... .. ..... ..
annual ~pnbnilc entertainment ,
JANUARY 3rd, 1870.
The Baldwin Library
I I I
eaumnt 3nstitntixt, eilt 60.0
___ .______._-__.. ._-__.__...... _.-.
-:. ; 9 : '; I! i
SEASONS OF THE YEAR
While through the neighboring fields the sower stalks
With measured step; and liberal trooi the grain
Into the faithful bosom of the ground.
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURG ; AND N EW YORK.
Mii: u Iu
P R E F A C E.
WE know, on the highest of all authorities, that the works of the Lord
are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein." And we
also know that the wisest of the sons of men was a botanist of so wide a
range and so keen an eye, that from the cedar that is In Lebanon to the
hyssop on the wall," he had studied the vegetable kingdom. It is true
that none of the works, not even tle greatest wonders, of creation can tell
us the way back to the favour of God; that honour is reserved for Revela-
tion alone: but it is not less true, that when we are guided by His word,
the works of God, at once in their most minute and their most magnifi-
cent displays, become sources of enjoyment, in which the purest minds
have ever found the greatest deliglit.
And in such studies Art has truly become the handmaiden of Nature.
Let us place in our view, for examination, a single drop of water. While
we gaze upon it with tile naked eye, we may descry nothing except the
fluid drop. But next, call in the microscope, and examine the water
with its help. That drop may now appear to be teeming with activity
and life; it may seem to us, as it has seemed to some, a little world in
Or we might gaze upon the midnight sky, and behold nothing there
except its lost of stars,-eachl star glorious, but all the stars confused,
without harmony or arrangement, as seen by the naked eye. But now,
apply the telescope. Fix its penetrating gaze upon some single orb,-
what beauty, what glories, wlat marvels instantly appear! What seemed [
before but a twinkling speck, now becomes a world,-perhaps the abode
of life like ours, and certainly the scene of wonders manifold. !
It is to the contemplation of some of the corresponding wonders on our
earth that we here invite attention. WVho can doubt that thle four Seasons
of the year, when studied in the light of the Bible, may suggest marvel
after marvel to the meditative mind ?
h -r ---I--
I II I
^ .. . / .. /' :" .... ..: j } -- '* .. *
_ \,. } .,\ : ^-- M rB -....- /'*,i''*-.. ^^-.'*:s -...^ ':. .'..' '.. .
.. .... : 4" ." -- _; .
.-::A, SP^ .. L..'i.. .-- ..t
'' ., ., ,--- .- .
.. f;- *- "'.' !, f ^. ..
THE SEASONS OF THE YEAR.
S PR IN (.
JUST as childhood is the joyous time of life, Spring is. to many, the brightest
season of the year. Everything, animate and inanimate, seems then swelling
with hope and promise. The very clods of the valley assume a different charac-
ter. Vegetation, whether it springs directly from the earth, or clothes the trees I
in verdure, appears to have no end of richness, while living things all semin to
rejoice, because the Winter is past, the voice of tle turtle is heard gain in tie
land, and the time of the singing of birds has returned.
True, in our land of many clouds and not much sunshine, our season of
Spring cannot vie with that of the south of Europe or of some other countries.
We know to our cost that Winter often lingers even in the lap of May, and that
the billet and the blazing hearth, by some deemed peculiar to Christmas, are
frequently not unwelcome even when the uncertain suns of April shine upon the
blossoms shed by fair-handed Spring. But, in spite of these drawbacks, there
are attractions about this season which young and old appear alike to feel. It'
it be the restoration of youth to the year, it seems not less to restore it to man.
The snow-drop, the crocus, the budding hedge-row, the early poplar,
"Tile daisy, primrose, violet darkly blue,"
and other harbingers ot sunshine and Summer, all speak to oar feelings as if
with the voice of friends. Let us then contemplate some of the peculiarities of
Spring, as they appear in a country like ours.
There is a little seed before us, apparently as destitute of life as tie sheet of
paper on which it lies. Yet in that little particle, though small, perhaps, as a
sand-grain, there are energies dormant which may be developed into a stately !
tree or a. exquisitely beauteous flower. In that little thing, which would not
suffice for an infant's toy, there is carefully treasured up a power of reproduc-
tion and self-nourishment, such as no mortal device can imitate. It may become
a primrose or a violet, a rose-bush or an apple-tree; but whatever be the kind,
- --,-- *****----- ---- --- ---------^-- ___ II
the nature and the structure are admirable; they proclaim aloud the wisldomn of
Him who said at first, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed,
:nd the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upln
The parable of the mustard-seed is thus repeated in myriads of cases every
Spring that passes, andl the deep things of redemption may be heard proclaimed
in our gardens when they blom again, or in our fields and forests when they put
forth their green. In the planting. the decay, the budding again, the blossoming,
and fruitage of tlie seed, we might have seen an emblem of the resurrection, even
though Paul had not suggested the analogy, and said, Thou fool, that whicli
thou so\vest is not quickened, except it die. And that which thou sowest, thou
so\west not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or
of some other grain: but God giveth it a body as it hath p-leased him, and to
every seed his own body. . So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is
si wnl in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonour, it is
r'aiieil in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power: it is sown a
natural bIdy, it is raised a spiritual body." The decay and revival of the seed
tllus points to the decomposition and resurrection of the body. We see the same
pi, ner at work in the one case and in the other; and by this earthly analogy, bor-
roweld from t.le doings of the husbandman, we are helped in some measure to
believe and to understand that truth which some have reckoned, though erron-
e:,ously, the great truth of Christianity-the resurrection of the body.
We might reason in the same way as to what is said concerning "the blade,
the ear, and the full corn in the ear," as representing man's growth in spiritual
things. Indeed, t.le Bible and the seasons are reciprocally illustrative. The
edlitative mind often finds the lessons of revelation deepened, whether it he by
thl spriigining of the flowers, or the singing of birds, in Spring. It is said, for
example, even of a mind so masculine as that of Luther, that "the burst and
the bloom of vegetation in Spring always reminded him of redemption and the
resurrection." And if that was the case in northern countries, how much more
in the East. where the first shower that falls after long drought and heat, occa-
sions an outspring of vegetation and a flush of beauty, which some have likened
to a magical transformation
Iifiiite numbers, delicacies, smells,
With li es on hues expression cannot paint,-
The breath of nature and her endless bloom." i
But there are counterparts to this beauty and these varied charms. In some
I places of our land. prolific orchards spread out their unspeakable riches before
ii te eye. Whole districts seem robed in white and pink, the peculiar colours of
tile apple-tree bloss im. And as all is beautiful and full of promise, so the heart;
of m an is inade glad: lie seenmsclready to be gathering in the mellow clusters,.
and relieving the bending trees of their burden. It may be on the banks of some
im-ajestic river, as in the orchards of Clydesdale, in the gardens of Devonshire or i
SHereford, or the allple-groves of Normandy : hut wherever such sights are seen,
j Z. -.-:: -=. -:. ........ .... ........ _. .---. --- --2-:-:- --_--:.-.:_ .. ..-..-:. .. :-:-.-. -- ._" --
I .'.... .-. --.
SPRING. 7 '
they are all beauty to the eye,-they seem to be laden with fruition rather than :
One boundless blush, one white empulrtld shower, '
Of mingled bl issomis, where the inptul'cd eye
Hurries from joy to joy; and, hidi benerith
'The fair profusion, yellow Au' umn spies."
All this beauty, however, is often visited with a sudden blight, and one niiilt
of nipping frost causes the blossom to go up like dust. What was yesterday so .
fiir, so goodly, and so big with promise, is to day black and seared, and the fall-
ing blossom sadly tells that here, as in other spheres, oman is born to trouble.
And does not this also furnish an analogy for spiritual things? How often in
youth do we see and admire tile blossoms of proinise-a promise wh-ich is sadly
destined never to be fulfilled Fond anticipation dotes upon theese tokens of pre- :
cocious goodness atnd the child of so much promise is admired, rcaressdtled. uggd. .
But a change comes over the whnl le. The world and its ways soon blight whilt '
seemed so morally fair ; and the heart of affection is torn or crushed by anguish,
when all that seemed so encouraging appears like the morning cluud d and tile
early dew. Or even in years more advanced, some have seemed to turn for a'
time into the narrow path to glory; but only for a time: it was soon forsatkent
again, and the path of the destroyer preferred. Now, is not this just the fair
blossoms of spring nipped by the lingering frosts-
When Winter oft at eve resumes the breeze,
Chills tlte pale, morn, and bids, the driving sle .t '
Deform the day deliglhtless?" i
But other scenes of sorrow not unfrequently meet us during the season of
Spring. On the bleak uplandls, winter often continues long after more genial
and vivifying suns have visited the valleys. Sometimes it happens that fierce
and driving storms howl along the rocks and crags of those upper regions, and l
snow-wreaths often become both the shroud and the grave iof cowering sheep
and their frost-bitten lambs together. Many of them perish Spring after Spring.
in spite of all the care of the shepherd : nay, he himself sometimes falls a victim
to his solicitude for his charge; and, buried deep beneath the snow, or blinded
and exhausted by the drifting storm, the season which brings joy to njillions (if
old'ss creatures is fraught with death to him. Many t:ou'-]ing incidents ar
recorded, illustrative of the loss and the saving again both of sheipherds aind :
sheep and while the valleys grow vocal with the soundSs of Spring, such are thet
sights which may sometimes be witnessed ftr up among tihe mtiuntains.
But no sight can be more illustrative of Spring, its clihage., and its operations,
than the familiar labours of the plougher and the sower, wvho
With measured step, ani liberal throws the grain
Into the fruittul bosom of tile ground." .
-And here also the Great Teacher lins found lessons to impress, so, tfhat the
[I__ 1-- -
spiritual disciples may find lessons to learn. We may feel somewhat as if the
Saviour were still sojourning on the earth, and still enforcing upon us his
lessons, so simple, yet so deep, when we see the sower going forth to sow his
seed; and then call to mind how many things may occur to prevent it from ever
reaching maturity. Apart from such sad associations, however, few sights can
be mire exhilarating than that of the lusty team slowly turning over furrow
after furrow, and field after field, while the expectant husbandman, in an unfal-
tering ftith, commits the seed to the earth. Perhaps no unsophisticated mind
ever witnessed these processes without a feeling of joy; and though there may
be hyperbole in the hope that the soil of our island
SCan be the exhaustless gianary of i worldd"
the season of Spring, and the sight ot its processes, certainly suggest the thought
of smiling plenty and unstinted blessings from the ever open Hand.
Amid the more secret or unobserved processes of the season of Spring, we
may advert to the gradual transformations of the chrysalis. See that creeping
caterpillar gorging on the vegetable where it offensively crawls, and turning ver-
dure into sterility. It is descended from a race of butterflies; but in the mean-
time it grovels, and seems unconscious of its lineage. It lives as nature dic-
tates; it weaves a coil like silk, and there passes into another form-it becomes
a chrysalis. Hid in some protected nook or under some projecting roof, it hiber-
nates in that condition, and waits for the genial breath of Spring to call it to its
highest stage of existence. Prior to the last transformation, an observant eye
can see various traces of approaching activity-sure indications that that horny
shell is not much longer to be the abode of its occupant. And during the last
days of Spring, or the first of Summer, according as the season is genial or the
reverse, that occupant soars away on gaudy wings, to live among the flowers a
life, to all appearance, made up of a continued transition from sweet to sweet and
from joy to joy. Now, may wye not see, in this transmutation, another emblem
of the portion which awaits a ransomed soul when freed from its cottage of clay.
and set at liberty to soar away to the better country where there is no more
But to illustrate the attractive beauties of the Spring, it might have sufficed to
dwell upon the nidification, the incubation, and the singing of birds at that
season. A mere glance at these things must suffice for our present purpose.
See that little oblong roll of moss, shaped with care, yet so well adjusted to
what surrounds it, as to seem a natural part of the bank or the branch where
it is placed. A careless observer might pass by without attending to the little
heap. But examine it with care-you find it an exquisite little abode. The
entrance is carefully concealed. It contains nine, ten, or a dozen tiny little eggs,
finely marked, and delicately laid in the warm lining of the nest. Watch for a
little, and you will hear the peculiar chirp, and see the rapid flight of the wren.
hastening, perhaps, to commence her incubation in that abode. There she trains
her numerous brood. In that dark chamber the parent pair feed the ten or
.. _ __ _= __
twelve almost microscopic creatures of their care with unerring instinct; and in a
brief time thereafter, should you revisit the spot, you would find that nest an
empty tube of moss; the brood are on the wing, like their parents before them.
Or take your stand by that aged apple-tree. Its roots have gone down into ,
some unfavourable stratum, and tokens of decay are manifest. Lichens abound
at once on the stem and the branches. But mark with care what appears to be
a ball of lichens placed in one of the forks of the branches. At first you are in
doubt whether it is not some growth upon the tree, so perfectly assimilated is it
to the colour of the branches, and so perfectly adapted to its site. At length,
however, you discover that it is the nest of a chaffinch, the bird which constructs
the most exquisite and tasteful nest of all our British songsters. Inside and
outside it is perfect, such as no human hand could easily construct. Yet it is
the work of a pair of active little creatures, performed in a very brief period of
time, and as much as possible without attracting the observation of a single eye.
In that perfect little abode five or six young chaffinches are reared; and it must
be confessed that, though not at all remarkable for beauty of song, they are
unmatched for skill in nidification.
Or wander into that shrubbery. Mark that close-branched box-tree. Bend
one of the branches slightly and carefully aside, and see there the coarse and
bulky nest of the thrush. She is incubating, and maternal instinct then bids her
brave even the eye of man. But if you gaze long enough to scare her away, you
i will observe how noiselessly she glides from the nest, as if she could escape
detection after all. Just look at the coarse outer coating of the nest, like the
fibres which envelop a cocoa-nut, and its hard lining of clay, and then pass
speedily away, to let the dam return to her post of duty and affection. But as
you withdraw, pause and listen to the mellow notes of her mate (if he has not
noticed you and been scared), as he makes the grove vocal with his melody, to
cheer and encourage his companion amid her duties.
Or are you attracted by the cooing of the cushet, and have you gone to the
Most sequestered spot in the vicinity to study its habits? Then see its coarse
abode-a few bare sticks crossed upon a branch, just strong enough to bear it.
There the eggs are deposited, there the young brood are reared, and there you I
may see one of the most plebeian homes that any bird constructs. It is among
Snests what the cabin of Ireland or the turf hut of the Highlands is among the
dwellings of men.
But we need not dwell further upon this matter. Early or late in Spring,
According to their habits, the nests of birds are thus constructed, and few depart-
merits of natural history furnish more pleasant facts, or bring to light more sur-
i rising skill and wisdom, than the study now before us. But if we admire such
skill and wisdom in a little bird, how much more Him who made it so skilful
and so wise! If the structure of that tiny fabric, or the melody of that song, or
Sthe depth of that affection, please, how much more He who made all music to
1 the ear and beauty to the eye!
But it were long even to catalogue the characteristic changes and imetamor-
phoses produced by the season or Spring. Let the reflective mindfpursue our hints,
and chequered though the objects of interest may seem,--now smiling in a beauty
that seems more than earthly, now dark and gloomy like the fate of the perish-
ing shepherd on the bleak hill-side,-yet all may tend to turn our thoughts God-
ward, and draw forth our gratitude for blessings more numerous than can be
told,-for rich meadows smiling back to the sky in a beauty which they have
first borrowed from it,-for sources-of more enduring wealth than all the riches
of the tropics. We have not, indeed, the stately palm, which is "to the people
food, shade, shelter, fuel, raiment, timber, divan, cordage, basket, roof, screen,"
and much more; neither have we the cocoa-tree, which Herbert describes as
"Clothing, meat and trencher, drink and can,
Boat, cable, sail, and needle, all in one;"
but we do possess a teeming soil to serve as an exhaustless granary,-a granary
which, in all its aspects, is one of tile most amazing prodigies in nature. Neither
have we the brilliant hues of foreign birds, like the humming-bird or the parrot;
but we have the nightingale, and a hundred other sweet singers, to make every
thicket a concert-hall. With such helps and appliances, the Spring becomes
one long miscellaneous joy. Every field grows green; every twig shoots forth
its buds or blossoms; it is a season of universal expectancy; in a word, this
season becomes a type of creation, when God saw all that he had made, and
declared it very good.
I1y ^iVg^ ^
I fl IIIIIml R IFr
IT was solemnly proclaimed,nearly four thousand five hundred years ago, that
while the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, anl
summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease (Gen. viii. 22). These
words contain the charter from our God which guarantees to us the perennial
enjoyment of the seasons. We are taught to connect them all directly with his
beneficent hand, and to trace every beauty and every blessing which the seasons ,
of the year bring with them up to the Great First Cause,-that is, the God of
revelation-the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have already
glanced at some of the glories of Spring, and let us next contemplate a few of
the peculiarities of Summer.
Yet where shall we begin, amid such prodigal profusion, such exhaustless
richness spread on every side? On many subjects the mind of man can find no
end; it is Lost in wandering mazes, and here above most topics, the mind is thus
bewildered with the exuberance of God's bounty.
'Then comes Thy glory in the Summer months
With light and heat refulgent. Then Thy sun I
Shoots full perfection through the swelling year.
And oft Thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks,
And oft at dawn, deep noon. or falling eve,
By brooks and groves, in hollow-whispering gales."
But to escape from the profusion which spreads around, let us single out some
quiet, sequestered nook, and make it our study. How copious are the charms
connected with it! Mark that bee as it busily flits from beauty t) beauty,
diving into every nectary for honey, or carrying off a load of pollen from every
stamen. Or follow that butterfly-the very type of the season-gay, gaudy, and
joyous, as it flutters from bed to bed, and seems to exult as if with many lives
amid the beauties which abound. Or, to concentrate our thoughts, let us single I
out some flower from the multitude, and nothing inanimate can more signally
display the mingled goodness and wisdom of God. How delicate, and how ex-
quisitely distinct are those shades of colour! What artist except the Omni-
scient One could have laid them on with such taste-so blended yet so distinct-
so minute yet so powerful in effect! And then the shapes or forms of the flow-
ers, how diversified, and yet how graceful! how odorous, bow captivating at once
to all the senses which they greet! The leaves, the stalks, the blossoms, and
their various hues-the haunts and habits of various flowers,-all form a study
by themselves, and as one wanders amid this profusion of beauty he ceases to
wonder that botany should be one of the most fascinating of all studies, or
that minds so pure and so lofty as that of Linmeus should have found intense
enjoyment there. True, that beauty is fading: who shall dare to write peren-
iail upon a single flower or a single tint? In this respect as in others, nature
is the handnaiden of grace: Man cometh forth like a flower, and is cut
down." As a flower of the field so he flourisheth ; for the wind passeth over
it and it is .one, and the place thereof shall know it no more: but the mercy of
the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon th-.m that fear him." We hear
much of the language of towers, but without asking the expression of the lily,
the rose, or any of these beauteous things in particular, we may hear this
uttered to nan hy them all, Thou seest in us what thou art."
Nor should we forget to trace the goodness of God in creating the flowers to
slled their fragrance and spread out their beauty for the enjoyment of man.
They all minister to our happiness. As the stars of the earth, they irradiate
every view. and though man miay dishallow any subject, or substitute any crea-
ture, even a fading flower, for God, yet the serenest mind ever finds the sweet-
est pleasure in a flower. From the attic of the pent-up citizen, illumined by
means of a single pane, to the conservatory of a prince, rivalling the crystal
palace in grandeur, the passion for flowers reigns often paramount among men.
Or turning from the flowers to the insects of Summer, one is scarcely less
astonished by their variety and their multitude. Short-lived as they are, andl
often doomed to an existence of only an hour's duration, they seem to enjoy their
brief life with such a relish that they add much to the felicity of a thoughtful
man. The beauties laid bare by the microscope in tiny little creatures which many
crush without remorse, carry the meditative mind far into regions where it
was thought no beauty could be found. The proboscis of some insects, as lithe
and nimble as that of the elephant-tile feelers, as sensitive and as really to de-
tect either friend or foe as the most exquisite nerve in the human frame could
lie-the wings, so indescribably fine and filmy in their structure-the eyes, so
well fitted for seeing by a crowd of facets, like the eye of the common house-fly
-the scales which cover some insects, and which are compared to coats of mail
put on for safety;-these and many more of the beauties of insect life, all be-
token the skill of the infinitely wise Creator, while they add to the happiness of
the intelligent student of his works. The hum of the myriads which people the
air during the serenity of a Summer evening is really music to the ear of a bene-
volent listener, for it is the hum of happiness; and he who can interpret such
sounds aright, has joys which others do not know.
We have spoken of the feelers of insects, and the readiness with whiici they
can discover friends or detect foes. An illustration occurs in the case of the
ant. It is well known that the occupants of two conterminous -hillocks often
wage war upon each other, and they do it with the skill and determinat ion of
more intelligent warriors. A battle-field is chosen-groups, like squadrons,
are pitted against each other; and the battle may last for a day, be broken oti
by nightfall, and. renewed with unabated ardour on the followin- morning. Tle
_____~___I~IC_ __ __
- 13 11 -~b C- ---~-- ~ -~ -- -- I Ilk----LL-
SU :.1 MER. 13
wounded are cared for-their wounds are dressed, and many incidents occur to
a close inspector of the ant-hill warfare, which prompt us to wonder if it be
Son/l instinct that guides these microscopic combatants. But one of the most
remarkable things connected with the fray is, that scarcely ever does an ant,
however heated or roused by the struggle, assail one belonging to his own hillock.
So sensitive and so delicate are the feelers of the insect, or else so acute its sense
(if smell, or so wonderful its feelings of brotherhood and co-citizenship, that
friends pass unscathed, while war to the knife rages against foes. But should it
happen that an ant is unhappily precipitated by blind rage against a member of
i his own community, no sooner is the error detected than attempts are made to
soothe the injured insect. It is even said that the offender will embrace and
Shug the sufferer to make up for the unintentional assault. They who hai e
studied such wonders of insect life amiid the by-paths of some dense copse, or
I under the umbrageous covering of some forest canopy during the sultry hours
iof a summer day, have discovered one source of enjoyment more than many are
But no subject can better set forth the peculiarities of Summer than the
economy of the bee-hive. Each '" shining hour" of Summer is busily employed,
and tile inmates of the hive appear to revel amid the sweets and the beauties
which the Summer develops. Let us take our place, then, in this warm and cozy
nook where the bee-homes are stationed. All around, the garden sparkles in
beauty, as if Flora had emptied her cornucopia as she traversed the scene. Tie
distant upllands are all covered with heath-it is July, and the whole is in
purple bloom. The active members of this wondrous commonwealth are all
a-tir, travelling to and fro laden with their stores. In their domain, under
the guidance of their queen, all proceeds with a harmony and an order which
might serve as a model for any state. The labours of tle hive are skilfully
divided. The laws which regulate the labourers are fixed and carefully ob-
served. There are said to be fur classes of bees. The queen forms a class
by herself, the drones form another, the nurse-bees and the wax-w\orkers other
t\o. Guided as tile hiie is by an absolute monarch, its laws are strictly ei-
forced, and each class las its ow n peculiar function. Tlie queen is the common
mother, as well as the rcler of the whole; the drones have been called her
courtiers or her suite. andl only a single queen-bee is allowed to exist in a hive-
no rival can live near the throne. A tixed proportion is kept up between the
numbers of the other classes; and as the nurse-bees and the wax-workers-the
productive classes-have the whole hive to maintain, they are not burdened
with the support of a great crowd of courtiers, or those which exist only to
The duty of the wax-workers is to store up the fo:.o for the winter. They
construct the combs; they provide some cells in which the queen-bee deposits
her eggs, and others for receiving the winter store of honey ;-N ile the nurse-
bees tend the young, feed them, and take charge of all tliat pertains to tlhe
right ordering of the stores provided. There is every reason to believe that
_- ... '"'. : ........ I I .....
r I rrae r
I 4 S UXs ME R
These two classes of the bee-hive community are entirely distinct,-as much so
Sas any two separate crafts among men. Indeed, very little ingenuity is needed
Sto find the elements or the germ of all human government in these busy de-
positories of restless life.
But it is not our object further to describe in detail the doings or the economy
1 of the hive-its swarmings-its battles-its death proclaimed and inflicted on
Sthe drones at certain seasons, and many other measures. We glance at the bee
Only as one of the attendants of Summer-the insect which perhaps enjoys it
Most intensely, or, at least, turns its sweets to most enduring uses. In this
way the bee, like the ant, furnishes many lessons to man, and though he often
requites it all by inflicting death on his benefactor, the wisdom of the bee is not
the less signal, pleasing, and instructive.
S The swallow, another attendant upon Summer, might detain us long in enum-
e rating the attractions of the season. That bird has been called the rival of the
nightingale; for if the one gladdens us by its song, the other delights by its
rapid, graceful flight, its domestic habits, and all that is connected with its
migrations from land to land. It may be true that one swallow does not make
a Summer: but it is no less true that the flocks which circle round our homes
or nestle beneath our eaves. which skim our lakes and dart like light through
the air upon unwearying wing, form one of the greatest attractions of the season.
Perhaps there is no mind which does not look back to the season of youth and
remember how the swallow was waited for, and welcomed with a cheer when he
came back to his old familiar haunts. It is pleasantly true, He is the joyous
prophet of the year, the harbinger of the best season. He lives a life of enjoy-
ment among the loveliest forms of nature. Winter is unknown to him, and he
leaves the green meadows of England in Autumn for the myrtle and orange groves
of Italy, and for the palms of Africa."
Or we might dwell on the copious dews of the Summer, and tell how He who
undertakes to be as the dew unto Israel, makes it supply the lack of rain, and
penetrate to the core at once of flower ard tree. Or we might dwell on the rich
profusion which ripens into the stores of Autumn. The promise of Spring is
now fulfilled; the bud has become fruit. From night till morn, from morn
t:ll dewy eve," all is one continued succession of charms. Even the thunder-
storm of the season is often fraught with blessings, purifying the atmosphere,
and spreading freshness instead of languor, or greenness instead of blight; but
we must close. The unbounded goodness of Jehovah is poured out on man
luring the season now glanced at, and though even that season with all its
l ories can tell us nothing of Redemption, it may well point us to Him who is
Full of grace and truth, and out of whose fulness we may all receive.
Ii __ -=5-_ -
. .'^- '^2
' "" ":i
-aLr AUTUMN- TiO; FO ALi E 8 T.
t j. i
'. 'I' I
"*~ I: ~
:i'' I Yt
Crowned witl the sickle and the wheaten sheaf,
Sear Autumn, nodding o'er the yellow plain,
Comes iovial on,"-
AND the transition from the gaiety of Summer to the soberness of this season,
though gradual, is like the change in some dissolving view. We pass froin.
brilliant promise to rich fruition,-from what regaled the eye to what gladdens
and sustains the whole man,-from the green and the goodly to the yellow, the
mature, and the mellow. Lately we saw the corn in the blade-it is now full inl
the ear. We gazed upon the wide-spread blush over orchard and field; we are
now to look on "the shock of corn fully ripe;" the hand of the All-bountiful
opens and satisfies the wants of every living thing.
Mark first the Autumn sky. Instead of the bright glare of Summer, whicil
sometimes threatened to parch and wither all, we have a far deeper blue, and still
serener heavens, as if they were complacently surveying the rich and varied stores
which the sunshine, the rain, and the dew, have drawn from the earth for man.
The "' calm of plenty" reigns over all, and husbandmen with glistening eye,
hasten to gather in what is thus so bounteously prepared. Some fruits are
temporary, as if designed for instant use, like the strawberry and many others;
but on the other hand, the species most valuable for man, indeed essential to his
support during the torpid months of winter, can all be treasured up; the wise
goodness of the Great Fountain of all having mercifully adapted them to that
end. Man, and beast, and bird, are thus cared for alike ; for though the birds
of the air neither tril, nor spin, nor gather into barns, they are not overlooked
by Him who cares at once for the meanest and the mightiest,-to whom, indeed.
nothing is little. Our hedgerows and our thickets, our moors and our dells, are
all made the granaries or the storehouses of birds, where the haw, and berries of
a hundred kinds, supply the daily wants of countless numbers.
But we do not speak of Autumn as if it were utterly flowerless-as if it were
merely utilitarian in its character. It has its flowers, and some of them of ex-
quisite beauty, though of diminished fragrance. The Autumn crocus, though
cold, leafless, and naked, adds to the beauty of this season, as its Spring name-
sake adorns the earlier year. Other plants and herbs also come into bloom only
when a general fruitage prevails; as if He who is love would make the Autumn
what some tropical trees are known to be-laden at once with buds, with blossoms,
with ripening and with ripe fruit. We cannot contemplate such riches, such
variety, such manifold attractions, it we reflect on what we contemplate, without
seeing farther and farther into the depths of the divine beneficence. These, at
least, were subjects otn which the man after God's own heart delighted to dwell
his hymns become hosannas whenever he touches on the bounty of the Supreme.
" Thou greatly enriches the earth," he exclaims, with the river of God, which
is full of water: . thou crownest the year with thy goodness, and thy
paths drop abundance; they drop upon the pastures of the wilderness, and the
little hills rejoice on every side: . the valleys also are covered with corn:
they shout for joy, they also sing." These, and other exclamations, tell us how i
clearly David saw the hand of God in the bounties of Aututmn and, oh, how
different that from the spirit of the man ilho grasps the gifts of God, but forgets
God himself ; who luxuriates amid bounties innumerable and priceless, yet has
no thought, no mind, no heart for Him twho pours from the cornucopia of Autumn t
its full treasures into the lap of man It surely shows how little mere nature i
or mere reason can do fir us, when the richest gifts of God are often so perverted I
tlat they only help us to sin with a higher hand.
But pas-s from this to contemplate a blighted Autumn, and a consequent, I
famine. It is but a few yenrs since one of these disastrous seasons happened I
within our own borders, when many, both in Scotland and Ireland, died of
hunger. It was coolly calculated by some economists that those who perished of
hung',:r were counted by millions-all by a mysterious disease which had struck
one esculent, the food of myriads of the people. Men's joy was thus turned inti
mourning : gaunt famine stalked among the homes of the poor; and of them at
least it was true that there was scarcely a house in which there was not one dead '
A sad contrast this with the hilarity which commonly signalizes the Autumn,
which makes every field ring with mirth and song, and connects our days with
those of Noah, when harvest was solemnly guaranteed to the children of men.
Instead of carrying their sheaves, or reaping in joy, men hadl to carry the frequent
coffin, to fill the hasty grave ; and tlat emblem of the believer's joy--" They joy
before Thee according to the joy in harvest"-was displaced by sackcloth and
ashes, by crowds of the fatherless and the widowed. Oh, how different this from
the Autumn scenes-
"Where, loose to festive joy, the country round
Lauglis with the loiid sincerity of mirth,-
Shook to the wind their cares!"
But we may change the scene. The freshness of Spring may be regarded as
illustrating a believer's first joy, when he discovers the suitableness of the Saviour
for him. All then is budding with promise-a perfect peace begins. Then Sum-
mier comes, rich, luxuriant, fragrant, and prolific; typifying, if we may spiritualize
it. a believer's copious joy. But that also passes away, anti autumnal richnesss
follows-a type of the believer's approaching maturity, of his bearing fruit unto i
holiness, and ripening for heaven. But, on the other hand, the tree bereft of its
leaves and Summer garniture, by the nipping frosts and boisterous winds which i
... .. .... ..I ~ .cm -^- -I- 2" --'- ;-" .'.-': 'L' --.":.-" .-'- _-7" :_ -. ". ..-. .. .. .. .
__5 rr 4CL le I --I
i "--------------- ---
II"-- ~- '-- I~------`-I-I I- -' --
A AUTUMN. 17
often connect Autumn with Winter, is the meet type of himi who is compelled i
Sto say, The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saveil." Surely
they are blessed whom heavenly wisdom teaches to spare themselves this sadness,
S, ;nd the deeper woe which follows Surely they only are wise who seek to sw i
bi eside all waters-to wait on God for the increase, and bring in thirty, sixty..
or a hundred-fold to the praise of the glory of His grace !
At a season so suggestive of thought as that to which we now refer, a medli-
Stative mind will find topics to engross it 0on the right hand and the left. There
Si. a leaf. fir example, quivering in the breeze, and mournfully rustling, as if
.; plolring its departed glory. A few weeks ago it was green and glossy, and per-
Laps the abode of whole insect tribes ; but now it is a dead and withered thing:
ie gust more, and it is swept from its place,-it goes to augment tle corrupting
classes that must now only manure the soil. Now, how like again is all this to
S the proud creature man, over whom this is tlie humbling but inspired epitaph,
We all do fade as a leaf." To-day it is an object of beauty, to-morrow it is
swept from its place; and so lie, exulting amid his joys, appears to far no evil,
till some sudden blow turn his strength into weakness and his beauty into dust.
Yet before the old leaf drops, the germ of a new one is found beautifully cased
in coating after coating against the Winter's cold; andl that also finds more thai t
a n analogy in the case of man. Before lie drops into the grave his new life should II
I !e begun, and preparation made for the eternal Spring.
There is one other view of Autumn to which we cannot help referring. Explain
Sit as we may, "the Fall" greatly increases the number of deaths among us.
While men are gathering in the fruits of the earth, not a few are annually
g gatheredd to the grave. They must bid them farewell that are in their house.
They must away for ever from their earthly home. They must leave their quiet
studies-their friendships-their brotherhood of hearts-their most cherishedtl
Possessions, and away to the abode of the dead, there to say to the worm, Thi iii
Start my mother, and thiou art my sister." One has said in bitterness of spirit.
To forsake all that to sight, and sound, and taste, are sweet, and to lie down
a cold, stiff, senseless, heartless thing, in the dark, damp vault, that is hence-
Storth to be my home-yes, yes, this is truth;" and many have shaken like the i
Slithered leaves of Autumn when the sad conviction was forced or tlashed. upon
But is that sad conviction all Is it true that when the Winter of death
ilestroys what seemed so promising and so fair, all is past and gone ? Nay. there
is- a bright ulterior for the believer in Jesus; and j ist as the Spring revives thi,
flowers, and bids them bloom again, will they who sleep in Jesus awake at thie
i omnipotent wordl, '" om'- forthh" The season
S\Vhih fills all fruit with ripeness to the cir,.''
Sis but a meagre type of the plenitude of such bless-edness.
Further: even an observant child lhas noticed tlhe excited assemblies, tlhe
h apparent discussions, andl plans, andl prelulings if tie swvallov' tribe, 1riparatury
"i --_:.- -- -- --'- -- .- ---- : --- ... "
W -w! -.- -
- .- .. ..: .
I X WINTER.
IIE who is, by excellence, the Poet of the Seasons, thus welcomes the last of
See Winter comes to rule the varied year,
Sullen and soal. with all his rising train,-
Vapl)ours, and clouds, anld storms "
ind, were we to draw a contrast between this season and the others, it were
Iifticult to decide which is the most richly fraught with joy to man. Indeed
S they are not to he contrasted. The seasons are one,-one in beneficence, one in
the wisdom of all their arrangements, and one in 'tie results to which they lead.
But we have now passed by slow gradations, from the luxuriance of Summer
anl the ripe riches of Autumn, to the torpor of Winter, and nature seems asleep.
Evergreens and some winter flowers still attempt t) keep up appearances, alnd
clothe the season in the semblance of verdure ; but over tile whole scene an aspect
; tof torpid inactivity prevails. No music comes from the thicket, and nothing is
heard near our homes but the chirp of the robin, or the lowing and tile bleat of
herds and flocks among the hills. But instead of torpor, we might, perhaps,
Speak rather of death ; and without experience, or at least information, who could i
suppose that the hills and valleys, covered as if with a winding-sheet of snow, or
Scongealed into one ice-bound mass, would ever again become what they were a few
i months before-laden witll beauty and teeming with life'? Who could conjecture
that the trees, apparently dead and gone, would put on their verdure again, or
the flowers bloom in beauty as before ? This universal drooping seems to pre-
sage an universal death.
repose to fit for renewed efforts; not paralysis of power, but power working in
1 new ways and preparing for further achievements. The leafless landscape andt
thie flowerless garden are tokens of woe only to the eye; to the mind they are
p the harbingers of a fresh vitality, and prognosticate a renovated earth.
S We may, accordingly, study many winter processes, which are all prolific of
gi ood. The earth in winter is alternately congealed and thawed, and by these
S means it is loosened and pulverized and prepared for the vegetation of Spring.
STrees, and herbs, and flowers, all feel the fertilizing ird.uence of this process.
Nature thus becomes its own husbandman, and tills tlie soil for the coinig
crop in a manner which man could not rival.
Again, the very snow, which seems to enwrap all vegetation in a way that
! must insure its death, becomes a source of new 'itality. The covering of snow
actually preserves the plants from being injured by excessive cold ; and the ice,
consolidating the surface of the ground, prevents the frost from penetrating to
t.le more tender fibres, except in Winters of unusual sternness. The coverlet
of siow, as soft as eider-down, not less beneficial in its effects than it is beau-
tiful in its crystalized forms, thus defends the earth from the rigour of the
severest Winter. This has been proved. Keep a portion of a field, where some
Winter crop is growing, free fromii snow, and let the rest be covered by it. The
plants on the unsnowed portion are destroyed, or made sickly by the frost: vege-
tation on the rest is preserved in vigour, to shoot up in richness at the approach
of Spring. Like the Esquimaux, snug in their snow huts amid their winter of
half a year, plants are kept from harm by the very means which seemed likely
t:, prove their ruin; and he who has joy in watching the progress of the seasons
].as often been gladdened by the outburst of vegetation, which instantly follows
the dissolving of the wintry rigour. In the depth of Winter, so completely dor-
Ilant is the vegetating principle, that a plant may be removed from one place t,,
another, and revive in its new position without any apparent ill effects from the
change; for when Spring bids it revive, it sends down its fibrous roots and
throws upward its stem and its leaves, preparing to be regaled afresh by the sunl-
shine and the rain.
But further : it is well known that not merely do plants pass into a state of torpor,
compared to sleep in the human body, during Winter-many animals do the same.
Insects in crowds thus pass the Winter, to reappear sometimes in early Spring in
remarkable beauty. But the chief instance of Winter torpor, or hibernation, is
that of some of the lower animals, whi h retreat to their temporary abodes, and
soon cease to eat. They first, and for a time, breathe more slowly, till at last it
seems as if respiration were entirely suspended. The animal heat is then greatly
reduced, and insenisibility is at length profound. The bat, the hedgehog, in our
country ; the marmot among the Alps ; the common bear, and various species of
mice,-all pass the Winter more or less in a state of torpidity. They fatten in
autumn, as if during tle winter they were to subsist literally upon their own
stores. Snakes, lizards, toads, and frogs, all hibernate in like manner, and
some of them so completely, that their very lips are sealed or glued together.
The landrail, and some species of the martin also, belong to the same class; and
such infinite diversities, such perfect cbutrasts, in animal life, display at once the
wisdom of the Creator and the wonders of creation.
Tile analogy between these animals and the vegetable world is obviously com-
plete. The activity or the vital force of Spring, Summer, and Autumn, is fol-
lowed by the gradual torpidity, and at last the absolute inaction or the apparent
death, which Winter produces. But does not all this just render these apparent
decays more apt similitudes of the resurrection which awaits the bodies of men ?
They also hibernate in the grave, not in mere torpor, or apparent death, but
fairly under the power of the last enemy, the King of Terrors! But there is
a King more mighty than he,-the Lord of Life,-who has the keys of Hades
and of death. At his resistless fiat, the buried body, like the hibernating
mm |i II I
animal in Spring, will come forth a glorious body, and, if redeemed, become
an heir of immortality for ever. Strange that multitudes barter away that
immortality, and the resurrection of the blessed, for pleasures which perish in
the using !
It is the remark of one who found much of his joy in nature, because lie looked
at it through the medium of grace, that
From dearth to plenty, and from death to life,
Is Nature's progress when she lectures man
In heavenly truth;"-
and that transition from death to life we may see copiously exemplified in many
of the phenomena of Winter.-There is a bud or germi just pushing the decaying
leaf from its place. That germ is curiously cased to defend it from injury. It
is even coated with a resinous substance, to render it, if possible, impervious to
frost. It is death passing into life, or preparing for it.
Or there is a bulb so completely frozen into a ball of earth, that it seems a
part of the mass, and not likely ever to be separated from it. In a few weeks,
however, the mass will be dissolved, the bulb will be detached : it will flush into
beauty, and add one attraction more to the approaching Spring. It is death
again, or rigours which threaten death, guarding a vital principle that in due
time it may become life.
There is a tree leafless and bare. Each branch is naked as a spear, and appears
as unlikely ever to bear leaves, or blossoms, or fruit. After all, however, it is
only dearth preparing to become plenty. That very tree will soon shed its abun-
dance into the lap ot man, soon shelter him with its shadow, and prove ti.at it
was not dead-it was but resting for a nobler effort.
There is a grove where, a few months ago, every twig seemed vocal, for a
thousand throats, from the cushet to the linnet, were joining in the concert.
But now all is silence, except, perhaps, the rustling of a leaf, or the dropping of
an icicle from some branch where it has been thawed by the short-lived sun. It
seems the reign of death, very death, again. But no : it is but another pause
till seeming death shall pass into real life. And so in ten thousand cases during
Winter. So in regard to our world morally and physically; for what is it in its
present condition but under a law of death, waiting for the New Heavens and
the New Earth to be set up ? Our globe among the worlds is like the Esquimaux
in their snow huts among the peoples-entombed for a Winter ; but when the ice
breaks up, and the sun rises once more, they walk forth and rejoice. And were
we more accustomed to trace in these material emblems the spiritual things of
which they tell, our life would be happier far. To study the outer world is, no
doubt, a source of joy; but there is a more excellent way, namely, to make
nature the handmaid of grace, or see in the world which we touch and handle.
foreshadowings of the blessedness prepared for us on high-the jovs whiic e:.e
hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor heart of man conceived.
One suggestion more regarding Winter, anid let it be given in the language of
i_-- i----- IL --- --I-I
.. . S2 _ : : - _. .
SSee lhre tihy pictured 1
S'Thy1 flowering Spi ing,
IThly sober Autunin fad
And pile concluding V
And shuts the scene."
'We only add, Whoso is wise, an
understand the lovinr-kindness of th
.. ..... .. ...lII~l~ars ua~ le
Sweet singer, one whose Winter, in a spiritual sense, once lasted for years,-we
mean the poet Cowpler. lie says of this season of storms:-
I lIve lhee, all winlo-el\ a-, thlio seem'st
And diett ded as tholl iirt Tliou liold't tle sun
A pris-oner in the yet iii.lawningi east,
Sllol'lirtling his jolurn'y between ni11 rn d1111 l n11 1on,
And tlunn'-'ill. Iimn, imp;atiellt ot his stay,
Dlown ti> the rosy west; but kinitly still
Compensating his loss Nvith aided hours
(Of social converse and instructive ease,
Anld gatherin" a: short notice, in one group,
The family disiperseid and fi\inu tlinuglit
Not less dispersedl by d Iy:lliglt 1nd its care's.
I crown tllee king of iitiniate deli.ilits,
Fireside eitjoymeints, hloine-blorn l tppinei'-
And lil the con.forts that the lowly roof
(t undisturbll ed retiremel nt, inll tHie hli ls
Ut'f lon, unlintuerrupted evening, kInow."
And thus we Jlose our brief remarks upon the Seasons. We have, of course.
only glanced at the varied year,"t and who could tell all its glories ? None but
lie who conlmmanded them to be. But blessed is the man whom heavenly wis-
dom has taught to rise through these exhaustless glories to the Pure Fountain of
them all; who can hear or who can read in each another and another hymn to the
Being who gives summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, to the sons of men.
and who linked their guarantee to the bow in the cloud-the loveliest and the
most perfect of all His grander displays in the kingdom of nature. Whether
we adopt the division of the year into four, or prefer the Egyptian distribu-
tion into three,-the season of vegetation," the "season of manifestation"
or fruition, and tle season of waters," referring to the overflowing of the Nile,
-the result is the same. Man beholds in them all the wisdom and the goodness
t' his God, just as a little child experiences the genial kindness of the mother
who fondles and caresses him. Happy is the man whom grace has taught to glorify
the Giver while rejoicing in His gifts!
But more than this. The seasons in their turn may each become to man a
solemn remembrance from the Unchanging One:-
cold, fond m1an,
ife. Pass some few years,
thy Summnler's ardent strength,
ing into age,
'inter comes at last,
d will observe these tliing,, even they shall