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“Wisdom is ofttimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar."
That it is so likewise in religion, we are assured by those most comfortable words, “Except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” truth is well expressed in the aphorism which Charles I. when he entered his name on the books at Oxford, in 1616, subjoined to it : "If you would be victorious over everything, subject yourself to reason."* Happy would it have been for him, if that which flowed thus readily from his pen bad also been graven upon his heart! He would not then have had to write it on the history of his country with characters more glaring and terrible than those of ink !
Moreover, the whole intercourse between man and man may be seen, if we look at it closely, to be guided and regulated by the same pervading principle; and that it ought to be so, is generally recognised, instinctively at least, if not consciously. As I have often heard said by one who had the keenest practical insight into human nature, and knew the art of controlling and governing men, and winning them over to their good—“The moment anybody is satisfied with himself, everybody else becomes dissatisfied with him."
And is it not said in the parable, that he who takes the highest room is turned down with shame to the lowest; while he who sits down in the lowest room is bid to go up higher.
Guesses at Truth.
Working in these walls of time;
Some with ornaments of rhyme.
Each thing in its place is best ;
Strengthens and supports the rest.
* "Si vis omnia subjicere, subjice te rationi."
For the structure that we raise,
Time is with smaterials fillid;
Are the blocks with which we built
Truly shape and fashion these,
Leave no yawning gaps between;
Such things will remain unseen.
In the elder days of art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
For the gods are everywhere.
Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Beautiful, entire, and clean.
Standing in these walls of time;
CORAL ISLANDS. CORAL rocks are produced by vast multitudes of small sea animals, commonly called coral insects. They are not, however, insects, but very soft-bodied animals, resembling little bags of jelly. At the open end of this bag are six or eight little arms or feelers.
Coral itself is not collected by these animals, as you might fancy, but is produced in some wonderful manner from their own bodies. They form stony cells beneath the waves; and countless millions being employed upon the task, they gradually
ucture of coral, forming at length an island fitted for man.
It is a strange fact, that these little, sost, jelly-like creatures
are able to work on in the midst of the ocean, and to build a fabric which is strong enough to rooist the violence of the breakers. Coral islands found in seas of three hundred fathoms deep, and get the coral animal cannot exist at a greater depth in the sea than about twenty fathoms.
Therefore during the great changes in the earth's surface, the level of the sea must either have been lower when these animals began to build, or else we must suppose them to have laid their foundation on submarine rocks, within twenty fathoms of the surface.
On some of these islands the coral rocks appear to have been forcibly raised above the surface of the waters; for the builders themselves never work above the waves. The ocean is their element, and in it they live and die.
The waves of the sea throw up fragments of the rock itself, together with shells and sand, on the surface of the islands, and these soon form a soil for the seeds which are conveyed on the waters from distant places.
Mosses, and other small plants, soon clothe the dazzling white surface of the coral; and sometimes entire trunks of trees are wafted thither from other shores, bearing with them the eggs of insects, as the first contribution towards peopling the surface.
Sea birds soon make a resting-place of the island; and when trees and bushes begin to spring up, stray land birds also find shelter therein. Thus does the soil become gradually fit for the use of man, though the process may be extremely slow by which all these changes are effected.
These wonderful coral islands are found chiefly in the Pacific Ocean, which is studded by vast numbers of islands, especially in that portion situated between the tropics.
They are frequently nothing more than curved belts of rocks, rising a yard or two above the water, and surrounding a portion of the sea which, from being protected on all sides by the coral reefs, is as still as a lake. The lake thus formed is called a lagoon.
In most cases there are one or two openings in the reefs, wide enough to adınit a large ship, though it sometimes happens that there is only room for a small canoe to enter.
The openings are pointed out to ships at a distance by little islets, tufted with cocoa-nut trees, which are nearly always found at each side of the entrance.
The rocks are always highest on the side of the island most exposed to the winds and waves ; but, on the opposite side, they merely break the force of the waves, and prevent their destroying the stillness of the lake within.
These coral formations ought not properly to be called islands, for they frequently enclose not only a large lagoon, but several smaller islets. Indeed, they are now often called atolls, a name given to them by some of the islanders of those seas.
Many of them extend in an irregular curve, to the length of ten or twenty miles, the width of the reef of rocks not being more that a half a mile. The rocks are covered on the windward side with the richest vegetation, and the feathery leaves of the cocoanut wave gracefully in the pleasant trade-wind. The coral shores are of dazzling whiteness.
First Steps to General Knowledge.
THE PORTUGUESE MAN-OF-WAR. What an odd name for a sea-nettle! It is so much larger and handsomer than all the rest, that it looks like a man-of-war among little ships.
The name has been given to it because the animal has the power of erecting a sail or crest, by means of which it skims along upon the surface of the water.
“In the tropical parts of the Atlantic,” says Mr. Gosse, “ this lovely creature abounds, looking at a short distance exactly like a child's mimic ship, and attracts our wonder and admiration to see so delicate and frail a bark breasting the broad billows, as it seems that the first breaking sea must inevitably overwhelm and dash it to pieces.
*Yet, there it floats and dances,—now on a curling crest, now in the deep hollow, in spite of wind and wave. Often when passing just under the lee of a vessel, the sudden lull made by the interposition of so great a body between it and the wind, will cause it momentarily to lie flat on the water ; but it instantly resumes its upright position.
“We have never made a voyage without seeing these creatures in greater or less numbers, but nowhere in such profusion as in the Gulf of Mexico. In rounding the Florida reef, we were once nearly a whole day sailing through a fleet of them, which studded the smooth sea as far as the eye could reach. They were of all sizes, from an inch in length to a foot or more.
“When examined closely, the animal is seen to consist of an oblong transparent bladder, pinched up at the upper part into a kind of rumpled edge. This edge is of a delicate pink, but the lower part of the bladder is fine blue, and both these colors are gradually softened into the clear menıbrane, the middle of which is colorless. From one end of the bottom proceeds a large bunch of tentacles, like strings, hanging down in the water ; these are of a brilliant purple."
When a storm arises, they have the power of diving suddenly into the lower parts of the ocean, where they remain until the tempest that agitates the surface has passed away. Then they again appear, and spread out their little sails.
And yet they sting as sharply as any of their family. A gentleman who took hold of one of the animals, found that it raised its tentacles, and stung him severely on the second and third fingers.
At first the sensation was just that of being stung with a nettle; but it increased to violent aching, and in a quarter of an hour the whole hand and arm, and even the shoulder and chest, were affected: the breathing also became difficult. These alarming symptoms continued for half an hour, when they gradually abated; but the arm was benumbed for some hours afterwards.
THE VINEGAR-POLYPE. NEAR Nan-tchang-fou, says the Abbé Huc, in his travels in China, we stopped at a sort of guard-house, to allow the hottest time of the day to pass, and we were graciously received by a Mandarin with a White Ball (a sign of official dignity), who had about fifteen soldiers under his command. The refreshments were, indeed, in that weather, not very tempting-tea, rice-wine, roasted nuts, preserved ginger, and pickled chives. All these