Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

we are

tation, or covered way, which they had it, as to leave it a mere deceptive formed during their depredations." shell, on which if you step, to use

Smeathman tells of a pipe of old the comparison of Smeathman, "you Madeira wine having been tapped and might as well tread upon a cloud.” entirely lost by a band of these We presume that, in the following insects, who had taken a fancy to the description of a scene in Brazil, we oak staves of the cask. And Sir E. may understand the insects of which Tennant appears to have fared no

now speaking, though the better; for he complains that, in traveller calls them “ants :"Ceylon, he had a case of wine filled, “A number of tall, prostrate trees in the course of two days, with were lying about, upon which large almost solid clay, and only discovered columns of ants, of all kinds, moved the presence of the white ants by the busily to and fro. In penetrating bursting of the corks.

into the depths of the primeval forest, They find their way into bureaux one sees evidence at every step that and cabinets, and greedily devour all these minute creatures are the depapers and parchments therein; "a stroyers of the colossal trees, whose shelf of books will be tunnelled into a strength braves all the attacks of gallery, if it happen to be in their storm and wind. A striking instance line of march.” Hence, as Humboldt is this of how small are often the observes, throughout the equinoctial means which the Creator employs to regions of America,—and the same is produce the mightiest results ; for true in similar climates of the Old what greater disproportion can be World, indeed, in all, where very imagined than between an ant and special precautions are not taken one of these giants of the forest ? No against it,-it is infinitely rare to find sooner is a tree attacked by them than any records much more than half a it is doomed ; its size and strength are century old.

of no avail; and frequently these But though the exercise of their little insects will destroy it in such a instinct brings these little insects manner that the bark alone remains, into collision with man, and so far and all the woody fibres crumble they act as his enemies, abundantiy away, until the tall tree falls at length making up in pertinacity and con- to the ground with a tremendous sociation what they lack in individual crash, a prey to the united and perforce,-we shall greatly misunderstand severing attacks of millions and their mission if we look at it only in millions of the ants. Besides these this aspect. As an example of mean proofs of the destructive power of agents performing great deeds, we these insects, the forests along the must see them far from the haunts of Estrada exhibit evidence of their man, engaged as the scavengers of skill in the pyramidital ant-hills, the forest-wilds of the tropics ; the similar to those we had seen on the removers of fallen trees, of huge coast of the province of Rio de Janeiro. giants of the woods, commissioned to We also observed large trunks of get rid of those enormous bulks of trees pierced with deep holes, having timber, which, having stood in stately the appearance of filigree on a grand grandeur and rich life for a thousand scale. This, too, was probably the years, have at length yielded to death. work of these destructive insects.” Not long does the vast mass lie cumbering the soil beneath: the termites attack it, enter its substance

LOOKING AT YOURSELF. from the ground, and in the course of

It is a well-known fact in astronomy, a few weeks succeed in so emptying that the planets are kept in their "GOD'S PROVIDENCE IS MINE ÎNHERITANCE."

111

courses by the agency of two opposing influences, which are termed the centrifugal and centripetal forces. If the earth, for example, were to follow the impulse of the latter alone, it would immediately fall into the sun; while, if it only obeyed the former, it would fly off into space. It is in the perfect balance of these two forces that our planet is kept whirling in its sphere, and that all the worlds roll on so smoothly in the distant tracks of creation.

The orbit of the Christian is, in some respects, a similar one. His life is controlled both by centrifugal and centripetal forces. The one tends to draw that life inward, to cultivate a condition of solitude and self-retirement; the other goes outward, in activities extrinsic to its own. The safety of the Christian rests in the harmonious adjustment of these opposing tendencies. There is danger in both directions. Once the peril was in the too great development of the centripetal forces of the human mind; now the peril lies in the too great expansion of the active and centrifugal ones.

Especially in the rush and whirl of the busy age in which we live, there is danger that the vitality of individual holiness may be exhausted by that inward decay which comes through the want of an increase of piety proportioned to the increase of activity. Meditation and exertion, faith and works, inward communion with God, and outward exertions in His service, must co-exist, or they cannot healthily exist at all. Mere outward activity can never sustain itself, while worship and selfcommunion, like faith without works, are · dead.” We cannot, then, each and all of us, too keenly feel that a still and secret life of faith and prayer must vitalize all holy living; that, like the nervous fluid which animates and gives energy to the body, the influence of meditation and intimate soul-communion with God must flow

through all duty, and animate all life. There must be periods when the spirit turns in upon itself; when it questions and reviews, and scrutinizes ; when the solemn truths of revelation are applied with searching and faithful self-examination to the sore places of the heart. If the Christian shrinks from such a duty, he has danger to apprehend that its faithful performance is all the more needful. A faithful physician does not shrink from probing a gun-shot wound to the bottom, because disease has unduly augmented its sensitiveness. On the contrary, the very tenderness and shrinking reluctance of the patient is a symptom which indicates all the more clearly the need of a thorough examination of the parts, and the immediate extraction of the foreign body which has caused the wound, and now inflames and irritates it. So should we be faithful in the use of the Gospel probe. So should we draw near to God continually, that He may “heal our sickness," and give us inward strength and wisdom for a healthy and well-ordered outward life.

“GOD'S PROVIDENCE IS MINE

INHERITANCE.” EVERYBODY that has visited Chester, must have seen “God's Providence House," in Water-gate Street; one of those curious gable-fronted, timber houses, for which Chester is SO remarkable.

Tradition avers that this house was the only one in the city that escaped the plague which ravaged the city during the seventeenth century. In gratitude for that deliverance, the owner of the house is said to have carved upon the front, these words :1652, God's PROVIDENCE IS MINE

INHERITANCE. 1652. I remember, says a writer in “Notes and Queries,” being much struck with this quaint and interest

112

PARTING, THE ZOOLOGY OF THE BIBLE.

ing, but decayed old mansion, when Nor time, nor place, can sever I first visited Chester, in 1851. As I

The bonds which us have bound; read the beautiful motto carved on the

In Christ abide for ever, oross-beam, it occurred to me that it

All who in Him are found. was possibly derived from some old As though to part for ever version of the sixteenth Psalm, verse We press each other's hands, six : “The Lord Himself is the And yet no power can sever portion of mine inheritance... . Thou

Our love's eternal bands ; shalt maintain my lot.” But the poor

We look quite broken-hearted, old house no longer affords a bright

And sob our last farewell, picture of the providence of God, as

And yet can not be parted,

For both in Jesus dwell. doubtless it once did in its palmy days; it can no longer take up the

Then let us cease from weeping,

And moderate our woe, next verse, and say, “ The lot is fallen

We both are in Christ's keeping, unto me in a fair ground; yea, I have

With whom we always go; a goodly heritage:" it now looks

Both under His protection, sordid and degraded, uncared for, and

Both led by His dear hand, gloomy; in a word, disinherited; and

Both in the same direction affords us a striking emblem of God's

To the same Fatherland. ancient people Israel, in their present forlorn and outcast state. Yet it was once a stately mansion ; and the Thc Zoology of the Bible. armorial bearings of its original owner are still to be seen carved on one of its

THE PELICAN. beams. “So passes the glory of the

The pelican is an aquatic bird. It is world!” Ichabod! The Glory is

of the form and somewhat of the colour departed !This might be its motto

of the swan. The sacred writers often and inscription now.

allude to it. Its Hebrew name signifies The motto on that old house is the

literally, “the vomiter,” derived from the one assumed by the Boyle family. word to vomit.

In Bishop Burnet's sermon, preached The origin of this bird's name is January 7th, 1691, at the funeral of the curious. It lives chiefly on shell-fish. Hon. Robert B, he says, “I will These, it was supposed, it swallowed say nothing of the stem from which whole, and when, by the heat of the

that watered garden, stomach, they were opened, it picked watered with the blessing and dew of

out the fish and discharged the shell

. heaven, as well as fed with the best

This, says Bochart, is so generally

attested by writers of antiquity, that it portions of this life; that has produced

cannot be called in question; and then so many noble plants, and has stocked

cites a great number of authorities in its the most families in these kingdoms,

support. But it is more than doubtful, of any in our age; which has so

notwithstanding such statements, whether signally felt the effects of their

the pelican takes the shell-fish into its humble and Christian motto, God's stomach in the first instance. It is far PROVIDENCE IS MY INHERITANCE.' more probable that it deposits these in

the bag or pouch under its lower chap. This pouch serves not only as a repository for food, but also as a net to catch it

In feeding its young the pelican squeezes PARTING.

the contents of its pouch into their How mean ye thus by weeping

mouths, by strongly compressing it upon To break my very heart ?

its breast with its bill,- an action which We both are in Christ's keeping, may well justify the propriety of the And cannot therefore part;

name given to it by the ancient Hebrew.

he sprang ;

[merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed]

And from the same habit it is not unlikely The Psalmist describes the pelican as a the tradition arose that this bird, in feed- bird of the wilderness. “I am like a ing her young, pierced her own breast, pelican of the wilderness.” (Psalm cii. 6.) and nourished them with her blood.

This bird is no stranger to the most VOL. VIII.-Second Series,

I

[blocks in formation]

desert and inhospitable regions. Though this very reason, that it might not want à water - bird, Damer, the Arabian food for itself and its young ones, when at naturalist, states that the pelican, just a distance from the water. like the duck the traveller Bruce sprang The afflicted Psalmist, in comparing in the burning wilderness, does not himself to a pelican, seems to refer not so always remain in the water, but much to the plaintive voice of these birds sometimes retires from it to a great as to their lonely situation in the wilderness. distance. Indeed its motistrous pouch, One of the first effects of deep sorrow is which, according to some naturalists, is the desire of solitude; and on this occasion, capable of receiving thrice the size of a David, oppressed with grief, wearied of man's head, seems to be given to it for society, and longed for perfect seclusion.

Our Country.

THE BANKS OF THE TAVY.

us but those of an uncultured turf-cutter, No. IV.

and one or two healthy-looking Devonian “ The poorest poor

waggoners. The first friendly arrival Long for some moments in a weary life

was that of the turf-cutter, who, with When they can know and feel that they have hearty promptituđe, pulled up, and ran

been

across the moor to aid in capturing our Themselves the fathers and the dealers out Of some small blessings,--have been kind poor panic-stricken horse, leaving his own To such as needed kindness; for this single quiet beast, and his load of peat, to bear cause,

us company during the interval of sus, That we have all of us a human heart."

pense, and to cheer us as a pledge of “ NEVER so bad but it might be worse,” further help on his return. He was said I to the other members of the scarcely gone before our Devonian exbroken quartette, as they looked at one amples of rustic chivalry—the two another in silent bewilderment. It was generous waggoners—came along with bad enough to be so unceremoniously set their team. There was no attempt at down amidst the scattered fragments of wordy condolence. Many words, they our travelling machine, and left to seemed to believe, were not in their line, anticipate an interview with the shadows and would be of no use to us. Mere words of mightfall on the lone top of Black are but wind. No: better to think of Down; to say nothing of my despoiled the good Samaritan," and "go and do garments, and a somewhat disabled limb.

likewise.” They for once found theme But things might have been worse. selves in circumstances sufficiently like One's bones might have been broken, and those of that unselfish traveller on the we might have been wrecked on the Jerusalem road, to warrant an effort at pathless moor, far away from help or all conformity to his spirit and manner. means of deliverance. It was soon found, There was a case of distress on that way. indeed, that our trouble, bad as we felt side, and there was one on this. In each it to be, was set off by a great advantage, case the distress was known. And now, in that it had come upon us by the open to the honour of our Devonian wayfarers, road-side. Though it was not pleasant it shall be said, in each case there was to be thrown down as objects of public genuine pity ; in each, the pity was pity, we could afford to be pitied in our practical ; and in each, those who pitied circumstances; and really learnt to be tendered help, promptly, graciously, and thankful for pity, coming as it did in such to the utmost of their means. “ Out agreeable forms. Misfortunes like ours, with your horses, Jim,” cried one, to the occurring on the more crowded thorough- other, “and we'll do our best to get the fares of fashionable or business life, have ladies down to the village.” And it was not unfrequently brought out many a no sooner said than it would have been passing grin at the expense of their done : but no, my good fellows, we will victims. But we were far away from the take the will for the deed: you shall be polite world. There were no eyes upon spared the sacrifice for which your kind

« AnteriorContinuar »