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That brother used to spin ;
To call our robin in ;
His bow, his cup and ball;
His feather, cap and all!
Just where they were before ;
And shut the closet door
The slightest thought expressed
Within a mother's breast!”
THE WIND AND THE SUN.
A DISPUTE once arose between the north wind, and the sun, which of the two was the strongest. To decide the matter, they agreed to try their power on a poor honest traveller, who was then walking along the road; and that party which should first strip the man of his cloak, was to win the day.
The north wind began the attack, and a cutting blast he blew, which tore up the mountain oaks by wheir roots, and made the whole forest look like a wreck; but the traveller, though at first he could scarcely keep the cloak on his back, ran under a hill for shelter, and buckled his threadbare mantle so tight about him, that it would have kept pace with him, if he had been blown from England to France. The wind having thus tried its utmost, the sun began next; and bursting forth through a thick watery cloud, he by degrees darted his sultry beams with so much force upon the man's head, that at last the poor fellow was almost melted.
“ Heigh!” said the traveller, “ this is past all bearing; for it is now so hot, that one might as well be in an oven!” and with that, he threw off his cloak as fast as he could, and sat under the shade of the next tree to cool himself.
This fable describes the state of a person who has bad tempers of different kinds to deal with. The only remedy in such cases is, for those who are thus attacked, to keep their own tempers cool and even.
THE HOUR OF PRAYER.
Traveller, in the stranger's land
Warrior, that from battle won,
SPEAKING OF YOURSELF. Be particularly careful not to speak of yourself if you can help it. The less you say of yourself, the more the world will give you credit for.
Whatever perfections you may have, be assured people will find them out; but whether they do or not, nobody will take them upon your own word.
THE STUDY OF NATURAL HISTORY.
The pursuit of Natural History in almost any way, as a study, or an amusement, is both indicative, and productive of gentleness, refinement and virtue. I know of no indication which would sooner predispose me in favor of a person with whom I might be accidentally thrown in a stage coach, than a familiarity manifested by him, with any branch of natural science, or an intelligent love evinced for its objects.
If he could tell me the names of the flowers by the road side, or the insects as they fitted by us, I should be exceedingly surprised if he ran into the bar-room for liquor, at every stopping place, or let fall from his lips an oath, or an indecent word. I should know that he occupied some of his hours with the observation and study of the sweet and tranquillizing features of nature. I should judge that he preferred a quiet walk, to a noisy revel; that when among men, he chose the society of good men, and that he was fond of books, which are the choicest portions of the spirits of men.
And if I should see in one who had been led astray, sadly astray, by the force of passion, or the tendencies of bad example, if I should see in such a one the love of any department of nature, the disposition to cultivate any branch of natural science, I should hail it as a spring in the desert, and trust that through the “scent of that water,” his life would bud again," and bring forth boughs like a plant.”
And why should I entertain that trust? Because I should know that some of his tastes, at least, were pure, that some of his pleasures were innocent, that some of his pursuits were calm, that he was not wholly given up to sensuality. I should argue that there was a delicacy in his mind, that excess had not rooted out, that there was sacred principle in his heart, which survived amidst corruption; and I should go on to argue that this delicacy, that this principle, would be made to grow and thrive by study, by the direction of the thoughts to their culture, till, at last, the desert place would become a garden.
But the study of nature has its religious, as well as its moral uses. I cannot say that all those who cultivate a taste for natural history, cultivate, in conjunction, religious affections and convictions. Men will sometimes perversely separate those things, which God intends to unite, and which always flourish better, when that intention is fulfilled.
Nor do I mean to say that men cannot be religious and pious, unless they study nature, and natural history.Piety has more sources and supports than one. source fails, piety does not necessarily dry up, because it is still fed from other fountains. If one support is deficient, yet piety may not fall, because there are other foundations to hold it up. Happy for us that it is so.
It is nevertheless true, most true, that the study and contemplation of nature leads directly, and by an easy and excellent way, to the adoration and love of nature's God; that the examination of the living, varied and exquisite mechanism about us, constructed not by human hands, may be the daily means of our beholding and acknowledging the planning, ruling, forming hand of the Almighty, Testimony to this truth has been borne abundantly by the best and wisest of men; by poets, naturalists, philosophers.
“ To see all things in God," say Kirby and Spence, in the preface to their valuable and delightful work on Ento. mology," has been accounted one of the peculiar privileges