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tions by uncouth or familiar names, expatiates in the boundless field of existence, or confines his observation to the objects that may happen to be placed around him. All men are naturalists in this sense, for all men are observers of natural objects and phenomena. The bushman, who from infancy renders himself familiar with the distinctive characters of the tracks of the elephant, the rhinoceros, the hyæna, the lion, and the antelope-and the English farmer' who notes the progress of his wheat and turnipsare equally observers of nature. The architect is a naturalist, for he has discovered the qualities of stone, wood, and lime : the very porter in our streets is not less so, for he has learned to balance his burden' in the nicest manner, and to oppose to it the most advantageous combination of props and moving powers.-These persons are wrong in their ideas of a naturalist. He is one who, examining the productions of creative power, with reference to their composition, organization, qualities, functions, phenomena, and relations, arranges them according to principles derived from profound meditation upon the nature of things; names and characterizes them according to the same principles;' and, from their relations and reactions, adduces the laws by which the constitution of nature has been formed and is sustained. He only can obtain a glimpse of the harmony which presides over the phenomena of mundane or universal nature, and to him is more peculiarly allotted the 'faculty' of raising his mind to the contemplation of the divine nature.

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"Yet the faculty may exist, while it may not be exercised, or, as is perhaps more frequently the case, directed towards an imaginary object. In place of the God who made them, how many of our most profound naturalists have worshipped-they know not what-a phantom, to which they give the name of nature! This nature, this 'divine goddess,' on which they confer the attribute of the Omnipotent-what in truth is she, in their conceptions,

INTRODUCTION.

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but a mere abstract idea, a personification of the aggregated phenomena' and laws of physical existence? Look at the pages of the infidel philosophers of France, and see to what contradictions and absurdities in morals this 'childish creed' is ever leading them; where you find the applause of their fellow-creatures constituting la gloire véritable, and the post mortem honours decreed to the successful cultivators of science as the summit of human happiness. Even in our own land, in CHRISTIAN ENGLAND, the very name of the Deity is banished from the pages and mouths of our sages, as something too odious to be tolerated—as enough to characterize as a fool, a fanatic, or a hypocrite the man who employs it. But as this is not the place for preaching, we proceed with our remarks.

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It is not the naturalist alone who contemplates nature with gratified eye and mind. Every man is more or less sensible' to her beauties and sublimities. The inhabitant of the crowded city, who has toiled through his six days' labour in the steaming and unwholesome prison of some manufactory or work shop, gladly takes his hebdomadal walk by the hedges and green fields and to him sweet is the breath of spring,' and joyous the rural sights and scenes that obtrude upon the paths of his vision. To the 'poetical temperament,' the observation of nature is a source of unspeakable delight; and, in general, so prevalent is the taste for natural objects, that nothing affords a purer delight to readers of poetry than descriptions of nature, whether it be the unrivalled beauties of some wild scene,' or the fervid ebullitions of some human passion, that form the subject of the poet's tale. No man can excel as a painter, a sculptor, or a poet, who is not alive to the beauties and sublimities of nature; and he who is not imbued with something of the same spirit may be distinguished among his fellow-men as the slave of some base passion,' whether that passion be ambition-the most despicable of all-or any other modification of self-love. It is true that the most devoted lovers

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of nature have often manifested ambition of various kinds; but this ambition, so far from being essential to the temperament of genius, is precisely that adjunct to it which acts most prejudicially' upon its possessor. The jealousies and animosities of rival naturalists, although they cannot bring contempt upon science, yet bring ridicule upon its culti

vators.

"There is not a being in the whole circle of society who might not find amusement and instruction in the observation of natural phenomena. What unknown sources of delight spring up in the desert to him who enters upon this fascinating study! It is henceforth impossible for him to be idle or unoccupied. Wherever he goes, objects present themselves which are sufficient to occupy his whole attention. In traversing the most barren heath, the most sterile common, the uniform expanse of ocean, something' is ever and anon forcing itself upon his observation. While others must have recourse to cards, dice, wine, and other equally absurd and despicable expedients, to rid themselves of the burden of time, he, never feeling time to hang heavy upon his hands,' can find amusement in the flowers, the rocks, the streams, the clouds, or the ocean around him! Nor can any man look upon the objects around him with a philosophic eye, and not think of the cause of these objects, the purposes for which they were intended, the end which they fulfil. The idea of the Supreme Being' must ever, in some sense or other, be present to the naturalist; and to him who has received the inspiration which RELIGION teaches and experience confirms, that idea must be a source of unspeakable happiness!

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"Natural history, properly speaking, is a study far too extensive for any individual to acquire even a tolerable knowledge of it. Although in most of our universities there are lectureships on this science, yet it is nowhere in this country taught in all its departments. Taking it in a very limited sense, it embraces geology, zoology, and botany.

Geology embraces whatever belongs to the natural history of the globe which we inhabit: its waters, its atmosphere, its solid mass! Zoology treats of the organic structures possessed of sentient vitality: any one of its numerous departments is sufficient to occupy a whole life. Botany refers to the vegetable productions of the globe. For the student desirous of obtaining some general information respecting these studies, the best method would be to hear a course of lectures on each of these three great departments of natural history, illustrated by the exhibition of actual objects belonging to them. Without access to objects of natural history, no true progress can be made. Hence, for the diffusion of a' taste' for such pursuits, the importance of national and local museums. After acquiring a distinct idea of the nature and relations of this study, one might be enabled to select the department to which circumstances might induce him to confine his investigations. In every seminary of learning, in which it is proposed to teach the whole circle of science, there ought to be at least three professorships of natural history. Geology, including geognosy, mineralogy, hydrography, meteorology, and geography, is obviously of too great extent to be treated of, even in outline, in a course of less than six months. Zoology again, is so extensive, that it might with great propriety be made to occupy two courses; the one including the comparative anatomy and description of the higher animals—the other those of the lower. Botany would form the third or fourth lectureship.

"As in schools, so in universities, natural history ought obviously to form the basis of education. All arts and sciences refer so directly to it, that the knowledge of them is imperfect without a knowledge of the objects and phenomena on which they are founded. The connexion of medicine with botany, for example, has been universally admitted; although, strange to say, its much more intimate connexion with zoology has hitherto been overlooked in the

framing of laws for the guidance of medical students. On the student of theology, attendance upon the natural history lectures ought to be made imperative. How can the idea of the Divinity be separated from the idea of His works?

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'Were the study of nature elevated to the rank which its importance deserves, we should no longer have poets and painters describing and depicting scenes from nature, which do not-cannot exist. Travellers and tourists would be able to form an accurate idea of the countries and districts visited by them, and to convey the idea to others. Men could speak with accuracy on subjects on which they have now only the most ludicrous notions, and would find instruction and delight where they now find nothing but a dreary waste. How often have we met with men, who, in the exercise of their profession, having visited the uttermost parts of the earth, have felt mortified at their incapacity for examining the numerous objects of interest which have obtruded themselves upon their view, and who, impressed with the importance' of such knowledge, have set themselves to acquire it even in their advanced years! But as our object was merely to offer a few remarks on the study of nature-a study which we rejoice to see becoming more prevalent we shall not at present enter farther upon a subject so extensive. We shall therefore conclude with observing, that as one cannot open his eyes without seeing an object on which the Divine wisdom' has been exercised, so neither should he be ignorant of the manifestations of that wisdom exhibited in natural bodies and phenomena; and he who is best acquainted with the nature of things must also be best acquainted with its AUTHOR, whom to know and to reverence is the end of existence."

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Lo! a new and brilliant light* dawns upon us, such as the human eye never beheld,-whose lustre and attractive beauty is only exceeded by the emblazoning splendour of

*Education.

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