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terrible train of destroyers ; and, among these, how formidable are the names of Fevers, Coughs, and Consumptions! Added together, these alone amount to 7283 : more than one-third of the whole number deceased.

6. The aggregate sum, how vast !-Solemn though!! nearly 20,000 inhabitants of one city, swept away in the course of twelve months! That is more than one departing every half hour in the year: 20,000 have given up the ghost; - and where are they? Fixed, unalterably fixed, in their eternal state, — the subjects of bliss or woe, - happy or iniserable for ever.

7. Oinhabitants of the highly-favoured metropolis, your privilegęs far exceed those of any city upon earth! Know then, your gracious day; and consider the things that belong to your peace, lest they be soon hidden from your eyes.

8. Many, probably, who read this paper, may die in the present year. Prepare, therefore, reader, to meet thy God; and when death arrives, may he be found the minister of mercy, ushering thy soul into the glorious presence of our exalted Re. deemer? To him, the destroyer of death, be endless praises! Amen.

THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SLOTH:

WITH REFLECTIONS ;

[graphic]

The God of nature, abundant in wisdom, seems to have formed the Sloth, with a design to represent to us, in a strong light, the odious and despicable vice which gives to the animal its name. It is the most sluggish, and the most defenceless of all animals; and has, of all others, the least appearance of any thing living. Its body is short; its head is small; and it has scarce any tail. The Eastern Sloth (for this of which we now speak is a native of America) has no tail at all. Its fur is very long and thick, and has less the appearance of hair than that of any other animal; and from this, as well as the colour of the fur, which is a greyish green, the crcature appears, on the bough of a tree, when seen there, rather as an excrescence, . or a cluster of moss, than as a living animal. It is in sizes

about the bigness of the common cat; but its body, when tolerably fed, is thicker. The legs are short; the neck also is very short; and its long and thick covering renders it so shapeless to view, that it seems only an irregular lump of living matter. Its little and remarkably ugly head, stands close between the shoulders. The face hath much of the monkey aspect, though greatly more unpleasing: It is not of the colour of the body, but blackish, and covered over with short hair, unlike to that on the rest of the body. Its small and heavy eyes, are always half shut; and the creature has no appearance at all of ears. Its feet are flat, and narrower than in any other animal whatsoever: a plain proof that it was never formed for walking. But the claws are very useful for laying hold on the bark of a tree, by striking deep into it.

This sluggish aniinal rarely chuses to change its place; never, but when compelled by absolute necessity. As upon the ground, it would be a prey to every other animal, and liable to many dangers, therefore its place of residence is a tree, which it generally selects very large and flourishing. Here it is safe from all animals, except those which climb these trees for the birds that roost on thei: to these it falls often a sacrifice: but lives greatly secure from all others.

It is very remarkable, that the Sloth always ascends to the top of a tree, only baiting as it goes, before it begins its devastation, And this is doubtless from the instinctive guidance of Providence ; for was it to begin eating upwards, when it had devoured all, it would have to climb down a wearisonne journey from the

top

of a dead tree; and would be half starved in the attempt. But this is not all. The havock that one single Sloth makes on the largest and fairest tree is such, that it is easily seen: and this, unless it might happen also from accidents, would betray the creature. The Sloth eats not only the leaves, but the buds, and the very bark all the way as it goes, leaving only

a dead branch. It feeds in the most voluptuous manner, scarcely moving out of its place for many hours together; all the time eating, and sluggishly half closing its sleepy eyes. As it feeds, the tree decays; but its decay is in the course of nature, The dead boughs become more and more numerous all the way downwards; and in the end, when the creature has eaten the last part of its provision, it is as near the ground as it can be in any part of the feeding; and it has nothing to do, but to climb down, as fast as it can, and erawl to another. But if it be necessary to go to any distance from this, there is no wonder (so slow and uneasy is its motion, and so unwieldy its shapeless bulk) that, from fat, it absolutely becomes lean in the expedition.

When the female is big with young, she climbs the trunk of some old tree, in which there is an bollow, from some accan dental decay, at a distance from the ground, In this circunda

stance only, the natural laziness of the creature doth not get the better of it; but what is it which Nature omits, when the care of the offspring is the object? When the time of her bringing forth approaches, as soon as she has fixed upon such a hollow for depositing her young, she climbs to the very highest bough of the tree, and there feeds faster than ordinary. When the time is very near, its belly being well filled, it descends with more than its accustomed haste into the hole, to have the young creatures brought forth. There are usually two, sometimes three. These are to be supported by suckling, till they are able to crawl: but the Sloth is an inhabitant of the hotter parts of America, and in those climates creatures acquire this power sooner. It is well that the dam is full fed before she retires 10 the place of her bringing forth; for she is to support these young ones by her milk, all this time, without being able to get ont and eat for her own supply. She is round and fleshy when she retires for this purpose; but nothing living can be so absolute a skeleton as she is when she comes out. She crawls in the best manner she can, to the lowest branches, which she did not strip, that there might be food for the young ones. These follow her ; and they soon begin to feed as she does. The time of bringing forth her young, is a period of strange hurry to this animal : it costs her two or three journies up and down the tree, a thing that never happens on any other occasion.

Many and great are the dangers which surronnd it while it is travelling to a new habitation. Whatever beast thinks it worth eating, may take it : and if it escape these, it may be trod to death by the step of some of the larger kinds. It is naturally, and indeed reasonably enough, the most timorous of all animals, for it can neither fight nor fly. While it is on its journey upon the ground, or if it be put there by way of experiment, the treading of an human foot shakes the earth enough to put it into terrors. It trembles; the head is turued about every way in a moment; and the deformed little mouth is opened to cry like a young kitten. The note is very plaintive, and very particular. It may be expressed by the letters ai, ai; and from ihis, some have called the creature by the name of Ai.

Insignificant as this animal is, who yet can help observing the special hand of á gracious Providence in its formation ? Not designed for motion, its feet are nevertheless furnished with claws, which enable it to hold fast in that station which is vecessary for it. Helpless as it is, and liable to a thousand mise chances on the ground, the Universal Provider bath assigned it a place of safety, where it finds plenty of food; and as changing its place would be uneasy and dangerous, he hath made drinking unnecessary to it, from the nature of its food and its own constitution. To render it, detenceless as it is, the less obe noxious to pursuit, the colour wherewith the Creator bath clothed it, serves to secure it even from view; and the amazing instinct wherewith it is endowed, and which we have remarked, respecting its manner of feeding from the top to the bottom, abundantly evinces a designing and directing hand, as well as that care of the young, which even stimulates this most slothful of creatures to a degree of industry; and holds out a lesson to those parents who are so abandoned and worthless, as to leave their offspring to want and misery, for the wretched gratification of drunkenness, idleness, and such shameful rices.

But while we behold, with pleasure, the traces of provident care, even in this creature, let it shew us, as in a glass, the despicable figure of that vice, whence it hath its name, and which it so weil delineates. The sleepy, eating, lazy, worthless, useless. animal, which lodged upon a green branch, would be content never to move therefrom, so it could there continually be . fedeat at ease, and slumber at will;-and which indeed never leaves the branch till it bath destroyed it, and thus is compelled to move. This contemptible lump of matter well represents to us the man who lives only to eat and to drink; to indulge his appetite, to feast his fiesli, to dose away his life in sleepy inactivity, and to consume himself (his nobler self, his soul) and his substance, in wretched indolence, and bodily indulgences. Let hiin but sleep; cram his overcharged stomach ; molest not liis quiet ; let him sit still, or saunter about, and yawn, and stretch himself, - and he is at the very pinnacle of his wishes useless and unprofitable. — Dost thou not remember that thou art a man that thou wast not born merely to breathe an animal life, fruges consumere ; not merely, sloth-like, to eat up the tree upon which thou art stationed :-thine it is to cultivate that tree. Thou hast a soul, and it much behove's thee, by diligent care, to seek its future welfare : - thou art a member of the community, and art called upon industriously to fill up the duties of thy station. Reason and Religion alike demand an exertion of thy faculties; and, to be a man, thou must labour,-much more io be a Christian! For the spiritual life is compared to a warfare,-to a journey, to a race ! How incompatible then is sloth with Christianity! and how disgraceful, both to religion and to himself, is the character of an idle Christian !

D.

QUERIES.

1. How far were the Israelities justifiable in taking from the Egyptians so many valuable articles, under the pretence of borrowing them. Exod. xii. 33.

Q. Why is it said in Psalm lv. 93.“ The wicked shall not live ont half their days," when other Scriptures declare, that there is an appointed time for man upon earth, and that the purposes of God are unalterable ?

REVIEW OF RELIGIOUS PUBLICATIONS.

A new

Historical, Geographical, Chronological, Etymological, and Critical Dictionary of the Holy Bible, &c. By Mr. John Brown, Minister of the Gospel, Haddington : much enlarged from the Dictionaries of Calmet, &c. in Truo Volumes, 8vo. Montrose, 1800.

The industry, the erudition, and, above all, the eminent piety of the late Rev. J. Brown, have procured for his works a deservedly extensive sale in the churches of the saints. His valuable work, intituled, “ A Dictionary of the Holy Bible," &c. printed at Edinburgh, by Murray and Cochran, 1797, we have taken notice of in a former number. This Dictionary, printed at Montrose, and which bears the name of Mr. Brown, is, however, in many important respects, a very different work. In some fundamental articles of reli. gion, it contains sentiments directly opposite to Mr. Brown's; and, in others, his sentiments and views are, in one instance, to the extent of six pages, totally left out. In support of these charges we refer the reader to the words Adam, Bezet, Gospel, Justice, Righteousness, and Sanctification. It is true, that the Montrose edition is said to be “ much enlarged from the Dictionaries of Calmet, Symon,” &c. ; but candour surely required that the editor should furnish his reader with a key to distinguish the author's genuine sentiments from those which have been intermingled or added; especially when they are so contradictory to what the good man conceived to be the oracles of God.

We are requested to add, that the author's solis, ministers of the gospel at Whitburn, Inverkeithing, and Dalkeith, conceive their venerable father's name to be much dishonoured by being thus Lnwarrantably prefixed to such a publication.

Periodical Accounts of the Baptist

Missionary Society. No. X. 8vo.

This Number contains a print and Memoir of the late Mr. John Thomas, who died at Dinagepore, Oct. 13, 1801. The intelligence is interesting and encouraging. It includes the substance of two quarterly packets, or the progress of the mission from Oct. 5; 1801, to April 4, 1802. The printing-press, which, for the last two or three years has been at work, appears to be a great blessing to this mission. Besides giving the Scriptures to the natives in their own language, many thousand of small tracts have been printed, and distributed in several itinerant tours round the country ; the effects of which are, that a general attention is excited ; many persons, from various and distant quarters, are almost continually applying for instruction ; and several have embraced the gospel.

Certain European infidels, aware, it seems, of the affinity between Deism and Heathenism, have actually become the apologists for the latter; and have discovered an inclination to excite the government to stop all attempts to overturn it; but their efforts have hitherto been unsuccessful.

Mr. Carey's appointinent in the college at Calcutta, seems to have been the means of good, not only to individuals under his care, but to several Portugueze Catholics in that city, to whom his frequent re. sidence there has given him access.

The Casi, which threatened to be an insuperable barrier in the way of Christianity, has not only given way in the cases of those who have been baptized, but others seem to make light of it. If the Lord continue to bless the gospel amongst them, it is not improbable that it may gradually fall into contempt. Á good number of European

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