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FLOWERY WREATHS AROUND HOME.
BY THE EDITOR.
Home, home, sweet, sweet home, .
There is no place like home. LET it not be regarded as too small a matter to receive serious attention when we urge upon parents to make home attractive to their children. We do not now refer directly to the important duty of letting the light of intelligence and boliness shine in the family, so that home may be the sanctuary of all purity, and joy, and love. This, of course, must also be; and home is not deserving of that sacred name where there is no God, and no piety. But, in what we now wish to say, we refer to the outward of home-the house itself, and its surroundings.
Who does not know that there is a great difference in homes, in those things which appear outwardly to the eye. In some, every thing is in disorder; every thing looks dilapidated, rickety, and forsaken; there is no yard, no sod, no plot of green, no shade-tree, Do fruit-tree, no vines, no flowers. Every thing looks bleak, dry, dreary and dead. Then again there are homes where every thing is just the opposite of this every thing at its place, paths clean, pailings whitewashed, green trees, sod neatly dressed, flowers here and there, and every objeet that would otherwise be unsightly is wreathed and festooned with vines which are taught to grow by careful hands, and the whole scene looks as if prepared for some festal occasion. And truly so it is; for there is always cheerfulness and joy in such a home.
Let no one imagine that what we recommend can only be accomplished and enjoyed by the rich. Far from it. It can be possessed by the poorest; and the attractions of which we speak may, and often do, gather around the humblest hut. These are things which cost nothing but the attentions of a few spare moments. Whitewashed walls and fences, shade and fruit trees, rose-bushes, vines and flowers—what do these things cost? We may almost say, they are to be had without money and without price. They are within reach of the poorest, and yet how great an item are these trifles in the outward attractions of home! A home with them, and a home without them, if there were no other difference, could scarcely be recognized as the same place. So important are these little things.
These attractions of which we speak are important, as they add to the comfort of the spot. The heart is cheered by the freshness of the scene, the eye is relieved and delighted by the varieties of life and growth and bloom, and the senses are regaled by the odor of flowers. Such a scene both elevates and purifies the intellectual, social, and moral nature. It does so, it is true, quietly and
FLOWERY WREATHS AROUND HOME.
in a way not to be clearly recognized, but none the less truly. It does so as gently as the dew refreshes the grass, upon which it falls unseen. It does so as silently as the pure air ornaments the rosy cheek with the glow of health.
Yet this is not all. We must not overlook the impress which such attractions of home leave upon the memories, and hang around the associations of children after they have left the parental roof, and are drifting about in the world. It is immensely important that the hearts of children be bound to home. All its scenes and associations ought to be dear to them forever. Memory ought to travel back over the waste of years, and find in the home of childhood the greenest spot in life. This has a tendency to preserve in the heart much that is pure, beautiful, and good. It has been truly said, that he who looses all attachment for home, and discards the sacred recollections of earliest life, is far gone upon the dark way of evil. On the contrary he that cherishes these feelings shows that his heart is still tender and open to softening influences. With the memories of his youthful years will come back to him many a tender lesson, and many an earnest reproof.
If it be important thus to bind the hearts of children to the spot of home and the scenes of early life, how needful is it to surround their home with such attractions as will make it truly a home to the heart. If that home be a bleak, dreary, and uninviting spot, how can it ever cause pleasant memories to return to it? It will rather repel than attract. The wanderer will find more to delight him in the homes of strangers, and be almost forced, if he think at all, to think reproachfully of a home to which his heart cannot pleasantly and fondly cling.
Do not both reason and observation teach us abundantly that parents themselves are in fault when their children have no strong attachments to home. What do they do to make their children happy there? It is to them the dullest and dreariest spot in all the earth; and they feel as if a kind of captivity detained them from freedom and happiness, as these seem to reign around them; and for such to desire a return to their homes would be the same as if a bird, set free from a hateful cage, after it had carroled in the pleasant grove, should long again for its contracted and cruel confinement. It is true, according to the old saying, “home is home be it ever so homely;" it is, however, only home so long as the heart hangs to it; but this will not be long, unless it has some attractions, some pleasant scenes and associations, around which memory may twine its garlands in ever fresh beauty and bloom.
Have these considerations any weight? Then let us beautify our homes. Let us not regard the time and care necessary to plant trees, and vines, and flowers, as uselessly spent. Everything of beauty is a joy fovever!" Every charm we add to it will make it
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a "gweeter home” to our children, and be another cord to bind their hearts to it, and to us, and to all that we ever taught them to love.
DO WE THINK ENOUGH? Do we think enough of the influence which may be exerted by those whom we bring to Jesus? It were a great thing if the soul
removed on the day of his conversion to heaven. But it may be otherwise. We may not only convert a soul, we may call into existence a power which will be felt far and wide, and whose beneficial influence will be lasting as eternity. Who was it that Andrew led to Jesus? His own brother; but that brother was Simon Peter, than whom our Lord had never a more devoted and zealous follower—who had conferred on him the honor of opening the gate of the kingdom of heaven to the Gentile world—whose writings remain to this day a part of that precious word by which we are instructed in the knowledge of salvation—and who, at last, if ecclesiastical tradition be true, laid down his life in his Master's cause.
A Christian woman, on her way to the Tabernacle, accosted John Williams, and asked him to go thither. She, very likely, thought this might be the means of saving his soul; but she could have no idea that she was bringing to Jesus one who should be at once the apostle of civilization and mercy to the savage islanders of the Pacific, and whose name should be identified with some of the most distinguished triumphs which the Gospel has achieved in these modern times. We know not what good the man may do whom we bring to Jesus; but we may be almost certain that he will be, in a greater or less degree, the means of blessing the world.
Look around you, then, and ask, “What is there I can do to bring souls to Christ?” And then, as you see your work, resolve that you will do it with all your might.
PRAISE FOR THE WORD OF GOD.
kept profoundl. Should be put to dealing that at some timove
BY THE EDITOR.
He larks in every flower;
Its perils every hour! SUPPOSE that you had made yourself guilty of some crime against the government worthy of death. Suppose the governor should issue your death-warrant, stating that at some time, within fifty years, you should be put to death—but that you should be kept profoundly ignorant of the precise time when this solemn sentence should be executed. He would say, You are permitted to go at large and enjoy perfect liberty until such time as I shall choose. That time shall not be known to you, but to me alone. But whenever the hour shall arrive, wherever you are, or whatever you may be doing, you shall at once die!
Now what, under such circumstances, would be a man's feelings? We may safely suppose that he would think of it last in lying down, and first in rising up. The awful uncertainty would induce such an one to live in constant expectation of his end.
This case, though supposed, is in substance a real case. On account of sin we are all doomed to die. This sentence will be executed within a certain time. At an hour-which is not known to us—but only to the Great Governor of the universe, the sentence will be executed. It may be in fifty years, in twenty, in ten, in five, in one, in a day-yea, in an hour!
We may imagine that it will yet be many years; but what right have we to think so? None at all. That the event will come is certain. When it will come God only knows.
Now what, in such circumstances, ought we to do? “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.”
A sudden death, though it ought to have no undue terror to a saint, is nevertheless something not to be desired. In the case of sinners it has always been regarded by the church in the light of a judgment.
In the case of saints, though it is no judgment, it must be regarded as a sacrifice in which they are involved for the sake of sinners. It is the privilege of a saint to die by a natural, gradual transition. How calm, easy, we may say, was the death of Jacob, and of the patriarchs generally. They took leave of their generations with all the calm, solemn deliberation of one going on a journey. So also Simeon departed in deliberate peace, when his eyes had seen the salvation of God.
This, then, we believe to be a sweet privilege of saints, which
homecuted within we are propose
saints become martyrs for the good of sinners and the glory of God.
There are several ways in which the saints are involved in sudden death for the sake of sinners.
1. When, on account of the social constitution of our race, general judgments of God, which fall upon sinners, necessarily involve the saints.
This is the case in the sudden destruction of a family, a city, or a nation. This is the case in the three great scourges of God War, Famine and Pestilence. The fearful fate of sinners in these visitations generally involves some saints in sudden death.
These sudden scourges, though they often involve the saints with sinners, never have their cause in the saints, but always in sinners. War, Famine, and Pestilence are caused by sin, and always most extensively involves sinners. The saints fall by the contagion which has its cause, rise, and continuation in sinners and sin. But to saints it is not a judgment, but only an earlier release from the sorrows of earth, and an entrance into life everlasting.
2. Saints are sometimes taken away suddenly in order to inspire a salutary fear in the bosoms of sinners. The hand of God, instead of falling upon one whom sudden death would damn, falls upon his righteous neighbor. Thus the death of the one muy prove the life of the other. Many an one has been aroused from carnal sleep by such sudden and alarming providences, dropping down like a stroke from Heaven, by his side. Often, it is true, such means are not improved. God complains of this: "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart." Yet in many cases they inspire a fear which drives to Christ.
- The fact, therefore, that saints as well as sinners die suddenly, is no proof that sudden death is something ordinary and natural. When a sinner dies suddenly it is to be regarded as a judgmentthe wicked has been taken away in his wickedness--he that hardened himself has been suddenly cut off, and that without remedy -the barren fig-tree has been cut down!
On the contrary, when saints die suddenly, it is that the wicked may be warned to lay it to heart; or because they fall as do the few stalks of wheat among the tares against which God sends out his fearful reapers! It is often a mercy in disguise. For it is better to be cut down with the tares to be separated forever from them, than to stand with them in a fellowship of uncongeniality, affection and pain. Many a martyr escaped a greater sorrow. The righteous are taken away from evil to come.
Thus we see that sudden death, although it is overruled, in the case of saints, for good, is nevertheless something not to be desired but dreaded.
God has even implanted in our nature a certain fear and dread