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Such being the order and the arrangement of the great works of the creation, we have yet additional cause to admire and adore the wisdom and supreme goodness of the Creator. Each new intelligence that we gain of the Father of Nature, by his works, is precious; we every where discover his greatness, and are led to acknowledge that he has perfected all with consummate wisdom. Let us then, with the fullest assurance and the most entire confidence, commit the conduct of our lives to Him who governs all things in the perfection of his wisdom; let us banish all doubt and mistrust, and surmount every fear, by faith in the Almighty Creator of the heavens and the earth; and may we be permitted to call him by the tender appellation of Father, through the redeeming grace of Christ!
Abundant Riches of Nature.
To be convinced of the liberality with which nature distributes her gifts, it is sufficient to reflect upon the prodigious number of human beings who receive from this beneficent mother their support, clothing, and comforts of every kind. But as this daily happens, perhaps the impression made upon our hearts is feeble, or we totally disregard the blessings we are continually receiving: we will therefore now consider those creatures which are partly formed for our use, and some of which are the objects of our contempt. This consideration will teach us, that every creature inhabiting the earth displays the merciful goodness of the Creator; and if our hearts are still susceptible of feeling, must call upon us to glorify his holy name.
Innumerable multitudes of creatures inhabiting the air, the earth, and the waters, are daily indebted to nature for their subsistence. Even those animals which we ourselves feed properly owe their nourishment to her. The various species of fish all subsist without the help of man. The forests will produce acorns, the mountains grass, and the fields different seeds, without any culture. Amongst birds
the most despicable as well as most numerous tribe is that of sparrows; the number of which is so prodigious, that the produce from all the fields of a large kingdom would not suffice for their support during the space of one year. It is nature which takes from her immense magazine what is necessary for their subsistence, and they are only the least part of her dependants. The number of insects is so immense, that centuries may elapse before all their different species shall be known. How numerous are the flies, and how many different species of insects float in the air, of whose stings we often feel the smart! The blood which they extract from us is a very uncertain and accidental kind of nourishment; we may reckon for one insect which is sup ported in this manner millions which have never tasted of blood, either human or of any other animal. On what then do these creatures live? There is scarcely a handful of earth that does not contain living insects, which are nourished in it by means of one another. In each drop of water creatures are discovered, whose means of existence and multiplication are inconceivable.
Immensely rich as is nature in living creatures, she is not less fertile in the means of supporting them. From her every creature receives its shelter and aliment; for them she causes the grass to grow upon the earth, giving to each the choice of that food which is most suitable to its nature; and none amongst them is so despicable that she disdaics to regard it with affection, and refuses to provide for its support. Herein is plainly manifested the power of the Almighty, which effects what all the people of the earth. united together could not accomplish. He satisfies every living creature, and nourishes alike the birds of the air and the inhabitants of the waters and the earth. And will he do less for man? Whenever doubts and uncertainty arise, let us remember the multitude of beings which God daily supports! Let the fowls of the air, the wild beasts of the desert, and the millions of creatures which do not depend upon the care of man, teach us how to live contentedly. He who adorneth the flowers of the fields with their beauty, who feedeth every animal, surely knows all our wants; and he heareth the prayers of the afflicted, when uttered in the language of faith and purity of heart.
HAVE you ever witnessed that superb spectacle which the rising sun daily affords? Or has indolence, the love of sleep, or absolute indifference, prevented your contemplating this splendid phenomenon of nature? Perhaps you are of that class of beings who prefer the indulgence of a few hours more sleep, to the gratification of seeing the east illumined by the first rays of the sun; or you are of the opinion of those who, satisfied that the sun is present to enlighten and to cheer the earth, never trouble themselves with reflecting upon the cause of such an effect. Or perhaps you are like millions of people who daily see this grand spectacle without emotion, and without forming any idea of it, but who pass it by without regard or reflection. To whichever class you belong, suffer yourself at length to be roused from your state of insensibility, and learn what thoughts the view of the rising sun ought to excite in your mind.
There is no spectacle in nature more grand and beautiful than the rising sun; before which, the most magnificent dress that human art can prepare, the most splendid decorations and ornamental designs of costly palaces, fade away and are as nothing. At first the eastern region of heaven, clothed in the purple of Aurora, announces the approach of the sun. The sky gradually assumes the tints of the rose, and soon flames with a fiery brilliancy; then the rays of light piercing the clouds, the whole horizon becomes luminous, and the sun opens upon us in unrivalled splendour, gradually rising in the heavens; whilst every creature rejoicing seems to receive new life and being; the face of the earth is smiling, and the music of the birds fills the air; every animal is in motion, and expresses its joy by playful gambols and increased animation.
May the aspirations of my soul be raised to the throne of God, and the songs of my praise ascend up to Heaven, the seat of Him at whose command the sun first rose, and whose hand still directs his annual and diurnal course; from which result the revolution of day and night, and the regular succession of the seasons. Raise thyself, O my
soul! to the Father of Glory, and celebrate his majesty; acknowledge thy dependence upon him, and celebrate his praise by actions which are pleasing in his sight! Behold! all nature proclaims order and harmonious regularity. The sun and all the stars accomplish their course: each season brings forth its fruits, and every day renews the splendour of the sun; and shall we be the only creatures who neglect to praise the Creator, by the virtue of our actions and the integrity of our conduct? Let the propriety of our lives and the fervency of our piety exalt the goodness of God, and teach the infidel how great and worthy of admiration is that Deity which he professes to despise; and let the peaceful calm and purity of our minds teach the vicious man the beauty of holiness, and the mild and merciful nature of that God before whom he trembles. Let us act towards our fellow-creatures as God does to us, and be to them what the sun is to the whole universe. As he daily diffuses his benign influence over the earth; as he shines upon the ungrateful as upon the righteous; and as he gilds the bosom of the valley as well as the lofty summit of the mountain; so let our lives be useful, beneficent, and consolatory to our fellow-creatures! May each returning day renew the charitable emotions of our heart, and may we do all the good in our power, and endeavour so to live and to act, that our lives shall be a blessing to mankind!
Curious Structure of the Ear.
ALTHOUGH the ear is less beautiful than the eye, its conformation is as well adapted to its design, and it is equally admirable and worthy of the Creator. The position of the ear bespeaks much wisdom; for it is placed in the most convenient part of the body, near to the brain, the common seat of all the senses. The exterior form of the ear merits considerable attention; its substance is between the flexible softness of flesh and the firmness of bone, which prevents the inconvenience that would have arisen had it been either entirely muscular or wholly formed of solid bone. It is there
fore cartilaginous, possessing firmness, folds, and smoothness, so adapted as to reflect sound; for the chief use of the external part is to collect the vibrations of the air, and transmit them to the orifice of the ear.
The internal structure of this organ is still more remarkable. Within the cavity of the ear is an opening, called the meatus auditorius, or auditory canal, the entrance to which is defended by small hairs, which prevent insects and small particles of extraneous matter penetrating into it; for which purpose there is also secreted a bitter ceruminous matter, called ear-wax. The auditory canal is terminated obliquely by a membrane, generally known by the name of drum, which instrument it in some degree resembles; for within the cavity of the auditory canal is a kind of bony ring, over which the membrana tympani is stretched. In contact with this membrane, on the inner side, is a small bone, called malleus, or the hammer, against which it strikes when agitated by the vibrations of sound. Connected with these are two small muscles: one, by stretching the membrane, adapts it to be more easily acted upon by soft and low sounds; the other, by relaxing, prepares it for those which are very loud. Besides the malleus, there are some other very small and remarkable bones, called incus or the anvil, os orbiculare or orbicular bone, and the stapes or stirrup: their use is to assist in conveying the sounds received upon the membrana tympani. Behind the cavity of the drum is an opening, called the Eustachian tube, which begins at the back part of the mouth with an orifice, which diminishes in size as the tube passes towards the ear, where it becomes bony; by this means sounds may be conveyed to the ear through the mouth, and it facilitates the vibrations of the membrane by the admission of air. We may next observe the cochlea, which somewhat resembles the shell of a snail, whence its name; its cavity winds in a spiral direction, and is divided into two by a thin spiral lamina: and lastly is the auditory nerve, which terminates in the brain.
The faculty of hearing is worthy of the utmost admiration and attention: by putting in motion a very small portion of air, without even being conscious of its moving, we have the power of communicating to each other our thoughts desires, and conceptions. But to render the action of air in the propagation of sound more intelligible, we must re