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night; wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens." It has soft feet, like a cat, so that it can creep quietly along and not frighten the animals that it means to kill, till it comes very near them. Sometimes the lion lies in his den, very still, until some animal comes by; then he gives a sudden spring, and seizes it just as a cat seizes a mouse. The Bible says, when speaking of a wicked man, "He lieth in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; he lieth in wait to catch the poor; he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net."
The lion has very strong claws hidden in the soft cushion of his paws, and when he has caught his prey he uses them to tear it in pieces. His tongue is like that of a cat, only a great deal more rough, and with this he can strip the flesh off from the bones. David in one of the Psalms prays that God will save him from an enemy, "Lest," he says, "he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces when there is none to deliver."
The roaring of the lion is very terrible, espe
cially at night. He seems to delight to be wandering around for his prey when it is dark and stormy; then when he puts his mouth near the ground, his roaring sounds like thunder, and all the animals that hear it are full of fear. You have read of Satan, that most wicked being, who would be glad to make us as wicked as he is; the Bible says he is like "a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour." Let us pray God to keep us safe from this roaring lion.
Christ is sometimes called "the Lion of the tribe of Judah." He is always gentle and kind to those who love him; but if we will not receive him as our Savior, the day is coming when he will meet us in judgment; then where can his enemies hide themselves?
The leopard is a beautiful animal, though very savage and cruel. It is about as large as the largest of our dogs, but it looks much more like a cat than a dog. You have watched kittens at their play a hundred times, and you know how very quick, and pretty, and graceful all their motions are. It is just so with the leopard; and it can creep along too, as softly as a cat, and run up a tree after a monkey, as easily as a cat does after a bird. It lives mostly upon young antelopes and deer, and it often lies still a long time watching one till it comes near, and then springs out upon it. The Bible says in one place, "A leopard shall watch over their cities; every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces;" and in another, "Therefore will I be to them as a lion; as a leopard by the way will I observe (or watch for) them." The leopard runs very swiftly when it is trying to overtake any animal: the Bible says, "Their horses are swifter than leopards."