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motion of its wings was stopped, and when it was fairly hampered in this manner, it was seized and dragged into the hole.
In this manner it lived, in a precarious state, and nature seemed to have fitted it for such a life; for upon a single fly it subsisted for more than a week. I once put a wasp into the net, but when the spider came out in order to seize it as usual, upon perceiving what kind of an enemy it had to deal with, it instantly broke all the bands that held it fast, and contributed all that lay in its power to disengage so formidable an antagonist. When the wasp was at liberty, I expected the spider would have set about repairing the breaches that were made in its net; but those, it seems, were irreparable, wherefore the cobweb was now entirely forsaken, and a new one begun, which was completed in the usual time.
I had now a mind to try how many cobwebs a single spider could furnish; wherefore I destroyed this, and the insect set about another. When I destroyed the other also, its whole stock seemed entirely exhausted, and it could spin no more. The arts it made use of to support itself, now deprived of its great means of subsistence, were indeed surprising. I have seen it roll up its legs like a ball, and lie motionless for hours together, but cautiously watching all the time; when a fly happened to approach sufficiently near, it would dart out all at once, and often seize its prey.
Of this life, however, it soon began to grow weary, and resolved to invade the possession of some other spider, since it could not make a web of its own. It formed an attack upon a neighbouring fortification, with great vigour, and at first was as vigorously repulsed. Not daunted, however, with one defeat, in this manner it continued to lay siege to another's web for three days, and at length, having killed the defendant, actually took possession. When smaller flies happen to fall into the snare, the spider does not sally out at once, but very patiently waits till it is sure of them; for upon his im- . mediately approaching, the terror of his appearance might give the captive strength sufficient to get loose; the manner then is to wait patiently till, by ineffectual and impotent struggles, the captive has wasted all his strength, and then he becomes a certain and easy conquest.
The insect I am now describing lived three years; every year it changed its skin, and got a new set of legs. At first it dreaded my approach to its web; but at last it became so familiar as to take a fly out of my hand, and upon my touching any part of the web, would immediately leave its hole, prepared either for a defence or an attack,
TIIE STRAY SHEEP.
“He's going the wrong way-straying from the true fold-going off the track," said old Deacon Green, shaking his head ominously, as he saw young Neff enter a church to hear an infidel preacher. "Can't understand it; he was taught his catechism and ten commandments as soon as he could speak; he knows the right way as well as our parson; I can't understand it."
Harry Neff had never seen a day since his earliest childhood that was not ushered in and closed with a family prayer. He had not partaken of a repast upon which the divine blessing was not invoked ; the whole atmosphere of the old homestead was decidedly orthodox. Novels, plays, and Byronic poetry were all vetoed. Operas, theatres, and the like, most decidedly frowned upon; and no lighter literature was allowed upon the table than missionary reports and theological treatises,
Most of his father's guests being clergymen, Harry was early made acquainted with every crook and turn of orthodoxy. He had laid up inany a clerical conversation, and pondered it in his heart, when they imagined his thoughts were on anything but the subject in debate. At his father's request, they had each and all taken him by the button, for the purpose of long, private conversations—the old gentleman generally prefacing his request by the remark that “his heart was as hard as a flint.”
Harry listened to them all with respectful attention, manifesting no sign of impatience, no nervous shrinking from the probing process; and they left him, impressed with a sense of his mental superiority, but totally unable to affect his feelings in the remotest degree.
Such a pity, they all said, that he should be so impenetrable; such wonderful argumentative powers as he had; such felicity of expression; such an engaging exterior. Such a pity, that on all these brilliant natural gifts should not have been written “Holiness to the Lord.”
Yes, dear reader, it was a pity. Pity, when our pulpits are so often filled with those whose only recommendation for their office is a good heart and a black coat. It was a pity that graceful gesticulation, that rare felicity of expression, that keen perception of the beautiful, that ready tact and adaptation to circumstances and individuals, should not have been effective weapons in the gospel armoury. Pity that voice of music should not have been employed to chain the worldlings fastidious ear to listen to Calvary's story.
Yet it was a pity that glorious intellect had been laid at an unholy shrine ; pity "he had strayed from the true fold.” How was it ?
Ah! the solution is simple. “Line upon line, precept upo. precept,” is well, but practice is better. Religion must not be all lip-service; the "fruits of love, meekness, gentleness, forbearance, long-suffering,” must follow. Harry was a keen observer. He had often
heard the harsh and angry word from lips upon which the Saviour's name had just lingered. He had felt the unjust, quick, passionate blow from the hand which, a moment before, had been raised in supplication to heaven. He had seen the purse-strings relax at the bidding of worldliness, and tighten at the call of charity. He had seen principle sacrificed to policy, and duty to interest. He had himself been misappreciated. The shrinking sensitiveness which drew a veil over his most sacred feelings had been harshly construed into hardheartedness and indifference. Every duty to which his attention was called was prefaced with the supposition that he was averse to its performance. He was cut off from the gay pleasures which buoyant spirits and fresh young life so eloquently plead for; and in their stead no innocent enjoyment was substituted. He saw heaven's gate shut most unceremoniously upon all who did not subscribe to the parental creed, outraging both his own good sense and the teachings of the Bible; and so religion, which should have been rendered so lovely, put on to him an ascetic form. Oh, what marvel that the flowers in the broad road were so passing fair to see ? that the forbidden fruit of the “tree of knowledge ” was so tempting to the youthful touch ?
"Oh! Christian parent, be consistent, be judicious, be cheerful. If, as historians inform us, “no smile ever played” on the lips of Jesus of Nazareth, surely no frown marred the beauty of that holy brow.
Dear 'reader, true religion is not gloomy. “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, her paths are peace." No man, no woman, has chart or compass, or guiding star, without it.
Religion is not a fable. Else why, when our household gods are shivered, do our tearful eyes seek only heaven?
Why, when disease lays its iron grasp on bounding life, does the startled soul so earnestly, so tearfully, so imploringly, call on its forgotten Saviour ?
Ah! the house “ built upon the sand” may do for sunny weather; but when the billows roll, and tempests blow, and lightnings flash, and thunders roar, we need the “ Rock of Ages."
OUR SON JO.
Rev. GEORGE ASPINALL, D.D.
And on the parish long ago
And said, “By Jove, it shan't be so,
Said our son Jo!
He works at yonder smithy where
The ruddy forge-fires seethe and glow;
He's not well-favoured, that we know,
Than our son Jo!
He gives us bit, he gives us sup,
For us as well as him doth flow
He brims with gifts, and utter woe
For our son Jo!
In summer, as we crutch about,
And watch them in the meadows mow,
And lads at cricket cry “Hallo!".
Of our son Jo!