Posted in devotionals, theology

Are you done with butterfly hunting?

By Elizabeth Prata

Charles Spurgeon stumbled across Puritan Thomas Manton’s works and was immediately captivated by them. Enchanted, he reformatted some of Manton’s sermons into a devotional form. The result was a book called Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden, by Charles Spurgeon, 1883. Here is one of them.


It is time that I am done with all butterfly-hunting!

“As children catch at butterflies—the gaudy wings melt away in their fingers, and there remains nothing but an ugly worm!”

Such is the end of all earthly ambitions! They cost us a weary pursuit, and if we gain our desire—it is destroyed in the grasping of it!

Alas, poor rich man, who has wealth—but has lost the power to enjoy it!

Alas, poor famous man, who in hunting for honor, has learned its emptiness!

Alas, poor beautiful woman, who in making a conquest of a false heart, has pierced her own with undying sorrow!

A butterfly-hunt takes a child into danger, wearies him, trips him down, and often ends in his missing the pretty insect. If, however, the boy is able to knock down his victim with his hat—he has crushed the beauty for which he undertook the chase, and his victory defeats him!

The parallel is clear to every eye. For my part, let me sooner be the schoolboy, dashing after the painted insect—than his father worrying and wearying to snatch at something more deceptive still.

It is time that I am done with all butterfly-hunting! My years are warning me that I may hope soon to be with Christ Himself, and see greater beauties than this whole creation can set before me. I am now bent on pursuing nothing but that which is eternal and infinite. Keep me to this resolve, I beseech you Lord.


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Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.