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“The blackbird, the thrush, the jay, the bunting, and the redbreası, all come in file, and employ their little arts of insult and abuse. The smallest, the feeblest, and the most contemptible of this unfortunate bird's enemies are then the foremost to injure and torment him. They increase their cries and turbulence round him, flap him with their wings, and are ready to show their courage to be great, as they are sensible that their danger is but small. The unfortunate owl, not knowing where to attack; or where to fly, patiently sits and suffers all their insults. Astonished and dizzy, he only replies to their mockeries by awkward and ridiculous gestures, by turning his head, and rolling his eyes with an air of stupidity. It is enough that an owl appears by day to set the whole grove into a kind of uproar. Either the aversion all the small birds have to this animal, or the consciousness of their own security, makes them pursue him without ceasing, while they encourage each other by their mutual cries to lend assistance in this laudable undert: king

“It sometimes happens, however, that the little birds pursue their insults with the same imprudent zeal with which the owl himself had pursued his depredations. They hunt him the whole day until evening returns, which restoring him his faculties of sight once more, he makes the foremost of his pursuers pay dear for their former sport."

The owl is exceedingly treacherous, and is by profession a thief. The fact of its seeing best in twilight, or in a moonlight night, seems to fit it in a peculiar manner to be a depredator. It lives on its prey, such as mice, rats, birds and young rabbits. It is a very voracious bird, gulphing down its victim clear and clean; and after the meat is digested it ejects the bones, hair and feathers through its throat. It is no doubt on account of this indelicate mode of feeding that it is pronounced in Scripture unclean. Lev. xi. 16; Deut. xiv. 15, 16.

Its love of rats and mice causes it frequently to take up its abode in the farmer's barn, or in some congenial nook in one of the outbuildings, from which it sallies forth in the twilight in search of vermin. In this way it is often of real service to the farmer. It is said that a single owl is generally of more service in destroying domestic vermin than a dozen of cats. “In the year 1580,” says an old writer, “at Hallowtide, an army of mice so overran the marshes near Southminster, that they eat up the grass to the very roots. But at length a great number of strange painted owls

came and devoured all the mice.” The like happened again, in Essex, about sixty years after. It is a strange wind, says the old proverb,

, that does not blow in some one's favor. So it is a strange bird that is not of some use.

Owls love to inhabit lonely and gloomy places, such as rocky nooks and clefts, old hollow trees, holes in dilapidated walls, and


the battlements of old, uninhabited castleated towers. Here they sit all day in silence and solitude, moving only their thick, awkward heads, with an air of mystery, and rolling their large goggling eyes when they hear the least noise. The owl has been in the imaginations of men in all ages—the genius that presides over ruins, and it is associated with all that is doleful. Washington Irving does not forget it in his graphic sketches. Isaiah refers to them when he describes, in mournful prophesy, the desolations which should come upon Babylon: “It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch his tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there : but wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and owls shall dwell there.” Is. xiii. 20, 21. He uses the same imagery in his portraiture of the fate of the land of Idumea. Is. xxxiv. 11–16. Jeremiah speaks in the same way of the desolations of Chaldea. Jer. I. 39. The sound of doleful voices that proceeds from these desolated cities, now that God has punished them, is in sad contrast with the merry music of the harp and tabret which sounded in their luxurious halls when, in their prosperity and joy, they forgot their God. The owl is noted for its doleful and unearthly note.

Father Kricher, it is said, has set the voices of birds to music, in which he gives also the various tones of the owl note which, we are told, makes “a most tremendous melody.”. Nothing can equal its horrid variations as they disturb the silent midnight air in the deep woodland or around some old forsaken building. The school boy, or mill boy, passing along the edge of a wood, goes faster than before, when he hears from the twilight woods the ghost-like boo, hoo! of the owl. Travelers in the East frequently refer to their cry from out those gray doleful ruins with which the orient abounds. “As I stood,” says a traveler, " at the foot of those three majestic columns, which alone are left of the ancient temple of Cybele, in Sardis, I saw an owl sitting upon the top of a column. One would think it had been created for the very purpose of singing a dirge over the fall of this city, when we see it sweep through these solitary halls, and hear its sorrowful sighs and sobs.”

There is frequent allusion in scripture to this mournful habit of the owl. When Micah laments over the idolatry of Israel, he says, in view of the wrath and ruin which God would send in consequence of it, “Therefore, I will wail and howl; I will go stripped and naked : I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning like the owls.” Micah i. 8. So, also, the psalmist, in his grief: “I am like an owl of the desert.” Ps. cii. 6.

It is well, perhaps, that these singular birds have such a taste for dark and doleful places ; for thus, by the wisdom of the Great Creator, even desolation becomes a delightful home for part of his creation. In this way no place is destitute of interest, and all varieties of life are provided for. “ There seems to be no link in nature's chain broken; no where a dead, inactive repose ; but every place, every season, every hour of the day and night, is bustling with life, and furnishes instances of industry, self-defence, and invasion.'



The reason urged why the second commandment should not be violated is the solemn consequences which follow upon its violation. They will involve not only those who violate it, but also their offspring; “Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate


This declaration has been regarded by some good Christians as a hard one; it has been thought by some that it is difficult to reconcile it with God's justice, and infidels have not hesitated to pronounce it dishonorable to God and unjust. All this, however, results from a misunderstanding of the passage. Such persons take the passage as meaning that the children shall suffer for the sins of their parents. It does not teach this. If it did so teach, it would not only teach what is in its very nature unjust; but it would flatly contradict the plain teachings of God in other portions of His word. “ In those days they shall say no more, the fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the the children's teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity : every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge. Jer. xxxi, 29, 30. So, also, in the New Testament: “Every man shall bear his own burden.” Gal. vi, 5; II Cor. V, 10.

This is plain scripture—and this clause in the law cannot be intended to contradict this. Neither does it, when rightly viewed, even appear to do so. There is a vast difference between the children suffering for the sins of the parents, and their suffering on account of them-between their suffering the penalty of the sins of their parents, and suffering from the consequences of them.

The commandment teaches that children will suffer on account of the parent's sins, and that they will suffer from the consequences of them.

There is an eternal law, founded upon the relation between parent and child, according to which the parent, as he is the author, under God, of the child's being, so he is also the author of its wellbeing—its fortune or its misfortune—its happiness or its wo!

The covenants which God made with his people, and the promises which he gave them, as well as the thrcats which accompanied


them, always contemplated the family as one interest. The fortune or the fate of each was bound up in that of the whole. The children were always regarded as included in the parent's mercies and

This is all that is done in the case before us. We will show that the children of sinful parents do thus share in the evil consequences of their parent's sins—that this is the case, first, temporally, and, second, spiritually; and that it involves nothing unjust or wrong on God's side; but that it presents a most powerful motive to parents not to depart from the Lord their God.

I. Children suffer from the consequences of the sins of their parents, temporally, or in this life.

Some sins are punished in part already in this life; when such sins are the sins of parents, the family is, of course, involved in the consequences of the sin.

The bastard child of David died because of the sin of its parent. “Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.” 2 Sam. xii, 14. The consequences of the parent's sin are here visited upon the child. The child is not punished for the parent's sin, but it suffers temporal death in consequence of that sin.

of that sin. To the child it was no injury; because it was the sooner and the safer beyond the pains and perils of a mortal probation; but to the parent it was a deep wound. In the pale, lifeless corpse of his child, he saw his own sin as hé never saw it before !

The Amalekites inherited the consequences of what their parents did four hundred years before, when all who did the evil first, were dead. "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and

1 Sam. xv, 2, 3; Ex. xvii, 14; Deut. xxv, 17— 19.

As life is a blessing, this was a temporal punishment to them. Their days were shortened.on earth; it did not affect them spiritually in the future world; there their own deeds judged them. They would not have been better prepared to die at any future time. As for infants, they died more safely than they could have died at any later period. The punishment, in their case, was only temporal; and, as God found it necessary, for the good of his church and the world, to cut off Amalek, he could do it just as well by the hands of men as by fire from heaven, or by the opening jaws of an earthquake; and in order to show to all beholders the consequences of opposing God, in its most fearful form, he gives them this example of how children must suffer the consequences of their parent's sin, ages after they are dead !

Jesus says to the Jews: “That upon you may come all the right


eous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barchias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily, I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation. The Saviour does not mean to say that they, who then lived, shall suffer for the guilt of those who, from Abel's death down, had killed the prophets; but that in their own deeds the cup of judgment had become full. They should feel its pouring out because, as the descendants of their fathers, they inherited and approved their sinful acts, and did the same. Matt. xxiii, 29—39.

Thus, then, we have scripture illustrations of the manner in which children suffer from the consequences of the sins of parents in a temporal way, while no wrong or injustice attaches to God.

We can illustrate the same awful truth from observation of human life around us.

How often, for instance, do riches, wickedly gotten by parents, become curses in the hands of their children! They fade away in their hands, while they are depending upon them, when no human eye can trace, and no human wisdom guess the mysterious causeand they are left destitute and disappointed. So, also, a parent's idleness or profligacy may, and often does, leave the children poor and destitute. So, also,-more fearful still a drunkard, or one whose lusts have drunk up the energies of his life, entails an enfeebled constitution upon his children, under the weakness and misery of which they shall drag out the whole of their mortal life, amid misery and sorrow, untold and ever-increasing!

Examples of this kind-in which children inherit judgments that have their ground in the iniquity of their parents—we have ever in abundance before us. These, however, in themselves considered, are only temporal; and so far from affecting injuriously the future condition of these sad inheritors, they may, and often do, become the means, in the hands of God, of eternal good to their souls. Temporal sorrow and pain may be the seeds of eternal joy and rest. Yet this does not excuse the guilt of the parent, nor make it less a temporal evil to the child. It might have become an heir of heaven without this bitter cup of temporal wo; and it is the parent's fault that it was not so fortunate.

These temporal judgments, which appear in the children as the result of the parent's iniquity, are often made to be temporal punishments to the parents. For what parent can fail to feel deeply, when he sees the poison of his sins eating, like a canker, the temporal peace of his children, to the third and fourth generation! For this very reason, we may suppose, this declaration is here added to this commandment, as such an awful penalty to the parent, so that no one should dare to incur it by violating the law. It is a strong motive to the keeping of the law, not only because a parent's heart is so naturally and so powerfully affected by the misfortunes

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