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read over the distinct catalogue of the different kinds, from the huge Leviathan, monarch of the deep, to the minute and almost indiscernible inhabitant of the waters, to the Smelt, or the Minnow : we should perceive, that neither the animal, nor the feathered creation could boast either a more numerous, or a more diversified race. The peculiarity of shapes obfervable in fome, the wonderful qualities discovered in others, ftill enhance our surprize at the inexhaustible wisdom of the Creator. The Swordfish, and the Polypus ; the Torpedo, the Cuttle-figh, and the Nautilus, are instances amongst a thoufand: and serve to prove to us, that the Deity is confined to no one mode of action ; but that he is no less diversified in the manner, than in the matter of his productions. For the variety in the shelly tribe, we refer our inquisitive readers to the cabinets of the curious, and to the grottos of the polite--so much the taste of our prefent times, and properly the taste, if the sur. vey of such beautiful and variegated productions, tend to elevate the mind, and to lift the soul in grateful adoration to that God of wonder and wisdom, who formed all these things, and gave them to man, as a glass wherein he might see lively traces of his almighty Creator ! How amiable will it be, if while the fair hands of our British ladies dispose their va
rious and polished shells, with all the elegance of fancy; they remember at the same time, whose unparallelled wisdom produced these beauties of nature ; and admonished hereby of his excellence, resolve to be most excellent themselves, by paying him unremitted honour.
But the Deity (though never neglectful of beauty and harmony in his works) is not used to consult variety and elegance alone : Utility is the great end of his creation : and where is it more discernible than in that part, which we at present contemplate? The inhabitants of the deep not only supply the tables of the rich and wealthy with a continual repast; but afford the poorer, children of the earth a happy provifion, which in many cases they attain, with the utmost ease, and which in all cases they attain at the smallest expence. And not only food, but other advantages are derived from the watery race : the Whale is a sufficient proof : industry and commerce can also bring instances from fishes, of a fize contemptible, though not in advantage inferior even to the Whale !
There is one particular more respecting the natives of the deep, which deserves to be mentioned, and that is their amazing increase. As they live upon each other, prodigious devastations ensue : and therefore the Creator hath or
F2 . dained, dained, that their reparation should be as prodigious. They bring forth by thousands and millions ! Mr. Petit found 342,144 eggs in the hard roe of a carp, fixteen inches long: and Mro Lewenhoeck counted in a cod of an ordinary size 9,384,000 eggs ! how wonderful a fecundity! and how well adapted to the exigencies of the watery world, where so great depredations are inade continually, not only by the inhabitants one upon another, but also by man, who spreads, universal havock through creation, to supply his necessities !
With respect to the vegetable productions of the deep, the stony coral, the pellucid amber, the fibrous sea-weed, &c. we shall only observe, that the manner of their growth is peculiar: they shoot not, as other vegetables, their fibres into the soil, and thence drink their support: but, fed by the circumambient waters, they adhere even to the moft solid rocks, and are tacked, as it were, to the hardest flints, only to be secured 'from the random agitation of the waves. Such is the diversity of the divine works! a diversity, obfervable in his dealings with men, who, endued with different talents, appear in different stations, and are called to different employs, each concurring, with consummate harmony, to the proper conduct and perfection of the great Creator's plan !— We may also just observe, that to the productions of the ocean, as
well as to the waters of it, health oweth many obligations : for many things useful and efficacious in medicine are derived from thence. "
But while I stand on the shore, and 'behold the waters on one hand thundering with impetuous violence against the vast cliffs, which rear their mighty heads, as it were in contempt, over the infolent waves : and on the other hand, behold the foaming billows' die away, not daring to advance on the level sand; I am in doubt which most to admire, the greatness of the former, or the weakness of the latter, by which this restless element is controuled! It would seem most confonant to our ideas, that · impregnable cliffs and precipices should be the boundary of the vast deep : but cliffs and precipices seem, in many cases, rather a providential defence of the shore, than limits appointed to the waves : the fand is the barrier affixed by omnipotence.-The sand, impotent and weak, yet, through God's ordination, rendered more forcible than a wall of brass! and thus he constantly displays his power : making things in appearance most impotent, productive of the greatest effects ! Fear ye not me, faith the Lord, will ye not tremble at my presence, who have placed the sand for the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail : though they roar, yet can they not pass over it !-So let the.
waves of wickedness and infidelity roar against that church, which was founded in weakness, by the crucifixion of a despised Galilean, yet shall they not prevail : God's strength is made perfect in weakness.
The Scriptures present the sea to us, in its troubled state, as an emblem of the wicked man: The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rejt: whole waters caft up mire and dirt. And a ftronger emblein cannot well be imagined : for the foul deeds of iniquity are noxious as the of. fensive weeds and filth of the sea, and the conscience, continually in terrors, knows nothing of that placid calm and smiling repose, which lodges in the good man's breast. Let the paffionate and iniquituous contemplate the ocean, in this view ; and intreat him, who commanded the winds and the waves into peace, to hush their tempestuous disorders, and to introduce the sweet calm of virtue into their souls.
Many moralists have compared life to the ocean: which how smooth soever it may seem to invite us to its surface; the calm is deceitful, and will not long eontinue ; storms and tempests will arise and toss the troubled veffel. While we sail through life, we must not expect a perpetual serenity : Difficulties, trials and afflictions await all mankind ; and happy they, who can steer their vessel safe amidst them into the harbour of everlasting rest!