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ing canes; but I never thought before that it was a grass.
M. It is; and a most useful kind in tropical climates, where it grows naturally. There are plants, both of it and of the sugar cane in the palm-house of the Botanical Gardens; and if you examine their stems, and the stem of a common grass, or of a stalk of wheat, you will find the structure the same. The bamboo grows very quickly, sometimes as much as eight or ten inches in a night. Some of the grasses contain a good deal of sugar. One of them called Elymus Arenarius, the sand or sea-side lyme grass, contains so much that it is called the British sugar cane. It grows among the sand by the sea shore,
where the tide does not reach it.
Rachel. Yes, I have seen it-the flower grows on a thick strong stem, quite different from other grasses. I think it is very extraordinary it should grow there. I did not think the roots could receive any nourishment from sand.
M. That is another instance of God's wisdom, power, and goodness. In our conversations on the moss and lichen, you were told that every plant has its particular climate—some spot where it can only grow, and nowhere else; and this is the case with the grasses. Some are formed to grow on high hills, others in meadows; some will only thrive on poor soils, others on rich; and several will only thrive in sand, and these are very useful-so useful, that there is a law prohibiting the destroying of them, under a severe penalty. They have all very powerfully creeping roots, which bind the loose sand, and prevent encroachments of the sea. From the quantity of
sugar they contain, they must draw a great deal of nourishment from the sand.
Catharine. That is very wonderful, and very kind of God to give us these grasses; if he had not, a great Ideal of land would have been wasted.
M. It is very possible that by means of those grasses which grow among sand, the deserts of Arabia and Africa may all become green fields. You know when sin entered into the world, the earth was cursed; and the only means to remove the curse is the Gospel. Into whatever country it is taken, immediately the improvement of the soil, and all kinds of useful knowledge follow, and the curse is turned into a blessing; and wherever the spiritual desert "shall rejoice and blossom as the rose," so will the natural. Now I shall tell you the very wonderful means God has taken to ensure the production of the grasses, and from which we shall learn some more nice lessons. The treatment which would destroy most other plants is the very means by which grass is increased-the more it is eaten down by cattle, the more its roots increase, and the greater the quantity of leaves. In woods it is thin and coarse, and has very little nourishment in it, because it is not much eaten by cattle, and is quite sheltered from rain, sun, and air. Now we shall look to the lessons which this teaches us. Tell me who is the good Shepherd?
Frances Jane. Jesus Christ. He says in John x. 11, "I am the good Shepherd."
M. Do you remember, before our Saviour's ascension, what his last request to Peter was?
Jessie. "Feed my sheep Feed my
M. Now tell me what is the pasture they are to feed on?
Mary. The knowledge and understanding of the Word of God. Jer. iii. 15, "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."
M. You are quite right. The Word of God is the heavenly pasture; and the more Christ's sheep and lambs feed upon it, the more it will increase in your hearts. The more heavenly wisdom you learn, the more you will find you have to learn; and the greater will be your relish for it. This heavenly pasture must not be sheltered or hidden by any interpretations or traditions of men-i —it must be in a clear open field, under the influence of the Sun of righteousness, the heavenly rain and dew, which is the Holy Spirit, and the pure air of heaven's atmosphere, which we can only obtain by prayer. Now, dear children, we shall stop for to-day, and I hope you will remember what Cowper says, "Acquaint thyself with God, if thou wilt taste his works." And may you all experience this truth as he did, then you will have real enjoyment in them-you will love them not only because God made them, and because they are very lovely, but because they teach the Gospel.
PSALM Civ. 14.-"He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth." Ver. 24, "O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all the earth is full of thy riches."
M. We shall talk to-day about the structure of the grasses. If you examine them all, from the bamboo down to the smallest grass that grows, you will find they are all hollow tubes, with solid joints at regular distances.
George. Yes, I know they are; and I have often looked at the stalks of corn and wheat, and wondered how it was that such thin stalks could support such heavy heads as they sometimes have; it is very surprising that whole fields of corn are not broken down.
M. The very reason why they are not broken down is, because they are thin and hollow. A jointed hollow tube is much stronger than a solid stem, with the same amount of matter, and much lighter: they bend before the wind, but seldom break. Had they been solid, there never would have been a gale of wind without one-half of the crop being lost, and what a calamity that would have been!
Rachel. Yes, it would. And how much more useful the straw is, too, than if it had been solid. It makes
such nice bonnets, mattresses, bedding for cattle, and many other things.
M. You see even in this how good God is. He thinks of everything. What is good for the plant is at the same time good for us. But we must speak a little more about the jointed hollow tubes. The bones of your legs and arms are hollow tubes; they require to be light, so that you can use them, and move about easily. Your legs require to be strong, to support the weight of your body; and your arms, because they must be used very much, often in hard work. The quills of birds are all hollow, and exceedingly light and strong; they could not have flown had they been solid. The power, wisdom, and goodness of God are seen in every one of his works. No one was ever more deeply impressed with this truth than the late Dr. Chalmers. I shall tell you a nice story about that. There is at present in the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, a plant called the screw pine; it grows in the palm-house; it is very large, and of a spiral form, from which it gets its name. The stem is formed from the base of the leaves as they fall off-it would not be strong enough to support its large heavy head, so it throws out what are called aerial roots from the stem, these grow downwards and take root in the earth, and support it like pillars. When this plant was removed into the palm-house, one of the branches broke; it was propped up, and great care taken to give it a chance of recovery. It does not usually throw out these roots where the branches join the stem but in this instance it threw out a very large and strong aerial root from the wounded part, which supports the branch, exactly like a crutch-and that