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LITTLE PLEASURES AND LITTLE ANNOYANCES.
I took a stick about eighteen inches in length, and fastened a piece of iron to one end of it, so that the stick would stand up on that end of itself. Then I put this stick in the centre of a large tub half full of water, and placed the spider on top of the stick. I wanted to see if he could get to the “ land,” which was the edge of the tub, without any help. He ran down first one side of the stick and then the other; each time he would stop when he touched the water, and shaking his feet as a cat does, he would run up again. At last he came to the conclusion that he was entirely surrounded by water-on an island, in fact. After remaining perfectly quiet for a long while, during which I have no doubt he was arranging his plans, he began running around the top of the stick and throwing out great coils of web with his hind feet. In a few minutes little strings of web were floating away in the slight breeze that was blowing. After a little, one of these threads touched the edge of the tub and stuck fast, as all spider webs will. This was just what Mr. Spider was looking for, and the next minute he took hold of this web and gave it a jerk, as a sailor does a rope when he wishes to see how strong it is, or make it fast.
Having satisfied himself that it was fast at the other end, he gathered it in till it was right and straight, and then ran on it quickly to the shore, a rescued castaway, saved by his own ingenuity. Spiders are not fools, if they are ugly, and He who made all things has a thought and care for all. The earth is full of the knowledge of God.
LITTLE PLEASURES AND LITTLE ANNOYANCES.
This life is largely dependent upon little things, both for its enjoyment and its annoyances. It is a little thing that first flower that peeps out from underneath the leaves and the grass, but how sweet is the fragrance of the trailing arbutus, and how pleasant to gather it, blossoming, as it does often, while yet fragments of ice and snow are lying near by.
The songs of birds—they come to us after the long silence of winter like angels' voices.
If a pair of robins come back to re-build and occupy once more their last year's nest by the window, it seerns like the return from a far journey of ancient friends—and they are to us a daily joy.
The very purr of the house-cat, testifying her enjoyment of the nap you permit her in your lap is musical. So to the huntsman is the
of the hounds.
“DOE THE NEXTE THYNGE."
Little things make up much of our happiness; they also constitute a large part of our annoyances.
Some one wrote an account of the realization of his life-long wish to see Rome, and as he had his first look at the Eternal City his attention was entirely distracted by the voice of some insignificant flies.
We remember another story of a married couple who had quarrelled twenty years about shutting a door; the latch was out of order, and it would never catch. One day the husband took it into his head to mend the latch, and in five minutes the contemptible source of twenty years' scolding was removed !
Seeing how prolific, both of pleasure and of pain, little things are, the true philosophy of life teaches us not to despise them.
“ DOE THE NEXTE THYNGE.” On the wall of an old English parsonage is engraven, in old Saxon letters sunk in the granite, the motto, “ Doe the Nexte Thynge.” Like many other groupings of plain words, it has wrapped up in its quaint simplicity a treasure of significance. For how many doubts would be solved, how many cares would be lightened, how effectually the problema of life would be wrought out, if, instead of halting in the way, or fretting at visionary difficulties to come, we should, each day and hour, just go on to do the next thing. The word may have two meanings. If that which we are trying to do is plainly impossible, pass on to do the next duty that offers. If what we have aspired to as the best is plainly not at once to be reached, go on to do the next best.
To do the next thing freely and heartily we must let go the last, draw off the eyes from the past. This was Paul's method in that mightily energetic life of his. The last thing may have been a failure. You cannot afford to let it discourage you,—the next thing may be a success ; or the last thing may have been a victory, -don't rest on your laurels. The next thing may be a grander triumph ; at least, it may be more needful to be done. Do it. To do the next thing, we must not be too anxious about results. Act with what light you have and what strength you have at the time, and leave results with God. If the path of duty leads through a stone wall, or a solid phalanx of bristling difficulties, take the next step, go at it. Your going through is God's business, not yours.
The doing the next thing will prove a medicine for heavy care and anxiety ; for it is not the things we do that
wear us, but the fretting over things left undone in the past, and things
we want to do and cannot in the future. Do not leave your work half finished. Do the next thing necessary to mature, and the next thing essential to complete it. Do it patiently, reverently, trustfully, and with thy might.
“ Be earnest! Do what thou dost as if the stake were heaven, And that thy last deed ere the judgment day.”
"MY DARLING'S ALONE THERE.”
WHERE in from the restless sea I shall learn in time to say, “Thy will,
My blessed Lord, was best.”
'Tis not from pain that I shrink; She folded her tiny palms,
But to think of that baby wildered And shut her violet eyes,
there And said her prayers in the angel arms On the river's further brink! That carried her to the skies.
In all the beautiful land, And we laid her here! For oft
With its glitter and its shine, Her dancing feet would come Who will take hold of the dimpled To the spot where the sea,
hand mur soft,
That never was out of mine? Sang, she said, “Home, sweet home !"
Who will show her the way It hath other burden now,
Along the golden street ? As it falls upon my ear,
So shy! My birdie, what will she say While close to my darling's grave I To the children she may meet? bow,
Yes! I know that Christ is there; And mourn that she is not here.
I know that He loves her well!
With the grace of her presence fled; Yet I cannot choose but tell
The thought that presses me down
Till my heart is almost rivenI can bear to put her toys
Too little yet for harp or for crown, On the highest shelf away;
She may want her mother in heaven. I can do without the stir and the noise Of her careless, happy play.
Forgive me, Lord! My faith
Is very small and weak. I can touch the dainty hat
Sweet Lord! I lean on Thy own “thus She wore on her golden hair;
saith,” And her little red cloak-I can look at Or my lonely heart would break,
that Blank bit of sunshine there.
As down by my darling's bod,
With its tucked-in cover of turf, This aching will not kill,
I kneel, and lay my desolate head, That throbs at my longing breast; And list to the moaning surf.
This lovely bird is smaller than our common pigeon. When winter is coming it flies off into a warmer country; and when spring returns it comes back to coo its cheerful notes. King Solomon, in his sacred song, describes a spring-day in the holy land
“Lo! the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the vines with the tender grape give a good smell." The dove is one of the first birds of which we read in the Bible. You know how Noah twice sent out a dove from the ark. The second time she came back with an olive branch in her mouth; and then Noah knew that the waters had abated.
Turtle Doves and pigeons were ordered by the Lord to be offered as sacrifices. Abram was told to offer a turtle dove and a young pigeon. Moses, under the law, directs turtle doves and pigeons to be offered to the Lord; and so it was that when Mary took the holy child to present him in the temple she took as her offering two turtle doves or young pigeons.
ANECDOTES AND SELECTIONS.
Jnecdotes and Selections.
HOME HAPPINESS.—How much we all want to be happy, and how many moments of onr lives are spent in anticipating the things we think are going to give us pleasure. Home should be the place to find our happiness. Here one should find love and sunshine. The heart should open like the petals of a rose kissed by the morning dew, and affections lighten all the dark places, and make a beautiful bridge over which our feet may walk safely. One may not expect to find all the flowers they would willingly gather in the garden plot at home; but so many can be culled if we only learn the secret of keeping them fresh and lovely, and bringing out the dainty beauty of bud into sweeter blossom. Let there be forgiveness of one's faults, care to make trials and little annoyances forgotten. Teach and learn together the charming lessons of life. Take honour and honesty into the dealings of every day. Let the beauty of what has been past stay with you. The fairest blossoms often bloom so near us, and yet we indifferently neglect to pluck them. The resting-place of our busy tired brain, the love and tenderness that lightens toil and makes sweet the memories we care to linger over,
the dearest spot where we should find happiness, is all ceptred in the word "home." And as we try, so we can beautify it, whether it be a palace or a cottage, one room or more. If those that draw around the circle help each other in bearing their burdens, the sorrows as well as the joys, with sympathy, tenderness and love in their hearts, then happiness will come as a cherished guest to that fireside. All that is good and pure and best in us should be brought out by the blessed influences that cluster about a Christian home. All the lessons we carry with us into the wide world, learned well or ill, are the result of home training. No memory of early years should come back to the wanderer so sweet as that which clusters about that magic name, and the dearest, truest resting place, where we should find the sweetest comfort earth can afford, should be home made beautiful by the memories of all the Christian virtues.
DUTCH MUSICAL PLATES.-That the Hollanders had and have a passionate love of music is well known. For two centuries the popular songs of Holland figured conspicuously in the history of the country. Every peasant boy was in the habit of carrying about with him a collection of songs in a shape which he could tuck away in his pocket easily. When a group gathered they would fall to singing in chorus. A similar custom prevailed among the higher classes of the population. After dinner, when the jovial Dutchmen were in a rollicking mood, each man would pull out his song-book from his pocket, and the whole company would join in rousing chorus. It is easy to see that here was a mine for the faience-makers to work. A dozen desert plates displaying the couplets various songs were a source of amusement which was never failing in its after-dinner effect. The idea is, perhaps, one worth adopting in our day and country as a provoker of jollity