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PRIZE BIBLE QUESTIONS.
One of God's sacred gifts is this, the unutterable hope of youth; in itself a glory and a beauty, and an earnest of all the possible.
But when life lies half behind, we hear other voices in the trees.
This old and lovely village lies in the forest, as you know. A mass of ancient cedar stands out black against the paler foliage; a tremulous acacia lifts its long feathered branches, in tender lace-work, on the blue, faint, autumn sky. And between and among the green, rise the clustered, twisted chimnies of the quiet, old dreamy houses, of their dormer windows perched high up in nests of ivy green.
'Tis so sweet a village, little Maud, I wish you could be always here. We should walk, in scarce half-an-hour, to this forest glade where I sit.
We should listen together then, for the forest-psalms in the trees. I think in these same shadows Herbert made some of his hymns. Woodford was his home for a year, when delicate health forced him to withdraw to some such quiet spot. One could wish no lovelier quiet for thoughts of God and heaven.
And the hymn of another voice, hushed many years ago, comes back with the same sweet music as rings through these autumn trees.
'Our God, we thank Thee who hast made
The earth so bright,
Beauty and light!
'We thank Thee too that Thou hast made
Joy to abound,
Circling us round,
Some love is found.
'We thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast kept
The best in store;
To long for more;
Not known before.'
Through the parted branches of the trees let us look up and see the sky, and remember diviner words, with a promise of the yearned-for good.
'My peace I give unto you.' Dear and sweet promise. Yet we take the gift so seldom. And the beautiful floods our hearts with sorrow as often as with calm.
Good-bye. n. w. H. w.
THE TEETOTAL MAN. PASSING along the village street, .*. Where some children merrily ran, I heard amid the rush of feet, 'Hurrah, for the teetotal man!'
I looked, and saw a chubby boy,
O'er all his face were gleams of joy—
The neighbours knew his word was sure,
To follow all that's good and pure—
Poverty clogs the drunkard's wife,
A curse seems hanging o'er each life—
Stick to the pledge. Be earnest, boys!
Keep well in the temperance van, For there you will have truest joys—
Hurrah, for the teetotal man! n. c.
PRIZE BIBLE QUESTIONS.
Three Prizes are offered for the largest number of correct answers to the Questions during 1880. The Competition is limited to those under 14 years of age. The answers to be sent to the EEV. Johh Kay, 2 Cumin Place, Grange, Edinburgh, by the 25th of each month.
28 In which verse of one of the Old Testament prophets does the writer quote from an earlier prophet?
29 Where does a prophet tell us that he understood, by having studied the writings of another prophet, that God was about to deliver His people?
30 Where does one apostle refer to epistles written by another apostle?
No balm to mitigate the pain We feel away from Thee.
We come with deep contrition
And penitential tears;
We grieve for misspent years •.
And on in vice have run;— The sins may not be numbered
That in the past we've done.
On Thee alone depend;
And help and healing send.
We come Thy promise pleading,
That they who seek shall find, Peace, pardon, comfort, needing,
To soothe the troubled mind. Into Thy favour take us,
And we shall happy be, And, in Thy mercy, make us
True servants unto Thee. Then, with Thy smile to cheer,
No longer shall we roam, But, calmly, through all sorrows here,
Look up to heaven our home.
Paisley: J. And R. Paklane.]
[London: Houlston And Sons.
FINDING A NEST;
Oil, WAN'S DUTY TO THE LOWEK ANIMALS.
'A LFRED,' said little Annie Maitland, .**. one bright spring morning as she skipped lightly in by the open study window to where her brother sat reading, 'I have found such a beauty of a nest in the old tree; can it be our pretty Robin that has built there ?'—' Not if it is in a tree,' explained Alfred. 'Robins build on the ground, generally at the root of a tree or hedge.'—' Anyhow, put away that tiresome book and come to the garden with me.'— 'Indeed, Annie, how do you know that it is tiresome,' was the laughing reply, 'seeing you haven't read it?' Of course the book was not tiresome to Alfred. He was fond of tales of adventure; and this was an account of a real voyage to the Artie Regions, that strange weird 'land of snow and night.' But Alfred Maitland had already learned to be able cheerfully to give up his own wishes for the gratification of others; and so now, closing the book, he joined his young sister and led her off in a merry gallop down the garden path, as only big brothers know how, prudently pausing, however, before coming to the tree, lest the unusual noise should frighten the bird. Alfred admired the nest quite as much as his sister expected, and well he might; for a chaffinch's nest, as this was, is one of the neatest of nests, and with its green moss walls and soft lining it forms such a cosy resting place for the pretty speckled eggs. 'But, Annie,' said her brother,'we must not come here very often until after the eggs are hatched; then there will be no danger of the bird forsaking its young, and we can watch the father and mother carrying food, which the funny little creatures make such wide mouths to receive.'
After carefully removing all signs of their footsteps from the grass about the tree, our two children went off for a walk by the river side. A short way down the road they were met by one of the village boys, who was carrying something very cautiously in his cap, which the young Maitlands soon perceived to be a bird's nest
with four lovely blue eggs, that Tom had just helped himself to from a hedge close by.
'You cruel wicked boy,' exclaimed Annie, 'to have robbed the poor bird of her neat.'—' That is none of your business,' was the rude answer. 'But indeed it is, and I shall tell my papa to have you punished.' The boy only laughed at this foolish threat, but Annie had that very morning heard her father speaking of some one who had been taken up for interfering with game on a neighbouring estate, and in the eyes of our little girl a hedge sparrow was as precious as a pheasant.
'But, Tom,' said Alfred more gently, 'it doesn't seem quite fair, does it, to run off with the poor birds' property. They must have spent a great deal of time and labour in building themselves so beautiful a house: it is enough to break their hearts when they come back and find it gone. We get so much pleasure too from the singing of birds, it is rather hard lines to give thtm only pain in retur^.'
This was quite a new view of the case to the 'country Arab,' and he began to look a bit ashamed of himself; for Tom was not so much a really hardhearted boy as that idle habits had been his snare, and we know that Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to dc. 'It can't be helped now any way,' was the hal f repentant answer. Here a bright thought struck Annie. 'Oh, Alf, 'shesaid, 'couldn't we put back the nest if Tom is willing to give it up?' Alfred was doubtful if the bird would return, but they might try. And so this was accomplished to the entire satisfaction of the children, but whether or not to that of the original owners of the nest we dont pretend to say.
Tom now rather puzzled Alfred by asking if there was any difference between —'a fellow like me taking a shie at a bird and the gentry going out for the same thing with dogs and guns ?'— 'I am not sure that I can explain this rightly, Tom, but there is papa coming along the meadow path; let us ask bin. When Mr Maitland heard what was wanted
of him he kindly invited all three children to sit down beside him on a grassy slope and have a nice talk. 'The best way of settling as to whether one or both or neither of the sports mentioned were wrong was first to ascertain in what our duty to the lower animals consists.'
Tom opened his eyes rather wide at the idea of our having a duty to perform to birds and beasts, but as he said nothing, Mr Maitland proceeded to say 'that God who has placed other creatures along with us in the world will certainly be displeased if we use our superior powers for purposes of cruelty. This much at least is required of us that we neither needlessly destroy life nor give unnecessary pain. However, it is a mere sentimentality impracticable of execution, to say that the lower animals are never to be killed by man; for although we give up using them as food, they would still multiply so as to overrun the earth and take possession for themselves.'— 'Farmer Johnston says that if he didn't shoot the sparrows he would have no grain left.'—'That is quite to the point,' Annie, said her father; and the case is not altered when we try to keep down one kind of animal by introducing another that preys upon it. Take the familiar example of keeping a cat to clear the house of mice. It were absurd to charge pussy with the slaughter, and free ourseivos.'
'But, papa,' said Alfred, a little doubtfully, 'I thought you disapproved of getting up shooting parties for pleasure. 'For pleasure; there you have it, Alfred. I do not, my Sob, Mke the amusement of taking life. Although it may be at times necessary to destroy animal existence, I see no sport in putting out the vital spark. A far higher and holier joy is to be found in sympathy with Creation. God's beautiful world is full of life, and He has meant us to rejoice in it.
Some of these thoughts were a little beyond our friend Tom; but he and Mr Maitland's children now parted, certainly not the worse for the conversation that came of—' finding a nest.' A. w.
BUT A LITTLE CHILD.
'I am but a little child; I know not how to go out or come in.' 1 Kings iii. 7.
T-<HOUGH thou art but a child, little and
Yet even unto thee Jesus doth speak.
How to go out or in scarcely 1 know;
O Jesus, teach Thou me
How I may best love Thee,
Once Jesus lived on earth, a holy child;
Little child, unto thee
He whispers, follow Me,
Lord, I who cannot go one step alone,
Jesus says, lean on Me,
My hand upholdeth thee,
Take me, Jesus, to Thy breast—sweet
resting-place; Hold me fast, lest I slip from Thine embrace. Only safe can I be, Lord, clinging close to Thee,
Close, close to Thee. A. M.
LETTERS FOE THE MONTHS.
MY DEAR HARRY, There are but a few brown leaves rugged and rustling in the wind to-night . We have drawn the curtains; we sit by the happy fire. The beloved homeness of the winter evening sheds its peace upon the hearth.
Not far off the North Esk is sweeping down between its banks. We can almost hear it through the darkness, for the rains have made the waters rise.
On the opposite bank of the stream rise the woods of Hawthornden, black anc