ePub 版

at last they become a perfect fœtus. They add that the ova in the evarium, only produce the secretion of certain fluids. In oviparous animals the egg answers the end of the matrix, and to it the animalcule attaches itself. It penetrates into the middle of the yoik where it gradually grows to its perfection. Other authors dissent from this syilem, and maintain that, in copulation, one or more of these animalcules get up into the ovarium by the Fallopian tubes, and there penetrate into an e^g, at that time in a proper state to receive them, by means of an aperture furnished with a valve which prevents their retreat. In this egg it is nourished and grows. Lastly, some authors affirm that these animalcules have not yet the figure of a fœtus, and that they receive it by a transformation similar to that of a caterpillar changing into a but'terfly.

I shall not venture to decide on these various opinions, or to determine whether the animalcules are necessary to procure conception, whether they serve only to cause a voluptuous titilation, or if they are destined to any other use; still less will I support the opinion I have detailed. It appears to me too singular, and liable to too many difficulties, as various authors have shewn. It is certain, however, that these spermatic animalcules are worms of a particular kind, destined by the Creator to' serve a particular purpose; but man has not yet discovered that destination, so great is the imperfection of human knowledge.

I had almost forgot to mention that insects are found in the dry remains of plants and animals, as well as jn works of art. There are some dry legumes which have the shell as hard as that of a nut: but this hardness does not secure them from the piercing teeth of some insects which reduce them to powder. JEvery one knows that mites and maggots are found in cheese. They are seen in the Ikins of dead beasts, and in their flesh, where large flies lay their eggs, which afterwards change into an animal like that which laid them. Although infects are not fond of fat or oily substances, they sometimes howeyer lodge in bacon, which harh lost some of its fat by being smoaked. Lastly, it is but too well known that moths lodge in cloth, in paper, and in books.

How admirable is the providence of God! He hath not only provided a habitation for man, but with infinite wildom hath likewise taken care to furnish, for every species of animal he hath created, a suitable and appropriate place. They are all devoid of reason, and yet there is not one of them that is not endowed with a natural instinct which leads it so inhabit the places destined for it, where jt finds the food which best agrees with it. Can we be surprised at this? He who has endowed them with this instinct is the fame, " who hath "planted the Cedars of Lebanon, where the f* birds make their nests, who hath given the fir "tree as an house for the stork, the high hills as a f refuge for the wild goats, and the rocks for the

f conies. Ps. civ. 17,18. At his command

"doth the eagle mount up and make her nest on "highi she dvvelleth, and abideth on the rock, from whence she seeketh the prey; for her eyes behold "afar ofF." Job. Xxxix. 27,29. "God doth f great things which we cannot comprehend, he "makes the beasts go into dens, and remain in their f? places." Job. Xxxvii. 5. 8.'

What inference ought we to draw from this paternal care which providence hath taken to provide a habitation for all its creatures? It is very plain."" If God hath provided with so much goodness for the

wants wants of the smallest infect, and furnished it with a lodging convenient for it, ought we to fear that he will neglect or abandon us? Are we not of more value than these little creatures? Should it happen, that on account of our perseverance in the fakh we should be exposed to persecution, and that those who persecute us, mould force us to fly from our country, our houses and our homes, the Lord of the Universe will provide a plafe for us to retire to. Of this we have lately had an example in the persons of the , Saltzburghers. These poor people, being driven from their habitations for the fake of the gospel, have not wandered hither and thither without knowing how to provide for themselves. The Lord of heaven and earth made them find an asylum in many places, even in the bosom of America. Different sovereigns took pleasure in affording a retreat to people whom their cruel country had expelled. Should the persecution be so violent as to present no alternative between losing life and renouncing the gospel, let us not hesitate. Let us continue firm in the faith; persuaded that our body alone will return to the dust, but that our souls, redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, will be received into those everlasting habitations which God hath prepared for the faithful after death. 'In my Father's house,' faith Jesus

* Christ to his disciples, ' are many mansions: had it

* not been so, I would have told you; I go to pre4 pare a place for you; and when I am gone and

* have prepared a place for you, I will come again, 'and take you with me, that where I am, there you.

* may be also,' John Xiv. 2,3.

May we not likewise infer, from what has been said of the spermatic animals of which man is formed, and of that multitude of insects which live on us both within and without, how ill it becomes us to be proud? A creature whichperhaps derives its origin from

an afi insect so small as not be discoverable by our senses', and which serves as food to such myriads of others, cannot be too humble or too sensible of its own wretchedftels. Worms make as it were a part of ourselves; they enter our bodies with the firlst food we take, even in the womb, and from the common mother of all mankind, have perpetuated themselves continually from generation to generation. At our birth wearenot delivered from them; the milk and other aliments we take are impregnated with them. They insinuate themselves into Out bodies, which become for them a fort of moving house where they grow, and feed, and multij.-y. As God has made no new creation, these insects must undoubtedly have been formed at the beginning of the world; but I will not fay that they were created to inhabit man. If they were, pod has endowed them with the qualities necessary for living in our bodies without hurt to us, or inconvenience to themselves. The food destined for them is perhaps a superfluity, the abundance of which would be hurtful to man. At any rafe, God does nothing without a reason; and if he meant that animals should live within us, we must believe that they are necessary for our welfare. This we are sure of, that they are so deeply rooted' in our bodies that the species has been preserved there from the beginning of the world without perishing or being incommoded by the place they inhabit. Thus dq wretched mortals carry in their bosom, millions of enemies ready tc* devour their bodies the moment the foul quits them. None are excepted from this general law, they nomore respect the carcase of a lord, a prince or »• king, than the lowest of the human race. *£ings may defend themselves against the attacks of their enemies • by opposing formidable armies ; but cant they resist those legions of insects! And who after this does not feel his own wretchedness? Who will not exclaim with one of the friends of Job?" The


[ocr errors]

** moon and the stars are not pure in the sight of

«* G"d; how then can he be clean that is born of a

*' woman? man that is a worm, and the son of man

"that is but a worm r" Job Xxv. 4-6.



[ocr errors][merged small]

It is worthy of admiration that the faculty of motion is diversified in as many different ways as it hath pleased God to create beings. The course of the Surt and the Moon, and Stars is fixed and invariable ; the Sea has its motion of flux and reflux in a manner peculiar to itself , and all animals have in general one fort of motion proper to their species and adapted to their wants. Some move in a straight line j others like lizards proceed in a winding line. The motion 6f snails is very slow, they glide along almost imperceptibly by gluing their body to the ground on which they creep, by meaus of a slimy liquor they are abundantly provided with. Frogs move in a singular manner, and can leap to a great distance by means of their hind legs. The little green frogs called Graijjets by the French, creep with ease along the most polished surfaees, and find a soit of steps where we can scarcely perceive the smallest roughness. The manner in which serpents advance is very remarkable j they have neither wings nor legs to help

« 上一頁繼續 »