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do not wonder that you should think that the clouds should at last empty themselves): and secondly, that four-fifths of this rain or snow returns to the clouds by evaporation. This is truly perpetual motion, which the Philosophers have sought in vain to discover. It is thus that these bottles of heaven are kept continually suppliedand thus also that our earth is continually refreshed with the early and the latter rain.

But the subject of evaporation is one of great interest. Now suppose you go to your large map of the world, and look for the Mediterranean, known in the Scriptures by the name of the Great Sea, and in profane history as the Mare-internum. It is entered, you will observe, by the Straits of Gibraltar, which are about four leagues in width, having Africa on the right side, and Europe on the left: these were formerly called the Pillars of Hercules. There is continually flowing through this entrance a steady current from the great Atlantic Ocean; you will see also the Nile on the right side, rising in the kingdom of Gojam, Abyssinia,* full 1300 miles distant from its mouth, and pouring down its torrents, till at last, through its seven streams, it also empties itself into the Great Sea. Then, again, if you trace the left side, there are the Ebro in Spain, the Rhone in France, the Po and Tiber in Italy. These all flow into the Mediterranean; there is also the Black Sea, supplied by the great northern rivers, the Danube, Don, Dnieper, coming down through the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmora, the Dardanelles, into the Archipelago, or Sea of Islands,

• See Appendix.

(among which you will see Patmos, memorable as the scene where the Apostle John had the visions of the Revelation,) and finally joins the Mediterranean. And yet with all this amazing continual influx, the Great Sea neither rises nor falls; but is the same to-day as it was when St. Paul “sailed under Crete, and the south wind blew softly;" and this simply by the principle of evaporation, which, with a scale of the most accurate adjustment, preserves the balance in this astonishing manner.

If there were no rain from the clouds, the earth would soon present a desolate wilderness; and if there were no evaporation from the earth, it would in time be a waste of waters. At the flood, the Lord opened the windows of heaven, and miraculously poured down in torrents the waters suspended above, and, it may be, stayed the principle of evaporation; but though, my beloved children, these results may be traced back to natural causes, yet we should never, no not for a moment, forget, that the Lord presides over the whole of nature. He has not ordained certain causes and effects, and then LEFT the world to be governed by these—but Himself, who appoints, rules over all in infinite Wisdom, Compassion, and Love. I mention this, as it is now so much the fashion to say—“Nature did this ;" but if you again refer to the beautiful thirty-eighth chapter of Job, it is manifest that

The remark, which is so common in the country, about the sun drawing water, has a good deal of truth in it: for its rays, beaming through the atmosphere, detect the principle of evaporation, which, however, is going on just as much all around.



all creation is always under the most minute government and direction of Him that made it,-“Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; to cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; to satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth ? Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? Out of whose womb came the ice ? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.” (Job xxxviii. 25–30.)

Yet even now if a drought prevails, or a flood increases, or the pestilence rages,* God is acknowledged and prayed to as the immediate governor of the universe; but the best and happiest state is, to wait on him in the calm continuallyand when the tempest arises, we shall find him ever nigh. (Ps. cxix. 114.)

The next blessing connected with the atmosphere, which I will direct

you to, is its power of refraction. Though the atmosphere may extend in an exceeding rarified state more than forty-five or fifty miles in height, yet it does not refract the rays of light beyond that; but within that distance the rays of the sun

come to us in a bent or arched line, and thus, excepting when the heavenly bodies are in the Zenith, that is,

* Surely the Lord acknowledged the cry of England in 1830, and turned back the cholera in answer to that cry, for his mercy endureth for ever.

immediately orer our heads, they always appear to us some degrees more elevated than they really are,—so, long after the sun has set we see it, and this is true of all the heavenly bodies; thus, at the time of full moon, we see the sun after it is gone, and the moon before it rises.

Another important property of the atmosphere, is its power of reflecting light. We watched the setting sun the other evening; the light of day seemed to linger on the earth long after it was gone, while colours of every hue glowed in the western sky, seeming to promise that the sun should rise again. “But how was the light prolonged ?" you may inquire. The beautiful arch of refraction had kept the sun with us long after the orb itself was sunk; and now, when its RAYS could no longer reach our eyes, but passed far above our heads, we got them reflected as from a glass. And what language can describe that gentle, quiet light, the even-tide ? so sacred to meditation, (Gen. xxiv. 63,) which an eastern writer beautifully calls “ The curtain of night gently drawn around the closing day.”

Another most gracious property of the atmosphere is its motion, “the wind.” The principle of this is very simple:-when, from a variety of causes, any portion of the atmosphere gets rarified, or expanded, it immediately ascends till it meets with the air in a kindred state—that is, of the same weight; but instantly that this process begins, the air around hastens to fill the vacancy. If the previous process had been gentle, the wind is gentle; but if rapid, the wind is

high and stormy; sometimes the light air, at another time the terrific hurricane. *

The phenomena of the wind, or the atmosphere in a state of movement or agitation, come to man fraught with blessing: for the storm and tempest have beneficial results. It is the great conservator or preserver of health: but for it, disease and death would gather on every side. Have we not found, in climbing the sultry hills near MALVERN, when we reached the heights, the balmy air came to us all sweet and refreshing, adapted to our very wants, by the hand of that ever watchful Being who is as kind as he is powerful? How often have I at Jamaica looked longingly to the sea, watching the sea-breeze come rippling and sparkling in the sun-beam, till at last it reached our vessel. It was a delightful sight to see our ensign, (just like the one your dear grandmamma made for you,) that had been hanging down as if partaking in the general sultriness, on a sudden stream out almost instinct with the joy of all around; and at night, when the sea-breeze had died away, and all was calm and still, the air, cooling from the fervent rays of the sun which had “shone the live long day,” now came hasting down the mountains, as the land messenger, vying in refreshment with that from the sea; but though cooler, yet not so invigorating. The cause of the land and sea breeze is simply the arifying and condensing of the atmosphere. In the morning , after the sun has arisen to some height, the whole air around begins to feel

• See Appendix.

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