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"I recollect, when I was a boy, a plan which used to be adopted in my father's family, at the return of the holidays, which was found to be very useful. It was this. We each of us agreed to forfeit one farthing for every ungrammatical or improper expression which either of us employed in conversation. The money thus obtained was devoted to the promotion of benevolent objects. An account was kept of the mistakes and errors which any of us made; and thus we were enabled to ascertain the faults which we most commonly committed, and guard against them with the greater care. By these plans we were led to think before we spoke; we were mutual checks against improprieties; and we gradually found that the style of our common conversation was much improved, and our knowledge of grammar increased.

myself in the midst of a vast wil- lief was at hand; and I was not derness, in the depth of the rainy disappointed.”—Todd. season, naked and alone, surrounded by savage animals, and men still more savage. I was 500 miles from the nearest European settlement. All these circumstances crowded at once on my recollection, and I confess that my spirits began to fail me. I considered my fate as certain; and that I had no alternative but to lie down and perish. The influence of religion, however, aided and supported me. I recollected that no human prudence or foresight could have arrested my present sufferings. I indeed was a stranger in a strange land: yet I was still under the protecting eye of that Providence who has condescended to call himself the stranger's friend. At this moment, painful as my reflections were, the extraordinary beauty of a small moss in fructification irresistibly caught my eye. I mention this, to show from what trifling circumstances the mind will sometimes derive consolation; for though the whole plant was not larger than the top of one of my fingers, I could not contemplate the delicate conformation of its roots, leaves, and capsula, without admiration. Can that Being, thought I, who planted, watered, and brought to perfection in this obscure part of the world a thing which appears of so small importance, look with unconcern upon the situation and sufferings of creatures formed after his own image? Surely not. Reflections like these would not allow me to despair. I started up, and, disregarding both hunger and fatigue, travelled forward, assured that re

"I have lately, in conjunction with some friends, adopted nearly a similar plan with respect to early rising, by which many valuable hours have been redeemed from sleep. We have agreed that each of us should keep a regular daily account of our time of going to bed and of rising; and that every individual who slept longer than seven hours, should forfeit one penny each morning. When we meet together, which is generally once a week, we compare accounts, and put the fines into our Sunday school box.". A Present to the Young.

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THE Ostrich is an inhabitant of the deserts of Arabia, and has long been celebrated as amongst the largest and most interesting of birds. It was known," says Mr. Buffon, "to the remotest ages, and is mentioned in the most ancient books. It is frequently the subject from which the sacred writers draw their allegories. It occurs also in Herodotus, the most ancient of the profane historians; and in the writings of the first philosophers who have treated of the history of nature."



[NOVEMBER, 1849.

The bird is very particularly described in Job xxxix. 13—18; and is frequently referred to in other places of holy writ, though our translators have, unfortunately, generally rendered one of its names by "owl," from ignorance of the peculiar habits of the ostrich, whose name should have stood instead.

It is called in Arabic, in Greek, and still generally in the East, "the camel-bird;" and in the original of our bibles, frequently by the figurative expression, "the daughter of screeching;" and which made the translators refer these passages to the owl. The first of these terms is very expressive of its life amid the deserts, and its peculiar habits and construction; it is amongst birds what the camel is amongst beasts; and the second,―of the screeching, the lamentable noises it is said to make in its native wilds.

The ostrich is the tallest, if not the largest bird in the world, standing full seven feet high to the top of its head, and four feet to the top of the back. It is particularly valued for its plumage, which is generally black and white. The feathers of the wings and tail are the most valuable, and are very peculiar in their character, having the web an equal width on each side of the shaft, which is unlike all other birds. All the feathers of the ostrich, too, are remarkably soft and downy, and it is quite without those hard feathers common to the generality of birds. Its wings are small in comparison to its whole bulk, and are of no service in flying, but act like sails or oars, and greatly aid its motions in running, enabling it to outstrip the fleetest greyhound. Its neck is long and slender, the lower part covered with downy feathers, and the upper, with the head, with fine shining hajr. Its thighs are bare, and its legs and feet covered with scales. The latter are singularly fitted for treading firmly and running far without injury. They are each furnished with two large toes, the longest being seven inches long, and well shod with a horny substance.

The ostrich leads a harmless sort of life, and forms flocks. It lives generally on vegetables, but devours everything that comes in its way. Leather, glass, hair, stones, metals, all are devoured most voraciously by it. In its native wilds the ostrich is a noble bird, and seems to enjoy its own beauties, and shows them off

to itself and companions with great glee. "When I was abroad," says Dr. Shaw, "I had several opportunities of amusing myself with the actions and behaviour of the ostrich. It was

very diverting to observe with what dexterity and equipoise of body it would play and frisk about on all occasions. In the heat of the day, particularly, it would strut along the sunny side of the house with great majesty. It would be perpetually fanning and priding itself with its quivering expanded wings, and seem at every turn to admire and be in love with its own shadow."

The nest of the ostrich is merely a hole in the sand, which, by its heat, will preserve the vital warmth in the eggs, so that the dam may safely leave them for two or three hours when in quest of food or pursued by the hunter. The allusions of sacred and profane poets, and also the general assertions of eastern travellers, charge upon the female ostrich considerable neglect or forgetfulness in reference to her nest and young; and, though all may not be true that has been said against her on this point, a great deal of it must be so.

The great value of its feathers makes the ostrich an object of constant pursuit. The hunter mounts a swift-footed horse and gives it chase, but so great is the speed with which the ostrich can run, that he would never overtake it, nor be able to reach it with his javelin, but for the disposition it has to take a winding route, which gives him the chance of crossing its path or getting within shooting distance.

The most interesting and striking allusions to this bird in the Bible, are in Lev. xi. 16; Deut. xiv. 15; Job xxx. 29; xxxix. 13-18; Jer. i. 39; Lam. iv. 3; Micah i. 8.

In some of these the "owl" is spoken of, and in one the “peacock;" but both should have been the ostrich. In these mistakes we have a striking proof of the desirableness of an acquaintance with the natural history of the animals mentioned in the Bible; and, instead of a proof against the Bible, have a beautiful confirmation of its genuineness and truth. Every fresh discovery of science, and every fresh fact elicited by research into the geography or natural history of the countries to which it relates, only serves to corroborate more fully and clearly all its statements or allusions.



Question.-Can Eccles. i. 4 be reconciled with 2 Peter iii. 10?

"One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever."-Eccles. i. 4.

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."-2 Pet. iii. 10.

THE design of a writer, whether sacred or profane, helps to explain the meaning of the words he employs. The design of the writer of the Ecclesiastes is evidently to teach the vanity of human life, noticing its comparative brevity. And he succeeds in showing that life is evanescent when viewed in comparison with the permanent laws of nature. The whole comparison is kept up through the following verses to the seventh verse. So that the earth, as a planet, and a part of a system, shall continue as long as that system lasts. So fixed and unalterable had been the laws of that system before Solomon wrote, and so uniform and unchanged have they been since, as to justify the ordinary use of the phrase "for ever," relatively considered, without necessarily involving the absolute idea of eternal duration. Many instances of the use of the phrase in this sense might be adduced. Let the following one suffice. God's promise to David in reference to Solomon is this: "He shall build a house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever," 2 Sam. vii. 13. The prediction was at that time on record, "that the sceptre should not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto him shall the gathering of the peoples be." This prediction foretold the extinction of the Jewish monarchy, the system to which Solomon's kingdom belonged. But as long as that system did last, the regal power was continued to the lineal descendants of David; thus verifying the promise, "I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever," in not permitting the kingly authority to leave the family of David.

The scripture phrase "for ever," has both an absolute and a relative meaning. It is in the latter sense it is used in Eccles. i. 4. Applying the principle with which this paper commences to the passage, 2 Pet. iii. 10, we find that the apostle is referring to a solemn event, the second coming of Christ, which shall affect the whole material universe. The system that now is shall then come to an end. The earth, a part of that system, shall remain, in all its harmony, with the established laws of motion, until the crisis of dissolution arrive; a crisis which shall

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