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ness was necessary to the exhibition. Some begged any one within their reach to find a seat for them, and then sat quietly down; while others went groping all about, refusing the assistance of their neighbours, and causing no small disturbance. At last an infirm old gentleman
ame in, who being obliged to walk with a stick, could not feel his way with his hands, and seemed very much perplexed. Fanny asked her mother if she might offer to assist him, and he very gratefully accepted her arm, while she led him to a safe corner. He told her if she liked to sit by him, he should perhaps be able to explain some things to her, as he was very fond of natural history, and had a microscope of his own, Fanny's mother willingly agreed to change her seat; and they were afterwards very glad they had done it, for the gentleman was so good-natured, that they did not hesitate in asking him questions, and he explained several things very clearly to them.
The first two objects that were shown did not please Fanny at all. A bug magnified to the size of a guinea pig, and a flea in the same proportion. They did not appear less disgusting than in their natural size, and she was glad to turn away her head, and listen to her new friend, who bade her notice the wise and merciful design of Providence, in making all plants and reptiles noxious to man, disgusting in their habits and appearance. He reminded her of several poisonous plants—the henbane and the deadly nightshade, the animals now before her, and the toad, the adder, &c. &c. Fanny observed that the berries of the nightshade seemed to be an exception, for they were of a bright black colour, and looked rather tempting, she thought, in the hedge where she had seen them growing: but her mother reminded her, that in taste they were so disagreeable, that no one would touch them a second time. The disk on which the objects were shown, was now clear, and Fanny watched eagerly to see what would come next. It was the sting of a bee; it was drawn out of the sheath, in which it remains when not used by the animal, but the sheath was also exhibited. Both were very curious ; the sting looked like a beautifully polished needle, and the sheath had slight notches
on either side, all perfectly regular in form and size. A small needle was next shown; it looked like a skewer, and was covered with little rough points. Fanny thought that they had chosen a very bad specimen, and the needle must have been injured or rusty; but the showman stated that it was one of the best Whitechapel needles, and that it was only owing to the strong power of his microscope that these imperfections were visible. “ If you had it in your hand, gentlemen and ladies," he said, " you would find it to be a very highly polished twelvesized needle."-" Mark the difference, my young friend," said the old gentleman, “ between the works of nature and the works of art. Did you perceive any imperfection on the polished sting of the bee when that was magnified by the same power? No, the more we examine the works of the Creator, the more we shall find reason to admire their wonderful perfection, and adore the Hand that made them. But the works of man will not bear the same scrutiny; we shall ever find, as in the needle, roughness, irregularity, and imperfection. And now you are going to have another proof of the truth of this observation. Look.”—Fanny did so, and saw a single hair of the human head, the size of a rope, but perfectly even, and as perfect in form and appearance, as when drawn from the head, and seen in its natural size,-a piece of thread of the same apparent size, was next exhibited, and the difference was indeed striking : it appeared full of knots, and so uneven that Fanny wondered how she could ever work neatly with such rough needles and knotty thread.
The next object pleased Fanny more than any she had yet seen; it was the wing of one of the smaller kind of dragon flies, that we see flitting over the surface of the water on a summer's day. When magnified, the construction was more fully seen, but without any diminution of its beauty. The nerves that support the wing, and the muscles that open it or fold it up, were all visible, and Fanny's friend pointed out to her the use of the several parts. The net-work, of which the wing was composed, would bear the closest inspection: it was beautifully regular. As if in contrast, a small piece of bobbinet was then exhibited; and Fanny laughed at the
side for she soften put The
grotesque forms of the little round holes which she had hitherto thought were of equal size, and the same form. “ But how can this be?” she said, " because pins of one size are used to make the holes, therefore they must be all the same." Her mother reminded her of the magnified needle,-a pin was doubtless as imperfect, and the roughness of the pin produced this inequality in the net.
But it is not so amusing to read of these things as to look at them; and I will not, therefore, weary my readers with a list of all the various objects that were shown. A piece of thistle down, with the seed attached, instructed Fanny, for the old gentleman noticed to her the admirable contrivance for thus carrying the seed on the wings of the wind; and the ease with which even distant islands might be thus replenished with nature's gifts. The last object was a single drop of water: it was kept to be shown last, as it was considered the most wonderful. Fanny at first closed her eyes, for she said she would not be disgusted with what she must so often put into her mouth; but her friend bid her not be alarmed. The drop of water she was about to see was taken from a dirty ditch, and she might still fancy spring water to be as pure as it appears to be. It was indeed curious to see the new race of animals in this drop of water all swimming about, and chasing each other just as we sometimes see larger animals in a fish pond on a sunny day. It was like opening upon a new world. · "The sight of these wonders should humble us," observed Fanny's friend, as they walked away from the exhibition, "and increase our faith. We think much of the power, and cleverness, and superiority of man; but how clearly do we perceive that all our faculties are finite, confined to a very narrow limit. Much may and does exist around us, and about us, without being perceived by us. We look at the water, and see none of these living creatures; we raise our eyes, and see nothing between us and the clouds; yet, in bright sunshine, the atoms float around us, and remind us that the air, as well as the water, is full of living beings, though beyond the reach of our eye. Shall we then refuse to believe in the existence of unseen spirits ? Shall we disregard the
ministry of angels because we see them not? Shall we almost daily make new discoveries in the works of the Creator here below, and yet refuse to believe his works above?"
“ Your remark reminds me," said Fanny's mother, “ of the passage in St. Paul, Rom. i. 20: “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, even his eternal power and godhead.'" “ Yes,” rejoined their friend,“ the work of creation is so wonderful, and so often beyond our comprehension, that we cannot be surprised if the work of redemption is also beyond our weak understandings. Shall one among the many myriads of created beings presume to understand the Almighty Creator of all ? It is really difficult to suppose that any reasonable man, with the use of his senses, should be an atheist. Such an one may deceive his own heart, and fancy that he does not believe in a God, because he will not worship and obey Him ; but it seems impossible that he should seriously believe that all this world, and he himself as part of it, was produced out of nothing, by nothing !"
After saying this, the old gentleman took leave of Fanny and her mother, inviting them to call upon him some day, and look at his microscope. This offer was gladly accepted, and Fanny was well pleased that she had gone forward to assist the infirm gentleman when he came into the exhibition.
EXTRACTS FROM MY FAMILY BIBLE.
Matt. iii. 7-16. John the Baptist was not only a prophet, but he had been the subject of prophecy. Malachi' speaks of him as the messenger who was to prepare the way before our Emmanuel,-God in the flesh. He was indeed honoured above all that were ever born of women. He walked as it were immediately before our Emmanuel, to prepare his way, and he had the wondrous honour of baptizing Him. Yet, notwithstanding the high honour
1 Malachi iii. 1.,
put upon this great prophet, the most humble teacher of the Gospel is greater than he. John preached repentance; the ministers of the Gospel preach not only repentance, but pardon, full, free, perfect pardon of sins, to all who believe in Jesus;-nay more, they proclaim not only that perfect pardon, but perfect righteousness, is given to believers in and through Jesus Christ.
We read that all the people counted John for a prophet, that they considered him a powerful messenger from heaven'. They pressed to hear his discourses. " All the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, went out unto him, and were all baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins ?." Publicans and soldiers, the most careless livers among the people, went to him for advice, so powerfully did he preach that they even doubted whether or not he was the Christ'. Thus, my family, the kingdom of heaven was taken by force; all were anxious to press into it. The prophets and the Law taught the people till John came; “ but now," says our blessed Lord, if you will believe it, he is come, whom the prophet Malachi proclaimed as Elias, a prophet in the " spirit and power of Elijah," severely rebuking sin", before the great and terrible day of the Lord, the day of the destruction of the faithless city of Jerusalem. Well might our Lord cry out, “He that hath ears to ear let him hear,” and well would it have been for the Jews if they had heard. The publicans, the harlots, the people who had sinned much, they did listen; but the greater part of the rulers and priests, who thought themselves too good to repent and believe the Gospel, were deaf to the words both of the messengers of Christ and of Christ Himself. They would have neither the reproof of the one, nor the comfortable words of the other; so they perished in their sins, and so also will all those in every age who do like them. “ He that hath ears to ear, let him hear," now in this his day of salvation, for there is no repentance, no Gospel in the grave. O how unreasonable is man, my dear family. He will find some excuse for not being religious; he will have something * Matt. xiv. 5. ? Mark i. 5.
3 Luke iii. 10–16 4 Luke i. 17.
5 Malachi iv. 5, 6.