"In all places, then, and in all seasons, 
      Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings, 
      Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons, 
      How akin they are to human things." - LONGFELLOW.

My stay at Babraham was short.  It was like a visit to the grave of one of those English worthies whose lives and labors are so well known and appreciated in America.  All the external features of the establishment were there unchanged.  The large and substantial mansion, with its hall and parlor walls hung with the mementoes of the genius and success that had made it so celebrated; the barns and housings for the great herds and flocks which had been dispersed over the world; the very pens still standing in which they had been folded in for the auctioneer's hammer; all these arrangements and aspects remained as they were when Jonas Webb left his home to return no more.  But all those beautiful and happy families of animal life, which he reared to such perfection, were scattered on the wings of wind and steam to the uttermost and most opposite parts of the earth.

The eldest son, Mr. Samuel Webb, who supervises part of the farm occupied by his father, and also carries on one of his own in a neighboring parish, was very cordial and courteous, and drove me to his establishment near Chesterford.  Here a steam threshing machine was at work, doing prodigious execution on different kinds of grain.  The engine had climbed, a proprii motu, a long ascent; had made its way partly through ploughed land to the rear of the barn, and was rattlingly busy in a fog of dust, doing the labor of a hundred flails.  Ricks of wheat and beans, each as large as a comfortable cottage, disappeared in quick succession through the fingers of the chattering, iron-ribbed giant, and came out in thick and rapid streams of yellow grain.  Swine seemed to be the speciality to which this son of Mr. Webb is giving some of that attention which his father gave to sheep.  There were between 200 and 300 in the barn-yards and pens, of different ages and breeds, all looking in excellent condition.

From Chesterford I went on to Cambridge, where I remained for the most part of two days, on account of a heavy fall of rain, which kept me within doors nearly all the time.  I went out, however, for an hour or so to see a Flower Show in the Town Hall.  The varieties and specimens made a beautiful, but not very extensive array.  There was one flower that not only attracted especial admiration, but invited a pleasant train of thoughts to my own mind.  It was one of those old favorites to which the common people of all countries, who speak our mother tongue, love to give an inalienable English name - The Hollyhock.  It is one of the flowers of the people, which the pedantic Latinists have left untouched in homely Saxon, because the people would have none of their long-winded and heartless appellations.  Having dwelt briefly upon the honor that Divine Providence confers upon human genius and labor, in letting them impress their finger-marks so distinctly upon the features and functions of the earth, and upon the forms of animal life, it may be a profitable recurrence to the same line of thought to notice what that same genius and labor have wrought upon the structure and face of this familiar flower.  What was it at first?  What is it now in the rural gardens of New England?  A shallow, bell-mouthed cup, in most cases purely white, and hung to a tall, coarse stalk, like the yellow jets of a mullein.  That is its natural and distinctive characteristic in all countries; at least where it is best known and most common.  What is it here, bearing the fingerprints of man's mind and taste upon it?  Its white and thin-sided cup is brim full and running over with flowery exuberance of leaf and tint infinitely variegated.  Here it is as solid, as globe-faced, and nearly as large as the dahlia.  Place it side by side with the old, single-leafed hollyhock, in a New England farmer's garden, and his wife would not be able to trace any family relationship between them, even through the spectacles with which she reads the Bible.  But the dahlia itself - what was that in its first estate, in the country in which it was first found in its aboriginal structure and complexion?  As plain and unpretending as the hollyhock; as thinly dressed as the short-kirtled daisy in a Connecticut meadow.  It is wonderful, and passing wonder, how teachable and quick of perception and prehension is Nature in the studio of Art.  She, the oldest of painters, that hung the earth, sea, and sky of the antediluvian world with landscapes, waterscapes, and cloudscapes manifold and beautiful, when as yet the human hand had never lifted a pencil to imitate her skill; she, with the colors wherewith she dyed the fleecy clouds that spread their purple drapery over the first sunset, and in which she dipped the first rainbow hung in heaven, and the first rose that breathed and blushed on earth; she that has embellished every day, since the Sun first opened its eye upon the world, with a new gallery of paintings for every square mile of land and sea, and new dissolving views for every hour - she, with all these artistic antecedents, tastes, and faculties, comes modestly into the conservatory of the floriculturist, and takes lessons of him in shaping and tinting plants and flowers which the Great Master said were "all very good" on the sixth-day morning of the creation!  This is marvellous, showing a prerogative in human genius almost divine, and worthy of reverent and grateful admiration.  How wide-reaching and multigerent is this prerogative!  In how many spheres of action it works simultaneously in these latter days!  See how it manipulates the brute forces of Nature!  See how it saddles the winds, and bridles and spurs the lightning!  See how it harnesses steam to the plough, the flood to the spindle, the quick cross currents of electricity to the newsman's phaeton!  Then ascend to higher reaches of its faculty.  In the hands of a Bakewell or Webb, it gives a new and creative shaping to multitudinous generations of animal life.  Nature yields to its suggestion and leading, and co-works, with all her best and busiest activities, to realise the human ideal; to put muscle there, to straighten that vertebra, to parallel more perfectly those dorsal and ventral lines, to lengthen or shorten those bones; to flesh the leg only to such a joint, and wool or unwool it below; to horn or unhorn the head, to blacken or blanch the face, to put on the whole body a new dress and make it and its remote posterity wear this new form and costume for evermore.  All this shows how kindly and how proudly Nature takes Art into partnership with her, in these new structures of beauty and perfection; both teaching and taught, and wooing man to work with her, and walk with her, and talk with her within the domain of creative energies; to make the cattle and sheep of ten thousand hills and valleys thank the Lord, out of the grateful speech of their large, lustrous eyes, for better forms and features, and faculties of comfort than their early predecessors were born to.

Equally wonderful, perhaps more beautiful, is the joint work of Nature and Art on the sweet life and glory of flowers.  However many they were, and what they were, that breathed upon the first Spring or Summer day of time, each was a half-sealed gift of God to man, to be opened by his hand when his mind should open to a new sense of beauty and perfection.  Flowers, each with a genealogy reaching unbroken through the Flood back to the overhanging blossoms of Eden, have come down to us, as it were, only in their travelling costume, with their best dresses packed away in stamen, or petal, or private seedcase, to be brought out at the end of fifty centuries at the touch of human genius.  Those of which Solomon sang in his time, and which exceeded his glory in their every-day array, even "the hyssop by the wall," never showed, on the gala-days of his Egyptian bride, the hidden charms which he, in his wisdom, knew not how to unlock.  Flowers innumerable are now, like illuminated capitals of Nature's alphabet, flecking, with their sheen-dots, prairie, steppe, mountain and meadow, the earth around, which, perhaps, will only give their best beauties to the world in a distant age.  As the light of the latest-created and remotest stars has not yet completed its downward journey to the eye of man, so to his sight have not these sweet-breathing constellations of the field yet made the full revelation of their treasured hues and forms.  Not one in a hundred of them all has done this up to the present moment.  When one in ten of those that bless us with their life and being shall put on all its reserved beauty, then, indeed, the stars above and the stars below will stud the firmaments in which they shine with equal glory, and blend both in one great heaven-scape for the eye and heart of man.  One by one, in its turn, the key of human genius shall unlock the hidden wardrobe of the commonest flowers, and deck them out in the court dress reserved, for five thousand years, to be worn in the brighter, afternoon centuries of the world.  The Mistress of the Robes is a high dignitary in the Household of Royalty, and has her place near to the person of the Queen.  But the Floriculturist, of educated perception and taste, is the master of a higher state robe, and holds the key of embroidered vestments, cosmetics, tintings, artistries, hair-jewels, head-dresses, brooches, and bracelets, which no empress ever wore since human crowns were made; which Nature herself could not show on all the bygone birthdays of her being.

This is marvellous.  It is an honor to man, put upon him from above, as one of the gratuitous dignities of his being.  "An undevout astronomer is mad," said one who had opened his mind to a broad grasp of the wonders which this upper heaven holds in its bosom.  The floriculturist is an astronomer, with Newton's telescope reversed; and if its revelations do not stir up holy thoughts in his soul, he is blind as well as mad.  No glass, no geometry that Newton ever lifted at the still star-worlds above, could do more than reveal.  At the farthest stretch of their faculty, they could only bring to light the life and immortality of those orbs which the human eye had never seen before.  They could not tint nor add a ray to one of them all.  They never could bring down to the reach of man's unaided vision a single star that Noah could not see through the deck-lights of the ark.  It was a gift and a glory that well rewarded the science and genius of Newton and Herschel, of Adams and Le Verrier, that they could ladder these mighty perpendicular distances and climb the rounds to such heights and sweeps of observation, and count, measure, and name orbs and orbits before unknown, and chart the paths of their rotations and weigh them, as in scales, while in motion.  But this ge -astronomer, whose observatory is his conservatory, whose telescope and fluxions are his trowel and watering-pot, not only brings to light the hidden life of a thousand earth-stars, but changes their forms, colors their rays, half creates and transforms, until each differs as much from its original structure and tinting as the planet Jupiter would differ from its familiar countenance if Adams or Le Verrier could make it wear the florid face of Mars.  This man, - and it is to be hoped he carries some devout and grateful thoughts to his work - sets Nature new lessons daily in artistry, and she works out the new ideals of his taste to their joint and equal admiration.  He has got up a new pattern for the fern.  She lets him guide her hand in the delicate operation, and she crimps, fringes, shades or shapes its leaflets to his will, even to a thousand varieties.  He moistens her fingers with the fluids she uses on her easel, and puts them to the rootlets of the rose, and they transpose its hues, or fringe it or tinge it with a new glory.  He goes into the fen or forest, or climbs the jutting crags of lava-mailed mountains, and brings back to his fold one of Nature's foundlings, - a little, pale-faced orphan, crouching, pinched and starved, in a ragged hood of dirty muslin; and he puts it under the fostering of those maternal fingers, guided by his own.  Soon it feels the inspiration of a new life warming and swelling its shrivelled veins.  Its paralysed petals unfold, one by one.  The rim of its cup fills, leaf by leaf, to the brim.  It becomes a thing most lovely and fair, and he introduces it, with pride, to the court beauties of his crystal palace.

The agriculturist is taken into this co-partnership of Nature in a higher domain of her activities, measured by the great utilities of human life.  We have glanced at the joint-work in her animal kingdom.  In the vegetable, it is equally wonderful.  Nature contributes the raw material of these great and vital industries, then incites and works out human suggestions.  Thus she trains and obeys the mind and hand of man, in this grand sphere of development.  Their co-working and its result are just as perceptible in a common Irish potato as in the most gorgeous dahlia ever exhibited.  Not one farmer in a thousand has ever read the history of that root of roots, in value to mankind; has ever conceived what a tasteless, contracted, water-soaked thing it was in its wild and original condition.  Let them read a few chapters of the early history of New England, and they will see what it was two hundred and fifty years ago, when the strong-hearted men and women, whom Hooker led to the banks of the Connecticut, sought for it in the white woods of winter, scraping away the snow with their frosted fingers.  The largest they found just equalled the Malaga grape in size and resembled it in complexion.  They called it the ground-nut, for it seemed akin to the nuts dropped by the oaks of different names.  No flower that breathes on earth has been made to produce so many varieties of form, complexion, and name as this homely root.  It would be an interesting and instructive enterprise, to array all the varieties of this queen of esculent vegetables which Europe and America could exhibit, face to face with all the varieties which the dahlia, geranium, pansy, or even the fern has produced, and then see which has been numerically the most prolific in diversification of forms and features.  It should gratify a better motive than curiosity to trace back the history of other roots to their aboriginal condition.  Types of the original stock may now be found, in waste places, in the wild turnip, wild carrot, parsnip, etc.  "Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little," it may be truly and gratefully said, these roots, internetted with the very life-fibres of human sustenance, have been brought to their present perfection and value.  The great governments and peoples of the world should give admiring and grateful thought to this fact.  Here nature co-works with the most common and inartistic of human industries, as they are generally held, with faculties as subtle and beautiful as those which she brings to bear upon the choicest flowers.  The same is true of grains and grasses for man and beast.  They come down to us from a kind of heathen parentage, receiving new forms and qualities from age to age.  The wheats, which make the bread of all the continents, now exhibit varieties which no one has undertaken to enumerate.  Fruits follow the same rule, and show the same joint-working of Nature and Art as in the realm of flowers.

The wheel within wheel, the circle within circle expand and ascend until the last circumferential line sweeps around all the world of created being, even taking in, upon the common radius, the highest and oldest of the angels.  From the primrose peering from the hedge to the premier seraph wearing the coronet of his sublime companionship; from the lowest forms of vegetable existence to the loftiest reaches of moral nature this side of the Infinite, this everlasting law of co-working rules the ratio of progress and development.  In all the concentric spheres strung on the radius measured by these extremes, there is the same co-acting of internal and external forces.  And mind, of man or angel, guides and governs both.  Not a flower that ever breathed on earth, not one that ever blushed in Eden, could open all its hidden treasures of beauty without the co-working of man's mind and taste.  No animal that ever bowed its neck to his yoke, or gave him labor, milk or wool, could come to the full development of its latent vitalities and symmetries without the help of his thought and skill.  The same law obtains in his own physical nature.  Mind has made it what it is to-day, as compared with the wild features and habits of its aboriginal condition.  Mind has worked for five thousand years upon its fellow-traveller through time, to fit it more and more fully for the companionship.  It was delivered over to her charge naked, with its attributes and faculties as latent and dormant as those of the wild rose or dahlia.  Through all the ages long, she has worked upon its development; educating its tastes; taming its appetites; refining its sensibilities; multiplying and softening its enjoyments; giving to every sense a new capacity and relish of delight; cultivating the ear for music, and ravishing it with the concord of sweet sounds; cultivating the eye to drink in the glorious beauty of the external world, then adding to natural sceneries ten thousand pictures of mountain, valley, river, man, angel, and scenes in human and heaven's history, painted by the thought-instructed hand; cultivating the palate to the most exquisite sensibilities, and exploring all the zones for luxuries to gratify them; cultivating the fine finger-nerves to such perception that they can feel the pulse of sleeping notes of music; cultivating the still finer organism that catches the subtle odors on the wing, and sends their separate or mingled breathings through every vein and muscle from head to foot.

The same law holds good in the development of mind.  It has now reached such an altitude, and it shines with such lustre, that our imagination can hardly find the way down to the morning horizon of its life, and measure its scope and power in the dim twilight of its first hours in time.  The simple fact of its first condition would now seem to most men as exaggerated fancies, if given in the simplest forms of truthful statement.  With all the mighty faculties to which it has come; with its capacity to count, name, measure and weigh stars that Adam, nor Moses, nor Solomon ever saw; with all the forces of nature it has subdued to the service of man, it cannot tell what simplest facts of the creation had to be ascertained by its first, feeble and confused reasonings.  No one of to-day can say how low down in the scale of intelligence the human mind began to exercise its untried faculties; what apposition and deduction of thoughts it required to individualise the commonest objects that met the eye; even to determine that the body it animated was not an immovable part of the earth itself; to obtain fixed notions of distance, of color, light, and heat; to learn the properties and uses of plants, herbs, and fruits; even to see the sun sink out of sight with the sure faith that it would rise again.  It was gifted with no instinct, to decide these questions instantly and mechanically.  They had all to pass through the varied processes of reason.  The first bird that sang in Eden, built its first nest as perfectly as its last.  But, thought by thought, the first human mind worked out conclusions which the dullest beast or bird reached instantly without reason.  What wonderful co-working of internal and external influences was provided to keep thought in sleepless action; to open, one by one, the myriad petals of the mind!  Nature, with all its shifting sceneries, filled every new scope of vision with objects that hourly set thought at play in a new line of reflection.  Then, out of man's physical being came a thousand still small voices daily, whispering, Think! think!  The first-born necessities, few and simple, cried, "Think! for we want bread, we want drink, we want shelter and raiment against the cold."  The finer senses cried continually, "Give! give thought to this, to that."  The Eye, the Ear, the Palate and every other organ that could receive and diffuse delight, worked the mental faculties by day and night, up to the last sunset of the antediluvian world; and all the intellectual result of this working Noah took with him into the ark, and gave to his sons to hand over to succeeding ages.  Flowers that Eve stuck in the hair of the infant Abel are just now opening the last casket of their beauty to the favored children of our time.  This, in itself, is a marvellous instance of the law we are noticing.  But what is this to the processes of thought and observation through which the mind of man has reached its present expansion; through which it has developed all these sciences, arts, industries and tastes, the literature and the intellectual life of these bright days of humanity!  The figure is weak, and every figure would be weak when applied to the ratio or the result of this progression; but, at what future age of time, or of the existence beyond time, will the mind, that has thus wrought on earth, open its last petal, put forth no new breathing, unfold no new beauty under the eye of the Infinite, who breathed it, as an immortal atom of His own essence, into the being of man?

Follow the radius up into the next concentric circle, and we see this law working to finer and sublimer issues in man's moral nature.  We have glanced at what the mind has done for and through his physical faculties and being; how that being has re-acted upon the mind, and kept all its capacities at work in procuring new delight to the eye, ear, palate, and all the senses that yearned for enjoyment.  We have noticed how the inside and outside world acted upon his reasoning powers in the dawn of creation; how slowly they mastered the simplest facts and phenomena of life in and around them, how slowly they expanded, through the intervening centuries, to their present development.  The mind is the central personage in the trinity of man's being; linking the mortal and immortal to its life and action; vitalising the body with intelligence, until every vein, muscle, and nerve, and function thrills and moves to the impulse of thought; vitalising the soul with the vigorous activities of reason, giving hands as well as wings to its hopes, faiths, loves, and aspirations; giving a faculty of speech, action, and influence to each, and play to all the tempers and tendencies of its moral nature.  Thus all the influences that the mind could inhale from the material world through man's physical being, and all it could draw out of the depths of Divine revelation, were the dew and the light which it was its mission to bring to the fostering, growth, and glory of the human soul.  These were man's means wherewith to shape it for its great destiny; these he was to bring to its training and expansion; with these he was to co-work with the Infinite Father of Spirits to fit it for His presence and fellowship, just as he co-works with Nature in developing the latent life and faculties of the rose.  What distillations of spiritual influence have dropped down out of heaven, through the ages, to help onward this joint work!  What histories of human experience have come in the other direction to the same end! - fraught with the emotions of the human heart, from the first sin and sorrow of Adam to our own griefs, hopes, and joys; and all so many lessons for the discipline of this high-born nature with us!

And yet how slow and almost imperceptible has been the development of this nature!  How gently and gradually the expanding influences, human and divine, have been let in upon its latent faculties!  See with what delicate fostering the petals of love, faith, and hope were taught to open, little by little, their hidden life and beauty, - taking Moses' history of the process.  First, one human being on the earth, surrounded with beasts and birds that could give him no intelligent companionship and no fellow-feeling.  Then the beautiful being created to meet these awakening yearnings of his nature; then the first outflow and interchange of human love.  The narrative brings us to the next stage of the sentiment.  Sin and sorrow afflict, but unite, both hearts in the saddest experience of humanity.  They are driven out of the Eden of their first condition, but their very sufferings and fears re-Eden their mutual attachments in the very thorns of their troubles and sorrows.  Then another being, of their own flesh, heir to their changed lot, and to these attachments, is added to their companionship.  The first child's face that heaven or earth ever saw, opened its baby eyes on them and smiled in the light of their parental love.  The history goes on.  In process of time, there is a family of families, called a community, embracing hundreds of individuals connected by ties of blood so attenuated that they possess no binding influence.  Common interests, affinities, and sentiments supply the place of family relationship, and make laws of amity and equity for them as a population.  Next we have a community of communities, or a commonwealth of these individual populations, generally called a nation.  Here is a lesson for the moral nature.  Here are thousands and tens of thousands of men who never saw each others' faces.  Will this expanded orb of humanity revolve around the same centre as the first family circle, or the first independent community?  How can you give it cohesion and harmony?  Extend the radii of family relationship and influence to its circumference in every direction.  Throne the sovereign in a parent's chair, to execute a father's laws.  He shall treat them as children, and they each other as brethren.  Here is a grand programme for human society.  Here is a vigorous discipline for the wayward will and temper of the human heart.  How is a man to feel and act in these new conditions?  How is he to regulate his hates and loves, his passions and appetites, to comply properly with these extended and complicated relationships?

About half way from Adam's day to ours, there came an utterance from Mount Sinai that anticipated and answered these questions once for all, and for one and all.  In that august revelation of the Divine Mind, every command of the Decalogue swung open upon the pivot of a not, except one; and that one referred to man's duty to man, and the promise attached to its fulfilment was only an earthly enjoyment.  All the rest were restrictive; to curb this appetite, to bar that passion, to hedge this impulse, to check that disposition; in a word, to hold back the hand from open and positive transgression.  Even the first, relating to His own Godhead and requirements, was but the first of the series of negatives, a pure and simple prohibition of idolatry.  No reward of keeping this first great law, reaching beyond the boundary of a temporal condition, was promised at its giving out.  With the headstrong passions, lusts, appetites, and tempers of flesh and blood bridled and bitted by these restrictions, and with no motives to obedience beyond the awards of a short life on earth, the human soul groped its way through twenty centuries after the Revelation of Sinai, feeling for the immortality which was not yet revealed to it, even "as through a glass darkly."  Here and there, but thinly scattered through the ages, divinely illumined men caught, through the parting seams of the veil, a transient glimpse and ray of the life to come.  Here and there, obscurely and hesitatingly, they refer to this vision of their faith.  Here and there we seem to see a hope climbing up out of a good man's heart into the pathless mystery of a future existence, and bringing back the fragment of a leaf which it believes must have grown on one of the trees of life immortal.  Moses, Job, David, and Isaiah give us utterances that savor of this belief; but they leave us in the dark in reference to its influence upon their lives.  We cannot glean from these incidental expressions, whether it brought them any steady comfort, or sensibly affected their happiness.

Thus, for four thousand years, the soul of man dashed its wings against the prison-bars of time, peering into the night through the cold, relentless gratings for some fugitive ray of the existence of which it had such strong and sleepless presentiment.  It is a mystery.  It may seem irreverent to approach it even with a conjecture.  Human reason should be humble and silent before it, and close its questioning lips.  It may not, however, transcend its prerogative to say meekly, perhaps.  Perhaps, then, for two-thirds of the duration that the sun has measured off to humanity, that life and immortality which the soul groped after were veiled from its vision, until all its mental and spiritual faculties had been trained and strengthened to the ability to grasp and appropriate the great fact when it should be revealed.  Perhaps it required all the space of forty centuries to put forth feelers and fibres capable of clinging to the revelation with the steady hold of faith.  Perhaps it was to prove, by long, decisive probation, what the unaided human mind could do in constructing its idealisms of immortality.  Perhaps it was permitted to erect a scaffolding of conceptions on which to receive the great revelation at the highest possible level of thought and instinctive sentiment to which man could attain without supernatural light and help.  If this last perhaps is preferable to the others, where was this scaffolding the highest?  Over Confucius, or Socrates, or the Scandinavian seer, or Druid or Aztec priest?  Was it highest at Athens, because there the great apostle to the Gentiles planted his feet upon it, and said, in the ears of the Grecian sophists, "Him whom ye ignorantly worship declare I unto you?"  At that brilliant centre of pagan civilization it might have reached its loftiest altitude, measured by a purely intellectual standard; but morally, this scaffolding was on the same low level of human life and character all the world around.  The immortalities erected by Egyptian or Grecian philosophy were no purer, in moral conception and attributes, than the mythological fantasies of the North American Indians.  In them all, human nature was to have the old play of its passions and appetites; in some of them, a wider sweep and sway.  There was not one in the whole set of Grecian deities half so moral and pure, in sentiment and conduct, as Socrates; nor were Jupiter and his subordinate celestials better than the average kings and courts of Greece.  Out of the hay, wood, and stubble of sheer fancy the human mind was left to raise these fantastic structures.  They exercised and entertained the imagination, but brought no light nor strength to the soul; no superior nor additional motives to shape the conduct of life.  But they did this, undoubtedly, with all their delusions; they developed the thought of immortality among the most benighted races of men.  Their most perplexing unrealities kept the mind restless and almost eager for some supplementary manifestation; so that, when the Star of Bethlehem shone out in the sky of Palestine, there were men looking heavenward with expectant eyes at midnight.  From that hour to this, and among pagan tribes of the lowest moral perception, the heralds of the Great Revelation have found the thought of another existence active though confused.  They have found everywhere a platform already erected, like that on which Paul stood in the midst of Mars Hill, and on which they could stand and say to heathen communities, "Him whom ye ignorantly worship declare I unto you!  That future life and immortality which your darkened eyes and hungry souls have been groping and hungering for, bring we to you, bright as the sun, in this great gospel of Divine Love."  Had the Star of Bethlehem appeared a century earlier, it might not have met an upturned eye.  If the Saviour of Mankind had come into the world in Solomon's day, not even a manger might have been found to cradle His first moments of human life; no Simeon waiting in the temple to greet the great salvation He brought to our race in His baby hands.

Here, then, commences, as it were, the central era of the soul's training in time.  Here heaven opened upon it the full sunlight and sunwarmth of its glorious life and immortality.  Here fell upon its opening faculties the dews and rays and spiritual influences which were to shape its being and destiny.  Here commenced such co-working to this end as can find no measure nor simile in any other sphere of co-operative activities in the world below or above.  Here the trinity of man and the Trinity of the Godhead came into a co-action and fellowship overpassing the highest outside wonder of the universe.  And all this co-working, fellowship, and partnership has been repeated in the experience of every individual soul that has been fitted for this great immortality.  Here, too, this co-working is a law, not an incident; most marvellously, mightily, and minutely a law, as legislatively and executively as that which we have seen acting upon the development of the flower.  Had not the great apostle, who was caught up into the third heavens and heard things unutterable, spoken of this law in such bold words, it would seem rash and irreverent in us to approach so near to its sublime revelation.  Not ours but his they are; and it is bold enough in us to repeat them.  He said it: that He, to whose name every knee should bow, and every tongue confess; to whom belonged and who should possess and rule all the kingdoms of the earth, "was made under the law," not of Moses, not of human nature only, but under this very law of CO-WORKING.  Through this the world was to be regenerated and filled with His life and light.  Through this a new creation was to be enfolded in the bosom of His glory, of grander dimensions and of diviner attributes than that over which the morning stars sang at the birth of time.  Said this law to the individual soul, "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you to will and to do of His own good pleasure."  To will and to do.  It is His own good will and pleasure that the soul shall be fitted and lifted up to its high destiny through this co-working.  It was His power to raise it to that condition without man's participation or conscious acquiescence; but it was His will and pleasure to enact this law of salvation.  Looking across the circumference of the individual soul, what says this law?  "Go ye out into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and, lo, I am with you unto the end," - not as an invisible companion, not merely with the still, small voice of the Comforter to cheer you in trial, weakness and privation; but with you as a co-worker, with the irresistible energies of the Spirit of Power.  He might have done the whole work alone.  He might have sent forth twelve, and twelve times twelve legions of angels, and given each a voice as loud as his who is to wake the dead, and bid them preach His gospel in the ears of every human being.  He might have given a tongue to every breathing of the breeze, an articulate speech to every ray of light, and sent them out with their ceaseless voices on the great errand of His love.  It was his power to do this.  He did not do it, because it was His will and pleasure to put Himself under this law we have followed so far; to make men His co-workers in this new creation, and co-heirs with Him in all its joy and glory.  So completely has He made this law His rule of action, that, for eighteen hundred years, we have not a single instance in which the life and immortality which He brought to light have been revealed to a human soul without the direct and active participation of a human instrumentality.  So completely have His meekest servants on earth put themselves under this law, that not one of them dares to expect, hope, or pray that He will reveal Himself to a single benighted heathen mind without this human co-working.

Thus, begin where you will, in the flower of the field or the hyssop by the wall, and ascend from sphere to sphere, until there is no more space in things and beings created to draw another circumferential line, and you will see the action and the result of this great law of Co-operative Activities.  When I first looked within the lids of that hollyhock, and was incited to read the rudimental lessons of the new leaves that man's art had added to its scant, original volume, I had no thought of finding so much matter printed on its pages.  I have transcribed it here in the order of its paragraphs, hoping that some who read them may see in this life of flowers an interest they may have partially overlooked.