« PreviousContinue »
“Yes; and here, Charles, is another proof of the difference between the two. The rook, although its nest has been destroyed, will build another even upon the same tree; and the hare, pursued by dogs, will seldom run beyond its accustomed fields, although it may have had many narrow escapes before; while man, following reason, looks upon the past, and aims to direct the future so that his comforts may not again be taken from him, or his safety endangered.”
“Then, father, if reason enables men to profit by the wisdom and experience of others, is it not reasonable that all men should be virtuous and religious?"
"Yes, certainly, Charles, perfectly reasonable; and men, in general, are religious in their way. The Hindoo esteems it a most religious act when he throws himself beneath the wheel of his idol Juggernaut. The Turk acts under the influence of religion when he abstains from wine, and is punctual at the hour of prayer; and the Papist when he supplicates his saints, and counts over his beads. Reason here has become blinded, either through ignorance or superstition, and hence we come to the conclusion that a revelation from God must be essentially necessary to teach man what God is, and the end for which man himself was created."
"But, father, had not the philosophers of old some just notions of a Divine Being, of the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body, although they were without the revelation contained in the sacred scriptures?"
"Their notions, my dear boy, were very incorrect and debasing to the Divine Character. The wisest of them lamented the need of something beyond what nature testified of the existence of a supreme Being. Some of the most moral among them practised virtue from a high proud feeling that it exalted human nature, and raised them above their fellow men whom they despised; while others, unable to account for the evil and vicious bent of their nature, indulged in every sinful inclination. God, as a God of love, in whom the most supreme happiness is to be found they could never conceive of, hence their laws were tainted too often with blood. Plato enacted a law, that all children born after their parents had arrived to a certain age should be exposed to death. Socrates was incontinent, and expresses his doubts of a future state shortly before his death. Cicero seems to think
his vanity a virtue; and as it regards the resurrection of the body, it is not once hinted at in all their writings."
"Well then, my dear father, I am sure we ought to be truly thankful for the glorious, sublime, and important truths contained in the Bible."
"We ought indeed, my dear boy, and as you grow up I hope they will become more and more important to you. The Bible has greater claims upon us than any other book, if we regard its antiquity, its sublime history, and its interesting and impartial biography. Its morality is the most pure, the events it records the most wonderful. It breathes a spirit of benevolence to man even as a rebel against his Maker, but above all, it reveals mercy to sinners, refines and exalts the whole nature of man, and points him to a state of pure happiness hereafter, which only those can appreciate whose minds have been regenerated by the same Spirit that indited the contents of that invaluable book.
"THOU ART THE MAN."
An affectionate mother, I recollect once, particularly related to me this beautiful parable of Nathan, in a manner suited to my tender years: the pathetic recital drew tears from my eyes. Can anything be imagined more touching than the manner Nathan takes to display the sin of his sovereign in its proper light, undisguised by the treacherous voice of adulation? "There were two men in one city-one rich, the other poor. The rich man had many flocks and herds, the poor man nothing but one lamb, which grew up with himself and his children, and which he loved with all the affection of a father. A traveller happening to pass that way, stayed awhile at the rich man's house; who, although possessing numerous flocks and herds of his own, yet nothing would satisfy his covetous disposition, except taking this favorite lamb which his poor despised neighbour had cherished with so much tenderness." Can anything be conceived more beautiful, more striking, and more simple? In what glowing colors does the prophet portray the avarice of this pampered son of luxury, and with what generous indignation does the monarch utter the awful sentence, "As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely
die." And how must he have been confounded by the short, yet expressive declaration, "Thou art the man;" and how must his guilty conscience, upon the remembrance of his crime, have replied, "Thou art the man."
My dear young friends, do not our consciences often utter in a still small voice, "Thou art the man?" We commit some faultwe make sport of it-we attempt to palliate it-we pretend to think lightly of it, but still our never failing monitor whispers in the secret of our heart, "Thou art the man." We may say, "Oh! it is not my fault, I have been enticed into it by ill-designing persons;" but we cannot escape. "Thou art the man" continually responds to our consciences, and haunts our imaginations. O let the convictions of conscience lead us to the cross of Christ, where alone we can obtain pardon and grace to serve God acceptably. AKATASKEN ASTOS.
UTILITY OF WATER.
From the German of Wilhelm von Türk.
What is it that we slake our thirst with?
M. Give me as many examples as you can. [If there are more children than one, they should each give an example.]
P. Water drives a mill-flour is mixed with water to make bread-meat is boiled in water-horses, cattle, and sheep, drink water-we use water to bathe in-our clothes, our houses, &c. are washed with water-we fish and go in boats upon the watermerchants often send their goods to other places, and receive them from distant parts, by water-every thing that we procure from foreign countries reaches us by water-tea from China, coffee, chocolate, and sugar from the West Indies, and spices from India, &c.
M. England being an island, and surrounded by water, is more peculiarly served by water than almost any other part of the world. All our trade and commerce is carried on by water, and if it were not for the art of navigation, we should be obliged to remain satisfied with the productions of our own country alone. We should get neither tea, coffee, sugar, spices, nor a great many other useful and beautiful things. Navigation is also of the greatest
service to us in England, as goods, such as coals, corn, &c. are carried from place to place much faster, and at less expence, by water, in ships and boats, than by land in waggons. I will now mention to you some of the trades in which water is of the greatest service and importance. The tanner lays his skins in water when he wishes to prepare them for leather; the dyer, the soap boiler, the paper maker, the hatter, all require water; the builder uses it to mix his mortar; the potter and brick-maker for the preparation of their clay and lime. Water drives, or sets in motion, corn mills, where corn is ground into flour; saw mills, where trees are sawed into planks and beams fit for use; paper mills, where paper is made; the mills in which iron and other ores are prepared for use; the bellows of the enormous forges in which iron is melted; the hammers of those in which it is formed into bars; the wire mills, where it is drawn out into wire; oil mills, in which oil is pressed from nuts, linseed, rapeseed, &c.; bark mills, in which oak and birch bark is prepared for the use of the tanner; stone mills, where all stone balls, even to your little marbles, are made. Water likewise moves the machines by which powder blue is made; the wheels used in mines; those used in watering meadows, in draining marshes and bogs of water itself; and a multitude of machines used in mining, in procuring and working metals, and in every species of fabric or manufactory. In summer, when the heat has dried up every thing, we water the gardens and meadows, so as to give them proper moisture; for as no plant can thrive without warmth, neither could it without moisture. In Egypt nothing would flourish if the river Nile did not inundate or overflow the country at regular periods. In southern Africa, every thing, during the dry season of the year, is bare, desert, and dead; not a plant nor an animal to be seen. When the wet season sets in, the earth is quickly covered with plants, vegetables, grasses, and flowers of all kinds; and large herds of gazelles, zebras, and ostriches, appear immediately, to seek and enjoy this rich pasture. C.
THE BOY OF DUNDEE.
"A youth to fortune and to fame unknown."
DURING a journey in Scotland, a gentleman near Dundee, of undoubted truth, states that his sister, on going to visit a
VOL. VI. 3d SERIES.
poor woman, in an obscure part of the town, was directed, by mistake, to the lodging of another person, and knocking at the door, was desired, in a low female voice, to come in.
On entering the room, she found a poor helpless woman, on a bed, wasted away by illness, and apparently in a miserable situation, in consequence of a stroke of the palsy she had received five years before; during which period she had been confined to her bed, and rendered incapable of assisting herself.
Her friendly visiter, pitying her condition, was surprised by her answer, "that she thought herself one of the happiest of mortals ;" and on desiring an explanation, the poor woman, in simple language, related the following particulars :
That, in the younger part of life, she had been left a widow with an only son, who, when she received the stroke, was twelve years of age; until that time, by spinning and other work, she had been enabled to maintain herself and child, and to pay a trifle for his education. Since that trying dispensation of Providence, confined to her bed, and deprived of the use of her limbs, she had been unable to do any thing for herself; and having no money to pay another, her son, at that early age, trusting to the divine blessing, took the noble resolution, by the labor of his own hands to relieve the wants and distresses of his afflicted parent. A female neighbour occasionally called in to perform some kind offices; but her chief comfort and support arose from the filial affection and constant attention of her son. He immediately procured such work as his early years admitted of, in a manufactory at Dundee; and, after cleaning the room in which they dwelt, getting ready their breakfast, and making his mother comfortable for the day, he left her every morning with a smiling countenance, to attend the labors of the day, and returned in the evening, with his small but well-earned wages, to enjoy a cheerful meal with his beloved parent. And thus, for the space of five years, have the revolving days succeeded each other.
But this is not all; his mother could not read; the child, by his diligence, had learned to read; he had not, indeed, read in large and learned books, but he had read the sacred