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HYMNS IN PROSE.
IT is the day of rest, the Sabbath of our God. There is silence, and a pleasant calm in the fields and lanes. The plough lies idle in the furrow: the waggon creaks not along the road: the barn is shut for the ploughman, the waggoner, and the thresher lay by, for a time, their work: the cattle, too, cease from their labours, and graze quietly in the green fields. Let us praise God for his day of rest, for his holy Sabbath. Labour is the curse of sin:* to-day the curse ceases awhile, and we enter into rest.† Let us praise our God, for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.‡
Chorus. For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
There is one house open to-day; it is the house of God. There is one sound over the fields and
* Gen. iii. 19.
† Heb. iv. 3.
Psalm cxxxvi. 1.
lanes; on the hills, and in the valley: the bells from the village-church. Thither the labourers are hastening with their wives and children, in their Sunday clothes, and with cheerful faces. Still, as they go, the bell invites them; and the white spire glitters in the sunshine. Happy labourers and happy children! this day the Lord allows you whole, that you may hear his word, and sing his praises; that your bodies may rest from the labours of this world, and your souls be refreshed with good tidings* from another. Let us praise our God, for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Chorus. For he is good; for his mercy endureth
This day, ere the sun was risen,† our Saviour left the sepulchre, where he had lain for us. Let us think of his love: let us sing his praises. The disciples and the women wept, that their Lord was taken from them, that the grave had shut him in, that they should see him no more. But the grave could not hold him. An angel hath rolled away the stone ;§ and the Lord is risen indeed.|| This day he comforted Mary as she wept; a message of love to repenting Peter;** made the hearts of the two disciples at Emmaus burn within them;†† and said unto the eleven that were gathered together, Peace be unto you.‡‡ This day let us, like them, be glad;§§ let us talk
* Luke ii. 10. § Matt. xxviii. 2. ** Mark xvi. 7.
↑ John xx. 1.
++ Luke xxiv. 32.
Acts ii. 24. ¶ John xx. 15.
Luke xxiv. 33-36.
§§ John xx. 20.
of his love; let us praise him, for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Chorus. For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
But a few hours, and this day must end: the house of God will be shut, and the voice of praise there will be hushed. To-morrow the labourer must return to his labours, and the cattle to their work. But, ere long, an everlasting Sabbath shall rise; ere long the redeemed from the earth shall meet in God's own house above, and from angels and archangels, from the living creatures before the throne, from the seraphim with their six wings,† from the harpers harping with their harps, from the great multitude which no man can number,§ shall one eternal song arise -To Him that loved us! Then shall we know, indeed, that he is good, that his mercy endureth for ever.
Chorus. That he is good; that his mercy endureth for ever.
As the lamp, which, in the dark night, and over the rough and winding road of the traveller, when far from home, throws its light around the feet, and shows him where he may safely tread; even
* Rev. xiv. 3.
+ Isaiah vi. 2.
↑ Rev. xiv. 2. Rev. i. 5.
thus, in a benighted world, where are so many paths that lead astray, and the end of those paths is death, where is but one straight and narrow way that leadeth unto eternal life,-even thus doth the Bible afford its heavenly light to the traveller towards Zion; and thy word is a lamp unto my feet.
As the bud which the gardener grafteth into the wild and bitter stock, which straightway infuseth virtue into it, making it to yield new and delightful fruit:-even thus doth the Bible, when received with faith into the evil heart of man, send forth a healing power there, making it to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, and becoming the ingrafted word, which is able to save the soul.
As the pure and sweet milk, which ministereth nourishment to the infant, and maketh it to grow and thrive, and wax strong and beautiful;—even thus doth the Bible give its wholesome nutriment to the children of God, and they grow firm in faith and fervent in love, being fed with the sincere milk of the word.
Yet the nightly traveller must look carefully to his steps, or in vain will the lamp lend its light unto him; and carefully must Zion's pilgrim look to the word of God, and order his goings thereby, or he will stumble in the light.
Yet the bud must be received within the rind of the tree, must sprout and fructify there, or the fruit will still be wild and bitter. And into the inmost heart must the word of God be received, in the heart must it live and spring; or it cannot bring forth fruit in the life.
Yet the babe must come to the breast with the appetite of health, and digest the milk aright, or it pineth away in the very midst of nourishment. And eagerly must the word of God be desired, and inwardly must it be digested; or how shall not the child of God also languish and consume away?
Dost thou love, O little one, to see the ripe brown corn waving in the fields? Dost thou love to hear the rustling of the ears, when the wind gently passeth over them? Dost thou love to see the sun-burnt harvest-man putting in the sickle, and binding up the wheat in the sheaves? Dost thou love to watch the wain, with its yellow load? or to hear the flail of the labourer, sounding upon the barn-floor?
Remember, little one, that before the reaper can reap with delight, the husbandman must sow with care; before the field can look gay with its yellow harvest, it must be ploughed and harrowed by the strong arm of the peasant. The useless weed springeth up without culture; but corn, that is for the use of man, groweth not without care, and toil, and anxious thought, and patient waiting.
Wouldest thou be as the weed that is gay for a moment, that is of no profit to any one, and leaveth no remembrance? Or, wouldest thou be