« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS REPROVED.
observe any one whom I so tenderly love, fond of cruel sport. Do you think that the
poor beetle which you are thus agonizing, is incapable of sensation? And if you are aware that it feels pain as well as you, how can you receive amusement from its torture ? Animals, it is true, were formed for the use of man; but reason and humanity forbid us to abuse them. Every creature, not immediately noxious to our kind, ought to be cherished, or at least not injured. The heart of sensibility bleeds for misery wherever it is seen. No amusement can be rational that is founded on another's pain. I know you take delight in bird-nesting ; I wish to discourage this pursuit too. Consider how little you gain, and how much distress you occasion to some of the most beautiful and lovely of creation's tribes. You destroy the eggs from which the fond bird hoped to rear an offspring; or, what is still more cruel, you rob her of her young,
when maternal care and affection are at the highest pitch. Could you possibly conceive what the parent bird must suffer from this deprivation, you would be ashamed of your insensibility. The nightingale, robbed of her tender young, is said to sing most sweetly; but it is the plaintive voice of lacerated nature, not the note of joy. It should be heard as the expression of distress; and if you are the cause of it, you ought to apply it to yourself.
“ O then, ye friends of love, and love-taught song,
Music engage, or piety persuade.” Even the meanest insects receive an existence from the author of our being; and why should you abridge their span ? They have their little sphere of bliss allotted them; they have purposes which they are destined to fulfil; and when these are accomplished, they die. Thus it is with you! You have, indeed, a more extensive range of action, more various and important duties to discharge; and well will it be for you if you discharge them aright. But think not, because you have reason and superiority given you, that irrational animals are beneath your regard. In proportion as you
TIME AND ETERNITY.
enjoy the benefits they are adapted to confer, you should be careful to treat them with tenderness and humanity : it is the only return you can make. Remember every thing that has life is doomed to suffer and to feel, though its expression of pain may not be capable of being conveyed to your ears. To the most worthless reptile, to the most noxious animal, some pity is due. If its life is dangerous to you, it may be destroyed without blame; but let it be done without cruelty. To torture is unmanly; to tyrannize where there can be no resistance is the extreme of baseness. I never knew an amiable person, who did not feel an attachment for animals. A boy who is not fond of his bird, his rabbit, his dog, or his horse, or whatever other creature he takes under his protection, will never have a good heart, and will always be wanting in affection to his own kind. But he who, after admonition, delights in misery, or sports with life, must have a disposition and a heart I should blush to own : he is neither qualified to be happy himself, nor will he ever make others so."
TIME AND ETERNITY.
To-MORROW, Lord, is thine,
Lodg‘d in thi sov'reign hand;
It shines by thy command.
The present moment flies,
And bears our life away;
That they may live to-day.
Since on this winged hour
Eternity is hung !
The aged and the young.
To Jesus may we fly,
Swift as the morning light,
In sudden endless night.
WISE AND USEFUL SAYINGS.
Sin is the greatest of all evils; the salvation of the soul our best good; and the grace of God our richest treasure.
The desire of improvement discovers a liberal mind, and is connected with many accomplishments and
Agesilaus, king of Sparta, being asked what things he thought most proper for boys to learn, answered, “ Those things which they ought to practise when they come to be men.”
Do every thing in its proper time; apply every thing to its proper use; put every thing in its proper place.
“ Study the Holy Scriptures,” said Mr Locke to a young man, “ especially the New Testament. Therein are contained the words of eternal life. It has God for its author-Salvation for its end—and Truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter.”
When we observe any tendency to treat religion or morals with disrespect and levity, let us hold it to be a sure indication of a perverted understanding or a depraved heart.
When Aristotle was asked what a man could gain by telling a falsehood, he replied, “ Not to be believed when he speaks the truth.”
He that cannot live well to-day will be less qualified to live well to-morrow.
Amusement often becomes the business instead of
14 CONTEMPLATION OF THE WORKS OF GOD. the relaxation of young persons; it is then highly pernicious.
Labour promotes health; industry yields plenty; economy and frugality preserve it ; sobriety gives comfort; daily toil brings sweet repose at night; fidelity gains esteem; honesty makes friends; exemplary parents have dutiful children ; faith in the Redeemer imparts peace and joy; and the fear of God and obedience to his commandments are accompanied with the hope of a blessed immortality.
There are no greater objects of pity in the world than men who are admired by all around, for their nice discernment and fine taste in every thing of a worldly nature, but have no taste for the riches that endure for ever- -no love for God or his word-no love for Christ or their souls. In such a state, however admired or respected, they cannot see the kingdom of heaven.
CONTEMPLATION OF THE WORKS OF GOD.
It is, indeed, a noble employment, and highly worthy of us, to study the book of nature frequently and seriously; to learn from it the truths which may remind us of the greatness of God, and of our own littleness, of the blessings which he confers, and of the obligations under which they lay us. It is shameful for man to be inattentive to the wonders which surround him, and to be as insensible to them as the brutes that perish. If reason has been given him, it is for this among other purposes, that we may make use of it for discovering and acknowledging the perfections of God, as these are displayed in his works. What occupation can be more pleasing to the human mind than that of meditating on these works, as they are every where presented to our observation? What can be more gratifying than to contemplate in the heavens, in the earth, in the water, in the night and day, and, indeed, throughout all nature, the proofs which they afford of the wisdom, the purity, and the goodness of our great Creator and Preserver? What can be CONTEMPLATION OF THE WORKS OF GOD. 15 more delightful than to recognise in the whole creation, in all the natural world, in everything we see, traces of the ever-working providence and tender mercy of the great Father of all? There are no amusements, no worldly joys, of which we are not soon tired; but the pleasure that we feel in contemplating the works of the Lord is ever new ; and were we thus to employ ourselves during thousands of years, we should be so little fatigued with the repetition of the subject, that it would daily exhibit novel and more interesting charms. It is in this light I often represent to myself the felicity of the saints in heaven. I ardently wish to be with them, because I am persuaded it is in their society only, that my desire of increasing in knowledge and wisdom can be fully satisfied. But whilst we are at a distance from this felicity, let us at least endeavour to come as near to it as possible, by habituating ourselves in time, to what shall form one of the noblest exercises of the blessed saints and angels in eternity. Let us adore God in his marvellous works, and aspire after a more perfect knowledge of his attributes and character. Let us reflect on his greatness, admire his power and wisdom in each of his creatures, and observe, in every season of the year, his goodness and mercy towards all that lives. This employment will not only give us pleasure but make us virtuous ; for if we have God and his works continually in our sight, with what love and veneration for him shall we be penetrated ! with what confidence shall we resign ourselves to his disposal ! with what zeal and transport shall we sing his praise ! Surely it becomes us at all times, to meditate with gratitude and reverence, on those wonders of his power and wisdom which fill the universe ; and to raise ourselves from earth to heaven, by the chain of beings which he has formed, in order to know, and feel, and enjoy his goodness. Every thing around me, every thing within me, should lead me to Him as the source of all ; every thing should contribute more and more to kindle in my soul the flame of piety and love. The sun which shines upon me, the air which I breathe, the earth by which I am sustainedall nature, so wisely framed to supply my wants and