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THE LOBELIA.

(SEE ENGRAVING.)

ONE of the most interesting families of plants in bloom at this season of the year, is that to which botanists have given the name LOBELIA. It belongs to the class Pentandria, order Monogynia, of the Linnæan system, and to the order Campanulacea of Jussieu. It was named in honor of Matthias Lobelius, a European naturalist of some eminence. The general characteristics of all the species are-calyx five-cleft; corolla irregular, five-parted, cleft on the upper side nearly to the base; anthers united into a tube; stigma two-lobed; capsule inferior or semi-superior, two or three-celled, two-valved at the apex. There are several North American species, all of which are herbaceous, hairy, with alternate leaves, and flowers uniformly disposed in terminal racemes.

Among these, the most distinguished are the Syphilitica, the Inflata and the Cardinalis—the first two on account of their medicinal virtues, the last for its beauty.

The L. Syphilitica is found in many places in the middle and western States, and is not so common in New England and New York. This species attains the height of upwards of three feet, and is the largest of the family. Its flowers are of a beautiful blue color, very large and showy. Formerly it was a celebrated specific with the Indians in this country, and in consequence it has been brought into use by scientific medical practitioners; but its virtues were doubtless overrated, and it is now rarely employed. It inhabits low moist soils, and flowers in July.

The L. Inflata, commonly known as the Indian Tobacco, is found very generally from Canada to North Carolina. It grows to the height of about eighteen inches, has a fibrous root, and a solitary, erect, angular, very hairy stem, very branching about the middle, but rising considerably above the summits of the highest branches. The leaves are scattered, sessile, oval, acute, serrate and hairy. The flowers are numerous, in leafy racemes. The corolla is of a delicate blue color, with the upper lip divided into two, the lower into three acute segments. After the flower, succeeds an oval, inflated capsule, from which circumstance the species takes its name. This is the plant which within a few years has obtained so much celebrity among the medical profession, especially those who have adopted the peculiar

views denominated Thompsonian. The Inflata is strongly emetic, and occasionally cathartic. Its taste is very acrid and unpleasant. This species, too, like the preceding one, was first employed in medicine by the American Indians, from whom its virtues became known. The Rev. Dr. Cutler, of Massachusetts, is said to have first directed the attention of the medical profession to this plant, since which time the use of it has been very general. In its operation upon the system, it bears a close resemblance to tobacco. It is so powerful an emetic, according to the Dispensatory of Professors Wood and Bache, that in ordinary cases, it is deemed hazardous to employ it indiscriminately. The same authors say that fatal results have followed the injudicious use of it. It is an upland plant, generally growing in uncultivated fields. Its flowering season commences about the middle of July. In its appearance it is very similar to the L. Claytoniana, and the latter is sometimes mistaken for it, but it is not as large, is less branching, and has but a slightly

acrid taste.

The L. Cardinalis, or CARDINAL FLOWER, is the most beautiful of the family. It being one of the most splendid of the wild flowers of the season, we have at considerable expense and pains-taking procured a colored engraving of it for our present number. It is seldom or never used in medicine; but its princely, almost unrivalled splendor, makes it an object of universal admiration by every lover of nature. It may be found growing to the height of two feet and upwards, in marshy locations, or on the dry bed of some small stream. It is said to be a very general favorite in European gardens. It has been cultivated in Europe for upwards of two centuries. Its flowers are a beautiful scarlet; the plant is erect, simple, pubescent; leaves lance-ovate, acuminate, denticulate; racemes somewhat one-sided, many-flowered; stamens longer than the corollas.

It is said that when the great Linnæus first discovered a rare and beautiful tropical plant, in its own native haunt, he fell on his knees, in his enthusiasm, and blessed the God of nature that he had thus adorned the earth. The same enthusiasm in kind, less in degree, perhaps, we have felt at the first discovery of two of our own native flowers. One was the Trillium Erectum, with large purple flowers, in the

wilds of the interior of this State-the other the magnificent Lobelia, along the margin of the brook where we were wont to ramble in the sunny days of boyhood. And now as we gaze upon the gay Cardinal Flower, it calls up a hundred scenes connected with that stream by the side of which it grew. Some of the sweetest recollections of childhood are associated with this flower, and when we meet it, it seems to smile upon us as a familiar friend. Oh, what blessings to the pilgrims of earth are the fair flowers that grow along the pathway to eternity! How many rills of pleasure that now flow into the soul, would be dried up, if our beautiful flowers should cease to bloom, and earth

should put off her robe of green, to be arrayed in it no more!

"O Father, Lord! The All-Beneficent! I bless thy name, That thou hast mantled the green earth with flowers,

Linking our hearts to nature! By the love
Of their wild blossoms, our young footsteps first
Into her deep recesses are beguiled,
Her minster cells; dark glen and forest bower,
Where thrilling with its earliest sense of thee,
Amid the low religious whisperings
And shivery leaf sounds of the solitude
The spirit wakes to worship, and is made
Thy living temple. By the breath of flowers,
Thou callest us from city throngs and cares,
Back to the woods, the birds, the mountain
streams,
That sing of Thee!"

THE INFANT'S MISSION.

It is the beautiful theory of Christianity that all things work together for good to them that love God. Every creature, intelligent or otherwise, every atom enters as an agent and instrument into the great and benevolent plan of the Deity in reference to the universe, and works, intelligently or ignorantly, voluntarily or by an overruling direction, in the great field of benevolence. God's government being absolutely perfect, nothing defeats his plan. Every atom is made law and subserves its purpose, and whatever appearances of derangement may strike our eye and stagger our faith, the firm voice of the great watchman of the universe proclaims "all is well."

To our limited view, as might be expected, appearances are often inexplicable, and the most pious and experienced have their faith tried, so that in reference to the very events which are working out for them peculiar and incalculable good, they exclaim "all these things are against us."

Few things that occur in the ordinary course of earthly events, perhaps, appear more perplexing than the sickness and death of infants. The tender, dependent, delicate little creature comes into the world all unconscious and helpless. In the bosom of its parents its presence awakens a thousand new emotions and pleasurable feelings, and opens a new world of hope and ambition. The interest and love for the little stranger becomes daily more deep and passionate, and in a few months that infant has imbedded itself in its parents' hearts, and be

come, as it were, a part of them, so that its removal is like tearing a living limb from the living, quivering body. And yet just at this point in the history of their love, disease and death, the stern ministers of mysterious Providence enter to perform the most awful office, to slay and not spare,-to cut off, unheeding the anguish and the agonized cry of parental affection that implores for its life. Childhood, death-stricken amid its playthings, infancy amid smiles and tears turned back from the sunny precincts of life, and overwhelmed with the cold shadows of death; these, we say, are dispensations full of perplexing ambiguity. We see a living existence cut off so early that we must tax our minds to imagine what single end it was sent into the world to accomplish, or what possible object relating to this world was proposed in its creation, that has not been balked and rendered abortive; and the difficulty of our reasonings will be greatly augmented when we further consider that not here and there at distant intervals only does infancy perish, but that in all ages and climes a vast proportion of the human family die almost as soon as born, and surrender life long before they can be conscious of life's great end.

What shall we say then to these things? Hold fast our faith, certainly, and believe that even dying infancy has its mission which it accomplishes as distinctly as the hoary man of threescore years and ten. Sometimes that mission is immediately to its own.

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It is impossible not to believe that the dispensation of death exerts a vast moral influence in this world, callous as are the hearts of men. The nature of the case precludes the idea of an exact measurement of that influence. But that it is great and commanding, there can be no doubt. We live in a world from which hundreds pass every hour to the grave-in which every moment some family mourns-some circle of friendship is invaded-some resort of business is desolate-some hope is dashed-some heart is broken. In such a world, and amid such scenes, how often must a restraining, solemnizing influence steal over the human heart and waken its moral sensibilities, and allay its passions, and repress its levity! How often may the inconsiderate be brought to pause, as it were, on the margin of eternity, to number his days and apply his heart unto wisdom! O how sober and thoughtful is this world, compared with what it would be were there no dying here, and were this anything but a grave-yard!

The death of infants contributes to the general effect of this solemn dispensation. But besides this, the unconscious dying infant may be the bearer of a message from the invisible world to the fond parent who weeps over his wasting form, which no other lips could deliver; and the heart that vibrated to no other touch, may yield to the blow which severs from him for ever the life of his only idolized child; and in eternity it may appear, that the only errand of that infant in this world was to die, that a parent might live a life of joy beyond the tomb. Precious in the sight of God is the soul of man, and to save it, what acts of mercy, what devices of wisdom, what clouds of ministries, does he not employ for its rescue!

But we commenced these pages with a particular instance fresh upon our heart. Poor little Frank! We have just laid him in the vault by the side of his little sister. We have returned to our desolate, childless dwelling; and while we muse and fall into a momentary reverie, we find ourselves listening to hear the patting of his little tottering feet along the hall, or the music of his infant prattle, but we are roused to the consciousness that we are alone; that the purposes for which his life was given are fulfilled, that he has accomplished his mission and returned to his Father and our Father,

to his God and our God. Our little one had a mission here, and till it was fulfilled his tender feet embraced these rugged coasts, and his gentle, innocent spirit tarried and lingered among us, then vanished like some bright dream of joy. Our hearts were diseased with worldli

ness.

There was a proneness in them to love the creature. He came, drew out our hearts, and left them bleeding and in anguish. We were making him an idol, and he withdrew from our worship; he would not receive that which belonged to God; but not till he withdrew were we fully conscious that we had offered him that which was God's.

But this was not all of our infant's errand to this world. We can now see that he was sent to be a healer of discord, and a restorer of sweet peace among our dear and cherished, but latterly somewhat alienated relatives. Between us there had sprung up, no matter how, a coolness and a reserve extremely painful as it was utterly wrong. Late months had done something towards our re-union. Intercourse had never been entirely suspended, and it was becoming more frequent, but still there were inward checks upon it, and our hearts did not flow together as was their former wont. It was for poor little Frank to adjust this difficulty, and sweetly to re-unite the hearts that once seemed separated by a gulf. After his last sickness had greatly reduced his frame, the indications of Providence, and the advice of our physician, urged us to accept an invitation to our relative's house, to try the effect of a change of air upon the little sufferer. We accordingly went. The effect at first in his favor was almost magical. But it was not to last. Little Frank did not come here to get well. He came to melt hearts that had been estranged, back again into a fountain of love and unity, and this was to be done by sacrifice-his little bed the altar, and he the victim. Oh, as we all knelt beside that bed, and blended our tears and prayers, how fully was all forgotten, how freely was all forgiven that had ever separated between us; once more it was true that our hopes, our fears, our joys, our hearts were one. Then was the sacrifice accomplished. Gently the spirit of the little sufferer released itself, the pulse of life paused, and our Frank was in heaven.

BIBLE READERS IN NORWAY AND SWEDEN.

BY REV. R. BAIRD, D. d.

It is the Word of God that is the grand instruIment which infinite wisdom has resolved to employ in effecting the regeneration of mankind and their preparation for heaven. This glorious revelation of the nature and will of God, of his purpose to save sinners of our race, and of the means by which this is to be effected, has Christ for its author and the blessed Spirit for its indicator. How wonderful is this volume! How amazing are the subjects of which it treats! How astonishing the renovations which it effects! "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple." "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honey-comb."

As with individuals, so with communities. The word of God, wherever it is brought before the minds of men in masses, soon begins to effect, through the cooperating and applying agency of the Holy Spirit, those glorious reformations in society which have so often followed the march of Christianity, wherever it has prevailed in its purity. Could the history of all these triumphs of the Truth be fully written, how wonderful and how instructive it would be! Such a history we shall never peruse in this world. This may constitute a portion of the blessed employments of heaven. But imperfect as the history of the church is, it abounds in instances of the happy influence which the reading of the Scriptures has exerted in bringing about a revival of true religion in neighborhoods where it had become almost ex

tinct.

The history of religion in our own country, furnishes some striking illustrations of the influence which the simple reading of the Scriptures and other religious books, may, through God's blessing, exert upon a community. About the year 1740, a Mr. Samuel Morris, a layman in Eastern Virginia, who had been brought to the knowledge of salvation by reading the Scrip

tures, together with Flavel's works and Luther on the Galatians, began to invite his neighbors, who, like himself, had been living in great ignorance of the Gospel, to come to his house on the Sabbath, and hear him read his favorite books. Such were the crowds that soon attended, that a house had to be built of sufficient size to contain them. To Flavel and Luther's writings, there was added a volume of Whitfield's sermons, as furnishing spiritual food for these hungry souls. They were visited in 1743 by the Rev. W. Robinson, a Presbyterian minister sent from New Jersey on a missionary tour to the south. His preaching was greatly blessed to the "Readers." Some years later, the Rev. Samuel Davies (afterwards the celebrated President of the College of New Jersey) visited these people, organized a church, and labored nearly twelve years among them with great success. The blessed work which was commenced in the reading of the Bible and other good books, spread far and wide, and its effects are visible in that country to this day.

But the most striking instances of the salutary influence of the reading of the Scriptures and other religious books which have come to my knowledge, whether through the perusal of the pages of ecclesiastical history, or through personal observation, have occurred in Norway and Sweden during the last twenty-five years.

In both of these countries, as well as in all the Protestant countries on the continent of Europe, there has been a sad decline of evangelical religion.

causes.

This has been owing to several One has been the union of the Church and the State, which exists in all of them without exception. This has rendered all proper discipline in the churches nearly impossible. It has encouraged, or at all events, has in no way hindered, the entrance of unconverted men into the ministry. It has led to the churches being filled with worldly professors, and the pulpits with unfaithful ministers, and the action and reaction of both on each other have been deplorable for the interests of sound doctrine and vital piety. "They shall be like priest like people." And they have too often been "like people like priest."

Another cause of the religious declension which has taken place in all Protestant coun

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tries on the continent, has been the many and long continued wars which have unhappily occurred since the Reformation. The influence of these wars has been eminently disastrous to pure religion. The spirit of God retreats from such awful scenes.

But there is one fact which we must never lose sight of when we contemplate the sad decline of religion which took place in all the Protestant countries in Europe, in the latter part of the last century and the beginning of the present; or rather, which more fully developed itself at that time. It is the very partial extent to which the Reformation, as a spiritual movement, reached the masses of the people in most of those countries. It is quite certain that the great bulk of the nobles and of the common people in every portion of Christendom, which embraced the Reformation in the sixteenth century, were influenced by other than purely spiritual motives. I am far from saying that these motives were not proper ones; I only affirm that they were not spiritual, and those who acted under their influence were unacquainted with that glorious emancipation of the soul which nothing but Truth can, through the agency of God's Spirit, accomplish. Many of the nobles desired the overthrow of both the political thraldom in which they were held by a superior political authority, and of the spiritual domination and insolence of the Romish hierarchy. The masses hoped to find in the Reformation, guarantees against the despotism of the monarch and of the nobles, as well as to escape from the yoke of Rome. Wherever the monarch took the lead in the Reformation, there the work was more exterior and political than interior and spiritual. This was greatly the case in Denmark and Norway, which constituted one portion, and in Sweden and Finland, which constituted another, of what is called Scandinavia. Frederick I., during whose reign Norway was united with Denmark, and the Reformation established in both, was in many respects a worthy man, but he seems to have been very little acquainted with the spiritual nature of true Christianity. It was otherwise with Gustavus Vasa, who gave freedom and a renewed national existence to Sweden, and labored with most commendable diligence to spread the glorious Reformation in his extensive kingdom, on both shores of the Gulf of Bothnia. In this blessed work he was zealously aided by Olaus and Laurentius Petri, who had received their theological education under Luther at Wittemburg. And although there can be no doubt

that the number of those in the kingdoms of Sweden and Denmark who truly received the heart-renovating doctrines of the Reformation, and brought forth their appropriate fruits, was very considerable, yet it is equally certain that the masses of people in both realms remained unaffected by its purifying faith. The celebrated Swedish historian, Geijer, says in his admirable history of his native country, that the peasants in the north part of Sweden long seemed to be wholly ignorant of the change which had come over the country, and thought, one hundred years after the Reformation had occurred, that when they were chanting the Lutheran Liturgy, they were still reciting the Breviary of the Church of Rome! Surely the Reformation was only nominal among such people.

Whatever may have been the causes, it is certain that the state of evangelical religion has long been at a low ebb in the Scandinavian countries, as well as in all the other Protestant nations on the continent. But it has pleased God to raise up, from time to time, men who labored, not without success, to revive the decayed piety of the churches. This is especially true, in our day, of Norway and Sweden.

I may remark, in passing, that the four great Scandinavian countries-Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland-embrace nearly eight millions of inhabitants, who are almost wholly Protestants. There are a few Roman Catholic churches in the kingdom of Denmark, not one in Norway, and but one in Sweden and one in Finland. The laws of Sweden and Norway,* if not of Denmark and Finland, are almost as intolerant in respect to the Roman Catholics, as are those of Italy and Spain in regard to the Protestants. And in both cases, they are utterly unwrothy of the 19th century.

In all four of the Scandinavian countries it is the Lutheran Church which is the dominant one. Indeed, no other form of Protestantism is allowed to exist in Norway and Sweden. I am sorry to say that but a small minority of the clergy in any of those countries appear to be truly converted men. A large proportion of those in Denmark and Norway are Rationalists of the German stamp; whilst in Sweden and Finland, the greater part, though well-educated and moral men, and orthodox in their creed, cannot be said to be faithful and competent preachers of the Gospel. As might be expect

*The Constitution of Norway forbids a Jesuit or a Jew to set his foot in that country.

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