The Atmosphere and Atmospherical Phenomena

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General Books LLC, 2009 - 90 pages
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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated.1799 Excerpt: ... CHAPTER VIII. The wisdom and benevolence of the Creator, as displayed in the constitution of the atmosphere. As this topic has been partially alluded to in the preceding chapter, only two or three additional illustrations may now be given. 1. The wisdom and goodness of God are manifest, in the proportion which subsists between the different gases of which the atmosphere is composed. Were the oxygen less in quantity than it now is--were it, for example, in the proportion of fifteen to eighty-five, a' hundred parts of nitrogen, instead of twenty-one to seventy-nine, fire would lose its strength, candles would not diffuse a sufficient light, plants would wither, and animals could not breathe without the utmost difficulty and pain. On the other hand, were the nitrogen diminished, and the oxygen greatly increased, the least spark would set combustible bodies in a flame, and, in a few moments, they would be entirely consumed. Candles would be wasted in a few minutes after they were lighted, and would serve no other purpose than to dazzle our eyes with a transient blaze. Were a few houses in a large city set on fire, such would be the rapidity with which the flames would spread on every side, that in a few hours, or even minutes, the whole city would be wrapped in one wide and unquenchable blaze, and no human art could arrest the progress of the destructive conflagration. In such atmospheric air, iron would be calcined, instead of acquiring from the fire that softness necessary for forming it into various instruments; it would accelerate to a dangerous degree the circulation of the fluids in animal bodies, and produce a degree of heat through the influence of which they would rapidly waste and decay. We know by experience that nitric oxyde, which consists of forty...

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