« AnteriorContinuar »
unto eternal life, at the second appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." The scene was very affecting, and my prayer is, that it may be lastingly profitable.
THE DISCONTENTED ROBIN LADY-BIRD.
A PROVERB ILLUSTRATED. THE following is one of the numerous articles composing a beautiful volume from the pen of the Rev. Dr. Cheever, entitled “ The Hill Difficulty."
It is an active thing, that hath much meaning in itthat old proverb—"A rolling stone gathers no moss." The application of it may be abused, for it might seem to sanction sluggishness, and the want of energy and enterprise ; a little more sleep, a little more slumber; a soft bed of moss is a very pleasant thing for a stone to recline upon. Pity to disturb it by rolling.
But there is a side of bright truth to this proverb, and a sin of restlessness, change, and discontent in man, which it condemns. Men are never satisfied with the dispensation of Providence towards them, and instead of asking, How may I make the most out of my present situation, and do the most good in it ? they are always uneasy, always ready for a change. “Meddle not with a man given to change." Reputation is a thing of gradual growth; it comes from acquaintance, from stability, from habit; if it be good, let a man stay by it. It is the house of his character, and three removes are equal to one fire.
Steadiness of purpose, with a contented mind, is worth more than a great many shining qualities that are not so stable. I shall try to illustrate this for the little children, and therefore we must put our proverb into a parable.
There was once a little Robin Redbreast, very fickleminded and fanciful. It was a wonder to everybody how she could ever fix upon a husband, and how any bird that valued his own family happiness, and knew
anything of her character, could take her to wife. However, she was very pretty, with a very sweet voice, and a little roving Robin fell in love with her, and in the spring-time they were married, and went to making their nest. Little master Robin worked like a goodfellow, early and late, and they had nearly got the nest finished, in fine time for the summer season, when the Lady-bird discovered a thorn in it, which it was difficult to remove, without breaking it up, and so persuaded the husband to abandon it.
Then they went to work upon another, but no sooner had they got it nicely feathered, and warm and comfortable, than the discontented Lady-bird found that it was too high in the tree, and that a strong wind would overset it. So she persuaded her husband to abandon that also. Then they commenced another in the centre of a barbary bush, where it would be difficult for any schoolboy to come at it; and they had just got it almost ready for their abode, when the Lady-bird, returning one day from a visit, told her husband, who had been working hard all day to finish the nest, and had even got a company of upholsterers to help him, that the materials out of which they had built it were so far inferior to their neighbours, and so unfashionable, that it would never do to dwell in it; all their friends, she affirmed, would cut their acquaintance. So by dint of much complaining she persuaded her mate to abandon that also.
Now there was a wise old Owl in that neighbourhood, that had been watching their proceedings, and one day, when they came near his nest to gather some down and soft moss for another of their own, he thus addressed them. * Silly birds! Do you not see how the season is advancing, and with every change you are losing in time more than you are gaining in taste? See how the very berries on your barberry-bush are becoming red with the approach of autumn? By the time you get satisfied with your nest, the warm months will soon be over, and then what will you do with your young? Had you been contented with your first situation, you might by this time have had a family of songsters about you all provided for. But you will never be happy so given to change, for a rolling stone gathers no moss, and your discontent is always preventing you from realizing the happiness that you might enjoy in life.
"And let me tell you, pretty Mrs. Robin Redbreast," said he to the Lady-bird, " that if you go on giving yourself such airs, instead of contentedly helping your goodnatured husband in his efforts to provide for your heirs, you will never have a family, though you live to be as old as the Phænix."
The Lady-bird tossed up her head at this and flew off, declaring that she never heard of such a pun in all her life. But master Robin was very much mortified. And it turned out just as the old Owl had predicted; for though those two Robins at length got settled, and had a couple of little bright speckled eggs shining in their nest, yet it was so late, that one frosty morning, just after the young had broken their shells, and while the parents were looking up a few seeds and worms for breakfast, the poor little things were so chilled they died; and then in the first emigration, the bereaved Robins, mourning, had to go off to the tropics.
SELFISHNESS UNCHRISTIAN. LIVE for some purpose in the world. Act your part well. Fill up the measure of your duty to others, Conduct yourself so as that you shall be missed with sorrow when you are gone. Multitudes of our species are living in such a selfish manner, that they are not likely to be remembered after their disappearance. They leave behind them scarcely any traces of their existence, but are forgotten almost as though they had never been. They are, while they live, like one pebble lying unobserved amongst millions on the shore; and when they die, they are like that same pebble thrown into the sea, which just ruffles the surface, sinks, and is forgotten, without being missed from the beach. They are neither regretted by the rich, wanted by the poor, nor celebrated by the learned. Who has been the better for their life? Who has been the worse for their death ? Whose tears bave they dried up, whose wants supplied, whose niseries have they healed? Who would unbar the zate of life, to re-admit them to existence? or what face Would greet them back again to our world with a smile ? Wretched unproductive mode of existence! Selfishness is its own curse—it is a starving vice. The man that does no good, gets none. He is like the heath in the desert, neither yielding fruit, nor seeing when good cometh ; a stunted, dwarfish, miserable shrub.
We are sent into the world to do good; and to be destitute of public spirit, is to forget one-half our errand upon earth. Think what opportunity there is for the increase and operations of this noble disposition. We are in a world which abounds with evil. There are six hundred millions of immortal souls yet enslaved in their minds by the chain of Pagan superstition or Mahometan delusion, aliens to the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenants of promise, without God, and without hope in the world. There are one hundred and twenty millions following the Papal Beast, and bearing his image. There are nine millions of the seed of Abraham, wandering as vagabonds over the face of the whole carth, with the thick veil of unbelief upon their hearts. In our own country, many towns and villages are yet unblessed with the faithful preaching of the Gospel; multitudes of adults are still without Bibles to read, and myriads of children without the knowledge of letters. Ignorance of the grossest kind, vice of the most abominable forms, are to be found in every street. And then, as to positive misery, what aboundings are to be seen in every collection of human abodes. Where can we go and not hear the groans of creation ascending around us, and not see the tears of sorrow flowing in our path? Poverty meets us with its heart-breaking tale of want and woe. Disease in a thousand shapes appeals to our compassion.Widows, orphans, destitute old men, and fatherless babes, with numbers ready to perish, are almost everywhere to be seen. Shall we live at the centre of so much sin, ignorance, and wretchedness, and not feel it our duty to do good? What a wretch must he be, who in such
a world, is destitute of public spirit ? For all that selfishness ever hoarded, may you, my children, never be cursed with an unfeeling heart. Here is something, for all to do, and all should do what they can.
J. A. JAMES.
HINDOO WATERMEN. The morning of March 21st, 18—, found the good ship S. after a passage of 120 days from Boston, nearing the eastern shores of India. Upon her deck stood the writer, with thirteen other passengers, gazing with no small interest upon the land which was to be their adopted and future home. The mind of each was too busy with its own reflections—too full of the future, to allow of much conversation. The moment long desired, was now near at hand. The hopes of years were about to be realized, but the cup of pleasure was held by a trembling hand. A veil hung before the future, not to be penetrated by human sight, and the bright angel of Hope was accompanied by her stern, yet constant companion, Fear. A silence of considerable continuance was at length interrupted by the question, “ What is that object on the water in range with the distant shore po Every eye was at once turned in the direction indicated, as the question was repeated by one and another, " What is it " While the possibility and probability of its character were under discussion, we perceived it making towards us, which served but to increase interest and multiply conjecture, till one of our number exclaimed with earnestness,
It must be a catamaran." "And what is a catamaran ? asks my reader. The word is compound, and means, literally, tied wood. Several logs of medium thickness, measuring from twenty to thirty feet in length, are lashed together with strong ropes, one in the centre projecting beyond those at the sides, and forming a sort of prow, or bowsprit. Upon this most primitive craft three or four natives plant themselves, in a kneeling posture, and with short paddles, which they ply upon alternate sides, venture far out to sea for the purposes of fishing in the deep water, and trading with the foreign vessels that