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planation of this. [Lily reads Heb. xii. 5 to 11.] You see from this that there is love in every stroke, and that he only chastens to draw us closer to Himself. But shall we always need these chastenings ?
Arthur. No, Mamma, not when we are quite like Him,-we all found out that verse (1 John iii. 2), “ Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Is it not a beautiful verse ?
Papa. It is indeed. God's “hidden ones " shall then come forth : then will be the mani. festation of the sons of God. (Rom. viii. 19.) Now, they are like children at school, with many rough companions who do not know their princely birth; but school days do not last for ever; at the time appointed of their Father, these children shall be summoned home. And what will be the home-greeting, Lily?
Lily. “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” (Matt. xxv. 34.)
Papá. And what is said of their home ?
Mary. “In my Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John xiv. 2.)
Mamma. « Oh, happy, happy those who enter there," being children of God they are children of the resurrection” (Luke xx. 36); “ being children they are beirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Rom. viii. 17.) Being children they are all together for eternity, for Jesus “will gather together in one the children of God which are scattered abroad.” (John xi. 52.) “God himself shall be with them, and be their God, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Rev. xxi. 4.)
BELIEVERS AS PLANTS, AND CHRIST THE
Mary. Dear Papa, dear Mamma, we all have a great request to ask you to-night. This is the first Sunday in May; the cold winds and snow showers are all gone. You said to-day it was as warm as summer. May we have our reading before tea in the root house, in the garden? It is full of sunshine now.
Papa. Well, my children, if you can persuade Mamma, we will—it will suit our subject too, to have plants around us on every side. · Lily. Mamma, say yes. Thank you, Mamma; thank you, Papa, we will take the sofacushions and footstool out with us, and we do not think you will catch a breath of cold.
Mamma. Now, my children, we are ready for our out-door Bible feast. And, Lily, what did Papa tell you last week our state by nature was ?
Lily. The state in which we were born, Mamma : but you know he promised we should learn more about it from this subject.
Papa. Well, who has found out our natural state under the figure of plants or trees ?
Arthur. The Lord Jesus says, “ A corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." (Matt. vii. 17.)
Mary. And there is a reference there in my Bible to Luke vi. 44, “Of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.”
Lily. And you know, Mary, that God said to Adam, “ Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.” (Gen. iii. 18.)
Mamma. That may be a picture, or type, Lily, though it is not spoken of hearts, but of fields. Did any of you find the words “wild by nature.”
Arthur. Yes, Mamma, (Rom. xi. 24), "the olive tree, which is wild by nature.”
Papa. You remember that crab-tree, Arthur, we brought from the wood, and planted in the nursery garden. It looked at first like the other trees; its stem, and shoots, and leaves were like theirs ; but when autumn came, for we left it to itself for the first year, to recover its strength after transplanting it, it bore only wild sour apples. Here was a tree wild by nature. Now I think you will see what is meant by man being called sinful by nature. · Mamma. And my beloved children must not think, because God has given them a happy pious home, that, therefore, they have a new nature, and are of necessity fruitful plants in this vineyard. The crab apple did not lose its nature, by being brought into our sunny sheltered garden. And there is a passage in the Bible which speaks of a vine tree, a choice vine free to all appearance, bringing forth nothing but wild grapes, in the most favoured situation possible.
Mary. Oh, Mamma, we found out those sorrowful verses (Isa. v. 1-7), “My well beloved bath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill, and he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a wine-press therein, and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.”
Papa. And do you know these trees to be bad and barren trees at sight?
Arthur. No, Papa, David says,—“I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay-tree.” (Ps. xxxvii. 35.)
Lily. Just like that fig tree which the Lord Jesus “saw afar off having leaves, but when