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The one Is not more impossible than the other; nay there would be a necessity that the thing should actually happen in order to preserve uniformity in the economy ot nature. The partisans of the system however, cannot bring a single probable fact to shew that the sirst man was formed either by a concourse of atoms, or by the heat of the Sun. How than can they pretend to assign such an origin to Insects whose organs and structure are not less admirable than those of the human body? But we have laid enough to convince any reasonable mind that creation is the work oi a power difserent irora any thing that falls under the observation of our senses. This truth is obvious 10 the flighted reflection, to wit, that all animals at present existing have descended by regular generation from those which originally received from, the hand of God, their sigure, their form, their parts, their lise and their faculties.
C H A P. II.
Jn order to give an accurate description of insects we ought to be intimately acquainted with them; but we are so short sighted, our intellects are so limited, that in general we only see objects by halves. A little knowledge costs us an insinite deal of labour, and sometimes the subjects we endeavour to get acquainted with present unsurmountable obstacles to pur research. This is the case with insects, so that E 2 "while while we consine ourselves to describe their external parts, it is but just that allowance should be made for our desects.
Therd is a strong analogy between insects and plants. The latter originate from a seed which is nothing but a husk in which plants, however large they may be when grown, are found entire: Insects issue from an egg enveloped in its shell, which encloses them in all their proportions. Plants grow daily by the accession of alimentary particles; insects are developed, swell and increase by means of a nutritive juice. Plants at sirst put forth a stem, and asterwards cloathe themselves with leaves; insects begin by appearing in the form of a worm, and then acquire wings. The leaves of plants are sull of neryes, which divide into a multitude of ramisications; the wings of insects have likewise a vast number of similar nerves. Leaves differ from one another in form, apd ift the sin unions, of their margin; wings. likewise are vaned by their conssiguration, and by the manner in which their extremities are indented. Plants push out stower-buds. Insects become Nymphs and Chryfalids. As those buds after having flowered give fruit in their maturity; nymphs and Chryfalids after a 'certain time'produce persect insects.' Lastly, as fruits contain the seeds proper for perpetuating the species of.plant which produces them, insects when arrived at their state of persection carry) also within them the seed from which similar insect} are to be generated."'
Notwithstanding this striking conformity between plants" and inseiri, the latter must not be ranged in the class of vegetables. They are an order of beings higher in the scale than plants, and we cannot hesitate in classing them with animals. One of our chief seasons for placing them in this rank is their 1'' being being capable of voluntary motion, whereas plants are rooted to one spot. They have a power of goT ing in search of food at their pleasure; but vegetables; can only draw theirs from the spot on which they are placed.
Let it be attended to in general that God hath sq restrained the operations of nature that, of the three kingdoms of which it is composed, none of them can encroach on the rights of another. We never fee animals become plants, nor plants degenerate into fossils. All maintain the rank which the Creator hath assigned them without- being able to quit it. It is remarkable, however, that the matter of which these three kingdoms are composed is the fame, and that' it differs or.ly in the arrangement which the wisdom of God hath thought proper to give it. The Scriptures dp not suffer us to be ignorant of what that matter is. "The earth was without form and "void, and the spirit of God moved on the face of "the waters." Gen. I. 2. These then are the principles of which God composed the three kingdoms of nature Of the elements of earth and water, are: produced minerals, plants and animals of every kind. Of the combinations which the Creator made of these, we fee grow," the herb bearing feed, the "fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind; the mo"ving creature, that hath life, and fowl that fly a"bove the earth in the open firmament of Heaven, "and every living creature that moveth." We may go farther, and fay that all things originate from water, since the sacred writers have assured us that the earth was composed cf it, by the power of the Creator. "He commanded the waters under the fleas' vens to be gathered together unto one place, and the f* dry land to appear; and it was so, and God called *' the dry land earth." The earth, fays St Peter, "rose, cut of the water, and it subsists in the water *' by the word of God." The consequence to be drawn from this is. that the subjects of the three kingdoms of nature disser from one another only accidentally. Indeed ir may be said that minerals are only sixed vegetables; that vegetables are volatile minerals and sixed animals; lastly that animals are volatile vegetables that can transport themselves from one place to another according as they have occasion. The whole of these bodies suffer continual changes; vegetables serve for food to animals, and are converted by digestion into the substance of the animal which they nourish. This animal dies and returns to the kingr.om of fossils since Jt is changed into earth, and then rises again in the form of a vegetable. Minerals likewise serve for the food of plants. Vapours exhale from the bosom of the earth, which insinuating themselves through the roots of vegetables, contribute to their growth j and in this way minerals become plants.
These continual transformations evidently shew that the matter of which the three kingdoms are composed is the fame. But this is still more sensibly perceived in th« dissolution of these bodies. Every thing that exists is composed of the same matter into which if resolves itself; this is a principle that is not contested. What we sind then in the dissolution of bodies ought to pass for the matter of which they are composed. Now according to this idea we shall sind that plants and animals are formed of water and of earth; for, in the dissolution which takes place daily in these bodies, they at sirst resolve themselves into water by the corruption of their particles, and when that humidity is evaporatod there remains nothing but a mass of earth. But surther we may venture to affirm that it would be imposible by art to dispose minerals to undergo the sirst effects of this diffolulion. A famous Chemist, a man worthy of credit, has at least assured me that they may be reduced to the state of water. I think myself therefore still the more intitled tn conclude that all bodies without exception are composed of the same matter and are derived from the same origin.
The distance between the two kingdoms is so very indistinct that it is difficult ro fay where the one ends and the other begins. We fee for instance that corals are the limits between the mineral and the vegetable kingdoms. They are minerals in matter and hardness, vegetables in their manner of growth; and this has made them be rlassed as marine plants. The passage from vegetables to animais is not less abrupt. Here we find the Zoophytes which the old Botanists supposed to be as much related to animals as to plants. Here also we find In'ects which in many circumstances approach to the nature of vegetables but which in others so nearly resemble animals that it is impossible to deny them a place in that kingdom.
On examining insects we find that they are not furnished with bones like other animals, nor indeed have they any occasion for such. Let large and heavy bodies enjoy these for the purpose of supporting their mass of flesh, and of preventing them from sinking under their burthen. But to light and small bodies like those of insects, whose substance properly speaking is not flesh, and which support themselves sufficiently, bones would be of no use. It is likewise peculiar to insects to be destitute of blood. That which is seen on killing a flea or a bug, is only what they have pillaged from some other animal. They have however a sort of lymph, which performs to them the fame animal functions which the blood does to others.