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LESSONS FROM THE BOOK OF NATURE.
LITTLE ANNIE'S PRIZE.
Then they found a picture of Aberdeen,
with an account of good Samuel Rutherford, TITTLE Annie has just brought home who was so long imprisoned in that town
a volume of The Dayspring,' which and who wrote so many beautiful letters has been given her as a prize for regular there. A picture of John Welch praying attendance at the Sabbath School.
for Scotland, with his bible open before ** Annie, and her sister Jane, both love the him, interested little Annie so much that Sabbath School, and are very attentive to she could not turn over any more leaves their lessons. They can always repeat till she had read the story connected with their verses correctly, and their teacher it, and then she resolved to read all the never requires to reprove them for coming stories of the early Reformers. late or for disturbing the class in any way. Jane thought she would like to read all Their exemplary conduct is a great help and about the Plants of Scripture. The encouragement to their teacher. If the picture of the grass seemed to her so others in the class would only imitate these wonderful, and she also wished much to two sisters, how happy she would be. know about the cedar, the olive, and the
Annie is much pleased with her nice vine. . prize, and only sorry for her sister who | Annie and Jane were both fond of could not get one,-having been prevented singing, and it gave them great pleasure to by sickness from attending during a few find that their prize contained some nice weeks in winter. Annie knows well that it hymns with music, which they resolved to was God who kept her strong and well learn and sing together. They began with during the whole year, and she wishes the one on the last page, Yield not to Jane to enjoy her prize the same as if it temptation,' and in a few days they were had been her own. She may have it to singing the sweet chorus, read whenever she pleases. Behold how
Look ever to Jesus, good and how pleasant it is for brethren to
He'll carry you through. dwell together in unity.'
The two sisters are enjoying the book together; look at them admiring a picture of a thrush singing on a branch.
LESSONS FROM THE BOOK OF NATURE. Those of our readers who have got the volume of The Dayspring' for 1875, will
SWALLOWS, OR THE LITTLE BUILDERS. find, at page 49, the very engraving at D AVE you ever watched the building which Annie and Jane are looking. It 11 of a house, my young friends? illustrates an interesting account of a l What an interesting and busy scene it is! Sabbath spent at Bearsden. The thrush There go the active workinen up the in the early morning is singing his song of ladders and along the scaffolding; all have praise to God. But the children wish to their special departments of labour to see all the pictures before they begin to attend to,-masons, joiners, and plumbers, read the stories. Turning over the leaves —and each has been taught his particular they stopped at an engraving of Andrew kind of business by a master of the trade. · Melville, that bold reformer, standing But the little builders' of which we before King James, and saying to him : are now to speak • have no guide, over• There are two kings and two kingdoms seer, or ruler,' and yet their work is in Scotland; there is King James, the exceedingly well done. Who has been head of this commonwealth ; and there is their teacher? God, the same great God Christ Jesus, the King of the Church, in whose presence the seraphims veil their whose subject James the Sixth is; and of faces with their wings, crying, Holy, holy, whose kingdom he is not a king, nor a holy is the Lord of Hosts!' made the lord, nor a head, but a member.'
| birds, and has given to them that kind of
we attain to knowledge are truly gifts from | forgetting that in this same also, we are God, yet, still there is a certain directness in not our own. the Creator's mode of imparting wisdom to Instinct needs no training, it is complete the birds and beasts, that is at once at once. The several kinds of birds, for interesting and instructive. Here we are l example, know exactly how to build their
LESSONS FROM THE BOOK OF NATURE.
various sorts of nests the very first time they try.
Our swallows, then, having selected a spot suitable for their domestic arrangements, proceed. at once to build themselves a house, for which purpose they carry mouthfuls of mud from the nearest mud-quarry; this is made adhesive by the addition of little bits of straw or grass which they work into it with their bills.
The building time is early morning; then when about an inch of the wall has been finished it is left to dry till next day. The wings and tail of this bird fit it for long sustained flight, and swallows take to the air as naturally as ducks are said to take to the water. They seem fairly in their element when flying; they feed, drink, bathe, everything but sleep while on the wing. And how they do enjoy it, as they go sailing through the air, wheeling, diving, sporting themselves, their bright wings glittering in the sun through all the long summer day.
The outside of the nest having been completed it is cosily lined, generally with feathers; and it is a very pretty sight when the young swallows, for the first time, begin to peep out of the nest. I daresay they wonder what kind of a queer big world lies outside their own mud cabin, and are very much afraid that they will never be able to fly careering through the air as they see big swallows do. Courage, little ones; that will come in good time. Many an impossible looking thing becomes an accomplished fact when resolutely taken step by step.
A special interest attaches to the swallow from its migratory habits. The swallows are come,' is a remark that has a cheerie ring about it. From where have they come? Ask that knowing little fellow who has just perched by your window sill, and he may tell you that while we have been shivering amidst frost and snow, he has been revelling in the sweets of a tropical vegetation, feeding on the myriad insect tribes of Africa, and perhaps making friends with her dark-skinned children. Swallows often come back to the same locality on
their return to this country in spring. What a curious thought that is. When assembling their flocks in some African forest, previous to migration, does it really come into their heads to aim for a particular spot in old Scotland? At all events, on they come with steady purpose winging their flight over land and sea, never wavering, seldom resting till they reach our shores. Then after a few days of general consultation they scatter over the country, each seeking the old familiar haunts.
Having spent the summer months with us, when autumn winds begin to grow chill, they again take their departure for a more genial climate; they cannot live in the cold.
An interesting incident is mentioned in Morris' British Birds,' of a pair of swallows that were observed to linger behind the others at the time of migration. It was discovered that a young bird had been detained in the nest from having its leg entangled by a piece of string. On being released the parents spent a few days in teaching the little one to fly, after which they all disappeared, following their companions towards the sunny south.
I think we cannot better finish this notice than by quoting Bryant's beautiful lines.
“Whither, ʼmidst falling dew, While glow the heavens with the last step of day, Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?
There is a Power, whose care Teaches thy way along that pathless coast, The desert and illimitable air,
Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned, At that far height, the cold thin atmosphere, Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark night is near.
'He, who, from zone to zone, Guides through the boundless sky thy certain
flight, In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.” A. W.
THE COVENANT BANNER.. BLOW softly, ye breezes, by mountain
and moor, O'er the graves of the Covenant men; By the muirland and fiood that were red
with their blood, Can ye waft the old watchword again?
• For Scotland and Christ' the breezes of
old O'er the wilds of the westland bore From the Lugar and Nith to the Lothian
And where'er they blew a prayer was
breathed, And a holy psalm was sung; And hands were clasped and the banner
grasped When the covenant watchword rung.
O for the brave true hearts of old,
That bled when the banner perished ! O for the faith that was strong in death, . The faith that our fathers cherished!
It was winter, a time of frost and deadness, and the old wall looked uglier than ever. Even the sparrows taunted it as they hopped lightly along its parapetthe wind howled more dismally than ever as it hurled itself against the staunch old brickwork, as if to beat it for opposing its onward career,-- just as gossips 'speak evil of the dignified silence which stops the tide of their eloquence against the character of others.
Ugly old thing!' chirped the sparrows, 'you have not even a berry to give us these hungry days; what use are you, we should like to know?'- Obstinate old fellow!' whistled the wind, stopping my course as if you were something important, while nothing in all the neighbourhood is as ugly or as useless as you are.' But the wall stood still and made no reply. So the wind tore down the ivy by way of spite, and hurried on again.
· Bother the wall!' growled Carlo, the house dog, who sadly wanted to see what lay beyond the garden, Sticking yourself up there where nobody wants you: I wouldn't be you!' But sometimes the sun shone, and the sun always smiled kindly on the old wall, and it stored every genial ray in its grateful bosom, never wasting one of them. And so, in spite of rain and frost and wind and snow, and sparrows, and Carlo, and cold words and disdainful looks, it always kept its heart warm. It was not quite bare however, even when the ivy was blown down. All along it, at intervals, were things very much like dead tree stumps and frost-bound branches clinging to it. Things so ugly and lifeless that it needed almost as much faith to believe that any revivifying change could take place, as it does to re-echo the ring of the grand old assurance, I KNOW that yet in MY FLESH I shall see God.'
Even the faithful old wall grew almost weary at last; sad thoughts filled its head, and despondency its heart. How useless I am, indeed,' it sighed, how ugly, how cumbersome! If only I were an ornament
to my master's garden, as those pretty iron | palisadings are to his neighbour's, that
The banner might fall, but the spirit lived,
And liveth for evermore; And Scotland claims as its noblest names The Covenant men of yore.
THE OLD WALL.
AN ALLEGORY. AT the bottom of an old fashioned h garden an old wall kept guard. It had never been handsome, for its ungainly height, red brick composition, and clumsy architecture, debarred it from all pretensions to beauty; and now the seams and stains, the cracks and crevices of age, detracted still more from its personal appearance.
Only one spot looked pretty, where some friendly ivy had flung over all its imperfections a mantle of green, like the kindly screen which gentle charity spreads over the defects of others.
KINDNESS TO ANIMALS.
would be some comfort; but as it is, I purple plums, and friends rejoice in dainty can't help wishing that I could be pulled baskets of its downy peaches and velvet-like down and my bricks used to build some apricots. Nor was it even enough that it little cottage, or even a shed that might furnished beautiful adornments for happy shelter somebody. But that very night dinner parties, and lent its aid at the wedding thieves climbed over the pretty palisadings breakfast of a gentle bride,-its work went and emptied the neighbouring green-house, further still, even to the tender ministry of while the sturdy old wall resisted all their love in abodes of poverty and suffering; efforts and kept its master's treasures cooling parched lips, and moistening safely.
fevered tongues, and speaking with mute They also serve who only stand and eloquence of those • fruits of righteousness,' wait,' whispered the first sunbeam, as it -sympathy, charity, and gentleness, which kissed its rugged bricks the next morning, break down the barriers between wealth and there were no more murmurings. and poverty, and teach men to love as
And now a thrill like an electric current | brethren.' began to quiver through that portion of the "Ah, Katie,' said the master of the faithful old prop which was nearest the garden to his daughter one day, as they ground. The frost was gone, the sap was paused to gather a peach for a sick child, rising, the trees awoke, they began to LIVE. what should we do without our old wall?! Soon ivy leaves, of exquisite verdure, "What indeed?' replied Katie. Do clothed with fairy-like beauty all the you know, papa dear, I think it is both the weather-beaten surface of the old wall. prettiest and the ugliest thing in the whole Nor leaves only; presently a lavish wealth garden, if that is not too great a of blossom-pink, rose-tinted, and white contradiction.' decked it also, till in all the garden nothing Yes,' replied her father thoughtfully; was so lovely as that despised old wall. “yes, ungainly, and ugly in itself, it is Nor did the thought that the beauty was glorious with reflected beauty, and by not its own cost it a moment's uneasiness. means of that REFLECTION its very It was helping to display it for its master's existence is one constant service of help sake, and that was enough.
and support to others. We may be well Days went by, and like a shower of snow contented, darling, if we can in any degrec the scattered petals lay beneath the trees. resemble the old wall.' They had fulfilled their mission, they were content now to die and be forgotten. But
‘Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness, the old wall's work was only begun. Fruit
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
'Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed, came, fruit heavy and thick, and closer and
With joy shall I lift up my head.' closer clung the boughs for support to the
C. M. W. friendly wall. Lean on me,' it cried, lean on me!' They nestled on it and were safe. And ever still it gathered more and more of the sun's warmth and brightness in its
KINDNESS TO ANIMALS. capacious breast and radiated it upon the
(From the German.) fruit-trees, till berries of many hues, ripe, OH, little child, bear this in mind, juicy, and luscious, hung thick on every u We must to all live things be kind; stem. From the earliest cherry to the For all God made is His, so we latest pear, everyone liked better than any Must use all creatures tenderly. other the fruit from the old wall...
Not alone did merry children pause in | The little sparrow, weak and small, their gleeful games to slake their thirst Without His bidding cannot fall; from its bounteous store; not alone did Thou call'st thyself His child in vain eager school-boys fill their pockets with its If thou to that poor bird giv'st pain.