Page images


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 division! The hours of light are adapted to activity; and those of darkness, to rest. Ere the day is passed, exercise 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 innovation.

The cataract of Niagara, in Canaila, North America.

This amazing fall of water is made by the river St. Law rence, 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 i to drain the waters of almost all North America into the Al

lantic 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 narrower, are four hundred yards over. Their direction is not straightacross 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 na. ture. 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 terinination of their fall, is inconceivable. The dashing produces a mist that rises to the rery 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 vet some Indians in then carves, as it is said, have ventured Jown it with safety.


The grotio of Antiparus. Of all the subterraneous caverns now known, the grotto Aouparos is the most rewarkable, as well for its extent as 10


the beauty of its sparry incrustations. This celebrated cay. ern 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 cav, ern, that, by its gloom, at first struck us with terror, and al. most repressed curiosity. Recovering the first surprise, however,we entered boldly; and had not proceeded above twenty paces, when the supposed statue of the giant presented itself Å 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 questof new 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 ; some 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 lier 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 place totally dark, and which one of the natives assured us contained nothing more than a reservoir of water. Upon this information, we made an experi. ment, by throwing down some stones, which rumbling alor:g the sides of the descent for some time, the sound seemed al last quashed in a bed of water. In order, however, to be more certain, we sent in a Levantine mariner,who, by the promise of a good reward, ventured, with a flambeau in his hand, into this narrow aperture. After continuing within it for about a quarter of an hour, he returned, bearing in his hand, some beautiful pieces of white spar, which art could weither equal

Ror imitate. Upon being informed by him that the place was full of these beautiful incrustations, I ventured in once more with him, about fifty paces, anxiously and cautiously descending, by a steep and dangerous way. Finding, however, that we came to a precipice which led into a spacious amphitheatre, (if I may so call it,) still deeper than any other part, we returned, and being provided with a ladder, Aambeau, and other things to expedite our descent, our whole company, man by man, ventured into the same opening; and descending one after another, we at last saw ourselves all together in the most magnificent part of the cavern."

SECTION IV. The grotto of Antiparos, continued. “ Our candles being now all lighted up, and the whole place completely illuminated,never could the eye be presented with a more glittering, or a morn magnificent scene. The whole roof hung with solid icicles, transparent as glass, yet solid as marble. The eye could scarcely reach the lofty and noble ceiling the sides were regularly formed with spars; and the whole presented the idea of a magnificent theatre, illuminated with an immense profusion of lights. The floor consisted of solid marble; and, in several places, magnificent columns, thrones, altars, and other objects, appeared, as if nasure had designed to mock the curiosities of art. Our voices, upon speaking, or singing, were redoubled to an astonishing loudness; and upon the firing of a gun, the noise and rever. berations were almost deafening. In the midst of this grand amphitheatre rose a concretion of about fifteen feet high, that, in some measure, resembled an altar ; from which, taking the hint, we caused mass to be celebrated there. The beautiful columns that shot up round the altar, appeared like candlesticks; and many other natural objects represented the customary ornaments of this rite."

Below even this spacious grotto, there seemed another cavern; down which I ventured with my former mariner, and descended about fifty paces By means of a rope. I at last arrived at a small spot of level ground, where the bottom appeared different from that of the amphitheatre, being composed of soft clay, yielding to the pressure, and in which I thrust a stick to the depth of six feet. In this however, as above, numbers of the most beautiful crystals were formed; one of which, particularly, resembled a table. Upon our egress from this amazing cavern, we perceired a Greek

scription upon a rock at the mouth, but so obliterated by time, that we could not read it distinctly. It seemed to import that one Antipater, in the time of Alexander, had come hither ; but whether he penetrated into the depths of the carern, he does not think fit to inform us."--This account of 80 beautiful and striking a scene, may serve to give us some idea of the subterraneous wonders of nature. GOLDSMITH


Earthquake at Catanea. One of the earthquakes most particularly described in his. tory, is that which happened in the year 1693 ; the damages of which were chiefly felt in Sicily, but its motion was per ceived in Germany, France, and England. It extended to a circumference of iwo thousand six hundred leagues ; chiefly affecting the sea coasts, and great rivers; more perceivable also upon the mountains than in the valleys. Its motions were so rapid, that persons who lay at their length, were tossed from side to side, as upon a rolling billow. The walls were dashed from their foundations; and no fewer than fifty four cities, with an incredible number of villages, were either destroyed or greatly damaged. The city of Catanea, in par. ticular, was utterly overthrown. A traveller who was on his way thither, perceived, at the distance of some miles, black cloud, like night, hanging over the place. The sea, all of a sudden, began to roar; mount Ætna to send forth great spires of flame; and soon after a shock ensued, with a noise as if all the artillery in the world had been at once discharged. Our traveller being obliged to alight instantly, felt himself raised a foot from the ground; and turning his eyes to the city, he with amazement saw nothing but a thick cloud of dust in the air. The birds flew about astonished; the sun was darkened; the beasts ran howling from the hills ; and although the shock did not continue above three minutes, yet near nine. teen thousand of the inhabitants of Sicily perished in the ruins. Catanea, to which city. the describer was travelling, seemed the principal scene of ruin ; its place only was to be found; and not a footstep of its former magnificence was to be Buon remaining


Citutiure the progress of the Divine works and government, there

a period, in which this earth was to be called into ez.



istence. When the signal moment, predestined from all eternity, was come, the Deity arose in his might, and with a word created the world.--What an illustrious moment was that, when, from non-existence, there sprang at once into being, this mighty globe, on which so many millions of creatures now dwell! No prepa', !ory measures were required. No long circuit of means was employed. “ He spake ; and it was done: he commanded; and it stood fast. The earth was at first without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.” The Almighty surveyed the dark abyss; and fixed bounds to the several divisions of nature. He said, "Let there be light; and there was light.” Then appeared the sea, and the dry land. The mountains rose ; and the rivers flowed, The sun and moon began their course in the skies. Herbs and plants clothed the ground. The air, the earth, and the waters, were stored with their respective inhabitants. At last, man was made after the image of God. He appeared, walking with countenance erect; and received his Creator's benediction, as the lord of this new world. The Almighty beheld his work when it was finished; and pronounced itGood. Superior beings saw with wonder this new accession to existence. “ The morning stars sang together; and all the sons of God-shouted for joy."


Charity. C:ARITY is the same with benevolence or love; and is the term uniformly employed in the New Testament, to denote all the good affections which we ought to bear towards one another. It consists not in speculative ideas of general benevolence, floating in the head, and leaving the heart, as speculations too often do, untouched and cold. Neither is it confined to that indolent good nature, which makes us rest satisfied with being free from inveterate malice, or ill-will to our fellow-creatures, without prompting us to be of service to any. True charity is an active principle. It is not properly a single virtue ; but a disposition residing in the heart, as a fountain whence all the virtues of benignity, candour, forbearance,generosity, compassion, and liberality, flow, as so many native streams. From general good-will to all, it extends its influence particularly to those with whom we stand in nearest connexion, and who are directly within the sphere of our good offices. From the country or community to which we belong, it descends to the smaller associations of neighbourhood


« PreviousContinue »