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Shepherd's Rest, a hollow cleft in the Col de Julien, one of the Central Alps, where once existed a little colony of pious Vaudois, there is now scarcely a trace of home and habitation. The long grass and wild weeds grow freely there, and the lark makes her nest among them, and sings. There is something sweet, nay, very sweet, in the lark building her nest in the ruined homes of a bygone generation of pious people, taking up, as it were, the song to her Maker where man had laid it down, and thus practically proclaiming the words of the last verse of the last of David's psalms, “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.”

There is often much that is sweet and soothing to be obtained from the outward creation, when the mind is in such a frame that it can take of temporal things and turn them to eternal purposes. It was thus with me the other day when walking in the open fields. I came suddenly upon an old blasted elm-tree, that had no green leaf upon it, and only one branch; but that one, after striking out from the stem, abruptly altered its direction and pointed to the clouds. “A lesson for me in my age!” cried I; “while I have an arm, a hand, a finger, yea, while I have my being, oh, may the last desire of my heart, like the remaining bough of the blasted tree, be still found directed to the skies !"

Hardly can we forget the sweet and soothing influence which sometimes steals upon the mind when witnessing children in their childish sports. The merry laugh, the joyful spirit, the tender care shown towards the youngest of the group, the simple sources of their gratification, and the love that binds them together, all seem to read a lesson to the wrinkled brow and careworn heart of man. Why cannot we, like children, be contented with little? Why cannot we all love one another?

Few things are more sweet and soothing than a walk in the open air after an illness that has long confined us within doors. Pain has subdued us and fever has pulled us down, but we begin to take heart and hope. With a pale cheek and a languid frame, clothing ourselves for the occasion, we venture for the first time abroad. Leaning on our stick, feeble and tottering, we proceed, wondering at our temerity, till, all at once, on turning the brow of the hill, the fresh breeze salutes us, the pleasant sunbeam cheers us, and the green fields stretching out before us greatly minister to our delight. We feel as he felt who was told to take up his bed and walk. We know that the mighty hand of God is upon us for good. Our hearts melt within us at the remembrance of his mercy, and with swimming eyes and a faltering tongue we stammer out his praise.

“ Thy hand alone, Almighty Lord,

Restored our fleeting breath;
Renew'd our strength, and led us forth

From sickness and from death."

Sometimes, without an intention on either part, an alienation takes place between Christian friends, to the great grief of both; and, oh, how sweet and soothing it is to find out at last that the whole originated in a mistake, a mere misunderstanding, and that, in reality, after all the bitterness and sorrow occasioned thereby, there never was at the bottom of the crucible of each others' hearts any thing but Christian love and Christian kindness!

Who has not, in the deep slumbers of the night, been under the dominion of some terrible dream? Some dreadful danger is at hand, from which there is no escape.

Some fault has been committed by us, overwhelming us with shame and confusion; or some long-dreaded evil has come upon us, that involves us in irrevocable ruin. Sweet and soothing it is, indeed, in such a fearful crisis, to awake and find it nothing but a dream. Instead of distress, and terror, and despair, all is joy and thankfulness. He, who neither sleepeth nor slumbereth, has kept us through the night, restored our faculties for the day, and put a new song in our mouth, even praise and thanksgiving to God.

After the bereavement of a dear relative and friend, when the sorrowing heart has raised an ensign of rebellion against its Almighty Maker, calling in question his inscrutable decrees, and refusing to be comforted, there is something inexpressibly sweet and soothing, when, subdued by sorrow,

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our rebellious thoughts and idle feelings die within us, and we are enabled by divine grace to smile amidst our tears and say, “I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me:" Ps. cxix. 75. Oh that we could always seek this solace in our bereavements, instead of madly doing battle against the Lord of hosts! for “who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered ?” Job ix. 4.

Who, when in the flood of affliction the waters appeared to go over his soul, or when in the fiery trial the furnace has seemed to be seven times hotter than usuai, has lighted, seemingly by accident, on that heart-sustaining text of Scripture—“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee: for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour:" Isa. xliii. 2, 3—without finding and feeling it to be sweet and soothing? In such a season the consolation comes, “not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God :" 1 Thess. ii. 13.

Such are some of the sweet and soothing ingredients in the cup of our existence; but sweeter, perhaps, and more soothing and encouraging than all, is the joyous moment when the saddened soul of a Christian man, suddenly enfranchised from doubts and darkness and the fear of death, temporal and eternal, is enabled by faith fully to believe and exult in that glorious declaration of his Redeemer: “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall be live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die:” John xi. 25, 26. Thus set at liberty, the newly-awakened soul springs upward in a path the eagle has not known, full of light, and life, and immortality.

“ 'Tis something like the burst from death 'to life;

From the grave's cerements to the robes of heaven;
From sin's dominion, and from passion's strife,

To the pure freedom of a soul forgiven;
Where all the bonds of death and hell are riven,

And mortal puts on immortality;
Where Mercy's hand hath turned the golden key,

And Mercy's voice bath said, 'Rejoice! thy soul is free !""

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