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The Seasons...

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 seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, should continue to the very end of all things. Accordingly, in obedience to that promise, the rotation is constantly presenting us with some useful and agreeable 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 variety, cannot be undelightful; since the blessing which every month brings along with it, is a fresh instance of the wisdom and bounty 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, aply, 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 evening, 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 iife, even to a 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 cietude, cheerfulness and melody, love and gattitude, 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 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 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 narrower, are four hundred yards over. Their direction 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.


the subterraneous caverns now known, the grotto of 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. Recovering the first surprise, however, we entered boldly; 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 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 her playful moments, dressed the scene, as if for her own amusement.'

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"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 experiment, by throwing down some stones, which rumbling along the sides of the descent for some time, the sound seemed at 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 hinto this narrow aperture. After continuing within it quarter of an hour, he returned, bearing in his beautiful pieces of white spar, which art coul



nor 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, flambeau, 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 magnificient part of the cavern."


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 more 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 nature had designed to mock the curiosities of art. Our voices, upon speaking, og singing, were redoubled to an astonishing loudness; and upon the firing of a gun, the noise and reverberations 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 logress from this amazing cavern, we perceived a Greek in

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 cavern, he does not think fit to inform us."-This account of so beautiful and striking a scene, may serve to give us some idea of the subterraneous wonders of nature.


Earthquake at Catanea.


ONE of the earthquakes most particularly described in history, is that which happened in the year 1693; the damages of which were chiefly felt in Sicily, but its motion was pērceived in Germany, France, and England. It extended to a circumference of two 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, às upon a rolling billow. The walls were dashed from their foundations; and no fewer than fiftyfour 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, a black cloud, like night, hanging over the place. The sea, all of a sudden, began to roar; mount Etna to sens 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 nineteen 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 seen remaining.



In the progress of the Divine works and government, there arrived a period, in which this earth was to be called into ey

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