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Well would it be for all of us, if we more frequently and prayerfully looked forward to this solemn time; not only should we then spend our substance aright, but should live more as awakened and responsible sinners! Instead of a life too much devoted to the interests and enjoyments of time-spent-yea, for the most part wasted in the slavery of earthly desires, which truly constitutes it a dream, we should betake ourselves in earnest to God, the ONLY GOOD of all intelligent creatures.

Should

any reader be disposed to contribute to the support of the interesting woman here brought before them, the smallest sum will be gratefully received by one of her friends, if addressed-For Matilda, No. 5, Bilton Road, Rugby.

THE SPIRIT OF NATURE.

BY SIDNEY O'MOORE.

“ These are thy glorious works, Parent of good!
Almighty! Thine this universal frame,
So wondrous fair. Thyself how wondrous then!'

PARADISE LOST.

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The love of the Divine Father has placed us in a world, wherein every scene has been fashioned into beauty, and every tone into melody ; yet exquisite as is external loveliness, if we remain satisfied with that alone, we lose the highest charm of nature.

As fragrance dwells in flowers, as fabled Dryads dwelt in trees, so in every object of the natural world is enshrined some spiritual analogy, which comes forth in the stillness of solitude, and speaks to the heart of man of another and a better world. The glorious attributes of the Creator shine through his works; glimpses of immortality beam through the veil of passing scenes ; bright visions which breathe peace to the perturbed spirit, and impart to the redeemed, a foretaste of heaven.

Revelation and Creation mutually explain each other. The imagery of Scripture is steeped in the hues of nature ; the glorious sun and stars, the lofty mountains and green pasture-lands, the rushing waters and wild whirlwinds, even the very birds and flowers are called upon, in order to bring the will of the Supreme within the comprehension of finite beings,

and also, to link the remembrance of the Creator with his works. On the other hand, the beauty of nature shines with ten-fold lustre, when irradiated with the beams of divine light.

Let me then go forth, and trace the reflection of the Word, that “Star of Eternity” in the ocean of Creation. The loveliness of sylvan scenery, the delights of rural solitude, do not now encompass my path ; yet from what spot of earth are the divine works totally excluded ? Before me rolls the sublime world of waters, let me not rest satisfied with its soul-filling harmony, but seek to understand the solemn anthems which resound from the wide expanse.

Hast thou then a lesson for me, 0 trackless ocean ? Yes, thou dost teach me that the decrees of Providence are frequently wrapped in inscrutable mystery. Behold “His way is in the sea, and his paths in the great waters, so that his footsteps are not known.” Shall we then dare to murmur when we cannot penetrate his designs ?-can we attempt to trace His gigantic footmarks in the deep ? No, not until the ocean of life shall roll back its mighty waves, and Time shall be no more. Then, perhaps not until then, shall we be able to trace the paths by which we are conducted through life, then shall be laid bare the shoals which we have escaped, the quicksands which would have engulphed us, had we not been led by paths which we knew not. It may be the hours of unseen deliverance were marked by

If aught could grieve the blest, we should then mourn that we had for a moment ceased to confide in the guidance of Him, who has so often proved that he does all for the best; that we could have distrusted him, merely because

“He plants his footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.” JANUARY, 1847.

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The autumnal winds traverse the wide expanse of waters ; they fiercely undulate beneath the stormy influence ; wave succeeding wave rushes forward with gigantic power, each increasing in volume and strength, as it speeds along to hurl itself upon the shore : but vain are its efforts, it there meets the frail barrier which has been appointed its bound, and, shivered into foaming drops, retires with a faint murmur. How often have waves of trial thus rushed towards the believer, while tremblingly he has awaited the shock, which he felt powerless to avoid ! Arrested by an unseen power upon the verge of overwhelming him, they have often dissolved and disappeared.

Unsearchable in its depths, overwhelming in its might, the stormy sea conveys to the most casual observer the impression of its Maker's power. It laughs at the puny efforts of man to restrain its wrath, yet acknowledges the limits which He has ordained. ye not me ? saith the Lord, will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree that it cannot pass it : and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail, though they roar, yet can they not

" Fear

pass over it ?"

He, whose power is thus proclaimed by the most ungovernable of elements, is our reconciled God and Father. Rejoice then, O my soul! in vain may tribulation, in, or Satan, endeavour to work thee harm; the Allpowerful curbs them all with the same ease that he curbs the rushing waves. He who holds ocean in the hollow of his hand, is the same who holds thee, and none can pluck thee out of his hand. His tremendous power, His overwhelming strength, are engaged in thy behalf, what can withstand them ? Around may gather spiritual enemies, each mightier than thou, but, through the midst of all, the Omnipotent shall bear thee on to glory.

Have ye not another lesson for me, dark depths of the sounding sea ? Ye ţell of the efficacy of prayer, ye bid me never to yield to despairing fears. By the chastening hand of God, a disobedient prophet was cast into the deep, into the midst of the seas ; let us listen to his mournful cry as it ascends from the abyss. “ All thy billows and thy waves passed over me; the waters compassed me about, even to the soul : the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains.”

Utterly sunk beyond the reach of human aid, enclosed in the dark intestines of a marine monster, and in the still darker consciousness of guilt, what could have seemed more hopeless, what feeling could have remained but the gloomiest despair ? Yet even from those watery abysses, the voice of prayer arose and prevailed ; yet more, the repentant wanderer not only sought and found his God, but received the earnest of faith in answer to his supplications. Hearken once more ; he still speaks from the dark waters. “The earth with her bars was about me for ever, yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God! When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came in unto thee.” 0 wonderful effect of faith! He speaks of his trials as already past, of his safety as already secured, when, in point of fact, he is still in the midst of the seas. There is a power which makes the future present; it is faith, the gift of God.

In the dark depths of overwhelming grief, when all the waves of affliction roll over the believers head,

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