Page images
PDF
EPUB

been the means of adding many to the Church of Christ, and so increased its strength instead of weakening it. It tells us that in our lesson from the History of Scotland, which we have for school to-day: “The effect of the martyrdom of Patrick Hamilton was to deepen the spirit of public inquiry, and kindle a flame that soon overspread the land, and which has burned brightly to the present hour.” That flame was the Gospel.

M. Quite right. I hope you will all begin now to resist temptation, and if you persevere you will be sure to gain the victory, no matter how severely you may be tried. Patrick Hamilton persevered, and increased in strength so much, that he found it as easy, or perhaps easier, to be burned at the stake than it was to resist the first temptation, although he died so young; and so will each one of you increase in strength if you persevere. If the palm-tree dies, or is cut or burned down, immediately a number of young ones spring from its roots. How strikingly this resembles the death of the Christian. Look at Patrick Hamilton he did much good in his life, but more in his death, and the fruits of both continue to flourish to this day. And it is the same with all God's faithful servants, wherever or under whatever circumstances they may die. We shall finish this lesson by repeating the last verse of the Auld Kirkyard and my favourite Paraphrase.

Charlie. “ So live that ye may lie in the auld kirkyard,

Wi' a passport to the sky frae the auld kirkyard,
That when thy sand is run,
And life's weary warfare done,
Ye may sing, O victory won,
Where there's nae kirkyard.

Eliza. “ How bright these glorious spirits shine !

Whence all their white array ?
How came they to the blissful seats

Of everlasting day?
Lo! these are they from suff'rings great,

Who came to realms of light,
And in the blood of Christ have wash'd

Those robes which shine so bright.
“ Now, with triumphal palms, they stand

Before the throne on high,
And serve the God they love, amidst

The glories of the sky.
His presence fills each heart with joy,

Tunes ev'ry mouth to sing :
By day, by night, the sacred courts

With glad hosannahs ring.
“ Hunger and thirst are felt no more,

Nor suns with scorching ray ;
God is their sun, whose cheering beams

Diffuse eternal day.
The Lamb which dwells amidst the throne

Shall o'er them still preside ;
Feed them with nourishment divine,

And all their footsteps guide.
“ 'Mong pastures green he'll lead his flock,

Where living streams appear ;
And God the Lord from ev'ry eye

Shall wipe off ev'ry tear.”

CHAPTER XII.

CEDAR OF LEBANON-THE FIR-TREE.

GROWTH IN GRACE AND IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST.

a

Psalm xcii. 12.—“The righteous shall flourish like the palmtree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”

Hosea xiv. 8.—“I am like a green fir-tree.”

Col. i. 9, 10.–“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

M. We shall talk to-day about the cedar of Lebanon, and the fir-tree, because they both belong to the same family of trees—the cone-bearing family ; and a valuable family it is, and a very numerous one, and all of them useful, and none more so than our own native Scotch fir. It is said to live sometimes to the age of four hundred years. The wood, which is called red deal, is very smooth and light, and of great value. It contains a large quantity of resin, from which are made pitch, tar, and turpentine. The inhabitants of the Highlands, and of the north of Europe, dig up the roots, and divide them into splinters, to burn instead of candles. They use the bark to tan leather, and in years of scarcity it is ground and made into bread. I have seen some who have tasted this bread, and thought it very palatable.

Craigie. Well, I do not think I should like it very

:

much. I would require to be as hungry as I was that day we went to Arthur Seat, and forgot to take something to eat. I could have ate the wooden bread that day.

M. I have no doubt of it: and you would have thought it very good too. The wood of the Norway pine is called white deal, and is used to make the masts and yards of ships, and a great many other things besides. The wood of the larch is said to be more durable than oak, and has the valuable property of not warping or shrinking. It was used by painters before the use of canvass became general : several of Raphael's pictures are painted on boards of it. The cedar of Lebanon is so called because it is a native of Mount Lebanon. Solomon's temple and palace, it is supposed, were built of the wood : it takes a fine polish, and insects will not touch it because of its bitter taste. For this reason the ancients used tablets of cedar to write upon, and smeared their books and writings with a juice drawn from the wood, to preserve them. The cedar is remarkable for the firmness of its roots : they run a great depth under ground, and even thrust themselves into the rock. It is a general rule that the roots of a tree extend at least to an equal distance from the trunk under ground that the branches do above, and this is quite the case with the cedar: like the palm its roots draw water from the hidden spring. Tell me, what is the shape of fir-trees ?

Charlie. They are of a conical shape; but the cedar of Lebanon is not, it spreads its branches very wide.

M. The fir-trees are ma of them natives of the cold northern regions ; they are all of a conical form,

casting little or no shade, because none is wanted : but gradually, as we travel farther south, we find the trees larger and more spreading, until we reach the tropical climates, where they are very large indeed. The banyan tree is said to shelter seven hundred people under its branches. Why do you think they are made so large there?

Jessie. Because the sun is so hot, shade is quite necessary.

M. Quite right and the inhabitants of these regions are abundantly supplied with it: the leaves of some of the palms are several yards in diameter. There is another reason for the conical form of the trees in the north : a cone is the strongest shape there is, and the only one which can bear a great weight of snow without injury to the tree. The cedar of Lebanon, which grows in the south of the temperate regions, where the sun is very powerful, is not of a conical form, but wide and spreading, because shade is necessary; and it is a very wonderful thing, that on Mount Lebanon, at the approach of winter, the cedar is said to bend its branches upwards, so as to receive the snow in the form of a pyramid. We see another remarkable instance of the goodness of God in the quantity of fat resinous substances found in fir-trees, especially in those which are natives of the north : it protects them from the damp and cold. I think you know the uses of pitch and tar.

George. Yes, I have seen boats and the keels of ships covered with it, to preserve them from being injured by the water.

Catharine. How very wonderful all this is! It is quite true what Cowper says, “ All we behold is miracle.”

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »