Page images
PDF
EPUB

the account of the Saviour's sufferings in the garden of Gethsemane. As soon as he ceased speaking, one of the natives, named Kajarnak, stepped up to the table, and said in an earnest voice, " Oh, tell me that once more, for I would fain be saved too ! " Words such as these the missionary had never heard from any Greenlander before, and tears of joy filled his eyes while he gave his guests an account of the sufferings and death of Jesus. Some went away, but others remained, and begged to be taught what they should say to this Lord and Saviour ; and when the words of prayer were put into their mouths they repeated them over and over again lest they should forget them.

Kajarnak soon came now, and took up his abode near the missionaries that he might be taught every day; many of his countrymen mocked and persecuted him, but he returned good for evil, and would only entreat them to listen to the words which God had sent them. His wife and children also were instructed in the gospel, and on the following Easterday, the whole family were baptized into the church of Christ. Kajarnak now returned to the south from whence he had come, that he might prevail on his relations and friends to listen to the teaching which he had himself received. At the end of a year he came back to the missionaries, bringing with him his brother and other relations; and during all the remainder of his life, Kajarnak never flagged in his endeavours to lead his countrymen to Christ.

He was suddenly seized with mortal sickness, and his friends wept to see him enduring extreme pain, but he said to them, “Why do you grieve for me who am going home to our Saviour? He converted me first to Himself and now He calls me away; only continue faithful to Him, and we shall all meet again.”

The sons of Egede, and the missionaries, laid Kajarnak in his grave, and then they kneeled down on the snow, and gave thanks to God, who had permitted them to see the first fruits of the Greenland church gathered safely into the heavenly garner. By this time, several of the natives had been baptized, and the missionaries were never without a little company of attentive hearers. Kajarnak's son followed in his father's footsteps ; he learnt to read and write well, understanding both German and Greenlandic, became a teacher among his countrymen, and closed a useful life by a peaceful death, uttering with his last breath praises to the Saviour.

The Christian natives were soon distinguished from their countrymen by their kindness and charity; they denied themselves that they might give to others, and many an orphan child was reared by them who would otherwise have perished for want. For many years they had to endure more or less opposition and mockery from their unbelieving neighbours; but in time this died away, and for the last hundred years the Greenland church has still increased and flourished.

There are several Christian settlements, each with its church and schoolhouse. Part of the day, the children attend the schools; at other times they learn to assist their parents, and the boys practise rowing the kayak. All the people make it a rule to assemble daily in the church during the winter; in the summer they are obliged to disperse to their hunting and fishing-places, but they are careful to be all together, if possible, at the great festivals of the church. Christmas and Easter, especially, they celebrate with hymns and anthems of joyful praise ; for the Greenlanders delight in music, and seem heartily to obey that precept.-—“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord.”

LESSON 18.

THE REAPER AND THE FLOWERS.
THERE is a Reaper, whose name is Death,

And, with his sickle keen,
He
reaps

the bearded grain at a breath,
And the flowers that grow between.

“Shall I have nought that is fair?” saith he;

“ Have nought but the bearded grain ?
Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me,

I will give them all back again."
He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes,

He kissed their drooping leaves !
It was for the Lord of Paradise

He bound them in his sheaves.

66

· My Lord has need of these flowerets gay,”

The Reaper said, and smiled;
“Dear tokens of the earth are they,

Where He was once a child.

“They shall all bloom in fields of light,

Transplanted by my care,
And saints, upon their garments white,

These sacred blossoms wear.”

And the mother gave, in tears and pain,

The flowers she most did love ;
She knew she should find them all again

In the fields of light above.
Oh, not in cruelty, not in wrath,

The Reaper came that day;
'Twas an angel visited the green earth,

And took the flowers away.-LONGFELLOW.

LESSON 19.

STRUCTURE OF THE CHAMELEON.

THE chameleon is an animal of the Lizard tribe. There are several kinds, all of which are found in warm climates, and are known to inhabit the following places: South of Spain, Africa, East Indies ; Isles of Sechelles, Bourbon, France, Moluccas, and Madagascar; and Fernando Po.

The length of the common sort of chameleon is about six inches, exclusive of the tail, which is nearly the same; and its outer covering is a rough shagreenlike skin. It spends its life in trees, clinging to the branches, and waiting for insects, which constitute its food.

The chameleon is a remarkable animal, having several peculiarities, all of which are exactly such as are suitable to that mode of life, which the Creator has assigned to it. It is indeed by no means singular in this respect. Every animal is so constructed, as to enable it to live in its particular sphere, and must therefore have been designed so to live. We cannot examine the structure of one creature upon the earth without finding proofs that it must have had a Maker, Intelligent to know its wants, and Benevolent to provide for them. This is the great purpose of our study of Nature's works, to recognize in them the hand of Nature's God.

Of what use will it be to know the habits and pecularities of the chameleon ? Very few if any of us will ever see one, except perhaps a stuffed specimen in some museum ; and if we should travel in foreign countries, it might be amusing and interesting to know something about such an animal, but it would scarcely be of any practical use. But if by learning about this strange animal we come to know more about God's wisdom and goodness, then we indeed derive profit and delight; profit in the best sense, and delight of the purest kind.

Such a study of Nature as examines it with a view to learning more of God the Creator, is called Natural Theology.

Natural History should never be separated from Natural Theology.

The chief peculiarities of the chameleon are these :

1. The head. This is long and pointed, so shaped as to be suited for its remarkable eyes and tongue. The eyes are large and projecting, almost entirely covered with the animal's shagreen-like skin, having only a small opening just in front of the pupil. It can turn each of its eyes independently of the other, so that at the same time, with one eye it may be looking forward, and with the other looking backward. The shape and arrangement of the eyes, gives the animal great power of vision, and the reason of this is,

« PreviousContinue »