shall I govern thy people righteously, 6 and be meet for my father's throne.”
There is not, perhaps, in the history of mankind, a more beautiful picture than that which is here represented :-A young man in the bloom of life, when every thing was gay and alluring around him,-in the moment of ascending to a throne,