In one place near the Hospice of St. Bernard, I met with a curious natural conservatory. The under surface of the snow having been melted by the warmth of the soil, which in Alpine regions is always markedly higher than that of the air, was not in contact with it. A snowy vault was thus formed, glazed on the top with thin plates of transparent ice; and here grew a most lovely cushion of the Aretia Helvetica, covered with hundreds of its delicate rosy flowers, like a miniature hydrangea blossom. The dark color of the soil favored the absorption of heat; and, prisoned in its crystal cave, this little fairy grew and blossomed securely from the very heart of winter, the unfavorable circumstances around all seeming so many ministers of good, increasing its strength, and enhancing its loveliness.'
This delightful little sketch of nature by Mr. Hugh Macmillan may be paralleled in the kingdom of grace; for in the cold shade of poverty, protected from a thousand temptations by that very scant, and in the centre of sinful society, stimulated to a bolder confession by the surrounding opposition, we have met with the rarest specimens of grace. Where every influence appeared to be deadly, the most vigorous spiritual life has been produced.