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ought not to give up all and stay to take care of her sister, and was only persuaded to go by being answered that Biddy should be properly attended to, and that she should hear how she went on.
REV. W. ASHE.
THE HIVE AND ITS WONDERS.
WAX-HONEY-INSTINCT OF THE BEE. THE wax which we obtain from the industrious little bee is an article of great value. The combs, filled with honey, when taken from the hive, are first placed to drain, when the finest and purest honey runs from them. They are then closely pressed, to obtain the remainder ; after which, all the particles of the comb are collected for the sake of the wax.
To prepare the wax for use, the combs are put into a woollen bag, and the bag placed in a kettle of water over the fire. When the water has boiled for some time the bag is taken out, and the water is set aside to cool; the wax then rises to the top of the water, when it becomes solid and is taken off in a cake.
White wax is nothing more than the yellow wax bleached by exposure to the air, the heat of the sun, and moisture. Bees' wax is used for some purposes in medicine; and from it the finest candles are made.
The value of the little cells of wax, in the preservation of the honey, is very great. When the honey is taken from the comb, and poured into jars, it soon ferments in warm weather and spoils, even when kept in a place much cooler than the bee-hive. Why, then, does the honey in the hive keep good? Because it is contained in these separate little cells, instead of being in one mass, as it mụst be in a jar. Each cell is entirely separate from the other cells; and each one, when full, is carefully closed from the air by a lid of wax. The quantity is so small in each, that it never ferments. What, then, could the bee do with the honey, if it had not the wax, and had not been taught to build the cells ? She could not store it up for winter, or keep it for any length of time. But she
prepares the wax, and builds the colls to contain the honey and to preserve it; and then collects the honey and stores it away in this remarkable manner.
Wax is a substance which very quickly softens and dissolves, when heat is applied to it. An allusion to this property is evidently intended by the psalmist, when describing, as in his own person, in the twenty-second Psalm, the sufferings of the Messiah: he says, "My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.” Again, in proclaiming the majesty and glory of the Lord, in the ninety-seventh Psalm, he exclaims : “ The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.” The figure is a striking one, to point out how those who remain the enemies of the Lord shall be utterly destroyed and perish before him.
But not only is the wax prepared by the little useful bee, the honey is also a most important article for the service of man. The busy bee provides not only enough for the wants of her
own family, but she has a great deal to spare for others. When sugar was not so plentiful and cheap as it now is, honey was more highly thought of as an article of food, though it is still valued by many as a luxury,
In some of their offerings to their idols, amongst the ancient heathen, honey was made a part of the ceremony; and perhaps, for this reason, it was not allowed in any burnt-offerings of the Jews; as they were always to be distinguished from the idolatrous nations about them, by the difference in their manners and customs, and especially such as belonged to their religion.
The best honey is very light-coloured and transparent, and is generally collected early in the season: the same honey is always purer and better when found in a new comb. If it remains longer than one season in the hive, it becomes dark in colour, and is much less valuable.
Honey is always more rich and delicate, and has a much finer flavour while still in the comb, than it ever has after being separated from it by any process. Some allusion to this differ. ence seems intended by king David, when, in the nineteenth Psalm, speaking of the law and the judgments of the Lord, as contained in the Scriptures, he declares, “ More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” David seems here to compare the honey with gold while still mingled with the dross, and the fine or pure gold with the more delicious honey in the comb.
The same distinction may be referred to by Solomon, when recommending the pursuit of wisdom in the Proverbs : " My son, eat thou honey, because it is good ; and the honey. comb, which is sweet to thy taste," To teach us the well-known lesson that hunger sweetens the most common repast, we are also told by the same sacred writer, “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” How often do persons complain of their food, and find fault with it, only because they have no healthful appetite, and perhaps have been spoiled with dainties !
How has the little bee obtained the know. ledge she possesses ? She has not gained it by experience. She has not tried, first one plan and then another, for her curious works, and then decided upon that which, on the whole, she thought to be best. This could not be. She was not taught these skilful arts by other bees, older and wiser than herself. No: each little bee as well understood at the beginning of her life how to perform her allotted task as she did at the close. She is provided with the instruments necessary for her work, and she uses them properly. She begins the work of her life in the right way; and in the same way she carries it on, with the most perfect order and system, till, in a few short months, it is all ended.
The wondrous faculty which this insect enjoys, to direct all its proceedings, is called instinct. It is given to her, and to other insects and inferior creatures, by the Creator of the world. This gift is all the teaching which they need. It is their guide in all things, and keeps them from mistake.
The bees not only do those things right which are always to be done in the same way, but it is even more remarkable, that, when their wants require it, they alter their arrangements accordingly.
We can only say of these ingenious insects, that God has made them so. It is pleasant to think of his goodness, as it is shown to us in the wonders of the inferior creation. Should we make these wonders the study of every day, the longest life would be too short for us to discover and dwell upon them all.
But, if the love of God has done so much for the smallest and meanest of his creatures, how much more has it done for us, to whom are given high powers of thought and reason! He has made us capable, not only of perceiving that there is a God, the Creator and Ruler of all, but of understanding much of the perfection of his character. He has revealed that character to us, and taught us all his will respecting us in the sacred Scriptures, and there he commands us to learn his will, and to submit ourselves to him, as dear and obedient chil. dren.
God hath loved us with a love so vast, so infinite, that he spared not his only begotten Son, but gave him up for us all. "May it be our delight to study, not only his works, but his blessed word; and may our hearts be drawn, by his Holy Spirit, to love him, to put our trust in him, and to do his holy will! This is his will concerning us, “ That we should be. lieve on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment."