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will be fulfilled, your prayers will be answered, and you will reap an abundant harvest, if not in time, you will in eternity. It is there you will see and enjoy the full fruit of your labours; but you will begin to enjoy it here. You must now learn to be willing to give up all for Christ, and if called upon to do it; there must be regularity and order in your contributions, otherwise you never will give what you ought. The Word of God teaches this: and some day soon we shall examine these rules. Now, tell me, my dear children, if it would be a right thing to be zealous in the cause of Christ, and regular, and it may be liberal in our contributions to Him, and not regular in paying our just debts to our neighbour; or it may be purchasing things from him which we know we cannot pay for at the time, and may never have it in our power to pay for.
Charlie. No; that would be very wicked indeed. It is impossible God could accept of that man's works. The love of God cannot be in his heart. That is what the Pharisees did.
M. This is a lesson I am extremely anxious you should begin to learn now, and to remember and practise while you live. Be regular in the payment of all your accounts: you do not know how much misery many poor families may suffer from your want of regularity. It may be after working day and night for you-depending on that money for food for themselves and children, they may be obliged to wait for months. before they can get it: and the lives of infants may be sacrificed for want of proper food, which the payment of a just debt would have saved; and be assured, whoever makes a practice of this will not do it always
—their sin will find them out, and God will punish them and never purchase anything you know you cannot pay for. It is the worst kind of dishonesty there is, and a grievous sin in the sight of God, and you know not into what depths of misery it lead you. Always keep within your income, whatever that may be. Always pay for what you buy at the time you do buy it; and if it be necessary to incur accounts, be regular in the payment of them-if possible, never let them run beyond a week. If the love of God is in your hearts, you will be just and true in all your dealings with men; and that this love may abound in every one of you, and produce much fruit, is my sincere and earnest prayer. Jude 24, 25, "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
PHENIS DACTYLIFERA-THE DATE PALM. VICTORY.
PSALM XCII. 12-14.-"The righteous shall flourish like the palmtree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing."
Rev. vii. 9, 10.-" After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb."
Georgina. Will you be so kind as to tell us about the palm? I like that beautiful chapter in Revelations, and the Paraphrase very much, where it tells of the redeemed with palms in their hands, clothed with white robes standing before the throne, and before the Lamb. I should like to know why it has been chosen as the emblem of victory by God, and also by heathen nations who did not know God.
M. The reason heathen nations chose it is supposed to be, because it is the most useful tree in the world. Pliny says, there are no less than three hundred and sixty uses to which the palm-tree and its products are applied. Plutarch says, the reason was, because the more efforts used to crush, bend, or destroy it, the more vigorous it becomes. Among the heathens, a branch of palm was always given to the victors, to be carried in their right hands. In the book of Revelation we read, that the redeemed, those who have come out of great tribulation, had palms in their hands. It is a very remarkable emblem of a consistent walk with God, of the useful active Christian, of one who has overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, and who has proved faithful unto death although tried with fire.
Catharine. Can you tell us all the three hundred and sixty uses?
M. No; but I can tell you a few of the chief. Its
fruit is the principal support of the inhabitants of Egypt, Arabia, and Persia, and the stones inside of the fruit when bruised is the chief food of the camel, which is as useful to the Arab as the reindeer is to the Laplander. The palm-tree grows from sixty to a hundred feet in height, perfectly straight, with no branches, and from this it derives its Hebrew name, Tamar-upright. For about one hundred years it yields fifteen or twenty clusters of dates, each cluster weighing fifteen or twenty pounds, after that it begins gradually to decay. The leaves and fruit are all at the top of the tree. How do you think they manage to get at the fruit?
Charlie. Climb the tree, to be sure; that would be very easily done. I know how to climb trees.
M. Yes, it is perhaps easy enough to climb a tree with branches; but do you think you could manage to climb to the top of a tree one hundred feet high with no branches, and gather four hundred pounds weight of fruit?
Charlie. I still think it is possible: you know a sailor can climb a bare pole to a great height.
M. With your dress it might be easy enough, but not so with the Arabs, Egyptians, Persians, and other nations round them, who have from time immemorial worn long flowing loose dresses, it would be impossible to climb a smooth stem with these.
Craigie. No, I am sure I could not climb a pole if I had on an Arab's dress. Then how do they manage?
M. The stem has a natural ladder all the way up to the top, so that they can go up step by step, and down again quite easily, without being incommoded by their long garments.
Mary. How are these natural ladders formed?
M. Do you remember what I told you about the stem of the screw pine?
David. Yes; that the stem was formed by the base of the leaves as they fall off.
M. Quite right, but the leaves of the screw pine fall off so close, that the stem is quite smooth. The stem of the date palm is formed in the same way, but part of the base of the leaves remains, projecting all the way from the foot to the head; these are very strong and afford a firm footing for the Arab when he ascends and descends the tree. Every part is most useful; from the leaves they make couches, baskets, bags, mats, and brushes, also thatch for their houses; from the mid-rib of the leaf they make cages for their poultry, and fences for their gardens, and sheep-folds; from the fibres they make thread, ropes, and rigging; from the sap, wine; and the body of the tree is made into water-pipes, which are very durable; they also build their huts with this.
George. Well done the palm-tree. I think if we were to try we could find out the three hundred and sixty uses, from those few you have mentioned. For instance, you know the thread can be made into cloth, and the cloth into paper, and these can be put to a great many uses. I wonder if the ancients knew this?
M. No, I do not think they did. Now we shall examine the nature of the palm-tree. It is tall, perfectly upright; the leaves are all at the top of the tree, and are so disposed as to resemble the rays of the sun. It produces delicious fruit in great abundance, which is the chief support of several nations. It has a natural ladder by means of which the fruit is easily procured. Wherever there is a palm-tree,