Did you ever see an eagle? There were once a great many among the rocks and mountains of our own country, but they will not stay where there are many people; so they are seldom seen here now. They like to make their nests in high and rocky places, where nobody can find them; as a verse in the Bible says, "Though thou shouldest make thy nest on high as the eagle, yet will I bring thee down from thence." Their nests are not usually made in trees like those of many other birds, neither are they shaped in the same way: they are nothing but a layer of sticks spread flat upon the rock, and covered with some hay or straw. The care of the eagle for her young is spoken of in Deut. 32:11. "As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the Lord alone did lead him." This beautifully describes God's care over the children of Israel while they were passing through the wilderness; does it not also well express his kindness to us?
These birds fly very swiftly, and you will find verses in the Bible that speak of this. One is the forty-ninth verse of the twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy. "The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, as swift as the eagle flieth." In another place it is said, "His horses are swifter than eagles." Job says, "My days are swifter than a post, (or post-rider;) they are passed away as the swift ships, as an eagle that hasteth to the prey."
The eye of the eagle is very curious. It has something like an inner eyelid, only it is very thin; and the eagle can draw this over its eye, like a curtain, whenever there is too much light. You have heard perhaps that it can look directly at the bright sun; and this is the reason. It can see a great deal farther than we can; and when it is very high in the air, so that it would look to you but little larger than a speck, it often sees some small animal on the ground and flies down to catch it.
See how well this bird was described a great many years ago: these are the last verses of the thirty-ninth chapter of Job: "Doth the eagle mount up at thy command and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth upon the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. Her young ones also suck up blood; and where the slain are, there is she."
The eagle lives a great many years; sometimes more than seventy, I believe. It sheds its feathers every spring, and new ones come out; then it looks like a young bird. This is why David says in the Psalms, "Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed, (or comes again,) like the eagle's." There is this beautiful verse in Isaiah, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." How blessed and happy a thing it is to be a christian indeed! to "wait upon the Lord" every day for the strength we need; and to be always preparing for that world where the inhabitants are for ever young, for ever active, for ever holy, for ever happy.