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influence issue forth, and death should become the throne of His power.
So will it be with us if we are Christ's. Paradoxes upon this truth lie all through the New Testament, and one may walk on them, like stepping-stones, from side to side. Sorrow is joy. Death is life. Down is up. Weakness is strength. Loss is gain. Defeat is victory. The world's mightiest
very monarchs of its joy, were they who died deaths daily.
THE USE OF FLOWERS.
MRS. MARY Howitt.
God might have bade this earth bring forth
Enough for great and small,
Without a flower at all.
For every want of ours—
And yet have made no flowers.
Requireth none to grow,
To make the river flow.
The nightly dews might fall,
Might yet have drunk them all.
All dyed with rainbow light,
Upspringing day and night;
Springing in valleys green and low,
And on the mountains high,
Where no man passeth by!
Our outward life requires them not,
Then wherefore had they birth ?-
To beautify the earth;
Whene'er his faith is dim;
Will care much more for Him!
The Spring-time is come again, and with it the budding, bursting, blooming flowers: the yellow crocus and the modest blue-bell, the early primrose and the scented violet—all that makes the new year beautiful; that spangles the green earth with stars, even as the heavens, and that tell us, that as surely as the flowers that die in winter revive again in spring, so is there a spring to life's long winter, death-and a hope that " earth's human flowers” may
bloom in perpetual youth hereafter. How beautifully has Professor Wilson, in one of those charming essays with which he was wont to delight the readers of “Blackwood's Magazine,” discoursed about Spring flowers! Thus he writes: “And now it is once more Spring Flowers, indeed, there are, that come and go with winter: each season has its own; but, though all the varied year
be lovely, sweetest to beings who live to die and die to live is the thought and the feeling of the prime. To budding, fading, faded flowers there belongs, in every heart, a world of emotions: yet are they all allied by one common spirit-sadness we call it, or joy, or peace, or trouble ; but it springs from one and the same source —a source welling far within the soul, and, by some innate power, embittering or sweetening for itself its own water. Beautiful flowers! how they overflow the earth with joy and happiness, or deaden it with a blank as barren as the grave !" With us, however, Spring flowers have no such gloomy associations; they remind us only of youth, joy, childhood, beauty, and perpetual spring; of death, perhaps, but only of death as a state of transition-a sleep from which to wake where even the flowers fade not-a resurrection to life eternal. Why, then, should one gloomy thought be associated with flowers ? Do they not show that the All-wise has provided a variety of objects, not absolutely necessary to life, but administering to our pleasure,
that the Great Giver of that life has a further design than that of merely giving us existence ? Nor can this be considered the only lesson they impart; for they remind us also of the superintending providence of the Almighty.
Flowers are, unquestionably, the most poetical of nature's gifts. They are redolent of moral instruction ; they not only cast a ray of beauty on every spot where they appear, but they tell us, in their endless variety, how infinite is the goodness and power of the Great Creator.
“There's not a single flower that blows
Looking at them as objects merely of beauty, what can be more beautiful! Look at that rosebud just. expanding to the morning air- was ever blush of
virgin modesty more sweetly delicate ? Did ever the hand of man, with all its cunning, create. aught that could rival that orient tinting? Perhaps the rose's hue has not a preference in your sight; then look at the violet
"so darkly, deeply, beautifully blue;" summer sky never looked more blue, even in the happiest day of our boyhood. If you love Spring flowers, go forth with us into the fields and by the hedge-rows; examine the petals of the common daisy, or the nunlike primrose; they will afford you sweet specimens of the delicacy of colour ; or, if you will, with us "wander by the brook-side," pluck the flower of that common buck-bean and examine it: the tinting about the white petals seems fearful of staining such purity; it blends with the white, so sweetly, that we cannot define its limits, though we can well perceive that it is there. It reminds us of
"a lily, which the sun,
Or a rosebud, leans upon." Grace plays about Spring Flowers as naturally as the sunbeams at mid-day. The “line of beauty” is to be traced, from the stately lily to the lowly pimpernel
in the blossom of the garden, in the flower of the wilds.
“There is,” says Mr. J. F. Clarke, the author of a little work—“Stray Flowers,” that deserves to be better known—"a feeling of affection, even in the rudest bosoms, to beautiful objects; and Nature sprinkleth, with unsparing hand, sweet flowers upon our pathway, to gladden us as we pass : if we look at them rightly, our way, though thorny at times, will as often be pleasant. And is it not so with the moral path that we pursue ? though the dark, lurid weeds of care and of affliction may sometimes poison our way, yet, how often do the flowers of hope and faith spring up around us, and we feel that our repinings were impious!”
We could cite other beautiful thoughts on the philosophy of flowers; we could show, too, how the Poets have all loved them, and been inspired by them, and made each his favourite flower famous in undying
And have we not deeper, finer, more inspired poetry in those allusions to flowers which our Saviour frequently makes use of in His discourses ? For instance, “Consider the lilies, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin ; and yet I
say That Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is one day in the field, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, how much more will He clothe
of little faith ?" Again, in Isaiah xxviii. 9 : “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower." And in Isaiah xl. 6, those beautiful similes, “ All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth ; because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth ; but the word of our God shall stand for ever.'
Many such passages occur to our mind, but for the present we are called out into the green fields, for the flowers are come again, and the glad Earth smiles in beauty, and the laughing Spring invites us into the budding woods, and by the bursting hedge-rows. Our books are now only for rainy days; for nature has opened her brightest page, and we exclaim with a bard who has sounded every wire on the golden harp:
“Your voiceless lips, O flowers ! are living preachers,
Each cup a pulpit, every leaf a book;
From loneliest nook.' Hail! then, to the young bright Spring! and may every English home, and every cottage nook, be made lovely through the influence of its Flowers !