« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Lily. No, no, Mamma. I found such a beautiful text for that: “I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment : lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.” (Isa. xxvii. 3.)
Mary. And you know, that verse you read, Lily, said, “ Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."
Papa. And compare with this, Heb. xii. 11. “Now, no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous but grievous, nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” You remember how you thought the gardener was spoiling the vine tree last year, when he cut off so many shoots and leaves, and nailed the branches to the wall against their will, and drenched it with the water-squirt, and as he told you, was giving it a thorough good dressing ; but what did the autumn say and do ?
Mary. Oh, autumn said the man was right, Papa, and gave us a hundred beautiful bunches of grapes.
Arthur. But, Mamma, we found in Psalm Ixxx., the account of a noble vine which took deep root, and covered the hills with its shadow, and sent out its boughs into the sea. (Ar
thur reads from verse 8 to verse 16.) You see it was burned with fire after all, and perished at last.
Mamma. Not after all, not at last, Arthur, the closing verse of the Psalm may teach us this. God sometimes, for their sins, forsakes his people for a season, but every plant of the Lord's planting shall be recovered, for it hath been said of it, “ Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it.” (Isa. Ixv. 8.)
Papa. And see how the prophet Hosea, who is always dropping messages of forgiving grace to returning backsliders, speaks (xiv. 5—8) in the name of the Lord : “ I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine;" and in the next verse, when the recovered soul exclaims, “I am like a green firtree,” the Lord replies, “ From me is thy fruit found.” And does not this remind you of another verse, which tells how alone we are kept green and fruitful ?
Lily. Yes, dear Papa (John xv. 4), “ Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abide in the vine ; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches.”
Mamma. But the sky is not always clear, nor the wind always gentle. Is there any shelter for this plant in a storm?
Mary. Yes, Mamma, the Rock of Ages. You know that verse I learned from you the other morning, “ A man shall be as a hidingplace from the wind, and a covert for the tempest, as rivers of waters in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” (Isa. xxxii. 2,)
Mamma. Nor are the Christian's companions always kind. Look how the Lord Jesus says of his people (Song ii. 2) “As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters," and yet such peace and joy are there in Him, that the believer can reply, “I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.”
Arthur. And, Mamma, though it was a lily among thorns, you know Jesus said of the lilies, “not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these.” (Matt. vi. 29.)
Papa. And do not those violets there tell you something else about this plant, my children ?
Lily. Oh, yes, Papa, it has a sweet smell.
pomegranates, with pleasant fruit; camphire with spikenard, spikenard and saffron ; calamus and cinnamon, with all the trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices." You see how fragrant the Christian is, Lily. These perfumes are, I think, the manifold grace of God shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Spirit. These graces are sometimes called the fruits of the Spirit. Do you remember any list of them, Mary?
Nary. Oh, yes, Papa. “ The fruit of the the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (Gal. v. 22, 23.)
Mamma. What an exquisite cluster of fruit, my children. It reminds me of the grapes of Eschol which the spies brought from the promised land.
Papa. May our dear children now be like "olive plants round about our table”-(Ps. cxxviii. 3.)-may " they grow like a cedar in Lebanon, and flourish in the courts of our God,”-may they, if spared, “still bring forth fruit in old age” (Psalm xcii. 12–14, and then ere long they shall be transplanted, and will go to be “with Jesus in Paradise.” (Luke xxiii. 43.) You know Paradise means a garden. Where have we an account of it ?
Arthur. Rev. xxii. 1, 2, Papa. “ He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal,
b.arden here that the
proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month : and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” I never thought before, that the Bible begins with the garden of Eden, and ends with the garden above, where we find the tree of life again.
Papa. We will speak of this more, round the tea table, but must now go in, for the dew is falling. You may, to-night, for exercise, find out all the names of trees mentioned in the Bible,-oak, ash, fir, palm, vine, shittahtree, myrtle, pine, sycamore, cedar, cypress, olive, box, apple-tree, fig-tree, pomegranate, lign-aloes, and some others. For next Sunday I give you this as a subject, “ Life. a warfare, and Cbrist the Captain."