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CHAPTER XXVIII.

SUMMER SOUNDS.

"All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord, and Thy saints shall bless Thee."-Psalm cxlv. 10.

FROM where I lie I cannot see much; but the bright sunshine reaches me, and I can just see the tops of trees, and I can hear more than I can see. Through the open window I hear sweet summer sounds-the song of birds, and the rustling of leaves, and the many other sounds of nature. And sweet scents come up to me; the smell of mown grass, and of shrubs and flowers.

These sights and sounds and scents soothe and please me. Though I cannot get up, and go out, and enjoy them as others do, yet I have much quiet enjoyment of them here; for they are not far off, and they all speak to me of God.

It is this that makes me love them so. All these works of God seem to praise Him, and all make me feel His presence. In the song of birds I hear the voice of Him Who made them. The rustling of the leaves in the breeze speaks to me of the wondrous power that sets each leaf in motion, and reminds me of the breath of His Spirit. All these various sounds and scents speak to my senses and my heart of the Almighty and loving Creator. The summer air and the open window would not bring me half the pleasure I feel, if all things did not speak to me of God. "All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord." They do praise Thee; and they lead me to praise Thee.

But "Thy saints shall bless Thee;" Thy holy ones, they whose hearts Thou hast brought to Thee, they who love and serve Thee. If all the lesser works of God praise Him, how should His saints praise Him! Not only because they are men, who can know, and think, and speak; not only because, as men, they have powers which birds and trees and flowers have not; but

because God has graciously shown them His love, and drawn them to Himself, and taught them to see Him in His works and to experience His grace.

O my God, may I humbly take my place among Thy saints, Thy holy ones? Unworthy and sinful as I am, may I believe that, for my Redeemer's sake in Whom is all my trust, Thou dost number me among those whom Thou callest Thy saints? Then would I bless and praise Thee for this very thing, among a thousand others, that Thou dost condescend to place me, unworthy me, among those who bear so high a name. I have heard it used in the world as a name of reproach, I have heard some sneer at a godly man as saint." If, in the days of my blind ignorance, I have ever joined with such, Lord, forgive me! But now I think it a title of honour, far higher than any earthly title. Make me, O my God, more worthy of such a name; fill me with the Holy Ghost; pluck out from my heart every root of bitterness, bring down in me completely the power of evil, and make me a saint, a holy one, indeed.

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I bless Thee, O my Father, for all Thou hast done for me, for all Thou hast given me, for all Thou art to me. While birds and flowers praise Thee, I will not be silent. “I will sing and give praise with the best member that I have." My heart shall praise Thee, and with my lips will I give thanks unto Thee.

"Hitherto hath the Lord helped me." Thus far hast Thou brought me on the way to recovery. I can now enjoy sweet sights and sounds, and, better still, I can now collect my thoughts, and think of Thee, and pray to Thee, and praise Thee. These are my present mercies; I thank Thee, O my God.

But grant that my praise may not be lipservice only, and that my thankfulness may never pass away. Help me in my life to praise Thee. Flowers fulfil the purpose for which they were made, birds do what Thou didst form them to do; grant me also grace to fill the place Thou gavest me to fill, and to do what Thou wouldst have me do. They, in their way, do so unconsciously, by nature and instinct; I can do

so by grace alone. Lord, give me Thy grace. Keep me from ever dishonouring the name of Christian; give me grace to live to Thee, and to adorn the doctrine of God my Saviour in all things. O God of nature, God of grace, my God and Father in Christ Jesus, be pleased for His sake to accept these my poor praises, and help me to love Thee more and to praise Thee better!

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