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Passing by a flowery garden, and looking over the wall, I beheld among the flowers some of the footsteps of the renowned, pir ous, and justly celebrated, Mr James Her^ vey,
Therefore, lest I should rather draw a veil over the beauties he had exhibited than unfold any more of their charms, I did not dare to enter; but shall now content myself with contemplating this flower of the field, which here grows in all the simplicity of nature, displaying an elegance of taste, and beauty of form, far surpassing the touch of the most skilful pencil on earth! All the works of patiire which we behold, whether in the heavens above, or on the earth beneath, shew to the eye of penetration, what they proclaim aloud in the ear of reason, namely, the hand that made them is divine: " For "the invisible things of him from the crea"tion of the world, are clearly seen, being "understood by the things that are made, "even his eternal power and godhead," Rom. i. 20.
This every one may read in the page of nature, and I at present see it manifested in the texture, growth, and foliage, of this charm of the field.
How exquisitely beautiful and various are its colours! Could mortal man have tinged it so, or distributed them in such just proportion? Where are now the painters of Greece, and those well skilled in eastern dyes? This flower looks them all out of countenance. When compared with its beauties at hand, their finest dyes and paintings are not only coarse, but ugly in the extreme: "Solomon in all his glory was not "arrayed like one of these," Matt. vi. 29.
Whence then has it that delicacy of shape, comeliness of form, odoriferous smell, beauty and variety of colour? Is it from chance, that deity only in name? No, surely; for then chance might as often make and rear up this flower mishapen, ugly, and confused in its dyes, as beautiful and orderly, which is never once the case: this plainly sheweth it to be made and reared by some unerring hand, who never once misseth the least tinge, or maketh the least irregularity in form or foliage.
Is it nature, then? No, but the God of nature, whose infinite power, wisdom, purity, and goodness, are conspicuous, even in this little charm of the field: for what but infinite power, and consummate wisdom, could have made this beautiful plant out of a mass of earth, and that itself out of nothing; tinged it with such delightful colours, and adjusted their proportion so nicely. The beauty and innocence of it, together with its fragrancy, tend to calm the ruffled passions of its beholders when gazing upon it; while it raises a pleasing sensation through all the soul, which sheweth that the Creator of this lovely flower, is certainly pure, holy, and lovely himself. And when I consider that this delightful plant was created for the pleasure of man, yes, for man alone, for the beasts of the field, and fowls of the air seem to derive no good or delight from it, it leadeth me to contemplate the goodness of God, who indulgeth his creature man with the innocent pleasures of life. How ungrateful then must he be, to take pleasure in those things which are offensive to such a kind Creator? But as his infinite power, wisdom, purity, and goodness, shine forth in the making and rearing of this plant, infinitely more so do they shine forth with resplendent lustre, in raising up for man a plant of renown, Ezek. xxxiv. 29., even the Lord Jesus Christ, the Mediator between God and man, who is the Rose of Sharon, and Lily of the vallies, Cant, ii. 1., whose " name is as ointment poured "forth, therefore do the virgins love him," Cant. i. 3. and well may believers love him who loved them, and hath given himself for them an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour, Eph. v. 2. In him '' mercy and truth are met together, righte"ousnessand peace have kissed each other," Psalm lxxxv. 10. the justice of God satisfied, and the mercy of God glorified: And for ever blessed be his ijame, that he is not compared to a flower in the garden, where few have liberty to come, but to the rose of Sharon, and lily of the vallies, to which all have free access who will.
This flower, here, growing in obscurity, scatters its odours around, and displays its charms in vain with respect to human beholders: it springs up, blows, flourishes, decays, and dies in this waste, without perhaps ever being seen or admired by any, unless it be some transient wanderer: which brings to my recollection those beautiful lines of the celebrated Mr Gray:
"Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
And is there not many a bright genius obscured by a low situation in life, which, if otherwise cultivated by a liberal education, and introduced by friends or fortune into public view, might do honour to the state, or be highly useful in the church; and add as much, if not more, benefit to society,