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the sun and moon in their spheres to give light unto the earth, and to be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years. From the teaching of God's Word it is clear that the world's Creator is the world's Redeemer; that the God of Nature is the God of grace. Hence it is truly said of him, “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." "He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names." And in the context, “For God is my king of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.” “The day is thine, the night also is thine : thou hast prepared the light and the sun. Thou hast set all the borders of the earth; thou hast made summer and winter.” And while the Book of Revelation teaches that the God of grace and the God of Nature are one; the Book of Nature also confirms it. Many of the attributes which in the former book, are said to belong to God, are clearly revealed concerning him in the latter book—the book of Nature. He would be a dull scholar indeed who could not, especially in summer time, behold the infinite power, wisdom, and goodness of God, aye, and even his faithfulness. As he surveys the scenes of beauty and of plenty that are spread out before him at this season of the year, this crowning of the year with God's goodness; as he views “the pastures clothed with flocks; and the valleys also covered over with corn,” surely he is prompted to exclaim, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth !” “Thou hast made summer." There are two thoughts our text suggests on which we will enlarge.
I. That God has made summer a time of beauty.
I. God has made summer a time of beauty. — The wise man says that God “hath made everything beautiful in his time." Everything which God has made, he pronounced "it very good," and, therefore, the words of Solomon are true, “He hath made everything beautiful in his time.” And oh, how legibly written in the book of Nature does this truth appear in summer time! how clear is it to every man who is gifted with the organ of vision and endowed with the faculty of perception! “Thou hast made summer” a time of beauty.
1. For there are beautiful sights in summer. Oh, what scenes of beauty there are, on which the eye rests in summer! What scenes of beauty in the heavens ! The rising and the setting sun; the silvery moon, “pale empress of the night, with her troops of stars;" the blue sky with its ever-changing clouds; and the rainbow with its rich and variegated colours. What scenes of beauty on the earth! Its green outstretching carpet, its flowers of every hue and colour; its trees clothed with beautiful foliage,
spreading out their branches far and wide; its lofty mountains covered with snow and sunshine ; its fertile valleys producing wealth more valuable than ever sparkled in the crowns of monarchs ; its meandering streams, silently winding their way through the green sward, at other times merrily dancing along in the sunbeams; and its mighty rivers now moving slowly over level tracts, and imparting fertility as they flow; now rolling along rapidly, owing to the declivity of the country through which they pass, their waters glittering in the sunbeams; now rushing onward with mighty sweep over the rocky ledge “forming the cataract whose spray flashes with all the glories of prismatic fires." Oh, what scenes of beauty are there on the earth in summer! What scenes of beauty are there also on the sea ! How its deep blue waters sparkle in the summer's sun ! How grand are the heavings of its great breast as gently stirred by the summer's breeze! How beautiful to behold its finny inhabitants gambolling in its deep blue waters ! and how glorious to watch its ebb and flow! Looking at the beautiful sights which are apparent in the heavens, on the earth, and in the sea, may we not well say, “Thou hast made summer” a time of beauty.
2. There are beautiful sounds in summer. What sounds of beauty fall upon the ear in summer time! The singing of the feathered choristers of the wood, which in charming notes of endless variety utter forth their great Creator's praise; the lowing of cattle, the bleating of sheep, the murmurings of rills, the sounds of dashing waters when formed into cataracts, the ceaseless roar of the mighty ocean as it “sweeps the march of God;" these, with other sounds which fall upon the ear in summer, prompt the pious listening soul to say “Thou hast made summer” a time of beauty.
3. There are beautiful scents in summer. There is the sweetness of the primrose, the perfume of the violet, the fragrance of the rose, and the odour of other flowers. There is the scent of new-mown hay, and other odours which are breathed on every gale; these make a summer a time of beauty. Viewing the sights, listening to the sounds, and inhaling the odours of summer, is it not true that God has made summer a time of beauty? And, oh! if in summer our Heavenly Father has spread before us such beautiful scenes, caused to fall upon our ears such beautiful sounds, and permitted us to inhale such beautiful odours, should not such great goodness lead us to make our lives beautiful, morally beautiful, too? When there is beauty in the works of God around us—beauty which appeals to every sense-ought not moral beauty to be visible in man, God's noblest work on earth ? Is it not his duty to stand forth “clothed with the garments of salvation," "covered with the vesture of Christ's righteousness," and arrayed in the beauties of holiness?” Ought
not beautiful sounds of praise to issue from his lips ; sounds sweeter by far than the melodious notes of the feathered choristers of the wood; because they issue from a mind that can appreciate the beauty of the works of God, a heart that has experienced the power of that mighty matchless love that flowed out on Calvary, and a soul that has been quickened and renewed by the same divine Spirit, who in the beginuing of time “garnished the heavens,” and who now "reneweth the face of the earth.” Should not beautiful odours also be exhaled from man's life? odours more acceptable to God than the fragrance of flowers, because they ascend from a moral being—& voluntary, conscious, thinking agent, and odours which ascend from a holy life, a consistent Christian character, noble thoughts, and virtuous deeds. And it is the duty of every man to present such a morally beautiful spectacle in summer time, yea, throughout all the seasons of the year; to utter such sounds, and to send out such odours, and every man will, who is “created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” His life will be in harmony with the beautiful scenes, sounds, and scents of summer. He will stand forth as the most beautiful object which even summer can present, “Clothed and in his right mind,” his path will be as “the shining light;" while sounds of beauty, of praise, will daily issue from his lips, and odours, the fragrance of virtuous thoughts and of noble deeds, will be exhaled from his life. He will command the respect of his foes, the esteem of his friends, the admiration of angels, and the approving smile of God; his light will “so shine before men,” that they will be led to “glorify our Father which is in heaven.” Beloved, let us strive daily to make our lives thus morally beautiful, “Thou hast made summer."
The other thought on which we will enlarge is
II. That God has made summer a season of maturity. — As beauty is one of the distinguishing features of summer, so is maturity. Everything in summer has arrived, or is rapidly arriving, at its full growth—its maturity. The day has arrived to its greatest length, the heat to its greatest intensity, the plants and fruits to their fulness of growth, and the flowers to their perfection. Strength, fulness, maturity, these are the features of summer, these are everywhere seen. The great God who has made summer, in the scenes of plenty, and of maturity which are spread out before us, gives us a vivid picture of the greatness of his power, the infinity of his nature, and the goodness of his heart. Hills and dales clothed with grass ready for the mower; meadows waving with corn ripening for the sickle; orchard trees laden with fruit ready to be plucked ; gardens blooming luxuriantly with herbs and plants, ready for the service of man. Oh, such scenes manifest surely the almightness, infinity, and goodness of that great being who has made summer!
hou hast made summer a season of maturity.” And, oh!ifin summer,
herbs and plants, and fruits and flowers arrive at maturity, should not he who is "created in Christ Jesus into good works,” who is “clothed with the beauties of holiness," from whose lips issue daily beautiful sounds of praise to God, and from whose life ascends daily the fragrance of virtuous thoughts, and noble deeds, should not such a man arrive at maturity in grace too? We think so. The God of Nature has designed that in summer the fruits and flowers of the earth should come to maturity; and the God of grace has also willed that the Christian should in this life (which may be called his summer) arrive at maturity, or Christian perfection too. It is “the will of God concerning (him) even (his) sanctification.” And the divine injunction to every believer is “Be perfect.” Maturity in piety is the design of God respecting the Christian, and it ought therefore to be his constant aim. Without it he is not fulfilling all his heavenly Father's will ; without it he is not receiving the full benefit of the Saviour's atoning work; and without it he is not experiencing the full measure of that grace which God the Holy Spirit is ready to bestow. Without maturity in grace the Christian is like unripe fruit in summer time. Seeing, then, that maturity is characteristic of summer, oh let us make it characteristic of our Christian life too! As gentle rain, refreshing dew, and the glorious beams of the summer sun cause the fruits and flowers of the earth to come to maturity, so the rain of divine grace, the dew of God's Spirit, and the beams of the Sun of Righteousness will mature thy graces, Christian, deepen thy piety, and cause thee to grow up “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Oh, if thou wouldst be a man and not a babe in Christ; if thou wouldst become "strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might;" if thou wouldst be “like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit in his season (whose) leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”-why thou must seek daily to be watered with the dews of grace, and thou must strive to dwell daily under the beams of the Sun of Righteousness! The cause why so many Christians never arrive at maturity in grace, is this, they seek to be only occasionally watered with the dews of grace, and they get only rarely under the beams of the Sun of Righteousness. Flowers and fruits would never come to maturity if only occasionally upon them the rain descended, and the sun shone; if only one day out of seven they received the dew, rain, and beams of the summer's sun, and they were exposed the other six days to the winter's blast and cold. And can the Christian expect to keep alive, much less to come to maturity, who only one day out of seven opens his heart to receive the dew and rain of God's spirit, and the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and the other six days is exposed to the wintry world's darkness, coldness, and tempest? In such a state there can scarcely be life, spiritual life, much less spiritual health, and least of all spiritual maturity. Oh, Christian, if thou wouldst arrive at a state of spiritual maturity, if thou wouldst always have it with thee, a spiritual summer, seek daily to be watered with the dews of God's spirit, and get daily under the beams of the Sun of Righteousness! Let thy daily prayer be with the poet
Make our earthly souls a field,
Which God delights to bless ;
The fruits of righteousness.
Which more and more thy praises show,
And to perfection grow.
Let me in conclusion ask
1. Have you entered upon a spiritual summer? Are your lives morally beautiful transcripts of the gospel of Christ ? Do beautiful sounds of praise issue daily from your lips to God for his temporal and spiritual mercies ? Are your lives fragrant with holy thoughts and Christ-like deeds? This is the character and experience of some of you. You have entered upon a spiritual summer, and you feel it is a time of moral beauty, a season of high enjoyment. But, alas ! in the other distinguishing feature of summer, the resemblance fails. It is not with you a time of spiritual maturity. You grow in grace, some of you ; but, alas ! it is not the rapid growth of summer, but of a mild winter, or of a cold spring time. You are more like young saplings than “green olive trees, flourishing palms, or cedars in Lebanon.” There is the bud, but not the flower; the blossom, but not the fruit. Beloved, let me urge you from henceforth so to live, that your Christian life may not only be morally beautiful, but spiritually fruitful. Remember that your spiritual summer may be, not only a time of moral beauty, but also a season of spiritual maturity. God wills it. You live for it; and then He who has also made summer, will cause you to realise it.
2. It is winter, spiritual winter with some of you. God in his great mercy has permitted you to enter on another summer. Beautiful sights meet your eye, beautiful sounds fall upon your ear, and beautiful scents are wafted on every gale. Flowers and fruits are rapidly arriving or have arrived at maturity. Beauty and maturity are seen everywhere around you. It is summer outside, but winter within; brightness on the earth, but darkness in your mind; life in the world, but death in your soul. Such is your morally dark and dead state, amid the light, beauty, and maturity of the summer's sun. Oh, surely, ye intend not to remain in such a state, when for asking in penitence and faith, the same divine Spirit who reneweth the face of