« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
its bright green leaves, and its lively yel- SPIDERS AND THEIR WEBS.-No. II. low flowers, is often found near the repo
FAR more curious than the web of our comsitories of manure, and exemplifies the mon house-spider is the structure prepared genus (erysimum) by the exact squareness by a species of hunting-spider (uroctea 5or four-sided nature of its pods.
maculata) found in Egypt, Dalmatia, among In our cut a, is the style; b, the germen the mountains of Narbonne, and the Pyrenor nascent pod ; c, stamens, four longer nees. It is to M. Dufour that we are and two shorter ; e, calyx; d, petal. indebted for the history of its habits. “ It
establishes,” according to his account,
the under surface of large stones or the ROMAN CATHOLICISM.-ITALY.
clefts of rocks, a dwelling in the form of a From Raz Wilson's work, “ Records of a Route hood or bowl, of a full inch in diameter ;
through France and Italy, with Sketches of Ca- its circumference presents seven or eight tholicism.” Just published.
niches, of which the angles alone are fasIt is not probable that any plans for tened on the stone, by means of bundles of diffusing education among the mass of threads, whilst the edges are free. This the people will be admitted into Italy so singular tent is of an admirable texture : long as the priests retain their ascen- the exterior resembles the finest taffeta, and dancy ; for they are well aware that an consists, according to the age of the manuincrease of knowledge-I ought rather to facturer, of a greater or less number of say a diminution of their present ignorance layers. Thus when the uroctea, as yet
- would render the lower classes less super- young, begins to establish its retreat, it fastitious and submissive. In roman catho-bricates no more than two webs, between lic countries rel gion seems to be entirely which it ensconces itself. Subsequently, the affair of the clergy and the vulgar. The and, as I think, at each moult, it adds a educated classes, or, at least, such among certain number of layers. Finally, when them as are educated to think, are, with the period destined for reproduction arrives, few exceptions, totally indifferent to reli- it weaves an apartment expressly for the gion, unless it be as far as it is their po- cccasion more downy and soft, wherein to licy to impress their inferiors with its im- shut up the sacks of eggs and the recently portance. Nor is this at all astonishing; hatched young. Although the external since it is hardly possible that a thinking hood, or tent-cloth, may be, no doubt, deman should not be staggered at the pal- signedly more or less fouled or obscured by pable absurdities of romanism, even in foreign particles, which serve the purpose its mildest form, and secretly despise what of disguising its appearance, the apartment it may not be always safe or prudent of the industrious manufacturer" is ever openly to impugn. The extravagances delicately neat and clean. The pockets or of that system have been too frequent- bags, which inclose the eggs, are four, five, ly and too ably exposed to render it or even six in number in each dwelling, necessary more than to hint at them: which, however, is but a single dwelling; saint-worship, relic-worship, priest-wor- their form is lenticular, and their diameter ship, the spells of paternosters, genu upwards of four lines. They are made of flexions, tapers, processions, the imputed taffeta, white as snow, and are furnished authority of childish legends and ridicu- internally with the finest down. The laylous tales; and to all those, though in ing of the eggs does not take place before themselves but a part, may be added the the end of December or the beginning of forced and unnatural celibacy of the pro. January. The offspring have, therefore, to fessed religious of both sexes, with the be protected from the rigour of the season consequent violation of their vous. That as well as from the inroads of enemies. All the romish church appears no longer the has been provided against : the receptacle arrogant despot it formerly was, cannot be of this precious deposit is separated from denied; but the change has been wrought the web, immediately in contact with the from without, pressed upon it by circum- stone, by a layer of soft down, and from stances it could not resist. Had the refor- the outer envelope by the different folds mation been extinguished in its birth, the described. Among the niches, which bor, Vatican of the nineteenth century would der the tent, some are altogether closed by not have been a whit more tolerant than the continuity of the web, but others have when in the zenith of its power; and per- their edges simply wrapped over, so that haps at this very instant another Borgia the spider, by raising them, has free exit or another Medici might have been seated and entrance from and into the tent. in the papal chair.
“ When it goes abroad, to hunt for
food, it has little cause to fear the viola- our necessary calarnities ; of that spirition of its dwelling, possessing, as it alone tuality of mind and acquaintance with does, the secret of the impenetrable niches, heavenly things, which is the purest and the key of those which serve for in- pleasure a man can meet with here, and gress.
the necessary introduction to still purer “ When the young are of sufficient age and brighter happiness hereafter,
But to dispense with the cares of their maternal in himself God needs us not ! parent, they take their departure, and go never been born, our songs woula never elsewhere to establish their separate abodes, be missed in the full chorus of angels ; while the mother addresses herself to die and were we all now to perish, he could in her tent. Thus, it is at the same time raise up, from the dust beneath our feet, the cradle and the tomb of the uroctea." a better and a worthier race of creatures
The mansion of this interesting spider is, than we are. Who, then, are we, and however, no more than its dwelling; it is what are our good deeds, that we should not an engine in which to entrap its vic- venture to praise them in his presence ? tim, like the horizontal web of the domes- But further: all these things, in the pertic spider already described, or the filmy formance of which we pride ourselves, network of the geometric spider of our are, after all, no more than our duty. We garden, to whose labours we shall devote are commanded to do them ; we are our concluding paper.
M. threatened most severely if we neglect
them. All the good deeds which we have
done are therefore, in fact, nothing more GOOD DEEDS.
than so many instances in which we have not done evil; and who shall that
say Whosoever prides himself on his own good deeds, in the sight of God, true, would be, in itself, an equitable
our not deserving hell, supposing it to be must suppose one or both of two things : claim on such a' vast reward as heaven? either that those good deeds have of themselves some power to gratify or be- | -Bishop Heber. nefit God, so as that the Deity owes him heaven in repayment for the advantages
CHEMISTRY.-No. XX. he has received from him; or that those
(CONCLUSION.) actions, for which he expects rewards, It is scarcely possible for any man to were, at least, in his own choice to per acquaint himself with the general principles form or to neglect, and such as, if he had of science, without being impressed with neglected them, God could have had no the evidence of Almighty power, skill, wisreason for punishing him. But how dif- dom, and benevolence which is constantly ferent from the truth are both these sup-before him. No devout mind can peruse positions! In the first instance, so highly the brief outline we have given of the exalted is God above all our actions and science of chemistry, without tracing the their consequences, that it is plain he hand of a perfect Intelligence, or observing needs none of our services; that the the irresistible proofs of contrivance, design, obedience of such worms as we are is as and benevolence evinced in the elementary nothing in his sight, whom all the cheru. constitution of bodies, and in the phenobim and seraphim serve in their bright mena that result therefrom. The discoveand burning stations, who hath measured ries of modern chemists afford some of the the waters in the hollow of his hand, and most obvious illustrations of the munifiwhose call the lightnings obey.
cence with which God has provided for the He bids us love each other, and do support, preservation, and comfort of his good to each other, because by this creatures, that can be selected from the means we each of us shall make the other records of scientific truth. It may not be happy, or relieve each other's distress. inappropriate to refer, in this place, to a He bids us be sober, honest, chaste, in- few of the more striking facts. dustrious, because it is by an observance We have often thought that the comparaof these rules alone that we can keep tive fewness of the elements that compose ourselves in health, in cheerfulness, and the materials and productions of the earth, in worldly prosperity. He bids us pray might be mentioned as a proof of the wisdom to him, and give him thanks, and serve with which the Creator has arranged the him, because he thus opens to us a fresh materials that he brought into existence. It source of strength for the discharge of is more than possible, that many of the our duties; of hope and comfort under substances we are unable to decompose,
and consequently describe as elements, from which they were derived, and may be may be compounds, and that the number afterwards adapted, by existing causes, to of simple substances is much less than we pass through the same succession. imagine: but, supposing that we have form
“ Nature with open volume stands, ed an accurate opinion of them, the sim
To spread her Maker's praise abroad, plicity of arrangement displayed in the con- And every labour of his hands stitution of matter must be admitted. An
Shows something worthy of a God.' endless variety of appearances are presented
When we remember the boundless vaby material objects, and yet they are all riety of form presented in the vegetable composed of, and may be reduced to a world, and that plants are composed of small number of original substances. four or five elementary substances, we shall
The constitution of the atmosphere is scarcely fail to deduce from the fact the equally adapted to excite our admiration of wisdom and skill of the Creator.
“ When creative wisdom. The precise proportion we consider,” says Parkes, “ that the of oxygen and nitrogen, best adapted for the many thousand tribes of vegetables are not support and convenience of man, has been only all formed from a few simple subadopted; for if any other gases with which stances, but that they all enjoy the same we are acquainted, or any other proportion sun, vegetate in the same medium, and are of those employed, had been used for the supplied by the same nutriment, we cannot purpose, animal life would either have been but be struck with the rich economy of burdensome, or have suffered an immediate nature, and are almost induced to doubt extinction. We might, therefore, with con
the evidence of those senses with which the fidence, ask the atheist, Is there here no God of nature has furnished us. That it proof of design, no demonstration of wis- should be possible to modify and intermindom, in the benevolent provisions for the gle a few substances, and thence to produce happiness of man? But we should take a all the variety of form, colour, and odour very imperfect view of the subject, if we
which is observable in the different families did not connect with the facts already men- of vegetables, is a phenomenon too astotioned, the provision which has been made nishing for our comprehension. Nothing for the continuance of the present arrange- short of Omnipotence could have provided ment. Oxygen is constantly abstracted such a paradise for man. from the atmosphere, by the respiration of "Soft roll your incense, herbs, and fruits, and flowers, animals, by the process of combustion, and In mingled clouds to Him, whose sun exalts, by other means. There should, therefore,
Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil
paints." be some restorative agent; and in the vegetable world we find it, for plants univer
Happy the man who can thus study sally give off oxygen gas, and absorb the nature, and at the same time personally nitrogen.
feel its Author to be reconciled to him
J. W. S. The indestructibility of matter is another through the sacrifice of Christ. interesting subject of contemplation. Matter is constantly suffering change, but all its varieties of character and form are go
ALEXANDER, EMPEROR OF RUSSIA. verned by established agents. When bodies DR. PINKERTON says :--The Princess suffer from combustion, or are reduced to Mestchersky enjoyed the intimate acquainta state of putrefaction, it might be supposed ance and friendship of the late Emperor by the superficial observer, that they are Alexander, for many years previous to his deprived of all useful properties, or that the decease. He valued her superior talents matter itself is destroyed. Such, however, is and acquirements, and derived pleasure and not the case ; for there is only a change of edification from her intimate knowledge character, and the substance produced may both of doctrinal and experimental chrisbe of great value.
tianity. His death proved a severe stroke Both animal and vegetable bodies, dur- to her; it was an event which she dwelt ing their growth, combine with other sub- upon in several of her letters written to me stances, obtaining support and nourishment at the time. And as the religious character from them. But these bodies may after- of Alexander 1. has been much suspected, wards become the food of animated beings, even by some who formerly used to think and be made a part of them; but after favourably of it, and as it is but partially having passed through a series of inexplica- known to the world at large, I take the ble processes, they are united again, with liberty of here introducing some extracts of out any absolute loss to the earthy matter a communication from the princess on this interesting subject, written at the time of to contain a petition for something, and his death, which will no doubt be read with therefore put it in his pocket; and, when pleasure. It is the lively effusion of a fer- she was gone, resumed his former employvent and energetic mind, and bears the ment. Soon after, he took his departure, marks of a friendly partiality; yet there are without thinking more about it. matters of fact stated, and just views of the “ At the first night's quarters, fatigued real religious character of the late emperor with cares, and alone, he wished to ease given, which few, except herself, had suffi- his thoughts, by turning them to some specient opportunities of knowing, or ability to cific object : he took out the paper from appreciate.
his pocket, opened it, and saw with sur“ St. Petersburg, June 1, 1826. prise that it contained the ninety-first psalm. “.... View the Emperor Alexander, He read it with pleasure, and its divine consovereign of an immense empire, at the tents calmed his troubled spirit; and his head of a formidable army, proud of his heart said in secret-Oh! that these words power, full of the fire of youth, and ambi- were addressed to me!! As this thought tious of the glory of this world! He neglects, passed through his mind, some one entered he misunderstands the source of all his the room, and interrupted him : he again blessings; and, trusting to an arm of flesh, set off, and all was forgotten. he beholds victory and triumph before him, “ A considerable time after this, he found. forgetting that no king is saved by the himself in Moscow, in one of the most crimultitude of a host-a mighty man is not tical periods of his life-(who can be ignodelivered by much strength.' He is still rant of the terrible events of the memorable totally destitute of true faith. Bonaparte, year 1812 ?) Alone in his cabinet, he was like a thunderbolt, smites his troops in all arranging some books on a table, one of quarters : they flee before this genius of which caused a volume of the Bible to fall evil, this messenger of wrath ; and, in a down : it was De Sacy's version, in 4to. short time, the emperor beholds a part of In falling, it opened; and the emperor, on his empire devastated, the ancient capital taking it up, happened to cast his eye upon of his dominions delivered to the flames, the page, and beheld again the psalm which his people flying from city to city, his had once comforted him. He read, he aptroops scattered in disorder, and without plied what he read, and he found every word supplies : all around reigns desolation, and suitable to himself; and ever after, until his blood flows on every side.
last breath, he carried this psalm about his “ In this state of distress, the Lord sup- person, learned it by heart, and evening and * ports him, but without revealing himself to morning recited it at his devotions. After
him. He inspires him with courage and his death, his valet-de-chambre stated, that firmness : then he approaches nearer, and the emperor had always a certain paper in darts on his soul a ray of his grace, by the his pocket, which he prohibited them from following means.
touching, otherwise than to remove it from “ About the middle of the year 1812, one coat-pocket to another, according as he the emperor, about to quit St. Petersburg, changed his uniform. No person had any and having taken leave of his august family, knowledge of its contents, or believed that had retired into his cabinet, and, quite alone, it could be any other than a paper of imwas employed in arranging some affairs be- portance, which the emperor had received fore his departure. Ail at once he beheld in some mysterious way; it was only when a female enter, whom, at first, he did not they opened it, at his decease, that they rerecognise, there being little light in the cognised the soul and sentiments of him
Astonished at this apparition,- for whom they deplored. They sent this prenever was a woman permitted to enter his cious paper to the Empress Dowager, at cabinet without leave, not even of his own St. Petersburg; and it was put into his family, and, above all, at this unseasonable coffin along with him. hour,-he, however, arose, went to meet “Now the softened heart of the monarch her, and perceived her to be the Countess received this beam of light with joy; and Tolstoi ; who, excusing herself for the li. from the moment that the new creature was berty she had taken from a desire to wish born, he applied himself incessantly to the him a happy journey, presented him, at the study of the Divine word, which he never same time, with a paper. The emperor, at put from him. He now came to know his all times condescending, and sensible of the weakness; he cried unto God; and the least proof of attachment, thanked her, and Lord armed him, like David, with faith bade her adieu. The paper he supposed and experience ; whereupon, behold! a
new Goliath falls beneath the strokes of religion ; but I am bold to say that there was him, whom, but a short time before, he ex- not one among them who had reached his pected to vanquish.
His noble and tender spirit soon “ We will not, however, attempt to fol- felt the chilling atmosphere of his court; low this christian hero in the brilliant career and he spoke no more of religion, or of the of his victories; but merely remark, that he state of his soul, or of his pious sentiments, himself spoke of them in the following except to the very few whom he knew to be terms :- I felt myself,' said he, like a of the same mind with himself. child ; experience had taught me my insuf- “ The two last years of his life were ficiency ; faith made me commit myself years of suffering. Sometimes sick himentirely to Him who had spoken to me in self, and not willing to show it, lest he the psalm, and had inspired me with a se- should alarm his relatives and friends, he curity and a force altogether new to me allowed his health to be silently underAt every fresh difficulty to be overcome, at mined by evils which he did not oppose, every decision to be taken, or question to until he was forced to do so in order not to be solved, I went, if I had an opportunity, fall an immediate sacrifice to them : at and threw myself at the feet of my Father other times, he suffered exceedingly on acwho is in heaven : or, recollecting myself count of the incurable disease of his august for a few moments, I cried to him from the spouse, the empress, whom he seldom bottom of my heart; and all was smooth, quitted in her sickness. Ile attended her decided, and executed marvellously; all during that period constantly: night and difficulties fled before the Lord, who march- day he watched her himself, and adminised before me. Without ceasing, I read his tered the medicine to her: he marked with word. I remember, that one day, on en- anxiety the least change, the slightest altertering a small town on the frontier of France, ation in her case, a case which presented the name of which town I have forgotten, nothing but symptoms of despair. sitting in my calash, I was reading in the “ He died in peace, after having passed New
Testament about the eunuch of Queen two of the happiest months which he had Candace reading the prophet Isaiah, and spent in this world ; and his last words, desiring some one to explain to him what after having received the communion, he read. I then thought within myself, were, ' I have never felt so happy!' He « Oh ! that God would also send me some was tired of his crown, he was tired of his one to help me rightly to understand his throne ; for he had taken up his cross to holy will.'” And at the very time I was follow the Lord ; and often, very often, had desiring this in my heart, Madam Krudner he longed for the moment when he should sent, asking permission to see me. be called to lay it down, with his life, at short time I believed that it was she whom the feet of his Saviour.” God intended to employ for this purpose; but very soon I perceived that this light was nothing more than an ignis fatuus.' These are his own words.
THOSE that receive Christ with an un“ And, truly, it was the will of God that feigned faith shall never want a weddingnone but himself should instruct and guide garment to adorn them in the sight of this soul of his own choice, this heart open
God. Faith itself is very precious in the to his love; and I must say, that I have sight of God, and most holy, 2 Pet. i. 1, often been astonished ; and not only I, but Jude 20. God loves it because it giveth other persons also, even the most instructed the glory of our salvation only to the free and advanced christians, have been com- grace of God in Christ, Rom. iv. 16, and pelled to admire his enlightened faith, and renounceth all dependence on any condihis deep knowledge, drawn purely from the tions that we can perform to procure a sacred Scriptures; his true humility, and right to Christ, or to make ourselves achow he gave himself up to that simplicity ceptable to him. The excellency of which the Lord requires, when he pro- faith lies in this, that it accounteth not miseth, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye itself, nor any work of ours, a sufficient be converted, and become as little children, ornament to make us acceptable in the ye shall not enter into the kingdom of sight of God. It will not be our weddingheaven,'
garment itself; but it buyeth of Christ “Whence had he this divine knowledge ? white raiment that we may be clothed, We know all those who surrounded him, and that the shame of our nakedness may all with whom he spoke on the subject of not appear, Rev. iii. 18.--Marshal.