PEARLS are valued for their beauty; and some of them are so costly that none but princes, or people of great wealth, can afford to possess them. Yet today, as I was riding near Gardner, in northern 

Massachusetts, I saw millions of them as bright and beautiful as ever decked the brow of an empress. 

Here, as in many parts of New England, a fresh growth of shrubs and young trees covers hillside and valley in every direction. The boughs of these were ornamented in the most gorgeous manner. A recent rain had loaded them with ice-crystals, which, when shone across by the sun, glistened and sparkled like the most brilliant diamonds. The light graceful forms of the gray birches, with their long delicate sprays, drooping low under their glittering treasures, presented the appearance of a shower of silver rain, glowing with a phosphorescent light, or mingled with liquid fire. 

As the train whirled along, the ever-varying undulations of the landscape continually presented new forms and new groupings. In a rapture of surprise and admiration I gazed upon the glittering panorama, and I thought, "What could be more beautiful!" I could hardly see how the pearly gates themselves could surpass in loveliness the resplendent view so freely spread out here upon this "dull cold earth" for the admiration of all who had the taste to appreciate it, or the inclination to behold. 

Yet, among the numerous passengers on board the train, there were but few who seemed to take any special interest in this rare exhibition of exquisite beauty. Alas, how much of the best enjoyment of life is lost, for want of appreciation on our part! Daily and hourly, our heavenly Father is endeavoring to draw us toward himself, not only by his word, but also by the wonderful display of wisdom, power, and goodness, with which he surrounds us in all seasons, and under all circumstances. 

Furthermore, our great Teacher is continually trying, by exhibitions of beauty, grandeur, and loveliness, to cultivate in us such tastes as will fit us to enjoy the beauties of heaven, and thus make us 

happier both here and hereafter. If we should heed these lessons better, it would not retard our true prosperity in the ordinary affairs of life, while it would greatly favor our advancement in learning, and afford us a most valuable source of enjoyment. He who has learned to hold sweet communion with nature, has the best antidote against loneliness; for since the works of God are always before him, he always has an interesting theme of meditation. 

Such a habit is not only conducive to enjoyment, but it leads the mind to the Creator, who originates all these beautiful forms. Thus it works upon our devotional feelings, and promotes spiritual growth. When Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean, he dropped upon his knees, and praised God. 

Just so the lover of nature feels his heart swell with, rapture and devotion, as he admires the handiwork of its great Author. On a clear night, the innumerable stars remind us of the' immensity of God's works; if it be dark, the certainty of coming day suggests the constancy of that Being who holds the worlds in his hand; the rosy light of morning proves the faithfulness of him who has promised that seed-time and harvest, day and night, shall not cease; as the sunlight quickens all nature, so the Holy Spirit warms into life and activity the Christian graces. When the day is cloudy, we know that the sun is still shining on the other side of the cloud, and is just as near as ever; just so we may know in times of sorrow and adversity that God's watchful care is still over us, and that his love is not withdrawn from us. The raging storm purifies the atmosphere; and so, deep afflictions and fierce temptations may purify the heart by driving us near to God. 

The chief beauties and choicest blessings that this world can afford, are free to all. The beauties of the landscape, the loveliness of flowers, the azure sky, the fleecy clouds, the gorgeous sunset, the glittering snow, the brilliant stark the soft light of the moon, are denied to none. Air and water, 

food and friends; the promises of God's word, salvation through Christ,—all these are ours to enjoy. Why, then, should we envy those who have hoarded gold and silver, or who can wear costly pearls, since so many richer blessings are showered upon God's creatures everywhere. When we come to appreciate these things as we should, we shall find a source of much pure happiness, and a means of avoiding many temptations.