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The Lie: Evolution


William Paley and Insect Design

Compiled by Karl C. Priest

William Paley did not understand metamorphosis, but neither did anyone else in his time (1743-1805).

Below, after a segment from a pro-evolutionism website, are Paley’s astute thoughts about insect life.


William Paley articulated one of the “ most famous metaphors in the philosophy of science, the image of the watchmaker.”

“Living organisms, Paley argued, are even more complicated than watches, "in a degree which exceeds all computation." Only an intelligent Designer could have created them, just as only an intelligent watchmaker can make a watch:”

The marks of design are too strong to be got over. Design must have had a designer. That designer must have been a person. That person is GOD.

“And, as Paley went on to argue, if God had taken such care in designing even the most humble and insignificant organisms, how much more must God care for humanity!”

The hinges in the wings of an earwig, and the joints of its antennae, are as highly wrought, as if the Creator had nothing else to finish. We see no signs of dimunition of care by multiplicity of objects, or of distraction of thought by variety. We have no reason to fear, therefore, our being forgotten, or overlooked, or neglected.

From Paley’s Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature as quoted at


More from Paley’s Natural Theology, Vol. I:


As to mechanism, look at the wings, wing-cases, and the feet and claws of insects. Every earwig has wings, and those most curiously folded up under two short shells or wing-cases. The hinges of the wings and joints of the antennae which are about it are very neat.

The wings of many insects, (the libellula, or dragonfly, the muscachamelion, the ephemeron, &c., &c.,) are prepared in water to be in the air. In their grub state they could no more live in air than a fish; and in their fly state they would perish in water, though a little while before it supplied them with food and life and motion. The larva of the libellula lives two years under water before it under goes its transformation. The larvae of the libellula are very active, and furnished with very strong jaws. linnaeus calls them, crudeles cabbage caterpillar the future butterfly is enclosed in the body of the caterpillar, and in the chrysalis state, you may see the wings under their covering with the naked eye very plainly. The fly is always enclosed in the grub, and the transformation of insects is only the casting off of temporary coats, cases, and coverings, or a kind of masquerade dresses. The oddity is, that they should change in many instances the element they live in, as water for air. Might not the title of your work be * Natural and Philosophical Theology? ' With respect to a motto, I submit one of the following to your consideration. In the sixteenth Essay of Bacon, De Atheismo, there is a good motto, 1 think, for your work, ' Minus durum est credere portentosissimis fabulis Alcorani Talmudi aut Legendae, quam credere huic universitatis rerum fabricae mentem non adess ; ' and he immediately adds, ' Itaque Deus nunquam edidit miraculum ad atheismum convincendum, quoniam opera ejus ordinaria huic rei sufficiant,' or this ' Qui Deum in natura non vident, non solum ratione carent, sed etiam sensu, Avicenna. Natura nihil est aliud quam Deus, Labienus. Caecum esse oportet, qui ex optimis et sapientissimis rerum struc- turis non statui vident fabricatoris omnipotentis infmitam sapientiam et bonitatem ; insanum, qui profited nolit.' Or, for aught I see, ' The fool hath said in his heart there is no God,' might make a proper motto. Infidelity is always the disease of the heart and not of the head, and the grand cause of it is vice, and an unwillingness to submit to the restraints which religion imposes, which the infidel terms shackles. The old heathen was a character totally different from the modern infidel. He had the greatest reverence for an oath, was generous, and had a number of good qualities often in his composition; whereas the modern infidel is an unprincipled selfish mortal, who pays not the least regard to an oath, and is ready to commit a crime from which he expects either pleasure or profit, when he has a chance of doing so with impunity. If he comes in your way, treat him with hard arguments and hard knocks. When Bentley and Warburton gave them such flagellation as they deserved, there were very few of that vermin; but from the time divines fell to flattering and complimenting them, as too many have done, they have multiplied exceedingly, and swarm in all quarters. You will observe that the infidel, by the by, is the most credulous of all creatures, for he believes that feathers, and flowers, and worlds can make themselves; that at a certain period of time all mankind were infatuated, and valued neither pleasure nor property, nor even life itself, but threw all away for nothing but a senseless story about a resurrection. He charges us with credulity at the time that he believes all manner of nonsense.

CHAPTER XII   In many insects, the mouth is converted into a pump or sucker, fitted at the end sometimes with a wimble, sometimes with a forceps; by which double provision, viz. of the tube and the penetrating form of the point, the insect first bores through the integuments of its prey, and then extracts the juices. And, what is most extraordinary of all, one 'sort of mouth, as the occasion requires, shall be changed into another sort. The caterpillar could not live without teeth; in several species, the butterfly formed from it, could not use them. The old teeth therefore are cast off with the exuvia of the grub; a new and totally different apparatus assumes their place in the fly. Amid these novelties of form, we sometimes forget that it is, all the while, the animal's mouth; that, whether it be lips, or teeth, or bill, or beak, or shears, or pump, it is the same part diversified: and it is also remarkable, that, under all the varieties of configuration with which we are acquainted, and which are very great, the organs of taste and smelling are situated near each other.

III. To the mouth adjoins the gullet: in this part also, com parative anatomy discovers a difference of structure, adapted to the different necessities of the animal. In brutes, because the posture of their neck conduces little to the passage of the aliment, the fibres of the gullet, which act in this business, run in two close spiral lines, crossing each other: in men, these fibres run only a little obliquely from the upper end of the oesophagus to the stomach, into which, by a gentle contraction, they easily transmit the descending morsels; that is to say, for the more laborious deglutition of animals, which thrust their food up instead of down, and also through a longer passage, a proportionably more powerful apparatus of muscles is provided; more powerful, not merely by the strength of the fibres, which might be attributed to the greater exercise of their force, but in their collocation, which is a determinate circumstance, and must have been original.

CHAPTER XIX   OF INSECTS.   We are not writing a system of natural history; therefore we have not attended to the classes into which the subjects of that science are distributed. What we had to observe concerning different species of animals, fell easily, for the most part, within the divisions which the course of our argument led us to adopt. There remain, however, some remarks upon the insect tribe, which could not properly be introduced under any of these heads; and which therefore we have collected into a chapter by themselves.   The structure, and the use of the parts, of insects, are less understood than that of quadrupeds and birds, not only by reason of their minuteness, or the minuteness of their parts, (for that minuteness we can, in some measure, follow with glasses,) but also by reason of the remoteness of their manners and modes of life from those of larger animals. For instance: Insects, under all their varieties of form, are endowed with antenna, which is the name given to those long feelers that rise from each side of the head : but to what common use or want of the insect kind, a provision so universal is subservient, has not yet been ascertained : and it has not been ascertained, because it admits not of a clear, or very probable, comparison, with any organs which we possess ourselves, or with the organs of animals which resemble ourselves in their functions and faculties, or with which we are better acquainted than we are with insects. We want a ground of analogy. This difficulty stands in our way as to some particulars in the insect constitution, which we might wish to be acquainted with. Nevertheless, there are many contrivances in the bodies of insects, neither dubious in their use, nor obscure in their structure, and most properly mechanical. These form parts of our argument.

I. The elytra, or scaly wings of the genus of scarabaeus or beetle, furnish an example of this kind. The true wing of the animal is a light, transparent membrane, finer than the finest gauze, and not unlike it. It is also, when expanded, in proportion to the size of the animal, very large. In order to protect this delicate structure, and, perhaps, also to preserve it in a due state of suppleness and humidity, a strong, hard case is given to it, in the shape of the horny wing which we call the elytron. When the animal is at rest, the gauze wings lie folded up under this impenetrable shield. When the beetle prepares for flying, he raises the integument, and spreads out his thin membrane to the air. And it cannot be observed without admiration, what a tissue of cordage, i. e. of muscular tendons, must run in various and complicated, but determinate directions, along this fine surface, in order to enable the animal, either to gather it up into a certain precise form, whenever it desires to place its wings under the shelter which nature hath given to them; or to expand again their folds when wanted for action.  

In some insects, the elytra cover the whole body; in others, half; in others only a small part of it; but in all, they completely hide and cover the true wings. Also, many or most of the beetle species lodge in holes in the earth, environed by hard, rough substances, and have frequently to squeeze their way through narrow passages; in which situation, wings so tender, and so large, could scarcely have escaped injury, without both a firm covering to defend them, and the capacity of collecting themselves up under its protection.

II. Another contrivance, equally mechanical, and equally clear, is the awl, or borer, fixed at the tails of various species of flies; and with which they pierce, in some cases, plants; in others, wood; in others, the skin and flesh of animals ; in others, the coat of the chrysalis of insects of a different species from their own ; and in others, even lime, mortar, and stone. I need not add, that having pierced the substance, they deposit their eggs in the hole. The descriptions which naturalists give of this organ, are such as the following: It is a sharp-pointed instrument, which, in its inactive state, lies concealed in the extremity of the abdomen, and which the animal draws out at pleasure, for the purpose of making a puncture in the leaves, stem, or bark, of the particular plant, which is suited to the nourishment of its young. In a sheath, which divides and opens whenever the organ is used, there is enclosed a compact, solid, dentated stem, along which runs a gutter or groove, by which groove, after the penetration is effected, the egg, assisted, in some cases, by a peristaltic motion, passes to its destined lodgement. In the oastrum or gadfly, the wimble draws out like the pieces of a spyglass: the last piece is armed with three hooks, and is able to bore through the hide of an ox. Can anything more be necessary to display the mechanism, than to relate the fact?  

III. The stings of insects, though for a different purpose, are, in their structure, not unlike the piercer. The sharpness to which the point in all of them is wrought; the temper and firmness of the substance of which it is composed; the strength of the muscles by which it is darted out, compared with the smallness and weakness of the insect, and with the soft and friable texture of the rest of the body; are properties of the sting to be noticed, and not a little to be admired. The sting of a bee will pierce through a goatskin glove. It penetrates the human flesh more readily than the finest point of a needle. The action of the sting affords an example of the union of chymistry and mechanism, such as, if it be not a proof of contrivance, nothing is. First, as to the chymistry; how highly concentrated must be the venom, which, in so small a quantity, can produce such powerful effects! And in the bee we may observe, that this venom is made from honey, the only food of the insect, but the last material from which I should have expected that an exalted poison could, by any process or digestion whatsoever, have been prepared. In the next place, with respect to the mechanism, the sting is not a simple, but a compound instrument.  

The visible sting, though drawn to a point exquisitely sharp, is in strictness only a sheath; for, near to the extremity, may be perceived by the microscope two minute orifices, from which orifices, in the act of stinging, and, as it should seem, after the point of the main sting has buried itself in the flesh, are launched out two subtile rays, which may be called the true or proper stings, as being those through which the poison is infused into the puncture already made by the exterior sting. I have said, that chymistry and mechanism are here united: by which observation I meant, that all this machinery would have been useless, telum imbelle, if a supply of poison, intense in quality, in proportion to the smallness of the drop, had not been furnished to it by the chymical elaboration which was carried on in the insect body; and that, on the other hand, the poison, the result of this process, could not have attained its effect, or reached its enemy, if, when it was collected at the extremity of the abdomen, it had not found there a machinery fitted to conduct it to the external situations in which it was to operate, viz. an awl to bore a hole, and a syringe to inject the fluid. Yet these attributes, though combined in their action, are independent in their origin. The venom does not breed the sting; nor does the sting concoct the venom.  

IV. The proboscis, with which many insects are endowed, comes next in order to be considered. It is a tube attached to the head of the animal. In the bee, it is composed of two pieces, connected by a joint: for, if it were constantly extended, it would be too much exposed to accidental injuries; therefore, in its indolent state, it is doubled up by means of the joint, and in that position lies secure under a scaly penthouse. In many species of the butterfly, the proboscis, when not in use, is coiled up like a watchspring. In the same bee, the proboscis serves the office of the mouth, the insect having no other and how much better adapted it is, than the mouth would be, for the collecting of the proper nourishment of the animal, is sufficiently evident. The food of the bee is the nectar of flowers; a drop of syrup, lodged deep in the bottom of the corollae, in the recesses of the petals, or down the neck of a monopetalous glove. Into these cells the bee thrusts its long narrow pump, through the cavity of which it sucks up this precious fluid, inaccessible to every other approach. It is observable also, that the plant is not the worse for what the bee does to it. The harmless plunderer rifles the sweets, but leaves the flower uninjured. The ringlets of which the proboscis of the bee is composed, the muscles by which it is extended and contracted, form so many microscopical wonders. The agility also, with which it is moved, can hardly fail to excite admiration. But it is enough for our purpose to observe, in general, the suitableness of the structure to the use, of the means to the end, and especially the wisdom by which nature has departed from its most general analogy, (for, animals being furnished with mouths are such,) when the purpose could be better answered by the deviation.

In some insects, the proboscis, or tongue, or trunk, is shut up in a sharp-pointed sheath: which sheath, being of a much firmer texture than the proboscis itself, as well as sharpened at the point, pierces the substance which contains the food, and then opens within the wound, to allow the enclosed tube, through which the juice is extracted, to perform its office. Can any mechanism be plainer than this is; or surpass this?

V. The metamorphosis of insects from grubs into moths and flies is an astonishing process. A hairy caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly. Observe the change. We have four beautiful wings, where there were none before; a tubular proboscis, in the place of a mouth with jaws and teeth ; six long legs, instead of fourteen feet. In another case, we see a white, smooth, soft worm, turned into a black, hard, crustaceous beetle, with gauze wings. These, as I said, are astonishing processes, and must require, as it should seem, a proportionably artificial apparatus. The hypothesis which appears to me most probable is, that, in the grub, there exist at the same time three animals, one within another, all nourished by the same digestion, and by a communicating circulation ; but in different stages of maturity. The latest discoveries made by naturalists seem to favour this supposition. The insect already equipped with wings, is descried under the membranes both of the worm and nymph. In some species, the proboscis, the antennae, the limbs, and wings of the fly, have been observed to be folded up within the body of the caterpillar; and with such nicety as to occupy a small space only under the two first wings. This being so, the outermost animal, which, besides its own proper character, serves as an integument to the other two, being the farthest advanced, dies as we suppose, and drops off first. The second, the pupa or chrysalis, then offers itself to observation. This also, in its turn, dies; its dead and brittle husk falls to pieces, and makes way for the appearance of the fly or moth. Now, if this be the case, or indeed whatever explication be adopted, we have a prospective contrivance of the most curious kind: we have organizations three deep; yet a vascular system, which supplies nutrition, growth, and life, to all of them together.  

VI. Almost all insects are oviparous. Nature keeps her butterflies, moths, and caterpillars, locked up during the winter in their eggstate; and we have to admire the various devices to which, if we may so speak, the same nature hath resorted, for the security of the egg. Many insects enclose their eggs in a silken web ; others cover them with a coat of hair, 'torn from their own bodies ; some glue them together ; and others, like the moth of the silkworm, glue them to the leaves upon which they are deposited, that they may not be shaken off by the wind, or washed away by rain: some again make incisions into leaves, and hide an egg in each incision ; whilst some envelope their eggs with a soft substance, which forms the first aliment of the young animal : and some again make a hole in the earth, and, having stored it with a quantity of proper food, deposit their eggs in it. In all which we are to observe, that the expedient depends, not so much upon the address of the animal, as upon the physical resources of his constitution.

The art also with which the young insect is coiled up in the egg, presents, where it can be examined, a subject of great curiosity. The insect, furnished with all the members which it ought to have, is rolled up into a form which seems to contract it into the least possible space by which contraction, notwithstanding the smallness of the egg, it has room enough in its apartment, and to spare. This folding of the limbs appears to me to indicate a special direction; for, if it were merely the effect of compression, the collocation of the parts would be more various than it is. In the same species, I believe, it is always the same.  

These observations belong to the whole insect tribe, or to a great part of them. Other observations are limited to fewer species; but not, perhaps, less important or satisfactory.

I. The organization in the abdomen of the silkworm or spider, whereby these insects form their thready is as incontestably mechanical as a wire-drawer's mill In the body of the silkworm are two bags, remarkable for their form, position, and use. They wind round the intestine when drawn out, they are ten inches in length, though the animal itself be only two. Within these bags, is collected a glue ; and communicating with the bags, are two paps or outlets, perforated, like a grater, by a number of small holes. The glue or gum, being passed through these minute apertures, forms hairs of almost imperceptible fineness; and these hairs, when joined, compose the silk which we wind off from the cone, in which the silkworm has wrapped itself up: in the spider, the web is formed from this thread. In both cases, the extremity of the thread by means of its adhesive quality, is first attached by the animal to some external hold; and the end being now fastened to a point, the insect, by turning round its body, or by receding from that point, draws out the thread through the holes above described, by an operation, as hath been observed, exactly similar to the drawing of wire. The thread, like the wire, is formed by the hole through which it passes. In one respect there is a difference. The wire is the metal unaltered, except in figure. In the animal process, the nature of the substance is somewhat changed, as well as the form; for, as it exists within the insect, it is a soft, clammy gum, or glue. The thread acquires, it is probable, its firmness and tenacity from the action of the air upon its surface, in the moment of exposure; and a thread so fine is almost all surface. This property, however, of the paste, is part of the contrivance.

The mechanism itself consists of the bags or reservoirs, into which the glue is collected, and of the external holes communicating with these bags ; and the action of the machine is seen, in the forming of a thread, as wire is formed, by forcing the material already prepared through holes of proper dimensions. The secretion is an act too subtile for our discernment, except as we perceive it by the produce. But one thing answers to another; the secretory glands to the quality and consistence required in the secreted substance ; the bag to its reception : the outlets and orifices are constructed, not merely for relieving the reservoirs of their burden, but for manufacturing the contents into a form and texture, of great external use, or rather indeed of future necessity, to the life and functions of the insect.

II. BEES, under one character or other, have furnished every naturalist with a set of observations. I shall, in this place, confine myself to one; and that is the relation which obtains between the wax and the honey. No person who has inspected a beehive, can forbear remarking how commodiously the honey is bestowed in the comb; and, amongst other advantages, how effectually the fermentation of the honey is prevented by distributing it into small cells. The fact is, that when the honey is separated from the comb, and put into jars, it runs into fermentation, with a much less degree of heat than what takes place in a hive. This may be reckoned a nicety: but, independently of any nicety in the matter, I would ask, what could the bee do with the honey, if it had not the wax? How, at least, could it store it up for winter? The wax, therefore, answers a purpose with respect to the honey; and the honey con stitutes that purpose with respect to the wax. This is the relation between them. But the two substances, though, together, of the greatest use, and, without each other, of little, come from a different origin. The bee finds the honey, but makes the wax. The honey is lodged in the nectaria of flowers, and probably undergoes little alteration; is merely collected: whereas the wax is a ductile, tenacious paste, made out of a dry powder, not simply by kneading it with a liquid, but by a digestive process in the body of the bee. What account can be rendered of facts so circumstanced, but that the animal, being intended to feed upon honey, was, by a peculiar external configuration, enabled to procure it? That, moreover, wanting the honey when it could not be procured at all, it was farther endued with the no less necessary faculty, of constructing repositories for its preservation ? Which faculty, it is evident, must depend, primarily, upon the capacity of providing suitable materials. Two distinct functions go to make up the ability.

First, the power in the bee, with respect to wax, of loading the farina of flowers upon its thighs. Microscopic observers speak of the spoon-shaped appendages with which the thighs of bees are beset for this very purpose; but, inasmuch as the art and will of the bee may be supposed to be concerned in this operation, there is, secondly, that which doth not rest in art or will, a digestive faculty which converts the loose powder into a stiff substance. This is a just account of the honey and the honeycomb; and this account, through every part, carries a. creative intelligence along with it.  

The sting also of the bee has this relation to the honey, that it is necessary for the protection of a treasure which invites so many robbers.

III. Our business is with mechanism. In the panorpa tribe of insects, there is a forceps in the tail of the male insect, with which he catches and holds the female. Are a pair of pincers more mechanical than this provision in its structure? Or is any structure more clear and certain in its design?

IV. St. Pierre tells us that in a fly with six feet (I do not remember that he describes the species) the pair next the head and the pair next the tail have brushes at their extremities* with which the fly dresses, as there may be occasion, the anterior or the posterior part of its body ; but that the middle pair have no such brushes, the situation of these legs not admitting of the brushes, if they were there, being converted to the same u*e. This is a very exact mechanical distinction.

V. If the reader, looking to our distributions of science, wish to contemplate the chymistry, as well as the mechanism, of nature, the insect creation will afford him an example. I refer to, the light in the tail of a glowworm. Two points seem to be agreed upon by naturalists concerning it; first, that it is phosphoric; secondly, that its use is to attract the male insect. The only thing to be inquired after, is the singularity, if any such there be, in the natural history of this animal, which should render a provision of this kind more necessary for it, than for other insects. That singularity seems to be the difference which subsists between the male and the female; which difference is greater than what we find in any other species of animal whatever. The glowworm is a female caterpillar; the male of which I say; lively, comparatively small, dissimilar to the female in appearance, probably also as distinguished from her in habits, pursuits, and manners as he is unlike in form and external constitution. Here then is the adversity of the case. The caterpillar cannot meet her companion in the air. The winged rover disdains the ground. They might never therefore be brought together, did not this radiant torch direct the volatile mate to his sedentary female.

In this example, we also see the resources of art anticipated. One grand operation of chymistry is the making of phosphorus: and it was thought an ingenious device to make phosphoric matches supply the place of lighted tapers. Now this very thing is done in the body of the glowworm. The phosphorus is not only made, but kindled; and caused to emit a steady and genial beam, for the purpose which is here stated, and which I believe to be the true one.  

VI. Nor is the last the only instance that entomology affords, in which our discoveries, or rather our projects, turn out to be imitations of nature. Some years ago, a plan was suggested, of producing propulsion by reaction in this way: By the force of a steam-engine, a stream of water was to be shot out of the stern of a boat; the impulse of which stream upon the water in the river, was to push the boat itself forward; it is, in truth, the principle by which sky-rockets ascend in the air. Of the use or practicability of the plan, I am not speaking: nor is it my concern to praise its ingenuity: but it is certainly a contrivance. Now, if naturalists are to be believed, it is exactly the device which nature has made use of, for the motion of some species of aquatic insects. The larva of the dragonfly according to Adams, swims by ejecting water from its tail; is driven forward by the reaction of water in the pool upon the current issuing in a direction backward from its body.

VII. (spider)

I must now crave the reader's permission to introduce into this place, for want of a better, an observation or two upon the tribe of animals, whether belonging to land or water, which are covered by shells.  

(snails, lobsters)  

But to return to insects. I think it is in this class of animals above all others, especially when we take in the multitude of species which the microscope discovers, that we are struck with what Cicero has called "the insatiable variety of nature." There are said to be six thousand species of flies; seven hundred and sixty butterflies; each different from all the rest. (St. Pierre.) The same writer tells us, from his own observation, that thirty-seven species of winged insects, with distinctions well expressed, visited a single strawberry plant in the course of three weeks. Ray observed within the compass of a mile or two of his own house, two hundred kinds of butterflies, nocturnal and diurnal. He likewise asserts, but, I think, without any grounds of exact computation, that the number of species of insects, reckoning all sorts of them, may not be short of ten thousand. And in this vast variety of animal forms, (for the observation is not confined to insects, though more applicable perhaps to them than to any other class,) we are sometimes led to take notice of the different methods, or rather of the studiously diversified methods, by which one and the same purpose is attained. In the article of breathing, for example, which was to be provided for in some way or other, besides the ordinary varieties of lungs, gills, and breathing holes, (for insects in general respire, not by the mouth, but through holes in the sides,) the nymphae of gnats have an apparatus to raise their backs to the top of the water, and so take breath. The hydrocanthari do the like by thrust ing their tails out of the water . The maggot of the eruca labra has a long tail, one part sheathed within another, (but which it can draw out at pleasure,) with a starry tuft at the end, by which tuft, when expanded upon the surface, the insect both supports itself in the water, and draws in the air which is necessary. In the article of natural clothing, we have the skins of animals, invested with scales, hair, feathers, mucus, froth; or itself turned into a shell or crust : in the no less necessary article of offence and defence, we have teeth, talons, beaks, horns, stings, prickles, with (the most singular expedient for the same purpose) the power of giving the electric shock, and, as is credibly related of some animals, of driving away their pursuers by an intolerable foetor, or of blackening the water through which they are pursued. The consideration of these appearances might induce us to believe, that variety itself, distinct from every other reason, was a motive in the mind of the Creator, or with the agents of his will.  

To this great variety in organized life the Deity has given, or perhaps there arises out of it, a corresponding variety of animal appetites. For the final cause of this, we have not far to seek. Did all animals covet the same element, retreat, or food, it is evident how much fewer could be supplied and accommodated, than what at present live conveniently together, and find a plentiful subsistence. What one nature rejects, another delights in. Food which is nauseous to one tribe of animals, becomes, by that very property which makes it nauseous, an alluring dainty to another tribe. Carrion is a treat to dogs, ravens, vultures, fish. The exhalations of corrupted substances attract flies by crowds. Maggots revel in putrefaction.    


It is a happy world after all. The air, the earth, the water teem with delighted existence. In a spring noon, or a summer evening, on whichever side I turn my eyes, myriads of happy beings crowd upon my view. “The insect youth are on the wing.” Swarms of new-born flies are trying their pinions in the air. Their sportive motions, their wanton mazes, their gratuitous activity, testify their joy and the exultation which they feel in their lately discovered faculties. A 'bee amongst the flowers in spring, is one of the most cheerful objects that can be looked upon. Its life appears to be all enjoyment; so busy, and so pleased; yet it is only a specimen of insect life, with which, by reason of the animal being half domesticated, we happen to be better acquainted than we are with that of others. The whole winged insect tribe, it is probable, are equally intent upon their proper employments, and under every variety of constitution, gratified, and perhaps equally gratified, by the offices which the author of their nature has assigned to them. But the atmosphere is not the only scene of enjoyment for the insect race. Plants are covered with aphides, greedily sucking their juices, and constantly, as it should seem, in the act of sucking. It cannot be doubted but that this is a state of gratification. What else should fix them so close to the operation, and so long? Other species are running about, with an alacrity in their motions, which carries with it every mark of pleasure. Large patches of ground are sometimes half covered with these brisk and sprightly natures.  

CHAPTER XXVII   Under this stupendous Being we live. Our happiness, our existence, is in his hands. All we expect must come from him. Nor ought we to feel our situation insecure. In every nature, and in every portion of nature, which we can descry, we find attention bestowed upon even the minutest parts. The hinges in the wings of an earwig, and the joints of its antennae, are as highly wrought, as if the Creator had nothing else to finish.   We see no signs of diminution of care by multiplicity of objects, or of distraction of thought by variety. We have no reason to fear, therefore, our being forgotten, or overlooked, or neglected.   snip   Upon the whole; in everything which respects this awful, but, as we trust, glorious change, we have a wise and powerful Being (the author, in nature, of infinitely various expedients for infinitely various ends) upon whom to rely for the choice and appointment of means adequate to the execution of any plan which his goodness or his justice may have formed, for the moral and accountable part of his terrestrial creation. That great office rests with him; be it ours to hope and to prepare, under a firm and settled persuasion, that, living and dying, we are his; that life is passed in his constant presence, that death resigns us to his merciful disposal.