Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

sometimes they might animate hope, always they might minister to bodily necessities, and afford con,solation by prayer, when the sick is too weak to pray for himself. Would that Christians would remember, that for the good they might have done, .and did not, they are accountable. MARIA.

Sept. 1823.

NATURAL HISTORY:

THE SQUIRREL. The common squirrel is about the size of a small rabbit, with shorter ears, and a beautiful bushy tail, which spreads like a fan, and, when thrown up, covers the whole body. The colour is a reddish brown, except on the breast and under the body, where it is white; and the ears are beautifully ornamented with long tufts of hair, of a deeper hue than that on the body. The eyes are large, black, and full of spirit; and the legs are short and muscular like those of the rabbit. · This beautiful animal is but balf wild, and, from the gentleness and innocence of its manners, it seems deserving of the protection of man, and ought never to be treated roughly or cruelly by mischievous boys. Its food consists of fraits, puts, and acorns; and it is cleanly, active, and industrious,--a very good pattern for us all. Like the hare and rabbit, it frequently sits upon its hind legs, and uses the fore paws as hands, in a remarkably pretty manner. It lives chiefly in trees, and seldom descends to the grounds, except in case of storms, but leaps with surprising activity from one branch to another, and passes the most frolicsome life, being surrounded with abundance, and having but few enemies to fear. It is not, however, an idle animal, and it is not so foolish as to waste all it can get in a

plentiful season, but, as all wise and prudent people do, it lays by what it can scrape together in automn against the time of winter, when it can find no fruit, and can earn nothing.

Its nest is generally built in the large branches of a tree, where they begin to fork off into small ones. After choosing a place, where the timber begins to decay, and a hollow may be easily formed, the squirrel makes a kind of level between the forks ; and then, bringing moss, twigs, and dry leaves, it binds them together with great art, so as to make a safe shelter in the roughest weather. This is covered up on all sides, having but a single opening at the top, and even this is defended from the weather by a sort of canopy, made in the form of a cone, (or sugar loaf,) so that it throws off the rain though never so heavy. In this retreat the little animal brings forth its young, and shelters itself from the hot rays of the sun in summer, and from the cold air in winter;like the labourer at Shelford, in Cambridgeshire, who built himself a good comfortable house, with his own hand, sufficient for himself and all his family.

In Lapland, and the extensive forests towards the north, the squirrels are observed to change their habitation, and to remove, in vast numbers, from one country to another. In these migrations, they are sometimes seen in thousands, travelling directly forward ; while neither rocks, forests, nor other hindrances can stop them ; a good lesson for us all to be diligent and persevering, and not to be frightened at difficulties. "

When the squirrels meet with broad rivers, or extensive lakes, they take a very, extraordinary method of-crossing them. Upon approaching the banks, and perceiving the breadth of the water, they return, as if by common consent, into the neighbouring forest, each in search of a piece of bark, which answers all the purposes of boats for wafting them over. When the whole company is ready, they boldly commit their little fleet to the waves ; every squirrel sitting on his own piece of bark, and fanning the air with its tail to drive the vessel to its desired port. In this manner they sometimes cross lakes several miles broad; but it sometimes happens that a sudden gust of wind oversets the whole navy, and there is a wreck of two or three thousand sail. On such occasions, the Laplanders gather up the dead bodies as they are thrown on shore, eat the flesh, and sell the skins for about a shilling a dozen. --Chiefly from Goldsmith's Natural History. ,

A LETTER FROM A FATHER TO HIS SON, AN,

. APPRENTICE BOY. -. ' MY DEAR Boy, We have now got as far in our bistory of England as the reign of King Henry the Eighth; and, as we come nearer to our own times, it becomes more necessary for us to remember all the particulars of what we read. The reign of Henry the Eighth is highly deserving of our attention. It was in this king's reign that the great work of the Reformation was begun in England. By the Reformation, we mean the changing the religion of the country from the Roman Catholic to the Protestant. Whilst the Roman Catholic religion prevailed in the Christian world, many practices were allowed and encouraged which were very different from what the Gospel taught and required. The power, too, over religious affairs, was wholly in the hands of the Pope of Rome. This was altogether wrong; for what right had the Pope, who lived at Rome, in Italy, over any of the affairs of this kingdom, or of any other ? But the worst of it was, that there were no Bibles and Prayer Books in our own language, but they were all written in Latin, so that they were of no use at all, to the greater part of the nation. People, indeed, went to Church ; and there were many great processions and splendid shews; but, as the Bible was shut up, there was no knowledge of the truth ; and their public worship could be of no use to any but those few who understood Latin. A great deal of abuse 'bad, indeed, crept, into the Church'; and those things which were, at first, pere haps, intended for a good purpose, were now applied to very bad ones; and it suited the plans of the popish clergy to keep the people in ignorance, —for a knowledge of the truth would bave exposed all their corruptions. Thus the people for a long time were kept from the knowledge of scriptural truth,--and it was very easy to manage this before the art of printing was known, and when books were very dear and difficult to be got at: for there were, indeed, no books at all, but such as were written with pen and ink, and these, we may be sure, could be but few. But, in the reign of Henry the Eighth, the art of printing had become pretty generally known, and, as books became more common, people were able to read them, and judge for themselves. I do not exactly know when the art of printing was invented ; but they say that the first book printed in England, was by one Caxton, in the year 1471; which was, you know, in the reign of Edward the Fourth ; but I have heard say that there were printed books in England rather sooner than that time. · When we speak of the Reformation, we generally think of Henry the Eighth, and are thus apt to give him the credit of it; which is indeed much more than he deserved : for whatever he did, he did from self-interest, and not from any wish, as far as I can see, of doing good. First he supported the Pope, and then he opposed him, just as his humour or his interest inclined him : sometimes he would punish people for being Papists, and sometimes for being Protestants, and there was indeed no principle and no consistency in any thing that he did. It is impossible, in the space of a Letter, to give you any thing like a full history of the Reformation, even if I were able: you may, perhaps, read more about it in some books that you may meet with but we shall see, as we go on in our history, that it was not completed, but only begun, in Henry's reign, and that the greater part of the work was done in the reign of his son, Edward the Sixth. Henry, however, was made the instrument, in the hands of Providence, of doing much good ; and, by allowing the Bible to be translated into English, and read, he afforded encouragement to good and learned men to lay the truth before the people; and, thus, the way was paved for that further progress in the Reformation which was made in the days of his son. 1 But we must now look at other affairs that happened during the reign of Henry the Eighth.

Henry was eighteen years of age when he came to the throne. He was extravagant and fond of pleasure, and soon began to waste, in his expensive vanities and follies, those soms wbich his wiser father had carefully saved. His chief minister and adviser was Cardinal Wolsey, a baughty, proud man, and as extravagant and profligate as his master. He was born in a humble station of life, but the king raised him to the highest honours and dignities, which made him an object of envy and hatred to all ranks and conditions of the people. But miserable is that man who builds his hopes on earthly greatness! Wolsey's high honours, only made his fall the more ruinous : for he did fall as. soon as the king's inclinations, and his interests, disagreed. You have often heard that Henry the Eighth had 'six wives,--the first was Catherine of Arragon. And, when Henry was tired of her, and could not fairly get rid of her, bě made a strange excuse for parting with her, and he expected

« AnteriorContinuar »