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ATMOSPHERE AND ATMOSPHERICAL
THE NATURE, PROPERTIES, AND BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF THE ATMOSPHERE IN THE SYSTEM OF NATURE, AND THE EVIDENCES WHICH ITS CONSTITUTION AFFORDS OF THE WISDOM AND BENEFICENCE OF THE CREATOR.
INTRODUCTION. ALL the works of God, throughout the immensity of the universe, display the character, perfections, and agency of the Supreme Creator, to every rational and Christian mind that surveys them with attention and intelligence. From the magnificent luminaries of heaven to the comparatively small globe on which we dwell, and the smallest microscopic animalcule that glides through its waters, we perceive the impress of omnipotence and skill, which infinitely surpass all the puny labours and inventions of man. These works were evidently intended by their Divine Author to be investigated, contemplated, and admired by all his intelligent offspring, that their conceptions of
the Divine character may be expanded, and that they may be led to give unto Him“ the glory due unto his name.” The enlightened Christian, therefore, ought to devote a portion of his time and attention to the study and contemplation of the works of God, not only as a rational amusement, but as a solemn duty; for, in numerous passages in the sacred records, this duty is expressly inculcated: “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things”—“ Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God"-" The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein”. “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty."
When we look around on the surface of the earth, and behold the beautiful and sublime landscapes which diversify its aspect, the variety of colours with which it is adorned, the myriads of trees, shrubs, and flowers which spring from its surface, and the rich perfumes they shed around them—the numerous animated beings which traverse the air, the ocean, and the earth, and the ample provision which is made for their subsistence and comfort-we can scarcely fail of being impressed with the conviction, that the Creator is a being of unbounded beneficence, that " His tender mercies are over all his works,” and that the happiness of his sensitive and intelligent offspring is one great end of all his arrangements. When we consider the curious and exquisite structure of all the
vegetable tribes, the numerouş vessels with which
they are furnished, the thousands of delicate tubes, invisible to the naked eye, through which their sap and juices are continually flowing to the leaves and branches, the millions of pores through which they shed their delicious odours, and the curious contexture and the numerous
eauties which the microscope alo cover in their leaves, prickles, stamens, petals, and flowers :—when we consider the numerous orders of animated beings—the wonderful diversity of structure they exhibit, in their eyes, ears, feet, joints, claws, wings, and movements-the numberless contrivances which enter into their construction and functions—the thousands of adjustments, adaptations, borings, claspings, and polishings, which enter into the body of an animal a thousand times less than a mite-the adaptation of all these contrivances to the purposes of life, motion, and enjoyment, and their correspondence to the surrounding elements in which such creatures pass their existence:--and, in particular, when we contemplate the structure and functions of our own corporeal frames; the hundreds of bones of different shapes and sizes which support it; the hundreds of muscles of different conformation, which give motion to its different parts ; the thousands of glands, secreting humours of various kinds from the blood; the thousands of lacteal and lymphatic tubes, absorbing and conveying nutriment to the circulating fluid; the millions of pores, through which the perspiration is continually flowing; the infinite ramification of nerves, diffusing
sensation throughout all the parts of this exquisite machine; and the numerous veins and arteries which convey the whole mass of blood through every part of the body ten times every hour :—when we consider these adaptations and arrangements throughout the vegetable and the animal kingdoms, we perceive the marks of a Divine intelligence and skill, which completely throw into the shade the most exquisite contrivances of human genius, and which convince: us that the wisdom of the Creator is infinite, and his
ways past finding out." In short, when we lift our eyes beyond the boundaries of the globe on which we dwell, and look upwards to that boundless firmament where suns unnumbered shine, and planets and comets run their ample rounds—when we behold ten thousand times ten thousand of luminous and opaque globes of vast dimensions, scattered in magnificent profusion throughout every region of infinite space; when we contemplate the sun occupying a space which would hold one million three hundred thousand worlds such as ours; and when we contemplate globes, fourteen hundred times larger than our world, flying through the voids of space with a velocity of thirty thousand miles an hour, and carrying along with them in their rapid career a retinue of surrounding worlds—we behold the effects of a Power which all the subordinate intelligences in the universe can never control, a power before which the mightiest achievements of human art sink into the same scale with the