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privileged to preach every Sunday in the name of thy Son, and to promote his blessed purposes which reach to eternity. But thou knowest also how anxiously concerned I am, particularly for myself, lest I should soon relax in my exertions to discharge all the duties of my holy office with the most conscientious faithfulness!lest I should too easily forget many a good resolution, and either quench, or suffer to subside, many a sacred impulse of thy Spirit!
Alas! I know myself, my Creator and Father! I know and feel the fickleness and weakness of my own heart; I dare not rely on myself, or promise much; but this constrains me the more, with childlike and bumble prayer, to flee for refuge unto thee, almighty and most merciful Father! and to thee, O thou kind, compassionate, and almighty Saviour! If thou dost strengthen me, I can do all things. O that this conviction might never leave me; but may my heart daily cleave closer to thee by faith! O that I may enter into thy views, and my heart be formed according to thine, that when thou lookest down from thy holy habitation upon thy beloved children, thou mightest look on me with an eye of complacency, as upon a faithful servant! Othat I could always look up to thee, out of the darkness of this life, with a serene, unterrified and confidential heart; and in deep humility experience that consolation which proceeds from the inward witness, that I sincerely endeavour faithfully to execute the work thou hast committed to me, and to do all that my abilities and circumstances allow.
O my Lord and Master! thou knowest what I still lack. Give me, I humbly beseech thee, whatever I stand in need of, and grace to make a faithful and conscientious use of thy gifts! above all, help me daily to watch with care over my own heart and life; let me never forget the importance of my station, being called, not to be a Christian only, but a teacher, and a pattern for Christians; and that, therefore, all my words and actions acquire greater weight, by my being raised to a more conspicuous station. I have no power over myself, to recall to my mind these weighty ideas as often as is requisite, nor to give them their due influence on each occasion. But thou turnest the hearts of men as the rivers of water; thou canst banish from me all levity and slothfulness, and every vile affection, by the enlivening influence of truly Christian ideas. Thou alone canst, from time to time, impart to me more uprightness and constancy, and canst daily maintain and increase my zeal. In short, if thou dost strengthen me, I can do all things, even that which at present seems impossible to me. All things are possible to him that believeth. Lord! I believe, help my unbelief! Do thou what I am not able to do! Work in me that which is well-pleasing in thy sight! Sanctify me throughout! Grant that
I may faithfully serve thy cause throughout my whole life, particularly in all that relates to the office committed to me; and that the chief end of all my labours and exertions in watching, praying, exhorting, reproving, comforting, and instructing, may be to save myself and them that hear me!
Give me, O merciful Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, a rich measure of thy Spirit, according to his promise. Grant that I may daily increase in the knowledge and understanding of the Holy Scriptures! Grant me to discover the truths contained therein, and to view them in their divine harmony! Preserve me from error and misunderstanding! Grant me clearness, energy, acceptance, and unction, that all my hearers may be enlightened and warned, and their souls healed! Let me freely speak all that is true, useful, and salutary! Let no fear of man, or secret desire to please men, ever induce me to withhold any thing that ought to be spoken, or to say any thing that is not perfectly according to truth, or that, not being properly digested, might be liable to do harm! Let me always speak as in thy presence! Let me, being thy servant, never become a servant of men to their own destruction. I am thine,-help me,-let me never do thy work negligently,-thou art at my right hand! 0 may I consider this, and never forget, that all my words shall be weighed in thy balances, and be judged not by men, but by
Lo! at thy feet I prostrate lie:
ON THE LOVE OF GOD.
To the Editor.
HAVING lately read a Discourse (and a volume of Letters consequent to the Discourse) On the Entire Love of God, founded on Matt. xxii. 37.; wherein the author advances many things out of the common track on the subject, it would be a great gratification to me, if some of your valuable correspondents would, through the medium of your work, favour me with their thoughts On the Nature and Measure of the Love required on the Two great Commandments of the Law; and as our love is, even in its highest exercise, so lamentably defective towards the Author of our being and happiness, I doubt not, any remarks which may have a tendency to regulate and increase it, will be acceptable to many of your readers, as well as yours, very sincerely, S
THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE BEAVER *
HAVING, in a preceding Magazine (for February) drawn the picture of that ugly vice, Idleness, from the Natural History of the Sloth,-in this I shall attempt to delineate Christian Diligence, from the Natural History of the Beaver: an animal, in almost every respect, the reverse of the former.
The sacred writers often send us to the brute creation for lessons of wisdom and of virtue: "Go to the ant, thou sluggard!" is the advice of Solomon; and for the same reason we may say, "Go to the beaver;"- many of whose habits are not dissimilar to the ant's.
The beaver is a native of most of the northern parts of Europe and of Asia, but is most plentiful in North America; and there is reason to believe, that they were formerly found in Wales, particularly in Cardiganshire. The general length of this animal is about three feet; and its form may be judged of by the above cut. Its front teeth are very strong; and it lives chiefly on the bark and leaves of trees. Its hair is very fine, glossy, and of a chesnut brown, sometimes nearly black; and is an important article in the manufacture of hats, &c.
The natural sagacity of this animal is very remarkable, especially in its social habits; living in an economy very similar to human society, and superior to what we sometimes see in the savage part of the human species. Capt. G. Cartwright, who resided fourteen years on the coast of Labrador, paid particular attention to them, and gives the substance of the following ac
"The beavers live in general in associated communities, of two or three hundred; inhabiting dwellings which they raise to the height of six or eight feet above the water. They select, if possible, a large pond, and raise their houses on piles, forming them either of a circular or oval shape, with arched tops,which give them, on the outside, the appearance of a dome,
See Buffon's Nat. Hist. and Bingley's Animal Biography, vol, z.
whilst within, they somewhat resemble an oven. The number of houses is, in general, from ten to thirty. If they cannot find a pond to their liking, they fix on some flat piece of ground with a stream running through it. In making this a suitable place for their habitations, a degree of sagacity and intelligence, of intention and memory, is exhibited, nearly equal to that of some part of the human race.
"The first object is to form a dam. To do this, it is necessary that they should stop the stream; and of course that they should know in which direction it runs. This seems a very extraordinary exertion of intellect, for they always do it in the most favourable place for their purpose, andnever begin at a wrong part. They drive stakes, five or six feet long, into the ground, in different rows, and interweave them with branches of trees, filling them up with clay, stones, and sand, — which they ram so firmly down, that though the dams are frequently 100 feet long, Capt. Cartwright says, he has walked over them with the greatest safety. These are ten or twelve feet thick at the base, gradually diminishing towards the top, which is seldom more than two or three feet across. They are exactly level from end to end, perpendicular towards the stream, and sloped on the outside, where grass soon grows, and renders the earth more united.
"The houses are constructed with the utmost ingenuity, of earth, stones, and sticks cemented together, and plastered on the inside with the greatest neatness. The walls are about two feet thick; and the floors so much higher than the surface of the water, as always to prevent them from being flooded. Some of the houses have only one floor, whilst others have three. The number of beavers in each house is from two to thirty. These sleep on the floor, which is strewed with leaves and moss; and each individual is said to have its own place. When they form a new settlement, they begin to build their houses in the summer; and it costs them a whole season to finish the work, and lay in their winter provisions, which consist principally of bark and the tender branches of trees, cut into certain lengths, and piled in heaps under the water. The houses have each no more than one opening, which is under the water, and alwaysbelow the thickness of the ice. By this means they are freed from the effects of frost."
How truly may we say, the Lord "teacheth the beasts of the field!" For what but his wisdom could give such sagacity to these animals? Their buildings are indeed extraordinary; and it is well worthy of observation, that whatever is done by animal sagacity, is even more correct than the labours of human skill."
"He makes the spider parallels design,
"At the head of one of the rivers of Louisiana, where he
lived sixteen years as a planter, in a very retired place, M. Du Pratz found a beaver dain. Not far from it, but hidden from their sight, he and his companions erected their hut, in order to watch the operations at leisure. They waited till the moon shone pretty bright; and carrying branches of trees in their hands, to hide themselves behind, they went with great care and silence to the dam. He then ordered one of the men to cut, as silently as possible, a gutter, about a foot wide, through it, and immediately afterwards to run to the hiding-place.
"As soon as the water through the gutter began to make a noise (says our writer) we heard a beaver come from one of the huts and plunge in. We then saw him get upon the bank, and distinctly perceived that he examined it. He then, with all his force, gave four distinct blows with his tail, and immediately the whole colony threw themselves into the water and came upon the dam. When they were all assembled, one of them appeared, by muttering, to issue some kind of orders, for they all instantly left the place, and went out on the banks of the pond in different directions. Those nearest to us were between our station and the dam; and therefore we could observe their operations very plainly. Some of them formed a kind of mortar; others carried this on their tails, which served as sledges for the purpose. I observed that they put themselves two and two; and that each of these loaded the other. They trailed the mortar, which was pretty stiff, quite to the dam, where others were stationed to take it; these put it into the gutter, and rammed it down with blows of their tails.
"The noise of the water soon ceased, and the breach was completely repaired. One of the beavers then struck two blows with his tail, and instantly they all took to the water without any noise, and disappeared."
What an admirable lesson is here of Christian watchfulness and Christian diligence! What zeal, what activity, what caution, do these sagacious animals discover! The beginning of "all sin," as well as strife, "is like the letting out of water;" but were we as wise as these creatures, how anxious should we be to discover and to stop every inlet of temptation! and how diligent to repair every damage introduced by sin!
Let the watchmen upon the walls of Zion learn a useful lesson from this animal. Instead of making breaches in her walls, by hostilities among themselves, let them be ever on their guard to heal those made by the common enemy.
What a lesson of subordination have we also here! Nature teaches them the necessity of government to the very being of society; instead, therefore, of contending who shall rule, they emulate each other in promptitude of obedience.
(To be concluded in our next.)