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^fre shalt then be sensible of the full value of the bene* fit we derive from the hand of the Creator. The free motion of each of our own numbers, is still more necessary to us; the loss we would sustain or them would be irreparable. \Vhar obligations then have we not to God who hath bestowed on us the power of moving them, and who preserves to us that power! In truth, the man must be very ungrateful and very unworthy of so great a blessing, who does not employ so excellent a faculty to the glory of God by every exertion in his power.
Or The Food Of Insects.
Ti*e subject of the last Chapter presented an exceffent opportunity of displaying the infinite power of the Creator; the present will open a vast field for reflection on his bouncy and wife providence in the care lie hath taken to furnish abundance of proper food for insects. All living creatures are under a necessity of taking nourishment for the preservation of life. Insects are not excepted from this general rule. It is true that there are many which can live longer without food than other animals; but they cannot exist without it- altogether. The reason why some insects can fast for a long time, perhaps for a month or two, is that their humours being thicker their animal
mal spirits are not so soon or so easily diflipnrecL They all dread the rigour of winter, and to shelter themselves from it they retire into warm places; there are however but sew which lay up provisions to supply them during that season. The bodies of those that do not eat are of a particular contexture, especially as to what regards the circulation of the blood and humours. They are so framed as to lose nothing by transpiration, and consequently do not require food to repair their waste. They retire into resting places where they continue in a state between lise and death, till the heat of the sun acquires power to reanimate them, and to give birth to those substances on which they live. It is neither wind nor rain which makes them seek those retreats in which they reside without eating. Thus a st.ite of repose seems as natural to them as rest and sleep to the other animals. Towards the end of Summer, and even before the cold weather sets in, they are seen assembling in crowds like Swallows, and preparing for their winter repose.
A great diversity is remarkable in she tastes of insects. What is agreeable to one, disgusts another, and some eat with avidity, what others will not touch. There are also some which are not always conrent with the fame food. Like gluttons who devour every thing, these insects sometimes take one sort of food sometimes another. Some too from necessity wilt eat what they dp not relish, and which they do not generally seed on; but then they are so circumstanced that they must either eat or die. All are not so accomodating however as these; for a great number use but one sort of food, and will rather die than taste' another.
What was observed in the Chapter on the habitations of insects may at once snew how many things
they they use as1 aliment, for they neves fail to lodge iri places where their food is within their reach. Dust, moist or dry earih, sand, the hardest stones, and evert iron itself, furnish them with provision.
But plants are their most common food* Some' broufe on the green blade, others gnaw the roots and stems. Some pierce the wood and feed on its frag.* ments 5 others are not satisfied but with the tender buds. Some caterpillars devour the leaves of trees' and herbs, while others attack, the very pith of the plant.
They do not betake themselves solely to those plants ♦hat are wholesome Or of an agreable taste, but some' insects' prefer even such as are insipid and venomous* The wormwood, bitter as ft is, feeds the caterpillar of the Phalaena Abfynthii, and this instance would be sufficient to refute the' opinion of some authors who have asserted that insects feed only on mild vegetables; but there afe other examples. The Spurge, notwithstanding its'acrid and noxious qualities, is preyed upon by the Sphtiui Euphorbias and the fhalæna castrenfis.
Among the infects that eat the leaves, some touch only the upper surface, others only the under: others devour both, leaving nothing of the leaf but its fibres, the skeleton of which resembles a sieve. Many1 are so delicate that they will be content with nothing but the tender flowers. Others attack only fruits and grain; and are often found in the pods of peas, in pears,apples, plumbs, &c. Corn, bread, cheese, sugar, and even bocks are preyed upon by different species, and many valuable manuscripts have lallen a sacrifice to their voracity. The moih destroys woolen stuffs, as is but too well known.
The sacred writers often borrow comparisons ft bin/ this little animal. Job, describing the wretched condition he was reduced to fays," that he consumed as "a rotten thing, as a garment that is moth eaten."— Job xiii. 28. Among the threatnings which God made to the enemies of the faithful, the following is not one of the' least terrible. "* Ye people in whose "heart is my law, fear ye not the reproach of men, <! for the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and "the worm shall eat them like wool." Isa. Li. 7,8. "bee, (says Baruch,) the purple which snines on the "statues of false Gods. But it shall lose its lustre "and fade, and they themselves shall at last be de"voured by worms." Ch. vi. 70. "Ye rich, fays St "James, weep for the miseries that shall come upon V you. S Your riches are corrupted, and your gar"ments moth-eaten. Ch. v. 1,2.'
Insects prey upon one another. The Scolopendræ which live in dunghills, seed on a fpecie> of small worm which also lives there. The tree bugs insert their rostrum into the body of a downy caterpillar with yellow spots which is sound on willows towards' the end of the season, and suck irs blood. There is a species of exotic ant which lives on spiders, and these in their turn seed on flies, and sometimes on ants. We likewise sind flies that devour one another, and even the moth of the Silk-worm. The ichneumons kill spiders, and afterwards carry them to their nests. One species of Dragon-fly, (the Libeliula puella) contributes very much to rid the atmosphere of siies and butterflies. Between it and the common cabbage butterflv a chare commences whichresembles that of the hawk and the heron.- The dragon fly seizes the Papilio in its flight, and holding it sirm with his fore legs, devours it entirely. Some beetles seed on the aphides. I have mentioned already the lice that adhere to serpents and birds. I shall only
add here, that some spiders eat the eggs of these last, and others devour their young.
It is well known that the flesh of dead animals -serves for food to many insects, and that even human ilesh is not secure from their attacks. 'It was this consideration which made Job fay, that .* man is crushed > sooner than the moth.' Chap. iv. i9. and in another place, " The grave is mine house; 1 have made *. my bed in the darkness. I have said to corrup.** tion thou art my father, and to the worm, thou ** art my mother and my siller." Ch. xvii. i3. i4. The same lot awaits us all. "One dieth in his sull "strength, being wholly at ease and quiet. His *' breasts are full of milk and his bones moistened
with marrow ^ another dieth in the bitterness of "his foul, and never eateth with pleasure, but they ** lie down alike in the dust, and the worms cover '' them." Job xxi. 23,26- "Shall dust, lays :the "son of Sirach be proud? He who is a king to f( day, shall be dead to morrow, and when a man dies .** he becomes the property of serpents, of beasts, and *' worms." Eccx. Jk. 12,i3. 1
There are certain insects which have no other nourishment than the fluids which they suck. For this purpose nature hath furnished them with a kind cf siphon through which they pump up the liquor that sustains them. Some content themselves with pure water; but others whose taste is more resined will put up with nothing but wine. Some are satisfied with the juices of the leaves of all fort of plants, while others of a sanguinary disposition live solely on blood, and therefore attack both man and beasts. Some eat as well as drink, as do all the tribe of grasshoppers.
As insects cannot accommodate themselves to every fort of aliment, thsy could not have existed had not
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