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The muscular power of the wings is so great, and so great the force with which they can strike their pinion, that a leg or an arm might be broken by the blow. They have been known to contend successfully with eagles. A few years ago a fine swan was drowned in Trentham Park, the seat of the Marquis of Stafford, by a large pike seizing its bill. They were of equal strength, and both swan and pike perished together. Swans are said to be very attached to their parents, and will fiercely attack any one who ventures too near their brood; and, when the stream is strong, the old swan will sink herself so as to bring her back on a level with the water, when the cygnets get upon the back of their parent, and are conveyed into stiller water. Each family of swans has its own district, from which all intruding swans and other birds are soon and fiercely driven. They are said to have an instinctive knowledge of the height to which the water they inhabit will rise during the season of their incubation, and make their nest high or low accordingly, to prepare for the circumstance of the flood or tide.
Within the last few years very large flocks of black swans have been found in Van Dieman's land, and the western coast of New Holland; whence the name of the lately celebrated Swan River and settlement is derived. Specimens are to be seen in this country the Zoological Gardens, and at the Duke of Devonshire's villa at Chiswick.
BREAD CAST UPON THE WATERS. The Bible says,
“ Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days.” Let us see what this text means. Rice is the food most used in eastern countries, especially in Egypt, even to this day. Every year, when the snow melt on the mountains, the River Nile rises and overflows its banks, and covers all the country with water.
The people set down stakes, every man in his own land, before the waters come; and when the Nile has risen, and all the ground is overflowed, the people go out in their little boats and sow, or cast, their rice upon the waters; the rice sinks down, and sticks in the mud beneath ; and when the flood is past, they find it has taken root and sprouted; it grows up and supplies them with a harvest. This is casting bread upon the waters, and finding it after many days.
Ministers, by preaching, and teachers, by instruction, cast the seed of the kingdom abroad. Sometimes it seems to be wasted or lost. But often it appears again, and springing up, bears fruit. Many a pastor's prayer, a teacher's desire, and a mother's wish, have been rewarded in seeing the once disobedient youth return to the paths of piety and peace. Let us never despair, but labour on in faith and hope.
“ Though seed lie buried long in dust,
It sha'nt deceive cur hope."
A DIALOGUE ON PRAYER.
Does God command us all to pray,
Pray always, and not cease ? And must we do so every day,
Would we our Maker please ?
Yes, God commands us all to pray,
'Tis written in his word; And we must do so every day, If we would please the Lord.
To pleasure more inclin'd;
Are called to yield their breath;
Alas! what shall I say?
For Adam's sinful race,
Sits on a throne of grace.
With heart sincere approach that throne,
Whilst Jesus pleads above;
Without one heavenly ray;
The Father will impart,
And cheer your drooping heart. Your sincere sighs, and groans untold,
Will all be heard in heaven; And blessings in a thousand fold, Through Christ, be freely given.
No merit can I bring:
Regards the humble prayer;
This work without delay,
THE NEW SABBATH SCHOLAR.
That we may both the Saviour win,
Our thoughtful hearts to raise ;
Till prayer shall end in praise ; And when our Father's face we see,
In heaven's unclouded day, Thankful we then shall ever be
That we began to pray.
THE NEW SABBATH SCHOLAR. WHEN I was quite a little boy
With spirits blythe and gay,
How bappy passed each day.
Or troubles marred my peace,
But all was perfect peace.
By many a childish rule,
To go to Sunday school.
With ruddy smiling face ;
In such a curious place.