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things these eyes are! If the microscope—that wonderful instrument which is the mystic key that opens the door to a new world, or which we may truly describe as a new sense, and the very best companion to the Bible—if the microscope be employed in the examination of the eyes of an insect, what an astonishing fact does it disclose !
In the head of the ant we can count upwards of fifty
Common House Fly (Musca domestica): 1, head; 2, three simple
eyes ; 3, front view of portion of its 4,000 compound eyes; 4, one
compound eye detached ; 5, transverse section. eyes, but in larger insects many more ; we can see upwards of 8,000 in the cockchafer, and more than 34,000 in another beetle. But the part of their structure which applies to this portion of our story is this: that just as we find our best and most expensive optical instruments to be composed of several lenses all ground to a geometrical
exactness, one lens fitting on to another, so we discover that this scientific invention was unconsciously borrowed from the wonderful structure of an insect's eye. Then think of their minuteness. I could show you that the 8,820 eyes of the cockchafer are nothing near so large, all put together, as the head of a doll's pin.
Then, remember, all this marvellous contrivance was going on while the insect was passing away from life number one to life number three-in fact, in the intermediate state, when it was, to use the words of a Saxon naturalist, nothing but “skin and squash.”
May I say once again, “What possibilities are within us!"
It would do you good to go on with our examination and comparison of the works of God with the works of man ; and as to their being the discovery of the latter — nonsense ! They were invented by the great Patentee, God Almighty, long before man was born, and they prettily illustrate what He tells us in His dear old book, that “ God made man in His Microscopical view of “ Dust” from a own image."
Butterfly's Wing. " Show you more of these illustrations !” Well, now look at the scales on a butterfly's wing ; nearly half a million have been counted on those of the silkworm moth. These wings cover and protect the body of the fly. Do you see we have imitated them in the coverings of our house-roofs ? and the Swiss have exactly copied nature in this respect, in facing their chalets with butterfly-scale lappings of wood.
In the tracliea—that is, the breathing tubes—of a caterpillar we see the idea of our spiral wire forming elastic
springs, so useful and necessary in mechanics; and while we observe the harmony of Nature, we remark that exactly the same breathing contrivance is to be seen in the leaf of the commonest plant; and then we reflect upon the goodness and wisdom exhibited in boih, and learn a lesson of humility.
Look at the foot of a common house fly. It is covered with innumerable suckers which have the power of atmospheric exhaustion, just like the old-fashioned sucker made by the schoolboy, when, tying a piece of leather on to a string and saturating it in water, by pressing it with his foot on a stone, he lifts the stone by exhausting the air.
Some years ago, a man contrived to walk head downwards along the ceil
ing of one of our London Detached Scales from Moth's Wing, theatres, to the bewon
highly magnified. The dots show where the points of each scale are derment and delight OI attached to the wing.
“ How did he manage it?” Why, he contrived a kind of exhaustive shoe with a valve which shut out the air, and as he lifted one foot he let down the other, being attracted to the smoothened ceiling by one foot at a time. But the house fly does exactly the same thing.
Here is the sucking tongue, or proboscis, of a common butterfly. In your body and mine there are upwards of four hundred muscles ; in the caterpillar of the goatmoth there are ten times as many—that is, upwards of four thousand; in the trunk or proboscis of the elephant, you remember, about forty thousand; but low many do you suppose there are in the butterfly's tongue ?
Ah! they are innumerable. And what is it after all ? Why, the most wonderful sucking-pump in the world ; and llow admirably contrived to insert itself into the little complicated nectaries of flowers !
Look at the columnar structure of a bit of the bone of a cuttle-fish. Were it solid it would be a heavy hindrance in the locomotion of the animal in the water, so it is built in columns, one tier supporting another, exactly as the great Constantine built the huge reservoir at Constantinople fourteen hundred years ago for holding water in case of a siege, now called the “ thousand and one columns.” Did the “ First Christian Emperor," as he was called, borrow it from the structure of a cuttle-fish ? He could only have seen this with a miscroscope, and microscopes were not invented till very long after Constantine died.
The common garden spider's web is the exact idea of our electric telegraph, as the human ear is of the telephone ; but the combination of one instrument with another is very well seen in the structure of the foot of the cellar spider, where upon each of its eight feet we can see a comb and brush, especially needed and especially provided by and for an animal whose abode is a place of perpetual dust and dirt ; without such useful appendage, in a
strange predicament, when the threads of its web are made useless by the dirt and dust of the place.
But this has not much to do with ant-life, has it? And yet so intimately are the phenomena of nature related, that as we pass from one of its departments to another, just as we do from one chamber to another in the halls of our great national museum, we are astonished to find how at last we have wandered from the original object of inquiry; for even as in the British Museum we begin with Roman antiquities, and walking through the ruins of Greece and Babylon stop to reflect on the protruding toes of the Egyptian mummies, or endeavour to decipher the hieroglyphics on the sarcophagi—then suddenly find ourselves in the region of cats, and monkeys, and birdspresently to mix harmlessly with stingless serpents and stuffed reptiles-afterwards to long over saucers filled with precious stones and glass cases filled with the fossil remains of a pre-Adamite world-leaving off with wasps and bees, and finally coming suddenly on to the nest of an antso just do we with our observations in the contemplation of natural phenomena. And just as when we retire from our museum visit we thoughtfully leave off with a comparative lesson on Divine wisdom and goodness, so may we in our chapter, returning in our next to our subject proper.
While these pages have been composed, a correspondence has been going on in the daily newspapers relating to the expulsion of an atheistical member from the great council of the nation. In this correspondence some very unwelcome light has been thrown as to who is to blame for the spreading of that materialistic atheism which infects the minds of our scientific giants, who, great in one sense as the Syrian captain, Naaman, like him partake, metaphorically, of his leprosy ; and because, like the literal disease, this deadly malady is