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long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness. When the Holy Spirit enters our hearts, then our hearts are filled with these blessed feelings, and then we are very happy.”
“Very true, my boy,” returned Mr. Dalben; " and now let us look from this old broken casement, and see what beautiful places the Lord prepares in woods and solitary parts of the earth.”
Henry immediately went to the window, and found he could see from thence into the very bottom of the dingle; where a little narrow wooden bridge was thrown over a clear brook, which came tumbling down from the opposite sides of the dingle. A number of beautiful trees grew on each side of the little valley, casting their deep shade below, excepting in one place; where the last rays of the evening sun made their way through the branches, and poured directly upon the waterfall, causing it to glitter and sparkle, as if it were composed of crystals and diamonds.
“Oh! uncle," said little Henry, " what a pretty place !"
“ Yoưr dear father,” said Mr. Dalben, "used often to sit by this window, and read to poor Jane Crawley, when she was confined to her bed, which she was for some months before she died : and I know that he often used to look upon that scene with delight; for he had learned to admire these beautiful works of God.
“We had provided an old woman to take care of poor Jenny ; but it was from your dear papa that she learned all those heavenly truths which were, with the Divine blessing, to make her eternally happy. It was from him that she learned what God the Father had done for her ; how this her heavenly Parent had planned and provided the means of her salvation even before the foundation of the world ; and how God the Son had, in obedience to his Father's will, laid down his precious life for her upon the cross, that she, through his death, might be justified from all her sins; and how God the Holy Ghost was even then bringing her to the knowledge of her Saviour, and by his regenerating and sanctifying grace thus preparing her for glory.
“Though he was very young, he was enabled to teach her all these things; and, as I before said, he preferred the pleasure of visiting and talking to her, to all his sports and amusements. He continued to attend her
every day till she died : and he perhaps, at this moment, is standing before the throne of God, in the company of this poor creature, to whom he was enabled to show so much kindness when in this world.”
When Mr. Dalben had spoken these last words, he took Henry's hand, and they went down the old stairs, and out by the door of the house into the wood; and in this place I shall finish my chapter, hoping that you have had pleasure in following Mr. Dalben and little Henry Milner in their visit to Jenny Crawley's cottage.
The Walk to the River-side. Discourse upon Fishes and Insects.
A few days after Mr. Dalben had taken Henry to Jenny Crawley's cottage, he took a walk with him, according to his promise, to the banks of the river Teme, which flowed about a mile and a half from Mr. Dalben's house.
This river is a clear and rapid stream, which rises in Wales, and having taken its course through some of the most beautiful valleys in England, falls into the Severn, a little below the city of Worcester. The course of the river is for the most part marked by rows of silver willows.
Henry and his uncle continued descending along beautiful fields for some time before they came into the meadows on the banks of the Teme; and Mr. Dalben, as his custom was, renewed his discourse as they walked along, profitable to the little boy, as well as exceedingly agreeable.
“ We are going to look for an animal of the fourth class to-day, Henry," said Mr. Dalben; “let us there. fore consider what kinds of animals these are.
“ The animals of the fourth class, as I have told you, my dear boy, are fishes, creatures which live in the water. Most fishes are much of the same shape, being very large in proportion in the middle, and tapering towards the head and tail; and this shape is given to them because it is the most convenient for making their
way in the element for which they were designed. They are also furnished with fins, which assist them in moving through the water; and with the help of their tails, which serve them for a rudder, they are enabled to turn to any side at pleasure. It is said that a fish well furnished with fins will ontstrip the swistest ship which ever sailed.
“Four-footed beasts are, for the most part, covered with hair, and birds are provided with feathers; but as neither hair nor feathers would be suitable for a creature living in water, fish are provided with scales, under which is found a kind of oil, which keeps them warm.”
“But, uncle," said Henry Milner, “I do not think that scales are so pretty as feathers, or fine soft hair, such as four-footed beasts are clothed in."
“Many fish," returned Mr. Dalben, “ are covered with scales of beautiful colours, and having variations which are wonderfully rich and curious ; but, after all we can say, fishes are certainly very inferior creatures to birds or beasts. There is no one of this class which has the least regard or care for its young ones, and many of them are even so unnatural as to feed upon their offspring. Neither have fishes the senses of hearing, or smelling, or tasting, or even of seeing, so perfect as those of birds and beasts. Some people even suppose that they have no power of hearing at all. They are also exceedingly cruel, being the most greedy creatures in the world, and devouring each other with the utmost voraciousness.'
By this time Mr. Dalben and Henry were come to the banks of the river, and there saw before them, at a little distance, a mill, situated near a bridge, over which the high road passed to the city of Worcester. A number of willows encircled and shaded the river in the neighbourhood, and the roaring of the water over a weir, some little way from the mill, might be heard at a considerable distance.
As Mr. Dalben had no mind to proceed to the mill, he sat down with Henry on the banks of the river, not far from the weir, saying to the little boy, “ Now, Henry, if we look for a fish we shall have a chance of seeing one, without needing the assistance of a shower of fishes; ard as your eyes are young and quick, I expect that you will be the first to find this specimen which we need of our fourth class.”
Henry, however, was some minutes before he suc
ceeded in discerning a fish ; at length he perceived one, which appeared for a moment on the surface of the water, and then dived again out of sight. On beholding it, however, he uttered an exclamation of joy, and said, “ Now, uncle, we have only two more kinds of creatures to find, and those are insects and worms; and I now at this moment see thousands and tens of thousands of insects dancing upon the edge of the water. Look, uncle, look towards the side of the setting sun; there they are. I wonder I did not see them before ; they seem to be all colours, and they are flying up and down, in and out, in a most violent hurry. Look, uncle, look !"
“ Why, my boy," said Mr. Dalben, “these little creatures seem to have communicated their agitation to you. What a bustle you are in! Come now, compose yourself, sit still, and I will explain a little of the nature of insects to you.
" There are not any more curious creatures," said Mr. Dalben, “ to be found in any class of animals than among insects, though many of them are so extremely small that we cannot see them without glasses. The formation of many of these little creatures is exceedingly and incomparably delicate. Some of them are covered, as it were, with coats of armour, polished like the finest steel, and jointed together in the most curious manner. Some are covered with down, or very fine feathers, enriched with gold and azure, scarlet and violet. Some of them, particularly the ant and bee, discover a prudence and wisdom of which no other an. imal but man is capable; and many of them show great fondness for their young ones. In short, my dear boy, it would take the whole of the longest life to understand but half the wonders of the works of God, in the insect tribe.”
While Mr. Dalben was speaking there suddenly appeared on the grass before them a beautiful butterfly ; which, having rested a moment on the cup of a buttercup, with which those meadows abound, rose up, and pursuing its irregular course, sometimes flew before them, and sometimes rose in the air above their heads. Its wings were enriched with a variety of delicate colours; among which a pale yellow and purple were the most remarkable.
“Of what class is that pretty creature ?" said Mr. Dalben; “ does it feed its young ones with its milk, Henry, do you think? or is it a bird or a fish?"
“Oh! uncle," replied Henry, somewhat conceitedly, “ do you think I don't know it belongs to the fifth class ? it is an insect.”
“Why so conceited, Master Milner ?” said Mr. Dal. ben: “surely you do not think yourself particularly clever, because you know the difference between a butterfly and a fish ?"
“No, uncle, I was not conceited,” said Henry, halfashamed.
“Do not, my dear boy,” returned Mr. Dalben, “defend yourself when you know that you are in fault; but let me take this opportunity of explaining to you, that it is not uncommon for people whose hearts are not changed, when they first begin to learn any new thing, to be very conceited upon that subject; but when they know a little more of the same thing, then they begin to find out their own deficiency, and are ashamed of their former conceit.”
“But, uncle, do you not think that I am beginning to have a clean heart yet?"
“I never think well of you, Henry,” said Mr. Dalben, “when you are conceited; because, as I have often before told you, when the Holy Spirit begins to change the heart, the first sign we perceive is that the person becomes humble.”
“ Uncle, I will pray to be humble,” said Henry, taking his uncle's hand and kissing it in a very gentle manner.
“Do so, do so, dear boy," said Mr. Dalben tenderly. “And now, my boy, I will tell you something about the butterfly. The people who lived in old times used to call a butterfly Psyche, or the soul. The soul is that part of a human creature which never dies: your soul will still live when your body is perishing in the grave."
“ Uncle," said Henry, “ I understand that about the soul, but I do not understand why people should call a butterfly the soul."
"I will tell you then,” said Mr. Dalben;" but because it is a difficult thing for a little boy like you to understand, you must attend to me with all your senses, and leave off digging that hole with that little bit of stick, and throwing up the mould upon your clothes. What are you doing that for?"
“ I was looking for a worm, for the sixth class, uncle," said Henry.
“Very well, very well,” said Mr. Dalben ; " but if you choose to dig I shall not tell my story.”