Page images

passes without a shower of rain, and we have many large rivers, and numberless little streams, so that all is fresh and cheering. In Australia they sometimes go for months without rain, there are few large rivers, and hardly any streams; so that the high tall grass on the large plains is not so fresh and green as the grass in England, but withered and brown. Then there is a much hotter sun there than here, so that the grass gets very dry indeed.

Now sometimes a fearful thing happens. By some means or other this grass catches tire. It may be that the hot sun ignites it, or some red-hot tobacco out of a man's pipe ; or sometimes mischievous children have set it on fire. But directly one blade of grass is on fire the next catches it, then the next, till in half a minute a large patch is burning. Then the wind blows it on, and in another few minutes a quarter of a mile is all in a blaze.

Oh! what a fearful sight is it then. Onwards, onwards drives the fire; no body can stop it. Presently it comes in sight of a farm house; the farmer looks out, and sees a long way off a great smoke. He knows what it is. He gives the alarm to all his family; his wife seizes the little children, the sons let loose the cattle and the sheep, and off they scamper for their lives. The fleetest horses are saddled, and away gallop the whole family. They often look behind them to see how the fire is following. If



they can only reach a forest, or if the wind changes, they are safe. But if they ever return to their once happy home, all is burnt to the ground, and in ashes.

Poor things! we should remember these people in our prayers. How much happier are we! In a quiet, comfortable country, with nothing like all this danger. Our lot is cast in pleasant places; we have a goodly heritage. We should think of our mercies, we should bless God for them, and we should try to love him better, and serve Him more.

INGENUITY I LOVE to see ingenuity in a child. An ingenious boy may be a very happy boy; for he may have his time fully and pleasantly occupied. And he may be a very prosperous boy : for there is nothing that will help him so much to get well on in the world.

To be ingenious, is to find out clever ways of doing something we very much want to do. Only we must take care that what we want to do is right; and that the way in which we do it is also right. Whenever we wish to do something, we should first ask ourselves this question : “ Will God be pleased with it; or, will He be angry?” Now I will tell you two stories, to describe to you what ingenuity is: one of a dog; another of a boy.


There was once a dog, who lived in a gentleman's court-yard. He was put there to guard the house from robbers. He could do this very well, for he was very large and strong; could bark very loud, and slept so lightly, that the least noise awakened him. He was very comfortably taken care of; he had a nice warm kennel all to himself, and a good breakfast and dinner every day; and so he had no reason for grumbling.

However, he was not satisfied. He had once been out with his master in the park, and seen a number of fine hares and rab. bits; so, thought he to himself, one of these hares would taste very much better than the porridge that I get. But then there was this difficulty: how could he get at them? for he was chained so tightly up. At last he devised a plan. After many attempts, be succeeded in slipping off his collar ; and in the dead of the night, when no one was about, he was off in the woods, scampering after the hares. He caught a hare or two, and enjoyed himself. But how was he to prevent his master knowing what he had been after, by seeing his bloody mouth? Why, as he passed over a brook, he stopped and washed his jaws. And then, when he got home, in order to deceive his master still more, he contrived to slip on his collar again, and laid down in his kennel to sleep, as if nothing had happened. This is quite a true story.

Now, here was an ingenious dog; but he was a naughty dog, though he was so ingenious. He had no business to kill the hares, and he was very wrong to deceive his kind master. We must not be like him. Now for

THE INGENIOUS BOY. There was once a little Irish boy. His name was Dennis Murphy. He lived in London, and like many other Irish boys, his clothes were very ragged, and full of holes. But he had been brought up in a raggedschool, and there was taught to try to be neat and diligent; so he wished to mend his trowsers. But how was he to do it? He had no thread, nor needles, nor anything else. At last he thought of a clever plan : one morning he got up very early, and went to a shop where needles were sold. Here, thought he, they will be presently dusting out, and I may pick up a needle or two. So, sure enough, by and bye, the door opened, the shutters were taken down, and a man began to sweep the dust of the shop into the street. Then little Dennis set to work to hunt, and in less than half an hour, he had found two needles.

But this was not enough, he still wanted some thread. What did he do next? Why, he went off to an old woman, who lived in a little dirty alley, and sold needles and thread, and he offered her one of the needles in exchange for some thread.

She agreed; and now the boy had both his needle and his thread, -and all for nothing: and he set to work to mend his trowsers. Was not this ingenious ?

Now we may imitate this boy. He wished very much to be neat and diligent, and he took very clever means to be so. Little reader! do you understand a little more than you did, what ingenuity is? Remember the ingenious dog and the ingenious boy.

my dear, for


NO. III. - PASCHAL LAMB. Bessie.--Mamma, I have been reading Exod. xii., in preparation for our lesson on the paschal lamb.

Mamma.-I am glad of that, you will be able to answer my questions.

B.–First, let me ask you, mamma, the meaning of the word “ Paschal?”

M.-“ Paschal," my dear, relates to the passover. Paschal lambs were the lambs slain at the passover. I shall like to hear what you remember respecting the last plague God brought upon the Egyptians.

B.-God said He would slay the firstborn in all the land of Egypt, because Pharaoh refused to let the children of Israel go.

M.-If you turn to Exod. iv. 22, 23, you will read that the Lord threatened to do this thing before Moses returned to Egypt, but He delayed to execute His vengeance until he had tried the wicked king by many other plagues. What were the children of Israel to do?

B.-—They were to take to them every man

« PreviousContinue »