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THREE IMPORTANT POINTS.
There are three important points in the Christian pilgrimage. One word upon each of them.
The first is, the setting out on our pilgrimage. Some, through mercy, set out early, and some set out late ; but whether late or early, it is a blessed event to set out at all. To have our loins girded, our feet shod, a staff placed in our hands, and our faces turned Zionward, is, I say, a mark of unmerited mercy.
To be moved to take the first step in the Christian course, is the gift of a gracious God. Do you look at it in this light? To every pilgrim I would say, speed thee!” and to him who has not yet set out, I would cry aloud,
“ O gird thy loins, set out for heaven,
Ere earth's enjoyments wither ;
Till thou art journeying thither!” The second is, the going forward on our pilgrimage ; and this is oftentimes no easy matter. Some
times we are sore let and hindered by the things behind us drawing us back; and sometimes we are sadly frightened by the things before us driving us back. When a lion is in the way, we forget that God is able to deliver us from the lion; and when the wilderness is spread before us, we remember not that He who sent the cloudy pillar and pillar of fire to direct his people of old, is our God, and will be our Guide unto death. “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward,” said the Lord unto Moses, even when the sea was before them, and Pharaoh and his host behind them. Look to the same Almighty hand, pilgrim, to strengthen thee.
Though death and hell in dread array
Thy heavenly course withstand,
And gain the promised land. The third is, the finishing our pilgrimage with joy, and finding the end to be eternal life; and this is an important point indeed. What trifles, what trumpery are the gewgaws of the world, in comparison with heaven! Ought we not to be ashamed to desire them, when we know that “ eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him," i Cor. ii. 9. Pilgrim, be not satisfied with husks that the
THE LILAC TREE.
I DEARLY love a sketch; let me give you one lately drawn by me of the lilac tree.
The sun was throwing his declining beams from the western sky, and the evening breeze was sweetly breathing around with balmy breath, when, walking to the window of the room in which I had been sitting, my eyes fell on the lovely lilac tree, that, in full bloom, was gently waving to and fro within reach of my hand. Sometimes the heart is more alive than at other seasons to admire the beauty of God's creation ; a buoyant emotion rushes through the bosom; the hands are half uplifted; and the eye brims with a grateful tear before we are aware: it was just in such a moment as this that the lilac tree burst upon me in all its glory. I observed its beautiful pyramidic blossoms, pointing to the sky. I noticed its green leaves, that gave an additional loveliness to its flowers. I remarked the decayed and blackened blossoms of the last year, that still mingled with the fresher buds. I gazed
on the bees that hummed amid its branches, and the butterflies that, now and then, alighted on its wilderness of sweets; and I breathed the delicious odour that its freshness and its fragrance exhaled. Oh! thought I, may it be with me as it is with the lilac tree! may my desires, like its blossoms, ever point towards the skies! May I be adorned with kind affections, and holy aspirations, more abidingly lovely than its greenest leaves ! May I, like it, breathe a grateful influence around me! May multitudes derive more pleasure and profit from my example, than the bees and butterflies do from its fairest flowers !
me, like the year's blossoms of the lilac tree, surrounded with youthful kindred, ready to occupy my place with renovated lustre ; beaming forth the beauty of holiness, and casting around them the fragrance of a well-spent life!
and may age