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upon it. The image of all our outward objects, is painted on the retina upside down, and yet we see them right, and in their real situation. How is it, that the largest objects are painted in our eyes extremely small, and yet we see every thing according to its real size? How is it, that when we see from a high tower some thousands of houses below us in a great city, that each of them is painted so exactly in our eyes, on a space which is scarce three times as large as the head of a pin? So many millions of rays come through a very little opening, and collect together on the retina which lines the inside of the eye, without confounding with one another, and still preserving the same order which the points of the object from whence they proceeded, had amongst themselves. But this is not all. “Look from the top of a high mast at a fleet in full sail ; contemplate the sea it. self, how
millions of waves will you see? Each of them, however, reflects a mass of rays upon our eyes, small as they are.
Afterwards, on a calm day, go on a high mountain, and lock over a country of five or six leagues extent: Each tree, each herb, or even blade of grass,
sends rays to us, otherwise it would be impossible we should see a continued verdure on the fields beneath us.
Is it not also very astonishing that we do not see double; and, though we have two eyes, that each object appears single? Another cause of admiration is, that those objects which we see are not alone visible to us. We are surprised at the number of rays they send to so small a space, as the pupil of an eye, yet they convey as much
of that size every where. It is for that. purpose, that wherever we go, new rays supply the place of the preceding, and render visible to is the same objects we perceived before we
changed place. But all the rays that are admitted into the eye do not take effect. Along with these there are numberless others, which, being much weaker, are effaced by the light of the first, but are always ready to do the same offices when required. If we prick a sheet of paper with a pin, and look through the hole (so much less than our eye), we still, however, see the objects, though they appear much smaller to us. But who reflects upon all this? The habit of seeing, as soon as we open our eyes, makes us consider this operation as a thing extremely simple and easy to comprehend. We are, however, far from being able to explain the manner in which we see objects. Indeed, we know how the image forms itself in the bottom of the eye. We also know what all the parts which compose it, contribute to it. But that is not sufficient: For the
eye have no idea of what passes in it. It is therefore necessary, that the impression which the rays make upon it should reach to the brain ; and that, in order to do so, the rays should paint the image on a coat woven with nerves, which correspond with those of the brain. Thus the motion impressed by the rays on the nerves of the retina, is transmitted by the optic nerve to the brain. But we cannot describe what passes there ; because we do not know, either the nature of the brain, or the use of its several parts. These wonders, which are beyond our conception, are evidently the work of a Divine Power, united with infinite goodness, as they are all so many blessings be.. stowed upon us.
SPRING RENEWS THE FACE OF THE EARTH.
WHAT a change is there throughout all nature, and how great is the goodness of that supreme Being, who causes the seasons to succeed each other so regularly! Our earth, which rested during winter, resumes its ornaments, and its fertility. The whole creation is animated, revived, and full of joy and gladness. A very few months ago, the whole surface of the earth was barren and desert. The valleys, the prospect of which gives us now such pleasure, were buried in a deep snow.
The mountains, whose grey tops rise to the very clouds, were covered with snow and ice, enveloped in impenetrable fogs. In those verdant walks, which the nightingale now inhabits, nothing was seen but dry leafless branches. The rivers and streams, which murmur as they flow, were stopped in their course by the ice, which froze them. The birds, which now fill the air with their songs, were insensible, in caves and marshes, or gone to other countries.
There reigned a mournful silence every where; and, as far as our sight could reach, we saw only a dismal solitude. But scarce has the almighty breath been felt, when nature awakes from its inanimate state, and spreads pleasure and a thousand charms around us. The sun approaches our globe ; and, at once, the atmosphere is penetrated with a quickening warmth ; the whole vegetable kingdom proves its beneficent effect; and the earth produces grass and flowers of every sort.
Now the face of the earth is renewed and embellished. At the sight of this happy revolution can we fail of looking up to the great Being, who is the cause of all ?
“ Lord, thou visitest the earth, and makest the “ valleys to smile. Thou sprinklest them with “ dew to enrich them, and the springs with " which thou waterest them, are always plenti“ ful. At thy command, our harvests are ripe, " and fill our hearts with joy. Thy blessing is
upon our furrows, and the rain refreshes the “ dry earth. Thou makest it soft, and blessest “ the seed. Thou crownest the year with thy “ blessings. Thy word maketh the ground fruit“ ful. Under thy steps the flowers and fruit “ spring up. Blessing and fruitfulness are thine. “ The pastures of the desert are watered, and " the little hills are adorned with a beautiful 6 verdure.
The countries are covered with “ flocks, and the valleys are full of corn. Every “ place resounds with songs of joy and gladness. “ The praises and thanksgivings of all nature 6 rise to heaven itself.”
In this revolution, which the spring brings with it, I behold an emblem of the salutary change which a soul experiences, who has not resisted the operations of the divine grace. It had, before, no real beauty ; its faculties were depraved and inordinate; It was unable to produce pious fruits. But, how happy its state, since it has felt the divine influence of
It is now like the earth in spring, which feels the power of the sun. Ignorance vanishes ; folly and vice disappear; the passions are subdued ; the heart is full of virtuous and religious sentiments, the fruits of which delight and edify mankind.
THE SPRINGING UP OF SEEDS.
THERE are at present many changes making before our eyes in the vegetable kingdom, but there are still many more which escape our sight, and which nature does in secret. The seed, some time ago sowed in the ground, swells, increases, and the plant by degrees shoots up and grows. This mechanism deserves so much the more attention, as it is, properly speaking, the source of all the beauties which spring and summer present us with in the vegetable kingdom. The seed is composed of different parts, according to the different species; but the chief is the germ. Each shoot has two parts ; the one simple, which becomes the root; the other scaly, which rises and becomes the stalk and head of the plant. The seed of most plants is composed of two pieces, which are called lobs, that are filled with a meally substance, which serves for seminal leaves to the plant. Mosses have the most simple seed of any. It consists only in the shoot, without pellicles or lobs. A certain degree of moisture and warmth are absolutely necessary to make the seeds spring up. The increase of heat, and the difference observable in the taste and smell, seem to discover here a sort of fermentation. By means of this preparation, the meally substance of the lobs becomes proper to nourish the tender shoot. It is known by experiments, 'which have been tried with coloured juices, that this substance sucks in a moisture, which furnishes a proper nourishment, with the assistance of air, and of heat, till the plant has acquired consist