Trees of Righteousness
In their changeful beauty trees possess a peculiar advantage over all other forms of vegetation. Though they are always ornamental, yet, whether viewed alone, or seen in wild sylvan masses, they look the loveliest in Nature’s decay. Fair are the woods in spring, when first their leafy boughs unfold the bright and exquisitely tender verdure of a new life. Fairer still they seem in the deep beauty of their summer foliage, with its tints of richest green, extending cool and inviting shades and filling the air with the soft sweet music of their rustling leaves. But fairest by far are the trees in the fall of the year. Well has it been said, "As golden Autumn steals over the forest comes the period of its richest glory; that in which the painter revels, vainly tasking his palette for its imitation; and though these bright hues are the tokens of decay, the foliage has a glory in its approaching dissolution unknown to it in youth and vigour." Then the birch shines one mass of burnished gold. The beech is resplendent with brightest tints of orange. The "ensanguined dogwood" after a purple stage passes into the most intense crimson. Many rich brown hues adorn the oak; the maple family assume a splendid mantle of variegated colour; while, in addition to these:
"A thousand tints which Flora, dressed in all her pride of bloom, could scarcely equal, decorates the groves."
Thus is it in the life of a believer. It is brighter and more lovely towards the close.
"The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Prov.4:18)
He may truly take up the language of the Apostle: "Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." (2 Cor.4:16) Bright as he appears in the springtime of conversion, or in the summer beauty of developed Christian character, it is in the autumn hours of approaching decay that the child of God is seen in his fairest colours. His last days are his best, for then his departing spirit seems to receive a hallowing foretaste of the glory it is about to enter.