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THE

THE TAL LIBRARY

CAMBRIDGE, MASS

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GEO. H. ELLIS, PUBLISHER, 141 FRANKLIN STREET

NEW YORK, 104 EAST 20TH STKEZT

JUN 6 1895

Unitarian Radove

PREFATORY NOTE

The authors of the sermons to be issued in this fourfold Series, unite in the plan primarily to provide a regular supply of fresh material for gratuitous distribution from the tract-racks of their several churches.

The editions will, however, be made large enough to meet the wants of individuals who may desire to subscribe for them, and of Churches, and Post-office Missions. It is hoped that this will enable Lay Circles, and Churches without Pastors, to supply their congregations with new sermons weekly.

Single Copies of the Series (to be sent by mail) may be subscribed for by sending postage,-fifty cents a year. The sermons of either preacher, separately, will be sent for postage,— fifteen cents a year.

PRICES TO CHURCHES AND POST-OFFICE MISSIONS.
$10.00 a year.

100 copies of the fourfold Series,

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21st and Chestnut Sts., Philadelphia, Pa.

The authors hope that their example may be followed by other bands of preachers, and that thus fresh mission literature may be more adequately supplied in various quarters.

It is intended that the sermons shall be ready for distributior. at the churches in the following order, each month except July, August, and September:

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The fifth Sunday in any month will be provided for specially.

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"I see men as trees."- MARK viii. 24.

WE had a cherry-tree once, in our bit of garden out West, which broke out into a wonderful splendor in the spring, and sent its fragrance floating through my study window; but, as I would watch it day by day, I had to remember how it had done this before with no great success in the way of cherries, and then I began to muse over what one might call the overplus of blossom.

I had been away to the South, also, while as yet there were but few signs of spring in the North, and had found this glory haunting the woods and wild pastures and crowning the farms with its beauty; and from this time I had thought of the blossoms sweeping slowly northward until they came to my own window, and covering the land as with a mantle woven of sweetness and light, while, after they had passed our line, I could still see them sweeping northward, and knew they would never halt until they set one lonely bush afire a dear friend of mine found blooming in the hither edges of the arctic circle, as the bush bloomed for Moses in Midian. then, at last, I knew that, like a great tide, this blossoming would toss its spray over into the lands of utter and hopeless sterility, and touch the moss with specks of blossom as beautiful to those who have the eye to see them as the crowned splendor of the peaches and the apples in the rich, warm lands.

And

Then my musing blended with old memories, and I found myself wondering whether hosts of children would not fall into the trouble I struck in my own childhood, about the one tree we had which broke out every spring into these extravagant promises of the fruit dear to boys, whose very notions of heaven seem to abide as yet in this matchless liking for what they seem to have liked best in Eden. I wondered whether such boys would not get their first back-stroke, as I did, through their appetite and expectation, and as a great many children do of riper years. That luckless tree

never did keep the promise in the summer it had made to me in the spring.

I remember one year especially, after an almost matchless outburst of blossom, how there was the meanest yield of fruit I could remember in my tiny tale of the years; and it was then I said, in some misty way common enough to children who are trying to true the world about them to the world within: "God cannot do as he will, then, or else he changes his mind. He certainly set out to give us all the plums we wanted this year. Now, what does he mean by sending the blossoms and then keeping back the fruit? Would it not be better to do as I would do if I were in his place, - make every blossom stand for a plum, and so save himself and save us also all this trouble?"

After that haggard year I think it was never quite so bad again. There was always a fair show of fruit ; and, then, I was getting somewhat used to the frustration. Still, I never could make September quite keep terms with May,- better and worse, but never up to the promises. And so, as I bore the trouble of that tree toward my manhood, and found I had to long for full and plenty

of other fruit I must not have, I began to wonder whether it was not of the very exuberance of God's blessing that this overplus of beauty and fragrance comes to us, and whether on the Tree of Life also there may not be a blooming which never comes to anything but the bloom, and yet this in itself may be so good and true that, when we touch the heart of the mystery, we shall neither say, "God has broken his promise to us," nor that we have lost our chance to make this promise good. And as in the spring-time on the trees all about us there are ten blossoms that will bloom through their brief day and then just shower down in the wind to one which will set and ripen into good fruit, so on the tree of my life may there not be ten beautiful aspirations to one good fruition? and yet may not these aspirations themselves be very sweet and good in their own way and be counted as the blossoms are in the glory of the year?

Surely, it must be true that they come as the blossoms come out of the overplus of the divine grace and of our own abounding life, not to dishearten us and lead us to doubt, but rather to believe in this good Providence as insuring us a grand good margin; to believe that God feels toward us as we feel toward our children, when we are good enough and wise enough to be content with such simple and scant fruition as they can attain to, never reckoning with them over-sharply as to what has become of their wealth of good intentions, but listening still with a large and tender interest to the endless story of what they mean to do, and glad to hear about it all because the aspiration is very beautiful to us and very good, even when we know all the time that they will forget ten of these intentions where they will

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