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BOOK OF NATURE;
THE FOUR SEASONS ILLUSTRATED:
FAMILIAR DESCRIPTIONS OF NATURAL HISTORY,
MADE DURING WALKS IN THE COUNTRY.
REV. B. H. DRAPER.
¥llustrated with upwards of Fifty Engravings.
It is a remark of Paley, that, “if one train of thinking be more desirable than another, it is that which regards the phenomena of nature, with a constant reference to a supreme, intelligent Author.” It is a leading design of the writer of this volume, to create this " train of thinking.”
The minds of the young are ever active ; they will be employed about what is good or evil. One object, then, in a rational scheme of education, must ever be, to provide engagements which will tend to their improvement. And he who would be successful in this great work, must render his lessons attractive and delightful. The works of God will afford him an inexhaustible treasury for his aid. Parents and tutors should be on their watch to find for their dear charge, sources of legitimate pleasure ; or they will seek for gratification in forbidden and injurious paths ; and especially, which cannot be too much guarded against, in the company of the profane and dissipated. The pages of this volume, the Author hopes, will show them, at least in some small degree, how he would wish them to open to the delighted eyes of the young, the ever-blooming, and ever-instructive leaves of the volume of creation. He is assured, that the scenes it describes, with a very little pains, may be carried out into action, since the book is only a transcript of what has constantly taken place in his own family. He is indeed greatly mistaken, if the habit of using the eyes and the understanding, in the way he has recommended, will not be a perpetual source of gratification and instruction.
The Author also wishes to acknowledge another object which he has in view in his publication,—it is, to extend more widely a feeling of humanity. He has never known a youth kill flies wantonly, or trample disdainfully on insects, or treat animals with cruelty, unless he was entirely ignorant of their formation and habits. He has always observed, that a moderate knowledge of natural history, has compelled an individual to look on even the meanest of the works of God, with a kind of reverence. He is ready to say, whatever creature meets his eye,—How wonderful is its colouring,- how delicate its wings,—how surprising is its habits -I must step aside, I cannot crush so much that is interesting. There is room enough for it and for me, in the large mansion of the world which God has built. On this important subject, the intelligent reader will thank me for the following beautiful sentiments from a letter of the late Sir W. Jones :
“I never could learn by what right, nor conceive with what feelings, a naturalist can occasion the misery of an innocent bird, and leave its young to perish in a cold nest, because it has gay plumage, and has never been accurately delineated : or deprive even a butterfly of its natural enjoyments, because it has the misfortune to be rare and beautiful. Nor shall I ever forget the couplet of the Persian poet Ferdausi,
Ah, spare yon emmet, rich in hoarded grain,
He lives with pleasure, and he dies with pain.' “ This may be only a confession of weakness, and it certainly is not meant as a boast of peculiar sensibility! but whatever name may be given to my opinion, it has such an effect on my conduct, that I never would suffer