Psalm 74:17
You set all the boundaries of the earth; You made the summer and winter.
Sermons
Lessons of SummerJ. N. Norton.Psalm 74:17
SummerStopford A. Brooke, M. A.Psalm 74:17
SummerHomilistPsalm 74:17
Summer TeachingsS. Conway Psalm 74:17
The Gospel of the SummerW. L. Watkinson.Psalm 74:17
The Teachings of WinterW. Blatch, M. A.Psalm 74:17
The Winter and its Moral AnalogiesJohn Foster.Psalm 74:17
WinterStopford A. Brooke, M. A.Psalm 74:17
WinterN. D. Williamson.Psalm 74:17
WinterT. J. Guest.Psalm 74:17
WinterW. Jay.Psalm 74:17
WinterS. Conway Psalm 74:17
The Wail and Prayer of a True PatriotHomilistPsalm 74:1-23
The four seasons, it has been well said, are God's four evangelists of the natural world. The sternness of winter; the hopefulness of spring; the richness of summer; the bounty of autumn; - each season has its own message from God to our souls. Note -

I. THE NATURAL SUMMER. This is what is referred to in our text: the psalmist appeals to it as a plea for God's much-needed help. His infinite power, which had made summer and winter, and had been manifested in so many marvellous ways, was able to help Israel in their great distress, and their trust was that he would.

1. Israel had to maintain stoutly the truth that God made all things. A whole mob of idol gods was put forward and worshipped by the heathen as the authors and creators of the powers of nature.

2. And our missionaries to the heathen have to maintain the same truth of God the Creator of all. It is by no means universally or generally believed even yet.

3. And in our day and in our own land, professedly Christian as it is, we may not slacken our testimony to this truth. It is not that we have to contend with rival gods, as Israel had, and the missionary still has, but the existence of any God at all is either openly questioned or flatly denied. It is not polytheism, but atheism, that confronts and opposes the Christian advocate today and here at home. Natural law is everything; as if a law could do anything without an executive to put it in force. The ancient Greeks were pantheists, but our men of science have, too many of them, sunk down to a lower depth than that. The Greek saw gods everywhere and in all things; we see God nowhere. Shall we give in to this proud yet miserable atheism? God forbid! Let us still maintain with the psalmist, "Thou hast made summer." As we look round on all the rich glories of the season, let us confess, with our great Puritan poet -

"These are thy works, Parent of good," etc.

II. THE SUMMER OF GOD'S PROVIDENCE. How many are enjoying this! God's daily gifts of life, health, and joy are lavished upon them. They bask in the sunshine of his love. Everything bids them rejoice. But forget not the Giver of your joy - him who made the summer. That holy memory will be to you like the string attached to the child's kite, which is soaring away up in the blue heavens to the child's exuberant delight. But let that string be broken which now steadies and sustains, it, not hindering but aiding it in its upward way through the sunlit air, and then you know that at once it will come tumbling ignominiously to the ground. So if we let ourselves forget our God, and we be in thought and affection separated from him, then our poor joy, like that child's kite, will soon fall to the ground, and our gladness will soon be at an end. It is the remembrance," Thou hast made summer," which does not hinder but help our joy, steadying and sustaining it as did that cord the child's toy. Let us not forget this. And we would bid you remember God, because, else, the summer of God's providence, like the natural summer, is apt to breed many forms of evil life, like those many creeping, noisome, and miserably destructive insects, etc., which the summer sun calls forth, and which in our fields and gardens we are ever seeking to be rid of. How full the Bible is of records of the ill that the summer of God's providence has occasioned to many unwatchful and God-forgetting souls! Remember, too, that such seasons let that live which is not really strong, and which the first frost of winter will speedily kill. So is it easy, when no trial or persecution arises because of Christ, to appear as if we were really his. But when they do arise, what then?

III. THE SUMMER OF GOD'S GRACE.

1. This may be in us - is so when the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. It is very delightful; is independent of every other summer; comes by degrees; is the result of conflict; unlike the natural summer, it never ends, though it may be interrupted. And:

2. It is above us, waiting for us in the future world. There is the "land of pure delight." The lovely scenes of earth are reminders of it. It is the true, real, most blessed, because unending, summer of the soul. - S.C.







Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: Thou hast made summer and winter.
This season so changes the whole of life, so intensifies and blesses it, that we begin to think of summer as a personal friend. One of its chiefest charms is its fulness. And this fulness is its peace. And with the peace is welfare, welfare in the world. For the perfect health of things makes us most happy. The air seems fondly to caress our cheek, the tree to give us its love in its shade, the stream to rejoice for our sakes in its own music. Summer has the deep consciousness of fruitfulness, it rejoices in its own fulness and wealth. Few things are more full of teaching than the beautiful endurance and quiet resolution of Nature during its stormy spring. It has so much to make grow, so much to perfect. Though all the aspirations of spring are not fulfilled, yet more than enough are, to give to summer satisfied content. Have we the like content in regard to our past year's life? Life is in fruitfulness, not in looking on to immortality, discontented with the present. Life is in fruitfulness which brings content to others, and which brings content to us. The real looking forward we should have is that which the summer has — to the harvest, and it is founded on the faith of work already done. That is the image of a true human aspiration. But we are not to be so content as to desire no better things and be without the mighty impulse of far-off ideals. Only remember, it is so easy to speak beautiful words and to do nothing — to have a fair show of leaves and no fruit. Better to have no ideals than this, and to be doing just what lies before us day by day. Repelled by mere talk of ideals, many men are saying now, "We will have no future: we will be content to do the common work of daily life as it comes hour by hour to the hand." And summer teaches also the contentment of rest. A time of quiet has come: it is no longer hard to live. But to many this is not true; summer is the contrast, not the image of their life. Things seem to have gone all wrong with them. But the cure is to learn the lesson which Nature gives us day by day — self-forgetfulness. Or we may win peace by daily self-surrender, doing good to others. Oh, seek the summer life of the soul — the rest of the Lord.

(Stopford A. Brooke, M. A.)

I. IT REMINDS US OF GOD'S EXISTENCE. The glory of the world declares that the living God stands behind the world; for if He did not stand behind it and pervade it with His gracious energy, there could be none of this beauty. Beauty is always the outward and visible sign of indwelling mind. Mere paint does not make a picture, no matter how fine you may grind the colours; mere stone does not make an Athenian Parthenon, or a Doge's palace, or a Giotto's tower; mere wind and reeds do not make grand music; it is the soul of the artist that gives grace and grandeur to the things which delight the world. Objects of art are beautiful as they express great thoughts; the final secret is always intellectual.

II. IT REMINDS US OF GOD'S BEAUTY. To the Jew God was full of wisdom, and justice, and patience, and tenderness, and benevolence, and this was the supreme primal glory which lights up with splendour both heaven and earth. "How great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty!" And the New Testament fully recognizes this glorious truth. "The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory," etc. The Deity was made known to us as the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley — the most delicate and majestic beauty of character and action were revealed in Him. He was strong, wise, pure, gentle, longsuffering, just, true, and full of infinite love and grace. This is the beauty of God, the beauty of holiness, and all other beauty is but a broken gleam of this.

III. IT REMINDS US OF GOD'S LOVE. In the day of creation, "God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good." And blighted as creation has been by sin and wrath, we still know that the essentim plan is good, the deepest facts and laws are the best. Evil is on the surface; it is the accident, not the fundamental fact of the world and life. Philosophy and science tell us that all beauty is organic, that it always springs from the depths of a thing; and so let us be sure that, where there is so much beauty in the form of things, there must be love at the heart of things.

IV. IT REMINDS US OF GOD'S BLESSEDNESS. "He hath made summer." He must be happy; it is the entrancing expression of His deep happiness. What a joy to know that the omnipotent One is the blessed One — a great bright ocean of sunshine and music! And does not the summer remind us that God wishes us to share His gladness? And many of us, perhaps, are full of darkness and distress. What we want is the summer putting into us. We want the tender blue sky putting into our mind; we want all the flowers that grow about our feet to spring in our heart; we want to hear in our spirit the music of the world; we want to get the rainbow into our conscience; we want all the fruits of light to enrich and adorn our life. This is what we want most of all. Well, is not God waiting to do this very thing for us?

(W. L. Watkinson.)

Homilist.
Summer illustrates —

I. SOME ASPECTS OF THE DIVINE CHARACTER.

1. God's love of beauty.

2. God's wonderful wisdom.(1) The simplicity of the agencies which produce such a variety of results — creating the beautiful, picturesque, and the sublime — sustaining life — increasing happiness, and producing expansion of soul.(2) The permanent maintenance of these agencies. Earth still wears the freshness of Eden, wherever there are the perceiving eye and the sympathizing heart. And is not the truth felt by us, that the mind of God is unchangeable towards man, although His final purposes are not vet completed?

3. God's infinite benevolence.(1) It is given to all to enjoy.(2) It is appreciable by all.

II. SOME ASPECTS OF HUMAN LIFE.

1. The imperceptible progress of the spring into summer is a representation of the gradual advance of the mind in knowledge.

2. The gladsomeness of summer is an emblem of the temporal prosperity of man.

3. The luxuriance and loveliness of the summer is an emblem of the progress of the soul in the Divine life. There was as violent a struggle in nature between winter and spring as there was in the soul between sin and holiness; but the latter gained the victory, and it expands with life under the influences of the Holy Spirit and the Sun of Righteousness, as the fields and woods under the heat of the sun. And as the life of nature depends on the bounty of God, so does the life of the soul. And as the scenes of nature excite our admiration and love, souls Consecrated to His service in the dawn of manhood will kindle emotions of gratitude in our hearts too deep for utterance.

(Homilist.)

It may be well enough, perhaps, to show one's acquaintance with nature, by talking learnedly of climate as affected by the sun's rays; the elevation of different regions above the level of the sea; the influence of mountains and currents; but, after all, we must discover in these several agencies the Hand of the Great and Good God. "Thou hast made summer." The constant repetition of this mercy should teach us —

I. THAT GOD'S POWER IS NEVER DIMINISHED, NOR HIS RESOURCES EXHAUSTED.

II. Again: The text reminds us HOW PATIENTLY THE GOOD LORD BEARS WITH THE INGRATITUDE OF MAN. The slightest disappointment of our unimportant plans by a shower of rain will be met by complaints and murmurings, as if we were the only beings to be thought of, and our convenience to be consulted before that of all others. "All weather is good; sunshine is good; rain is good. One may see in Europe artificial waterworks, cascades constructed by the skill of man, at enormous expense — at Chatsworth, at Hesse Cassel — and the remains of magnificent waterworks at Marly, where Louis XIV. lavished uncounted millions of gold... The traveller thinks it a great thing to see a little water thus pumped up by creaking machinery or a panting steam-engine, to be scattered in frothy spray; and do we talk of its not being a good day when God's great engine is exhibited to us, His imperial waterwork sending up the mists and vapours to the clouds, to be rained down again in comfort, and beauty, and plenty?"

III. If we are bringing forth the FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT, no doubt the Holy Ghost has visited and blessed us. There is a delightful period of the year, known as Indian summer, and, in some parts of Europe, as St. Martin's summer. The woods put on their most brilliant colouring, the waters of the lakes are smooth and unruffled, and the red man of the forest are wont to welcome it as the special gift of their most honoured Deity, to whom they believe their souls go after death. As in nature, so in grace also do we find a pleasant illustration here: "In the life of the good man there is an Indian summer more beautiful than that of the season — richer, sunnier, and more sublime than the world has ever known — it is the Indian summer of the soul. When the glow of youth has departed, when the warmth of middle age is gone, then the mind of the good man, still ripe and vigorous, relaxes its labours, and the memories of a well-spent life gush forth from their secret fountains, enriching, rejoicing, fertilizing; and the soul, assuming a heavenly lustre, is no longer shut up within the narrow confines of business, but dwells happily upon the summer which awaits it within the gates of Paradise." Does not the same gracious God who makes summer in the physical, make it also in the spiritual world? And if the summer of the one be glorious, must not the summer of the other be even more glorious? Surely the joyful song of the ransomed ones, during the days of millennial glory, will be, "Thou hast made summer."

(J. N. Norton.)

Winter
God has made the winter. It now claims our thought, and has as much happiness as gloom. Week by week we have watched decay doing its work on earth. The harvest was gathered in and the fruits of the earth, and then came the wind and the rain to gather the harvest of the leaves and flowers. And gradually all around winter has deepened, and there is no light in the sun nor heat in the bones of the earth. We strive to create joy and brightness at home to balance the mourning of the world. By the fireside when the light is low, we re-create the year, and recall its varied changes. And we see the image of what is when the winter of life comes chill on us in age. We had our spring and summer, and our days were warm with glowing love and happy friendship. Now these things have grown cold around us. Love remains, but the heart does not beat as heretofore. And in the dim firelight, as We sit silently, it is not living presences that haunt the room, but the ghosts of men and women long loved, long dead, and unforgotten. It is winter, not Summer. We had our harvest time, but we can only look back upon it. Such is our retrospect in the first days of gloom. What kind of prospect have we then? It also is imaged in the world of winter. The earth after the frost is bound in iron bands. The waters of the land are hushed, frost has chained their rippling light. The flowers, the trees, the birds and beasts, all suffer in their own way. The patient earth is dead; over its dark face the pitying heaven draws the winding sheet of snow, and the grey and bitter fog hangs over it the funeral pall. It is death we see, and death we look forward to, and death only in this first hour of wretchedness. And it is well to look straight into the gloomy eyes of the worst fate, and look into it however hard it be, without fear, and know it to its depths. For only so can we wring out of it its secret, and then, as is our way, when we have once seen the worst, we invent the better. We find we can rise above the evil and despise it, and we think we have power to create the good. And we do so by the aid of memories of the past. As the winter drives us to our homes and to life indoors, so the winter of age drives a man home to himself, and our life becomes an inner life. But our heart's happiness will depend on how we have lived our past life, if it has been truly and lovingly human, if it has been kind, and true, and good. For on that all will depend whether we can summon any and what guests to our hearts. And not only the memory of past love but the sweetness of love present, will make glad the winter of age. Love is not lost, nor beauty, nor all we mixed with love. Age may possess both a noble and a beautiful life. Only you must make ready for it. Keep your soul healthy, your heart and brain awake to noble thoughts. And there is far more than death in winter. See the life hidden away in every root, in every seed. Not death but life in preparation — hidden, but in slow activity, is what we see.:Faith arises for ourselves, and we forget the winter of age to realize the enchanted youth of the life to come. "It was the winter wild," when our Saviour came at His first advent, as if to tell us of the immortal spring that lies hidden in the winter of humanity. By His eternal life in us we conquer the decay of winter and the frost of death.

(Stopford A. Brooke, M. A.)

I. THE BEAUTIES OF WINTER.

II. THE WONDERS OF WINTER. One of the greatest wonders of winter is its most common product, ice. Had water followed the general law, and contracted and become specifically heavier in the act Of freezing, how terrible would have been the consequences to our comforts and perhaps our lives! Whenever the atmosphere had reached the freezing point, the water on the surface of lakes and rivers would, in the act of freezing, sink and form a layer of ice on the bottom. Another layer would immediately follow from the same cause, and this process going on through the several months of winter, would solidify all the water available for the use of man so thoroughly, that the heat of summer could never melt it, and after a time, the springs of water in the earth would cease to flow except in the tropical regions. How fully does the existing order of nature obviate all such difficulties and dangers, since the ice remains on the surface, and prevents the cold from solidifying the water to any great depth, and then is exposed to the direct rays of the sun and the warmth of the atmosphere, which liquefy it, whenever the season of cold is past. What a continued and apparent evidence have we thus furnished us during the winter, of the wonderful wisdom of God, and His wonderful care for the welfare of man. Another wonder of even greater value to us is, that the atmosphere we breathe is not capable of being congealed. If it were otherwise, life would speedily come to an end in the arctic and temperate zones. That it is not so, is an evidence of the kindness and wisdom of Him who is "wonderful in counsel."

III. THE BLESSINGS OF WINTER. Suppose there was no winter, and consequently no cold and no difference in the degrees of temperature on the face of the earth. Many, without reflection, would say that if this monotone of temperature could be such a delightful medium as we sometimes enjoy in spring or autumn, it would be a great blessing to have it perpetuated. But if this state of things should exist, wind which is caused by the air rushing from a colder to a warmer place could not exist, and there could be no stirring of the atmosphere, except on such a limited scale as artificial means could effect. Then the impurities of the air which are now carried away and disinfected by the winds, would remain stationary until the atmosphere became loaded with them; the vapours which arise from the ocean would also remain stationary, and could not be wafted over the land to refresh by their shade, and invigorate by their descent in rain; and the deadly impurities of the air would be supplemented by the deadly drought, and would be aided by the deadly contagion of disease, to sweep the face of the earth with the besom of death, and make the imaginary paradise a perpetual desert. Let us never forget it as one of the chief causes of gratitude for earthly blessings, that we can say to our God, "Thou hast made winter."

(N. D. Williamson.)

I. ITS LESSONS.

1. Divine power.

(1)An ancient work.

(2)A beautiful work.

(3)A benevolent work.Winter comes like an angel of light on a mission of mercy; epidemics flee before its health-giving presence, the frost prepares the soil, the snow preserves the seeds, shoals of destructive insects are destroyed, the atmosphere is purified, there is a glory sparkles in the very frost, a lustre in the snow, and good in both.

2. Divine equity. As in grace, so in nature; He is no respecter of persons; "He maketh His sun to shine upon the evil and the good," and though the blessings of nature are infinitely diversified, yet each zone has natural products, wisely adapted to its peoples. God decrees the alternation of winter and summer for the general good. At our summer solstice He says to the north, "Give up I" and winter gradually returns; and at our winter solstice, He says to the south, "Keep not back!" and the south flinging open her sunny gates, permits the return of summer to bless our isle.

3. Divine providence. The preservation of the feathered tribes in this season clearly and pleasingly illustrates this doctrine. You have seen during protracted snow storms, these interesting creatures picking up a precarious meal as best they could. Naturalists tell us considerable numbers necessarily perish; the wonder is all do not die, that any are left to warble the overtime of spring, or swell the chorus of summer. Well, winter teaches us of a great Provider who "opens His hand, and satisfies the desire of every living thing," and reminds us that He who in summer makes the lily more beautiful "than Solomon in all his glory," in winter cares for the feathered flocks "which have no storehouse or barn." If the providence of God respects the less, will it neglect the greater?

II. ITS EMBLEMS.

1. A barren Church.

2. A backsliding state.

3. Old age.

4. Death.

(1)No exemption.

(2)To the Christian death is the gate of life, where the winter of discontent is changed to glorious summer.

(T. J. Guest.)

The approach of winter, first of all, may remind us of our own natural life — its progress, its beauty, its close. How short a time does it seem since we were rejoicing in the spring, with all its promises of plenty, all its elements of beauty! yet it has gone. The summer, with all its brightness and enjoyment, has followed; the autumn, with its bounteous stores of food for man and beast, has succeeded and passed; and already are we drawing on to the close of the year, almost before we seem to have realized the fact that those seasons are fled. Even so is it with our life. The springtime of youth, the summertime of manhood, the autumn of maturity, how soon do they pass! and the winter of old age creeps on; and with powers fading, faculties of mind and body weakening, we draw on towards the end. But what lessons of prudence and forethought should this resemblance of our life to the revolving seasons teach us! First, as to the duties of this world. The spring, the summer, and the autumn are the times provided for cultivating the earth, for producing and gathering its fruits. Winter is no time for this; but it is the time for using and enjoying what the other seasons had enabled us to secure. The husbandman that will not plough and till his land in the spring, shall beg in harvest-time, and have nothing. Thus the wise man employs the example even of a mean insect to teach men prudence in the affairs of this life: — "Go to the ant; consider her ways," etc. This is a lesson that is not confined to the cultivators of the earth. It applies to all kinds of employment, and especially to the employment of mechanics and others of the working classes. The expenses of a household in the genial seasons of the year are less than in the winter. The days, too, are longer, and afford opportunity for greater industry. Work is in general more plentiful. What, then, is the lesson taught by this example, but that every one should strive to lay up during those seasons for the increased expense, the probable deficiency of employment, and the interruption of work, which may be expected in the wintery There are those who act upon this prudent principle, and for them winter has fewer discomforts; they can look forward to it without alarm. But how is it with those who have been living from hand to mouth, spending all as it came, laying up nothing for the approaching period of trial? What but grievous suffering, if left to the consequences of their own imprudence, or painful dependence, or the uncertain benevolence of others? But if this lesson is important with respect to temporal interests, how much more so is it with regard to things spiritual and eternal! Youth, and manhood, and maturity are the seasons in which the seed must be sown, and the work done, which may end in a harvest of everlasting blessedness. It is the time in which treasure must be laid up for eternity. The call to repent, to believe in Christ as our Saviour, and to keep His commands, is too often neglected in those periods of life when it might be obeyed. Youth is too much occupied with enjoyment, manhood is too busy, maturity is too much absorbed with worldly interests; and then wisdom is too often pushed out of life. The call is disobeyed till too late. The winter of life comes on, and finds the worldly still worldly, the impenitent and unbelieving hardened; and they die as fools die. If, in spiritual things, this provision is made during the more vigorous periods of life for the inevitable change that awaits you, then, as it is with those who have laid up for the natural winter, — it has lost its terrors for them, — so will it be in the higher interests of the soul. Old age may be drawing on; death may be approaching; the winter of the tomb may be at hand. But it has nothing in it alarming for the sincere Christian. The seasons of this world teach him a lesson of trust and hope, as well as of prudence and activity. We know, that though at this time of the year all nature seems to die — though the sun loses its power, and storms, and cold, and darkness prevail — yet this state of things is not to continue. The winter's inaction is but a state of temporary repose: the vegetable world is only preparing to start afresh into renewed life and beauty in the spring. Even so the voice of revelation assures us, in prospect of the weakness and weariness of age, and the approaching darkness and desolation of the cold grave, that another springtime awaits our bodies as well as our spirits.

(W. Blatch, M. A.)

God, who has "made winter," makes nothing in vain. For —

I. WINTER BELONGS TO THE PLAN OF HEAVEN, and is a season indispensably necessary. It aids the system of life and vegetation; it kills the seeds of infection, and destroys pestilential damps; it refines the blood; it gives us vigour and courage; it confirms the nerves, and braces up the relaxed solids. Snow is a warm covering for the corn; and while it defends the tender blades from nipping frosts, it also nourishes their growth. Isaiah remarked this. Winter is the needful repose of Nature, after her labours for the welfare of the creation. But even this pause is only to acquire new strength; or rather it is a silent and secret energy of preparation to surprise and charm us again with fresh abundance.

II. WINTER IS A SEASON WHICH HAS ITS PLEASURES. I love to hear the roaring of the wind. I love to see the figures which the frost has painted on the glass. I love to watch the redbreast with his slender legs, standing at the window and knocking with his bill to ask for the crumbs which fall from the table.

III. WINTER IS A SEASON IN WHICH WE SHOULD PECULIARLY FEEL GRATITUDE for our residence, accommodations, and conveniences. Things strike us more forcibly by comparison. Let us remember how much more temperate our climate is than that of many other countries. Our winter is nothing when we turn to the Frigid Zone. When the French mathematicians wintered at Tornea, in Lapland, the external air suddenly admitted into their rooms, seizing the moisture, became whirls of snow; their breasts were rent when they breathed it; and the contact of it with their bodies was intolerable. We read of seven thousand Swedes who perished at once, in attempting to pass the mountains which divide Norway from Sweden.

IV. THIS SEASON CALLS UPON US TO EXERCISE BENEVOLENCE. Sympathy is now more powerfully excited than at any other period; we are enabled more easily to enter into the feelings of others less favoured than ourselves. And while we are enjoying every convenience and comfort which the tenderness of Providence can afford — oh, let us think of the indigent and miserable. My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

V. WINTER SHOULD IMPROVE US IN KNOWLEDGE. It affords leisure, and excludes many interruptions — it is, therefore, favourable to application. Let us read, and study, and prepare for action and usefulness in life. And let us not pass heedlessly by those subjects of reflection and improvement which the very season itself yields. How instructive, for instance, is the goodness of God, not only in the preservation of the human race, but in taking care of all the millions of animals during a period which threatens to destroy them! What a number of retreats does He provide for them! Some of them, by a singular instinct, change the places of their residence. Some of them are lulled into a profound sleep for weeks and months. And all this teaches us, first, to resemble Him, and be kind to every being. If we learn of Him, we cannot be cruel to the brute creation. The season is also instructive as an emblem. Here is the picture of life — thy flowery spring, thy summer, thine autumn, and at last thy winter. See to it that thou art possessor of eternal life.

(W. Jay.)

The winter is generally felt an unpleasing and gloomy season of the year; the more desirable is it to make it yield us some special good, by way of compensation. There are gratifying examples to this purpose. "Thou hast made — winter." God's work and wisdom in it are to be regarded. The Almighty Maker has fixed in the order of the world that which is the natural cause of the winter; a most remarkable adjustment of supreme wisdom and power, appearing at first view something like irregularity and disorder — that is, the inclination of the earth's axis. We may note the signal benefits of this adjustment. We must have our winter in order that others may have their summer. We are to be willing to part with a pleasing possession for a season for their sakes. And the unproductiveness of winter should remind us of the care and bounty of Divine providence, in that other seasons are granted us to make up by their supply for winter's want. Observe, again, the winter has a character of inclemency and rigour — has ideas and feelings associated with it of hardship, infelicity, suffering. In this, it should be adapted to excite thoughtful and compassionate sentiments respecting the distress and suffering that are in the world. The fair and cheerful aspect of the world is veiled, as if that our thoughts may take another direction. May we not here find an instructive emblem of another order of things? Think of the bloom and vigour, and animated action and expression of the human person, destroyed by sickness or disease! Think of delightful hopes, shedding spring and summer on the heart, suddenly extinguished! Think of a state of exuberant prosperity changed by a rapid reverse to one of difficulty, calamity, or desolation! (Job). There is another thing which the winter may suggest to our thoughts, namely, that resemblance to it which there may be in the state of the mind, in respect to its best interests. Is a man afraid to turn from the gloom and cold without to see what there is within? Would he even rather contemplate and endure the greater rigours of a still more northern climate a while than to take a sojourn in his own soul? Truly the winter in the soul is far worse than any season and aspect of external nature. Suppose a contrary state to be fully prevalent in the soul, how small an evil, comparatively, then, would be all that is inclement and gloomy in the seasons and scenes of nature! Suppose communion with heaven, animated affections, ardent devotion to God and our Redeemer. Why, if such a man were placed in the frozen zone (and could live there), he would be happy! This may suggest a last observation that the gloomy circumstance of winter on our globe points to the desirableness of an abode where there shall be nothing like winter; or of a mode of existence quite superior to all elemental evils.

(John Foster.)

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