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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2008, 03:50:32 PM »

THE LION

You have seen pictures of the lion a hundred times, I suppose, and perhaps you have seen it alive; would you not like to know what the Bible says about it? You have heard it called the "king of beasts," because it is so strong and so bold; it is afraid of no other animal, and it is strong enough to carry away a horse or a buffalo.

       In the 30th verse of the 30th chapter of Proverbs, we read about "the lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any." When king David was mourning for the death of Saul and Jonathan, he said, "They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions." How strong Samson must have been to take hold of a young lion and tear it in pieces with his hands!

       Did you ever read a riddle in one of the chapters of Judges? This is it, "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness;" and it was made by Samson after he had found the honey in the skeleton of the lion,-as I told you when speaking of the bee.

       He promised some of his friends that he would give them thirty sheets and thirty changes of raiment, if they would find it out in seven days; but they would not have been able to do it, if Samson's wife had not told them what he meant. Then they came to him and said, "What is sweeter than honey, and what is stronger than a lion?"

       The boldness of the lion is noticed in a verse in Isaiah: "Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them."

       In Proverbs, 28 : 1, you will read, "The wicked flee when no man pursueth; but the righteous is as bold as a lion." This is true, dear child; and if you will love God and trust the kind Savior, there is nothing in all the wide world of which you need be afraid. God can take care of you as he did of Daniel, even if you were shut up in a dark cave with cruel and hungry lions around you.

       The lion lies in his den and sleeps in the daytime, but at night he goes out to find his food. His eyes are a little like those of a cat, and he can see in the night better than we can.

       The Bible says, "Thou makest darkness and it is night; wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens."

       It has soft feet, like a cat, so that it can creep quietly along and not frighten the animals that it means to kill, till it comes very near them. Sometimes the lion lies in his den, very still, until some animal comes by; then he gives a sudden spring, and seizes it just as a cat seizes a mouse.

       The Bible says, when speaking of a wicked man, "He lieth in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; he lieth in wait to catch the poor; he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net."

       The lion has very strong claws hidden in the soft cushion of his paws, and when he has caught his prey he uses them to tear it in pieces. His tongue is like that of a cat, only a great deal more rough, and with this he can strip the flesh off from the bones.

       David in one of the Psalms prays that God will save him from an enemy, "Lest," he says, "he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces when there is none to deliver."

       The roaring of the lion is very terrible, especially at night. He seems to delight to be wandering around for his prey when it is dark and stormy; then when he puts his mouth near the ground, his roaring sounds like thunder, and all the animals that hear it are full of fear.

       You have read of Satan, that most wicked being, who would be glad to make us as wicked as he is; the Bible says he is like "a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour." Let us pray God to keep us safe from this roaring lion.

       Christ is sometimes called "the Lion of the tribe of Judah." He is always gentle and kind to those who love him; but if we will not receive him as our Savior, the day is coming when he will meet us in judgment; then where can his enemies hide themselves.
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« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2008, 03:51:25 PM »

THE LOCUST

The locust is called an insect, as well as the ant and the bee, but instead of being harmless, as they usually are, it does a great deal of injury. It is also much larger than they; for it is generally three inches long, and sometimes as much as four or five.

       The plague of the locusts was the eighth that God sent upon the Egyptians, because they would not let the children of Israel go, as he commanded; and it was a very terrible one indeed. The Bible says, "They covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left; and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field through all the land of Egypt."

       This is the way they often do in those countries, though perhaps it is not common for so many to come at once.

       They fly in companies of thousands together, and so close that they look like a great black cloud. When they alight on the ground they all come down in a body, and immediately begin to devour the grass and grain; they also eat the leaves of the trees, and every green thing they can find.

       The people dread them more than they do the most terrible fire or storm; because though they are so small, they destroy all the food, and leave the people ready to starve. When the inhabitants see them coming over their fields, they try to drive them away by making loud noises or by kindling fires; but this does little good.

       It is said that a great army of locusts came over the northern part of Africa about a hundred years before the birth of Christ. They consumed every blade of grass wherever they alighted; also the roots, and bark, and even the hard wood of the trees.

       After they had thus eaten up every thing, a strong wind arose, and after tossing them about awhile, it blew them over the sea, and great numbers of them were drowned. Then the waves threw them back upon the land, all along the sea-coast, and their dead bodies made the air so unwholesome that a frightful pestilence commenced, and great numbers of men and animals died.

       Many travellers have seen these great clouds of locusts, and describe them in their books. One says that he saw a company consisting of so many that they were an hour in passing over the place where he was. They seemed to extend a mile in length and half a mile in width.

       When he first noticed them, they looked like a black cloud rising in the east; and when they came over head, they shut out the light of the sun, and made a noise with their wings like the rushing of a water-fall. Another swarm is mentioned which took four hours to pass over one spot; and they made the sky so dark that one person could not see another at twenty steps off.

       You can now understand two or three passages from the Bible which I will mention. David says in the 23d verse of the 109th Psalm, "I am tossed up and down as the locust;" that is, as the clouds of locusts are tossed about by the wind.

       In the first chapters of Joel God threatens to send the locust among the people, because of their wickedness; and he says of them, "Before their faces the people shall be much pained; all faces shall gather blackness.

       They (the locusts,) shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall; they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief."

       An English clergyman who visited countries where the locusts are found, a few years ago, says that these verses describe them exactly as he has himself seen them.

       Locusts are sometimes used for food. The Arabs boil them with salt, and then add a little oil or butter; sometimes they toast them by the fire before eating them.

       A traveller speaks of seeing the Arab women employed in filling bags with locusts, which were to be used for food. You know it is said in the New Testament that John the Baptist "did eat locusts and wild honey," but it is not quite certain that this insect was meant; perhaps it was the fruit of the locust-tree that he ate.
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« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2008, 03:52:39 PM »

THE MOLE

I  remember but two places in the Bible where this animal is mentioned. One is in Leviticus, where it is named among the unclean animals which the Israelites were forbidden to eat; and the other is this verse in the second chapter of Isaiah: "In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats."

       Have you read about the first missionaries who went to the Sandwich Islands? And do you remember that although the people had always been worshippers of idols, they had cast them all away just before the missionaries came?

       That was a very wonderful thing to happen; and it seems as though God was making these poor people ready to hear about the Savior, when the missionaries should come. Well, this verse in Isaiah declares that the same thing will happen by and by over the whole earth. You know that there are now millions and millions of poor heathen who worship nothing but images of gold, or brass, or stone; but the day is coming when not an idol shall be seen, and no being shall be worshipped but the true God.

       The mole lives under ground, and the bat in gloomy, dark caves where nobody thinks of going; so when it is said that the idols shall be "Cast to the moles and to the bats," it means that they shall be thrown away in dark and neglected places, just as we throw away old shoes, or any thing that we care nothing about. Will you try to remember this verse about the idols? Perhaps you may live to see the near approach of that day.

       The mole is a very curious animal in its appearance and in its manner of living. It is almost always under ground, and we should think that the little creature could not be very happy; but its skin is as smooth and handsome as that of any animal, and it seems very well contented with its dark home.

       God made it to live there, and he has given it just such a body at it needs. It is covered with fine, short, silky hair, almost like soft velvet, so that the earth does not stick to it; and its legs are very short, so as not to be in the way.

       If its legs were long it could not get through the ground very well, you know. Its eyes are very small, because it does not need to see much, and they are almost buried too under its soft fur, which keeps out all the dust and dirt. The opening of the ear is covered in the same way, so that nothing can hurt it.

       Its fore-paws are made broad like a shovel, and are very strong; each one, too, has five short fingers with which the earth can be removed. The nose is sharp and bony, and this helps the mole to work its way through the earth.

       They throw up the earth when they make their houses under ground, and in this way mole-hills are made. They like to work at morning and evening, and also after a shower, when the earth is damp and soft, and easily moved.

       The mole is larger than a mouse, but not as large as a rat. It eats insects and worms, and sometimes the roots of plants.
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« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2008, 03:53:30 PM »

THE NIGHTHAWK

I  believe this is the only animal of any kind mentioned in the Bible, the name of which begins with N.

       It is named in the 11th chapter of Leviticus, among other birds, such as the owl, the cuckoo and the raven, which the children of Israel were not allowed to eat.

       It is somewhat like the owl in its shape, and in its large, full, round eyes.

       It flies at evening, and hides itself during the day from the bright light of the sun.

       It likes to live in lonely, dark woods, and when it comes out at twilight to get the insects that it lives upon, you could hardly hear the sound of its wings, it flies so very gently.

       It has a very wide, gaping mouth, which helps it to seize upon moths and flies, and its mouth is bordered with a row of stiff bristles, so that the insects may not escape again after they have been caught.

       The night-hawk belongs to the same family with the whip-poor-will; and, like that bird, it places its eggs on the ground in the shade of some thicket, with only a layer of withered leaves under them instead of making a nest.
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« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2008, 03:54:22 PM »

THE OSTRICH

The ostrich is sometimes called the "camel-bird," because it is so very large, because it can go a long time without water, and because it lives in desert and sandy places, as the camel does. It is often taller than the tallest man you ever saw, and it neck alone is more than a yard in length.

       Each of the wings is a yard long when the feathers are spread out; but although the wings are so large, the bird cannot fly at all. One reason of this is, because it is so very heavy, and another is that its wings are not of the right sort for flying.

       They are made of what we call ostrich-plumes, and if you have ever noticed these beautiful feathers, you will remember that they are very different from others that you have seen. If you take a quill from the wing of a goose, you will find that the parts of the feather lie close together, so that you cannot very easily separate them; but in an ostrich plume they are all loose and open, and would not support the bird at all in flying.

       The feathers are generally either white or black. There are none under the wings, or on the sides of the body, and only a few small ones on the lower part of the neck. The upper part of the neck, as well as the head, is covered with hair.

       Its feet are curious, and different from those of most birds. They are somewhat like the foot of the camel, having a soft pad or cushion underneath, and only two toes. The largest toe is about seven inches long, and has a broad claw at the end; the other is about four inches long, and has no claw.

       Although this bird cannot fly, it can run faster than the swiftest horse. If it would keep on in a straight line no animal could overtake it; but it is sometimes so foolish as to run around in a circle, and then, after a long chase, it may perhaps be caught.

       A traveller speaking of the ostrich, says, "She sets off at a hard gallop; but she afterwards spreads her wings as if to catch the wind, and goes so rapidly that she seems not to touch the ground." This explains what is meant by the verse, "When she lifteth up herself on high she scorneth the horse and his rider."

       The ostrich has but little to eat in the desert places where it lives: only some coarse grass, or rough, thorny plants, with a kind of snail which is sometimes found upon them; and perhaps it sometimes eats lizards and serpents.

       The voice of the ostrich is very mournful, especially when heard at night in a lonely desert. It is said to be like the crying of a hoarse child. It is on this account that the prophet Micah says, "I will make a mourning like the ostrich."

       In the 39th chapter of Job we read, "Gavest thou wings and feathers unto the ostrich ? which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in the dust, and forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them.

       She is hardened against her young ones as though they were not hers." See how well this agrees with the accounts given by travellers. They say that the ostrich is frightened by the least noise, and runs away from her nest, leaving the eggs or young ones without any protection; and very often she does not return for a long time, perhaps not until the young birds have died of hunger.

       The eggs are cream-colored, and large enough to hold about a quart of water. The shell is very hard, and as smooth as ivory. It is often made into a drinking-cup, with a rim of gold or silver.
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« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2008, 03:55:11 PM »

THE PEACOCK

The peacock is first mentioned in the Bible in the time of Solomon. He used to send his vessels to distant countries, and they came back once in three years, "bringing gold, and silver, and ivory, and apes, and peacocks."

       Solomon was the richest among all the kings that the Bible tells us about. When he first became king God spoke to him in a dream, and told him to ask for any thing he wished. If God should speak so to you, what would you ask for?

       Solomon did not pray that God would make him rich, or that he would give him health, or let him live a great many years on the earth; but he said, "I am a little child, I know not how to go out or come in.

       Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart." Then God was pleased with what he asked, and besides giving him great wisdom, he gave him also riches and honor. He had forty thousand horses, and silver and gold in abundance. All the vessels used in his house were of gold, because silver was not good enough; it was "as stones" for plenty, and was "nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon."

       In the second chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon himself speaks of his riches, and after telling us of some of his treasures, he says: "Whatsoever my eyes desired I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy." Perhaps you think he must have been perfectly happy, if any man in this world ever was; but what does he say?

       "All is vanity and vexation of spirit." This does not sound much like being contented. No, dear child, these are not the things that make us happy; nothing but the true love of God in the heart can do this.

       There are many peacocks in India, and large flocks of them are sometimes seen around the temples; they also live among the bushes near the banks of rivers. They sometimes rest on high trees, but always make their nests on the ground, under the shrubs.

       There was once a foolish and wicked emperor who cared little for any thing excepting "what he should eat, and what he should drink, and wherewithal he should be clothed." He took great pride in telling how much his dinners cost, and how much trouble it gave people to prepare them.

       One of the dishes that pleased him, because it cost money enough, and time and trouble enough, was made up of the tongues of flamingoes, (a kind of bird,) and the brains of peacocks-do you envy such a king as that?

       The peacock is a very splendid bird; its colors are most rich and beautiful. The feathers of the tail are often more than a yard long, and when they are spread out in the sunlight, like a great fan, nothing can be more elegant.

       Yet with all its beauty I do not believe you could ever love a peacock, as you love a lamb or a dove. It seems selfish and vain, and there is nothing lovely about it-its voice is very harsh and disagreeable.

       There are some people who, like the peacock, are called handsome or beautiful, but whose hearts are not pure and lovely in the sight of God. "Beauty," in itself, "is vain;" but "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price."
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« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2008, 03:56:01 PM »

THE PELICAN

The pelican is a large bird, and a curious one. It sometimes measures nearly six feet from the top of the head to the end of the tail; and you know that this is the height of a tall man.

       It may be called a water- bird, because it lives on the sea-coast, or on the borders of lakes and rivers and lives upon fish only. It has a very long bill, and under this is a curious bag or pouch to hold the fish which it takes.

       When there is nothing in it, you would hardly notice it, because it is drawn up close under the bill; but it is so large that it will hold two or three gallons of water.

       When the pelican goes to seek for its food, it flies up into the air for some distance, then turns its head on one side, and with one eye looks sharply down into the water until it sees a fish. Then it darts down very swiftly, and is almost sure to seize it.

       Instead of eating the fish at once, it usually stores it away in its pouch, and watches for another. When its bag is filled, it flies away to some lonely place to satisfy its hunger, or to feed its young.

       In order to get out the fish, it presses its bill against its breast; and this has led some people to believe that it pierces its breast, and feeds its young ones with its own blood. Of course this is only a fable.

       The pelican likes to live in lonely places, such as a rocky island in the midst of the ocean, where nobody will come near to disturb it: it is for this reason that David says in the 102d Psalm, "I am like a pelican in the wilderness," or solitary place.

       I suppose he wrote this Psalm when he was very sorrowful; perhaps when Saul was pursuing him, and trying to take his life.
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« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2008, 03:57:07 PM »

THE QUAIL

The quail is about the size of a pigeon. It is called a bird of passage, because it does not always live in the same place, but spends the winter in one country, and in the spring flies away to another.

       In their journies, they fly together in very large flocks, as you have perhaps seen wild geese or pigeons do. A great many spend the summer north of the Black Sea, and when autumn comes they fly away to spend the winter in some warmer place, farther south.

       They usually start early some fine evening in August, when there is a north wind to help them on, and fly perhaps a hundred and fifty miles before morning. The people on the opposite shore of the Black Sea know about what time to look for them, and catch a great many of them for food.

       God sometimes sent quails to the children of Israel when they were in the wilderness. Once they complained because they had no meat to eat, pretty soon after God had saved them from the hand of Pharaoh; and then he brought a great many quails into their camp, so that they had as many as they wanted for food.

       At another time, when they were on their journey, these ungrateful people complained again, and wished they were back in Egypt, where they could have "fish, and melons, and cucumbers," as they said. Then God saw fit to send them quails again, though he was very much displeased with their wickedness; so much so that he sent a dreadful sickness among them, of which many died.

       The Bible says, "And there went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day's journey on this side, and a day's journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth.

       And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails; he that gathered least, gathered ten homers; and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp."

       The number of these quails was very wonderful. They covered the ground all around the camp, and as far every way as a person could go in a "day's journey," by which they meant twenty miles or more.

       And they not only covered all that ground, but were piled upon each other, to the height of more than a yard. The people gathered great quantities of them; probably they intended to dry a part, which is still a custom in those hot and sandy countries.

       "He that gathered least," we read, "gathered ten homers." A homer was about eight bushels, or as much as an ass could carry at a load; and ten homers, of course, was about eighty bushels.

       You see how eager the people were to get them, for they could not even sleep at night through fear that they should not have as many as they wanted; so they stood up to gather them "all that day, and all that night, and all the next day."

       These things are several times spoken of in other parts of the Bible, especially in the 78th Psalm. It is there said, "He rained flesh upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea.

       And he let it fall in the midst of the camp, round about their habitations. So they did eat, and were well filled, for he gave them their own desire; but while the meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them."

       Perhaps it was not wrong for the children of Israel to ask for meat to eat, but God was displeased with them for their complaining spirit notwithstanding all his goodness; and although he gave them what they asked, it proved to be only a curse to them.

       This may teach us to be grateful for the thousand blessings that God has given us, and when we ask any thing from him, to be willing that he should deny us if he sees best.
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« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2008, 03:58:25 PM »

THE RAVEN

The raven has always been very well known to man, and is mentioned almost at the beginning of the Bible. You remember that this was the first bird that Noah sent out of the ark to see whether the waters had begun to dry up; and that it did not go back to him again.

       I suppose it was very glad to be at liberty after it had been shut up more than a year; and as it lives upon the flesh of other animals, it probably found food enough from the bodies of those that had been drowned.

       It is a large bird, considerably larger than the crow; and its feathers are very black, very glossy, and very beautiful. People in ancient times seem to have liked a black color, and were especially pleased with black hair; so we read in the Song of Solomon, where one who is beautiful is described, "His locks are bushy, and black as a raven."

       It is said that the raven always attacks the eye of an animal first; seeming to prefer that to every other part. This may explain one of the verses in Proverbs, "The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it."

       It has been the custom, in many countries, to hang those who have been guilty of great crimes on a tree or on a gallows in the open air; and there to leave the body for the birds to peck at and devour if they chose.

       I suppose this verse means that stubborn and disobedient children, or those who are not kind and respectful to their parents, must expect to come to some sad end; and they very often do so.

       I have heard that the raven drives out its young ones very early from the nest, almost before they are able to seek their food. This may explain a verse in the Psalms, "The Lord giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry;" and another in Job, "Who provideth for the raven his food ? when his young ones cry unto God, wandering for lack of meat."

       Our Savior speaks of this bird in the 12th chapter of Luke, "Consider the ravens; for they neither sow nor reap; they have neither store-house nor barn; and God feedeth them." He was speaking to his disciples, and it was as much as to say, "If God takes care of the ravens, he will certainly take care of you; so you need not be anxious or afraid.

       Have you read in the Bible how a good prophet's life was once saved by ravens? The people who were living then were very wicked, and would have been glad to kill the prophet Elijah; so God told him to go into the wilderness and live there alone by the side of a small brook. Elijah went to the brook, and there was water enough for him to drink, of course, but no food to keep him from starving.

       You may be sure that God did not forget his servant; but you would hardly believe, if it was not in the Bible, that he would send the ravens to carry food to him. Yet so it was: "the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook."

       It is supposed that he was fed in this way for as much as a year. It was a long time to stay there by himself; but I do not think he was lonely or afraid, for he loved God, and felt sure that He was always near him, even in the wilderness.
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« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2008, 04:00:07 PM »

THE ROE, OR GAZELLE

The roe belongs to the class of antelopes-animals very much resembling the deer; they are equally innocent and beautiful, and are often mentioned together in the Bible. The form of the antelope is, if possible, still more graceful than that of the deer, and its limbs still more delicate; but the principal difference between them is in the horns.

       Those of the deer grow from the bone of the forehead, and are at first small; but they are renewed every spring-the old horns falling off, and being succeeded by larger ones which grow in their place.

       They are at first covered with a soft, downy substance, called "the velvet;" but this soon comes off in fragments, leaving the horn white and smooth. The antelope never sheds its horns.

       The roe or gazelle is the smallest animal of the antelope kind; it is only about two feet in height, and not more than half the size of the fallow-deer. Its eyes are remarkably soft and expressive; so that the people of those countries sometimes say of a beautiful woman, "She has the eyes of a gazelle."

       Like the hart and hind, it is noted for its swiftness: so we read, in 1st Chronicles, 12 : 8, of men who were "as swift as the roes upon the mountains." In 2d Samuel, 2 : 18, it is said, "And Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe;" and in the Song of Solomon, "The voice of my beloved ! behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills: my beloved is like a roe or a young hart."

       The gazelle is often pursued in the chase; so Solomon says, "Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter."

       They go in very large companies, sometimes as many as two or three thousand; and they are still found in great numbers on the hills of Judea, the land where our Savior lived and died.

"The wild gazelle o'er Judah's hills
'Exulting, still may bound,
"And drink from all the living rills
"That gush on holy ground."
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« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2008, 04:01:02 PM »

THE SCORPION

This frightful creature is several times mentioned in the Bible. It is the largest among insects, and more dangerous than any of them. It is sometimes found in Europe, and is there about four inches long; but those of hot countries are sometimes more than a foot in length.

       The scorpion is very easily made angry, and then its sting is terrible; it very often causes death, but not always. In Revelation, 9:5, 6, we read, "And their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he striketh a man; and in those days shall men seek death and shall not find it: and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them."

       This shows that the pain caused by their sting is very great. When a person has been stung by a scorpion, the part around the wound swells and becomes very painful, the hands and feet become cold, the skin is pale, and there is a feeling as though there were needles in every part of it. This pain often increases and rages until the person dies in great suffering.

       It is well for man that scorpions destroy each other as readily as they do animals of a different kind. It is said that a hundred were once put together under a glass, where they immediately began to attack and kill each other; so that in a few days only fourteen were left alive.

       I have heard that if a circle of alcohol or spirit of any sort, is set on fire, and a scorpion placed within it so that he cannot get out on any side, he will sting himself so as to cause his death. I am not certain that this is true, and it would be a very cruel thing to try it even upon so dangerous an animal as the scorpion.

       It seems that this creature was sometimes seen in the wilderness through which the children of Israel passed. When they had nearly reached the end of their journey, Moses reminded them to praise God for having kept them safely in so many dangers, while passing through "that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions and drought; where there was no water."

       Our Savior asks, "If a son shall ask of his father an egg, will he give him a scorpion?" The scorpions in that country are about as large as an egg, and when rolled up look a little like one. Yet no father would be so wicked as to give one to his child instead of the egg which he needed for food.

       Christ once said to his disciples, when they were going out to preach and to heal the diseases of the people, "Behold I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and nothing shall by any means hurt you."

       This was a very wonderful power; and whoever should see one of those disciples tread on the terrible scorpion without being hurt, would know that Christ was surely with him to take care of him.
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« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2008, 04:02:00 PM »

THE SHEEP

I  suppose you think you already know as much about sheep and lambs as I can tell you, and perhaps you do. Yet I dare say you never took up your Bible to see how many times they are mentioned there, or how many beautiful things are said about them.

       Abel, who, as you know, was the third man that lived on the earth, was a "keeper of sheep;" and there have always been a great many shepherds in the world from that time to this. Some of the men who lived in old times had a great many sheep.

       Job had seven thousand, which God allowed to be taken from him; but afterwards gave him twice as many-fourteen thousand. At the time when Solomon's beautiful temple was dedicated to God, he offered a sacrifice of a hundred and twenty thousand sheep.

       If you want to know how many that is, try to think of a pasture with a hundred sheep in it-then think of a hundred pastures, just like it, with just as many sheep in each-then think of those hundred pastures taken twelve times over, and you will begin to understand how many there were. It is not common with us to have persons whose whole business it is to take care of sheep, but that was always the way in Bible countries. This was not done by servants, at least not always; for a great many rich men employed their children as shepherds.

       Rachel, who was afterwards the wife of Jacob, "kept her father's sheep"-so did Jacob's twelve sons-so did Moses for his father-in-law.

       When God was about to make David king, he sent Samuel the prophet to do it by anointing him, or putting oil upon his head. David had six brothers, and Samuel did not know which of all the sons was to be king; but both he and their father Jesse supposed it would be one of the older ones, and nobody remembered even to call little David, who had been left with the sheep, until they found that he was the one whom God had chosen.

       David often spoke of his shepherd-life after he became a king, and even when he was an old man. You remember that most beautiful psalm of his, the twenty-third, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want: he maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters."

       That is the way they are accustomed to do in those countries: the shepherd walks on, and the sheep follow where he wishes them to go. So Christ says, "And when he (the shepherd) putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice."

       The sheep in many countries are in danger from wolves, which prowl about and try to carry them off; so it is necessary to watch them by night as well as by day.

       You remember the shepherds were watching their flocks by night when the bright angels appeared to tell the glad tidings that A SAVIOR had come; and they were the first to hear that sweet song in the stillness of the night, when all around were hushed in sleep.

       The sheep is so timid and gentle that it needs the protection of man, and without the care of the shepherd would often stray away and be lost, or devoured by other animals. David says, "I have gone astray like a lost sheep;" and in Isaiah we read, "All we like sheep have gone astray."

       Is not this true of us-that we have gone away, far away, from Jesus our good shepherd? Perhaps, dear child, you are wandering still; but why should you thus go on, alone, and every hour in danger?

       Why should you, when he calls you back with his voice of kindness, and is ready to "gather you with his arms, and carry you in his bosom." as the shepherd does his tender lambs?
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« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2008, 04:03:21 PM »

THE STORK

The Bible name of this bird means gentleness or affection, and the stork very well deserves such a name. It is very kind indeed to its young ones, and takes pains to find some things for them that it does not itself eat.

       It is said that when a house, on the top of which was a stork's nest, once took fire, the mother bird would not fly away, because the young ones were not large or strong enough to go with her, and so they were all burned together.

       They are very kind to the old birds, too; and I have read that the younger storks sometimes carry the old ones on their wings when they have become tired with flying a great way; and bring food to them in their nests just as the old ones used to bring it to them.

       I am not quite certain that this is true, though many people have said so; but if it is, I am sure it is a beautiful example for every child, teaching him to repay his parents in every way he can for all their love and care.

       The stork is about a yard long from its head to the end of the tail; its color is white, excepting some of the great quill feathers, which are black. Its nest is large and flat, and made mostly of sticks; the eggs are about as large as those of a goose, and a little yellowish.

       It does not sing; the only noise it makes is by striking one part of its bill upon the other. While it is sleeping it stands on one leg, with its neck bent backward, and its head resting between its shoulders.

       The Jews were forbidden by God to use the stork for food; perhaps this was because it lives upon such animals as frogs, fishes and serpents.

       The stork is a bird of passage; it spends the summer in Holland and other countries in the north of Europe, but flies to a warmer climate before cold weather comes. They seem to have a kind of agreement among themselves about starting on these long journeys; and for a fort-night before they are ready, they may be seen collecting in great numbers-then all take to their wings at once.

       This explains a verse in the eighty chapter of Jeremiah, "The stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times;" that is, her times of going to a warmer climate or returning.

       After the winter has gone, the storks fly back to their summer home, and very often take their old nests again.

       In Europe, these are generally made on the tops of houses or old chimneys, and the birds are so gentle and harmless that the people never disturb them, but are glad to see them come back.

       In some countries the roofs of the houses are flat, and the people walk and sleep on them; in these places the storks often build their nest on the flat branches of some spreading tree. In the 104th Psalm we read, "As for the stork, the fir-trees are her house."
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« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2008, 04:04:15 PM »

THE TURTLE-DOVE

This is a very beautiful and innocent bird, and no one is mentioned more frequently in the Bible. It does not live upon the flesh of animals: so when Noah sent one out of the ark, she soon came back again, because she could find nothing to eat, and no rest for the sole of her foot.

       Noah put out his hand and gently took her in, and she did not go out again for a whole week. Then Noah let her fly, and the beautiful creature came back in the evening, having in her mouth a green leaf which she had plucked from an olive-tree; as though she wanted to tell him that the waters were beginning to dry up.

       After another week she went out, and did not come back again to the ark, because the earth was dry.

       The dove was often offered as a sacrifice in ancient times; and was a type of our innocent Savior, to show how he would afterwards be put to death for the guilty.

       The Holy Spirit once condescended to take the form of a dove, when he rested upon Christ at the time of his baptism. Our Savior speaks of the innocence of this bird when he says to his disciples, "I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

       This bird has a very sweet but mournful voice; and this is referred to in the Bible. Hezekiah, one of the Jewish kings, had been very sick and expected to die; but as he lay on his bed, he prayed that God would be pleased to spare his life.

       God heard his prayer, and promised that he should live fifteen years longer; and soon after he became quite well. He was grateful to God for his goodness, and wrote a beautiful song of praise to be sung in the temple.

       Among other things he told how he felt when he lay so sick upon his bed. He says, "Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter; I did mourn as a dove."

       The turtle-dove is a bird of passage. It appears in Judea early in the spring, when the leaves are coming out, the flowers opening, and every thing looking lovely and beautiful. This will explain some verses in the Song of Solomon, "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away, for 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 voice of the turtle (or turtle-dove) is heard in our land."

       It remains until summer is gone; and then flies away to a warmer climate to spend the winter. It is in reference to this that David says, "Oh ! that I had wings like a dove ! for then would I flee away, and be at rest; lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness; I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest." You will find these beautiful verses in the 55th Psalm.

       Who would not wish to be like the gentle, peaceful dove?
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« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2008, 04:06:48 PM »

THE UNICORN

The original Hebrew word for this is re'êm  re'êym  rêym  rêm. It is used six times in scripture. Num 23:22, Num 24:8, Psa 29:6, Psa 92:10, in addition to Job 39:9 and 10. We have very little information that fully describes this creature. We do get the idea that it is of great ferocity and strength (Num 23:22) and being wild is quite untameable and untrustworthy as a beast that would be usable for farming (Job39:9). In one place in scripture it is indicated that it has only one horn, (Psa_92:10) yet another place as having multiple horns  (Deu_33:17). It is said that the young have remarkable agility (Psa_29:6).

It is to be noted that this is not the same as the mythological unicorn that we picture today. This unicorn got it's origins in Syria in the approximate time of 600 BC. It is believed that it was mistakenly pictured in this manner by the Syrians from a poor description given to them of the Indian Rhinoceros.

There are some that think that this is an extinct wild ox, ox-antelope, bison, and others think it to be the white antelope known by the Arabs as rim, yet others think it is a rhinoceros.

So where does the word unicorn in the Bible have it's origins. The word unicorn gets it's origin from the Latin word unicornus (meaning having one horn) as it is found in the Vulgate. In Greek manuscripts it was monokeros (mono meaning one and keras meaning horn).
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