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Of the essence of every existing object we are in perfect ignorance. The real qualities of both matter and mind are equally beyond our knowledge. We may have all the certainty of consciousness that they exist, but in every attempt to define their hidden properties we are baffled and confounded. And therefore any enquiry into the essence of things would be just as idle and unprofitable, as those merest vagaries of the ancient schoolmen who set themselves to determine how many angels might dance on the point of a needle, and similar frivolous questions. But whilst we must necessarily remain ignorant of the hidden qualities of all that is either material or mental, there are certain attributes which we ascribe to both mind and matter, and by which we arrive at some distant idea of that sublime and sovereign Power, from which, as their great original, both were derived," and for whose pleasure they are and were created."

It is not to the attributes of matter, but to the nobler attributes of mind that we now advert : but how imperfect the conception of its inherent greatness and grandeur! It is the lofty announcement of inspired truth, that GOD IS A SPIRIT, and for any thing we know to the contrary, or have a right to assume, the only being who is purely and without modification a spirit. This

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may be a property in his nature which distinguishes it from that of every creature. Still, since matter in no form or combination, however refined and ethereal, can be made to think or reason, we are left in possession of the conclusion, that in at least a restricted and modified sense, the human soul is immaterial and therefore spiritual; and that since no one thing which now exists can cease to be that as annihilation enters not into the government of the great Supreme, it is incorruptible and immortal. Now this immaterial, spiritual, incorruptible and immortal nature in man, is endowed with manifold and mighty powers—faculties which may be continually exerted, yet never exhausted—to whose strength that of the leviathan is perfect weakness—so vast and so subtle as to be able to grapple wich every subject and every science, even the profoundest and most intricate—at once to comprehend the past, the present, and the future—the whole universe in one single thought. It has capabilities which to this hour remain unmeasured and undefined, and which fit it not only for the noblest employments to which created intelligence can be devoted, but also susceptible of participating in the most refined enjoyments which flow from the fountain of uncreated and eternal blessedness. Nor is this all. In the possession of these mighty powers, and almost unbounded capacities, it might associate and hold a common companionship with beings of other and yet higher orders. It is fitted in nature, were it only in moral qualities, with these exalted intelligences, for ever to scale the mount of God, and contemplate the more than splendid visions of eternal glory. The existence on which it has entered, is to be perpetuated through everlasting ages, and through a duration which shall know no end, it might for ever approximate closer to its original source, and not only occupy a nearer position to his ineffable throne, but also being in the progress of eternity, more refined and elevated, rising in the scale of moral purity and holy intelligence, have still brighter manifestations of the beatific presence, and yet more complete participation in the fullness of joy.



(Continued from page 270.) Insects are the smallest creatures visible to the naked eye; and they obtain their name from their bodies being so deeply cut, that they seem in danger of falling asunder. Their bodies are composed of a substance softer than flesh. Instead of bones, they are covered with an external crust :-as may be seen in the case of bees, wasps, flies, and beetles.

The number of insects is prodigious. Besides animalculæ, of which myriads can swim about with ease in a single drop of water, ten thousand di-tinct species have been already discovered in Britain. Mr. Stephens informs us, that in the short space of forty-days, between the middle of June and the beginning of August, he found in the vicinity of Ripley, specimens of about two thousand four hundred species of insects, exclusive of the caterpillars and grubs; and though the ground had in former seasons been frequently explored, there were about one hundred new species, not before in any collection, including several new genera. “After

have searched every spot in your neighbourhood, turned over every stone, shaken every bush and tree, and fished every pool, you will not have exhausted its insect productions. Do the same another and another year, and new treasures will still continue to enrich your cabinet. If you leave your own vicinity for an excursion in this department of natural history, your prospects of success will be still farther increased. If confined by bad weather, the windows of your apartment will add to your stock. If a sudden shower oblige you to seek shelter under a tree, your attention will be attracted, and the tedium of your station relieved by the appearance of several insects, many of which you have never observed before, driven thither by the same cause as yourself.”

And if naturalists have not yet ascertained the various tribes and species of insects, who can attempt to conjecture the numbers included in each species ? Almost every individual has heard of the immense swarms of flies, of locusts, and ants, with which some countries have been infested and laid waste. In some countries the mosquitoes are so numerous and annoying, as to prove a perfect plague. The wheat crops in North America have, year after year, been destroyed by a little creature, not much larger than a midge, called the Hessian fly. In 1810, the crops of pease and beans over Britain were nearly consumed by another creature no larger, called an aphis. The ravages of caterpillars are notorious. The numbers of locusts are almost incredible. Dr. Shaw was a witness of their devastations in Barbary in 1724, where they first appeared in the end of March, their numbers increasing so much in the beginning of April, as literally to darken the sun. middle of May they began to disappear, retiring into the adjacent plains to deposit their eggs. These were no sooner håtched, than each cf the brood collected itself into a compact body, of a furlong or more square; and marching forwards, let nothing escape them.

In the part of Southern Africa where Mr. Barrow was, 1797, the whole surface of the ground for an area of nearly two thousand square miles,

By the might literally be said to be covered with them. The water of a very wide river was scarcely visible, on account of the dead carcases of locusts that floated on the surface, drowned in the attempt to reach the reeds that grew in it. They had devoured every blade of grass and every green herb, except the reeds. At a former visit to that cou

ountry their exit was singular. All the full-grown insects were driven into the sea by a tempestuous north-west wind, and were afterwards cast up on the beach, where they formed a bank three or four feet high, and extending to a distance of nearly fifty miles,

To form an idea of the rapidity with which insects multiply, it is sufficient to mention, that of some flies three generations arise in twenty-four hours, and that each nest will contain twenty thousand eggs.' Within forty-eight hours a single pair may be surrounded by two quadrillions of their descendants.

Some of these insects are so small, that a hundred of them will not equal the size of a pin-head. But small and insignificant as they appear, the shape of each is perfect, and most exactly adapted to its condition, and the purposes of its life. The least is furnished with all that is necessary for its welfare. No addition could be made to its structure without encumbering it with a needless and superfluous load; and no limb nor organ could be removed without maiming it, and subjecting it at once to the most exquisite pain, and the most insurmountable hardship. So far from being overlooked or neglected in their formation, their bodies manifest the same attention to their wants, and the same provision for their welfare, which are displayed in the frame of the larger animals. Small as they are, the least are furnished with a wind-pipe and lungs; for when placed under the exhausted receiver of an air pump, like larger animals, they first become feeble, and then die.

Their increase in size and strength attests that they possess organs of digestion and absorption. Their preference of certain food, and aversion to other aliment, their stratagems to catch their prey, and the avidity with which they devour it, prove that they have a taste, that they are pressed by the calls of hunger, and gratified by the use of their food.

Their sense of hearing is acute. We are familiar with many of the sounds which they emit; and some of these are signals by which they gather round them their companions.

Their sense of smelling is powerful and delicate. Expose, any day in summer, a piece of putrid flesh, and though no flies were previously visible, swarms will quickly cluster round it. A few drops of honey wil speedily attract numbers of bees and wasps.

Mr. Rennie laid a bruised raisin, dipped in moist sugar, upon a grass plot, where a few ants of various species were observed straggling about, and it was not long before one of them discovered the prize. Desirous to prevent the individual from informing the rest, Mr. Rennie seized it, and several others, as they successively arrived ; but though he was not aware of any ant-hill within many yards of the spot, he could have caught several hundred within an hour at the raisin, none of which could have been informed by their companions, who had been kept close prisoners. That they were led by the smell also appeared from those belonging to the same nest arriving usually by the same straight track.

The perfection of their vision is equal to the acuteness of their other senses. The bee, after having loaded itself with the sweets of the distant flowery field, rises aloft in the air to reconnoitre its hive, and then returns with the rapidity of lightning, and the directness of a musket ball. And if anatomists are puzzled to explain, how we with two eyes see objects singly; it is still more astonishing, how a spider with eight eyes, a centipede with twenty, and a butterfly with thirty-five thousand points in its two eyes, can perceive only one object.

The sagacity which they discover is peculiarly interesting. Though destitute of any guide or instructor, they build their habitations with a skill which no mathematician can surpass, and adorn them with an elegance which no upholsterer can equal.

Their strength and perseverance are almost incredible. The labours of our miners are trifles, when compared with the excavations of grubs and caterpillars. Man thinks he stands unrivalled as an rchitect : but many of the insects have had their architects from time immemorial. they have had their houses divided into different compartments, and containing staircases, gigantic arches, domes, and colonnades. They have had their tunnels on so grand a scale, compared with their own bodies, as to be twelve times larger than the famous Thames tunnel at London, And if we think with wonder of the populous cities which have employed the united labours of man for many ages to bring to their full extent, what shall we say to the white ants, which require only a few months to build a metropolis, capable of containing an infinitely greater number of inhabitants than imperial Babylon and Rome in all their glory? And while their habitations are more numerous than ours, they are built on a scale three hundred times more magnificent than

any reared by human hands. So far are these litttle creatures from being overlooked or neglected by the great Author of all, many of them possess organs of which man and quadrupeds are destitute. Those which are formed to live on wood are provided with natural augers, files, and saws, to bore, cut, or rasp timber. In some the muscles are five, and in others ten times more numerous than in the human frame. The cuckoo-spit-frog-hopper has been observed to leap two or three yards, that is, more than 250 times its own length, as if a man of ordinary stature should vault through the air to the distance of a quarter of a mile. The elevation of the edifices reared by the white ants is five hundred times the height of the builders, Were our houses built according to the same proportions, they would be four or five times higher than the pyramids of Egypt.

The elegance of their form, and the richness and brilliancy of their colours, equal or surpass the finest specimens of tropical birds.

Hitherto we have been speaking only of insects; the creatures which come within the reach of our unassisted eye. But there is no end to the wonders of creating power and wisdom. When we take the microscope into our hands, the results of divine beneficence and skill multiply in every direction. Greater multitudes of living creatures are lying below our notice than all that come within the range of the unassisted eye.

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