Page images
PDF
EPUB

*

*

*

Great Father seems to be! The many | cause they travel by means of long forms of larger animals, tribes of birds, filaments of their own substance, often and myriads of insects, are all outnum- projected eight or ten times the length bered when we regard those smaller of the body; of which class, we have a members of the animated kingdom; common but striking example frequently they are everywhere, either as living found attached to portions of weed or beings, or as germs waiting only sun- other matter floating in ponds.* We shine and moisture to be developed into have one here which shall be placed being. Well might the poet of the under the microscope for your amuse“ Seasons," write

ment, it is a tolerably large specimen, "Full nature swarms with life; one wondrous being about the seventieth of an inch in mass descend,

diameter, from which these creatures of animals or atoms organized,

diminish in size down to the twenty-eight -where the pool

hundredth part of an inch. Now it is Stands mantled o'er with green, invisible isolated, and has the appearance of a Amid the floating verdure millions stray."

whitish grey ball, rather shapeless, and So minute are some of these atoms without organ of any kind, then it grathat many thousands of them might be dually alters its form, and there is a proplaced side by side on a line an inch jection, which lengthens, until it looks like long, and Mr. Rymer Jones informs us a long finger, pressed down to the glass, that in a drop of water no larger than a and by taking firm hold, the body is drawn cube of one-twelfth of an inch, eight after it; another projection is thrown hundred millions may be contained. out, and again the position of the creature While in a cubic inch of water the is changed; the filaments thus thrown astonishing number of thirteen billions, out, or rather one of them, has come in eight hundred and twenty-four millions contact with an organized body, which of these animated organisms might dis- seems to be paralyzed by the touch, the port themselves. The mind seems to be filament is gradually retracted, but the as inadequate to conceive the extreme animal has no mouth. Ah, but it will minuteness of these works of the Creator, not lose its dinner for all that; see, the as it is to grasp the dimensions of those food is pressed against the soft side, mighty orbs which reflect back the light which yields to admit it, the surroundof the central luminary; or the great ing substance closes over, and the luckdistances which intervene between them less prey is safely entombed, and will be and their primary around which they digested at the leisure of our little friend, revolve ; but the figures in each case the Proteus ; so called from the facility have been ascertained after investigation with which its form is changed. Our by masters in science, and we may take drop of water is, however, full of life, them as illustrative of the wonder-work- manifested in the quaintest forms. Here ing hand of him to whom nothing is come some animated bladders rolling large and nothing small.

over and over as they pursue the even Minute as are the beings under con- tenor of their way.

Here are some sideration, they are endowed with loco- sausages, or rather we might suppose motive powers, and move with greater them to be inflated skins of sausages or less freedom through the waters. It on which fairies have dined, so transhas been thought that, at least some of parent are they; yet they go swimming them do not move as the result of acts along in quiet dignified ease, utterly of volition, but in obedience to an im- regardless of impediments; for in endeapulse similar to that which impels cer-vouring to pass between some equally tain leaves of plants and minuter forms expanded comrades, their sides collapse of vegetation to almost ceaseless action; in a manner it were to be wished could be this however, as it may, move they be imitated by the expanded coverings certainly do, and many with great of our fair friends when they desire to rapidity, considering their diminutive pass us in pew or public conveyance. forms. They are chiefly furnished with Here is one turning round and round in cilia, hair-like appendages in constant giddy gyrations upon an unseen axis. motion, others unfurnished with cilia Is iť a peg top which has just been are termed root footed, Rhizopoda, be

* Amoebæ, from the Greek, Amoibos, changing.

thrown down by an unseen and very It is not surprising that vast numbers of small boy, or is being whipped round Animalcules should swarm in almost all by an invisible Puck ? neither one nor waters when their processes of division the other, for now being tired of this are considered, and the rapidity with revolving state, it has swiftly swum out which the operation is carried on; they of the field of vision. Here comes a tiny however, multiply, not only by sponfluted column with either end rounded taneous division, but by gemmation, off; there is a round disc with a few that is, the development of buds upon long hairs projected from its surface, the surface of the parent animal which and is whisked across the vision with give rise to similar creatures or germs great rapidity. - Now we have some which are developed into them; or by florence oil flasks, or what at least are the encysting process, in which the very like them in form, and, yes, cer- parent becomes as it were the egg tainly! there are a pair of the large ends from which proceeds not one, but of the flasks fastened together! What many similar forms of life. They are has happened here? Is this a lusus na- moreover

tenacious of life, or perturæ ? Oh, no, the little creatures are haps it were better said, that they are only practising multiplication by divi- capable of resisting what might be consion. We have frequently watched the sidered as unfavourable conditions; thus, whole operation ; first a little nick ap- if the water containing them be frozen pears in the small end, and gradually hard and subjected to cold equal to extends all down the animal until it is twenty degrees below freezing point, finally divided along its length, and two when the ice has melted, the little fellows animals exist, where previously there will be found swimming about as if nowas but one. They do not all thus thing particular had happened to them; divide longitudinally, but many of them on the other hand, they have not only transversely, and it is not a little been found floating in hot springs, but amusing to observe each trying to swim the water in which they have dwelt has in a contrary direction, the stronger at been gradually raised from a temperate length carrying off his weaker but at- condition to the boiling point, and many tached brother who, no doubt, rejoices have survived this rather severe test. when the tie is severed. Do you per- The life of an individual, according to ceive that round-bodied fellow with a some observers who have kept them in long swan-like neck, which it gracefully confinement under conditions as near as moves in every direction ? Is it not a possible similar to those in which they very striking, though extremely small naturally exist, is between four and five representative of those huge tish-like weeks; in the encysted state, of course reptiles, the Ichthyosauri, which dwelt the germ of vitality is of much longer in by-gone times, but whose forms are duration, and as the animal divides and modelled in the grounds of the Crystal divides again, the line of the individual Palace. But we must not linger over may be continued through so many genethe shapes here presented of trumpets, rations, or rather literally split into so serpents, boats, cups, funnels, globes, many portions, that it is extremely difficylinders, spindles, and many others: cult to detect the original parent among some with mouths, and apparently very a host of precisely similar offshoots. hungry ones too, while many are not The rapidity with which animals of provided with, what would seem to be, this simple type make their appearance this very necessary appendage, and who in water containing decaying vegetable therefore take their nutriment by im- matter is well known. They may usually bibition through their delicate tissues. be found in water in which cut flowers Those who have not the opportunity of have been kept for a time; this facility observing the curious shapes of these of development has given them the tiny beings, should at least gratify their name, Infusoria, by which as a class eyes with a view of their portraits as they are popularly known. The old depicted in the_magnificent work of observers amuse themselves and their Ehrenberg, Dr. Pritchard's “Infusoral friends by preparing infusions of vaAnimalcules,” or in the plates attached rious kinds in order to obtain the living to the “Micrographic Dictionary." atoms developed under these influences;

and it is amusing to read their directions | lition for some time in a closed vessel, how to prepare infusions of pepper, hay, into the cork of which two bent tubes wheat, celery, and numerous other plants, are inserted, and after the air has been all of which were to yield specific kinds completely displaced by the vapour, of animalcules; but we fear that the ex- fresh air be admitted previously passed perimenter was often disappointed by through red hot tubes, animalcules cease finding several creatures in one infusion, to be met with"; and they add “that the and that in different infusions were to liquid has not been rendered incapable be seen similar animals. The readiness of supporting the life of the animal forms with which they are developed, and the is shown by subsequently admitting air difficulty of tracing their first appear- which has not been heated to redness, ance, has given rise to the curiously when the animalcules appear as rapidly absurd notion of so-called spontaneous as before.” generation, by which we suppose is To members of this group of micromeant that either these animals create scopic beings is due the beautiful phethemselves, or that they are created as nomena of phosphorescence which has the result of the vegetation becoming charmed every one who has spent a decomposed; either notion being alto- little time at the sea-shore: myriads gether beyond the limited capacity of of tiny creatures, each emitting its one who believes that all things were minute spark of light, irradiate with made by God, and without him was not, their splendours the crest of the wave nor is, anything made. For while we as it breaks

upon

the shore, or falls can conceive that like may produce like, in flashes of brilliant light from the oar and are ready to admit that it is diffi- as the boatmen lifts it from the water. cult, nay in many cases impossible, to The spark of light in each though truly trace the presence of vital germs, yet we small is not hid, but being freely given are far too opaque to see how like can forth, it scatters beauty and radiance produce unlike, or how the destruction far and wide. May not all who have of a vegetable organism can be the received a beam of Divine light, though creation of an organized animal; but as it be ever so small, emulate the tiny the subject has long agitated men's animalcule, and light up by its reflection minds, and shallow reasoners have been some dark spot? Even around our coasts led away by first appearances, it may this phenomenon is seen with great be gratifying to some who have perhaps beauty, but in tropical seas, its effects are feared to know the truth, to be informed extraordinarily beautiful, where somethat a committee of savans appointed by times the whole surface far as the the French academy to investigate some can stretch seems one vast sheet of sheen, most interesting experiments carried out the wake of the vessel displaying the by Messrs. Pasteur, Pouchet and others, most vivid and varied scintillations, and with a view to elucidate the question, the spray

breaking upon have reported that no life is manifested, like a shower of brilliantly illuminated if due care be taken to destroy the ex- sparks. Every one must be familiar isting germs which may be in the air or with Coleridge's description in the “ Anwater. It is much to be lamented that cient Mariner,” of the singular beauty the disposition should be frequently so of the scene :strong to eliminate God from his works, “Beyond the shadow of the ship and to give to a blind unerring law the

They moved in tracks of shining white, glory which belongs to him alone. The And when they reared, the elfish light waters teem with myriads of germs,

Fell off in hoary flakes. numbers of which are taken up in the “ Within the shadow of the ship air and carried hither and thither; many

Blue, glossy-green, and velvet-black, being deposited where they fall, but They coiled and swam; and every track many others where, finding suitabl

Was a flash of golden fire." ditions, they burst into life. Messrs. Thus in mercy vast as his own infiGriffith and Henfrey writing in the nitude does the Creator condescend to “ Micrographic Dictionary on this fill the world with beauty, and much point state; “If the liquid containing the of it of a character to stimulate the decomposing matter be heated to ebul exertions of his creature man; literally,

eye

the

prow, falls

I watched the water-snakes :

I watched their rich attire :

con

these are works that have to be sought, earth. For when this matter is dissolved out by them that take pleasure therein; or suspended in water in that state of but how great is the reward in return comminution and decay which immefor the pains and labour bestowed upon diately precedes its final decomposition the search! Did they serve no other into the elementary gases and its conobject in creation than this, it would sequent return to the inorganic world, seem to be enough, but doubtless they these wakeful members of Nature's infulfil a higher purpose. Let us, in con- visible police are everywhere ready clusion, hear Professor Owen on this to arrest the fugitive organized parpoint.

“ Consider," he says, “their ticles, and turn them back into the incredible numbers, their universal dis- ascending stream of animal life. Having tribution, their insatiable voracity; and converted the dead and decomposing that it is the particles of decaying vege- particles into their own living tissues, table and animal bodies which they are they themselves become the food of appointed to devour and assimilate. I larger Infusoria, and of numerous other Surely we must, in some degree, be in- small animals, which in their turn are debted to these ever-active invisible devoured by larger animals; and thus a scavengers for the salubrity of the food fit for the nourishment of the atmosphere, and the purity of water. highest organized beings is brought Nor is this all; they perform a still back, by a short route, from the exmore important office in preventing tremity of the realms of organized the gradual diminution of the present matter." amount of organized matter upon the

W. R. SELWAY.

Notices. N the afternoon of Friday, August | He then called upon Mr. William Olney new Chapel, Drummond-road, Ber- ceived and promised towards this object. mondsey, was laid by Mr. Spurgeon. The favourable statement made by Mr. The rapidly-increasing population in this Olney elicited great acclamation. Mr. neighbourhood could not but suggest to Offord, of Palace Gardens, then made a the visitors on that occasion, the sound few earnest remarks upon the “tried wisdom and genuine philanthropy which Foundation Stone” laid by God in Zion, suggested the erection of a comfortable which were followed by an appropriate place of worship in this spiritually des- address from Mr. J. A. Spurgeon. Mr. titute locality. Happily the weather, C. H. Spurgeon then laid the stone, which for some days previously had been using his own silver trowel for the wet and stormy, quite cleared up, and purpose, and amusing the on-lookers by was fine during the whole of the pro- the workmanlike manner in which he ceedings. A hymn having been sung, handled the mallet and trowel. Beneath Mr. Spurgeon offered fervent prayer the stone a bottle was placed, containing that abundant success might crown this the “Sword and Trowel " for August, undertaking. He then addressed the Mr. Spurgeon's Sermon, entitled,“ Withassembled friends in an animated speech, holding the Corn,” and a pamphlet, detelling them how for a long time it had tailing some interesting facts concerning been in his heart to erect a place of the rise and progress of the cause in that worship in that vicinity, and how real place. A large number of the inhabitants was the pleasure he felt at seeing his of the immediate vicinity were present, hopes about to be realized under such and appeared to take a lively interest in favourable circumstances. He told the the proceedings. The friends then adfriends already associated in Christian journed to the schoolroom at the Metrofellowship at Mill Lane, Blue Anchor politan Tabernacle, where tea was proRoad, that having given them a start, vided at five o'clock. The meeting in they must now endeavour to run alone, the lecture-hall, after tea, was rendered of which they had given good promise very interesting by the soul-stirring in the efforts they had already made. I addresses of the speakers. The Minister of the Independent congregation meet- On Saturday, 9th July, Mr. S. Crabb, ing in the Iron Church, Blue Anchor from the Tabernacle College, was ordainRoad, was present, and in a few words ed pastor of the Baptist Church, Abershowed the urgent need which existed chirder, Banffshire. Mr. W. Tulloch, for increased Christian effort, and ac- Edinburgh, after the preliminary sercommodation for worship in the district vices, put the usual questions, and, surrounding the new Chapel ; and ex- having received satisfactory answers, pressed his entire sympathy with the offered the dedicatory prayer. He then work, and a desire to co-operate with preached on the duties of the pastor to the Minister who might be appointed to himself and the church. Mr. Jas. that station. Mr. Spurgeon again showed Macfarlane, of Elgin, then addressed the his enthusiasm in the work of erecting church on its duties to the pastor. On places of worship where a pure gospel the Tuesday following, a social teamay be proclaimed, by an earnest appeal meeting was held. Mr. Crabb presided, for renewed and increased assistance ; and addresses were delivered by Messrs. and mentioned other places where it was Macfarlane, Tulloch, Alexander, and the intention of himself and his fellow- Bodie. workers build chapels. He was fol- August 16th, Mr. Spurgeon preached lowed by Mr. S. Čowdy of Arthur- at Redhill on behalf of the Church which street, Mr. John Olney, Mr. Davies, of has been raised there under our late Greenwich, Mr. Genders, of Wands- student, Mr. Smith. After the service, worth, and Mr. Varley, of Bayswater. a bazaar was opened in the Town Hall. The meeting was concluded by a prayer There are no fears as to the success of which found a hearty response in every this effort. The new chapel, being the breast, that the work of that day, though third proposed for this year, will be proregarded with indifference by the world, ceeded with at once. might be blessed in its results to many The following account of the opening generations.

of our New Baptist Chapel at Ealing, Mr. R. A. Griffin, of the Tabernacle is abridged from The Middlesex County College, has received a unanimous invi- Times:-tation to the pastorate of the Baptist “The new chapel is a neat and pleasingly Church at Sandhurst, Kent. The mi- simple structure. The front is of white nistry of Mr. Griffin has been increa- brick, and has a semi-portico with two singly acceptable and useful for several doors, one at each end, and a large winmonths past at that place, and we augur dow on each side. The interior is lofty. the happiest results from his permament The pews, minister's platform, and fitconnection with that church and people. tings are neat and convenient; and the

Mr. Speed, of the Tabernacle College, lighting appears very effective. The exhas received and accepted a unanimous ecution of the entire work has given the invitation to the pastorate of the Baptist greatest satisfaction to all concerned. Church, in Mill Street, Bedford. He The building has sitting accommodation has entered upon his ministry there for 450 persons. with encouraging prospects of success. “Thursday last being the day fixed for

On the 9th of last month Mr. Spur- opening services, the chapel was ingeon visited Woodstock, in Oxfordshire, conveniently crowded, there being not the scene of the labours of Mr. T. Hughes, less than 500 persons present, and many formerly a student at our College. Mr. were compelled to stand near the enSpurgeon preached in a large marquee. trance. Mr. C. H. Spurgeon besought a The day was very fine, and about three blessing on the new sanctuary. Mr. W. thousand persons were assembled on Isaac, minister of the Ealing Congregathe occasion. Such a meeting has never tional Church, also engaged in prayer, before been known at Woodstock. Good which was of the most fervent and imprescollections were made, half of which was sive character. Mr. James Spurgeon read devoted to the Baptist interest at Wood- the lesson. The sermon was preached stock, and half to the College. Special by Mr. C. H. Spurgeon from the text, prayer-meetings werə held on the week “When the Lord shall build up Zion, immediately preceding, and great good is he shall appear in his glory.” The serexpected to result from the proceedings. mon was in every way beautifully fitted

« PreviousContinue »