« PreviousContinue »
THE HOLLY BUSH.
It signifies but little whether we take for our subject the cedar of Lebanon, or the hyssop on the house wall, so that we turn the matter to a good account. Listen, then, to old Humphrey on the holly bush.
The morning was frosty, and the leafless trees hung with icicles, when the red berries of a holly bush attracted the attention of an idiot boy. He scrambled through the prickly barrier, and seized on the tempting fruit; but found it bitter to his taste, and surrounded with thorns. His hat fell from his head, his hands tingled with pain, his clothes were torn, and his face was covered with scratches.
And how many a misguided wretch, in the pursuit of pleasure, has been robbed of his patrimony, stung by his conscience, torn by his false friends, and lacerated by the unkindness of the world! The man of the world is an idiot boy, and worldly pleasure at best but an holly bush. The idiot boy had forgotten his disappointment,
TIE HOLLY BUSH.
when the sky was suddenly obscured, and a momentary storm descended on his head. Instead of enduring the temporary inconvenience, he thoughtlessly increased his misfortunes by taking shelter in the holly bush.
How parallel with the rashness of thoughtless humanity! When visited by the sudden blast of calamity or misfortune, hasty and petulant under our afflictions, though wounded by the world a thousand and a thousand times, we yet run to that world for comfort and security! Why, we might as well take shelter in a holly bush.
Mark how quarrelsome this bush appears : ever alive to the slightest insult, it pardons no fault, it forgives no injury, but immediately punishes the wilful or inadvertent offender. Ah, my friends! in this sharpness of disposition, this quickness to revenge our supposed grievances, we all too much resemble the holly bush.
But let us take a nearer view of the holly bush. What a rattling it makes when disturbed by the winds! How rudely the boughs rustle against * their brother branches, and how sharply are the leaves of the same spray pointed against each other!
I could think of the opposing interests of the world-its wars, its rumours, its commotions ; nation set against nation, and kingdom against
kingdom; the party spirit of towns, the scandal of villages, and the feuds of private life; frequently branches of the same family, at variance with each other. I could think of these things, I say, until I regarded the whole world as a holly bush.
And what are its inhabitants ? Evergreens in appearance, glossy in their expressions, soft and silky in their professions ; but, desire their golden fruit, stand in need of their assistance, run to them for protection, lean on them for support, and you will confess with bitterness that man, when trusted in, is no better than a holly bush. But let us consider : the bitterest herb
be grateful to the smell, the most brackish water prove medicinal ; and something surely may be said in favour of the holly bush.
It is tenacious of its rights, and jealous of its liberties; but it never attacks the liberties of others. It is ever ready to defend itself, but is never known to be the aggressor. Nations may here learn wisdom from the holly bush.
It is grateful in the darkest seasons ; it repines not at the wintry winds
Though cold its place, though lone its lot,
It buds, it bears, it murmurs not; but in the bleakest storms and rudest blasts looks cheerfully towards the skies; and the fruit of
THE HOLLY BUSH.
gratitude at the darkest season is abundant on its branches. And can we learn nothing from the holly bush ?
Perhaps the little spray that I now hold in my hand was among the topmost branches of its parent tree, and bore its blushing honours thick upon its aspiring head, defying the wintry blast, and exulting in security; but it was untimely severed from the place where it grew, it was cut down in the glory of its youth :
And we may endure the rude ravage of time,
And exult, though the loud howling tempest may roar; And we, too, may fall in the midst of our prime,
And the place that now knows us may know us no more.
THE CHRISTIAN'S LEVER,
“ If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say
unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you,” Matt xvii. 20.
A CHRISTIAN will willingly get good from every thing, and a lever may help him to a profitable reflection.
The lever may be regarded as a simple instrument; but the right knowledge of its power,
and its proper mode of application, was a mighty discovery A child, by means of the lever, will do the work of a man. Christian ! say not thou art come to a stand, though the mountains of the earth tower up to the skies in thy way. Lay hold of the lever that God has prepared for the use of his people, THE PRAYER OF FAITH : this is the Christian's mighty lever. The right use of this, I would speak with humility as well as boldness, will both bring Christ down to thee, and raise thee up to Christ.