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Aunt.-- All effected by that wondrous magician time—or rather we should speak more seriously about it, and say how wonderfully everything "under the earth" has been transformed for our use, and how a Father's hand was contriving for our special convenience and happiness, ages before we were created. He is " from everlasting to everlasting,” therefore do time appears long to Him; but we, even the wisest of us, cannot stretch our thoughts to imagine the ages upon ages,
that were required even to embed this little fern. Then there were other strange inhabitants of that ancient world.
Lewis.—Were there people? Savages ?
Aunt.-No-not till long, long afterwards. But I haven't any of their remains in my cabinet, but some day I will take you to see the museum that is going to be opened in the town. And now I see you are begining to be tired, so we will go in to tea.
DEATH has lately taken from us a great and good man, a true and earnest friend of his race, and one whose good influence has long been felt through his books, in many hundreds of homes and public institutions, both in our island and in America.
Perhaps many of my young readers may never have heard of George Combe, in which case I think I can hardly raise a more appropriate offering of gratitude to his memory, than by endeavouring to explain to you children, in whom, as future men and women, he took so great an interest, a few of those practical lessons which he has so long laboured to teach us all.
One of his great aims was to persuade us to reverence and obey the laws of nature; that is, the laws by which God governs the world. It is very plain how necessary it is that the world should be governed by fixed laws, for think what confusion would arise, if no one knew what would be the consequences of his own actions. We know that if we put a thing in a certain place, it will stay there till moved; that if we throw a thing down it falls to the ground. This is on account of the law of gravitation, that is, the law by which the earth draws everything that has any weight towards it. Thus every article you can name, as a book or a chair, rests securely on the lowest place it can reach, that is, the shelf or floor on which it is placed, till moved.
Think how inconvenient it would be, if you could not stand firmly on the ground, but sometimes jumped up to the ceiling, sometimes hung in mid air, and sometimes stayed down, without any law or order, just as it happened. Or suppose the chair and book were to act on the same principle, so that you could never be sure, when you sat down with your book before you, whether your chair might not happen to go to the other end of the room, and your book fly up, and adhere to the roof. All this, and many other evils, such as the bricks and timber of which your house is built, flying from one another, are prevented by the law of gravitation, by which every heavy thing is drawn strongly towards the earth, and rests there, unless prevented by some other power.
This is one of the physical laws, that is, one of the laws by which God governs matter, or everything that you can touch and feel. There are many other physical laws; such as water boiling when it gets to a certain degree of heat, and freezing
when very cold. You must see how inconvenient it would be, if water were to boil or freeze, just as it happened, no matter whether it were hot or cold. Many of these physical laws, you and every one else cannot help learning by experience; if you wish to know more, you must read books on natural philosophy, of which there are so many simple and interesting ones now written.
The next class of laws to which I beg your careful attention, are the organic laws. These are the laws which govern all living bodies, whether plants or animals; by which they grow, and in process of time decay, and by which they thrive or fade, according as the cir. cumstances under which they are placed, are favourable or unfavourable.
These laws, you must see, are very important for every one to know, especially those which have to do with our own bodies; for it is by them that we feel, speak, see, eat, grow, live, and die, are sick or healthful, comfortable or uncomfortable. Many of these we all know, and try to obey. We know that the want of heat, which we call cold, or the presence of too much of it, hurts and injures our bodies, therefore we try to avoid too much heat or cold, as it is intended we should. Cold and heat are both made painful to us, so that we may know that when we suffer from them, we are disobeying God's laws for the good of our bodies, and thus injuring them.
In the same way, if we do not eat enough, we feel the pangs of hunger, and if we eat too much, we have various pains and discomforts, so that we know at once that we are disobeying the laws of nature, and are illtreating the delicately formed bodies God has given us to take care of. Some of the organic laws are not so well known, and are frequently disobeyed by people who either do not know them, or do not take the trouble to attend to them. I should like to set before you some of the plainest and simplest of these laws, which though very generally understood, are I am sorry to say, disobeyed continually.
In the first place, it is necessary to health, that we should breathe tolerably pure air, which can only be obtained by keeping our rooms very clean and well aired. We should never shut up rooms so that the fresh air cannot come into them, for longer than we can help, but on the contrary, take every opportunity of opening windows and doors. When people have been long in a place, they use up all the fresh air, and make the air unwholesome, so that every opportunity should be taken of letting it out, and changing it for the air out of doors.
Another very important law is, that we must keep ourselves very clean, and often put on fresh clothes. Some people are content to wash their face and hands, so that they may look clean, and to change often only those clothes that are to be seen, but they should remember that it is one of the laws of God, that they should wash and be clean all over, or they are liable to a great many illnesses which they might avoid.
We must also mind and exercise all our limbs properly; never sit still all day, or else the muscles by which we move will grow weak, and comparatively useless. Our blood also, which ought to be flowing quickly through all our veins, carrying nourishment from the heart to all parts of the body, will flow slower if we do not take exercise. It is equally important that we should not over-exert ourselves by working too hard, or we wear out and injure the machinery of our bodies, which was only intended for moderate labour.
These are only examples of the organic laws, but they are very important ones. You must do your best to obey them, and you will be rewarded by more health and strength than if you did not, particularly if you begin while you are young, and persevere all
life. You must try and learn the organic laws, and when you have learnt one, look upon it as a religious duty to obey it as much as you can.
Lastly, we come to the moral laws. It is by the moral laws that erery one is rewarded for his good deeds, and punished for what he does wrong. One way in which we are rewarded for honesty and innocence, is by the peace of our own minds, which we must lose at once, when we have done anything dishonest, or in any way wrong, so that we are in constant fear of being found out, or that causes us to forfeit the esteem of good people and the approbation of our own consciences. Many people do wrong because they think it will be of some advantage to them; but though it may seem to do good at first, it always in the end has bad consequences; and whether the worldly punishment is a long or a short time in coming, they are sure at once to lose that high and exquisite pleasure which is enjoyed by those who love and delight in the Lord, and that sweet peace which He gives to his obedient children. We know what is right for us to do, and what God wishes us to do, because he sent Jesus Christ to teach us ; but from the
ay many people act, it would seem that they think God commands one thing in his word, and another by the laws of nature. Now this would be inconsistent,
that He will send upon us will help us onward to the Crown which is won only by a bearing of the Crossto the victory only bought by the struggle."
The next sentence is very like this one,” said Ettie, “is it not, Uncle ? But deliver us from evil.''
Her Inele did not answer at once. He was twirling his watch-chain round and round his fingers, apparently thinking of something that his last words had suggested to his mind—but looking up presently, he asked, “ Has it ever struck you that there is a very great spiritual, mental evil, from which we might all pray daily to be delivered—and yet few, I think, conceive it to be the actual form of evil that it is. It has struck me very forcibly, and very often,-I mean that coldness and indifference to religion that distance from and disunion with God (familiarly and very truly called not knowing God) that very often grows upon people with their growth, and becomes confirmed with years. I scarcely know a more miserable evil- a more soul and spirit-destroying malady than this one. And I can tell you so from experience, Ettie."
"From experience! you, Uncle Edward ?"
“ Yes, Ettie, I know what starvation, and cold, and misery, wandering from the fold brings upon the sheep, and, thank God, I know the blessedness of re-entering it.” Her Uncle looked fixedly at Esther, as he added, “For to God is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever."
“ You have found that, Uncle Edward ?” Ettie mine, by very long experience and very many sorrows — by very long trial or study of the kingdoms, the powers, and the glories of this world. And year by year becomes the conviction in my heart deeper, that in his kingdom alone we can find peace - to his power alone submit with certainty of its being exercised for good — towards his glory alone look and hope, with knowledge of its perfect and unfading brightness.”