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religion, which is above all that can affect the senses, we should find mysteries we cannot penetrate, and the perfect knowledge of which is reserved for the future state; but let us remember that a considerable part of the happiness of the world to come, will consist in having a more perfect knowledge of all that can contribute to complete our felicity, , and to prove the glorious attributes of the Being
The Wisdom observatle in the Construction of
the Bodies of Animals.
The formation of the animal body affords the most striking proof of Divine Wisdom. For, as some animals were to reside chiefly in the air, others on the earth, and others in the water, it was necessary that their construction should be conformable, and adapted to their situation and different kinds of life. The wisdom with which God has done this, cannot be too much admired. Every thing is so exactly disposed as each animal requires it, that if their construction had been like any other but their own, they would have suffered by it considerably, and could not have fulfilled their destination. The birds of prey are provided with nails, strong claws, sharp and hooked bills, that they may with the more security and ease catch their prey. Those who are to seek their food in marshy places require a long bill and long legs; as it was necessary that those which live in water should have the lower part of the body very large, a long neck, membranes or a sort of ores to the feet, with an oiliness in the feathers, to make them glide smoothly. The insects that live on prey
have mouths sharp like nippers; and those that suck their food are provided with a proboscis or trunk. Why have the hares or rabbits full-set eyes, but in order to see so much the better to avoid the snares and dangers to which they are exposed? Why are the eyes of the mole so sunk and small, but that living underground, it does not require much sight? Why is the crystalline of the fish's eye so round, but to compensate for the refraction of the rays of light? whereas, animals that live in the air, have a crystalline in the form of a flat sphere? Some animals whose eyes move have but two, whilst those that cannot move theirs have several Others who seek their prey in the dark, have larger pupils and more brilliant eyes. The eye of the hen answers the double purpose of telescope and microscope, that she may seek the very smallest seeds in the earth or gravel, and discover at a distance the birds of prey that might seize upon her chicks! With what amazement must we be struck in considering the apparatus for the organs of animals in respect to their several motions! What a multitude of limbs! what suppleness and flexibility!
Some animals move slowly, others quick; some with two feet, others with more; some with both wings and feet, others without either. The slowness or swiftness of motion is always regulated according to the different wants of each animal. Who gave to serpents and other reptiles the power to contract and stretch out their bodies, to roll themselves up, and to dart out afterwards from one place to another to seize their prey? Who formed the fish in such a manner, that by means of their bladder, they can rise and fall in the water at will? Who taught the snail to contract his body, and bring water into its little house, when it wishes to fall on the ground? What art appears in the formation of birds, in every part of their bodies, and particularly their wings! How well their body is formed for flight : small and sharp before, and increasing gradually till it is of a proper bulk. This
adapts it for cutting the air, and making itself a passage through that element. The feathers are all arranged with much art, and laid one over another in such regular order, as to facilitate the motion of the body, and to serve as a covering to defend it from the severity of the weather. Though firm and close together, they can spread, rise up, swell, and take up more space, just as the bird requires it. The wings, which are the chief instruments of Alight, are put in the properest place to balance the body exactly, What admirable work there is in every feather! What proportion we see in the manner of placing them! They are always so placed as to agree exactly with the length and strength of each other, and the large serve to support the smaller. In the bony parts of the wings, what a multitude of joints, which open, shut, or move, according as is necessary, either to extend the wings, or draw them close to the body. What extraordinary strength in the breastbones and muscles, that the bird may cut the air with more ràpidity! What incomparable art in the formation of the tail, to make it in some measure serve as a rudder, to direct the flight, and help the bird to ascend and descend in the air, and prevent the unsteadiness of the body and wings!
Who is there that will not in this acknowledge the supreme intelligence of our Creator and benefactor.
Of the Dew.
The wise Ruler of the world, who watches continually over his children, and provides for all their wants, makes use of more than one means to render the earth fruitful. Sometimes it is by inundation, like the Egyptian river Nile, which has the singular property of overflowing its banks at certain marked periods, to water a country where it never raiņs. Sometimes it is by rains, which fall more or less frequently, in order to cool the air, and water the parched ground. But the most common means, the surest and most universal, and that which men the least attend to, is the dew. This inestimable gift of Heaven, which even in years of the greatest drought supports and preserves the plants from perishing, is those sparkling drops, seen in such profusion, morning and evening, on the leaves of trees and plants. The dew does not fall from above, as was formerly imagined, but it is now generally allowed that it rises from the earth. In order to be convinced of this, we need only cover a plant with a glass bell, and it will appear that the leaves collect in the night a greater quantity of the dew-drops, than the leaves of the other plants which are exposed to the air. This certainly would not be the case, if the dew fell from above, and if it did not rise from the ground. Nothing is more easy, than to comprehend how it is formed: for the rays of the sun, and the heat which is cast on the earth, continually loosen a multitude of moist particles from off every object; some of which rise into the atmosphere, and the rest collect in the form of drops of water. This account of the dew explains to us, how it happens that it is sometimes hurtful, and some
times not so. Its nature evidently depends on the quality of the vapours of which it is composed. The wind carries away the light exhalations as soon as they are formed, and prevents them from falling in drops. This is the reason that there is most dew when the air is very calm. By this wise plan of the Creator, the plants can vegetate and grow in countries even where there is no rain; for the soil of those parts being sandy, porous, and very moist underneath, the heat draws out a greater quantity of dew, which supplies the place of rain.
Those different methods which Providence makes use of to moisten and fertilize the earth, ought to remind us of those employed to improve the barren heart of man, and to make it fertile in good works. How many hardened hearts oblige him to speak in thunder and lightning, as formerly on Mount Sinai! Less terrible means are employed to save and affect others; with a gentle, mild, and persuasive voice, he awakens their consciences, and refreshes their souls with the beneficent dew of his grace. Let this conduct of our Heavenly Father serve as a model for ours. Let us employ all means to reclaim our fellowcreature, to make him better; but let us particularly endeavour to gain him rather by kindness than by punishment. Let us imitate the beneficence of the Lord, who refreshes the parched earth with the dew, and gives new life to the plants. Let us endeavour to revive the hearts of the afflicted with benefits, and to pour as many blessings on our fellow-creatures as the dew sheds upon the earth,