« PrécédentContinuer »
" What a treat we shall have !" said Edward, as he was waiting with his sister for their mother to come in, and go with them to visit the Museum.
" I really don't know what we shall do, with so many curiosities to admire."
" Ah !" replies Jane, “I think we must try and bring home something profitable to remember. Knowledge is a valuable thing; and I would rather get well acquainted with one interesting object, than just look at fifty, and learn nothing."
“ You are right, sister," said Edward : "and, as Mamma will be with us, the fault must be our own if we gain no instruction from what we see in the Museum. I will change my plan, and keep close to her, that I
hear what answers you get to your questions; for I know you will ask plenty.” “ To be sure, brother. What would be the use of having such parents to instruct us, if we did not listen to their teaching ?"
Mrs. Cleveland now entered; and, finding the children quite ready, they all set out together to visit a very good Museum of natural curiosities, and rare things brought from other countries. Having entered a very large room, they looked round; and both Edward and his sister felt a little confused at first, seeing so many new and strange objects on all sides, not knowing where to begin admiring them. There were cases all round the room, with glass fronts, filled with stuffed animals and birds—bottles containing reptiles, preserved in spirits--and other curiosities that quite puzzled the young people. Tables were also set out, covered with glass frames; and on these were arranged a number of beautiful shells, corals, stones, and different kinds of ore. Beyond this was another room; and the children would have liked to pass on to it at once, but their Mamma advised them first to walk round and examine what was already before them.
“All these things, my dear, belong to natural history; and here you may see specimens of a very small part of the wonderful works of God in creation."
"Oh, those beautiful birds !" cried Jane; "what shapes and colors they have ! and how very, very small some of them are! hardly as big as large butterflies."
“Those are humming birds,” remarked her brother, "and very pretty creatures too; but these are better worth looking at. See, here are noble birds--owls, falcons, and eagles."
"Owls are stupid creatures,” said Jane.
Mrs. Cleveland replied, " It is customary to call them so; and a bad name once given to any one is not easily got rid of. This ought to make us careful how we take up a reproach against our neighbor. But as to the owl, I confess he seems to me the reverse of stupid. The moon is made to shine, and the owl to live, by night : both are seen to great disadvantage under the brightness of day. We will say nothing against the owl, until we have had opportunity of observing him at the fit time, and in his proper employment. In the meanwhile, let us admire the beauty of his plumage, which, though far from gay, is marked with great delicacy and exactness; and consider how well this horny beak, and these powerful talons, are adapted for his purposes as a bird of prey."
“ Oh! see here,” said Edward, "just come and look at this eagle.”
Jane looked, and turned away, saying, “I cannot bear the sight of the cruel creature, with that innocent white hare, bleeding, in his claws."
Yet,” observed her brother, “ if the innocent hare was only prepared for the table, we should have no objection to eat a slice from it."
Edward is certainly right,” said Mrs. Cleveland. “ Man does from choice, what the eagle does from necessity; and will even be so wantonly cruel, as to hunt the poor hare for his diversion, when, if the herds, and flocks, and poultry, could not satisfy his palate, he might at least put it to an easier death. We must not quarrel with those of the animal race, who, like ourselves, feed upon flesh, and, like us, make use of superior strength or cunning to provide themselves with it. Let us do justice to the eagle, as the noblest in appearance among the feathered race, and interesting from being so frequently brought under our notice in the word of God. Can Edward furnish us with an instance of this ?"
Edward immediately repeated, from the fortieth chapter of Isaiah, “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly
fall; but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
“ Observe the solid strength of that bird's pinions," said Mrs. Cleveland, “and you may partly judge of the force of the comparison: yet, unless you saw him rising from his native rocks, soaring upwards through the rough wind, and seeming to despise the storm that howls around him, you can form but a poor idea of the exquisite fitness of God's work to illustrate his word.”
“I can repeat something also,” said Jane, who seemed to have forgiven the noble bird the slaughter of his prey. She went on to quote from that sublime chapter, the thirty-second of Deuteronomy—" As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him."
“ We often find,” said Mrs. Cleveland, "the same simile used to denote the dealings of God towards his church, and the privileges bestowed on that church through faith in him. Thus with