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loser; the work will neither be done in quality or quantity as it ought to be, and therefore the intemperate habits of the workmen are a great loss and drawback to him. If there is any danger at all to British industry and commerce, it arises from the superior intelligence and sobriety of the continental workmen as compared with our own. If the British workman be at all inferior in these respects, it entirely arises from the habits of intemperance to which he is addicted.”

Mllustrations from the " Bridgewater Treatises."


WHOSE invaluable works, the “Bridgewater Treatises,” are, we fear,

therefore we purpose calling from them some of the more notable passages. The Earl of Bridgewater left by his will the sum of £8,000, to be spent upon producing works upon the power, wisdom, and goodness of God, as manifested in the creation. Eight priceless volumes were produced, from the first of which we now proceed to gather illustrations. It is “The History, Habits, and Instincts of Animals,” by Rev. Wm. Kirby.

The work commences with the lowest types of animal life, and finds among them abundant marks of the Creator's care. God among snails and shell-fish sounds strangely, but, were it not for our pride, it would seem more wonderful still to find God among sinful men. The first extract we have often used as a simile of the manner in which the work of grace is frequently carried on in the soul; commencing, perhaps, with an almost childish interest in some unimportant part of a religious service, or some other very doubtful type of thought, progressing into attachment to the means of grace, and ultimately reaching true spiritual life; not, however, without a divine interposition. It is not always that men are converted in a moment, but in many instances the work is as gradual as are the various stages from the lichen to the oak.

Everybody, who has eyes, is aware that vegetation takes place upon almost every substance, upon the bark of trees, upon naked rocks, upon brick walls and tiled roofs, and even upon glass when not constantly cleaned. The first plants that take on these their station, usually look like green or yellow powder, when they decay forming a little soil, in which others, more conspicuous, find sufficient nutriment ; and so one succeeds another, till a sufficient portion of soil covers the rock, etc., to afford the means of life and growth to more perfect plants, and often to arborescent ones. An analogous process takes place in the water. The matière verte, of French authors, makes its appearance, and other Hydrophytes, in conjunction with the Infusories, form, as it were, a first soil for the support and maintenance of animal life, both for those which derive their nutriment from vegetables, and those that feed on beings of their own class. Thus a maintenance is provided for higher forms, and, at last, for the highest; and a table is spread, both on the earth and in the waters, for every living thing, from that which the eye cannot discover, to man, the head and king of all. How wonderful and adorable is that Almighty Being, who thus made all things dependent upon each other, and based the visible world, in the three great departments into which we see it divided, upon an invisible basis, and in which cohesion and life are maintained by those powers which God has placed as rulers in the physical world, and by which he still acts upon the universe of existences.”

Those things, which to the superficial observer appear to be great evils, may really be of much benefit to us by preventing still greater ills. Thus, the ship-worm, which is so much the apparent enemy of commerce, is really its friend, since it frees the seas from accumulations of wreck, driftwood, etc., which would most seriously injure both man and the economy of nature. Moreover, around the corrective evil there are bounds set by Providence, in which we plainly perceive that when the devourer is sent for necessary purposes, he is nevertheless rebuked for our sake.

“ No animal has been more celebrated for the mischief it has occasioned as a timber-borer than the ship-worm (Teredo navalis). Though the animals of some of the land-shells, as the snails, do him some injury in his garden, man seldom suffers very materially from their ravages; but the ship-worm, where it gets head, does him incalculable injury, destroying piles as far as they are under the water, and everything that is constructed of timber that is placed within their reach, to which they are as injurious as the boring wood-louse; they even attack the stoutest vessels, and render them unfit for service. Their object, however, is not to devour the timber, but, with the same view that the pholads bore into the rock, to make for themselves a cell in which they may be safe from their enemies; their food is probably conveyed to them in the sea-water.”

« Various are the animals whose function it is to attack substances from which the vital principle is departed, nor are those, we see in the foregoing instance, which are submerged, always exempted from this law. Fortunately, the aquatic animals that prey upon timber fall very far short of the terrestrial ones in their number, and in the amount of the damage they occasion, and their aversion to fresh water is the safeguard of our bridges and other buildings that are erected upon piles. Did an animal, with the boring powers of the ship-worm, enter our rivers and abound there, we should see the magnificent bridges that so much adorn our metropolis, and are so indispensable to its inhabitants, gradually go to ruin ; the vast stones of which they are built might become the habitation of pholads and other rock-borers, and the communication between the two sides of the river greatly interrupted. But a merciful providence has so limited the instincts of the different animals it has created, that they cannot overstep a certain boundary, nor extend their ravages beyond the territory assigned to them. The law laid down to the ship-worm is, to hasten the decay of timber that is out of its place, and may be denominated an unsightly encroachment upon the ocean. This is the law they must obey, and they make no distinction whether it is disowned by all, or an important and valuable part of man's property. Their individual object, as has been stated above, is their own benefit, and they neither know that they obey a law of God, or injure man; but the Almighty, by an irresistible agency, impels

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them to it, and they fulfil the purposes of his providence at the same time that they provide for their own welfare."

The care of Providence is not exercised for man's sake alone, as we too often imagine. God cares for oxen, ay, and for microscopic infusoria; he balanced the clouds with an eye to the flight of the beetle, and forgot not the worm when he moulded the earth. Man, however, is the favoured creature, and for his good, though not for him alone, the animate world is arranged. This is peculiarly manifest in the fact that the most useful are also the most fertile creatures. The instance selected is one which may tend to allay the fears arising from a temporary diminution of the supply. “I shall now make some observations upon the oyster, which of all shell-fish, though it is one of the rudest and least sightly, has from every age been most in request as a favourite article of food. This gift of Providence is widely dispersed, being found on the coasts of Europe, Asia, and Africa; those that frequent our own are reckoned the best of all. They are not a roving animal, but when they leave the matrix they fix themselves to rocks or any substance that falls in their way, which they seldom quit. Like other Mollusca, they are hermaphrodites; and are stated by Poli, the great luminary of conchology, to contain 1,200,000 eggs, so that a single oyster might give birth to 12,000 barrels !! Providence has thus taken care that the demands made upon them to gratify the appetite of his creature man shall not annihilate the race.'

Did the reader ever notice how cleverly the common snail secures himself from the frosts of winter by making a solid shield over the opening of his shell? He casts forth a substance which sets and becomes as hard as plaster of Paris, and excludes the cold air altogether. is deeply interesting to mark how, having made one protecting wall, it goes on to fix partition after partition, and fills each cell so formed with air, till it has retreated as far as it can from every closed orifice of its shell, and effectually barricaded itself against a frozen death. Then in the spring, when the word is spoken-awake thou that sleepest-it begins immediately to act with energy, it re-inspires the air stored in the cells, bursts all its cerements, and returns to its summer haunts. To show how the snail knows his seasons and appointed times, our author remarks, “We may observe, with respect to snails and all hybernating animals, a beautiful relation and correspondence between their habits and their functions. Their official duty is to remove superfluities and nuisances, to prevent vegetable substances from encroaching too much upon each other, to remove entirely those that are dead and putrescent. At the season of the year, therefore, when the former are in full vigour, forth issue from their various retreats the innumerable tribes that make them their food; but when they cease to grow and flourish these services are not wanted, and the animals who perform them disappear from the face of nature. Again, when dead animals, or the excrements of living ones, or the sweets issuing from innumerable flowers, would clog the air that we breathe with effluvia unfriendly to health and life, countless armies are everywhere upon the wing, or on the alert, to prey upon sach substances and prevent their miasmata from breeding a pestilence amongst us; but when the cold season returns, the flowers lose their leaves and blossoms and exhale no longer their sweets, and the scents arising from dance upon

putrescent and other fætid substances become no longer annoying-then the whole army employed in this department disappears, and the face of nature seems to lose the most busy part of its population, gone to a long repose."

The variety of nature is charming, and the mutual action and reaction manifest everywhere is calculated to awaken adoring wonder in every mind. Even in so humble a living thing as the common snail of the sea infinite wisdom is resplendent. Our author says :

“The shell-fish of the aquatic tribe best known in this country is the periwinkle, vulgarly called the pin-patch, which, next to the oyster and the cockle, seems most in request as a relishing article of food. These animals, as I observed not very long since at Cromer, in Norfolk, appear to make the bladder-kelp, which at low water may be seen there in large patches, a kind of submarine pasture, for I found them in abun

it at low water. As the Creator willed that the waters, whether salt or fresh, should have their peculiar inhabitants, it was requisite that each should have its appropriate food. Did all feed upon the same substance there would be a universal struggle, unless, indeed, the entire variety of the submarine botanical world was done away, and one homogeneous article provided, in such quantity as to be a sufficient supply for all. But further, doubtless, different organisations and forms could not be maintained upon the same pabulum, and therefore different creatures required different articles of food, or different parts of the same article. Here was a mutual office—the numberless vegetable productions require to be kept within due limits, and therefore the function of the aquatic animals is to maintain them in due relative proportions. Were the ocean and all its streams planted as tow, and were there no animals of any description to keep in check the vegetable productions, they would in time grow up and choke the rivers, and gradually raise the bed of the ocean till there would be no more sea."

The style of Mr. Kirby's writing is very loose, and even at times ungrammatical, and his meaning is not in every passage very clear; still his two volumes are rich with accurate observation and devout feeling. We wish our Christian young men and women had more taste for solid reading like this. Alas! the religious tale is too frequently the more powerful attraction.

The following grand but rather complicated passage shall fill up this first basket of fragments from a feast by far too much neglected :

"When we take a first view of nature, we are struck by a scene which seems to be one of universal conflict, for the very heavens appear not clear from the charge: the philosopher who studies them tells us of antagonistic powers, that are perpetually striving with each other, the one to absorb all things in a common centre, the other to dissever them, and scatter them in illimitable space. And when we turn to the earth, what a scene of destruction is before us! The king of the terrestrial globe, man, constantly engaged in a struggle with his fellow man, often laying waste the earth, slaughtering its inhabitants, and deforming its productions—his subjects of the animal kingdom following the example of their master, and pitilessly destroying each other; the strong oppressing the weak, and most seeming bent to annihilate the races to which

they are opposed; so that, humanly speaking, in the lapse of ages, we might expect that one species of animals would be annihilated after another, till the whole were obliterated from the face of creation, and the sublime language of the prophet literally verified: 'I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void ; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled!

“But if, with our spirits depressed by the prospect of so universal a scene of mutual struggle and destruction, we listen again to the philosopher, he will tell us that the ceaseless struggle of the antagonistic powers of the heavens prevents, instead of causes, disorder and confusion; that by the powerful and mutual counteraction of these mighty opponents, all the heavenly bodies of our system are prevented from rushing to the centre, or being driven, dispersed, into their atoms, beyond the flammantia mænia mundi : that thus their annual and diurnal revolutions are maintained, that each observes its appointed course, keeps its assigned station, and ministers to the good and wellbeing of the whole system. If then we turn our view again to the earth, and take a nearer survey of things—if we consider the present tendency to multiply, beyond measure, of all things that have life, we shall soon be convinced that, unless this tendency was met by some check, the world of animated beings would be perpetually encroaching upon each other, and would finally perish for want of sufficient food; and we shall be equally well assured that the partial evils inflicted by one individual or one class upon another, to borrow a term from the Political Economist, proportions the demand to the supply; that thus both vegetables and animals are so accurately distributed, weighed so nicely against each other, as never to go a step beyond what God decrees, and what is most beneficial to the whole system; and that the actual number of every kind bears due relation to the work it has to do; and upon closer enquiry, we find, that though since the creation, probably in consequence of the great change in the moral state of the world, superinducing physical changes also, some species, no longer necessary, may have perished, yet that, in general, they have maintained their ground from age to age, in spite of the attacks of the great army of destroyers. To maintain things in this state, thus to order all things in measure, number, and weight,' as the wise man speaks, to cause all so to barmonise, and so out of death and destruction to bring forth life, indicates still more strongly the constant and wise superintendence, and powerful arm of a watchful Providence, and demonstrates irrefragably that there is a Great Being constantly at work, either mediately or immediately, to produce effects that, without his constant superintendence and intervention, could never take place. And thus, as sings the bard of Twickenham :

“All nature is but art unknown to thee;

All chance, direction which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony not understood ;
All partial evil, universal good.'”

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