It is very pleasant to watch the bees at their work, for they are quite as busy as the ants, and as
they are so much larger, it is more easy to see what they are doing. Every thing about them
seems curious and beautiful; their waxen cells, their manner of gathering honey and storing it
up, their neatness and order, all are admirable. They are perfectly harmless when left to
themselves; but if they are attacked, they fly around the person who disturbs them, in great
numbers, and sometimes sting him very severely. David once said of his enemies, "They
compassed me about like bees."
Honey is often spoken of in the Bible. When Jacob wished his sons to go down into Egypt a
second time to buy food, he said to them, "Take of the best fruits of the land in your vessels, and
carry down the man (Joseph) a present; a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, nuts
and almonds." God told the children of Israel that he would give them "a land flowing with milk
and honey," meaning one that was beautiful and fertile, producing abundantly every thing that
would be needed for their comfort. When David had been obliged to flee from Jerusalem to
escape his wicked son Absalom, he was in great want of provisions for himself and his
followers. After a long and fatiguing march he reached a certain city; and there three rich men
who were friendly to him, sent "wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and
honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese," besides beds for them to rest on; "for they said, The
people is hungry, and wary, and thirsty in the wilderness."
Perhaps no man ever loved the commandments of God more truly than king David. He says in
the Psalms, "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
and again he says of God's judgments, "More are they to be desired than gold, yea, than much
fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honey-comb."
Besides the bees that live in hives, there are many called wild bees, which live in the woods, and
put their honey in the clefts of rocks, or in old trees and other similar places. In the fourteenth
chapter of Judges you will find this story: There was a very strong man named Samson, and once
when he was travelling by himself in a lonely place, a young lion came roaring along in the very
path where he was going. Would you not have been afraid? I suppose Samson was, at first, for
the lion was very strong and very hungry, and Samson had nothing in his hand to kill him with.
But God gave him strength, and when the lion came up, Samson caught hold of him and tore him
in pieces, as you would tear a piece of cloth. Then he left him dead on the ground. Sometime
after he came back the same way, and thought he would look after the lion that he had killed.
He soon found the skeleton, that is, the dry bones without any flesh on them; and when he
looked at the parts of the dead lion he found that a swarm of bees had been there, and laid up a
great plenty of honey. So he took some of it in his hands to eat as he went along.
You can learn of the little bee to try to be useful, and to resolve in the words of the hymn which I
dare say you have learned:
"In works of labor or of skill
"I would be busy too;
"For Satan finds some mischief still
"For idle hands to do.
"In books, or work, or healthful play,
"Let my first years be past;
"That I may give for every day
"Some good account at last."
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