Page images

that God hath blotted out his transgression.

Of no other

appetite can it be so truly said that it "grows by what it feeds upon." It is far easier to remain pure than to sin, and then to cease sinning. The first temptation is much more easily resisted than the second. Each transgression renders the idea of the transgression more familiar, the desire again to transgress more exacting, and the sense of its being a transgression less acute. A devilish sophistry will reinforce the disorderly disposition, and repeated sin will furnish excuses for continued sin. The force of habit will stimulate the force of natural inclination, until that grows to seem a necessity which was at first an indulgence. A further fact must be noted. His having once established such a relationship between himself and another, will have given to that other a claim upon the man, and power over him. That claim will be urged, and that power will be exerted. Both will tend to drag him down. If he has added to the sin of indulgence the greater sin of seduction, a score of disastrous consequences will pursue him. If he has a spark of genuine manliness left, he will feel a dastard and a scoundrel, even while he dreads discovery and strives all he can to avert it. If he is not a seducer, he will have surrendered himself to a harpy, who, like "the horse-leech's daughter, will continually cry, Give! Give !'" Other risks will likewise lie before him, the consequences of some of which may entail results which lie beyond remedy, and will descend to others after him. Yet another consideration needs to be pondered. There are various degrees of evil of this kind, descending by stages into unnameable horrors. The inherent tendency of all disorders is to render those who transgress more insane in their emotions, and this increasingly. Where will the feet of the transgressors stop? He will have cast aside the moral restraints of true order, and the spiritual safeguards of pure love and holy marriage. The idea of being faithful to one, will to him have grown absurd or distasteful. The fever of sin will have burned into his soul: how far shall its rage extend?

The sin of adultery is one of the most grievous and iniquitous of crimes. It is the violation of the spirit of every one of the ten commandments: it is making self-gratification his god, a worshipping of the devil by doing him service; it is taking in vain the name of God, profaning everything that is God-like in himself; it is an act of direct rebellion against sabbatic peace, both in himself and in his victim; it is a dishonour done to the name he bears, to the parents whose child in honourable marriage he was; it is an act of soul-murder, slaying out of his own soul, and out of the soul of his victim, purity, dignity, self

respect; it is a theft of what belongs to another, and his companion is his accomplice; it is an acted slander against his neighbour's good fame, an irreparable injury, an irremediable wrong. So long as the lust remained a mental act, its consequences were confined to the man's own soul; as soon as it became wrought out into deed, its consequences involved others. In this respect, adultery is like murder: once committed, it is beyond all powers of recompense. Indeed, far more deliberate malignity has often been exhibited in compassing the seduction of a married woman, than has been displayed in many cases of homicide.

One of the great moral dangers of an impure bachelorhood is the temptation it will excite towards continued impurity after and despite marriage. If the statement, accredited to the police of London, be true, that the chief supporters of the "Social Evil" are married men, it furnishes a frightful proof of the difficulty with which vice, once indulged in, is conquered. It is a terrible indication of the corruptness of society; a solemn illustration of the need for fearless instruction on this most important of subjects. It is time that an honourable but mistaken feeling of modesty should no longer be allowed to prevent serious discussion. Where human instincts are so strong, it is simple madness to expect that those instincts will, without instruction, be wisely governed or rightly guided. Yet the silence which delicacy has imposed on such topics might easily have led one to imagine, that as to the sexual instincts, people commonly believed that no instruction was necessary. The policy of silence has been proved and found wanting! Almost all the literature which has appeared at all referring to such matters, has been produced in the interests of vice, and is calculated to inflame and corrupt. The devil's service has found ministers enough it is quite time that service of another sort should begin to be rendered.

(To be continued.)



Он what storms man's life lies under!
See them sink and rise again :
Scarcely silent is the thunder,

When we hear, "You hope in vain."
And the stars in heav'n's domain,

Though bright rays they just now darted,


Turn by turn all have departed!
Yet let me hope, nor ever

My heart from this flame sever.
Hope! O leave me not faint-hearted!

For what if Nature's bosom throes,
Or if earth benumbèd lies?

Or if our path creaks through her snows?
Spring itself must soon arise,

And new wonders greet our eyes!
See sweet May in brightness beaming,
Earth her living garment seaming
In rejuvenescent phase:

On her blossoms rest your gaze―
This, oh this, is no mere dreaming!

Hope is mine in Spring's fair morning,
Mine when ice-floes melt away;
Mine when corn-blades, darkness scorning,
Peep forth to the light of day,

And the winter cannot stay:

When streams, perennial once, now pour
Rich treasures through the earth once more,
Change the old into the new,

Life and beauty bring to view,
Gild with golden grain the store.

Let all mankind rejoice to know

This our earth's a picture fair:
Onward and on our spring must flow
Unto fruit of summer air:
Comfort watches over care.
For lo! in yonder land of wine
The tendrils weak round stronger twine;
So let toil in Life's great garden,
Tho' it oft our hands may harden,
Strong ones with the weak combine!

Thus we read these lessons truthful;
Nature errs not in her school:
With the sad her speech is ruthful;
With the wise a golden rule-
Not so with the gilded fool.
Winter heralds a new comer-
Venus-though he fain would numb her,
Numb her with his icy finger;
Yet upon it sunbeams linger,
And it melts at 'hest of summer!





FOREMOST in the glorious company of the broad-leaved trees, as regards cold and temperate countries, stand those collectively termed the Amentiferæ, the name referring to the peculiar structure of the inflorescence, which presents itself, always in the male flowers, and sometimes in the females, in the shape of catkins or amenta. Every one knows the appearance of the pretty things so styled. They are familiar in the hazels of the hedgerow, also in the stream-side alders, and are so much the more readily observable because put forth before the leaves come out, in the earliest dawn of spring,

While yet the wheaten blade

Scarce shoots above the new-fall'n shower of snow.

They droop from the bare branches not as things might do that feared the cold, but innumerable, and in the beautiful way that by and by is recapitulated in the golden rain of the laburnum; and if at noon the sun shines warm and bright, give the tree a gentle shake, and from the anthers fall clouds of enfranchised pollen, the particles, as they slowly settle downwards, glistening like the "motes i' the beam." In some of the Amentiferæ the catkins do not make their appearance till the foliage is expanding, as happens in the oak, or even till it is well developed, as in the chestnut; in others again, instead of being pendulous, they are obliquely erect, and instead of being limp and flexile, are stiff and motionless. These, however, are only differences of detail. In one condition or another they occur in all the noblest of the broad-leaved trees of Europe, and in many of those of temperate western Asia, the oak, to wit, the Spanish chestnut, the walnut, and the beech, and after these, in the birch and the alder, the hornbeam, the poplar and the willow. In the two last named, the distinction of sex in the flowers extends to the entire tree, some individuals (as in the date-palm) being purely male, while others are wholly and absolutely female. This of course is quite independent of the masculine or feminine physiognomy, as the case may be, which arises from contour and general composition. Sex in the structure of the individual flowers is quite an independent feature, and is by no means to be confounded with the characters supplied by substance and mode of ramification; nor, as a rule, is there any correlation between the two things. The female flowers make

their appearance simultaneously with the catkins, thus in the earliest months of the opening year,

When winter, slumbering in the open air,

Wears on his softened looks a dream of spring.

It is interesting however, to observe for how long a time previously, the latter, at all events, have been in process of preparation. Even Christmas is too late for the first sign of the coming of the catkins of the hazel, the alder, and the sallows. They disclose their rudiments as early as September, the fruit of the current year being scarcely ripe before the bloom of the succeeding one begins to get ready. For an amiable mind, that loves the little as well as the large, there is not a pleasure to be found more thorough, and refreshing, and unwearied, year after year, than the exploration of their curious and delicate fabric, so consummately beautiful is the finish of every little element and organ, so sweet and brilliant are the hues. In one we have a tuft of crimson velvet, soft and tender as the down of a peach; in another a sheaf of filaments tipped with beads. Nobody really and truly knows what is the full meaning of that easily-spoken phrase, the beauty of flowers, till with the help of a microscope, the bloom of the forest trees has been analyzed and learned by heart; nor till then is it possible to appreciate the simplicity of the means by which some of the greatest designs of nature are accomplished. That the flowers of the Amentiferæ, compared with roses and lilies, are minute and unpretentious, is quite true. They can afford to be unpretentious. It is for things that come like shadows, so depart," the short-lived annuals and herbaceous plants, to make it up to themselves in gaiety and sparkle; the tree that endures for centuries can dispense with decorations; and one cannot but look at these tiny flowers, and think how many scores of years had elapsed before we stepped upon the scene ourselves, every spring of every one of which they had helped to make beautiful; and during how many more years they will calmly continue to come forth, after our own little experience has long since ended. Chiefly upon the differences in the structure of the female flowers, and of the fruits to which they give rise, are founded the distinctions of the families or Natural Orders of the Amentiferæ. Good distinctions are found also in the venation of the leaves, some having their veins disposed in a feather-like manner, while in others the veins meander in every direction, giving the idea of some grand river, strengthened in its current by a thousand tributaries, being broad' where they coalesce, but com



« PreviousContinue »