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who knows but this work of yours may give the children the first desire to improve their country.
Rachel. I think it will be a capital plan. We shall call them Agricultural Herbariums, and we can all join in making them, both boys and girls.
M. You can, and it is one way in which young ladies may make a good use of their knowledge of plants, and as we go on we shall find out a great many more ways in which we can be of use.
Gen. i. 11, 12.—“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth : and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind : and God saw that it was good.”
Gen. ii. 5, 6.-" The Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth. But there went up a mist upon the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.”
Gen. ix. 16.—" And the bow shall be in the cloud ; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”
Ezek. i. 28.—“As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face.”
Annie. Our subject of conversation to-day was to be grasses, which you told us were the prevailing and most useful family of plants on the face of the earth ; they are very often mentioned in the Bible. What subject shall we take in connexion with them?
M. There are so many beautiful lessons to be learned from them, that we shall not confine ourselves to one subject—but before saying anything about the prevailing plant, I should like to converse a little about the prevailing colour. What is that ?
Georgina. Beautiful green, of all different shades.
M. And have none of you ever thought how wise and good it was in God to make it so ? Suppose the mountains, trees, grasses, and other plants had been all white, yellow, orange, or red ?
Charlie. I see what would have been the consequence —the splendid colour would have dazzled and blinded us, and I do not think it would have looked pretty either.
M. No; it certainly would not have been pretty. Now, suppose the prevailing colour had been violet, purple, or blue.
David. I can easily see how disagreeable that would have been. Everything would have looked sad, dismal, and gloomy.
M. In both cases, either with very bright or very dismal colours, the effect would have been most hurtful to us. In the one case, we would have been blinded and overpowered with the dazzling splendour ; in the other, our spirits would have subsided into dejection and despondency. But the all-wise and gracious God has prevented these two extremes by clothing the earth with a green covering, being that proper combination of light and shade which neither dazzles nor darkens the prospect, which rather refreshes than fatigues the eye, strengthens and invigorates instead of weakening the powers of vision, and creates in the soul delight and rapture.
George. Can you tell me what causes colour, or where it comes from ?
M. All the colours you see, excepting black, are caused by the reflection of one or other of the sun's rays. In order to explain this we shall talk a little about the rainbow. Can you tell me what there must be to form one?
Charlie. The rain, the sun, and a cloud.
M. Yes; and the darker the cloud the brighter the bow. What was the rainbow a token of ?
Patie. Of the covenant God made with Noah, when He promised that He would not again drown the world.
M. Can you tell me how many colours there are in the rainbow ?
Annie. Seven. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
M. Quite right. Three of these only are called primitive colours, the rest being produced from the blending of these three. For instance, red and yellow make orange ; yellow and blue make green; blue and red make violet, and a little yellow added makes indigo. The rainbow is always seen opposite the sun, and is caused by the refraction and reflection of the sun's rays falling on the drops of rain.
David. Well, that is very odd; I always thought the sun's rays were white.
M. So they are; but to make white there must be all these colours.
George. What! you do not mean to say that if I were to mix all these colours together, the mixture would be white ?
M. It certainly would could you obtain the colours as pure as the light, but that is what we cannot do. Paint is the purest we can get, and if you take a round card and paint all the seven colours in equal breadths upon it, then wheel it rapidly round on a wire, the mixture will appear a dim or dirty white. All the beautiful colours we see in the fields and flowers are reflections of one or other of the sun's rays. God has imparted to each different properties : leaves and grass have the property of absorbing all the red, and reflecting as much of the yellow and blue as gives it the effect of colour we call green. Scarlet absorbs the blue and nearly all the yellow, and reflects only the red and a small portion of yellow. This is a little difficult for you to understand, but you can easily understand that when the pure rays of the sun are broken by any clear substance, such as the drops of rain or crystal, they reflect all the seven colours.
Frances Jane. Yes; and I have seen it also when blowing soap bubbles.
M. Now let us see what lessons we can learn from all this. Our Saviour is called the Sun of righteousness in the Bible. Can you tell me where ?
Rachel. Mal. iv. 2, “ But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings."
M. Now look in Zech. x. 1, and tell me what it says.
Patie. “ Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain ; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain.” Joel ii. 23.
M. In this text, and in several others of the same kind, rain signifies the Holy Spirit. What is the unconverted soul compared to ?
Georgina. Darkness. Luke i. 78, 79, “Through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the day-spring (or sun-rising) from on high has visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death."
M. Now, tell me what the prophet Ezekiel saw round the throne of God.
Helen. Ezek. i. 28, “ As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.”
M. Who is the glory of God ?
Mary. Jesus Christ. John i. 14, 6 And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Heb. i. 3, " Who, being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
M. Who is the likeness of the glory of God ?
John. The believer. Rom. viii. 29, “ Whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate, to be conformed to the image of his Son."
M. When any one is born of God the Holy Spirit is poured out upon him ; he believes in Jesus Christ ; God writes his law upon the heart, and he brings forth the fruits of the Spirit. We must always remember that the holiness which shines out from the believer is all a reflection of the rays of the Sun of righteousness poured