Henry Duncan.

Sacred philosophy of the seasons; illustrating the perfections of God in the phenomena of the year (Volume 4) online

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SCHOOL LIBRARY.



PUBLISHED UNDER THE SANCTION OF THE BOARD OF EDUCA-
TION OF THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS.



VOL. X.



SACRED PHILOSOPHY OF THJ^ SEASONS;

BY THE R'-:\. HENRY DL'IICAN.D.]:.., • ' ' • ''

ADAPTED TO AMEE;ICAN, llEADERS,

BY F. W, P.' GilEENWXyOli. '^
IN FOUR 70,i;tiBiE'S'.
VOL. IV.— AUTUMN.



BOSTON:

MARSH, CAPEN, LYON, AND WEBB

1839.



This volume is sanctioned, by the Board of Edu-
cation OF THE State of Massachusetts, as one of the
Series, entitled, ' The School Library,' published
BY Marsh, Capen, Lyon, and Webb.

EDWARD EVERETT,
GEORGE hull,
EMERSON DAVIS,
EDMUND DWIGHT,
GEORGE PUTNAM,
ROBERT RANTOUL, JR.,
THOMAS ROBBINS,
JARED SPARKS,
CHARLES HUDSON,
GEORGE N. BRIGGS.



SACRED

PHILOSOPHY OF THE SEASONS;

ILLUSTRATING THE PERFECTIONS OF GOD

IN THE PHENOMENA OF THE YEAR.

BY THE REV. HENRY DUNCAN, D. D.,

RUTIIWELL, SCOTLAISTD.
WITH IMPORTANT ADDITIONS AND SOME MODIFICATIONS TO ADAPT IT TO

AMERICAN READERS,

BY REV. F. W. P. GREENWOOD, D.D.



IN FOUR VOLUMES.




VOL. IV.— AUTUMN.



BOSTON:
MARSH, CAPEN, LYON, AND WEBB

1839.



THE KEW YQ^K
PUBLIC LIBRARY

'^'41592

AS -OR, LENOX AND
TILDEN FCUNDAT.'ONS



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1839, by

Marsh, Capen, Lyon, and Webb,
in the Clerlt's Of^c^ of the District Court of Massachusetts.



EDUCATION PRESS.



AUTUMN



"Let vs now fear the Lord our God, that (Siveth rain, both the

FORMER AND THE LATTER, IN HIS SEASON : HE RESERVETH UNTO US THE
APPOINTED WEEKS OF THE HARVEST."— /«r«miaA.






•'O'er all his boundless realms beneath the sky,
From parched Angola to the cheerless Poles,
The partial sun now wields an equal sway,
And shares an equal empire with the night.
Lo ! o'er the burning line, sublime he bends
His radiant course to southern climes remote.
And leaves us shivering in the wintry blast ;
While to their smiling regions he conveys
Life, light, and joy ecstatic, which proceed
From all the glories of the opening Spring. —
Unequal lot of man ! And must it be,
That human joys from human sorrows rise !
Must stern vicissitude her course pursue, —
The pointed thorn still blending with the rose !
Yet thankful let us meet the law of Heaven,
Which wills for all, what is, what must be, best."

Lundie on September.

'Go, ask thy heart. What spirit thus abides
In every region ? thus minutely works
In deserts ? And thy heart shall answer, —
' It is God.' "

Knox''s Songs of Israel.



AUTHOR'S ADVERTISEMENT,



This last Volume of the Series will be found, in some
respects, to differ in its character fi'om the preceding vol-
umes, and to bear, in a large portion of its contents, a
less direct reference to the season of the year. It seemed
right that the concluding volume, besides containing vari-
ous details of autumnal appearances, produce, &c., and
of the diversified labors of harvest, should be mainly oc-
cupied with the general results of that remarkable system
which pervades animated nature, and of which the phe-
nomena of the revolving year constitute one of the most
prominent features. The wisdom and goodness of this
system consist, not in its independent perfection, but in
its admirable adaptation to the circumstances and condi-
tion of man. The problem has been said to be, "matter
being given, to construct a world;" but more truly the
problem was, human nature being given, to construct a
system, by which the bodily and mental powers should
be developed and carried forward towards perfection, and
mind should meanwhile be exhibited in all its various
phases.

In the arrangements and operations of Providence, this
problem has been solved. Man is subjected to wants in
order to stimulate his dormant powers ; and while Nature,
yielding to his judicious labors, is made to supply these

wants, new wants are created, and the stimulus to con-
1*



6 ADVERTISEMENT.

tmued exertion is increased. Again Nature is propitious,
and again new wants arise ; and thus man is urged forward,
from improvement to improvement, in an increasing ratio,
and an interminable series.

The chief wants of man, which Providence has em-
ployed as agents in this very peculiar system, are those
of food, clothing, and shelter ; giving rise, in the progress
of society, to the corresponding arts of agriculture, man-
ufactures, and architecture, with the concomitant of com-
mercial intercourse ; and these, so far as they spring,
either directly or indirectly, out of the differences of sea-
sons or of chmate, form legitimate materials for the con-
cluding volume of the 'Sacred Philosophy of the
Seasons.'

It will not be thought improper, however, that such
interesting subjects should be pursued somewhat further,
than a strict adherence to the leading object of the work
might seem to require. There is something exceedingly
interesting in the details of that progress, by which socie-
ty has arrived at its present state of improvement in the
arts, and to the continuance of which there is no assign-
able limit. In prosecuting this inquiry, the Author has
felt it to be his duty, as well as his delight, to keep always
in view the overruling hand of an unseen but ever-operat-
ing Intelligence ; and, in marking the extent of human
attainments, he has never ceased to direct the mind to the
Great First Cause, and thence to the means of our re-
demption, and the future destiny of our race.



CONTENTS.



Author's Advertisement,



Page

5



PHENOMENA, PRODUCE, AND LABORS OF THE SEASON.

General Character of Autumn, . . . .11

Autumn in the City, ...... 13

Famine in the Beginning of Autumn, . . .20

Autumnal Vegetation, ..... 25

Progress of Vegetation in the Corn Plants, . . 29

Harvest, 33

I. Sunday. — The Stability ofJYatwx, . . .36
Gleaning, ........ 41

The Harvest-Moon, 46

Harvest-Home, ....... 50

Storing of Corn, ....... 54

Birds. — Their State in Autumn, .... 58

THE WOODS.

Their Autumnal Appearance, . . . .64

II. Sunday. — The Powers of the World to come, . 68

The Woods. — Their Uses, 71

Various Kinds and Adaptations of Timber, . . 75

Origin of the Arts. — Food, Clothing, and Shelter, 80

HUMAN FOOD.

Its Principle, ........ 84

The Moral Operation of the Principle, ... 88
Its Supply not Inadequate, . . . . .92

III. SuxXDAY. — Christians "■ Members one of another,'^ 96
Provision for the Future. — Soil still uncultivated, . 101
Provision for the Future. — Improved Cultivation, . 105
Provision for the Future. — Means now in Existence, 1 1 1



8 CONTENTS.

Vegetable and Animal Food, . . . .116

Fruits— Their Qualities, 120

Drink, 125

IV. SvNDAY.—" The Bread of Life," . . .128

Human Food— Milk, 133

Wine, .... ... 137

Tea and Coffee, 140

Sugar, 145

The Pleasures connected with Food, the Enjoyment

it affords, 150

Comparison between the Food of Savage and Civil-
ized Man, 153

V. Sunday. — " Give us this Day our Daily Bread," 157

AGRICULTURE.

Agriculture of the Greeks. — Their Harvest, . . 161

Agriculture of the Romans. — Their Harvest, . 164

Progress of British Agriculture, .... 167

Modern Continental Agriculture, . . . 170

HUMAN CLOTHING.

Its Principle, 176

Its Primitive State, 179

VI. Sunday. — The Emptiness of Human Attainments, 182
Clothing. — Its Ancient History, . . ,186
Commercial History of its Raw Materials, . . 191
The Silk Manufacture. —Its Modern History, . 195
The Silk Manufacture. — History of Mechanical Con-
trivances connected with it, , . . .199

The Silk Manufacture. — Rearing of the Cocoons, 8tc., 203
The Cotton Manufacture. — Its Foreign History, . 207

VII. Sunday. — The Intellectual and Moral Enjoyments

of Heaven, 212

The Cotton Manufacture. — Its British History, . 216
The Cotton Manufacture. — Its British History, con-
tinued — Improvement of Machinery, . . . 220
The Cotton Manufacture. — Its British History, con-
tinued — Introduction of Steam Power, . . 225
The Cotton Manufacture. — Its American History, . 228
The Woollen Manufacture.— Its British History, . 231
The Woollen Manufacture. — Its American History, . 235

The Art of Bleaching, 236

The Art of Dyeing. — Its Origin and Ancient History, 240



CONTENTS. 9

VIII. S JNDAY. — The Social and Religious Enjoyments

of Heaven, ....... 244

The Art of Dyeing. — Its Modern History, . .248

The Art of Dyeing. — Its Chemical Principles, . 251

ARCHITECTURE.

Its Principle, ....... 254

Its Original State. — ^Materials employed, . . 257
Its Original State. — Tools employed, . . .261
Its Modifications by the Influence of Habit and Reli-
gion, 265

IX. Sunday. — The Children of the World reiser than the
Children of Light. — Divine Strength made perfect in
Human Weakness, ...... 269

ARCHITECTURE. ITS ANCIENT HISTORY AND PRAC-
TICE.

Egypt.— Thebes, 276

Egypt.— The Pyramids, 279

India. — Excavated Temples, .... 285

Central Asia. — Tower of Babel, or Temple of Belus —

Babylon, 290

Central Asia. — Nineveh — Petra, .... 296
Greece, 300

X. Sunday. — All earthly Things are inconstant and
transitory^ ....... 304

Rome, 309

The Gothic Style, 314

ARCHITECTURE. ITS MODERN HISTORY AND PRAC-
TICE.

Britain, 318

Bridges, 322

Aqueducts, ....... . 326

Railways. — ^Locomotive Engines. — The Liverpool

and Manchester Railway, .... 330

XI. Sunday. — Jin Autumnal Sabbath Evening, . . 335
Prospective Improvement of Locomotive Power. —

Rotary Steam-Engine — Electro-Magnetic Engine, 338

Lighthouses. — The Eddystone Lighthouse, . . 344

The Eddystone Lighthouse, continued, . . 348

The Thames Tunnel, 353



10 CONTENTS.



CLOSE OP AUTUMN.

Miscellaneous Reflections on Autumnal Appearan-
ces, 358

The Landscape at the Close of Autumn, . . , 362

XII. Sunday. — The Fall of the Leaf , . . . 365

GENERAL SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT.

Government of the World by General Laws, . . 369
Government of the World by a Particular Providence, 373
Contrast between Savage and Civilized Life, as re-
gards the Arts, 377

Contrast between Savage and Civilized Life, as re-
gards Domestic Comforts and Conveniences, . 380
Contrast between Savage and Civilized Life, as re-
gards Commerce, 384

Contrast between Savage and Civilized Life, as re-
gards Moral Cultivation, 387

XIII. Sunday. — *' The Harvest is the End of the
World,'' 390

Conclusion, 393

Glossary, 397

General Index, 403



SACRED PHILOSOPHY



SEASONS



A UTUMN .
FIRST WEEK— MONDAY

GENERAL CHARACTER OF AUTUMN

On considering the autumnal quarter, as indicated by
the calendar, we shall find it more various in its charac-
ter than any of the other seasons of the year. It seems,
indeed, if we only regard its temperature, to form a kind
of softened epitome of all the rest, in an inverted order.
First, we have, in August, the warmth, and gentleness,
and brilliancy of Summer ; in September, the "ethereal
mildness," the elasticity, the variety of Spring ; in Octo-
ber, many of the features of a mitigated Winter, — its
gloom, its hoar-frosts, its chilling breath, its howling
storms, — alternating, however, with days, and even weeks,
of the calm repose peculiarly characteristic of the season.
For, let it be observed, that, although, in a general view,
the analogy we have noticed holds good, yet Autumn has
a remarkable character of its own, which distinguishes it
from all the other seasons. It has succeeded a period
of intense heat, from which it has only begun to emerge.
Soon after the middle of June, the sun arrives at his
highest altitude in the heavens ; but although, from this
period, he begins to recede, the heat ceases not to accu-
mulate till the middle or end of July, after which the



12 GENERAL CHARACTER OF AUTUMN.

eiFects of the decreasing intensity of his rays, and of the
lengthening nights, become slightly perceptible. At the
commencement of Autumn, therefore, the earth and the
atmosphere still remain heated, and, although the period-
ical rains, about this time, create a copious evaporation,
which serves to diminish its fervor, it is still sufficiently
powerful to prevent those extremes, which mark the
whole of the Spring quarter, and sometimes even the
commencement of Summer. The peculiar feature of
autumnal weather, therefore, is that of tranquillity, though
allowance must be made for numerous exceptions.

When we turn from the atmosphere to the surface of
the earth, we find a still greater peculiarity. The vege-
table tribes, speaking generally, have advanced through
the various stages of production and maturity, and, at
the commencement of the season, are approaching the
verge of old age. The bountiful earth, however, is still
full of beauty, and vegetation appears yet to be in its
vigor. The hay has been cut, and gathered into the
Darn-yard, and the young clover has again covered the
mown fields with the liveliest green, or adorned them
with its various-tinted flowers of red, white, and yellow.
The crops of corn are beginning to beam with gold,
about to invite the joyous labors of the reaper bands.
The pastures still teem with a profusion of succulent
herbage, on which the flocks and herds luxuriate, without
anticipating the coming rigors ofWinter, — happy at once
in the protection of man, and in their ignorance of the
future.

The woods, which have long exchanged the soft green
of Spring for the more sober shades that indicate maturi-
ty, still retain all their leafy pride, and hide in their shady
bosom myriads of the feathered tribes, which have not
yet left our shores, to seek for that subsistence in warm-
er chmes, about to be denied them in the land of their
birth. They have, however, in general, ceased to sing ;
and the redbreast, and the mellow-toned wood-lark,
thrush, and blackbird, which, after a period of silence,
resume their notes early in this season, continue almost
alone to render the groves vocal with their sweet music.



GENERAL CHARACTER OF AUTUMN. 13

Another peculiarity of Autumn is a diminution both in
the varieties and the ])rofusion of its flowers. The blos-
soms of June had long run to seed, under the excessive
heat of July, and had been succeeded by other flowers,
chiefly of aromatic, thick-leaved, and succulent plants,
and of those called compound-flowered ; but now, even
these are in general casting their petals, and taking the
form of seed. The meadow-saflron and Canterbury-
bells, however, still ornament the English lawns, and
the beautiful purple blossoms of the heath shed a rich
glow over the uncultivated commons and craggy hills,
covered with sheep.

[In New^ England, the various species of Aster, of Gol-
den Rod, (Solidago^) of Gerardia, of Eupatorium, the
w^ild Suu^ower J (Helianthus divaricatiis,) the Conyza, and
the Life Everlasting, ( G?i«j)/i«7nt?)i,) are in their glory in
this month and the next, and are among the most showy
of our wild plants.] This is peculiarly the season of ripe-
ness. It is true, that, during the whole summer, herbs
and fruits of various kinds have in succession been com-
ing to maturity, and have thus diflused labor and enjoy-
ment over a wider space. Several productions of the
garden have already been gathered ; among which, the
strawberry, the gooseberry, and the cherry have yielded
their grateful fruits, to add to the pleasures of the summer
months. But the vegetable productions capable of being
stored for use, have been chiefly reserved for the autum-
nal season. It was not requisite, and would, in various
respects, have been attended with disadvantage, both to
man and the lower animals, for Nature to give forth her
superabundant productions before that period when it
should be necessary to lay them up for future supply.
According to that admirable forethought, which the in-
quiring mind never ceases to perceive in the arrangements
of the Creator, we find the ripening of corn and of vari-
ous fruits immediately preceding the sterility of winter,
not only that seeds fit for the sustenance of the wild tribes
of granivorous animals might thus be more profusely scat-
tered over the surface of the earth, but also that man
might hoard in his storehouses whatever is necessary dur-
IV. 2 X.



14 GENERAL CHARACTER OF AUTUMN.

ing the unproductive season, for his o\\ti subsistence and
that of the animals he domesticates for his use.

It was formerly observed, that labor is most benefi-
cently diffused over the year, so as not to cause too great
a pressure of agricultural employment in any one season ;*
and this remark, which is true of the whole year, is equal-
ly true of Autumn. Harvest, indeed, is the farmer's
busiest season ; but he is seldom overwhekned with his
labors, which follow in succession ; and many hands
which, at other times, are engaged in difierent kinds of
employment, are now found unoccupied, and ready to aid
in the useful task. The season of reaping oats succeeds
that of reaping barley ; and this again is followed by the
wheat harvest, while the time for gathering peas and
beans, potatoes and turnips, is still later, and seldom inter-
feres with the former important operations. Thus it hap-
pens, that, while the farmer is enabled to store his prod-
uce in safety, the peasant obtains a desirable share of the
toil and emolument arising from the operations of the
season.

As the season advances, its character changes. At
first it is full of enjoyment ; an exhilarating softness is in
the air ; serenity and beauty is in the bright blue sky ; the
fields, checkered with gold and lively green, speak of
plenty and enjoyment ; every Hving thing is glad. The
flocks grazing on the hills, the cattle ruminating in the
shaded woodlands ; the birds silently flitting from bough
to bough, or sporting in flocks through the perfectly trans-
parent air, while they prepare their young for the long
migrations which instinct teaches them now to meditate ;
and not less the bands of reapers plying their task in the
harvest field, — and the spectators, who, emancipated from
the din and smoke, and artificial employments of the city,
cometo breathe health and refreshment in the country ; —
all partake of the general joy of Nature in its most joy-
ous season.

Towards the close of Autumn, however, a deeper sen-
timent occupies the mind. The warmth and brightness

* ' Spring,' An. The Labors of the Husbandman wisely Distribut-
ed over the Year.



AUTUMN IN THE CITY. 15

have gradually diminished ; night has stolen slowly, but
sensibly, on the day ; the bustle and cheerfulness which
perv^aded the fields have ceased ; the yellow grain, which
betokened plenty, has been reaped and housed ; and the
ground, which lately shone in gold, lies withered and
bare ; the pastures have assumed a darker hue ; the
woods, although their varied and harmonizing tints are
inexpressibly beautiful, speak of decay ; and the sober
stillness of an autumnal sky sheds a gentle sadness over
the scene. It is impossible for a mind of sensibility to
resist the spirit of melancholy which rests on the land
and on the waters, which broods over the forests, which
sighs in the air, which sits in silence on the motionless
curtain of the gray clouds. Yet it is a melancholy not
unmixed with enjoyment, and nearly allied to deep moral
and religious feeling. The decay of Nature reminds us
of our own. We too must pass into " the sere and yel-
low leaf," and fall aw^ay. The beauty of the woods,
even in their fading, the sober grandeur of the earth and
sky, the mild serenity which breathes around, on the
mountain, the valley, and the placid lake, — all speak of
the solemn but cheerful hour, in which the dying Chris-
tian falls asleep in the arms of his Saviour, — all seem to
shadow forth the new heavens and new earth, wherein
dwelleth righteousness, — all fill the soul with sublime mu-
sing on Him, the touch of whose finger changes every
thing — Himself unchanged !



FIRST WEEK— TUESDAY.

AUTUMN IN THE CITY.

How often have our hearts swelled with pride on the view
of those tokens of commercial wealth and industry, which,
in union with liberty, form the distinguishing characteris-
tics of our country. Harbors crowded with vessels, that
import the produce of distant lands, or distribute on re-
mote shores what we have manufactured ; rivers, canals,



16 AUTUMN IN THE CITY.

and railways, groaning under the merchandise of many a
city ; highways thundering under the hurrying wheels of
vehicles of all descriptions ; and people of all sorts
thronging along, each in eager pursuit of some object, and
each bearing on his countenance the expression of business
and lively interest ; — such is the view which meets us on
approaching any of our maritime towns, and it is complica-
ted a hundred-fold when we draw near to a large city. If
we enter the huge aggregate of buildings, and consider the
pubhc offices, the churches, the monuments, the maga-
zines, these, too, lead the heart to exultation, and we say,
what a wonderful creature is man ! How indefatigable, how
ingenious, how aspiring, how powerful ! Walk we the
thi'onged pavements, where our way is threaded through
countless masses of human beings, under the influence of all
varieties of passion, sordid or generous, vengeful or merci-
ful, how little do we meet with to offend the eye or even the
taste of the fastidious. How orderly, how cleanly, how so-
ber ; for even in this great w ilderness of earthly appetites
and passions, order is the rule, the infringement of it the ex-
ception. That which shocks and disgusts is met with but
rarely, while that which pleases or aids our purposes is
frequent and at hand. Or, if we venture to tread the si-
lent midnight streets, still parched or slippery from the
thousand footsteps of the previous day, how quiet the re-
pose of the busy souls, who sleep, or seem to sleep. The
noise of day, the crash of wheels, the din of men, and
bells, and hammers, and machinery, is hushed ; and the
muffled watchman, eyeing askance the straggler, or urging
forward the suspected footstep, is all that meets us to tell
of life. But for him, and a few scattered lights in upper
casements, we might imagine ourselves perambulating a
city of the plague, — a doomed spot, — a forsaken region,
to which the rising sun will no more restore life and ac-
tion, than he will to the mouldering towers of Memphis
or of Thebes.

Blessed sleep ! thou mercifully designed composer
of human irritations, winder up of worldly cares, and
soother of drooping infirmities ! How well did He
who knoweth our frame, and remembereth that we are



AUTUMN IN THE CITY. 17

dust, consider our necessities, when He bestowed thy
periodical return of rest, and dropped the curtain of the
night not only on the lonely and tranquil hamlets, but on
the great Babels of the world, which send their roar
through all their gates by day.

The town is wonderful. It is the invention and the
handiwork of the gregarious creature, Man.* We ad-
mire while we consider it ; — but if our admiration be
analyzed, it will be found to partake of a mixture of op-
posite things. That so much licentiousness should exist,
and produce so little that is outwardly disgusting ; that so
many selfish and grasping creatures should so little betray
their rapacity ; that so many vindictive and angry beings
should so well conceal their hatred or wrath ; — all these
subjects are as wonderful, as that such a mass of humanity
should be accommodated in so httle space, and such an
accumulation of bodily necessities find, within the same,
meat, drink, and clothing.

The heart is weighed down by the consideration, that a
crowd of dying and responsible men is but an aggregation
of evil. Were the fair covering withdrawn, what would
be the spectacle behind it ! Pass through the airless al-
leys of a city in autumn, look on the languid and paUid
faces of its inhabitants ; see the poor children, uncon-
scious of the elasticity of their age, and with cheeks on
which grime has occupied the place where roses never
bloomed ; inhale the dull, oily atmosphere which hangs
over them for ever ; and sicken at the inevitable odors
which assault your senses ; — then let your imagination
convey you to the airy brow of a balmy hill, whence you
can survey the valleys covered with corn, inhale the fra-
grance of the bean and clover fields, and behold the lusty



Online LibraryHenry DuncanSacred philosophy of the seasons; illustrating the perfections of God in the phenomena of the year (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 37)