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A HANDBOOK

TO

THE CHRISTIAN YEAR.

INTRODUCTION.

I CALL this book a Handbook to the Christian Year. A Handbook is a sort of guide, a help-something to teach you. So a Handbook to the Christian Year means a book that will point out to you the various duties, in their regular order, which appertain to the Christian Year, as they are taught in the Prayer Book.

But I must first explain to you the meaning of Christian Year.

You all know the meaning that is, if you think a minute you will find that you do-of the Natural Year. You know that on the first day of the year-New Year's Day--it is very cold and bleak, with rain, or perhaps colder snow and ice, and the days are very dark and dreary. In two or three months

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the snow disappears, the ice melts away, the weather becomes warmer, the birds build their nests, and cruel boys often rob them of the eggs, not minding the cry and plaining of the poor mother bird : little lambs are born, the grass springs green in the meadows, the trees put out their leaves, primroses and violets grow on the hedge banks, and the fields are covered with daisies. This is SPRING.

Yet two or three months and the weather is warmer still. All the country is full of sunlight, and the days are long and the nights short and cheerful. The trees are so thick in leaf that the birds are quite hidden. The sheep want shearing, their coats are so thick and warm. They and the cattle are not brought home at night, but are left in the open fields ; and wanderers and poor unhappy persons who have no home, do not much care for sleeping out at nights, because it is quite warm. Children play in the hay-fields, and gather dog-roses and honeysuckle in the hedges. · Cherries and strawberries, and gooseberries and currants are ripe; beans and peas, and cabbages and other good things, have all grown ready for our use. The corn, which in Spring looked only like thin blades of grass, is now tall and strong, and full in the ear--that is, the ears, though green and unripe, are swelling out, and seem as if they would, by-and-by, be full of the flour of

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