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their Creator provided them with the sagacity necesisary to enable them to procure for themselves that part cular food which is sit for them. And indeed nothing can be added to the exquisite workmanship of those organs with which they are endowed for this purpose, or to the instinct which leads them to their prey. They sind it as certainly as a lamb sinds its mother, a hound the tract of the animal it pursues, pr a calf the dug of the cow which gives it suck. The eyes of some are so constructed that they can discover their food on all sides, and even at a distance. Others have the sense of smelling so persect, that it guides them to their food though considerably remote. Some which live in warer adhere to solid bodies, and are able by agitating the fluid around them to bring the bodies that float in it within their reach.
The time they consume in seeding, diners in season and duration. Some eat only during the day, and repose at night, others pursue a quite contrary conduct. The Phalænæ for example continue at rest during the day, in some obscure place, because they are made almost blind#by excess of light; but'on the approach of evening, they fly in search of food. By this a double purpose is served. First, they do not commit such ravages as they would do, were they to seed both day and night; and secondly, those which fly by flight are not exposed to the voracity of other insects which appear only in the day.
I must not omit the various artisices employed by jnsects in seizing their prey. Like other animals they fiave received from their Creator that sagacity and address which their way of lise requires. Some like ths Lion pismire, (Myrmeseon Formicarum)-having con. cealed themselves, watch for their prey like a lion in his den, till sinding it within their reach, they "spring jiponit^with amazing velocity. Some continue mo;
.. '. tiorj!esi lionless as if they were dead; and when the animal approaches they are lying in wait for, they seize him when he least suspects danger. Some encompass him with a web that he may not escape, i while others grasp him so firmly with their feet, that he cannot disengage himself.
The manner in whichsome kill the animal they have had the address to take, is not less worthy of our curiosity. They practice as many stratagems as a man would make use of, to kill a dangerous beast of prey.
Those insects which have occasion for food during winter are endowed with a particular instinct. We fee them laying up their stores. In the course of the proper season they carry these stores to a convenient place and secure them as in a gTanary. In this class bees and ant's are to be ranked. The former make an abundant provision of honey to supply them during the rigours of winter. The latter lay up grain and other substances of that fort with which their subterraneous abodes are filled. The industry of the ant and its labours are so great, that the wise Solomon pro? posed it as the best example for imitation to the slothful : " Go to the ant thou Sluggard, fays he, consider f her ways, and be wife; which having no guide, "overseer or ruler, provideth her meat in the sums' mer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." Pkov. Ch. vi. 6,7,8; and in another place, " The ants "' are a people not strong, yet they prepare their f meat in the summer." £hap. Xxx. 25.
The food necessary for insects is always in sufficient plenty, to secure them against famine. The proportion between insects and the substances they feed pn is so well preserved that wherever they are numerous, there is also a great quantity of their proper fpod and in places where that food is wanting, .there are but sew insects. Herbs and plants constitute the most common aliment not only of insects, fcut of other animals and of man himself. The prodigious consumption of these, which takes place annually, would have considerably encreased our toil, had much pains been necessary to cultivate vegetables: but Providence, ever wise, has taken such tare for the spontaneous growth of many plants that we may fay the tables of herbivorous creatures are always abundantly supplied. But as the rigours of winter destroy the verdure of the sields, which only revives when the heat of the Sun begins to cherish the earth, Insects fleep when their food is withdrawn. Besides, they do not issue from their eggs or their cones, till their destined food is prepared. And as in a mild season their strength is exhausted and they are awakened by perspiration, they would soon perish were they prevented by famine srom repairing the waste they undergo. But the abundance of their food supplies their loss of strength; everyday furnishes enough to maintain them in lise and vigour, and they convert into their own substance the nourishment they take in. They bruise and render it fluid; it is asterwards digested and subtilized that it may pass through such a multitude of minute vessels, sill their limbs, and communicate to them new strength. Indeed some of these animals are content with very little nourishment.
The organs with which God has endowed insects for taking in their aliment deserve our attention. Those that eat have claws for seizing their food, nnd teeth for gnawing and comminuting it. In some these are so sharp and so strong that they easily break to pieces the Jiardest substances. Those which live only on the fluids which they suck, have received from the author of their being a sort of pump, longer or shorter according to their necessities, for the purr
pose of extracting the fluids they have occacion for. Some are very temperate, and do but little mischief; the caterpillar of the Phalæna quercifolia, though four inches in length, and more than half an inch thick, • eats nothing during the day, and in the course of a whole night, does not consume more than two leaves' of the pear of plumb tree. Ochers are real epicures which seem born to be gluttons. Some of these eat so voraciously, that they seem to be in dread less their food be taken away froth them. Those that drink generally touch the liquor with the extremity of their antennæ; which seems to be their method of trying whether it is fit for them. Some for this purpose use the extremity of their rostrum, and sip the liquor, drop by drop; others drink by means of the syphon I have already mentioned. Some also are real drunkards, and are obliged to disgorge what* they are not able to contain: some likewise die whenthey cannot find the liquor they relish.
The facts contained in this Chapter demonstrate* the great and incomprehensible wisdom of the Creator. It is certain that inlects are devoid of reason jyet their whole economy seems to be the result of found judgement. We may say that they foresee the future, since they make provision against its wants. What would become of them when winter has destroyed all the substances that furnistied them with food during the summer, were they not wise enough' to lay up a store for their maintenance in that severeseason? When there is no verdure on the fields', when every tree and plant are stript of their leaves, and no fruit is left to supply their necessities, art they destined to perish with hunger and famine? By no means. Providence has taken care to supply them. Those* Who live only on vegetables, are so formed as to dispense with food altogether at that season. Others are led by instinct to hoard up,, in thef summer, the food' they will need in the winter. That foresight is thtf effect of a wisdom which certainly they do not possess. Whence then do they, derive it? The answer is easy: They have it from the author of nature* the g?ver of every good and perfect gift.
The diversity of fheif tastes which leads them w prefer certain aliments to others is likewise an effect of the infinite wisdom of God. If all fed on the same thing there would hot be eftough in the world for their sustenance, and they would die of famine y their species could not be preserved, and man would) not be abie to make any use of that which was not destined for their food. But, by the wife dispensation of she Creator, all insects have abundance of nutriment, &nd enough remains for other animals.
The things which they feed on would have been' created in vain,' had they not been endowed with the organs necessary to convert them to their own use. Whence do they acquire that sagacity which makes them discover at a distance the things that are proper for them ? How have they procured that acutehess of sight, or that delicacy of smell and taste which prevents them from erring in the choice of their food? Of whom have they learnt those stratagems and artifices which they put in practice in order to seize their prey, and devouF it? What artist hath executed with so much precision, and in a manner adaptedso much to their destination, the organs which serve them for eating and drinking? How happens it that they do not all require the fame quantity of food? What wife being hath regulated the difference between them in this respect, so.that they shall eat or drink more or less in proportion to the facility with which they are able to procure the things they want? The man must be infatuated who could attribute all these circumstances to blind chance. Such marks of design and'