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In like manner, though a sinner may be so far enlightened, as to be convinced of the evil nature of sin, the hatefulness of his own heart, and the necessity of renewing grace; yet, without the Sun of righteousness ariseth to him, with healing in his wings, he cannot be savingly converted, nor any of the graces of the spirit in his soul made to spring up and flourish to eternal life. How much doth it then concern me to examine whether I have experienced the dawn of spiritual things only, which consisteth merely in knowledge, or the fructifying beams of the Sun of righteousness, making me spring and grow in grace !
ON THE SINGING OF A · LARK.
WHAT pleasant sound is this salutes my ear 80 early! While I listen, I perceive it is a Lark, newly sprung from the turf, where he had reposed during the darkness.
Anxious, as it were, to be the first of all the terrestrial creation in expressing its thankfulness to the great Creator, and upholder of all, for his kindness during the night, it pours forth its little, grateful soul, in rapturous strains of melody; swelling the anthem of praise with still more and more harmonious notes, the nearer it approaches the sky.
This delightful bird, above most of the teathered tribe, is truly worthy of my imita
tion, and that in various points of view. While I am ravished with its song, may I accord with the little charmer, in expressing my gratitude to the bountiful Creator of all, which I am ten thousand times more bound to do than this cheerful songster.
How may I be put to shame with the early gratitude of this little creature, which enjoys so little in comparison with what I do, who am still só unthankful! No house nor vault sheltered it from the hawk during the night; while I slept in my house, with doors shut against any who might molest either my person or goods.
It is now descended from its aerial excursion, and is silent for a little, gathering a scanty meal on yonder spot, but knows not where to find its next repast; while I have provision, not only for sundry meals, but perhaps for some months. Led only by instinct, it gathers a few corns for the present; while I have reason to direct me, not only how to provide for the present, but also for future wants. It enjoys but a short temporal life ; while I not only enjoy the same, but also hope to inherit life eternal.
No songster of the grove soars so high as the lark, and none sits lower. This is truly picturesque of a saint, and teacheth me this excellent lesson, that the higher I arise in holiness and likeliness to God, the more humble I ought to be, calling myself, with the apostle of the Gentiles, “less than the least “ of all saints.” Eph. iii. 8. Knowing that it is only grace that maketh me, or any, to differ from another. 1 Cor. iv. 7.
The lark has a long heel, which is one reason that it does not sit on the spray. So a believer, while he is here, hath a long heel, which keepeth him humble, even the iniquity of his heels, which compasseth him about, Psal. xlix. 5. The songsters of the grove will not sit on the ground, but perch on some elevated station, like the men of the world, who scorn the humble disposition of the saints, and sit high in their own estimation.
The lark will not assemble with any but those of its own tribe, except in case of win
ter's extremity, and not even then, unless for the purpose of gathering a little food. So a saint only findeth pleasure in the company of saints : these are they whom he maketh his companions, and in them he placeth all his delight. Psal. xvi. 2. And though he be often necessitated, from the affairs of human life, to associate with the men of the world, yet these may be said to have his actions only, but the saints his affections. To the former he will only impart the common occurrences of life; but to the latter, the things concerning his soul: with the one he associates through necessity, but with the other through real choice.
The lark, too, like a disconsolate mourner, for the loss of the pleasant seasons, gives up with its song in winter, and assumes a chirping note ; yet even then, it is remarkable for being as fat, if not fatter, than when it rejoiced in the cheerful morn of Spring. So a saint, when under spiritual clouds in the winter of desertion, hangeth by, as it were, his harp on the willows, Psal. cxxxvii. 2. and falleth a mourning instead of singing the sweet songs of Zion : yet even then, he may be growing