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we fhall then be fenfible of the full value of the bene. fit we derive from the hand of the Creator. The free motion of each of our own numbers, is ftill more neceffary to us; the lofs we would fuftain of them would be irreparable. What obligations then have we not to God who hath beftowed on us the power of moving them, and who preferves to us that power! In truth, the man must be very ungrateful and very unworthy of to great a bleffing, who does not employ fo excellent a faculty to the glory of God by every exertion in his power.

CHAP. XI.

OF THE FOOD OF INSECTS.

THE fubject of the laft Chapter prefented an excellent opportunity of difplaying the infinite power of the Creator; the prefent will open a vast field for reflection on his bounty and wife providence in the care he hath taken to furnish abundance of proper food for infects. All living creatures are under a neceffity of taking nourishment for the prefervation of life. Infects are not excepted from this general rule. It is true that there are many which can live longer without food than other animals; but they cannot exist without it altogether. The reafon why fome infects can fast for a long time, perhaps for a month or two, is that their humours being thicker their animal

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mal spirits are not fo foon or fo eafily diffipated. They all dread the rigour of winter, and to fhelter themfelves from it they retire into warm places; there are however but few which lay up provifions to fupply them during that feafon. The bodies of thofe that do not eat are of a particular contexture, efpecially as to what regards the circulation of the blood and humours. They are fo framed as to lose nothing by transpiration, and confequently do not require food to repair their wafte. They retire into refting places where they continue in a state between life and death, till the heat of the fun acquires power to reanimate them, and to give birth to those subfances on which they live. It is neither wind nor rain which makes them feek thofe retreats in whichthey refide without eating. Thus a ftate of repofe feems as natural to them as reft and fleep to the other animals. Towards the end of Summer, and even before the cold weather fets in, they are feen af fembling in crowds like Swallows, and preparing for their winter repofe.

A great diverfity is remarkable in the taftes of infects. What is agreeable to one, difgufts another, and fome eat with avidity, what others will not touch. There are alfo fome which are not always content with the fame food. Like gluttons who devour every thing, these infects fometimes take one fort of food fometimes another. Some too from neceffity will eat what they do not relish, and which they do not generally feed on; but then they are fo circumftanced that they must either eat or die. All are not for accomodating however as thefe; for a great number ufe but one fort of food, and will rather die than taste another.

What was obferved in the Chapter on the habita tions of infects may at once fhew how many things

they

they ufe as aliment, for they never fail to lodge in places where their food is within their reach. Dust, moift or dry earth, fañd, the hardest ftones, and even iron itfelf, furnifh them with provifion.

But plants are their most common food. Some broufe on the green blade, others gnaw the roots and items. Some pierce the wood and feed on its frag ments; others are not fatisfied but with the tender buds. Some caterpillars devour the leaves of trees and herbs, while others attack the very pith of the plant.

They do not betake themfelves folely to thofe plants that are wholefome or of an agreable rafte, but fome infects prefer even fuch as are infipid and venomous. The wormwood, bitter as it is, feeds the caterpillar of the Phalana Abfynthii, and this inftance would be fufficient to refute the opinion of fome authors who have aflerted that infects feed only on mild vegetables; but there are other examples. The Spurge, notwithftanding its' acrid and noxious qualities, is preyed upon by the Sphinx Euphorbia and the Phalaena

caftrenfis.

Among the infects that eat the leaves, fome touch only the upper furface, others only the under: othersdevour both, leaving nothing of the leaf but its fi bres, the skeleton of which refembles a fieve. Many are fo delicate that they will be content with nothing but the tender flowers. Others attack only fruits and grain; and are often found in the pods of peas, in pears; apples, plumbs, &c. Corn, bread, cheefe, fugar, and even bocks are preyed upon by different fpecies, and many valuable manufcripts have fallen a facrifice to their voracity. The moth deftroys woolen ftuffs, as is but too well known.

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The facred writers often borrow comparisons from this little animal. Job, defcribing the wretched condition he was reduced to fays, " that he confumed as "a rotten thing, as a garment that is moth eaten."-" JOB xiii. 28. Among the threatnings which God made to the enemies of the faithful, the following is not one of the leaft terrible. "Ye people in whofe

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heart is my law, fear ye not the reproach of men, "for the moth fhall eat them up like a garment, and "the worm fhall eat them like wool." ISA. LI. 7,8. See, (fays Baruch,) the purple which fhines on the "ftatues of falle Gods. But it fhall lofe its luftre "and fade, and they themfelves fhall at last be de"voured by worms." CH. vi. 70. "Ye rich, fays St James, weep for the miseries that fhall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your gar"inents moth-eaten. CH. V. 1,2.

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Infects prey upon one another. The Scolopendræ which live in dunghills, feed on a species of small worm which alfo lives there. The tree bugs infert their roftrum into the body of a downy caterpillar with yellow fpots which is found on willows towards the end of the feason, and fuck its blood. There is a fpecies of exotic ant which lives on spiders, and thefe in their turn feed on flies, and fometimes on ants. We likewife find flies that devour one another, and even the moth of the Silk-worm. The ichneumons kill fpiders, and afterwards carry them: to their nefts. One fpecies of Dragon-fly, (the Libellula puella) contributes very much to rid the atmofphere of flies and butterflies. Between it and the common cabbage butterfly a chace commences which resembles that of the hawk and the heron. The dragon fly feizes the Papilio in its flight, and holding it firm with his fore legs, devours it entirely. Some beetles feed on the aphides. I have mentioned already the lice that adhere to ferpents and birds. I fhall only add

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add here, that fome fpiders eat the eggs of thefe laft, and others devour their young.

It is well known that the flesh of dead animals ferves for food to many infects, and that even human flesh is not fecure from their attacks. It was this confideration which made Job fay, that man is crufhed

fooner than the moth.' CHAP. iv. 19. and in another place, "The grave is mine houfe; I have made 61 my bed in the darknefs. I have faid to corrup"tion thou art my father, and to the worm, thou art my mother and my fifter." CH. xvii. 13. 14. The fame lot' awaits us all. "One dieth in his full "ftrength, being wholly at cafe and quiet. His "breafts are full of milk and his bones moistened "with marrow; another dieth in the bitterness of "his foul, and never eateth with pleafure, but they "lie down alike in the duft, and the worms cover "them." JOB xxi. 23,26.“ Shall duft, fays the "fon of Sirach be proud? He who is a king to << day, fhall be dead to morrow, and when a man dies "he becomes the property of ferpents, of beafts, and worms." ECCL. X. 12,13.

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There are certain infects which have no other nourifhment than the fluids which they fuck. For this purpose nature hath furnished them with a kind of fiphon through which they pump up the liquor that fuftains them. Some content themfelves with pure water; but others whofe tafte is more refined will put up with nothing but wine. Some are fatisfied with the juices of the leaves of all fort of plants, while others of a fanguinary difpofition live folely on blood, and therefore attack both man and beafts. Some eat as well as drink, as do all the tribe of grafshoppers.

As infects cannot accommodate themfelves to every fort of aliment, they could not have exifted had not N 2

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