« PreviousContinue »
fying in his eyes ; and drawing nearer to him, by greater degrees of resemblance.
Methinks this single consideration, of the progress of a finite spirit to perfection, will be sufficient to ex. tinguish all envy in inferior natures, and all contempt in superior. That cherub, which now appears as a god to a human soul, knows very well that the period will come about in eternity, when the human soul shall be as perfect as ne himself now is : nay, when she shall look down upon that degree of perfection as much as she now falls short of it. It is true, the higher nature still advances, and by that means preserves his distance and superiority in the scale of being; but he knows that, how high soever the station is of which he stands possessed at present, the inferior nature will, at length, mount up to it; and shine forth in the same degree of glory.
With what astonishment and veneration, may we look into our own souls, where there are such hidden stores of virtue and knowledge, such inexhausted sour. ces of perfection! We know not yet what we shall be ; nor will it ever enter into the heart of man, to conceive the glory that will be always in reserve for him. The soul, considered with its Creator, is like one of those mathematical lines, that may draw nearer to another for all eternity, without a possibility of touching it; and can there be a thought so transporting, as to consider our: selves in these perpetual approaches to HIM, who is the standard not only of perfection, but of happiness!
AMONG the great blessings and wonders of the creation, may be classed the regularities of times and seasons. Immediately after the flood, the sacred promise was made to man, that seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, should continue to the very end of all things. Accord. ingly, in obedience to that promise, the rotation is constantly presenting us with some useful and agree. able alteration ; and all the pleasing novelty of life arises from these natural changes : nor are we less indebted to them for many of its solid comforts. It has been frequently the task of the moralist and poet, to mark, in polished periods, the particular charms and conveniences of every change ; and, indeed, such discriminate observations upon natural varicty, cannot be undelightful; since the blessing which every month brings along with it, is a fresh instance of the wisdom and bouniy of that Providence, which regulates the glories of the year. We glow as we contemplate ; we feel a propensity to adore, whilst we enjoy. In the time of seed-sowing, it is the season of confidence : the grain which the husbandman trusts to the bosom of the earth shall, haply, yield its seven-fold rewards. Spring presents us with a scene of lively expectation. That which was before sown, begins now to discover signs of successful vegetation. The labourer observes the
change, and anticipates the harvest ; he watches the progress of nature and smiles at her influence : while the man of contemplation walks forth with the even. ing, amidst the fragrance of flowers, and promises of plenty ; nor returns to his cottage till darkness closes the scene upon his eye. Then cometh the harvest, when the large wish is satisfied, and the granaries of nature are loaded with the means of life, even to al luxury of abundance. The powers of language are unequal to the description of this happy season. It is the carnival of nature : sun and shade, coolness and quietude, cheerfulness and melody, love and gratitude, unite to render every scene of summer delightful. The division of light and darkness is one of the kindest efforts of Omnipotent Wisdom. Day and night yield us contrary blessings; and, at the same time, assist each other, by giving fresh lustre to the delights of both. Amidst the glare of day, and bustle of life, how could we sleep? Amidst the gloom of darkness, how could we labour ?
How wise, how benignant, then, is the proper divise ion! The hours of light are adapted to activity; and those of darkness, to rest. Ere the day is passed, es ercise and nature prepare us for the pillow; and by the time that the morning returns, we are again able to meet it with a smile. Thus, every season has a charm peculiar to itself; and every moment affords some interesting inuovation.
The cataract of Niagara, in Canada, North America
This amazing fall of water is made by the river St. Lawrence, in its passage from lake Erie into the lake Ontario. The St. Lawrence is one of the largest rivers in the world ; and yet the whole of its waters is discharged in this place, by a fall of a hundred and fifty feet perpendicular. It is not easy to bring the imagination to correspond to the greatness of the scene. A river extremely deep and rapid, and that serves to drain the waters of almost all North America into the Atlantic Ocean, is here poured precipitately down a ledge of rocks, that rises, like a wall, across the whole bed of its stream. The river, a little above, is near three quarters of a mile broad; and the rocks, where it grows parrower, are four hundred yards over. Their direca tion is not straight across, but hollowing inwards like a horse-shoe : so that the cataract, which bends to the shape of the obstacle, rounding inwards, presents a kind of theatre the most tremendous in nature. Just in the middle of this circular wall of waters, a little island, that has braved the fury of the current, presents one of its points, and divides the stream at top into two parts; but they unite again long before they reach the bottom. The noise of the fall is heard at the distance of several leagues ; and the fury of the waters, at the termination of their fall, is inconceivable. The dashing produces a mist that rises to the very clouds; and which forms a most beautiful rainbow, when the sun shines It will be readily supposed, that such a cataract entirely destroys the navigation of the stream ; and yet some Indians, in their canoes, as it is said, have ventured down it with safety.
The grotto of Antiparos.
Of all the subterraneous caverns now known, the grotto of Antiparos is the most remarkable, as well for its extent, as for the beauty of its sparry incrustations. This celebrated cavern was first explored by one Magni, an Italian traveller, about one hundred years ago,
at Antiparos, an inconsiderable island of the Archipelago. “ Having been informed,” says he, “by the natives of Paros, that, in the little island of Antiparos, which lies about two miles from the former, a gigantic statue was to be seen at the mouth of a cavern in that place, it was resolved that we (the French consul and himself) should pay it a visit. In pursuance of this resolution, after we had landed on the island, and walked about four miles through the midst of beautiful plains, and sloping woodlands, we at length came to a little hill, on the side of which yawned a most horrid cavern, that, by its gloom, at first struck us with terror, and almost repressed curiosity. Re. covering the first surprise, however, we entered bold, ly; and had not proceeded above' twenty paces, when the supposed statue of the giant presented itself to our view. We quickly perceived, that what the ignorant natives had been terrified at as a giant, was nothing more than a sparry concretion, formed by the water dropping from the roof of the cave, and by degrees hardening into a figure, which their fears had formed into a monster. Incited by this extraordinary appearance, we were induced to proceed still further, in quest of adventures in this subterranean abode. As we proceeded, new wonders offered themselves; the spars, formed into trees and shrubs, presented a kind of petrified grove ; sjme white, some green ; and all receding in due perspective. They struck us with the more amazement, as we knew them to be mere productions of nature, who, hitherto in solitude, had, in her playful moments, dressed the scene, as if for her own amusement.”
" We had as yet seen but a few of the wonders of the place; and we were introduced only into the portico of this amazing temple. In one corner of this half illuminated recess, there appeared an opening of about three feet wide, which seemed to lead to a piace to. tally dark, and which one of the natives assured us