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9 Scott, Rev, J., last sickness
Shepherd, the, the fold, and
19 Sickness.-Psalm cvii. 18.. 78
Sinner, the alarming situa-
Sleeplessness, thoughts on 217
the, become a Sun-
84 Soldier's experience, a .... 75
236 Sparrow, the one-legged... 124
81 Swearers, two, converted by
55 means of a tract... 135
41 The Lord reigneth.. 233
1 The Lord will provide 138
199 There is forgiveness with
74 The way of transgressors is
Tract “ On Eternity”. 36
148 WALK circumspectly; or,
3 Rules for Christian con-
34 | Young man, have you a
THE PELICAN.—THE SWAN. THESE fowls are mentioned together in the list of birds allowed by the Jewish law, which was clear and minute in its distinctions, that the Israelites might be expressly separated from the heathen around them in their habits and modes of life. The pelican is also mentioned as an inhabitant of the wilderness or desolate places, Psa. cii. 6, Isa. xxxiv. 11, and Zeph. ii. 14; though the word is in our version translated the cormorant, a bird similar in its habits to the pelican, but of smaller size, which is expressed by a different Hebrew word, Lev. xi. 17, Deut. xiv. 17. Both feed on flesh. The pelican measures nearly six feet in length, from the point of its bill to the
TRACT MAG. THIRD SERIES, No. 133, Jan. 1845.
end of its tail. It is furnished with a membranous pouch under its bill, large enough to hold twenty pints of water. This it fills with fish, and empties by pressing it against its breast, in order to feed its young; and this has given rise to the incorrect statement that the pelican feeds her offspring with her own blood. However, the example of maternal tenderness and self-denial remains-as travellers describe the rapid flight of the pelican, thirty or forty miles into the country, after a day's fishing, to feed its young on the contents of its well-stored pouch. Does not this shadow forth the cares of a human mother, in providing for her children ; and how often does the Christian parent feel cause for still deeper anxiety as to the welfare of their souls. But the “Guide of youth watches over his children with a father's pity, and a mother's tenderness, Psa. ciii. 13, Isa. lxvi. 13; and the soul that now mourns in solitude and silence, with David, in the words of some of his psalms, will soon, like him, have cause to sing for joy.
The swan is not elsewhere mentioned in Scripture, and probably the word used in Lev. xi. 18, and Deut. xiv. 16, refers to the flamingo, a bird noted for its beautiful scarlet and purple feathers, and common in southern climates, where the swan is less known than in most parts of Europe. A few words must be said upon the providence of God, as displayed in the construction of this bird, which is admirably suited to its wants. Its webbed feet, long neck, and curious bill, are fitted to enable it to procure its food, which consists of small insects and worms, found in the sand at the bottom of streams and rivers. Similar observations might be applied to other animals, Young swans or cygnets are of a greyish brown colour. and do not acquire the pure white till the third year. The swans of New Holland are black. The nest of the swan is circular, and is built on the ground, among reeds and osiers, often on a small island. It is well known that the song of the dying swan is a poetical fable, yet it should not be quite unnoticed, as it perhaps arose from the ancient mode of comparing the souls of men to birds, see Psa. lv. 6; and the happy deaths of the German missionary Swartz, and of many of our Protestant martyrs, with other believers in private life, might be added as illustrations of the Christian's hope of immortality :
For the sweetest song is the last he sings.
THE FRIENDLY QUIVER.
THE FRIENDLY QUIVER. Servant of God! believer in Christ ! disciple of the Redeemer !--whether the gray hairs of age or the ruddy cheek of youth be thine-whether thou art bending with infirmity or walking erect with health and strength-listen while I describe some of the arrows with which the Heavenly Archer is wont to wound, not only his enemies, but those he loves.
Shall the servant fare better than his Master? Shall thy Lord be wounded, and thou go free? He who was himself sorely wounded by the archers, oppressed and afflicted-he who was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities—has too much love for thee to let thee escape without affliction. He who was made “perfect through sufferings," Heb. ii. 10, will not withhold thy needful portion. There is such a thing as wounding to heal. The skilful surgeon does this, when he cuts away the gangrene that would destroy the precious life. There is such a thing as destroying peace to save from destruction. This is done in the case of fire, when the unconscious sleeper is rudely roused from his luxurious yet dangerous repose.
Some of the arrows of the Heavenly Archer are sent to alarm us, some to convince us of sin, some to prevent us from sinning, some to kill our passions, some to slay our infirmities, and others to make us acquainted with the Great Physician, the Almighty Healer, of his people.
If thou hast not yet been wounded, there are winged shafts in store for thee; and if thou hast, thy spirit will go with me while I venture to describe some of the arrows that are to be found in the friendly quiver of the Heavenly Archer.
There are THREATENING arrows. The bow is bent, and drawn, but the arrow is not yet sent forth. Such are the general denunciations of God against sin :-“ Be sure your sin will find you out,” Numb. xxxii. 23. soul that sinneth, it shall die,” Ezek. xviii. 4.
Some seeds that are set in the ground spring up in a very short time, while others remain beneath the earth for a very long time. Even so it is with the seeds of sin ; whether sooner or later, up they will come; therefore, keep your eye on every threatening arrow.
Agag, the king of the Amalekites, when he was the prisoner of Saul, deceived himself into the belief that because his life had been spared for a season he was secure.
Surely,” said he," the bitterness of death is past.” But, for all this,“ Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal,” i Sam. xv. 32, 33.
Shimei, who cursed David, was not punished till after David's death ; but then Solomon commanded Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, who went out and fell upon him, that he died, 1 Kings ii. 46.
Say not to thyself, “ God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it," Job xxxv. 13; for though the arrow that is set against thee be held awhile on the string, be sure it will overtake thee at last. Sometimes days, and sometimes years, may pass before the sinner is punished. Hast thou never read the words, “ Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions,” Psa. xxv. 7. Again I say, keep thine eye upon the threatening arrows of the Almighty.
There are WARNING arrows of various kinds; and these are for ever falling around our paths. By these we are reminded of our infirmities and sins: they tell us that we are mortal creatures; that we are liable every hour to die; and they draw our attention to errors committed and duties neglected. But though they come near, they hardly touch us; though we see them, we scarcely feel them; they seem rather to whisper to us than to cry aloud. These are warning, and not wounding arrows; and well is it for those who profit by them.
The ruin of a neighbour, the death of an acquaintance, the burning of a house in an adjacent street, and every
af. flicting incident of life we witness, are all warning arrows : we should prepare for trial when others are troubled. The punishment, also, of the errors of others is a warning to us to correct our own. Never disregard a warning arrow.
The word of the prophet Elisha to Hazael, telling him of his future abominations, was a warning arrow.
66 Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing ?” said he; and Elisha answered, “ The Lord hath showed me that thou shalt be king over Syria,” 2 Kings viii. 13. The arrow was disregarded, and Hazael wallowed in iniquity.