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cannot enter, or so sandy that it cannot take root, or so full of stones that it is choked up, it is impossible it should produce fruit.
To which of these do I belong? Perhaps my heart is not so hard as to resist every impression. May I be like the fruitful soil, ready to fulfil the duties of life. And, in order to bear fruit in abundance, be fruitful in good works, preserving the gifts of grace in an upright heart.
It is not so easy as we imagine, to be certain of the size of our earth. There is indeed but one longitude, yet there are two latitudes, north and south: both beginning at the equator. The one extends towards the north, and the other towards the south, as far as the poles, either arctic or antarctic. But no one has been able to go'so far as either pole extends, because the mountains of ice in Greenland, and in the northern seas, have always obstructed the passage; and so have innumerable mountains and islands of ice in the southern seas. However, thanks to the geometricians, we at present know nearly the size of our globe; and, according to the most exact calculations, the surface of the earth is nine millions two hundred thousand and eighty square leagues. The water occupies two thirds of that space; so that what remains for terra firma, or land, is reduced to three millions and ninety-six thousand square leagues.
It has been calculated, that there may be at least three thousand millions of men upon the earth; but
in reality, there are not more than one thousand and fourscore millions; of which we calculate in Asia 650 millions; in Africa, 150 millions; in America, 150 millions; in Europe, 130 millions. If, then, we suppose the earth is inhabited by one thousand millions of men, or thereabouts, and that thirty-three years make a generation, it follows that in that space of time there die one thousand millions
This calculation must necessarily strike us. If the mortality is so great every year, and even every hour, is it not probable that he who reflects on it, may himself be one of those which swell the list of the dead? It is at least certain, that it ought to lead us often to serious reflections. Now, at this moment, one of our fellow creatures is going out of the world; and before this hour be passed, more than three thousand souls will have entered into eternity. What a motive for thinking often and seriously on death.
Large as this earth appears, its greatness vanishes at once, when we compare this globe to the other worlds which roll over our heads; it is in comparison of the whole universe, as a grain of sand is to the highest mountain.
But how does this thought exalt the Creator in our eyes! how inexpressible and infinite does his greatness appear! The world and all its inhabitants are before him, as a drop in the ocean, or 'as the light storms which float in the air. And what am I among these thousand millions of inhabitants of the earth! ,
Production of Birds.
At this season of the year, there is a revolution in nature which certainly claims our attention. It is the time the birds lay eggs, and hatch their young. This annual miracle passes in a manner before our eyes; and that it is really a wonder, which cannot be too much admired, the following reflections will convince us. In each fruitful egg, which has not yet been sat on, there is a spot visible in the yolk. In the centre of this spot, there is a white circle, like a thin partition, which extends a little towards the top, and appears to join to some small bladders there. In the middle of this circle, there is a kind of fluid matter, wherein the embryo of the chick is seen to float. It is composed of two lines, or white threads, which appear sometimes to be separated from one another at their extremity; and between which a lead-coloured fluid is perceptible. The extremity of the embryo is contained in a little bag, surrounded by a pretty large ligament; and it is there that the navel afterwards shows itself. This ligament is composed partly of a solid yellowish substance, and partly of a fluid dark substance, which is also surrounded by a white circle. This is what has been observed in the egg before it is sat upon. After it has been above twelve hours under the hen, there appears in the lineaments of the embryo, which is in the middle of the little spot, a moisture that has the form of a little head, on which are seen little vesicles, that afterwards become the back bones. In thirty hours the navel appears covered with a multitude of little vessels; and eyes also are then distinguishable. The two white threads,
which, in re-uniting, have still left some space be· tween them, enclose five little bags, which are the brainy substance and the spinal marrow, which goes through to its extremity. The heart is then visible: but it has not yet been discovered, whether it is the heart or the blood that is first formed. Be that as it may, it is certain that the embryo of the chick existed before in the egg; and that, after it has been some time sat upon, they distinguish the back bones, the brain and spinal marrow, the wings, and part of the flesh, before either the heart, or the blood and vessels are perceptible. When the essential parts of the chick are thus formed, it continues to take new growth till the twentieth or twenty-first day, when it is able to break of itself the shell which had contained it.
We owe these discoveries to some great naturalists, who, with the assistance of microscopes, have observed, almost from hour to hour, the progress of the formation and the hatching of the chick. However, notwithstanding all that we have drawn from their observations, there still remain many mysteries, which may never be discovered to us. How does the embryo come into the egg? and who gave it the faculty of receiving, by means of warmth, (for that is all the hen communicates to it,) a new life and being ? What is it that puts the essential parts of the chick in motion ? and what is that vivifying spirit, which, tbrough the shell, penetrates even to the heart, and occasions its pulsation? How do birds know that their young are contained in the egg? What engages them to sit on the nest all the time necessary to hatch them? These are questions which cannot be answered in a satisfactory manner. But the little we know of the production of birds, is sufficient to prove the wisdom of the Creator. . "
Permanency of corporeal Beings.
Nothing in nature perishes; and, from the beginning of the world to the present moment, there has not been a grain of sand nor an atom annihilated. The first forests, which the powerful word of God produced, were adorned with an innumerable multitude of leaves. Those fell, withered, corrupted, and ceased to be leaves; but the parts which composed them still remain. They have been converted into dust, mud, or earth; but they are not annihilated. The matter of which the first leaves and herbs were formed, subsists still at this day, and has lost nothing of its essential parts. The plants which now flourish will exist, as to their parts, as long as the world shall last. The wood we burn ceases, indeed, to be wood, but its parts do not cease to exist. They are dispersed into ashes, soot, and smoke, but they are not annihilated. The kingdom of nature is liable to continual change: all dissolves, and all regenerates, but nothing finally perishes. Let us not judge by appearances. When there happens any revolution, any disorder, in nature, we are apt to believe that many things are totally destroyed: it is an error, they are only differently modified, and become materials for the composition of other bodies. The water which rises in vapours does not perish; it decreases in one place to increase in another. What uninformed persons consider as total destruction, is, in reality, but a mere change of parts; and the world, considered in the whole, is just now what it was the first day of the creation, although a multiplicity of parts which compose it, have gradually undergone very considerable alterations,