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mode of propagation, colour, medicinal virtues, nutritious qualities, internal vessels, and the odours it exhales. They are of all sizes, from the microscopic mushroom, invisible to the naked eye, to the sturdy oak and the cedar of Lebanon, and from the slender willow to the Banian tree, under whose shade 7000 persons may find ample room to repose. A thousand different shades of colour distinguish the different species. Every one wears its peculiar livery, and is distinguished by its own native hues; and many of their inherent beauties can be distinguished only by the help of the microscope. Some grow upright, others creep along in a serpentine form. Some flourish for ages, others wither and decay in a few months; some spring up in moist, others in dry soils; some turn towards the sun, others shrink and contract when we approach to touch them. Not only are the different species of plants and flowers distinguished from each other, by their different forms, but even the different individuals of the same species. In a bed of tulips or carnations, for example, there is scarcely a flower in which some difference may not be observed in its structure, size, or assemblage of colours; nor can any two flowers be found in which the shape and shades are exactly similar. Of all the hundred thousand millions of plants, trees, herbs, and flowers, with which our globe is variegated, there are not, perhaps, two individuals precisely alike, in every point of view in which they may be contemplated; yea, there is not, perhaps, a single leaf in the forest, when minutely examined, that will not be found to differ, in certain aspects, from its fellows. Such is the wonderful and infinite diversity with which the Creator has adorned the vegetable kingdom.
His wisdom is also evidently displayed in this vast profusion of vegetable nature-in adapting each plant to the soil and situation in which it is destined to flourish-in furnishing it with those vessels by which it absorbs the air and moisture on which it feeds-and in adapting it to the nature and necessities of animated beings. As the earth teems with animated existence, and as the different tribes of animals depend chiefly on the productions of the vegetable kingdom for their subsistence, so there is an abundance
and a variety of plants adapted to the peculiar constitutions of every individual species. This circumstance demonstrates, that there is a pre-contrived relation and fitness between the internal constitution of the animal, and the nature of the plants which afford it nourishment; and shows us, that the animal and the vegetable kingdoms are the workmanship of one and the same Almighty Being, and that, in his arrangements with regard to the one, he had in view the necessities of the other.
When we direct our attention to the tribes of animated nature, we behold a scene no less variegated and astonishing. Above fifty thousand species of animals have been detected and described by Naturalists, besides several thousands of species which the naked eye cannot discern, and which people the invisible regions of the waters and the air. And, as the greater part of the globe has never yet been thoroughly explored, several hundreds, if not thousands, of species unknown to the scientific world, may exist in the depths of the ocean, and the unexplored regions of the land. All these species differ from one another in colour, size, and shape; in the internal structure of their bodies, in the number of their sensitive organs, limbs, feet, joints, claws, wings, and fins; in their dispositions, faculties, movements, and modes of subsistence. They are of all sizes, from the mite and the gnat, up to the elephant and the whale, and from the mite downwards to those invisible animalculæ, a hundred thousand of which would not equal a grain of sand. Some fly through the atmosphere, some glide through the waters, others traverse the solid land. Some walk on two, some on four, some on twenty, and some on a hundred feet. Some have eyes furnished with two, some with eight, some with a hundred, and some with eight thousand distinct transparent globes, for the purposes of vision.*
* The eyes of beetles, silk-worms, flies, and several other kinds of insects, are among the most curious and wonderful productions of the God of Nature. On the head of a fly are two large protuberances, one on each side; these constitute its organs of vision. The whole surface of these protuberances is covered with a multitude of small hemispheres, placed with the utmost regularity in rows, crossing each other in a kind of lattice work. These little hemispheres have
Our astonishment at the variety which appears in the animal kingdom, is still farther increased, when we consider not only the diversities which are apparent in their external aspect, but also in their internal structure and organization. When we reflect on the thousands of movements, adjustments, adaptations, and compensations, which are requisite in order to the construction of an animal system, for enabling it to perform its intended functions; when we consider, that every species of animals has a system of organization peculiar to itself, consisting of bones, joints, blood vessels, and muscular motions, differing in a variety of respects from those of any other species, and exactly adapted to its various necessities and modes of existence ;—and when we consider, still farther, the incomprehensibly delicate contrivances, and exquisite borings, polishings, claspings, and adaptations, which enter into the organization of an animated being ten thousand times less than a mite; and that the different species of these animals are likewise all differently organized from one another, we cannot but be struck with reverence and
each of them a minute transparent convex lens in the middle, each of which has a distinct branch of the optic nerve ministering to it; so that the different lenses may be considered as so many distinct eyes. Mr. Leeuwenhoek counted 6236 in the two eyes of a silkworm, when in its fly state; 3180 in each eye of a beetle; and 8000 in the two eyes of a common fly. Mr. Hook reckoned 14,000 in the eyes of a drone-fly; and, in one of the eyes of a dragon-fly, there have been reckoned 13,500 of these lenses, and, consequently, in both eyes, 27,000, every one of which is capable of forming a distinct image of any object, in the same manner as a common convex glass; so that there are twenty-seven thousand images formed on the retina of this little animal. Mr. Leeuwenhoek having prepared the eye of a fly for the purpose, placed it a little farther from his microscope than when he would examine an object, so as to leave a proper focal distance between it and the lens of his microscope; and then looked through both, in the manner of a telescope, at the steeple of a church, which was 299 feet high, and 750 feet distant, and could plainly see through every little lens, the whole steeple inverted, though not larger than the point of a fine needle; and then directing it to a neighbouring house, saw through many of these little hemispheres, not only the front of the house, but also the doors and windows, and could discern distinctly, whether the windows were open or shut. Such an exquisite piece of Divine mechanism transcends all human comprehension.
astonishment, at the Intelligence of that Incomprehensible Being who arranged the organs of all the tribes of animated nature, who "breathed into them the breath of life," and continually upholds them in all their movements!
Could we descend into the subterraneous apartments of the globe, and penetrate into those unknown recesses which lie towards its centre, we should, doubtless, behold a variegated scene of wonders, even in those dark and impenetrable regions. But all the labour and industry of man have not hitherto enabled him to penetrate farther into the bowels of the earth than the six thousandth part of its diameter; so that we must remain for ever ignorant of the immense caverns and masses of matters that may exist, and of the processes that may be going on about its central regions. In those regions, however, near the surface, which lie within the sphere of human inspection, we perceive a variety analogous to that which is displayed in the other departments of nature. Here we find substances of various kinds formed into strata, or layers, of different depths-earths, sand, gravel, marl, clay, sand-stone, freestone, marble, lime-stone, fossils, coals, peat, and similar materials. In those strata are found metals and minerals of various descriptions-salt, nitrate of potash, ammonia, sulphur, bitumen, platina, gold, silver, mercury, iron, lead, tin, copper, zinc, nickel, manganeze, cobalt, antimony, the diamond, rubies, sapphires, jaspers, emeralds, and a countless variety of other substances, of incalculable benefit to mankind. Some of these substances are so essentially requisite for the comfort of man, that, without them, he would soon degenerate into the savage state, and be deprived of all those arts which extend his knowledge, and which cheer and embellish the abodes of civilized life.
If we turn our eyes upward to the regions of the atmosphere, we may also behold a spectacle of variegated magnificence. Sometimes the sky is covered with sable clouds, or obscured with mists; at other times it is tinged with a variety of hues, by the rays of the rising or the setting sun. Sometimes it presents a pure azure, at other times it is diversified with strata of dappled clouds. At one time we behold the rainbow rearing its majestic arch,
adorned with all the colours of light; at another, the Aurora Borealis illuminating the sky with its fantastic coruscations. At one time we behold the fiery meteor sweeping through the air; at another, we perceive the forked lightning darting from the clouds, and hear the thunders rolling through the sky. Sometimes the vault of heaven appears like a boundless desert, and at other times adorned with an innumerable host of stars, and with the moon "walking in brightness." In short, whether we direct our view to the vegetable or the animal tribes, to the atmosphere, the ocean, the mountains, the plains, or the subterranean recesses of the globe, we behold a scene of beauty, order, and variety, which astonishes and enraptures the contemplative mind, and constrains us to join in the devout exclamations of the Psalmist, "How manifold are thy works, O Lord! In wisdom hast thou made them all, the earth is full of thy riches; so is the great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.”
This countless variety of objects which appears throughout every department of our sublunary system, not only displays the depths of Divine Wisdom, but also presents us with a faint idea of the infinity of the Creator, and of the immense multiplicity of ideas and conceptions which must have existed in the Eternal Mind, when the fabric of our globe, and its numerous tribes of inhabitants, were arranged and brought into existence. And, if every other world which floats in the immensity of space, be diversified with a similar variety of existences, altogether different from ours, (as we have reason to believe, from the variety we already perceive, and from the boundless plans and conceptions of the Creator,) the human mind is lost and confounded, when it attempts to form an idea of those endlessly diversified plans, conceptions, and views, which must have existed during an eternity past, in the Divine Mind. When we would attempt to enter into the conception of so vast and varied operations, we feel our own littleness, and the narrow limits of our feeble powers, and can only exclaim, with the Apostle Paul, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!