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ber, that by the grace of God your whole life has been spent in his service. God never forsakes those who begin to seek him early, and continue to do so : he always accepts of them, and makes them his faithful and devoted servants. Timothy began to seek God when he was a little child, and God chose him to be a minister of the Gospel. The good king Josiah remembered God in the days of his youth, and He accepted of him and honoured him, by making him the instrument of rooting out idolatry, and restoring the worship of the true God: and David, too, remembered God when he was young, and you know how greatly He honoured him, and what a boly man he was to the end of his life. My dear children, I would earnestly entreat you to begin now to seek the Lord; that is the rule He has laid down in His Holy Word, and upon which we may expect His richest blessing. If you put it off till you grow old, you will find you cannot seek Him. Every year makes sin deeper and stronger in the heart of the unconverted man. often bring old people to the knowledge of the Saviour; but it is as great a miracle as Aaron's rod budding, and bringing forth almonds. Begin now, do not put it off another day: you know not if God will accept of you after, or if you will live to grow old. There is not a more holy sight on earth than an old man whose life has been spent from his childhood in the service of his God: he is indeed like a full grown almond-tree, loaded with its goodly fruit, ready to be gathered: and there is not a more painful sight than an old man who has yet to seek the Lord. We shall finish this lesson by repeating the hymn you lately learned on this subject.
God does very
Frances Jane. “Remember thy Creator,
While youth's fair spring is bright;
Before comes age's night:
While stars the darkness cheer,
Thy Great Creator fear.
Before the dust returns to dust :
And life's last ember burns :
The spirit shall appear ;
SONG OF SOLOMON iv. 12-16.—“A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits ; camphire with spikenard ; spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense ; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices : a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. Awake, O north wind ; and come, thou south ; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits."
Psalm cxli. 2.—“ Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice."
Rev. v. 8.—“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden via full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.”
Craigie. I liked our lesson on the almond-tree very much, and I hope we shall all profit by it, and “remember our Creator in the days of our youth.”
Charlie. So do I; and I hope, if God spares me to be an old man, I shall be like the almond-tree, loaded with good fruit; I should like that so much.
Annie. But if God should take us when we are very young, we may still be like the almond-tree ; because you know very young almond-trees flourish and bear much fruit. Which plant shall we talk about to-day !
M. The frankincense, and the subject prayer ; that will teach
all be like fruitful almondtrees. It is not known exactly which tree yielded the frankincense of Scripture, as it is procured from several; it is a gum which exudes from the bark, and was most valuable because of its peculiarly sweet odour. We read in the 30th chapter of Exodus, that it was one of the ingredients in the holy incense, which was offered to God by the high priest every morning and evening; and, as our texts to-day tell us, was emblematical of the prayers of God's own people.
Rachel. One of our texts for to-day I do not quite understand ; it is that passage in the Song of Solomon.
M. That is a very beautiful passage ; it is our Saviour who speaks; he compares the Church of God in this world to a garden, in which grow all sorts of beautiful plants and flowers. Those who love God are the plants which grow in this garden, some of them are tall and noble, like the cedar-tree, and others are small and of less beauty ; others supply abundance of pleasant fruit, others are good for shade, others are very lovely to look at, and others fill the air with sweet
odours; altogether they make the garden very beautiful, and not one, not even the very humblest of them, is to be despised; each one proclaims the wisdom, power, goodness, and love of God; each one bears fruit acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. In the last verse the Church is represented, inviting the Saviour to come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruits. Would not each one of you like to be a plant growing in the garden of God ?
Georgina. Yes; that I am sure we all would. We have already spoken of two, the lily of the valley and the almond. I should like to be both.
M. And so you will if you are one of God's plants, and like the frankincense too. Have
of noticed when flowers smell sweetest ?
Frances Jane. In the morning and the evening, when the dew is
and flowers. M. Quite right; the air then is perfumed with a thousand balmy odours : very many only give them out then; and all others far more powerfully than during the day ; but there is a difference between the morning and the evening. In the morning the perfume from the flowers is not so strong, but there is a freshness and vigour which is very delightful ; everything seems strengthened as it were for a hard day's work. In the evening they are refreshed and revived by the heavy dews, and the perfume then is very strong, so strong as to be overpowering. Have you ever found out that plants go to sleep at night?
Mary. No, I never have; but do they really?
M. Have you ever observed the daisies all shut up at night?
Catharine. Yes; I have seen that. I remember once
when I was in the country seeing the lawn covered with daisies, quite white; and on looking out of the window in the evening I could not see one. I
ran out to look for them, and there they were all wrapped up in their little green cups.
M. That is called the sleep of plants. Now, I wonder how many lessons we shall learn from all this. You can tell me what is the dew which falls on the plants in the garden of the Lord, and makes them send out a sweet savour unto Him.
Douglas. It is the Holy Spirit.
M. Yes; and the sweet perfume is prayer and praise with thanksgiving; it is this which draws so much of the
pure air of heaven's atmosphere into the garden of the Lord. If you begin to “ remember your Creator in the days of your youth," then God will shed down upon you the morning dew of His Holy Spirit—then you will pray—then your hearts will be made purethen you will be made vigorous and strong, ready to do the work which is before you—then you will blossom and bear much fruit. It is prayer which will do all this; prayer which is the first-fruit of the Holy Spirit shed upon your hearts by Jesus Christ. This will bring you through every difficulty ; this will prepare you to meet every trial, whether of prosperity or adversity, joy or sorrow. There never was a prayer offered to God, which was the fruit of the Holy Spirit, He did not answer. If it is not answered in time, it will be answered in eternity. There is only one instance mentioned in the Bible where God seemed to turn a deaf ear to the earnest prayer of a holy man—that was to Moses—he prayed that he might be allowed to enter into the promised land, God would not permit him;