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not by sincere repentance, whereby they forsook sin, but by practices which cost the heart no sacrifice, and which have no other effect but that of lulling the conscience to sleep. Numerous companies of penitents spread over Europe, and among the processions which they made, those of the flagellants were particularly remarkable. Their name is celebrated in the history of those times for the disorders and crimes which they committed.
WHICH WAS THE GREATER FOOL? In a sermon, preached by Bishop Hall, upon his eightieth birthday, he relates the following story.
** There was a certain lord who kept a fool in his house j as many a great man did in those days for their pleasure: to whom this lord gave a staff, and charged him to keep it, till he should meet with one who was a greater fool than himself; and if he met with such a one, to deliver it over to him.
"Not many years after, his lord fell sick; and indeed was sick unto death. His fool came to see him; and was told by his sick lord, that he must now shortly leave him. 'And whither wilt thou go?' said the fool. 'Into another world,' said the lord. 'And when wilt thou come again? within a month y —' No.' 'Within a year?'—'No.'—'When then?'—' Never.'— 'Never! and what provision hast thou made for thy entertainment there whither thou goest?'—'None at all.'—'No?' said the fool, 'none at all? Here, take my staff then. Art thou going away for ever, and hast taken no order, whence thou shalt never return? take my staff, for I am not guilty of any such folly as this.'"
we can little perceive, or, should some flash of light spring up, and give us a momentary glimpse of nature's hidden ways, immediate darkness closes round, and renders our ignorance more manifest. We see a wonderfully fabricated creature struggling from the cradle of its being, just perfected by the elaboration of months or years, and decorated with a vest of glorious splendour; it spreads its wings to the light of heaven, and becomes the next moment, perhaps, with all its marvellous construction, instinct and splendour, the prey of some wandering bird! and human wisdom and conjecture are humbled to the dust. That these events are ordinations of supreme intelligence, for wise and good purposes, we are convinced. But we are blind beyond thought, as to secondary causes; and admiration, that pure source of intellectual pleasure, is almost alone permitted to us. If we attempt to proceed beyond this, we are generally lost in the mystery with which the divine Architect has thought fit to surround his works; and perhaps our very aspirations after knowledge increase in us a sense of our ignorance: every deep investigator into the works of nature can scarcely possess other than an humble mind.—Journal of a Naturalist.
THE MYSTERIES OF CREATION. The designs of supreme intelligence in the creation and preservation of the insect world, and the regulations and appointments whereby their increase or decrease is maintained, and periodical appearance prescribed, are among the most perplexing considerations of natural history. That insects are kept in reserve for stated seasons of action, we know, being commonly made the agents of Providence in his visitations of mankind. The locust, the caterpillar, the palmer worm, the various family of blights, that poison in the spring all the promise of the year, are insects. Mildew, indeed, is a vegetable; but the wire worm destroys the root, and strips the germs of the wheat, and hunger and famine ensue. Many of the coleopterae remove nuisances, others again incumbrances, and worms manure the soil; but these are trite and isolated cases in the profusion of the animal world; and left alone as we are in the desert of mere reason and conjecture, there is no probability that much satisfactory elucidation will be obtained. They are not perhaps important objects of enquiry; but when we see the extraordinary care and attention, that has been bestowed upon this part of creation, our astonishment is excited, and forces into action that inherent desire in our minds to seek into hidden things. In some calm summer's evening ramble, we see the air filled with sportive animated beings; the leaf, the branch, the bark of the tree, every mossy bank, the pool, the ditch, all teeming with animated life, with a profusion, an endless variety of existence; each creature pursuing its own separate purpose in a settled course of action, admitting of no deviation or substitution, to accomplish or promote some ordained object. Some appear occupied in seeking for the most appropriate stations for their own necessities, and exerting stratagems and wiles to secure the lives of themselves or their offspring against natural or possible injuries, with a forethought equivalent or superior to reason j others in some aim
CAUSE AND EFFECT. When the connection of events with each other is unknown, ignorance refers them to what is called "Chance;" and superstition, which is ignorance in another form, to the immediate agency of some superior malevolent or benevolent being: but philosophy endeavours to discover the foregoing link in the chain of events.
Near to the Hartz mountains in Germany, a gigantic figure has, from time immemorial, occasionally appeared in the Heavens. It is indistinct, but always resembles the form of a human being. Its appearance has ever been considered a certain indication of approaching misfortune. It is called the Spectre of the Brocken (the name of the hill). It has been seen by many travellers. In speaking of it, M. Jordan says, "In the course of my repeated tours through the Hartz mountains, I often, but in vain, ascended the Brocken, that I might see the spectre. At length, on a serene morning, as the sun was just appearing above the horizon, it stood before me, at a great distance, towards the opposite mountain. It seemed to be the gigantic figure of aman. It vanished in a moment." InSeptember 179G, the celebrated Abbe Haiiy visited this country. He says, "After having ascended the mountain for thirty times, I at last saw the spectre. It was just at sunrise in the middle of the month of May, about four o'clock in the morning. I saw distinctly a human figure of a monstrous size. The atmosphere was quite serene towards the east. In the south west a high wind carried before it some light vapours which were scarcely condensed into clouds, and hung round the mountains upon which the figure stood. I bowed: the colossal figure repeated it. I paid my respects a second time, which was returned with the same civility. I then called the landlord of the inn, and having taken the same position which I had occupied before, we looked towards the mountain, when we clearly saw two such colossal figures, which, after having repeated our compliment, by bending their bodies, vanished."
Now for an explanation of this appearance. "When the rising sun throws his rays over the Brocken upon the body of a man standing opposite to fleecy clouds, let the beholder fix his eye steadily upon them, and in all probability he will see his own shadow extending the length of five or six hundred feet, at the distance of about two miles from him."
Dr.Arnot, in his work on Physics, says, "It happened once on board a ship sailing along the coast of Brazil, 100 miles from land, that the persons walking on deck, when passing a particular spot, heard most distinctly the sound of bells, varying as in human rejoicings. All on board listened and were convinced; but the phenomenon was mysterious and inexplicable. The different ideas which this would excite in the minds of ignorance and intelligence, may be easily conceived. Some months afterwards it was ascertained that at the time of observation the bells of St. Salvador, on the Brazilian coast, had been ringing on the occasion of a festival. The sound, therefore, favoured by a gentle wind, had travelled over 100 miles of smooth water; and striking the wide spread sail of a ship, rendered concave by a gentle breeze, had been brought to a focus, and rendered perceptible."
B. Montagu's Selections.
View of the Black Lead Mine, at Borrondate.
The period when this mine was discovered is unknown, but it was certainly worked previous to the seventeenth century, and has been occasionally open ever since. The mineral has also been found in Ayrshire, Inverness-shire, and in foreign countries, but of a very inferior quality.
Various names have been given to the mineral found here, but as many of them denote other substances, they do not appear very appropriate. It is called on the spot, wad, and in other places plumbago, or black lead, though lead, properly so called, forms no part of its composition. The terms black cawke and graphite have likewise been applied to it, though it is actually carbonate of iron, consisting of 90 parts of charcoal and 10 of iron. It is principally used for the manufacture of pencils, great quantities of which are made at Keswick; but is also employed in making crucibles, polishing iron, diminishing the friction of machinery, &c.
The mine was formerly worked only at intervals, a sufficient quantity being procured in a short time to last for several years; but the market being considerably extended, and the difficulty of finding the mineral increased, the working has lately been carried on more constantly.
The wad is not found in veins, but in irregular masses, some of which weigh as much as four or five pounds. Many of these pieces are of little value, being hard and gritty; but those which are soft and of fine texture are worth several guineas a pound. These
masses are usually found in the form of a tree, the trunk being of the finest quality, and the branches inferior to it. When taken out of the mine, the wad is sorted according to its various qualities, and the best sent to London, where it is sold to the dealers once a month. The pencil-makers of Keswick receive their supply from the metropolis, as the proprietors of the article will not allow any to be sold till it has been deposited in their own warehouse.
In order to make pencils, the black lead is sawed into square slips, which are fitted into a groove made in a piece of wood, and another slip of wood glued over them. A soft wood, such as cedar, is usually employed for the purpose, that the pencil may be more easily cut. In the ever-pointed pencils, the lead is formed in the shape of small cylinders instead of square slips.
The inferior pencils, hawked about at a cheap rate, are made of the refuse of the mineral, stirred into melted sulphur. They may be detected by holding them to a candle, or to a red hot iron, when they yield a bluish flame, with a strong smell, resembling that of burning brimstone. Pure black lead produces neither smell nor fume, and suffers no apparent alteration in a moderate heat.
The eggs of hens are those most commonly used as food j and form an article of very considerable importance in a commercial point of view. Vast quantities are brought from the country to London and other great towns. Since the peace they have also been very largely imported from the Continent. At this moment, indeed, the trade in eggs forms a considerable branch of our commerce with France, and affords constant employment for a number of small vessels! It appears from official statements, that the eggs imported from France amount to about 60,000,000 a year; and supposing them to cost, at an average, Ad. a doz. it follows that the people of the metropolis and Brighton (for it is into them that they arc almost all imported) pay the French above 83,000/. a year for eggs; and supposing that the freight, importers' and retailers' profit, duty, &c. raise their price to the consumer to lOrf. a dozen, their total cost will be 213,000/. —The duty, in 1829, amounted to 22,189/.
M'culloch's Commercial Dictionary.
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Iceland, whether naturally or morally considered, is an island equally striking and interesting. Situated in the region of perpetual cold, its whole surface shows most strongly the tremendous operation of those fires which burn for ever beneath our feet; and, lying remote and solitary in the polar sea, its population exhibits the happy effects of early civilization. The blessed influence of Christianity is no where more beautifully displayed. The inhabitants of countries in which the works of nature appear in their utmost grandeur, are in general contemplative, serious, and predisposed to religious impressions; and if such is the case generally, how remarkably must it be so with a people whose footsteps tread on nothing but extinguished lava, who daily look upon the flaming volcano, and see the heavens darkened by clouds of vapour and torrents of boiling water, cast into the air from the bowels of the earth?
The boiling springs of Iceland are among the most sublime as well as beautiful objects of nature. They have been well described by several travellers; by the help of whose accounts we propose now to give a general idea of these magnificent objects.
The principal of these springs are situated in the south-western division of the island, about thirty-six miles from the celebrated volcano, Mount Hecla, and, about twelve miles from the village of Shalholt. The steam arising from them, during their eruptions, has been seen at the distance of sixteen miles. The springs mostly rise in a plain, near the base of a low range of hills. Many break out from the sides of the hills; and some very near their summits. Above an hundred of them are contained within a circle of two miles.
Three or four of the principal of these springs are distinguished by the name of Geyser, which is said to be the old Scandinavian name for a fountain. The two Vol. I.
which are most remarkable have been called the Great Geyser, and the New Geyser.
On approaching the Great Geyser, when in a" quiet state, it presents the appearance of a large circular mound, from the middle of which a quantity of steam is seen to rise. On ascending the side of this mound, there appears a spacious basin, partly filled with hot water, as clear as crystal, and moved by a gentle bubbling. In the centre of the basin there is a round pipe or funnel about eighty feet deep, and eight or ten feet in diameter, but widening near the top, and opening very gradually into the basin, which is about 150 feet round; and, when full, the water it contains is about four feet deep. The inside of it exhibits a whitish surface, consisting of a flinty crust, which has been rendered smooth by the'eonstant action of the boiling water. The mound consists entirely of matter deposited from the water, which is always flowing over the edges of it. On leaving the mound, the hot water passes through a turfy soil; and by acting on the peat, mosses, and other vegetable matters, converts them into stone, and affords beautiful specimens of petrifaction.
The eruptions take place at very irregular intervals. They are announced by loud explosions in the bowels of the earth, like reports of cannon, which shake the ground, and warn the visitor to remove from the spot. The water, at the same time, begins to boil more and more violently; and at last, the contents of the basin are suddenly projected into the air; successive jets follow irregularly, till a magnificent column of water ascends to a great height, surrounded by immense volumes of steam, which, in a great measure, hide the column of water from the view. The scene, at this period of the eruption, is indescribably grand. The whole surrounding atmosphere is filled with volumes
of steam rolling over each other as they ascend, and through which, columns ofwater, shivering into foam, are seen spreading in all directions. Much of the water is lost in vapour; but the greatest part falls to the ground in heavy showers of spray. As the jets rise out of the basin, the water reflects the most beautiful colours;—sometimes the purest and most brilliant blue; at others, a bright sea-green: but in the further ascent, all distinction of colour is lost; and the jets, broken into a thousand parts, appear as white as snow. Some of them are forced upwards perpendicularly; but many are thrown out in beautiful curves. The eruption thus continues, changing its form at every instant, till the force which drives it from beneath is exhausted. The water then subsides through the pipe, and disappears, but immediately rises again, and fills the basin to the extent already mentioned; and in this state it remains till the next eruption.
Such are the general features of these eruptions, as described by all writers. Some spectators appear to have seen them in different states of activity and magnitude from others; and all of them strain their powers of language to give an idea of the grandeur and beauty of the scene, and the impressions of religious awe which it produces.—"While the jets," it is eloquently said by Dr. Henderson, "were rushing up towards heaven with the velocity of an arrow, my mind was forcibly borne along with them to the contemplation of the great and omnipotent Jehovah, in comparison with whom, these, and all the wonders scattered over the immensity of existence, dwindle into absolute insignificance; whose Almighty command spake the universe into being ; and at whose sovereign fiat the whole fabric might be reduced in an instant to its original nothing."
At a short distance from the Great Geyser, is situated the New geyser, also called, from its continual noise, the roaring Geyser. By the natives it is called Strockn, a word which literally means 'a churn.' The outward appearance of this spring is different from that of the Great Geyser. The pipe, which is about forty-four feet in depth, and nine in diameter, is not entirely circular, nor-is it so perpendicular as the other. Instead of opening into a basin, it is defended on one side by a low incrusted wall, while, on the other, it is level with the surface of the ground. The eruptions of this spring differ little from those of the Great Geyser, except in their lesser size. Dr. Henderson gives the following picture-like description of a joint eruption of both these fountains:—"About ten minutes past five in the morning we were aroused by the roaring of Slrockn, which blew up a great quantity of steam; and when my watch stood at the full quarter, a crash took place as if the earth had burst, which was instantaneously succeeded by jets of water and spray rising in a perpendicular column to the height of sixty feet. As the sun happened to be behind a cloud, we had no expectation of witnessing any thing more sublime than we had already seen. But Strockn had not been in action above twenty minutes, when the Great Geyser, apparently jealous of her reputation, and indignant at our bestowing so much of our time and applause on her rival, began to thunder tremendously, and emitted such quantities of water and steam, that we could not be satisfied with a distant view, but hastened to the mound with as much curiosity as if it had been the first eruption we had beheld. However, if she was more interesting in point of magnitude, she gave the less satisfaction in point of duration, having again become tranquil in the course of five minutes; whereas her less gaudy but more steady companion continued to play till within four minutes of six o'clock." Dr. Henderson adds the sin
Mr. Lyell adopts the general, and highly probable supposition of a hollow cave at a great depth beneath the earth where water and steam collect, and where the free escape of the steam is prevented till it acquires sufficient force to discharge the water.— Suppose water from the surface of the earth to penetrate into this cavity beneath, represented at the letters A D, by the cracks or rents, F F; while, at the same time, steam, at an extremely high temperature, rises upwards through the cracks C C;— when this steam reaches the cold water in the cavity, a portion of it is at first condensed into water, while it gradually raises the temperature of the water already in the cavity; till at last the lower part of the cavity is filled with boiling water, and the upper part with steam under high pressure. As the pressure of the steam increases, its expansive force becomes greater and greater, and at length it forces the boiling water up the fissure or pipe E B, and a considerable quantity runs over the rim of the basin. When the pressure on the steam in the upper part of the cavity A, is thus diminished, it expands till all the water D, is driven to E, the bottom of the pipe. When this happens, the steam rushes up with great velocity, as on the opening of the valve of a steam boiler. If the pipe be choked up artificially with stones, (as was done by Dr. Henderson) a great increase of heat must take place, for it is prevented from escaping in steam; so that the water is made to boil up in a few minutes, and this brings on an eruption.
Mr. Lyell applies the same principle,—the agency of steam upon melted lava accumulated in cavities in the bowels of the earth—to account for the eruptions of volcanoes, and, though not absolutely demonstrated, there is every presumption in favour of its probability.
The life of Pascal is memorable, as exhibiting the singular fame, various ability, and extensive knowledge, which may be acquired at an age scarcely beyond boyhood. Born in 1G23, at Clermont in Auvergne, his father a lawyer of rank in the province. perceived such indications of genius in the child, that he gave up his profession, for the purpose of educating him in Paris. A man of literature and intelligence, he wished to fix his son's attention on the classics. But the boy had already chosen a study for himself, and had unconsciously mastered the rudiments of geometry. This science was so strongly opposed to his father's objects, that he was forbidden ever to speak of it. But the ruling passion prevailed. In solitude his mind teemed with questions and problems; and, in a short period, with only a piece of charcoal and the wall of his chamber for his apparatus, he had formed diagrams of a set of propositions up to the thirty-second of the first book of Euclid: at twelve, he had been as it were the discoverer of a science!
The celebrated Descartes was then at the head of scientific fame. The boy, at the age of sixteen, presented him with a "Treatise on the Section of the Cone." It won the philosopher's highest applause.
His father's reluctance was now overcome; and this extraordinary boy was suffered to pursue his triumphs at his will.
The discoveries of Torricelli had attracted general attention. The invention of the air-pump and of the barometer, which is now become our weather-glass, had just awoke the whole scientific world. The power of grasping the impalpable air, of reducing the whirlwind to weight and measure, of expelling it at pleasure from space, of guaging the heights and depths of the valley and the mountain, of foretelling the capricious changes of the elements, all formed a magnificent addition to the command of man over Nature. Pascal applied himself to the study with his characteristic vigour; and, in a series of admirable experiments, showed an equal skill in practical science and in its abstract studies. He was now twentyfour, and had established his rank among the most eminent names. Five years earlier, he had invented a calculating machine, which proved his mechanical dexterity, and to which even the skill of our later day has ventured to add but little. It was the custom at this period to circulate problems or questions to be answered by the leading mathematicians. Father Mersenne had circulated a problem, demanding to find out the laws and properties of a curve formed by the movement of a point in a coach -wheel. That such a problem should have puzzled men of science may raise a smile; but difficulties are to be judged of in reference to their time. Pascal fixed his mind on the problem; and to the surprise, and perhaps the chagrin, of the proposer, answered him by a complete solution.
But a painful and melancholy change was soon to show the uncertainty of human genius, vigour, and wisdom. The quarrels of the Jansenists and Jesuits convulsed France. The retired habits and metaphysical mind of Pascal found a kindred spirit in the reveries of Jansenism. He became a member of the celebrated Society of Port Royal, and rapidly distinguished himself by his zeal in their defence, his ardent adoption of their principles, and his submission to their austerities. Of an infirm constitution, and even that constitution exhausted by labour, he put himself under the most rigid and exhausting discipline. He is said to have worn an iron chain next his skin: he fasted, practised various mortifications to wean him • self from what he termed the evils of the world, and, at length, by one of those extravagances which form the character and the punishment of religious enthusiasm, he broke off all intercourse with his relations and friends. He was now but thirty, but mentally and bodily he was in advanced age. His frame, withering away under discomfort, solitude, and cheerless study, and his mind wandering in airy speculations.
An accident, in the year 1654, added earthly terror to the gloom and fears of the invisible world. His decaying health had rendered exercise necessary, which he was in the habit of taking in a carriage. One day the horses took fright, and ran into the Seine. The carriage was fortunately checked on the edge of the bank, and Pascal was saved: but from this moment the remembrance of his danger never left his mind. A precipice seemed perpetually to open before him; and, even when in his chamber, he dreaded to look over the side of his chair, lest he should see the gulph yawning for him below. He now saw visions, and dreamed dreams, lay in trances, and held converse with things not of earth. Pascal was mad.
Yet in the midst of this life of severity, by one of those splendid efforts by which genius vindicates itself in its lowest humiliation, Pascal produced the "Provincial Letters," a satire on Jesuitism, one of the most powerful and popular achievements in the history of literature. It was the first resolute blow given to the Jesuits in Europe, and it was effectual: it laid the axe to the root of the tree. But its author was soon to be insensible to the applause which showered on him from every part of Europe. He was a broken old man, a recluse, and sunk into hopeless melancholy. During his latter years he was accustomed to think and talk much of religion, and to record his thoughts on fragments of paper. His object was one which might have well and worthily occupied the highest mind,—a defence and illustration of Christianity; but his powers were now worn away. In this occu* pation he lingered down to the grave, dying, in 1G62, at the age of thirty-nine; a period at which the human intellect has scarcely more than reached its vigour, and is little more than beginning to acquire the experience which alone can render the spring and elasticity of genius, safe, dignified, and wise.
His works were collected soon after his death, and received by the learned world with the honours due to his name. His death was universally regretted, as the premature extinction of one of the lights of his country. Yet he cannot be said to have fallen short of the years of man, who has accomplished in few, more than thousands and tens of thousands accomplish in many. And Pascal, at thirty-nine, loaded with the palms of science, literature, and religion, had justly earned his title to immortality. tig?
LINES ON A BROOK.
Look at this brook, so blithe, so free!
Thus hath it been, fair boy! for ever,
With just the same sweet babbling voice
That now sings out, " Rejoice, rejoice!"
Perhaps 'twill be a chain
That will a thousand years remain;
Ay, through all times and changes last,
And link the present to the past:
Perhaps upon this self-same spot,
Hereafter may a merry knot
(My children's children !) meet ana piay,
And think on me, some summer's day;
And smile (perhaps through youth's brief tears,
While thinking back through wastes of years,)
And softly say—
"'Twas here the old man used to stray,
And gaze upon the sky; and dream,
(Long, long ago!) by this same stream.
He's in his grave! Ungentle Time
Hath dealt but harshly with his rhyme;
But we will never forget, that he
Taught us to love this river free." P