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The eclipses of the moon also furnish ocular proof of the roundness of the earth. In these eclipses, the earth being between the sun and moon, her shadow is thrown upon the moon; the shadow thus seen is always circular.
The earth, to be a perfectly true sphere, ought to measure in every direction the same distance from its centre. This is not, however, the case. Its diameter is rather greater at the equator than at the poles. That is, the earth is a little elevated at the equator, and a little flattened at the poles.
The knowledge of the spherical form of the earth has given great encouragement to maritime enterprise, and to the art of navigation. It has been the foundation of all the modern voyages of discovery, and we cannot doubt that the diffusion of Christianity and of civilization will be more rapid, from the facilities thus given for intercourse between distant nations, and researches into the remotest regions.
LESSON V.—THE SOUL THINKS.
Robert. What a curious thing that is which is inside of my head, mother! It thinks a great deal, and while I am awake, it keeps thinking, always, about something or other.
Mother. Try if you can stop thinking.
Robert. I cannot, mother; can you?
Mother. No, my son; I have been thinking ever since I was a little girl.
Robert. But not always, mother.
Mother. Why not, Robert?
Robert. Mother, you have been asleep a great deal of the time, and we do not always dream when we are asleep. Some nights I do not dream at all.
Mother. Well I have thought a great deal while I was awake.
Robert. So have I, mother. I do not think I could count all the different things that I have been thinking about Oh! mother, do tell me what that curious thing is, that is inside of my head, that keeps thinking so. You said you would.
Mother. I will, my son. Look at me. Be attentive, and never forget what I am going to tell you. That something inside of you which thinks, and keeps thinking, is your Soul.—Oallaudet.
LESSON VI.—THE BOYHOOD OF WASHINGTON.
Washington, when a boy, was taught to be accurate in all his statements. He told things exactly as they were, and repeated words just as they had been spoken. If he had committed a fault, he did not try to conceal it, or lay the blame upon others.
Whatever his errors were—and the best child in the world sometimes does wrong—he always spoke of them to his mother without disguise, and without delay. This was the foundation of that noble frankness and contempt of deceit which distinguished him through life, and made him revered by all.
Once, from an indiscretion of his boyhood, a considerable loss was incurred. He knew that it would interfere with favourite plans of his mother, give pain to her feelings, and perhaps awaken her severe displeasure. But he did not hesitate in his duty. He went immediately to her, and made a full acknowledgment; and she said, "I had rather this should have taken place than that my son should be guilty of a falsehood."
She was careful not to injure him by indulgence, or
luxurious food. She required him to rise earl}", and never permitted him to be idle. Labours were sometimes assigned him which the children of wealthy parents might have accounted severe. Thus he acquired strength, firmness of frame, and disregard of hardship.
He was taught to have certain hours for certain employments, and to be punctual. The systematic improvement of time, thus early taught, was of immense service when the mighty concerns of a nation devolved on him: then he found leisure for the transaction of the smallest affairs, in the midst of the most important and conflicting duties.
It was observed by those who surrounded his person, that he neglected nothing, and was never known to be in a hurry. He was remarkable for neatness, yet spent but little time in arranging his dress.
His habits of early rising, and strict attention to order, gave him time for everything, so that the pressure of public business never rendered him inattentive to private duty, domestic courtesy, or kind hospitality In winter he rose two hours before day, and in summer was ready to enjoy the freshness and beauty of the dawn.'
Such benefits did a man, whom the world beheld with admiration, derive from the counsels of a mother, who accustomed him to habits of early rising, order, and industry. His obedience to her was cheerful and unvarying. Even after he attained mature years, and a nation regarded him as its deliverer and ruler, the expression of her slightest wish was a law.—Abbott.
LESSON VII. THE HONEY BIRD.
I saw to-day, for the first time, the honey bird. This extraordinary little bird, which is about the size of a chaffinch, and of a light grey colour, will invariably lead a person following it to a wild bees' nest. Chattering and twittering in a state of great excitement, it perches on a branch beside the traveller, endeavouring by various wiles to attract his attention; and having succeeded in doing so, it flies lightly forward, in a wavy course, in the direction of the bees' nest, alighting every now and then, and looking back to ascertain if the traveller is following it, all the time keeping up an incessant twitter. When at length it arrives at the hollow tree, or deserted white ants' hill, which contains the honey, it for a moment hovers over the nest, pointing to it with its bill, and then takes up a position on a neighbouring branch, anxiously awaiting its share of the spoil. When the honey is taken, which is accomplished by first stupifying the bees by burning grass at the entrance of their domicile, the honey bird will often lead to a second, and even to a third nest. The person thus following it ought to whistle. The savages in the interior, whilst in pursuit, have several charmed sentences, which they use on the occasion. The wild bee of southern Africa corresponds exactly with the domestic garden bee of England. They are very generally diffused throughout every part of Africa—bees' wax forming a considerable part of the cargoes of ships trading to the Gold and Ivory Coasts, and the deadly district of Sierra Leone, on the western shores of Africa.—Cumming.
It is a lovely little thing,
LESSON VIII.—KING CANUTE.
Upon his royal throne he sate,
Attendants on his regal state
With foolish flatteries, false and vain,
To win his smile, his favour gain.
They told him e'en the mighty deep
His kingly sway confessed; That he could bid its billows leap,
Or still its stormy breast! He smiled contemptuously, and cried, "Be then my boasted empire tried!"
Down to the ocean's sounding shore
The proud procession came, To see its billows' wild uproar
King Canute's power proclaim,
Not so thought he, their noble king,
And each base slave, like a guilty thing,
He knew the ocean's Lord on high!
Thev, that he scorned their senseless lie.