Jack was very fond of small birds: I suppose you think, then, that he had some in a cage; and that he caught them in traps, for he was very ingenious. No; Jack would as soon, and sooner, have gone to prison himself. He could not bear the idea of imprisoning a bird. Canaries, indeed, and such others as could not live in our cold climate, and which, having been hatched in a cage, would not have known how to use their liberty, he did not object to, but took great pleasure in giving them pans or saucers of clean water, to bathe themselves in; and plenty of fresh sand, and nice food: but most birds he could not bear to see within the bars of a prison. The robin, the thrush, the blackbird, the linnet, the sparrow, he knew it was a sin to deprive of their liberty. I have seen him persuade other boys to break their traps, or to let the poor frightened captives go: and I have seen him clap his hands with joy as they spread out their pretty wings, and flew “above the earth, in the open firmament of heaven,” as they were made to do; but I do not believe that a whole pocket full of silver and gold would have tempted Jack to catch and sell a bird. Indeed, I am sure it would not; for he knew that neither silver nor gold, nor any thing that is to be bought with them, would make a person’s heart feel happy; and that the commission of a sin would make him feel very unhappy; for nothing was so dreadful to Jack as the idea of offending his gracious God, or grieving the Holy Spirit, who dwells in the heart of every true believer. Now, perhaps, you will say, “I would not catch and sell birds to put money in my own pocket; but may I not do it to earn a little for those who really want it?” But robbing is not earning. If you catch a bird, or a fish, not belonging to another person, to kill and eat it, or to sell or to give it to others for food, you do what God has permitted; and if it is done for this purpose, and not for sport, nobody can blame you. But, though the Lord has given you the bodies of his creatures for food, he has never given you their natural liberty, either for your amusement or profit.