« PoprzedniaDalej »
these are evidently tendons, for moving and directing them at will.
And does this humble Zoophyte indeed possess a will? Is it capable of pleasure, and susceptible of pain? Undoubtedly. Those beautiful membranaceous expansions, which resemble flower leaves, close up in stormy weather, and again open to the sun, as if delighting in his beams.
But such is the case with those kinds of flowers, which Linnæus elegantly distinguishes by the general name of solar ! The effects in both are similar ; the causes widely different. In plants, the spiral wires are acted on by moisture, light, and heat, and thus the petals close, and open, in accordance with the changes of the atmosphere. In Zoophytes, their beautiful expansions close together, or unfold, according to the wants or inclinations of the animal; for it is well known, that although they may be preserved for a considerable time in salt water, they will eagerly devour small crabs and shell-fish, when placed within their reach, or borne against them by the action of the waves ; and that a Sea Anemone of one species, will even swallow a smaller individual of another. Nor is this all: the testaceous covering of the shell fish, and the empty armour of the crab, is returned through the mouth of the Sea Anemone, Sun-flower, or Carnation ; but the little Zoophyte re-appears in the
course of a few hours, and hastens to escape from the fangs of its voracious relative.
Who shall assign a limit to the wonders of creation! Where is the spot on earth, the animal, or plant, or the creature which mysteriously partakes of both their natures, which does not lay open to us unquestionable evidences of the wisdom and benevolence of God. These feeble Zoophytes are seen adhering to the rocks, or bedded in the sands, where the foot of man may crush them, or the dashing of the waves may break them : they are not furnished with the means of defence; nor can they escape from impending danger. The Deity has, therefore, wonderfully endowed them with reproductive powers ; for it is not his will that any thing which he has made should perish. The smallest portion, if accidentally divided from the parent stem, will increase in size, and at length become perfect in all its parts.
But of what use are these extraordinary productions ? The curiosity of the human mind is insatiable. It looks abroad into the fair creation, and sees unnumbered instances of grandeur and munifi
It acknowledges the goodness of the Deity, in giving the sun to rule the day, the moon to guide the night. It confesses his parental care, in visiting the earth, and watering it; his power, in the stormy winds and earthquakes, which fulfil his word: but why are these feeble creatures seen to mingle
with so many trophies of his divinity, who sits enthroned above the heavens, surrounded by the immensity of his works?
It is reserved for Revelation to solve this interesting question. “ Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created."*
I am, &c.
* Rev. iv, 11.
You describe delightful scenesthe woods, the rock, the restless ocean, the lofty cliffs, and drapery of underwood, the creeping plants that wander up their sides, and even the modest little harebell, peeping from out their fissures; but shall I borrow, in addressing you, that eloquent and simple language to which every feeling heart responds :
“Lo, these are but a little portion of His wonders. Every shell is like an open book ; every painted sea
weed has a lesson written on its leaves. God is in every place ; he speaks in every sound we hear; he is seen in all that our eyes behold!" Even the rockadhering Sponge, which you may observe on several of our coasts, is not less deserving of attention, than the prouder forms of vegetable beauty ; than the restless and fluctuating waves that break upon the shore.
You are, perhaps, ready to inquire, what is there in the humble Sponge, to bear the most remote comparison with objects that are in themselves so splendid and imposing ? Much, my friend. Look down through the transparent water, and observe amid its vast variety of marine productions, a small single yellow tube, surmounted with a crown of little spines and rays of a glossy yellow colour. It grows within your reach, and may readily be separated from the fostering rock. A designed and studied mechanism is obvious in its construction ; and though, by reason of its mode of life being widely different from those of quadrupeds and vegetables, some difficulty arises in comprehending the use of every part, yet sufficient is already known to evince their admirable fitness to a separate species of existence. What can we say more, respecting the vast and beautiful in nature ! They are also wonderfully adapted to the sites of earth, or ocean, for which their Maker has designed them; and however modified or varying, they tell us