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A PRAYER FOR DIVINE
"Wilt thou not from this time cry unto Me, My Father, Thou art the Guide of my youth?"-JEREMIAH iii. 4.
long day; I may be dark and lonely,
And I fear the way.
Guide me through the darkness,
Guide me through the dangers
Nowhere can be found.
Guide me through the sorrows
Guide me o'er the ocean
Guide me through the shadow
HE willows belong to an important class of plants. The rapidity of their growth, the toughness and lightness of their wood, and their uses in medicine and the fine arts, have caused them to be extensively cultivated. They are chiefly natives of the colder parts of the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Two kinds of them are found nearer the North Pole than any other woody plants. One of them, the "weeping willow," is found in China, Japan, Armenia, and the north of Africa. Botanists reckon many species of willows, only seventeen of which are not natives of Europe.
These trees were known to the Greeks and Romans; and not much has been added to our knowledge of their properties and uses since their time. On account of the flexible nature of their shoots, and the toughness of their woody fibre, they have always been used as materials for making baskets, hoops, crates, etc.; and for making these articles great quantities of them are grown in this and other countries. The bark is made use of in the north of Europe
VOL. XIV. SECOND SERIES.-May, 1874.
for the purpose of forming mats. In Tartary, the fibre of the wood is soaked in water until it can be separated, when it is spun into threads, from which cloth is woven. Willows are much used in the manufacture of charcoal; and it has been proved that charcoal made from them is superior to that obtained from the wood of most other trees for the preparation of gunpowder. The bark of all this species of trees contains tannin, the substance which tanners employ in turning the skins of animals into leather; Sir Humphrey Davy says that certain kinds of them contain as much of it as the oak-tree itself. From the bark of some is prepared a medicine which acts on the human frame like quinine, and is used for the same purpose. The willow is regarded as the emblem of despondency and despair; and it is often seen, along with the yew and the cypress, in the churchyard.
Willows grow naturally in a moist soil, and, wherever planted, should be within reach of water. Low, moist hollows, high banks of rivers, brooks, or ditches, are the best situations for planting them. But the soil in which they are intended
to be grown should be drained; for although they require much moisture, they will not flourish where the ground is quite soaked with water.
We will now mention one or two of the more noticeable varieties of this useful tree.
The goat willow is a native of Great Britain, and is distinguished early in the spring by putting forth its handsome yellow blossoms, or catkins, before other trees have put forth their foliage. This is one of the class whose bark is used for tanning and in medicine; and the wood is employed in making implements of husbandry. It is also grown for hoop-making.
The Russell or Bedford willow is a native of Great Britain, growing in marshy woods, osier - grounds, and the like localities. This tree was first brought into notice by a Duke of Bedford, hence its name. specimen of it at Litchfield was a favourite with the great Dr. Johnson, and was called "Johnson's Willow." It reached a height of sixty feet, and its stem was thirteen feet in girth. As this species is extensively used for poles, and its growth is very rapid, it is a profitable one for rearing in plantations.
The common white willow is a
boarding, and the like. Hats and bonnets are made from the shavings of the wood of this willow. By some it is planted for ornamental purposes.
The weeping willow is the greatest favourite of the species. A native of Asia, it is said that this tree was introduced into England by the poet Pope; who, being with Lady Suffolk when she received a parcel from Spain bound with withes, which appeared alive, took one, and planted it in his garden. The withe, it is stated, took root, and afterwards became well known as Pope's willow, at Twickenham. It seems more probable, however, that this species was first brought to Europe by a botanist called Tournefort. It is universally admired in China, as might be supposed from its frequent appearance in Chinese pictures. It grows naturally on the banks of the Euphrates, near Babylon, and is the tree spoken of in Psalm cxxxvii., where the Jews are represented as bewailing their captivity in these words, "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof."
The purple willow, a shrub two or three feet high, is a native of Britain, and is marked by the elegant slenderness of its twigs, and the redness of its catkins, which make it desirable for the shrubbery.
The Cut represents people at work in an osiery. How long basket-making from osiers has been practised in our island, it would be hard to say. But the word " basket," with a slight difference in the spelling, is the very same that was used two thousand years ago. It is one of the few ancient British words that have come down to our own times. It was used, in its old Celtic form, by a Roman poet called Martial, some of whose lines may be translated thus:
"From Britain's painted sons I came, And basket is my barbarous
ISS GRANT, the teacher of a school for little Chinese girls at Singapore, one day asked her scholars this question:-"Were you sure of dying to-morrow, what would you do to-day?" One said, "she would be getting her grave ready,” which is a very important business among the Chinese; but another, with a resolute countenance, said, "I would believe strongly in Jesus."
THE BEST KING.
Ta missionary meeting. on the island of Raratonga, one of the Harvey group in the Pacific Ocean, an old man said, “I have lived during the reign of four kings: in the first we were continually at war, and a fearful season it was, -watching and hiding in fear took up all our thoughts. During the reign of the second we were overtaken with a severe famine, and all expected to perish; then we ate rats and grass, and this wood and that wood. During the third we were conquered, and became the spoil and
prey of the people in the two other parts of the island; then
if a man went to fish he rarely ever returned, or if a woman went any distance to fetch food she was seldom ever seen again. But during the reign of this third king we were visited by another King, a great King, a good King, a powerful King, a King of love,-Jesus the Lord from heaven. He has gained the victory, He has conquered our hearts; therefore we now have peace and plenty in this world, and hope soon to dwell with Him in heaven."
THE SWALLOW'S RETURN.
ELCOME, welcome, fea-
Now the sun bids nature
And hail me at the dawn of day,
Of time that ever fleets away!
Fond of sunshine, fond of shade,
Fond of skies serene and clear, Even transient storms thy joys invade,
In fairest seasons of the year ;— What makes thee seek a milder clime?
What bids thee shun the wintry gale ?