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hide, flesh, fat, and horns, may be applied to several uses ; and its dung is excellent manure for the ground. A very remarkable circumstance in this animal is the construction of its organs of digestion. It has four stomachs, the first of which can contain forty or fifty pounds weight of food. The third stomach has eighty-eight folds or ridges, which serve to digest; whilst sheep or goats have but thirty-six. The ass, however void of beauty in its appearance, and despised as it may be, has many excellent qualities, and is very useful to us. It is not fiery and impetuous like the horse; but quiet, simple, and always the
It has no pride. It goes smoothly on. It carries its load without noise or murmur. It is temperate, both as to the quantity and quality of its food. It is contented with thistles, and the hardest and worst herbs. It is patient, vigorous, and indefatigable; and is of continual and essential use to its master.
How is it possible that we can daily make use of these animals, without reflecting on the Creator, who formed and gave them the means of being so useful to us? It is a circumstance worthy the attention of a reflecting mind, that the number of beasts of burden is infinitely greater than that of wild beasts. If the latter multiplied as fast as the former, the world might soon be a desert. Can we reflect -without gratitude on that goodness which has given us the command of those apimals; the strength or skill to subdue them; the right to make use of them; to change, as we please, their nature ; to force them to obedience; and to employ them as we choose. , If animals had not been impressed with a natural fear of mankind, it would be impossible to subdue them by force. Since therefore, it is to God alone we owe our power over them, we should not abuse it, by treating those creatures ill.
The Winter Sowing-time.
GREAT part of the food intended for us, and for many animals, is at this time deposited in the ground. The farmer has sowed his winter corn, and begins to enjoy rest from his labours. He will soon have the satisfaction to see his fields gradually covering with a beautiful verdure, and giving the promise of a plentiful harvest. Nature at first, indeed, works in secret, while the seed is opening; but its operations may be discovered, by taking some of the grains out of the ground when they are beginning to shoot. Two days after the grain is put into the earth, it is swelled by the juices, and begins to shoot. The shoot is always at one of the ends of the grain: and that part of it which is next the outside of the grain is the little root of the future plant. The part turned inwards is the stalk and head of the plant. The corn, when sowed, generally begins in twenty-four hours to pierce through the coat, and unfold itself. The root and stalk become visible. The root is first wrapped up in a bag, which it bursts open. Some days after, other roots shoot out of their sides. The fifth or sixth day, à green stalk springs up above the ground. It remains some time in that staté, till the fine season comes, when the ear of corn breaks out of the coats, in which it had been enclosed, and protected from cold and uncertain weather.
All this naturally leads us to reflect on the nature of human life. Our présent existence is but the seed from whence everlasting life is to spring. We are here in the sowing season, and we see but little as yet sprung forth. We cannot here behold the fruit in maturity, or the corn in perfection. The harvest will not be reaped on earth. We live in hope. The farmer has sowed his field. He leaves his grain to to the rain, the storms, and the heat of the sun; and he sees not what will be the result. This is our situation in regard to spiritual seed. Let us not be vain of what we sow, neither let us be discouraged, if we do not reap the fruits of it. Let us not be weary of * sowing to the spirit;" and perhaps our good works, however trifling in themselves, may have happy consequences hereafter. Now that our ground is sowed, let us wait patiently, and without anxiety, till we reap the fruits of our labour.
The Measure and Division of Time. Time is measured and divided according to the motions of the celestial bodies, and particularly by those of the sun and moon. Those two globes have the most influence on the state of mankind. The course of the moon only serves to measure the time on our earth; that of the sun certainly regulates the time in all the planets which move round Day is the space of time in which the sun makes a revolution round the earth; or, to speak more justly, it is the time our earth takes in turning round its own axis. The part of this time during which the sun is above the horizon, we call artificial day. This is when the light is determined by sun-set and sun-rise. The time of darkness, or when the sun is below the horizon, we call night. The day and night together make the solar day. We divide it into 24 parts, called 'hours: each hour is divided into 60 equal parts, called minutes; each minute into 60 seconds; and each second into 60 thirds. This division of the day inio hours, minutes, &c. is marked by the motion of the shadow on a sun-dial, or by the hand of a clock. A good sun-dial constantly marks the hour truly, but clocks or watches require to be often regulated. Most Europeans, in common life, begin their hours of the day at noon, from whence they reckon twelve to midnight, and twelve more to noon again. The Italians begin the day at sun-set, and reckon twenty-four hours from thence to the following evening. The Turks begin their day at a quarter of an hour after san-set; they reckon from thence twelve equal hours, and, when those are passed, they reckon twelve more to the following evening. The Jews begin the day at sun-set; from thence they reckon twelve equal hours to sun-rise, and as many to sun-set; consequently, their hours of day are longer or shorter than those of night, in proportion to the length of the day and night. A week is the space of seven days. A solar month is the time the sun takes in traversing a sign of the Zodiac: but those months do not begin or end exactly as that body enters a new sign. The lunar month is the space of time between two new moons, that is to say, twenty-nine days, twelve hours, and forty-four minutes. The solar year consists of twelve solar months, which is the time the sun takes in traversing the twelve signs of the Zodiac; and there are generally reckoned in that time, three hundred and sixty. five days, five hours, and forty minutes. These are now the years in most parts of Europe. The lunar year takes in twelve lunar months, or 'twelve courses of the moon round the earth. It is
composed of three hundred and fifty-four days, eight hours, and forty-eight minutes. The Jews and Turks make use of this r
reckoning; but in order to make it answer to the solar year, they
often add a whole month to it. Our common year begins ten or twelve days after the sun has entered Capricorn.
This measure or division of time, however unimportant it may appear in itself, may become of much consequence, by the application of it to the moral life
The hours, days, weeks, months, and years, of which our earthly life is composed, were given us in order that we should fulfil the design of our existence, by making a good use of our faculties. But how do we employ this precious time! Minutes appear to us too trifling to attend to. It is certain, however, that he who does not reckon minutes will lavish hours also.
“ Teach us, O Lord, so to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."
The End of Summer.
The sun is now taking leave of our world. Every thing is changed with us. The earth, which was lately so beautiful and fruitful, is now becoming gradually barren and poor. We no longer behold that fine enamel of the trees in blossom, the charms of spring, the magnificence of summer, those different tints and shades of verdure in the woods and meads, the purple grapes, nor the yellow harvests which crowned our fields. When the earth is stripped of corn, grass, and leaves, nothing is to be seen but a rough and rugged surface. It has no longer that beautiful appearance which they produced over a vast country. The birds no longer sing; nothing now recals to the mind of man that universal joy which reigned throughout all animated nature. Deprived of the pleasures which the melodious songs of the birds afforded, he hears little now but the murmuring streams and whistling winds, constantly the same dull sounds; a musty smell of plants and leaves decaying, and a cold, damp air, are disagreeable