Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say to you…
There is, without a doubt, a profound human truth involved in this direction of our Lord. Biography furnishes us with some lessons, sublime in their simplicity, and consolations won by human suffering, only from the consideration of plants inferior in their beauty to lilies. Who is not acquainted with that memorable passage in the life of the great African traveller, Mungo Park, where, in the wilderness — robbed, stripped naked, five hundred miles from the nearest European settlement — surrounded by savage animals and savage men — in the depths of the horrible rainy season of Africa — in the very last and lowest extremity of human destitution and misery — he says: "I reflected that I was indeed a stranger in a strange land, yet I was still under the protecting eye of that Providence who has condescended to call Himself 'the stranger's friend.' At this moment, painful as my reflections were, the extraordinary beauty of a small moss irresistibly caught my eye. I mention this," he says, "to show from what trifling circumstances the mind will sometimes derive consolation; for, though the whole plant was not larger than the top of my finger, I could not contemplate the delicate conformation of its root, leaves, and capsule, without admiration. Can that Being, thought I, who planted, watered, and brought to perfection, in this obscure part of the world, a thing which appears of so small importance, look with unconcern upon the situation and sufferings of creatures formed after His own image? Surely not. Reflections like these would not allow me to despair. I started up, and, disregarding both hunger and fatigue, travelled forwards, assured that relief was at hand; and I was not disappointed. In a short time I came to a small village, where I overtook the two shepherds who had come with me from Kruman." Thus the little flower was the salvation of the great traveller, and the poor moss became to him what our Lord intended the lily should be to us. The stories of the consolations of the flowers are very numerous. The venerable and the holy Henry Martyn in a wellknown passage, describes the feelings existing in his mind by the discovery of a little flower, growing on the rocky summit of the Table Mountain at the Cape. "The road was steep, but the hope of soon being at the top encouraged me to ascend very lightly. As the Kloop opened, a beautiful flame-coloured flower appeared, in a little green hollow, waving in the breeze. It seemed to me an emblem of the beauty and peacefulness of Heaven, as it shall open upon the weary soul, when the journey of life is finished." And James Montgomery, in some very sweet verses, has commemorated the joy of Dr. Carey in India, at Serampore. In one of his letters, he says, "I don't know that I ever enjoyed, since leaving Europe, a pleasure so simple and exquisite as the sight of this English daisy afforded me; not having seen one for upwards of thirty years, and never expecting to see one again." And I should think there are few of you with whom Picciola, is not a wellknown and household story; you remember the Italian Patriot — confined in an Austrian dungeon in the horrors of Spielberg; when the last torments of the most petty, and disgusting, and loathsome tyranny were harassing the heart — when the cold stone walls, and the cruel bars, and the iron guards shut out all hope from the poor exile — a flower became an angel, and its delicate beauty, creeping through the chinks of the court-yard stones, awoke all grateful considerations, and became a missionary and messenger of peace and rest to the breaking heart. Yes, this is a guide to what our Lord meant, when He directed His disciples to the flowers.
(E. Paxton Hood.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.