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chains. The line of perpetual snow descending lower and lower as we recede from the equator towards the poles, it is obvious that if there were not a proportional diminution in the height of prominences on the surface, they would be perfectly impassable barriers. These are some of the "chief things of the ancient mountains, tho precious things of the lasting hills." They proclaim the majesty, wisdom, and goodness of Him who weigheth them in "scales" and in a "balance;" and thus with "fire and hail, snow and vapour, fruitful trees and all cedars," the "mountains and all hills," show forth His praise.—Milner.
LESSON XXV. GOD LOOKS AT THE HEAUT.
"I do not see how God can have any right to interfere with our thoughts and feelings," was Maria's frequent complaint. "If He had only required our actions to be so and so, we could have obeyed Him."
"You are very generous, Maria!" replied her father; "so you will condescend to permit your Creator to control the movements of your body; but over the soul which inhabits it, and which alone gives it importance, He is to have no authority. Better, then, that instead of intelligent and thinking beings, God had created lifeless machines, for these might have executed a series of outward motions: and this, it seems, is all that God is to expect from His creatures."
"But," said Maria, "earthly rulers do not meddle with thoughts and feelings; they are satisfied if the conduct is right."
"True; because they cannot search the heart, and are obliged to content themselves with regulating the actions. But this is an imperfection in human law—the necessary consequence of human ignorance; and it is the very excellence of religion, that it takes cognisance of the heart as well as the conduct. But although the law has nothing to do with feelings, yet every man, in his private judgment of another, takes into the account his motives, does he not?"
"Yes, father, I suppose so."
"Certainly; if you reflect a moment, you will be conscious that you do not judge them by their actions merely, but by what you can discover of their secret feelings and motives. It would not be enough to satisfy you, in a friend, that she treated you with outward kindness, if she had no real affection for you, and was merely selfish in her motives for professing it."
"No, indeed, father, it would not."
"Well, shall God be satisfied with less than His creatures will accept? But let us go on a little, and see how many actions derive their character from the motives which prompt them.
"You know we have been hoping for a visit from your Aunt C. Well, now, suppose she should come here, and you should treat her with the greatest affection, anticipate all her wants, and endeavour, in every possible way, to make her visit agreeable; this conduct might proceed from one of several different motives. You might wish that your Aunt should admire and love you, and think what an amiable, obliging, affectionate little girl you are:" (Maria blushed, as if her father had read her heart:) "this would be vanity. Or you might think that, if you tried to please her, she would make you a present: this would be selfishness. Or you might really love her, and wish to make her happy: this would be benevolence.
"Again, you might love your parents so well, that, supposing your attentions to her would please them, you would treat her kindly from this motive, which would be filial affection. Or, finally, you might love God so well, that you would do it because He has commanded us to seek the happiness of others. Now, which of all these motives would be the right one?"
"I suppose you mean the last, father; but I should have thought that benevolence and filial affection would be right, too."
"They are right, but they are not enough; love to God should be united with them, and then they become proper motives. But you can see that the character of the action is entirely changed, in each case, by the character of the motive. If you had been the aunt, and had perceived the little girl's attentions to you were prompted by either of the first motives?"
'' O, father, I should have disliked her the more, the more she tried to please me/'
"You acknowledge, then, that the heart alone gives a value to outward acts of kindness, and yet you wish God to be contented with formal and hypocritical services, while your heart is all enmity to Him! 0 Maria, when will you learn that you are treating your Maker, as you would not dare to treat an earthly friend, —no, nor a common acquaintance; for Him only do you require to be pleased with hypocrisy !"—Payson.
LESSON XXVI. OCCUPATION OF LEISURE HOURS.
In modern times, the celebrated Sir William Jones afforded the world an example for the occupation of leisure hours. All his philosophical and literary studies were carried on among the duties of a toilsome profession, which he was, nevertheless, so far from neglecting, that his attention to all its demands upon his time and faculties constitutes one of the most remarkable of his claims to our admiration. But he was from his boyhood a miracle of industry, and showed, even in his earliest years, how intensely his soul glowed with a love of knowledge. He used to relate that, when he was only three or four years of age, if he applied to his mother, a woman of uncommon intelligence and acquirements, for information upon any subject, her common answer was, "Read, and you will know." He thus acquired a passion for books, which only grew in strength with increasing years. Even at school his voluntary exertions exceeded ill amount his prescribed tasks; and Dr. Thackeray, one cf his masters, was wont to say of him, that he was a boy of so active a mind, that if he were left naked and friendless on Salisbury Plain, he would, nevertheless, find the road to fame and riches. At this time he used frequently to devote whole nights to study, when he would generally take tea or coffee to prevent sleeping. He had already, merely to divert his leisure, commenced his study of the law; and it is related, that he would of en amuse and surprise his mother's legal acquaintances by putting cases to them from an abridgment of Coke's Institutes, which he had read and mastered. In after-life his maxim was, never to neglect any opportunity of improvement which presented itself. In conformity with this rule, while making the most wonderful exertions in the study of the Greek, Latin, and Oriental languages, at Oxford, he took advantage of the vacations to learn riding and fencing, and for reading the best authors in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French,— thus, to transcribe an observation of his own, "with
the fortune of a peasant, giving himself the education of a prince."—" Library of Entertaining Knowledge."
LESSON XXVII. NESTS OF BRITISH BIRDS.
There is scarcely any circumstance connected with the history of a bird more interesting than the construction of ,its nest. The diversity in the forms and materials, the position, the degree of comfort, the exposure or concealment, presented by the nests of birds which apparently disagree very slightly in their habits and requirements, is one of those facts at which we wonder, but which we cannot explain. The Golden-crested Wren, a minute creature, interweaves small branches of moss ■with the web of the spider, and forms a closely compacted texture, nearly an inch in thickness, lining it with such a profusion of feathers, that, sinking deep into this downy accumulation, it seems almost lost itself when sitting; and the young when hatched appear stifled with the warmth of their bedding and the heat of their apartment; while the Whitethroat, the Blackcap, and others, which hatch their young nearly at the same period, require nothing of the kind. A few loose bents and goose-grass, rudely entwined, with perhaps the luxury of some scattered hairs, are perfectly sufficient for all the wants of these; yet they are birds that live only in genial temperatures, feel nothing of the icy gales that are natural to our pretty indigenous artists, but flit from sun to sun; and we might suppose would require much warmth in our climate during the season of hatching: but it is not so.
What a contrast is there between the nest of the Ringdove and that of the Magpie! The former chooses the fork of a horizontal branch, often of an oak or a