The Leopard


The leopard is a beautiful animal, though very savage and cruel. It is
about as large as the largest of our dogs, but it looks much more like a
cat than a dog. You have watched kittens at their play a hundred times,
and you know how very quick, and pretty, and graceful all their motions
are. It is just so with the leopard; and it can creep along too, as
softly as a cat, and run up a tree after a monkey, as easily as a cat
does after a bird. It lives mostly upon young antelopes and deer, and
it often lies still a long time watching one till it comes near, and
then springs out upon it. The Bible says in one place, "A leopard shall
watch over their cities; every one that goeth out thence shall be torn
in pieces;" and in another, "Therefore will I be to them as a lion; as a
leopard by the way will I observe (or watch for) them." The leopard
runs very swiftly when it is trying to overtake any animal: the Bible
says, "Their horses are swifter than leopards."

Its color is a clear, handsome yellow, spotted with black; the spots are
found in little groups, two, or three, or four together, and the skin is
very smooth and shining. There is such a great difference between the
color of the spots and the rest of the skin, that you would think it a
very curious looking animal. The 23d verse of the 12th chapter of
Jeremiah is this: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his
spots? Then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil." It
would be no easy thing to wash away the leopard's black spots; indeed
nothing but God's power could do it. So it is not easy to do right when
we have been used to do wrong, and have loved to do it: this is why we
need to pray that God will "create a clean heart and renew a right
spirit within" us. Should we not be careful about every sinful habit?
Remember, dear child, that such a habit in you may become fixed, almost
like the leopard's spots; and pray God to help you love every thing that
is "pure, and lovely, and of good report."

What a peaceful and happy time that will be, when Jesus our Savior shall
reign in all the earth-when all men shall love him and each other-when
"the leopard (fierce and cruel as it is now) shall lie down with the
kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a
little child shall lead them." That bright day is coming; and if you
love Christ, even you-a child-can do something to prepare for it.