' You have been plundering from Hervey,' said a friend good-humouredly the other day, who traced, as he thought, a resemblance between these chapters and Hervey's Meditations, strong enough to warrant the charge. My reply was, simply and truly, that I never had read the book. Indeed, I remembered having seen it in my father's possession, when a child; but had not perused it. However, I resolved to write no more on the subject, until I should have made myself acquainted with a production that every one is supposed to have read : and a rich treat it afforded me. Still I do not see that my poor little chapters have arrived within any degree of comparison with this beautiful work: nor do I detect a closer approximation of thought than what is founded on the language of that blessed book, by which Hervey interpreted the great volume of creation. It is there that Christ is set forth as the Sun of Righteousness, leading every reflective mind to follow up the points of the brilliant type : it is there that our attention is directed to the lilies of the field, with a special reference to their beautiful attire, as the providential allotment of God. There it is, that the flower is set forth, as a touching emblem alike of man's goodliness and his decay, while the heavens are made to declare the glory of God, and every element to furnish some vivid illustration of His power and love. In fact, when two people come to investigate the same subject, under the same teacher, and with feelings just similar, even though they hold no previous communication one with another, still they can hardly do otherwise than fall occasionally into the same train of thought; and, in the paucity of words to convey the multitude of ideas, to use expressions very similar. I never aspired to originality, because I should be unwilling to think that none had trodden the path of flowers with feelings as delicious as are mine, when revelling in the garden sweets: but, as another friend to whom I repeated the remark of the former, told me she had heard it made by many, I take this method of assuring all my kind readers, upon my honest word, that I never read Hervey's work until this very day; consequently, I am not a plunderer.
But, had not the good-humoured hint of my friend led me to examine Hervey, I should have committed myself, irretrievably, in the opinion of all suspicious readers : for I had a tale in reserve, a most touching story, concerning one whom I must have identified with the Passion-flower ; as I have done so for years, owing to an incident where that flower led to singular results. I find that Hervey has expatiated upon it too largely, to leave me any thing to say: and in another instance, where the Sensitive plant was the type, I read with surprise, almost consternation, what I had supposed to be my own exclusive cogitations as yet uncommitted to paper. This has straitened me a little, in my floral biography : but I am not daunted ; and the slight mortification arising from Deing denounced as a plagiarist, is most abundantly overpaid by the acquisition of so sweet a companion for my flower garden, as I have discovered in Hervey.
Gaily, indeed, is that spot now decked with the bright children of May: but I am inclined, before proceeding in the survey, to enlarge on an event which occurred when I was quite a little girl, and which left a lasting impression on my mind. I was straying in the garden, searching for some polyanthus, and other dwarf flowers, to select a small bouquet; when, in the midst of my operations, I found myself suddenly attacked, in a most extraordinary manner. The bed where I was groping for flowers had, from neglect, become much encumbered by weeds, and in reaching at a fragrant Ranunculus, I came in contact with a flourishing cluster of nettles. The result was, of course, very distressing: my hand swelled, and became extremely painful, and, in the irritation of the moment, my childish resentment prompted me to lay hold on the unprovoked aggressors, to tear them up, and fling them beyond the garden pales. This desire gave way, however, to a more prudential feeling, knowing that there was no defence for an unarmed hand, against their thousand invisible stings. I therefore contented myself with determining to point them out to the gardener, and walked away, in quest of some cooling dock-leaves to soften the smart.
Returning shortly after, I beheld a bee most busily plying her trade among the blossoms of similar weeds ; and perceiving that thev evidently contained no small store of honey, I cautiously drew a flower from its cup, put it to my lips, and was delighted with the sweetness that rewarded my enterprize. I made a feast, when I had been severely wounded; and retired, congratulating myself on the exercise of that forbearance, which had issued in far more pleasing results than would have followed a hostile attack on the unequal foe.
Now, I am not going to indentify the nettles as individuals ; but, as a class, how aptly do they typify too many who are scattered throughout the professing Church of Christ! Mingled among the flowery shrubs, and fruitful blossoms, of the Lord's garden, they deceive the unsuspecting stranger, who, forgeting that tares will grow with wheat, and weeds with flowers, fears no ill where the Lord is acknowledged as rightful possessor of the soil. The out-stretched hand is met by a stab ; and drawn back in wondering incredulity that, from the fair green foliage, adorned with clustering flowers, and holding its place among the choicest of the parterre, such darts should have been projected, such venom have oozed forth. But the fact is beyond dispute, and the deed proclaims an alien unfit to mingle with the fragrant offspring of an enclosed garden. It seems almost a point of duty to draw the traitor forth, exposed to public reprobation, and banished from the sacred spot; but the Lord hath spoken : " Avenge not yourselves," " Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And faith commits her cause to that unerring hand, leaving the enemy unmolested, to seek a balsam for the smart—and singular it is, that where nettles abound, the spreading dock is never far off. The emissaries of Satan have permission to wound; but the Healer is always nigh, and needs but to be sought in the hour of suffering. There is that which will soothe the throbbing anguish of a thousand stings; and cool the fever of a spirit, where fiery darts have exhausted all their burning venom.