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N our first engraving we see an elder sister teaching her younger sister to "say grace,"
before she begins her breakfast. hundreds upon hundreds of years, good people, when they have sat down to their meals, have said grace, that is to say, they have asked God's blessing, and have given God thanks for the mercies He had bestowed. We read that when our blessed Lord fed five thousand men, besides women and children, He "blessed the bread," before He brake it. We read also in the Acts of the Apostles, when St. Paul was on board the ship sailing for Alexandria, and all hope of being saved was lost, Paul recommended the exhausted seamen and passengers to take some meat for their health's sake. "And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all." We thus see that our Lord and His Apostles were wont to 'say grace." But some persons are ready to say, "why should we thank God for our breakfast
and dinner, any more than for a good book, or for the trees and flowers, or for a beautiful walk?" In reply to that, we would say, that we ought to thank God for good books, for beautiful flowers, and fine trees. We ought daily to praise His name for everything that makes life joyful and glad. Every good gift comes from God. Suppose for example, you are fond of music, well, who was it that so formed your ear, to take in these varied sounds, that give you so much pleasure? Surely it was God. Therefore we ought to thank God for all His gifts. But forgetting to thank God for our dinner, will not help us to remember and thank Him for books, and flowers, and music.
One reason why we are accustomed to thank God, with our voice, for our daily food, is this,-mealtime in most houses is the only time in which all the members of the family are gathered together. It is therefore a very convenient and suitable time to give united thanks to God. By so doing we are reminded of our dependence upon God. If we think of a single
day's food, we shall see in what wonderful ways it has come to us. The bread we eat was made of flour, the wheat of which this flour was made, was sown and reaped by some farmer living perhaps hundreds of miles away. The yeast with which the bread was made came from Holland. The beef or mutton possibly came from Scotland; the potatoes from some distant county; the sugar with which our tea was sweetened came from the West Indies; the salt from Cheshire; the pepper from Jamaica; the currants for the pudding came from Greece; the rice from China; the oranges from Spain. The water you drink was once little drops on the mountain side, they united and joined the rill, and then they met with the brook and the stream, and ultimately found their way to the reservoir, and from the reservoir they have been carried in pipes into the house where you live. Thus you will see that your daily food is very wonderful if you will only think; and we are very anxious that the young people who road the Hive should learn to think.
Seeing then we are so dependent upon God for our daily bread, it is surely a right and good thing for us, to give thanks unto Him when we sit down to our daily meals.
Talks on Character.
BY W. L. ROBERTS, OF GLOSSOP.
ITH the permission of the Editor, we purpose, during the year just commencing, to have a few Talks with the readers of the Hive, on Character. There is no work more important than the formation of character. Character is what we are in ourselves; reputation is what people say we are. It is possible for a person to have a good character and a bad reputation; or a bad character and a good reputation. But although people
are sometimes misunderstood and misrepresented, yet generally speaking we pass in the world for what we are worth. It is a good thing to have a good name, for the wise man tells us, that "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches."
Ile who steals my purse steals trash.
But he that filches from me my good name, Robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed."
With most people, a good name is necessary to success in life; and the best way to secure a good name is to be good. There are several elements that go to make a good character, and upon some of these we wish to say a few words.
I. On Speaking the Truth.
Truth-speaking is one of the most important elements in a good character; its absence renders many other good points useless. The Bible declares very clearly the mind of God in reference to those who do not speak the truth; as we gather from the following passages,
"These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him; a proud look, a lying tongue, &c."
"Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are His delight."
“All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone."
The Bible also records instances in which terrible punishments overtook those who did not speak the truth. Gehazi, the servant of the prophet Elisha, told a lie to obtain a treasure; and then told another to hide his fault from his master; and for his falsehood he was smitten with the terrible disease of leprosy. Ananias and Sapphira who kept back the truth in regard to the land they sold, were struck dead for their falsehood.
The habit of telling lies is one which acts most injuriously upon the person guilty of it, for as we sometimes say,
Liars we can never trust, Though they should speak the thing that's true.
Once let a person be found out as a deliberato liar, and we have no confidence in him. And what a fearful thing it is when a person cannot be believed. If at home, or at school; at play, or at work, our word is doubted, then our influence is gone.
Why do people lie? Sometimes for gain. Men in business speak falsely that they may gain a pound where perhaps they should only gain a shilling; but even if they gain a thousand pounds by a lie, they pay dearly for their gains; for they lose the consciousness of being true. Boys and girls tell lies for gain. I remember when I was a little boy, I once found a pocket knife, and was famously set up with my find. A few days afterwards I fell in with another boy, and a knife being wanted, mine was speedily forthcoming, accompanied at tho same time with the information that I had lately found it. Then followed several questions as to where and when; after which a claim was put in for my knife, the lad declaring he had lately lost one in that locality, and that mine was like it. Of course the claim was followed by threats, and as I was not able to maintain my ground if a conflict had followed, I gave up possession. I lost my knife, but that was all I lost; he gained a knife, but lost his honour.
Sometimes both old and young people tell lies to avoid punishment for a fault; but it is better bravely to endure just punishment for a fault we have committed than to tell a lie to hide it; for
He that does one fault at first,
Doubtless, most of our readers have heard the touching story of George Washington. When a little boy, Washington's father bought him a small hatchet. Being very much delighted with his new possession, young Washington went chopping about on every side. Finding his way into the orchard, he hacked away at the bark of a young tree, upon which his father set great store. A day or two later, the father discovered the injury that had been
done to this tree, and at once suspected who had done it. Calling George to him, he asked if he knew anything of this tree, and who had injured it? The brave boy knew he had done wrong, and was no doubt afraid of being punished, but he exclaimed,—“Father, I cannot tell a lie! I did it." The father clasped his child in his arms and blessed him, saying that such a sentence was worth more to him than all his trees.
It is said that "Great liars should have long memories ;" and that "A lie has no legs." This means that a lie will not go very far before it is contradicted, and breaks down. When a person gives a false version of a circumstance, he is in great danger of not being able to make his statement harmonise in all its parts. It is this self-contradiction that is sought in the law courts, when witnesses are examined and crossexamined. They are first asked to give a straightforward statement of an occurrence; then they are asked a great many questions in order to see if they contradict themselves. A remarkable case is said to have been brought before the courts on one occasion. A person was charged with the crime of murder on board a ship some years previously; one witness said he saw the murder, and could identify the murderer, as his features had been distinctly seen at the time by the light of the moon. evidence was very strong; but on referring to an almanack of the year, it was discovered that there was no moon shining at the time. Thus the false witness was discovered, because he contradicted the facts of nature.
But an untruth can be acted as well as spoken; as in the case of a dumb boy who mischievously knocked at people's doors; then when the persons came to the door, he stood pointing to another boy at a distance, thus conveying the impression that the other was the guilty boy.
The real value of truth speaking consists in saying that which we believe to be true, although it may turn out to be incorrect; hence it is possible for a liar actually to tell the truth. This can be best illustrated by a story. A farmer had two sons; one day he gave them permission to go and play on a haystack, but told them to be sure and close the gate lest a
young colt should get away. Off they went and in their eagerness they forgot the gate, which to their horror they found wide open when they came down, and nowhere could the colt be seen. Shortly afterwards the father met one of them, and asked if they had enjoyed themselves.
"Very much," said Tom.
"And did you mind and not let the colt out ?" said the father.
"Yes," said Tom, and passed on.
Shortly afterwards the father met the other one, and asked him the same questions. John hung down his head and said he was sorry, but they had left the gate open and the colt had escaped. Of course the latter was the truthspeaking boy, for he said what he thought was true; but in reality the colt had not escaped, it had only got hidden away in a corner covered with hay, and there it was soon found; but the boy that said what he thought was untrue was the liar, although what he said turned out to be correct.