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head, no less than the stars of heaven, are numbered
2. In taking a view of this earth, and the wonders it contains, we can hardly refrain from surveying also the heavens, which are spread, like a beautiful canopy,
There shines the sun, the king of day, dispensing light and heat to our world; and there the fixed stars, when the sun has retired, are seen to light up their lamps, and appear to the eye, in consequence of their distance, like a vast display of twinkling tapers, though they are actually suns to other worlds. There, too, the planets, which are bodies similar to our earth, and deriving light from our sun, are seen shining among the stars, but with a steadier brightness ; and the moon, though a smaller body, compared with the others, yet being nearer to us, appears to be a large and luminous orb, describing her wonderful revolu-, tions and changes. A cannon ball, if it should fly a thousand miles every hour, would not fly to the sun in less than ten years, nor to the nearest fixed star in less than two millions of years; yet light comes darting from the sun to us, in the space of eight minutes. Our earth and the other planets, large and weighty as they are, extending to thousands of miles in diameter, are always in motion, wheeling round the sun as their centre, and whirling, at the same time, like balls on a bowling green, round their own axis. A thousand miles in an hour, does the earth revolve on its axis ; and, in its annual circuit, it travels a million and a half of miles every day. Surely the power which impels it so rapidly, and guides it all along with infallible exactness, must be infinite !
3. Nature is a book, and every page of it is rich with ina's:stion. I“ u in our thoughts to the air or
atmosphere, which is all around our globe to an unknown height. It is a thin fluid mass, essential to our existence. It conducts the light and tends to spread it, and is thus the cause of the morning and the evening twilight. It supports the life of man, and animals, and plants. It conveys sounds to our ears, and odours to our nostrils. Its weight is the cause of water rising in a pump, and of mercury rising and falling in a weatherglass. Its motion, which we call the wind, keeps it from putrefying: and the wind also swells, at sea, the mariner's sails, and speeds his course along the watery way; while, upon land, it drives the wheels of machines, and scatters the seeds of numberless plants. The clouds are a kind of ocean suspended in the air, or moving lakes supplied chiefly from the sea, and sent abroad on the wings of the wind, to distil in dews and rain, to fall in snow or hail, to ooze in fountains, to trickle along in rivulets, to roll from the sides of mountains, and to flow in copious streams through thirsty lands and populous kingdoms, enriching and refreshing every soil, in every clime. When the clouds are charged to excess with what is called the electric fluid, the thunder is then heard to utter its voice, grumbling at a distance, or bursting in frightful peals over our heads; while the lightning, with forked fury, or in vast sheets of Alame, flashes around. In the air, at certain times, are also to be seen fire-balls and meteors, the northern lights and streamers; and, in showery weather, the rainbow, graceful and majestic, shews itself to the traveller, when his back is to the sun, flushing the firmament with its beautiful and lively tints of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
4. What a vast world of water is the sea, covering as it does more than two thirds of the globe, and ex
tending to a depth that cannot be fathomed; for lines of nearly a mile in length have not reached the bottom. This immense quantity of water is affected and kept inmotion, by the action of the sun and moon, which produces the regular tides; and, though it receives the refuse and filth of the whole world, yet by the ebbing and flowing of the tides, with the aid of the winds and storms, and its own natural saltness, it is preserved in purity, and fitted for the numberless tribes that inbabit it. From this cistern it is, that the sun, like a mighty engine, raises water to supply the whole earth with fertility; and how amazing it is, that this boundless mass of fluid salt, so nauseous to the taste, should yet be the original spring which quenches the thirst, both of man and every animal. How wonderfully too, is the sea, with its raging billows, kept within its bounds by a mere bank of sand; and instead of being anime passable gulf and a bar of separation to mankind, it is now the great bond of union between the most distant nations. By the discovery of the loadstone or magnet, á mean, and otherwise worthless fossil, the mariner is guided through the trackless ocean, and crosses, without fear, the flaming equator, visits the frozen pole, and wings his way even round the globe. What a multitude of ships are continually passing and repassing this great thoroughfare, and how astonishing that an element so unstable as water should bear up their weight; that the thin air should drive on, with such speed, enormous and unwieldy bodies, which the strength of an army scarcely could move ; and that the air and water together, should carry to the distance of many thousand miles, what the united force of men and machines could scarce drag a single yard !
5. The whole universe is a picture, in which the perfections of the Deity, his wisdom, his power, and his goodness are pourtrayed. The spacious canopy over our heads he has painted with blue ; and the ample carpet under our feet he has tinged with green; that these colours, being the softest to the eye, may, yield us a perpetual refreshment. Whereas, had the face of nature glistered always with white, or glowed with scarlet, such dazzling hues, instead of cheering, would have fatigued the sight and been hurtful. The carth is uneven in its surface; but this adds to its beauty, and increases its usefulness, by varying the prospect and giving a current to the stream. The little hills, by their gay appearance, as the psalmist says, clap their hands, and the valleys seem to sing to the praise of their Maker. The mountuins also, with their tops amidst the clouds, and their foundations so firm, indicate his greatness. They were set fast by his strength ; and, like all his other works, are resting on his mighty arm. But immense and immoveable as they appear, he can shake them with a word, and terrify the nations around them. Dreadful carthquukes, on some occasions, have swallowed up whole towns, with their inhabitants. Burning mountains or volcunues have been made to throw up fire and smoke, with the most awful bellowings. Lava, or liquid fire, has run down their sides like a broad and fearful river, destroying every thing in its progress ; huge rocks bave been thrown from their burning bowels to the distance of several miles; and ashes have been thrown to a distance almost incredible; and sometimes quantities of boiling water have preceded these eruptions. Such striking things as these-thunder, lightning, storms, earthquakes, volcanoes are expressive emblems of God's anger; while his more ordinary operatious, such
as seasonable rains, gentle breezes, sunshine, and har. vest, demonstrate to our view his bounty and goodness.
6. While verdure' adorns the face of the earth, fose sils of every kind enrich its bowels. In the quarries and the mines, as in the cellars of our dwelling, is stored up a vast magazine of mineral treasures. Here are placed beneath our feet, and so as not to encumber us, all sorts of stone and material for building, marble for ornament, chalk and limestone to burn into lime, flint to make glass, slate to cover houses, coal and peat to be fuel, and clay to mould into vessels of any shape and size, salt to mix with our food, nitre and sulphur used for gunpowder, and black lead for pencils. Here áre gold and silver, the most rare and precious of metals, and best adapted for money ; also copper and zinc, of which they make brass; and lead and tin, a mixture of which is called pewter; and iron likewise, the most useful and plentiful of the metals; together with diamonds and pebbles and precious stones-all locked up, as it were, in ample vaults below ground; but the key of these vaults is given to industry': and, in considering the provision that is every where made for our comfort and our use, it is not easy to say whether we should most admire the bounty or the wisdom of our great Creator.
7. There are said to be a hundred thousand different species of plan!s on the surface of the earth, some delighting in a dry soil, others in moist ground, some in Alpine regions, others in the plains, some in great heat, and others in cold. Grass, so necessary for cattle, and wheat, barley, and oats, so' useful as food to man, are the most abundant of the vegetable tribes, and have been adapted by the creator to 'almost every clime. Thousands of plants have been fórined to blush unseen,