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great hereafter, he shall have the chance for development that he never had here. This crabbed old woman, gnarled as a knotty oak, slanderer, liar, thief, she, too, came to be so by causes. Once she was a smiling, prattling baby, the joy of her mother's heart, dearer to her than a cherub from paradise. She grew, she was tempted, fell, was trampled under the feet of the scrambling crowd of onrushing humanity. Charity for her! light for her! heaven for her, too, where all wrongs are at last to be righted, and the crooked made straight!

There is another tongue in these trees that discourses patience. The slower the growth, the firmer the tree, and the more enduring the wood. " See me grow," said the squash to the oak; "I shall cover a rod while your feeble head is rising a single inch." So it was the squash covered the ground for many a yard, while the oak seemed an idler; but there stood the oak in its majesty when hundreds of generations of the squash had perished. The tree grows by steady, persistent effort: so can you. Do not hurry, do not idle; but steadily mount, and success, the highest success, is yours. Go into the woods now: how silent they are! Put your ear to the trunks of the trees; can you hear any thing? Not a whisper: they are still as death; yet engines are pumping, and sap is rushing through a million pipes to accomplish a most important work. The mandate has gone forth: every tree must be clad in velvet-green to greet the dawning spring; and there is but a month in which to do it. All the trees of the forest are busy preparing their new dresses

in honor of the coming queen. Suppose a thousand young ladies were to be furnished with new dresses within the next month: what an excitement would there be! what a snipping of scissors, tearing of cloth, running of sewing machines, - yes, and of talking machines too, before all were provided! And yet here are all the trees of the forest making their new dresses without contention, without noise, without the intervention of a French artiste, in the good, oldfashioned style which can never be improved.


The storm goes howling by. What a noise! It rouses the world! "Here am I listen to me; see what I can do! But when it is over, there lie a few rotten trunks prostrated by its power. Without bluster, or even sound, the million-columned woods arise, and God's first and best temples are reared. It is not the most noisy that accomplish the most. The armies march, the music sounds, the cannons thunder. "These are they that do the world's work," says the crowd. Some thinker in his silent study does more than they all. Bonaparte bestrides Europe like a colossus: hist voice makes every throne tremble; all eyes are turned to him, and all ears are dinned with his name; but James Watt, obscurely laboring to perfect the steamengine, has done infinitely more to change the face of the world, to revolutionize society, and, above all, to bless the human race.

Cut a tree down, and examine the rings of its growth, and you will find an eloquent tongue that gives the lie to many other tongues. The whole history of the tree, and of the times in which it flourished,

is indelibly written in the grain of the trunk. Twenty years ago there was a cool, short, and dry summer: here is the narrow ring that answers to that summer. See that expanded circle: fifty years ago there was a warm, moist season; and you see the result. Not a day passed over this tree that has not left its record around its heart, never to be forgotten, never to be erased. I tell you, my brother, my sister, so is it with you. Thus we build up the inward man day by day. There is not an hour in your history that is not inwoven, ingrown into the very constitution of your soul, that does not exercise an influence on your destiny; and there is nothing that can make it be as though it had never been. I know how common it is for men to believe and teach that Jesus can wipe out, at one stroke, and in a moment, the consequences of their misdeeds, that five minutes of prayer can remove the dark stains of fifty years of crime; but nothing can be more false. Nature tells us this in the grand eloquence of these trees. Do you think that any amount of waving on the part of the green leaves, this coming summer, can remove the effect of the dry seasons long gone by, and expand those contracted rings of growth to full dimensions? When conditions are unfavorable for their proper development, where are the Christs for the trees, to remove the scars, straighten the bended trunk, and fill out the lean circumference? These very tree-tongues give the lie to this orthodox fable, that man can do wrong, thus hindering his spiritual growth and cramping his soul, and then escape the legitimate consequences of that wrong-doing.

Mark, too, the tendency in all trees to symmetry and beauty, each of its own kind. Take that young tree and hew off its limbs, reduce it, if you please, to a naked, crooked stick. What does it do? It commences instantly to repair damages. The unsightly cuts are salved with new bark; to the right grows a branch, to the left a corresponding branch. A spirit of beauty presides over it, and employs her agents to adorn it; blossoms expand in their loveliness, fruit is developed, and the tree stands at last as perfect as its more favored neighbors. There is inherent in all nature this tendency to symmetry and beauty. The claystone no less than the crystal show it in the mineral kingdom; the vegetable kingdom displays it from the fucoid of the sea-bottom to the pine of the mountaintop; and is man destitute of it? He is and is to be its most glorious manifestation. Man, though king-curst and priest-curst and God-curst,

Though sin and the devil hath bound him,"

has yet within him that divine spirit which, in spite of unfavorable conditions, shall push him onward to excellence, toward perfection.

Were I to tell all that the trees have to teach, how long would my sermon last? By what possibility could it ever have an end? It seems to me, as I go into the woods and listen to their tongues, that all other words are needless. They are the most eloquent of preachers; and, listening to them, we can well afford to let all others be silent. Multitudes who throng the piles

of superstition on Sundays would be more blessed by attending the green temples of Nature, and entering into the spirit that breathes from every leaf.

I watch these trees, and see how they grow, day by day, year by year, becoming larger, fairer, as the seasons pass. But I am told that, when the tree arrives at its perfection, which all may attain in a few centuries, like the stars when they culminate, it begins. to sink, and nothing can arrest its decay and death. It is resolved into its original components: it is gone as a tree, entered into the dust from which it can never more emerge. And yet, out of the very dust of that tree up springs a new one, fairer and brighter for the richness of the soil gained from the ashes of its predecessor. Nor is that all. Extravagant as it may seem, I have learned that there is a future life even for trees. There is room enough in an infinite universe for all the trees that ever blossomed: somewhere they are blossoming still. How much more shall there be room for the men. They are all living still. A brighter sky than we ever saw bends over them; a more glorious sun sheds his rays on their heads; the winds of beneficent conditions play around them. Development in the grand future is their inalienable destiny.

But Shakspeare says there are "books in the running brooks;" and we must not listen too long to these trees, or we shall lose the lessons that are contained in those running brooks. Strange places to find books! No less strange, and quite as interesting, are the books themselves that we find in this alcove of Nature's librafree for all. There is a book on chronology, and a


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