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it for leaves of almost any kind. Sowthistle, dandelion, and lettuce, are their favourite vegetables, especially the last. I discovered, by accident, that fine white sand is in great estimation with them ; I suppose as a digestive. It happened that I was cleaning a birdcage when the hares were with me; I placed a pot filled with such sand upon the floor, which being at once directed to by a strong instinct, they devoured voraciously ; since that time I have generally taken care to see them well supplied with it. They account green corn a delicacy both blade and stalk, but the ear they seldom eat; straw of any kind, especially wheat-straw, is another of their dainties; they will feed greedily upon oats, but if furnished with clean straw, never want them ; it serves them also for a bed, and, if shaken up daily, will be kept sweet and dry for a considerable time. They do not, indeed, require aromatic herbs, but will cat a small quantity of them with great relish, and are particularly fond of the plant called musk ; they seem to resemble sheep in this that if their pasture be too succulent, they are very subject to the rot; to prevent which, I always made bread their principal nourishment, and, filling a pan with it cut into small squares, placed it every evening in their chambers, for they feed only at evening and in the night ; during the winter, when vegetables were not to be got, I mingled this mess of bread with shreds of carrot, adding to it the rind of apples cut extremely thin ; for though they are fond of the paring, the apple itself disgusts them. These, however, not being a sufficient substitute for the juice of summer herbs, they must at this time be supplied with water ; but so placed that they cannot overset it in their beds. I must not omit, that occasionally they are much pleased with twigs of hawthorn, and of the common brier, eating even the very wood when it is of considerable thickness.
Bess, I have said, died young; Tiney lived to be nine years old, and died at last, I have reason to think, of some hurt in his loins, by a fall; Puss is still living, and has just completed his tenth year, discovering no signs of decay, nor even of age, except that he has grown more discreet and less frolicsome than he was. I cannot conclude without observing that I have lately introduced a dog to his acquaintance, a spaniel that had never seen a hare to a hare that had never seen a spaniel
. I did it with great caution, but there was no real need of it. Puss discovered no token of fear, nor Marquis the least symptom of hostility. There is, therefore, it should seem, no natural antipathy between dog and hare, but the pursuit of the one occasions the flight of the other, and the dog pursues because he is trained to it; they eat bread at the same time out of the same hand, and are in all respects sociable and friendly.
I should not do complete justice to my subject, did I not add, that they have no ill scent belonging to them, that they are indefatigably nice in keeping themselves clean, for which purpose nature has furnished them with a brush under each foot; and that they are never infested by any vermin.
May 28, 1784.
(MEMORANDUM FOUND AMONG MR. COWPER'S PAPERS.)
Tuesday, March 9, 1786. This day died poor Puss, aged eleven years eleven months. He died between twelve and one at noon, of mere old age, and apparently without pain. (We subjoin to this interesting narrative Cowper's "EPITAPH ON A HARE:']
Here lies, whom hound did ne'er pursue,
Nor swifter greyhound follow,
Nor ear hcard huntsman's halloo;
Old Tiney, surliest of his kind,
Who, nursed with tender care, And to domestic bounds confined,
Was still a wild Jack hare.
Though duly from my hand he took
His pittance every night, He did it with a jealous look,
And when he could, would bite.
His diet was of wheaten bread,
And milk, and oats, and straw : Thistles or lettuces instead,
With sand to scour his maw.
On twigs of hawthorn he regaled,
On pippins' russet peel,
Sliced carrot pleased him well.
A Turkey carpet was his lawn,
Whereon he loved to bound, To skip and gamble like a fawn,
And swing his rump around.
His frisking was at evening hours,
For then he lost his fear,
Or when a storm drew near.
Eight years and five round rolling moons
He thus saw steal away, Dozing out all his idle noons,
And every night at play.
I keep him for his humour's sake,
For he would oft beguile My heart of thoughts that made it ache,
And force me to a smile.
But now beneath his walnut shade
He finds his long last home,
Till gentler Puss shall come.
He, still more aged, feels the shocks
From which no care can save, And, partner once of Tiney's box,
Must soon partake his grave.
OGDEN. [The Sermons of Dr. Ogden are well known to the theological student. They are distinguished by that combination of earnestness and acute reasoning which many of the divines of the last century inherited from their great predecessors. Sanuel Ogden, the son of poor parents, was born at Manchester in 1716. His merits were rewarded by considerable preferment in the Church. He died at Cambridge in 1778.]
You may remember a little ancient fable to the following purpose :-"An old man upon his death-bed said to his sons, as they stood round him, I am possessed, my dear children, of a treasure of great value, which, as it is fit, must now be yours: they drew nearer: nay, added the sick man, I have it not here in my hands; it is deposited somewhere in my fields; dig, and you will be sure to find. They followed his directions, though they mistook his meaning. Treasure of gold or silver there was none; but, by means of this extraordinary culture, the land yielded in the tirae of harvest such an abundant crop, as both rewarded them for their obedience to their parent, and at the same time explained the nature of his command."
Our Father, who is in heaven, hath commanded us in our wants to apply to him in prayer, with an assurance of success :-“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find.” Now, it is certain, that without his immediate interposition, were his ear “heavy," as the Scripture phrase is, “ that he could not hear," there is a natural efficacy in our prayers themselves to work in our minds those graces and good dispositions which we beg of the Almighty, and by consequence to make us fitter objects of his mercy. Thus it is that we ask, and receive; we seek, and, like the children of the sagacious old husbandman, find also the very thing which we were seeking, though in another form: our petitions produce in fact the good effect which we desired, though not in the manner which we ignorantly expected.
But yet, allowing this consideration its full force, there is no necessity of stopping here, and confining the power of prayer to this single method of operation. Does the clear assurance of its use in this way preclude the hopes of every other advantage ?
Must we needs be made acquainted with all the efficacy of every thing that is our duty, and know the whole ground and reason of all the actions which Almighty God can possibly require of us?
When the Israelites under the conduct of Joshua were commanded, upon hearing the sound of the trumpet, to shout " with a great shout; and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city;" was the reason of this command, and the operation of the means to be made use of, understood by all that were concerned? Was it the undulation of the air, think you, the physical effect of many concurrent voices, that overthrew the walls of Jericho? or, suppose the people were commanded to shout in token of their faith (for it was by faith, as the Apostle speaks, that the walls of Jericho fell down), which way is it that faith operates in the performance of such wonders ?
You will say, no doubt, that these were wonders, and the case miraculous; and that we are not from such extraordinary events to draw conclusions concerning the general duties of Christianity.
The drought that was in the land of Israel in the time of Elijah, I suppose no one will deny to have been miraculous. Yet we have the authority of an Apostle to conclude from it in general, that good men's petitions are efficacious and powerful, “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.” What is this brought to prove? That "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” And this is the Apostle's argument the prayer of the Prophet produced first a famine, and then plenty in all the land of Israel; and if you, Christians, exercise yourselves in confession and prayer, the disposition of your minds will be the better for your devotions.
But the prayer, concerning which St. James is speaking, may seem to you to belong to the same class with that of Elijah, and to be the prayer of men that could work miracles.
Hear another Apostle :—“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.” The plainest places in the Scriptures will be mysteries, if the sense be this, that we can expect no help from God in our distresses; but may try, by acts of devotion, to bring our own minds to a state of resignation and contentment.
“Give us this day our daily bread. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without your Father. The hairs of your head are numbered.” Can the meaning of all this be, that God Almighty made the world; that it is not to be altered; and we must take the best care we can of ourselves while we live in it?
“King Agrippa, believest thou the Prophets?" said the great Apostle, arguing with equal solidity and eloquence in defence of that capital doctrine—the resurrection of our Lord from the dead. He desired no other concession than the belief of the Scripture; on this foundation he undertook to erect the whole fabric of Christianity.
Do you believe the Scriptures? If not, it is to no purpose to stand disputing concerning the duty of prayer, or any other duty commanded in the Gospel. We must rather return back to the first principles of religion, and lay again, as the same Apostle speaks, the foundation of faith towards God.
But there is no occasion for this; you are desirous to go on to perfection ; admitting the truth of Christianity, and believing the Scriptures to be the word of God.
The Scriptures teach you, that our Lord Christ being crucified, dead, and buried, the third day he rose again from the dead. Now this is a great and astonishing miracle ; it is a thing of which we have no experience; it is against all our rules and observations; and directly contrary to the established order of the world, and the course of nature : yet you believe this.
The Scriptures also tell you, that hereafter your own bodies, in like manner, shall be raised from the grave, and stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. This event, too, whenever it shall take place, will surely be another most amazing miracle, brought about by no rules or laws that are made known to us, or ever fell within the limits of our observation and experience. Yet we believe it ; and live, or should do, under the influence of this persuasion.
The same Scripture to which we give credit, while it records past miracles, is equally entitled to our assent, when it predicts, as in this instance, miracles to come.
Suppose, then, the Scriptures were to acquaint us that there are miracles performed at this present time, but either at such a distance from us, or else in such a latent manner, that we could not know by experience whether they were wrought or no ; still there could be no room to doubt ; a ready assent must be yielded to such a revelation by all who believe the Scripture.
Now, if the Gospel teach doctrines from which the existence of these iniracles may be inferred, or if it command duties in which these interpositions of Providence are supposed or implied, it does enough to prove the reality of them though we see
them not, any more than we see yet the resurrection of the dead ; or, than we did ever behold any of those miracles which were performed by our Lord when he was here on earth.
There appears to be no difficulty in this matter to those who believe that any miracles were ever wrought, that is, who believe the Scriptures to be true ; nor any inducement or occasion to put ourselves to trouble in giving hard interpretations of texts, or forced and unnatural explications of any part of our duty, in order to avoid what can be no impediment in the way of a Christian, the acknowledgment of God's government and providence, his particular interposition, and continual operation; as it is written, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”
How magnificent is this idea of God's government ! That he inspects the whole and every part of his universe every moment, and orders it according to the counsels of his infinite wisdom and goodness, by his omnipotent will ; whose thought is power; and his acts ten thousand times quicker than the light ; unconfused in a multiplicity exceeding number, and unwearied through eternity!
How much comfort and encouragement to all good and devout persons are contained in this thought ! That Almighty God, as he hath his eye continually upon them, so he is employed in directing, or doing what is best for them. Thus may they be sure, indeed, that “all things work together for their good.” They may have the comfort of understanding all the promises of God's protection, in their natural, full, and perfect sense, not spoiled by that philosophy which is vain deceit. The Lord is truly their shepherd ; not leaving them to chance or fate, but watching over them himself, and therefore can they lack nothing.
What a fund of encouragement is here, as for all manner of virtue and piety, that we may be fit objects of God's gracious care and providence, so particularly for devotion ; when we can reflect that every petition of a good man is heard and regarded by him who holds the reins of nature in his hand. When God, from his throne of celestial glory, issues out that uncontrollable command to which all events are subject, even your desires, humble pious Christians, are not overlooked or forgotten by him. The good man's prayer is among the reasons by which the Omnipotent is moved in the administration of the universe.
How little is all earthly greatness ! how low and impotent the proudest monarchs, if compared with the poorest person in the world who leads but a good life! for their influence, even in their highest prosperity, is only among weak men like themselves, and not seldom their designs are blasted from Heaven, for the insolence of those that formed them. “ Is not this great Babylon, that I have built by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty ?” While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from Heaven, saying, “The kingdom is departed from thee.” But the poor man's prayer pierceth the clouds : and, weak and contemptible as he seems, he can draw down the host of Heaven, and arm the Almighty in his defence, so long as he is able only to utter his wants, or can but turn the thought of his heart to God.