Page images
PDF
EPUB

also a great mercy to have the Bible sold so cheap that the poorest child may have one, at least a testament, which are now sold at sixpence each. There was a time when Bibles were so exceeding dear that only rich people could buy them. Sunday-schools are mercies, where we are taught to read the Scriptures, and to understand them. Public worship is a mercy, when we can worship God as we think will please him best in peace and safety. These are all mercies—great mercies ! and we should prize them.

But the greatest, the crowning mercy of all mercies is, that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

What words of mercy came from the lips of our blessed Saviour; “ Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out,” and for the encouragement of children, he said, “Suffer little children to come unto meand forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.” Oh! come then to Christ; come to him now in the days of your youth, and he will receive you!

M.J. W, aged eleven. LITTLE THINGS. SUPPOSE a little boy were walking in the fields on some fair day of Autumn, and as he goes along he sees something on the ground which looks round and smooth, like a small egg.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

LITTLE THINGS.

He picks it up: it is an acori).

He carries it a little way, and then throws it down : it is a small affair and useless; he forgets it entirely. The acorn lies forgotten; an ox comes along and unconsciously treads it into the ground. It lies in the ox-track during the cold winter. In the spring it swells, the little sprout peeps out, a root strikes downward, and two little leaves open on the ground. The acorn lives and grows ; during a hundred years it grows, while men live and die, and while many a storm beats upon it. It is now a giant oak: it is made into a mighty ship, and laden with goods, she sails round the world, and does her errands at many hundreds of places. She bears the flag of her nation on her mast, and her nation is honoured for her sake. What great things may spring from small ones ! Who would have thought that such a little thing could contain the mighty oak in it ? Besides this, that one tree bears acorns enough every year to raise a thousand more oaks, and these, every year, bear enough to rear ten thousand more? Thus a whole forest may be shut up in the bud of a single acorn. Well: and so it is among men.

Sir Isaac Newton, who measured the distances of sun, and moon, and stars, was once a little chubby lad, șitting by his mother's knee to learn his alphahet. Dr. Carey, who translated the Scriptures into the hard languages of India, was once a poor shoemaker. So we do not know to what

any child may grow. The penny you put into the mission-box may buy a tract, which the missionary may drop on the road, which a strange man may pick up and take with him to his own far-off land, and it may be the means of the conversion and salvation of that man and some of his neighbours, and they may talk to others, and they again to others, till all the nation learn the way to heaven. Thus a whole nation may be saved, under God's blessing, by your giving a penny !

THE CHILD.
How beautiful the child, with his sweet smile,
His eager voice, his trust unfearing guile,

His tears, dried as they fall;
His looks, where wonder and delight are rife,
Still offering bis nascent soul to life,

His kissing lipa to all!
Spare, mighty Lord ! spare me, and all I love-
Friends, brethren, kindred, even foes, who move

'Gainst me in triumph wild-
From e'er beholding summer reft of flowers,
Beeless the hive, birdless the leafy bowers,

The house without a chilà !-Victor Hugo.
THE DYING CHILD TO ITS MOTHER.

Ah! mother, dost thou weep to see
This weakly frame decay,
And dost thou sigh while Jesus waits
To bear my soul away;
Let not thy breast by grief be riven,

We part on earth to meet in heaven!

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small]

The Swan is a large water-fowl that has a long neck, and is very white, except when it is young. Its legs and feet are black, as is its bill, which is like that of a goose, but something rounder, and a little hooked at the end. The two sides, below its eyes, are black and shining as ebony. Swans use their wings as sails, and catch the wind; so that they are driven along in the water. They feed upon herbs and some sorts of grain, like a goose, and some are said to have lived for a hundred years. There is a species of swans with the feathers of their heads,

the goose.

towards the breast, marked at the ends with a gold colour, inclining to red. It was said to sing melodiously when near expiring; a tradition, like many others, entirely fabulous.

The wild swan flies rapidly; it is said, at the ti rate of a hundred miles an hour, before the i wind. The female builds her nest of water plants, reeds, long grass, and sticks, in some retired bank of a river or lake. She lays six or eight eggs, which are much larger than those of

Tame Swans are bred principally for show; and are, therefore, chiefly found upon ornamental pieces of water, of which they are still a distinguished ornament. Swans and their eggs were formerly protected by very severe penalties, so that it was felony to steal their eggs; and, in the reign of Edward the Fourth, a person who did not possess a freehold of the yearly value of five marks, was prohibited from keeping a swan. The flesh of the cygnet was once highly esteemed, and is still used by the corporation of Norwich, at their public dinners, as they are bound by ancient tenure to present the Duke of Norfolk, annually, with an immense cygnet pie. Swans, in the time of Henry the Eighth, appear to have borne the marks of their respective owners; those of the king having what were called two nicks or notches; from which is derived, “the swan with two necks," frequently exhibited as the sign of public houses.

« PreviousContinue »