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soul under the dominion of a strong passion, so far from finding relief in the calm serenity of natural scenery, experiences an aggravation of grief, from the forcible contrast it forms to the internal agitation.
Solitude, without God felt " friend,” does but exasperate the wounds of the heart. The calm and silence which pervades creation, seems to mock the sad tumult of the soul. We may even have a solemn impression of magnificence, power, and beauty upon our minds, our souls may be elevated and expanded by the contemplation of the Divinity, yet, alas! the will may not be bowed to the Almighty will, and his all-righteous government be not acknowledged by submissive resignation to his appointments.
O let us then fervently pray that we may be enabled clearly to perceive the moral relation between our souls and our Creator, and thus perceiving, faithfully act up to our convictions, so that while we are seeking refreshment for our fainting spirits from the magnificence and beauty that surrounds us, we may love God supremely, believe in him
firmly, and obey him faithfully; thus shall our souls be opened to the influences of his consolations derived from his operations both of nature and of
grace. “ Think it not enough,” says the pious and eloquent Dr. Chalmers, “ that you have looked with sensibility and wonder at the representation of God throned in immensity, yet combining with the vastness of his entire superintendence a most thorough inspection into the minute and countless diversities of existence. Think of your own heart as one of these diversities, and that he ponders all its tendencies, and has an eye upon all its movements, and marks all its waywardness, and, God of judgment as he is, records its every secret and its every sin, in the book of his remembrance."
But sweet indeed is the contemplation of God in the works of his providence to the sincerely devout. He who has been habituated to approach his God, to spread before him his fears, his hopes, his sufferings, and to implore his consolations, and has thereby nerved the moral habit of his soul, will as
suredly find, amid the grand and beautiful scenes of nature, a divine serenity pervading his spirit, and a renewal of strength and fortitude replenishing his mind.
Religion, then, by its tender, soul-cheering influences, plainly bespeaks its own origin. It imparts strength both of soul and mind, and, as peace follows the meditations of thought, the spot of enjoyment is in the bosom of retirement.
In retirement and retreat the devout hold converse with the scenes that surround them, while the soul is perfectly attuned and harmonized to the mild and pensive sensations which these scenes inspire, and from which it derives aids for thinking and for living. The varying aspects of natural scenery, and all the incidents that diversify it are harmoniously adjusted to the moral disposition of the mourner, when the soul is made sensible of the folly, and begins to be weary with endeavouring to fashion its own lot, when it tires even of hope, and sighs only for the absence of pain. All nature seems to acquiesce and participate in these sentiments of man: the
murmurs of the wind, the roar of storms, the still serenity of a summer's evening, the hoary frosts of winter, all these movements of the elements, all these different pictures beget similar impressions and breathe upon the soul that tender and mild melancholy, the most congenial sentiment of man, and which constitutes the only situation of the heart which leaves to meditation all its activity and all its force. It is then that the soul truly rests upon its God, and can with sincerity adopt the sublime apostrophe of our gifted bard:
Thou art the source and centre of all minds,
GOD OUR TRUST.
The waves of sorrow onward roll,
Hast thou forgot yon heaven above,
His bounteous mercy ne'er shall fail
Then, anxious thoughts and fears, away ;