ePub 版

\he depth of the wisdom and knowledge of thaf God who hath created them; let us never contemplate them without celebrating him, who hath given them, life and breath and being. These are the natural sentiments which ought to arise In the hearts of every rational being; and they incited David to cry out, let every creature praise the name of the Lord. As these are not all capable of those sentiments, they cannot praise their Creator but by exciting his intelligent creatures to acquit themselves of that important duty.

* Let them praise the name of the Lord; for he 4 commanded,and they were created. He hath also '"established them for eVer and ever: he hath rnade 'a decree which shall not pass away. Praise the 'Lord from the earth, beasts, and all cattle, creeping

* things and flying fowl: kings of the eatth, and all 4 peop'e, princes, and all judges of the earth; both 4 young men, and maidens, old men and children; 1 let them praise the name of the Lord; for hii 'name alone is excellent, his glory is above the earth

* and heaven.' Psalm, Cxlviii, 5,6,7,10-13.

m= 1 '■'


Of The Numbers Of Insects, And Of The Proportion In Which They Multiply.

^he enumeration I made in the last chapter of some of the most common insects, Ihsws that their num

G . btr /

ber is not small. However, that my readers may be made more fully acquainted with this part or the subject I (hall detail irt this chapter, what my ow» observation, as well as the writings of various authors of reputation have taught me witsl regard to the number of species included in each of the classes under which they I have arranged insects.

By this means, it will be easy so form an estimate by calculation of the prodigious numbers which must be generated annually.

Without feet*





The species of aquatic vermes
which are known to me amount to
Sea stars, - -

Vermes, not aquatic,
Insects with two feet,

, fix feet,

■ eight feet,

*—« i ten feet,

twelve feet,

fourteen feet,
sixteen feet,
• above sixteen feet,

According to the division I have made
of winged insects, I find the species of thole
with two smooth wings, like transparent
vellum are, - -

Those of insects with four such wings, -
Those With four mealy wings,
Those with wings only half covered, r
entirely covered,'

The sura total of these numbers is,

Now let us take a single female of each of these 765 species, and let us suppose that she anuallyg'ves birth to ten infects of her kind, which cannot surely be


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

an exasperated supposition, si ce great numbers of those animals lay eggs by hundreds; the 765 females would produce the first year 7,650, the second 70, 500, th; third 765,000, and so progressively.

Observe,that among the infects without wings which I have just enumerated, I have made no mention of maggots, caterpillars, aphides &c. which transform themselves into winged insects. How many other forts of insects might not be found in different authors unknown to me, or whom I have not an opportunity of consulting! might not my calculation be infinitely encreased by those that live in uninhabited countries, at the bottom of rivers, lakes and seas? If all these were known, surely we would find their numbers almost infinite.

But if all these insects multiplied every year according to the proportion stated above, and that this took place, without interruption, for five or six years, what a prodigious number would not there then be in the world 1 What frightful devastations would they not occasion! The ravages which a single army of locusts commits, astonishes and alarms us; but with what astonishment and alarm would we not be affected, were we to behold the mischiefs which many hundred armies of infects, of different species, would occasion, as numerous, and as dreadful as locusts!

The number of animals which this terraqueous globe of ours s capable of sustaining, is determined by the extent of its surface. If in one year they were to multiply to twice orthree times their usual number, the productions of the earth, proportioner! to its fur- > face, not being sufficient to maintain them, they would either die of hunger, or prey upon one another. In order to prevent such an inconvenience, God hath wisely set bounds to the life and multiplication of ani

G 2 mala*

mals. Those which live long are net prolific, so that the earth is not incommoded with their species. But ;t is otherwise with those whose lives are short. Accordingly insects which live but for a short time, produce multitudes of young. This numerous multiplication is Jikewise neceff-ary for them, as many of their eggs perish by the injuries of the weather, and many serve for food to other animals. So wife an ordination prevents the earth from being desolated by a greater number pf animals than it can maintain, and preserves a just proportjoa amongst its various inhabitants.

It is not without justice, that the Scriptures give tq God the title of Lord of Hosts. He is the Sovereign pf legions of angels, pf the armie3 of Heaven; of that multitude of birds which it has been s upposed exceed five hundred species; of the fishes of the sea, and pf the waters, of which oqe thousand different species are known, and of those tribes of animals and serpents, the species of which amount to one hundred and fif> fy, However numerous these armies may be, those pf the different species of infects do not yield to them iu that respect. "List up your eyes on high, "and behold whp hath created these things, that f{ brjngeth out their host by number: he cal"leth the,m all by names, by the greatness of his f might, for that he is strong in power, not one V failetti.';' 3fL. 36.

God has not manifested his power only in tha creation of this almost infinite multitude of infects and other animals, but his wisdom is also confpicupus. We have observed that a too great multiplication wpuld desolate the earth, which would not then be able to maintain them; but he has ordered it so that there is always a just proportion, never top many nor too few. Without this wife provision we might from time to time lose cei tain specks of animals while . '"" "' * Others pthers might multiply to such a degree as to become really hurtful. Can a balance so equal, and in which we discover so much wisdom be the work of blind chance? Surely not: what is left to chance is never fixed, never regular. But here we behold a constant and invariable proportion which can be nothing but the effect of a design premeditated, and of a plan executed by an all wise and an almighty pow

How many means has not the God of armies in store, for chastising the human race! All his legions are ready to fly at his command to execute his orders. To mention only the army of infects, how many means can he not employ to humble the pride of weak 'mortals! These noxious creatures sometimes attack the greatest monarchs on their thrones, 'they desolate our fields, infest our hoxises, and lead famine and death in their train. 1 hough necessary to a certain degree, their excess is always pernicious. We should, be perpetual fear, did not we ,kno\y that the Being who regulates their fecundity, loves us, and will not permit them to multiply beyond their proper bounds, We niust not however flatter ourselves too much. *' All things work together *' for good to the godly; but to sinners they are turn"ed into evil. Fire, and hail, and famine and death, "all these were created for vengeance; the teeth of *' wild beasts and scorpions, serpents and the sword, f* punishing the wicked to destruction. They rejoice *' in his commandment, and are ready upon earth, f* when need is, and when his time is come, to obey V his word." Ecclesiasticus Xxxix. 27. &c.

c 11 A p. y,

« 上一頁繼續 »