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ROBIN, OR THE LITTLE PREACHER.
perhaps than any other bird, confides in extemporized a cosy nest for her small man. To illustrate this, and show you visitor in her hat; and there he again went how in this way a Robin once became a to sleep quite trustfully, with his little little comforter, I will tell you a true story head tucked under his wing in orthodox of what happened to a friend of mine. bird fashion. When she looked at him
It was in the leafy month of June. The some hours after, he was still in the same drowsy hum of mid-summer had filled all position. But by and bye, as the early the air through the sultry hours of noon; | morning light seemed to creep along the but now the evening is drawing on with its valley, up the hillside, and in at the window, refreshing coolness, giving one such a a feeble, plaintive chirp was heard. The feeling of restfulness as though Nature Robin was unmistakably hungry, so the herself sought repose. The jaded-looking lady thought she would try an experiment. farm horses are slowly stepping homewards, Hastily dressing she went down stairs, with their heads full of thought of supper and, opening the front door, stept out into and bed. The plough-boy, trudging the open-air with the bird on her hand. wearily by their side, is too tired even to She now carefully set it down amongst the whistle. The fowls are thinking of going grass, and stood a little way off to see what to roost; while the blithe servant girls, would happen. Very soon down flew the so clean and tidy in short-gown and striped parent Robin from a neighbouring tree, and skirt, are going out and in with pails of fed its offspring with the proper kind of foaming milk fresh from the cow, in all the food,-worms and such like. When this cheerful bustle of farm life.
process had been completed, the old Robin My friend, too, was weary with a long retired, and back fluttered our little friend, day's work, though of a different nature again to be carried to his roost in the hat. from that already described, and had just This was repeated at least once or twice; sat down to a solitary meal where many but the last time the young Robin, like used to gather. Changes had taken place Noah's dove, finally disappeared, and was in the home where her youth was cherished, seen no more. His lowly mission had been and this was the eve of a general breaking accomplished; for by that time the busy up. Naturally her thoughts were some world was getting astir, and my friend had what sad, as, with a melancholy pleasure, no more time for sad thoughts, she had to she dwelt on the past. Suddenly her ear be up and doing, all the more brave and caught a sound as of feet pattering along strong for having had her musings diverted the lobby. Thinking it was a pet sheep into another channel, by having to care for that was thus softly stealing in, trusting to the little bird. And in the sweet hours of her good nature for permission to remain, the early morning, as she stood watching she opened the parlour door to rebuke the the wonderful works of God, she might bold intruder; but there instead was a well claim to herself the promise–Fear dear little Robin just fledged, and so not not, therefore: ye are of more value than yet quite at home in the world, outside its many sparrows.' parents' nest. The lady took it gently up, and carried it back into the room with her, where it at once got upon the most friendly terms with its hostess, -perching anywhere Behold the fowls of the air : for and everywhere, and pecking at the bread and butter with true Robin-like audacity.
they sow not, neither do they reap, By and bye- the two friends having finished nor gather into barns; get your their meal-Robin curled himself up most
beabenly Father feedeth them. Are comfortably on the lap of his kind protector, and went to sleep while she sat reading.
ye not much better than they ? On retiring for the night, my friend
WHAT THE BIRDS SAY. AND what do they say-what can they and followed by, Come be quick,' in more
say? exclaim our young friends. vociferous tone and many times over. Who ever heard of birds talking!
I suppose the feathered company must Well, let me tell you what a careful have been rather lazily disposed (like some listener has heard, and is still hearing day of our young friends, who no doubt someby day of the talk up in the trees; and if it times find it rather hard work to leave their does not come out in real words such as beds, on a winter morning). Be this as it you and I speak, it really comes quite as may, on went the call until the whole near to them, as much of the boasted talk company of the grove were assembled for of parrots.
early matins; but above all would be heard My listening began in January, which the one voice haranguing and lecturing his being a fine open month of mild weather, neighbours, whenever a pause in the song the little talkers began thus early in the cameyear.
You did-you did-yes you did,' the Staying at that time in the neighbourhood i last clause often repeated and winding up of the Golden Valley, Gloucestershire, and with a most emphatic “You did,' which surrounded by park land, my early morning seemed to settle the matter for that time. slumbers were broken by a cheery blackbird, I suppose the blackbird must have had who seemed to be the leading character of some rather fractious comrades to deal his neighbourhood, entitled to hold forth with; but anyhow he seemed to be master and call to order as it pleased him. Come of the assembly, and able to command and then-come then,' was his first speech, as call to order in fine style. though summoning his comrades to leave Now and then he seemed to fill in his their nests, presently repeated still louder, talk with snatches of song, and sometimes
becoming so jubilant as to wind up with a which of us has not to do this, our young hearty laugh; not a mere titter, but a good friends especially!) round peal, and so excellent an imitation Try again, try again,' said the birdwas it, very often, that the listener could mother, still more energetically as she not help joining in the laugh too, right sought to make the young fledglings try heartily.
their wings. Now and then it would seem as Now, my young friends need not think if some clumsy attempt had been made, or the narrator was only dreaming; for in some young one had nearly tumbled, and truth this bird-talk cost many an hour of then the drollest imitation of a long wwerry morning sleep, before daylight, which could laugh was sure to be heard ; but, Try ill be spared ; and notwithstanding the again, try again,' always followed. amusement of listening, he has many a time I always noticed that the warm sunny wished he could stop the vociferous talk afternoons were chosen for the lessons going on. As the spring advanced there in flying, after which all hushed down for a was a decided change in the style of talk, snug siesta after the fatigue, until feedingand some very tender tones were heard time came. *Come then, come then,' Pretty dear, After this was over, during the warm pretty dear,' the last so well articulated evening sunshine, the tones again changed, that it was perfectly ridiculous, joined to and it was evident the young birdies were the coaxing tone in which it was uttered. | all quiet in the nest, and listening (as all A cold morning, or a touch of easterly wind, young ones should), to what the mother however, made all quiet, and I suppose the had to say. So gentle and conversational vigorous choir-master thought it wise to were her tones, that one might quite allow his fellows to keep their beds later. imagine tales were being told; for who At any rate the listener was well pleased can say that young birds do not love tales when this was the case, and his sleep re in their own speech, as well as little chilmained undisturbed to a reasonable hour. dren do in theirs ?
But when the cold weather finally Now and then it seemed as if the mother departed and the time for the young ones broke out into a song, like a merry jig, to arrived, then the bustle and excitement of amuse her little ones; or perhaps the fatherthe grove reached its height, and the bird did this part of the business, until at listener was made acquainted with a variety last all the drowsy little ones seemed of domestic matters going on in the nests. hushed to sleep for the night. Evidently the young ones required no Now, if our young friends doubt the small amount of legislation at times. correctness of what we have told, they must Perhaps one wanted the worm, when it really begin to listen for themselves. If they was another one's turn to have it; or per live in the neighbourhood of trees, I think haps as they grew bigger they crowded and they will soon make it all out quite plainly, elbowed each other in the nest.
if they begin to listen in the spring-time. I can't say exactly what the fault might For ourselves, we never hear this birdbe, but surely enough I heard the reproofs, talk without thinking of the Great Creator, 'Naughty boy, naughty boy! and who has made all for the happiness of His presently, "Oh, naughty, naughty, creatures, and filled our groves and trees naughty?' And the bird-mother's voice with voices to echo forth His praises, and went up and down in such an exactly suit the wonders of His works. able tone of reproof, that only very dull ears Our God doth teach them,' is the excould have helped noticing it most plainly. planation of whatever excites our wonder
A few weeks later came the teaching to or admiration in the creatures of His hands ; fly, and after various little gentle coaxing and for the young it is a charming and tones and exhortations, was heard quite wholesome recreation to learn to listen to plainly, Try again, try again.' (Ah! | the many voices in God's universe.
"All Thy works praise Thee, O Lord, | Yes! lovely flower, thy pearly face, T'hy saints shall bless Thee,' said one of old. With genial power and gentle grace,
May we do our part nobly with our Make yonder bower a holy place powers, as the inferior part of the creation do with theirs !
Where humble spirits rev'rent stand
To mark the movement of His hand
J. K. MEIR
LILY OF THE VALLEY.
And scented breath from secret cell,
INNOCENCE AND GUILT. A PAINTER wished to draw a portrait A of Innocence. He found it at length in a bright eyed boy, full of light and life and love. In a very little time the cherubboy reappeared in the painter's canvas, the almost breathing type of innocence. Years afterwards the painter wished to paint a companion portrait, that would bring out the contrast of guilt. , He sought for it among the inmates of a prison. At length he found it in a face hardened by sin, clouded with the darkness of crime. In a short time this face looked forth from his canvas the very picture of guilt, and was hung up beside the picture of innocence. But how great was the artist's astonishment on discovering that the boy who sat for the one, was the man who sat for the other also. It was sin that marred the fair face of that young boy; it was sin that took all its beauty away, and left nothing but repulsiveness in its place.
How then can we become truly beautiful? It is by getting the child's heart back again, in other words, a new heart. The beginning of all true beauty lies there, a heart renewed by the Spirit of God; a heart made beautiful by the love of God. This is the true beauty, for it is from within outwards. It shines in the heart, in good thoughts, in pure affections, in gracious desires. It shines next in the countenance, in sweetness and light.
And it shines on the life in all that is | beautiful and good.
And cry, 'behold, he prays.' 'Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,
The saints in prayer appear as one
In ward and deed and mind,
Then with the Father and tho Son
Their fellowship they find.
O Thou by whom we come to God,
The Life, the Truth, the Way,
The path of prayer Thyself hast trod! When none but God is near.
Lord, teach us how to pray.' Prayer is the simplest form of speech
Here are a few verses of another of his That infant lips can try,
less known hymns. It is full of peace, and Prayer, the sublimest strains that reach
strangely contrasts with the toilful life of The Majesty on high.
its author. Prayer is the Christian's vital breath, The Christian's native air,
• Night is the time for rest; His watchword at the gates of death;
How sweet, when labours close,
To gather round an aching breast
The curtain of repose, Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice,
Stretch the tired limbs, and lay the head Returning from his ways,
Upon our own delightful bed.