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AN old legend tells ns that when St. Francis was passing through the Venetian lagoon, vast numbers of birds were singing; and he said to his companion, 'Our sisters, the birds, are praising their Creator; let us sing with them.' And he began the sacred service. But the warbling of the birds interrupted them; therefore St. Francis said to them, 'Be silent till we also have praised God.' And they ceased their song, and did not resume it till he had given them permission.

On another occasion, as he was sitting with his disciple Leo, he felt himself penetrated with joy and consolation by the song of the nightingale; and he desired his friend Leo to raise his voice, and sing the praises of God in company with the bird. But as Leo objected, because his voice was bad, St. Francis began to sing himself. When he stopped, the nightingale took up the strain, and thus they sang alternately, until the night was far advanced, and St. Francis was obliged to stop, for his voice

failed. Then he confessed that the little bird had vanquished him. He called it to him, thanked it for its song, and gave it the remainder of his bread; and having bestowed his blessing upon it, the creature flew away.

Though only a legend, this tale of St. Francis points out one lesson we should learn from the sweet song of the birds. It reminds us of the words of the poet:—

'Sweet birds that breathe the spirit of song,
And surround heaven's gate in melodious throng,
Who rise with the earliest beams of day,
Your morning tribute of thanks to pay;
You remind us that we should likewise raise
The voice of devotion, and song of praise:
There's something about you that points on high,
Ye beautiful tenants of earth and sky.'

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto His name; to shew forth His loving-kindness in the morning, and His faithfulness every night. When the winter is past, and the time of the singing of birds is come, surely we

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should join with all nature in offering the tribute of praise to our great Creator and Redeemer.

Songs of praise are a sacrifice wellpleasing to the Lord. When powerful enemies came against Jehoshaphat, he prayed to the Lord; but as soon as a promise of deliverance was given, the Levites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel. And when Jehoshaphat had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for His mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushmente against the children of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, which were come against them; and they were smitten. (2 Chron. xx. 21, 22.)

Songs of praise have power to still the enemy. It was when Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God, that the prison doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. It is God who giveth songs in the night.

In the late American war a battle was fought at a place called Shiloh, in Tennesee. A captain, who had been mortally wounded, lay on the battle-field, suffering greatly from his wounds and from thirst. He said, 'The stars shone out clear and beautiful above the dark field; and I began to think of that great God who had given His Son to die a death of agony for mo; and that He was up there, up above the scene of suffering, and above these glorious stars; and I felt that I was going home to meet Him, and praise Him there; and I felt that I ought to praise God even wounded, and on the battle-field. I could not help singing that beautiful hymn, 'When I can read my title clear.' And there was a Christian brother in the bush near me. I could not see him, but I could hear him. He took up the strain; and beyond him, another and another caught it up, all over the terrible battle-field of Shiloh. That night the echo was resounding, and we made the field of battle ring with hymns of praise to God.'

®ije ©agspring Bfole Class.

QUESTIONS ON MATTHEW'S GOSPEL.
Chapter IV. 2S-2S; V. 1-16.

What three kinds of work describe Jesus'

labours in Galilee? How far did the fame of His mighty works

spread? What four different kinds of afflictions are

here named? How did the friends of those afflicted ones

obtain cures for them? Prom what various districts did multitudes

follow Jesus? Where did Jesus go that all of them might

hear His preaching? Who sat next Him? With what gracious words did Jesus begin

His sermon on the mount? How many times did He pronounce the word

blessed? What blessing did He pronounce on the poor

in spirit? Why are those who mourn for sin called

'Blessed'? What blessing belongs specially to the meek? Why is it a blessed thing to hunger and thirst

after righteousness? What strong obligation to be merciful is here

pointed out? Mat. 18. 32, 33. Who alone shall see God? Psa. 51. 10. What special blessing does Jesus confer on

the peacemakers? What class of sufferers does Jesus pronounce

blessed? What striking emblem here describes the utter

worthlessness of mere profession? By what two emblems are true believers

described? What motive should impel them to let their

light shine?

[These are Not Prize Questions; but intended solely to encourage the study of the Scriptures at home.]

IJrije Skrinto gixrr/siics anir tymntvmts.

Competitors will please obseroe to address their answers now to Rev. JOHN KAY, Edinburgh.

4 Where is the fate of one who acquires wealth unjustly, illustrated by an ornithological fact?

5 Quote a verse to shew that sincerity and conscientiousness are not sufficient to keep us out of fatally dangerous paths?

6 Where, in the epistles, are we warned in four words; and where, in three, against breaking the first commandment?

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2 Whatever you are, be frank, boys!
Tis better than money or rank, boys;

Aye cleave to the right,
Be lovers of light,
Be open, above-board, and frank, boys 1

3 Whatever you are, be kind, boys!
Be gentle in manner and mind, boys!

The gentle in mien,
Words and temper, I ween,
Are the gentlemen truly refined, boys.

i Whatever you are, be true, boys!
Be visible through and through, boys;
Away with the shamming,
The cheating and cramming,
In fun and in earnest, be true, boys!

Paisley: J. And E. Parlane.]

[London: Houlston And Sons.

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60

FOUR NEW MISSIONARIES FOR AFRICA.

,.. ,. THE GOOD SHEPHERD.

t. C\KTHAT if the way be rough for thy ** small feetP I'll lull thee low, And carry thee where pleasant waters meet

So tender, slow; Come close, my love, my little one, my sweet, Nor tremble so.'

It was a moorland way, and very long;

Two little stars or more Had risen, throbbing like a voiceless song

Against the heaven-door.

One little face, blue-eyed, was lifted faint;

And then soft, glad blue eyes— Blue, tired eyes, yet with no sorrow taint—

Closed, faint, against the skies.

And 'neath these lids, an almost baby cheek Against one warm, kind breast,

Lay dimpled into smiles, which could not speak Their own delicious rest.

'O sleep, O sleep, my little folded one;

There comes no fear, no harm, Unto thee, nestling,—storm, nor wind, nor sun,—

Thy shield thy mother's arm.

'Her face bent softly o'er thy sleeping face;

Its shade of love shall be— Sleep, sleep, my little darling, let me trace

No care, no storm, in thee.'

Across the moor, and through the darkening night,

One drift of snow; A broad, dim, pathless waste of ghostly white

Around, below.

The mother holding with a frozen hand

Her child's bright head;
And ere the wintry sun had lit the land,

The mother dead.

'Come close, come close to me, thou little lamb/

The Shepherd said; 'The snowy moorland has no spot of calm

For thee to tread.

'Come to the sunny pastures, trembling thing;

Come, drink and rest, And I shall carry thee where myrtles fling

Their shadow* best.'

Thus the Good Shepherd found the little lamb

Out in the night; And thus, with many a soft caress, began

The road to light.

Far through the foggy fen, and cross the moor,

And o'er the sea, And 0, His arm was strong, His step was sure,

His love was free!

Still deep, the tender touch of that strong hand

A cradle made So warm, and safe the child crossed all the land,

Yet not afraid;

For when the harshest voices sounded near,

He listened low, And heard the Shepherd whisper in his ear,

'I love, I know.'

The voice was full of calm, so gentle, strong,

The child close leant, And with soft half-shut eyelids breathed a song

Of low content.

And thus, o'er many a strange and rugged scar,

He still was borne,
Until, upon his soul, there broke from far

Heaven's early morn.

And opening wide his joyful, wondering eyes,

He heard One say— 'Dear child, behold the gate of Paradise!

I am the Way.'

'Twas the Good Shepherd that had borne him thus,

Unguessed, unknown; 0 Christ, bend down in love, and carry us

As Thy dear own. n.w. H.w.

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