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strains from breaking loose, till that appointed time, when he shall commission it to act with full power. That the fire is diffused all around us, and is extended from the fixed stars and the sun to our globe, does appear from this, that the light fills all that space, which is plainly nothing else but the fire itself which produces different sensations and effects, as it is differently modified and impressed upon us. When it strikes our bodies in an irregular and confused motion, or after the manner of a vortex, it produces heat; when it comes to our eyes in straight lines, it causes light; when weakly, though directly, reflected to us from the disk of the moon, it produces light without heat; when collected in the focus of a concave burningglass, or of a transparent convex body, it gives a strong light, and burns whatever it touches; its power is always in proportion to its quantity; and the different sensations it excites, arise from the different motions and modifications impressed upon it.
"This subtle and active element, is distributed in great abundance all round the earth; nay, it penetrates into the most secret recesses of it; it is dispersed in all the woods that cover it; it links in the grease of animals, whose bodies cannot subsist without it; but it abounds still in greater plenty, in the bitu men, oils, sulphurs, sea-coal, and in those vast beds of turf, which lie hid under the surface of the earth. It is continually at work in the hot springs and volcanos under ground, whose number and force is found rather to increase than to diminish. It sometimes displays its dreadful power in the upper regions of the air, and in loud volleys of thunder; and all the flaming artillery of the sky beats a dismal prelude to the universal conflagration! How amazing the voice of that thunder! how tremendous those flashes of lightning which make the wild beasts of the forest afraid, and to hide their heads! nay, which dart terror and dismay into the stoutest hearts, and make even kings acknowledge their weakness and dependence! The secret horror which every man feels in his own breast at such a time, is a tacit confession of the irresistible force of that all-devouring fire, and does, as it were, force upon his mind the belief of that final conflagration, which, when in a state of tranquillity, or the height of jollity, he so much looks upon as a fable.
"Fire holds such an universal sway in nature, that even water itself is not without an admixture of this element; for it grows hard and congeals when the fire leaves it, and is only restored to a state of fluidity by its entering into it again, and by that separation which it causes in its parts by rarefaction.So far is water from being an enemy to fire, as is generally imagined, that it no otherwise prevents its acting upon wood, or any other combustible matter, than by laying hold of the particles of it, and flying away with them on the wings of the
rarefied air; nor does it extinguish, but only absorb the fire; it being, with regard to fire, the same as a sponge is to water. Ta The sponge has no natural aversion or antipathy to the water; and the only reason why the other disappears upon the former's being steeped in it is, because the one insinuates itself into the pores of the other: so, in like manner, the fire does not shew itself by any sensible effects in the water, because it is, as it were, sheathed and invelop'd in it; insomuch that we may with some degree of truth affirm, that the whole mass of waters in the sea is an ocean of fire: seeing there are not two distinct drops of this element which do not owe their fluidity to some particles of fire enclosed within them; for as a sponge, or any other porous body which imbibes the water, does restrain it from motion, so the water does absorb and confine the fire.
The fire then is dispersed all over the face of Nature: it makes its utmost efforts everywhere to overcome all opposition, and to break loose from its confinement; but it does not everywhere prevail, for want of auxiliary forces. What the united strength of thirty children would easily overthrow, that of a single one would not be able to move; so likewise, the particles of fire in any body must remain dormant and inactive, till they concur with united strength, to force their way through all obstacles that oppose their fury. Thus we see that all those innumerable fiery corpuscles which surround us on every side, are so many enemies, which are conspiring and plotting the destruction of our habitation, and which only wait till God shall give the word of command for them to collect their scattered forces, in order to accomplish it. A very learned and ingenious Heathen took occasion, from reflecting on the danger we are continually in of such a catastrophe, to remark, That it was the greatest miracle in the world that every thing in nature was not consumed by fire every day since the world began *. See Spectacle de la Nature, Lond. Edit. 1736. Vol. III. p. 450.
Excedit profectò omnia miracula ullum fuisse diem in quo non cuncta confla. grarent. Plin. Hist. Nat. L. 2.
THE INDUSTRY OF THE ANT IMPROVED.
THE wise man, who was a great natural philosopher, directs us, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to observe the Ant, which is indeed a curious creature, well worthy of our notice. The head is large, adorned with two horns, each having twelve joints; its eyes are protuberant and pearled; it has jaws indented like a saw, with seven little teeth, which exactly
correspond, opening side-ways very wide, so that it can grasp and carry bodies of four times its own bulk and weight. The head, breast, and belly, or tail, are joined to each other by a very slender ligament. The tail is furnished with a sting, from which it emits, when provoked, a poisonous liquid, which occasions pain and swelling.
Upon opening an ant-hill, we may perceive these busy creatures carrying in their mouths, and securing with great solici tude, small whitish bodies, usually called their eggs, but which are, in fact, ants in their aurelia state, each encompassed with an integument of its own spinning. The parents' concern for these is so strong, that when alarmed, they instantly run away with them; and will sooner die than leave them.
Every ant's nest has a strait hole leading into it, about the depth of half an inch; which afterwards runs sloping downwards to the public magazine, where the grains they collect are stored up;, to prevent the growth of which, they bite out the germen or bud. This is their constant practice; and if their corn be examined, no bud will be found in it, nor will it grow if sown in the earth. There is another inconvenience, however, which they have a curious method of preventing. Were the grain to continue in a moist place under ground, it would rot, and be unfit for their food. They therefore gather small particles of earth which they bring out of their holes, and place them in a heap to dry in the sun. They next bring out their grain in the same manner to dry it; but this they never do, unless the weather be clear and the sun hot; but when both are favourable, they per form it almost every day.
A gentleman once found a nest of ants in a box of earth, placed out of a two pair of stairs window, from which they made excursions both upwards to the top of the house, where some corn lay in a garret, and downwards into a garden that was overlooked by the window. Notwithstanding this great distance, none of them ever returned empty, but each brought a grain of wheat or oats, a small seed, or even a particle of dry earth, if nothing else could be got. Some travelled to the end of the garden, and with prodigious labour, brought heavy loads from thence. It required four hours to effect this work; so that a poor ant seemed to labour as hard as a man who should carry a heavy load twelve miles a day.
The pains they took to carry grains of corn up a wall to the second story, climbing all the way with their head downwards, must be exceeding great. Their weariness appeared, by their frequent stopping at the most convenient places; and some appeared so fatigued, that they could not reach their journey's end: in which case, it was common to see the strongest ants, which had carried home their load, come down again, and help them. Sometimes they were so unfortunate, as to fall down together. with their burdens, when just in sight of home; but when this
happened, they seldom lost their corn, but carried it up again. One has been observed to fall in this manner three times successively, yet she never let go her hold, but renewed the attempt till at last, her strength utterly failing, she was obliged to stop, and another ant assisted her to carry home her load to the public stock *.
How wonderful is the sagacity of these little creatures! How commendable their care, diligence, and labour! How generous their assistance of each other, their public virtue, which is never neglected for the sake of private interest! But O, how wonderful is the God who formed these curious creatures, and from whom all their sagacity proceeds! What a lesson do they teach us! and what a reproof do they give us! well expressed by our British David :
Some English naturalists deny that ants form any magazine of provisions for winter in our climate; but admit it may be true in other Countries.
'Tis just to damn, that for damnation calls. Shakspeare......}
To the Editor.
There are many eye-witnesses, now residing at Holyhead, who can bear testimony to the truth of the following awful event:Holyhead.
A STRANGER, of an uncommon immoral character, much given to drunkenness, cursing and swearing, one night arrived at Holyhead, with an intention of going over the Channel to Dublin, on board of one of the packets. Involving himself in drunkenness in an alehouse, he greatly grieved the company by his repeating that too common dreadful sentence, "D-n my eyes," again and again, till he was pleased to quit his companions. Out he went, and as he walked afterwards in the dark along the quay, looking out for the packet, he fell into the sea and was drowned. On the morrow, at low-water, his corpse was found void of its eyes, according to his profane wishes the night before. Though our sovereign and most gracious Lord is more ready to incline his ears to the prayers of the distressed, and to fulfil the sincere wishes of the penitent sinner, than to hear the curses of a hard-hearted profligate, yet sometimes he is so provoked by crying sins, that he sweeps away the wicked to destruction, by the ever-unerring hand of his displeasure, as an example to others.
A CIRCULAR LETTER, BY A VENERABLE CLERGYMAN; Which he has lately printed, and sent to many of his Brethren.
I VENTURE to take the liberty of requesting your serious consideration of the few following important particulars respecting yourself, and respecting your ministry.
1. Every one who wishes to act the part of a faithful minister of the gospel, should daily make a point of attending to the saved state of his own soul. Do not neglect yourself; suffer no application of Cant. i. 6. Your first morning-exami nation should be, not your ministry, but your..own spiritual case; and the inquiry should be, how is the state of your own soul, as to the knowledge of that gospel for yourself, which you engage officially to preach to others? Preach well to yourself first, to preach well, to others afterwards. Labour to be taught, then labour to teach. Be the prime hearer of your own sermons. Be not satisfied with, tho' you should be thankful for, a doctrinal knowledge of the gospel mysteries, by education, books, or friends. If you believe them but speculatively, you may preach them but speculatively. Pray to feel their weight upon your own heart; then you will know how so to preach to them, as that your hearers may also feel them on theirs. Be an experimental Christian, to be an experimental preacher; then your hearers will be likely to become experimental hearers.Your own experience will be your own happiness; as the former increases, the latter will; happy pastor, and happy flock, because both will be spiritual! On the other hand, the neglect of yourself will occasion the neglect of others. If your own soul should not be thus attended to, you will be in danger of feeling but little for your people, because you will feel but little for yourself that may be lost in speculation which should be found in experience; and formality may be discovered without spirituality. An inattention to this capital point, remember, may be evidencing itself also in superficial conversation with others, or in reading much of literary or entertaining books by yourself. Allowedly, or unexpectedly, you may be losing a portion of that spiritual mindedness you should be increasing. The apostle's word is, "Take heed unto thyself, thou shalt save thyself," &c. Inattention to this may cause you to become poor, when you should be rich towards God. The consequence to be feared is, that, by a blameable imperfection in your ministry, you will keep many of your hearers poor, instead of "making many rich." Their hurtful poverty may be occasioned by your own; be a friend to your own soul, to be a friend to theirs.