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disagreeable duties to them. We have but too much reason to believe, that this is one of the principal causes of the indifference of mankind to the beauties of nature. If they were desirous of keeping the first and great commandment above all other things, they would take every opportunity of improving and increasing that knowledge. It is certain, at least, that very few study properly, or take a pleasure in the works of Providence. Have we eyes, and shall we not contemplate the wonders which surround us on every side! Have we ears, and shall we not listen to the hymns which every part of the creation chaunts to the praise of the Creator!
IN weather nearly serene, we often observe a circular light, or great luminous ring, round the moon, which we call halo, or crown. Its outline has sometimes the faint colours of the rainbow in it. The moon is in the middle of this ring, and the intermediate space is generally darker than the rest of the sky. When the moon is full, and much above the horizon, the ring appears more luminous, and is often of a considerable size. It must not be imagined that this sort of crown is round the moon. We must seek the cause of it in our atmosphere, where the vapours occasion a refraction of the rays of light which penetrate through them, and produce this effect. There appear sometimes round, or, on one side of the real moon, some false ones, which we call mock moons. These are apparently of the same size as the moon, but their light is paler. They are
scarcely ever without circles, some of which are "coloured like the rainbow, whilst others are white, and several of them have long and luminous tails. These also are but illusions produced by réfraction.
The light of the moon falling on watery, and often on 1 frozen vapours, refracts in different ways, and sepa
rates into coloured rays, which reaching our eyes, double the image of the moon. Sometimes, though Very seldom, we see by 'moon-light, after a heavy rain, a lunar rainbow, with the same colours as that of the solar, except that they are more faint. This meteor is also occasioned by refraction. 1977.5. bis · When sulphureous and other vapours take fire in : the higher atmosphere, we often observe streaks of
light dart swiftly like rockets. When these vapours
collect into a heap, take fire, and fall down, we think » we see little balls of fire 'fall from the sky; and as,
at that distance, they appear as large as a star, they y are for this reason called falling stars. Some people fancy they are real stars, changing their places. E
Great balls of fire have also been seen more luminous than the full moon, with tails sometimes trailing after them. They are probably sulphureous and nitrous vapours, which accumulate and take fire; for they generally traverse the air with great rapidity, and frequently burst with a great noise; and when the inflammable particles are of a very different nature, they disperse without noise in the upper regions of the atmosphere. :?
The little flashes seen in the summer evenings so often, after great heats, are produced by the vapours in the atmosphere. These flashes, properly speaking, are reverberations of lightning, which is at too great a distance for us to hear the clap of thunder
attending itim... Pr o"!!!", PERO .Of all the nocturnal appearances, none is more
remarkable and splendid than the aurora borealis. It is generally observed from the beginning of autumn till spring, when the weather is calm and serene, and when the moon does not give much light. The aurora borealis is not always the same. It is usually towards midnight that a light like the dawn of day appears. Sometimes we observe streaks of light, white and luminous clouds, in a continual motion. But when the aurora borealis rises in all its perfection, we generally see, if the weather be calm and clear, towards
the north, a dark space, a black and thick cloud, the i upper part of which is edged with a white luminous
border, froni whence dart rays, brilliant sparks, and resplendent pillars; which, as they rise, every moment grow yellow and red; afterwards meet, unite, and form luminous thick clouds, which terminate at last in pillars of all colours, white, blue, orange, or the finest purple, from whence continual rays of light dart out, and it is then that this object is in its full splendour and beauty.
The meteors just mentioned render the long nights of the northern nations light and agreeable. When we behold these magnificent scenes, let us silently adore our Creator. The moon declares his majesty;
the hosts of stars, and the mild light of the aurora - borealis, display his greatness.
Besides four-footed beasts, birds, and fishes, there is a sort of animal which lives either in or out of water, and is on that account called Amphibious. They are all cold, and something melancholy and forbidding in their look. Several of them are venomous. Instead of bones, they bave only gristles. Their skin is sometimes smooth, sometimes scaly. Almost all of them liye by prey, which they obtain by cunning or strength. They can in general support hunger a long time, and appear to us to live a hard life. Some of them walk, and others crawl, which forms them into two classes. »To, the former those with feet belong. The tortoises, which are of that class, are covered with a strong shell like a shield. The land tortoise is the smallest. Some.' sea tortoises are, five yards long, and weigh from eight to nine hundred pounds. There are different sorts of lizards; some smooth, others scaly; some ; with wings, and some without, 1: Among these we reckon the crocodile; and the chameleon, which lives on flies, spiders, and insects. Of all animals the crocodile is the most dreadful. This amphibious creature, which comes out of an egg not larger than the egg of a goose, grows from twenty to thirty feet long. It is voracious, cunning, and cruel. , ,
Serpents form the second class of amphibious creatures, They have no feet, but crawl, with a sort of winding, vermicular motion, by means of scales and rings, with which their bodies are covered. Their back-bones are constructed in a particular manner favourable to this motion. As the serpents can stretch their jaws considerably, they sometimes swallow animals thicker than their own heads. Some kinds of serpents have fangs in their months, which they extend when seizing their prey; and it is by this means that they slip poison into the wounds they make, which comes out of a bag placed at the root of the langs. The serpents provided with the arms just mentioned, make but a tenth part of the whole species; all the others are not venomous, though they attack men and animals, with as much fury as if they could hurt them. The rattlesnake is the most dangerous of any. It is generally three or four feet long, and as thick as the thigh of a fullgrown man." Its smell is strong and offensive. It seems as if nature had given this, as well as the 914: my pro svirtisanoa 35.73 indi
rattle, to this creature; in order to warn mankind of its approach. It is more furious and dreadful when it rains, or when hunger torments it. It rolls itself, up, rests upon its tail, darts upon its prey, gives the wound, and retires again, in a very short space of'. time, as it never bites till it rolls itself up: dreadful'. as the rattlesnake is, it cannot conceal its approach. It is also remarkable, that Providence has opposed to this animal an enemy which can conquer it; the sea-hog every where seeks the rattlesnake to devour it, and a child is strong enough to kill the most terrible of these reptiles: a very slight blow with a stick upon its back kills it instantly, or at least in a' quarter of an hour. How unjust also would it be to consider nothing but the mischief these, do us, without considering the advantages resulting from them?. Some serve for food; others supply us with medicine; and the tortoise, for its shell, is, of very great value.
The wisdom and goodness of the Universal Parent appears as conspicuously among amphibious animals, as in every other part of creation,
The Faculty of Speech how valuable if not
There is nothing extravagant in all that has been said to enhance the value of the gift of speech. It is the highest prerogative of man, and places us in a rank very superior to animals: for whatever traces may have been remarked in them of sounds to express their wants, &c. this can never be compared to human speech, which serves us to pursue