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"One of the greatest wonders in creation is a certain shell-fish, called by some the Nautilus, and by others Pompilius. When this extraordinary creature wishes to rise above the water, he turns upon his back, raises himself by little and little, and in order to swim with greater facility, throws out all the water contained in his shell. His body being thus lightened, he lifts up his two foremost claws, or arms, and stretches out between them a fine membrane. This serves him for a sail above water, and with his other he works his way beneath it, directing his course with his tail, which serves the purpose of a helm. Thus he traverses the ocean like a ship in full sail; and if anything occurs to frighten him, he immediately fills his little shell with water in order to increase his weight, and betakes himself to his dwelling in the fathomless abyss."
The shell is divided by transverse plates, concave to the mouth of the shell, into a number of chambers through which, from the outer one, where the animal finally takes up his abode, a syphuncle or tube passes to the innermost and most minute. These chambers were formerly supposed, as is above stated by Pliny, to have been filled alternately with water and air, but Dr. Buckland, in his Bridgewater Treatise on Geology and Mineralogy, satisfactorily shows from the structure of the fossil Nautili, as well as from the known history and physiology of the living species, that it is filled with air alone. He gives it as his own opinion, that the cells are filled with air, and that the animal is furnished with a sac surrounding the heart which is filled with a pericardial fluid, the latter being alternately discharged into, or withdrawn from, the syphuncle or tube. When the arms are expanded the fluid remains in the pericardium or sac, and the pressure from the air in the chambers being thus removed, the specific gravity of the body and shell is diminished and it rises; but when the body and arms are contracted, and drawn within the shell, the pericardium being compressed the fluid is again forced into the tube, the air is condensed, and the specific gravity or weight of the whole mass being increased, it rapidly sinks to the depths beneath.
This view of the uses of the tube and the general structure of the Nautilus, is perfectly consistent with the hydraulic principles involved in its physiological characteristics, and is familiarly illustrated by the philosophical toy which most, perhaps, are acquainted with, by which small water balloons and images are made to ascend and descend in a closely covered glass
jar, by pressing the elastic seal-the air in the image is compressed and it descends; on the pressure being removed the image follows the upward tendency of the diminished specific gravity.
We are chiefly indebted to Prof. Owen, of England, for a full and definite description of the anatomy and physiology of this interesting animal. He was presented with a specimen captured by Mr. George Bennett, on the 24th of August, 1829, off the island of Erromanga, one of the New Hebrides' group. This being preserved in spirits, was made the subject of a minute account by Prof. Owen, published in 1832, and has left nothing more to be desired than, as one author has observed, "that some fortunate collector may speedily capture a male specimen, and put it into his skilful hands.”
Without dwelling too long on the natural history of the Nautilus, the closing remarks of Dr. Buckland, on the Cephalopods, to which family this animal belongs, contain some beautiful thoughts, and forcibly present the great argument of design in the works of the Creator.
These beautiful arrangements are, and ever have been, subservient to a common object, viz., the construction of hydraulic instruments of essential importance in the economy of creatures destined to move sometimes at the bottom, and at other times upon or near the surface of the The delicate adjustments whereby the same principle is extended through so many grades and modifications of a single type, show the uniform and constant agency of some controlling intelligence; and in searching for the origin of so much method and regularity amidst variety, the mind can only rest when it has passed back through the subordinate series of second causes, to that great First Cause, which is found in the will and power of a common Creator."
The cut at the head of this article represents the Argonauta, which has been separated from the chambered genus, and is so called from the Argonautæ, who accompanied Jason in the voyage of the Argo to Colchis, to recover the golden fleece. It is much more delicate than the Nautilus Pompilius, and from its remarkable thinness and brittleness, is called the Paper Nautilus. The safety with which these frail tenements of the insignificant, but expert, mariner ride the sea, and the facility with which he escapes to his dwelling in the unfathomed deep, are beautifully set forth in the lines
The tender Nautilus, who steers his prow,
THE MORAL ASPECTS OF THE WORLD.
The ocean Mab, the fairy of the sea.
Seems far less fragile, and, a as! more free;
He, when the lightning-winged tornadoes sweep
And triumphs o'er the armadas of mankind,
The history of the Nautilus suggested the thoughts which have found utterance in the following lines, and which differ from the others in their having reference to the moral of the lesson to be drawn from the peculiar habits of the Nautilus:
The tiny sailor on the watery deep
An emblem is of MAN-with outspread sail,
How oft the prosperous breeze we gladly keep, And ride the sea of life with gentle gale, Thoughtless that every moment it may fail;
It will not always thus continue fairDangers approach where earthly pleasures hail, And broken, wounded, leave us sinking there, Down to the dark wild ocean caves of deep despair.
And yet the Nautilus, which seeks in time To flee from danger, when he sees it nigh, In subinarine exploring finds the clime Effulgent with the beamings from on high; 'Tis thus with MAN-would he as well rely On the sure guide of Truth when troubles rise, He, too, might pass away, anon to lie, Pure, perfect, full of God, beneath the skies, Where everlasting bliss shall roli its symphonies.
THE MORAL ASPECTS OF THE WORLD.
OUR periodical commences its existence near the middle of the nineteenth century. Our earth has measured its circuit some four hundred times since types and presses have become the copyists of authors. The world is filled with books, and yet craving appetite continually cries, give, give.
It is well in launching our bark on the wide sea, and in spreading our sails to catch the breeze of popular favor, to cast our eye over the earth and see where is the wide waste of waters, and where the shores, and what their moral products.
In tracing back the history of the world, we seem to see the stream of time moving so placidly, that to the observer it appears to stand motionless within its banks, and again, rushing forward, foaming and fretting and roaring, as if impatient to dash headlong into the distant
But to leave this figure, which already threatens us with shipwreck, we look upon the world in its past history, and find it sometimes, with its nations and kingdoms, standing almost motionless for ages, as if advance and retreat were both cut off, and change or modification unknown. One king succeeds another, children their fathers, and yet the history of one generation needs scarce more than a change of dates to make it fit the succeeding. Again there is a movement-kingdom dashes against kingdomnations are swept away as by a whirlwindnew cities erect their spires, and new empires spring up as by enchantment. At times mind unmoved in its even tenor stamps no impress on successive ages-for generations the world
seems but a petrification of living actors. Again the beacon-fires of intellect are lighted up, and the horizon reflects far onward their brightness. And yet again we see these fires dying away, till scarcely a living warmth remains in their embers, and not a gleam relieves the thick dark
But these were not days of types and magazines.
We cannot call back the ages which have swallowed up the successive inhabitants of our earth, or make light to shine on intellects long since quenched in death. We deal, therefore, with the present and not with the past. And we purpose to hold converse with those who would prefer, if choice were theirs, to live in the present age, whatever its imperfections, to having stood by the side of Alexander, when the world was a bauble too small for his ambition, or to have listened to Homer when his song enlivened the feast, and waked the loud plaudit.
The Londoner and the Parisian are each sure that their respective cities are the centres of the world, or at least of all that is desirable on its surface. We Americans are not reputed to be behind our neighbors across the ocean in that pleasing quality, vanity; why may not we then, in this American metropolis, put in its claim to be regarded as the centre? Our sister cities, one some hundred miles south-west, and another something more than twice as far in a contrary direction, are brought so near our doors by the help of steam, that if we were to claim them as suburbs, no great harm would be done, if we could but persuade them to look on themselves
in this light. But we choose to awaken no jealousies, and therefore give them leave to jog on in their own way, while we sit down here, to gather up monthly such ideas as shall help the thoughts of the thinking world into right channels. And from this point we look out to discover what are
THE MORAL ASPECTS OF THE WORLD.
No age has gone before us more pregnant with changeful events. It is true that no sudden moral revolution has in our time broken up, as by an electric shock, long settled habits of thought and action. The wars that for a quarter of a century made Europe a battle-field, and crowns and sceptres but ordinary playthings, have now for another quarter of a century hushed their clangor. But the energy infused into the public mind by these conflicts, has found other objects on which to expend itself. In former ages, wars might be succeeded by apathy, but the power of the press, the multiplication of new inventions, and the increased means of intercommunication, bringing the inhabitants of the world into compact proximity, have kept every nerve of body and mind in activity. The increased attention to education and the diffusion of intelligence in a greater or less degree throughout Christendom, has given to popular opinion, even under the most despotic governments, a power which it has not had before. It is an experimental age-the leading tendency is to change. Antiquity is fast losing its power to command reverence, and both truth and error are subjected to the crucible of unrestricted discussion.
China, so long shut out from the rest of the world by her own exclusiveness, has had her barriers thrown down and the light of a different civilisation, and the improvements of modern times the arts and manners of Europe and America,are breaking into her fastnesses, with all their vivifying and renovating influences. While we reprobate the war made on this ancient empire by Great Britain to force on her a trade in a vile and stupifying drug, we can have but one opinion as to the beneficial moral effect that will be the result. Nor are we prepared to say that it would have been either unjust or unwise for the nations of Europe to demand of her, a discharge of the social duties of neighborhood, to ask an abandonment of her isolation, and to require her to take her proper station in the community of nations.
The British power over wide and populous regions of India is firmly established and is
every year extending. A guilty ambition and a mercenary spirit have been the incitements to many and wanton aggressions on the rights of independent nations there; but yet both the natural consequence of throwing on those nations the light of modern civilisation-the opening a highway for Christianity and knowledge, and an overruling Providence which causes even the wickedness of men to work out its great and beneficent purposes, and will make this overturning of ancient dynasties a rich blessing of many millions.
We look again at Western Asia, and missionaries from our own shores are silently diffusing the light of the gospel on regions long darkened by Mahomedan superstition. The steamer with its rapid movement breaks up the torpor of the Mussulman, and the habits on which ages had fixed their seal.
Throughout Asia the inhabitants are awaking from the sleep of centuries. The first symptom of consciousness-the half-opened eye catches a glimpse of a new day, and, however the dreamer may turn from side to side and court a drowsy insensibility, the time has past when sleep can close the eyelids. A new youth must succeed to dotard age; the birthplace of our fathers will be modernized; our cousins of the family of Noah, despite themselves, from the effect of constant intercommunication, will find themselves insensibly assimilating in thought, feeling and action with their distant relatives. The old stereotype plates, which, generation after generation, have fixed their impress on character, will be broken up. New thoughts, new impulses, the energizing power of the Christian religion and the potency of European civilisation, will, in less than a century, work a total transformation of moral and physical character throughout the wide realms of Asia.
In Africa there are changes, but yet a deep darkness broods over her arid plains. The missionary here and there has erected his tent, but the slaver yet frequents her shores, and will continue to do so, so long as a mart is found for human sinews.
We cast our eyes over Europe, thickly studded with cities, and planted with empires. The busy mart meeting the traveller's gaze wherever he wanders; the hum of business, untiring industry, active enterprise, the haughtiness of wealth, the pride of birth, unrestricted power, the depths of poverty, the lowness of degradation; universities, and schools, and lyceums, and learning, and debasement, and ignorance;
THE MORAL ASPECTS OF THE WORLD.
all that ennobles, and all that degrades; all that lifts the soul to heaven, or presses it down to hell; all that is pure and holy, and all that is corrupt and devilish; the beauty of gospel simplicity, and the deformity of superstition; the crowned prince and the lazaroni beggar; the palace and the dungeon; cold-hearted avarice and warm-hearted liberality; whatever is high, and noble, and good, and whatever is low, and grovelling, and wicked; all are here, all side by side, and yet all in their far-off extremes.
But throughout these busy nations there is an onward, upward progress. Authority in the schools is losing its power to guide. The claims of power are investigated with unaccustomed freedom in western Europe, and if in the eastern empires the people are yet forbidden to meddle with the affairs of state, the rapid diffusion of intelligence among all classes will soon give to the popular voice, whatever the form of government, or however unchanged in its theory, a controlling and resistless influence. A highly educated and intellectual people will be a well-governed people, for the very reason that no monarch can successfully war with a settled, enlightened, and united public opinion.
Public opinion, in its controlling influence is, in one aspect, of modern date. In former days it only took the attitude of resistance. It opposed itself to change, and, with sturdy immobility of purpose, resisted any attempted new order of things. It never went before the government, and marked out its way, but followed after, with tardy and sullen reluctance; but now public opinion leads. The Autocrat of all the Russias, or the Kaisar of Austria, may well regard it as a power too strong for armies to cope with-as beyond the reach of cannon, of musket, or bayonet.
However pliable it may be at times, and ready to take form and shape from a skilful hand, it has the rigidity of iron when opposed by the naked power of arbitrary will.
This great moral power has its influence over a nation in its association with the family of nations, as well as over rulers. No intelligent people can endure to have the finger of scorn pointed at them, or fail to be affected by the opinion held of them by surrounding nations. Here is a safer, and more salutary arbitrament of national quarrels than the sword; and as the one seems passing out of fashion in Christendom, we hope to see the other fully installed in its place.
Throughout this most important portion of the globe, with the single exception of Turkey,
the Christian is the prevailing religion, and, like every religion, it has had a controlling, or at least, a modifying influence over the minds of the people, and over the institutions of the State. But for the most part, unhappily, the deadness of forms is where the vivifying influences of its spirituality should be felt. The Christian religion, in its simplicity, takes direct hold on the heart, gives to conscience a sleepless activity, and rightly claims control over the outward act and the secret thought. The stereotype order of a ritual service, the stately ceremonial of canonical formalism, and a clerico-politico churchdom, must ever, in their very nature, interpose an impregnable barrier between the spiritual power of religion and the conscience. A mountain of polar ice might as well be expected to give out vital heat, as the Christian religion, decked out in meretricious frippery, to awaken sincere repentance for sin, and an earnest desire for holiness of life. When rational piety exists in the midst of such systems, it has its being despite of them, and not by them. It catches no warmth from the garnished altar, but lit up from above, the fire burns in the heart despite the icy coldness of bleak and cheerless winter abroad. But there is the dawn of a better spiritual day.
As we traverse these regions teeming with busy life, every spot has its history, every hamlet has been the scene of tragic events, every highway has been the path of armies; scarcely a town but has heard the roar of hostile cannon, scarcely a field that has not drunk blood, and witnessed the onset, the pursuing victor and the flying vanquished. Europe has been, indeed, the slaughter-house of nations.
Here, near the western coast of Europe, is a little island-a bare speck on the map of our globe; if suddenly sunk, it would scarce produce a bubble on the surface of the sea. Yet this diminutive island-this speck in the waste of waters-possesses an earthly ubiquity; she is felt in every Cabinet of the civilized world. When Napoleon, in his mad ambition, strode over Europe, and crowned courtiers danced attendance in patient waiting in his ante-rooms, Great Britain stood unmoved, in proud and sturdy defiance. Her fleets sealed up his harbors, while every other nation was trembling at his name. At the touch of her wand, his alliances were dissolved, and armies, as if starting out of the earth, stood in marshalled phalanxes against him. As if her very hills were gold, she took nations into her pay, and made her wealth the life-blood of concentrated opposition, and by its
means wheeled armies into line on a scale of operations which made Europe an arena for field exercise.
This nation, loaded with debt, is the creditor of the world. Her national debt, enough to sink any other country, is a family matter-is but the accumulated earnings of her own people. Her wealth is not in mines of precious metals, but in the more productive mines of active industry, unequalled skill, indomitable perseverance, and in a commerce that stretches itself into every part where human life exists.
In moral influence the Anglo-Saxon race, including its offshoots on this side the Atlantic, stands unrivalled. The history of the world records nothing like it. In practical common sense, they are giants; in the elements of their character there are a compass and a compactness-a fixedness of purpose, a concentrated energy, that constitute resistless moral power.
On this islet of the ocean wealth and poverty
exist in their farthest extremes. With a slavish deference to rank, there is mingled a sturdy independence of thought, and withal an undoubting conviction of the incontestable superiority of their own nation, that makes the English people the proudest race of mortals on earth. Whatever her faults, or her defects of character, however, in a thousand instances, her power has been felt in unprovoked aggression; and whatever spirit of aggrandizement has ruled her councils, yet to no nation or people has the world ever been equally indebted for the extension of great moral and political principles of vital interest to human weal.
We pause here. It was proper before taking a survey of this new continent, and more particularly of our own cherished portion of it, to rest a moment on the shores of the fatherland; but before we pursue the survey here, we give our readers-what will probably be an agreeable licence-leave also to pause.
THOUGHTS UPON THOUGHT.
BY REV. SAMUEL IRENEUS PRIME.
HERE are some thoughts worth thinking of. They are borrowed for present use from a foreign book.
"It must be admitted, that the man must be master over his thoughts, or his thoughts will gain the mastery over him. True courage is proved by antagonism. Where there is no opposition, courage is not required-energies are enervated by inaction. The struggle and the conflict invigorate every power. The palæstra, and not the couch, is the nurse of mental greatness. Easy conquests acquire small glory. There are sham-fights on the arena of mind-petty skirmishes, in which both parties are agreed, before the battle, which is to conquer. Bad thoughts are no airy combatants, nor can a victory over them be obtained on easy terms. sistance, delayed or relaxed, weakens energy on one side, and imparts vigor to the other. Decision and perseverance, are antagonists before whom the stoutest enemies must crouch and ultimately fall. But, if decision quail, and perseverance withdraw, they put the chaplet of victory within the opponent's reach. The question to be determined here, is not, what is
the measure of mental strength an individual has at command, but, does he use it deci e.ly for the accomplishment of the desired object? An infant's strength, decidedly and perseveringly employed, may accomplish more than a giant's arm, fitfully and hesitating y exerted. Continuous application accumulates force and achieves wonders. "A continual dropping wears away the stones." The element proverbial for its weakness-in its smallest divisible quantity constantly applied-perforates one of the hardest sul stances. This is the achievement of a small but concentrated power. And the man of very moderate mental strength, may, by decided and continued application, accomplish much more than the man of genius with his infrequent and fitful efforts. The very nature of the antagonist requires the exercise of this decisive perseverance. The subtlety, the rapidity of thought, enhance the difficulty of exercising over it a decisive control. That very accumulation of difficulty is an additional reason for an uncompromising decision. emit attention, and the difficulty Lecomes more formidable. Persevere, and the conflict is less diffi