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glance, the crowing of a cock, or the influence of a dream."
And such is infidelity. It would be easy to show that the dream naturally arose from the waking thoughts of the man. Most evidently, though he could talk down opponents, he could not talk himself into a solid composure. He had misgivings, though he would not allow them to speak. He wanted to know if he was really right. Dreams have been formed out of less likely materials than these. But who can tell how God may move upon the mind, even when it is stirring according to its own laws. Still we say, What is infidelity? this perfect reason, so superior to all bigotry and weakness? The man awakes, and finds himself in what was, for a few moments, an unknown position. Why these terrors? Reason had resumed her rule as soon as sleep passed off. But no. The first thought is, “I must have died in my sleep. It is all over. I am lost for ever.” In the alarm of the dream, conscience was loosened, and broke forth in waking terror. The self-satisfied pride of victorious argument had been mistaken for the settled peace of rational conviction. But in the first moments of fright, truth, imprisoned in unrighteousness, was liberated, woke up the conscience, and the infidel found himself a wretched, selfcondemned, despairing believer. True conviction swept away the flimsy sophisms that had been allowed to usurp its form. Why so affrighted? Has infidelity no better shield ? Is reason so powerless as to be cast into abject terror by a dream? If it were a heaven-given dream, suggested in mercy to a poor sinner, then is the Bible true. If it were a merely natural occurrence, then has infidelity, so hold in company, no power to sustain the man in midnight darkness against the terrors of sleeping fancy.
Well might he say, “ O the agony of that moment!" when he thought, “ It is all over. I am lost!” Such a moment, expanded, without dilution, into eternity, would be the undying worm, the full sense of wrath, still present, still to come.
No; blessed be God, it is not all over. Even though the awakened sinner, feeling the truth and bitterness of the curse
of a broken and holy law, should say, “I am lost !” he is not lost: for to save the lost Christ came. He looks to himself; there is nothing but guilt and misery in sin. O let him now look, just now,--all guilt and sin as he now is,- let him now look to Christ. For Christ's sake, that most holy and righteous God can become his merciful, forgiving Father, Let him rest in this, and it actually shall be so. And great as is the agony of that one moment when the awakened sinner feels, “ I am lost !” still greater shall be the joy of that moment when he feels, “ I am saved !” “God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven" my sins! Reader ; this joy,—joy unspeakable and full of glory,—may be thy joy. O seek it for thyself: seek it in Christ: SEEK IT now.
PAPERS ON NATURAL HISTORY.
SINGING-BIRDS, Let us endeavour, before we proceed further, to give the reader some idea of the natural musical instrument with which the loud and complicated passages of song-birds are executed. The larynx is formed much after the fashion of some artificial wind-instruments, and consists of two parts : of these the first contains the proper rinea glottidis, at the upper end; while the bronchial, or lower larynx, is furnished with another rineu glottidis, with tense membranes. The lower apparatus may be compared to the reed of a clarionet or hautboy, and the upper to the ventage or hole of the instruments which utters the note. Besides all this, it has been truly asserted, that there is no part of a bird's structure impervious to air ; and it is the volume of air which birds can introduce into their bodies, and the force with which they can expel it, that solve the problem how so small a creature as a singing-bird can be capable of sending forth notes so loud, and of warbling so long, and so prodigally, without apparent fatigue.
The Hon. Daines Barrington, who paid much attention to this subject, remarks, that some passages of the song in a few kinds of birds correspond with the intervals of our musical scale ; but that much the greater part of such a song is not
VOL. XI. Second Series. U
capable of musical notation. 1. Because the rapidity is often so great, and it is also so uncertain where they may stop, that it is impossible to reduce the passages to form a musical bar in any time whatsoever. 2. On account of the pitch of most birds being considerably higher than the most shrill notes of instruments of the greatest compass. 3. Because the intervals used by birds are commonly so minute, that we cannot judge at all of them from the more gross intervals into which our musical octave is divided. But though we cannot attain the more delicate and imperceptible intervals in the song of birds, yet many of them are capable of whistling tunes with our more gross intervals, as in the case of pipingbull-finches and canary-birds. This faculty of learning the first notes that the bird is able to distinguish, is another interesting part of our subject. Barrington made experiments which show that the various songs which distinguish different species of birds, are the consequences of the parental notes which first met their ears. He states that, to be certain that a nestling will not even have the call of its species, it should be taken from the nest when only a day or two old. He speaks of a linnet and a goldfinch which he had seen, which were taken thus early from the nest, and then mentions some curious instances of imitation :
“ The linnet belonged to Mr. Matthews, an apothecary at Kensington, and, from a want of other sounds to imitate, almost articulated the words, pretty boy, as well as some other short sentences. I heard the bird myself repeat, pretty boy; and Mr. Matthews assured me that he had neither the note nor call of any bird whatsoever. Many people from London went to hear him speak.
“The goldfinch was reared at Knighton, Radnorshire; and I happened to hear it as I was walking by the house where it was kept. I thought that it was a wren that was singing; and I went into the house to inquire after it, as that little bird seldom lives long in a cage. On further inquiries I found that it had been taken from the nest when only a day or two old, and placed in a window which was opposite a small garden, whence the nestling had undoubtedly acquired the notes of the wren, without having had the opportunity to acquire even the call of the goldfinch. It will perhaps be asked why birds in a wild state adhere so steadily to the same song? This arises entirely from the nestling's attending only to the instruction of the parent-bird, whilst it disregards the notes of all others which may perhaps be singing around. Everyone knows that the common hedge-sparrow never does anything but chirp; but this does not arise from want of power in this bird to imitate others : only he attends to the parental note, and no other. To prove this decisively, I took a common sparrow from the nest when it was fledged, and educated him under a linnet : however, by accident, the bird heard a goldfinch also; and his song was, therefore, a mixture of the linnet and the goldfinch.”
The same experimentalist educated a young robin, under a very fine nightingale, which, however, had begun to be already out of song, and was perfectly mute in less than a fortnight: the scholar often sang three parts in four nightingale, and the rest of his song was what the bird-catchers call “rubbish,” or no particular note whatever.
Bechstein observes that nearly all birds when young will learn some strain whistled or played to them every day; but those only whose memory is retentive will abandon their natural song, and adopt fluently the air that has been taught them.
In the cultivation and management of the human voice we know how necessary constant practice is; and we find the same sort of discipline resorted to by birds. “Those which do not sing all the year,” says Bechstein, “seem obliged after moulting to learn to warble; but these attempts are merely to render the larynx pliable. It does not show deficiency of memory, but liability to rigidity, occasioned by disease, of the larynx. The chaffinch will exercise itself in this way some weeks before it attains its former proficiency; and the nightingale practises as long the strains of his beautiful song, before he gives it full, clear, and in all its extent."
“I have known,” Bechstein continues, “instances of birds beginning thus to practise, or record, at a month old. This first essay does not seem to have the least rudiments of the future song; but as the bird grows older and stronger, one may begin to perceive what it is aiming at. Whilst thus endeavouring to form his song, when he is once sure of a passage, he commonly raises his tone, which he drops again when he is not equal to what he is attempting. What he is not master of he hurries over, lowering his tone as if he did not wish to be heard, and could not yet satisfy himself. A young bird commonly continues thus to record for ten or eleven months, when he is able to execute every part of his song, which afterwards continues fixed, and is scarcely ever altered. When the bird is thus become perfect in his lesson, he is said to sing his song round, or in all its variations of passages, which he connects together and sings without a pause."-Broderip's Zoological Recreations.
CONVERSATIONS ON NATURAL THEOLOGY,
AND ITS TRUE RELATIONS TO
CONVERSATION 11. Juvenis. I have heard persons object to the study of natural theology because, they said, revealed religion was sufficient. What would you say to them?
Senex. First, I would endeavour to explain to them what I meant by the study of natural theology. We have already seen that even Dr. Macculloch fully admits that nature is never man's first teacher, and that it actually brings before us nothing that the Bible had not before taught. I mean by it, the study of nature in the light of the Bible, and in connexion with it. Undoubtedly, in studying nature, we find not a single attribute of Deity which the Scripture does not explicitly ascribe to him. But here is the point. Nature furnishes illustrations and proofs of that which the Scripture states; that is, of those attributes which are chiefly concerned in the creation and preservation of nature. Thus, the Scripture represents Him as saying, “Do not I fill heaven and earth ?” We study nature, and everywhere we find evidences of the operations and works of a present God. Our