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nitude and brightness, traverse the heavens in cloudless majesty? But can we suppose that an infinitely wise Being has adorned the celestial canopy with these sublime objects merely as a beautiful spectacle or picture? Would he have formed those suns merely that the inhabitants of this earth might have the pleasure of seeing in the firmament a number of luminous points, of whose nature and destination they know little, and which are often not to be seen at all ? No one who takes a broad survey of nature, and observes the wonderful harmony and agreement between all her works and their proposed end, can suffer such an idea to enter his mind. We cannot doubt but God, when he ordained the stars to shine, had a much more exalted view than to procure for us an agreeable sight. Though we cannot precisely determine all the particular ends which they may serve, it will not be difficult to acknowledge that one of their uses is the advantage as well as ornament of this world, of which the following observations will doubtless convince us.
Amongst those stars which are most easily distinguished there are some constantly observed in the same part of the heavens, and which we always see immediately over our heads. These are certain guides to those who travel during the obscurity of night, by sea as well as by land. To the mariner they point out his course, and enable him to reach the place of his destination. Other stars vary their as. pects, and though they always preserve the same situation with regard to one another, they daily, with respect to us, change the order of their rising and setting; and their vari. ations, which are performed in regular order, are to us of great utility; they serve to measure time and to regulate it by fixed laws. The constant and stated revolutions of the stars accurately determine the end and the return of the seasons. By these means the labourer knows precisely when to trust his seeds to the earth, and in what order to conduct the cultivation of the fields.
But whatever benefit the stars in these respects may oontribute to the earth, we ought not to presume that is the only or the principal end which God has proposed in the creation of these wonderful bodies. Is it possible to believe that the wise Creator has filled the immense expanse of æther with millions of worlds and of suns, merely, that a
few individuals of this earth may be enabled to measure time and ascertain the return of the seasons ? Doubtless these numerous globes are formed for much nobler purposes, and each one has its particular destination. All these stars, being so many suns, with the power of communicating light, heat, and animation to other spheres, is it probable that God should have endowed them with this power in vain ? Would he have created suns which can shoot their rays far as the earth, unless he had also created other worlds to enjoy their benign influence? . Would God, who has peopled with so many living creatures this earth, which is but as a point in the heavens, have fixed in the regions of space so many vast orbs, desert and uninhabited, fruitlessly to roll their course ? Certainly not. We have every reason to believe that each of the fixed stars which we see over our heads by thousands, one above another, and all around, far as the eye can penetrate, and yet farther, to distances immeasurable by our limited faculties, are suns equally resplendent as that which beams on our horizon, the life of our system; have each worlds revolving round their centre, and receiving the blessings of their influence. We may also suppose that these spheres serve as abodes to different orders and species of living creatures, all rejoicing in the power and celebrating the magnificence of God. Though these are only conjectures, formed from the little we know of the wonders of nature, yet they are conjectures which fill the mind with awe and reverence, open to it a vast and boundless field of thought, do away the contracted and partial notions we may entertain of ourselves, and tend to soften and to ameliorate our hearts.
Curious Formation of the Eye.
TAB eye infinitely surpasses all the works of human industry. Its structure is the most wonderful thing the understanding of man can become acquainted with: the most skilful artist cannot invent any machine of this kind which
is not infinitely inferior to the eye; whatever ability, industry, and attention he may devote to it, he will not be able to produce a work that does not abound with the imperfections incident to the works of men. It is true we can. not become perfectly acquainted with all the art which Divine Wisdom has displayed in the structure of this beautiful organ; but the little that we do know suffices to convince us of the admirable intelligence, goodness, and power of the Creator.
In the first place, the disposition of the exterior parts of the eye is excellent. How admirably it is defended ! Placed in durable orbits of bone, at a certain depth in the skull, the globe of the eye cannot easily suffer any injury. The over-arching eyebrows contribute much to its beauty and preservation; and the eyelids more immediately shelter it from the glare of light, and other things which might be prejudicial; inserted in these are the eye-lashes, which also much contribute to the above effect, and also prevent small particles of dust and other substances striking against the eye.*
The internal structure is still more admirable. The globe of the eye is composed of tunics, humours, muscles, and vessels : the first coat is called the cornea, or exterior membrane, which is transparent anteriorly, and opake posteriorly; next the choroid, which is extremely vascular; then the uvea, with the iris, which being of various colours, gives the appearance of different coloured eyes, and being perfo rated, with the power of contraction and dilatation, forms the pupil; and, lastly, the retina, which is a fine expansion of the optic nerve, and upon it the impressions of objects are made. The humours are, first, the aqueous, lying in the fore part of the globe, immediately under the cornea; it is thin, liquid, and transparent : secondly, the crystalline which lies next to the aqueous, behind the uvea, opposite to the pupil ; it is the least of the humours, of greater so
* Besides these, amongst the external parts are enumerated the lachrymal gland, which secretes the tears; the lachrymal caruncle, a small fleshy substance at the inner angle of the eye: the puncta lachrymalia, two small openings on the nasal extremity of each eyelash ; the lacbrymal duct, formed by the union of the ducts leading from the puncta lachrymalia, and conveying the tears into the nose; the lachrymal sac, a dilatation of the la. 'chrymal canal. E,
Lidity, and on both sides convex: the third is the vitreous, resembling the white of an egg; it fills all the hind part of the cavity of the globe, and gives the spherical figure to the eye. The muscles of the eye are six, and by the excellence of their arrangement it is enabled to move in all directions. Vision is performed by the rays of light falling on the pel. lucid and convex cornea of the eye by the density and convexity of which they are united into a focus, which passes the aqueous humour and pupil of the eye to be more condensed by the crystalline lens. The rays of light thus concentrated penetrate the vitreous humour, and stimulate the retina, upon which the images of objects, painted in an inverse direction, are represented to the mind through the medium of the optic nerves.
Thus we have abundant cause to thank the God of mercy who has so exquisitely formed the eye, and to acknowledge the wisdom, power, and admirable skill displayed in its structure and wonderful organization. May we never forget the benefits we have received, nor the blessings we enjoy, but ever look up to the Author of our being with gra. titude! When we see the various woes and miseries which afflict many of our fellow-creatures, let not our eyes refuse the tear of sympathy, nor our hearts be shut against compassion. May tears of joy flow from every eye, when we receive the renewed proofs of God's goodness and love; and let us rejoice when we are enabled to sooth the anguish of our afflicted brethren, or wipe the tear from the poor and the disconsolate. Thus shall we fulfil the design of our Maker, and enjoy the approbation of our God.
· FEBRUARY VI,
AMONGST the numerous phenomena which we see in winter, the fog or mist, particularly merits our attention. It is formed of exhalations, which occupy the lower region of the atmosphere; they arise from the earth, and are con. densed by the greater coldness of the surrounding air.
During the continuance of a mist, a gray mantle is spread over the face of nature ; every object is imperfectly seen and enveloped in obscurity; the eye often in vain attempts to pierce the thick curtain; all is confused and indistinct : the rising sun slowly disperses these vapours, which at length are gradually dissipated; his power is confessed, obscurity vanishes before his rays, the surrounding objects are restored to our view, and the heavens resume their wonted light and beauty. The mist is, however, still seen on the earth, but it is close to the ground, or hangs on the roofs of houses; and the horizon, so long veiled from sight, now opens upon us. As the face of the earth, before the sun beams upon it, is overspread with fog,dew, and vapours, so once were the blessed regions of science and of knowledge enveloped in the thick mist of ignorance and of superstition; whole countries were obscured, kingdoms obum. brated, and darkness ruled with a leaden sceptre the grovelling race that licked and grew fat beneath her chains; whilst error, prejudice, and sloth, so clouded their facul. ties and benumbed their feelings, that light was not sought for, nor wisdom esteemed; human reason was no more, and innocence had retired. At length the moment arrived when, the measure of their iniquity being filled, the triumph of darkness, of ignorance, and of superstition was to cease. The sun once more dawned, and fashed such a steady blaze of light from the horizon, that the gloom, which for centuries had buried man in obscurity, and rendered torpid all his powers, at once fled, overpowered by the fervency of the beams which penetrated her secret recesses, and exposed to the face of day the horrors of her naked deformity. But, because in this day of light and of truth we are much superior to those dark ages in every thing that can dignify and bless human nature, let us not think our work completed, and that we have no more to do. Though emerging from Gothic gloom and Vandalic darkness, the light shines with greater brilliancy and power, we are still young in knowledge, and very ignorant of the true and pure tenets of religion, which still labours to throw off the shackles of ceremony and the yoke of superstition, with which the ignorance, the presumption, and the audacity of man has obscured hersimplicity and sullied her purity. The blessed period is probably hastening, when an enlightened