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The Ant


If you look at the sixth verse of the sixth chapter of Proverbs, you
will read, "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be
wise." A sluggard, you know, is a man, or woman, or child, who does not
love to read or to do any kind of work, but likes to sleep or be idle
all the day long. Do you think you were ever acquainted with one?

Now see what the Bible tells the sluggard to do. It bids him go to the
little ant, and "consider her ways," that is, look on and see what she
does. Have you ever watched the ants when they were busy at work? It
will give you very pleasant employment for half an hour on a summer's
day. In some places you may see small ant-hills scattered about, so
close together that you can hardly step without treading on them; and
you may find other places where there are not so many, but where the
hills are much larger. I have seen them so large that you could hardly
step over one of them without touching it with your foot and breaking
some part of it. And then how busy the little creatures are! Just
kneel down on the grass beside them, and notice how they work! You will
see one little fellow creeping along as fast as he can go, with a grain
of sand in his mouth, perhaps as large as his head. He does not stop to
rest, but when he has carried his grain to help build the hill, away he
goes for another. You may watch them all day and never see them idle at

You see why God tells the sluggard to go and look at the little ants: it
is that when he sees them so busy, he may be ashamed of himself for
being idle, and learn to be "wise," or diligent in whatever he
undertakes. I should not think he could help going to work, after he
had looked at them a little while. The ants seem to be very happy, and
I think it is because they are so busy. God has put nobody in this
world to be idle: even children have something to do. The inside of an
ant-hill is very curious, but it is not easy to examine it without
destroying all the work that the little insects have taken so much pains
to finish. There is a kind of ant in warm climates that builds for
itself hills as high as a man. They are not made of sand, but of a kind
of clay; and have a great many cells or apartments, and many winding
passages leading from one part to another. All this is done, as the
Bible says, without "guide, overseer or ruler;" that is, they have no
one to direct them how to do it. God gives them skill just as he does
to the honey-bees in building the beautiful cells which you have so
often admired; all His works are wonderful.