Page images


True, Ronald,” replied Mr. Lee, as he turned an approving eye upon his dear boy's serious, happy countenance; and whenever human beings have as clear a call to break up their nests and remove to another country, or another sphere of occupation, if they have made proper preparation and sought the Divine blessing, they may be as peaceful as the Redwings. Indeed, the Psalmist sings sweetly of the Israelites in the desert-He led them safely, so that they feared not. I dare say Caleb and Joshua had no anxious or discontented feelings, when they were little boys in the wilderness, though they had to move their tents so very often.”

“But, papa," asked Richard, “ how should we know when we ought to change our abode ?"

“Often we are taught this in a similar manner to the migratory birds, my boy. The insect food they need, is gone-and our supplies fail us, either by loss of property or of employment; or obvious duty calls us, just as the birds appear, to have a yearning for other scenes which leads them gradually to collect and prepare for flight. Abraham and Lot were called to forsake the ungodly society which surrounded them. Jonah was to carry the message of repentance to a guilty nation. Ezra and Nehemiah to restore the waste places of Zion. St. Paul seems to have had no certain dwelling-place, except the two years he dwelt in his own hired house at Rome; and then you must remember he was a prisoner. God appointeth the bounds of our habitation; and the Christian will be willing to remain where God has placed him, unless there appears adequate reason for concluding that God orders him elsewhere."

“ How nice it would be if we could always hear God's voice, so that we were quite sure we were moving at his bidding!" remarked Margaret, thoughtfully.

“We should not then have opportunity for the exercise of that simple faith which is alike so delightful to the Christian, and so pleasing in the sight of our Heavenly Father ; but all the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord as surely as if the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire were still before us. Thy Word is a light unto my feet, and a lamp unto my path. When we visited grandpapa in the country last winter, do you not remember we were obliged to carry a lantern to light ourselves to evening worship, or any other visit after dark ?"

“Oh yes, papa," replied the children, “and we could only see a very little bit of our path at a time, but as we carried the lantern ourselves, we always saw just the steps we were to take next."

“ Just so, my dear children, we have the direction and guidance of God's Word, step by step at a time, and knowing this, we need fear no evil—the Lord our Shepherd leadeth us."

"Ah! I shall think of that text the next time we carry the lantern upon a dark night," said Margaret.

" Another lesson we may learn from the Redwings," resumed Mr. Lee. They were not easily diverted from their business, or turned from their course. While watching against danger and ready to flee its real approach, the harmless sheep and sober cows were unheeded; nor were they tempted to wander in search of pastime or luxury. Having ascertained that it was time to depart, they promptly prepared and steadily pursued their way."

"They are very sensible birds, I think," said little Ronald.

"The simplicity with which they yield themselves to their Maker's guidance, my dear Ronald, makes them appear more sensible than they really are. Now, if you were to follow these emigrants, you would find, as northern travellers have detected, that they are no sooner settled in their new homes, than they diligently labor at their appointed tasks. They build their nests, bring up their little ones, avail themselves of the conveniences and comforts around them, and cheerfully contribute their share to the general happiness."

“ Ah, how pleased Sir John Ross was, to see the Redwings again, after the long polar winter!"

“ True; and thus ought the Christian not only to make his own family and household as comfortable as circumstances will permit, but to ascertain what good he can effect in his new locality.” “Seek the peace of the city, whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it, for in the peace thereof ye shall have peace,' was the inspired direction of Jeremiah to his fellow-captives."

“ Well, påpa," said Richard, “if ever we remove, I hope we shall behave as well as the birds; but I do not see much prospect of a change, for you know you have lived in the same

house ever since you were born, and as I am learning your business, I suppose I shall be a fixture, too."

“Possibly you may, my son ; but however that may be, there is one removal which is certain, and inevitable to each of us, and I trust you will not omit to prepare duly for rendering that a happy change. Some day you will all be called upon to take a far more important flight than our little feathered friends : whether in company or alone, I cannot say, but in one sense, you must be solitary in passing from Time into Eternity from earth to heaven-or the regions of the lost.”

“ Then I hope, papa," replied Margaret, “ that the Lord Jesus will lead us there, and then we need not be afraid."

“ If you wish for so glorious a companion then, my children, you must commit the keeping of your souls to Him now, that redeemed by his precious blood, you may have nothing to do, when summoned to your last flight, but to fall asleep in Jesus to be absent from the body and present with the Lord.”

“ Swift is your flight o'er the beautiful earth,
Birds that o'ersweep it in power and mirth;
Yet through the wastes of the trackless air,
Ye have a guide, and shall we despair ?
Ye over desert and deep have passed,
So may we reach our bright home at last!"

E. W.P.


Say not thou,' What is the cause that the former days were better than these! For thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this."

The Wise Man, with characteristic intelligence, not only states a fact here, but gives a reason for it, presenting us with what may be well called the Philosophy of a Mistake. The former days," are stated to be better than the present, simply because people are wilfully ignorant, or too indolent to enquire truly into the real merits of the case.

We see the same thing in our own day. “Never were such awful times!” exclaims the poor misan thrope, whose knowledge is colored by a morbid imagination, or circumscribed by the

on the

narrow limits of a timid or intolerant little circle.

“Infidelity and disaffection are spreading on every hand,” cries another, “and vital godliness will soon be extinct." “ Look at Romanism, and its deep and still extending influence,” deplores a third ; 6 and tell me if we are not all upon


brink of an awful vortex, which will, sooner or later, draw in and overwhelm the pale and flickering Christianity of our land, already verge

of extinction.” These we believe to be only the forebodings of men who do not, if they enquire at all, “enquire wisely concerning this."

From no circumstance, perhaps, have these direful predictions received a more powerful impulse than from the proceedings connected with the Great Industrial Exhibition of the present year. Many have seen in it an organized project for the overthrow of all order, the promulgation at the sword's point of Jesuitism, and the re-enactment of the sanguinary scenes of St. Bartholomew. False and party-poisoned bigots have prophesied that this fair land was to become an Aceldema, and have called down fire from heaven to destroy this great Babel, and confound the noble, the wise, the generous projectors of an Institution magnificent in its philanthropy, and splendid beyond all powers of description in the resources it involves, the mental and physical energies it has called forth, and the beautiful results which it has secured.

But the thunder-cloud of bigotry and unwise fear has burst. Its distant mutterings are already heard but indistinctly, as it rolls off again to let in upon us the glad sunshine of quietness and assurance. The First of May was to have been the witness to scenes as horrifying as those of the 24th of August. Plots and counterplots were talked of, and if the dear Ruler of these realms, her consort, and her ministers escaped with their lives, nothing less than the imminent perils of a Fifth of November we were told awaited the glorious Constitution of the land:

We never had a single misgiving on the subject. In our January number we spoke not only with unfeigned joy, but in terms of highest commendation, of this majestic Exhibition. We believed the thing to be thoroughly good in itself, and our expectations have been exceeded. With the spirit of the undertaking we could scarcely pretend to be acquainted, for it


had not at that time reached its full development. But the silver tones of love breathe forth in every word of the Address with which this Common Hall of Nations was inaugurated ; in the Reply of our endeared Queen, and the humble and hearty prayer of the Primate who officiated on the glad but solemn occasion. We cannot-We will not despair of England when we hear the second person in the realm thus pouring forth the

manly music” of his heart, before the first. “It is our heartfelt prayer that this undertaking, which has for its end the promotion of all branches of human industry, and the strengthening of the bonds of peace and friendship among all the nations of the earth, may, by the blessing of Divine Providence, conduce to the welfare of your Majesty's people, and be long remembered among the brightest circumstances of your Majesty's peaceful and happy reign."

Amen! and Amen! Glory to God in the highest; and on earth, peace, goodwill towards men!

But the heart beats still higher, as it listens to the beautiful eloquence of Her Majesty's reply. “I cordially concur with you in the prayer, that by God's blessing this undertaking may conduce to the welfare of my people, and to the common interests of the human race, by encouraging the arts of peace and industry, strengthening the bonds of union among the nations of the earth, and promoting a friendly and honourable rivalry in the useful exercise of those faculties which have been conferred by a beneficent Providence for the good and the happiness of mankind.”

Can the fearful and the malcontent prophets of evil point to a period in the history of our land when language like this has ever graced the highest places of the realm ? Heartfelt prayer for God's blessing is an element in the rule even of our own country, which had long, and we almost feared for ever, fallen into desuetude. True patriotism—the welfare of my people," a large and generous sympathy for the whole human familyan earnest wish to draw forth and develop the arts of peace and industry-to strengthen the bonds of union, and provoke to honourable and friendly rivalry-are principles and motives, in the Heads of our government, as strange and new as they are

M 3

« PreviousContinue »