« הקודםהמשך »
element is filled with life, and the sun like a giant pursues his course through the firmament above, it is the season of solemn adoration. We see then, as it were, the majesty of the present God; and wherever we direct our eye, the glory of the Lord seems to cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea.
When autumn comes, and the annual miracle of nature is completed; when all things that exist have waited upon the God which made them, and he hath given them food in due season, it is the appropriate season of thankfulness and praise. The heart bends with instinctive gratitude before Him whose beneficence neither slumbers nor sleeps, and who, from the throne of glory, yet remembereth the things that are in: heaven and earth.
The season of winter has also similar instructions; to the thoughtful and feeling mind it comes: not without a blessing upon its wings; and perhaps the noblest lessons of religion are to be learnt amid its clouds and storms.
It is a season of solemnity, and the aspect of every thing around us is fitted to call the mind to deep and serious thought. The gay variety of nature is no more; the sounds of joy have ceased, and the flowers, which opened to the ray of summer, are all now returned to dust. The sun himself seems to withdraw his light, or to become enfeebled in his power; and while night usurps her dark and silent reign, the hosts of heaven burst with new radiance upon our view, and pursue through unfathomable space their bright career. It is the season when we best learn the greatness of Him that made us. The appearances of other seasons confine our regards chiefly to the world we inhabit. It is in the darkness of winter that we raise our eyes to those heavens which declare his power, and to that firmament which showeth his handy work. The mind expands while it loses itself amid the infinity of being; and from the gloom of this lower world, imagination anticipates the splendors of those new heavens and that new earth, which are to be the final seats of the children of God.
But there is still a greater reflection which the season is destined to inspire. While we contemplate the decaying sun, while we weep over the bier of nature, and hear the winds of winter desolating the earth, what is it that this annual revolution teaches even to the infant mind? Is it, that the powers of nature have failed, that the world waxeth old, and that the night of existence is approaching? No! It is, that this reign of gloom and desolation will pass; it is, that spring will again return, and that nature will again resume its robe of beauty. In the multitude of years that have
gone before us, this mighty resurrection has annually been accomplished. To our fathers, ånd
the old time before them, the yearly beneficence of Heaven has been renewed; and, while the night of winter has sunk in heaviness, joy hath as uniformly attended the morning of the spring.
There is no language which can speak more intelligibly to the thoughtful mind than the language of nature; and it is repeated to us, as it were, every year, to teach us trust and confidence in God. It tells us that the power, which first created existence, is weakened by no time, and subject to no decay; it tells us, that, in the majesty of his reign, a thousand years are but as one day, while, in the beneficence of it, one day is as a thousand years; it tells us, still farther, that, in the magnificent system of his government, there exists no evil; that the appearances, which, to our limited and temporary view, seem pregnant with destruction, are, in the mighty extent of his providence, the sources of returning good; and that, in the very hours when we might conceive nature to be deserted and forlorn, the spirit of the Almighty is operating with unceasing force, and preparing in silence the renovation of the world,
Such are the first instructions which this season is fitted to bring. Amid the solemn thoughts which it awakens, it leads us to the contemplation of that boundless wisdom which governs the revolutions of nature; amid the apparent decay of being, it reminds us of that almighty power by
which all is renewed; and, by the very contrasts which it presents, it tells us of the unceasing goodness of Him whom both summer and winter obey.
HAIL, Winter! sullen monarch! dark with clouds ; Throned on bleak wastes, and fierce, and cold with
storms; Welcome thy blasting cold and treasured snow! Thy raving, rending winds, do but compose My soul, and ’midst thy gloom, my heart Smiles like the opening spring. Thy long, drear nights, Winter, I hail! The cold, receding sun I love to follow to the cloudy west, And see thy twilight deepen into gloom Of thickest darkness. Round my cheering fire, How I enjoy the glistening eye, and smile, And burning cheek, and prattle innocent, Of my dear little ones! And when they sink, With heavy eyes, into the arms of sleep, Peaceful, and smiling still, and breathing soft, How pleasant glide the hours in converse pure With her whom first I loved ; who long has crowned My joys, and soothed me, with her gentle voice, Under a load of sorrows; who has felt The power of truth divine, and from whose lips I catch the peace and love of saints in heaven! Vain World! we envy not your joys. We hear Your rattling chariot wheels, and weep for you; We weep that souls immortal can find joy In forcing laughter, dissipating thought; In the loose stage, the frisking dance, the pomp, And forms, and ornaments of polished life;