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that degree of strength which they do when they are acted upon by the rays of the sun; in this case every thing conspires to their perfection, whilst in those produced by artificial heat we only perceive the weak and languishing efforts of art to supersede nature.
But could the sun exist, and communicate to us his heat and light, unless he had been formed and received his power and the ability of diffusing it upon the earth by an infinite God, the Creator of all things? To him alone we must look up as the Author of all the benefits we receive from that glorious luminary the sun, which in the plenitude of his power he has created, and in the perfection of his wisdom directs in its course, and supports the brilliancy of its fire and the splendour of its glory. Every morning he causes it to gild the chambers of the east, and to diffuse its enlivening influence over the face of the earth. Without God we should have neither sun, light, heat, nor spring; to him therefore my soul wishes to raise itself, and in thought to enjoy the presence of the immortal Being who created the sun; the genial warmth and pure light of which dispose me to reflect upon this Parent of light and glory, this everlasting Fountain of all that is good, amia ble, and delightful. The ignorant heathens, blinded by superstition and perverted by prejudice, saw this glorious luminary disperse the shades of night, and illumine the eastern horizon; they witnessed the regions of the west nightly irradiated by his departing beams, and they prostrated themselves in adoration, worshipping as a god what is only an effect of divine power. But those who are favoured to participate in the light of truth know, that without the command of God no sun could exist to illumine and cheer the earth; that without his will no vegetation, life, and fruit, nor no comforts could be administered to the sons of men; and that the sun is merely the instrument of his goodness, the minister of his will, and the herald of his glory.
As the earth, deprived of the light and heat of the sun, would be a lifeless desert; so the heart of man, deprived of the Son of truth and righteousness, would be destitute of joy and true felicity. To him we owe all the life, virtue, and happiness our souls possess; and without his saving power we should be like lifeless trunks, without leaves or
fruit. As all nature languishes for the presence of the sun, and longs for his appearance, so may my soul long to feel the sweet and refreshing influence of Christ, which purifieth and strengtheneth the heart unto salvation, and is productive of every good work.
Relations that all Creatures have for each other.
THE prodigious number of creatures on the earth merits our attention; and still more so the relative proportion between these and the relatious which so link and connect this vast variety of beings, that they form one regular and perfect whole.
The extent of the animal kingdom is inconceivable, and yet every animal finds a sufficiency of nutriment. No species, however few in number, however persecuted, become extinct; and though many of them are the prey of others, the number of rapacious animals is not considerable; most of them are solitary, and they do not multiply rapidly. Those which are very numerous are satisfied with a moderate portion of food, and procure it without much art or labour. Many have enemies to contend with, which prevent them from increasing too much; and some weak and timid animals supply in number what they want in strength, or escape from their adversaries by the artifices of cunning and the dexterity of address. We may also remark, that for the better preservation and multiplication of the species, the proportion between the two sexes is so equal, that every animal finds a mate with which it may consort.
The mineral kingdom is subservient to the preservation of the vegetable, and both of them tend to the advantage of man. The most useful plants, as wheat, &c. are most easily multiplied, are less liable to spoil, and grow wherever there are men and animals. Those animals also which are the most useful are likewise the most abundant; and the productions of several climates are suited to the particular wants of men. Thus the hottest countries abound in cool
ing and grateful fruits; in countries liable to great drought there are plants and trees which are as springs of water, and relieve the intense thirst of men and animals. If in any place there is a deficiency of wood for fuel, there are coals and turf in abundance; and if there are countries destitute of rain and other sources of fertility, they are recompensed by beneficial inundations, such as of the Nile in Egypt.
Amongst the human species we also find the proportion between the sexes pretty even; the number of males to that of females being as twenty-six to twenty-five. In civil society wealth and talents are so admirably distributed, that as every individual may be happy according to the particular circumstances in which he is placed, so nothing essential is wanting to the good of society in general. If the inclinations and propensities of men were not so varied; if their tastes and dispositions did not lead them to embrace different kinds of life, and to adopt different views; if there was not such a diversity of genius, and such a variety of talent; such a difference of opinion respecting beauty, riches, and every other exterior circumstance; human society would have no charms to interest, no pleasures to invite, but would present one constant assemblage of uni form sterility. No class of men can live isolated from the rest; and each country has its peculiar advantages, which, if common to all, would do away the necessity of the connexion and commerce at present so essential to the inte rest and convenience of each. In short, wherever we castour view we see nothing but harmony and beautiful pro portion. Notwithstanding the infinite variety of creatures, and the frequent interruption of some of the laws of nature, every thing in this immense universe is beautiful, and arranged with that regular proportion and admirable perfection which produce the greatest possible good to the creation.
Let us then adore and exalt the great Author of nature. and whilst we contemplate the glory and magnificence of his works, sing his praises with the gratitude of an overflowing heart! The greatest proofs, and the most pleasing employment, of reason, is to admire the wisdom of God; and though the most profound investigations can penetrate through a very small part of the glory which shrouds the
works of Omniscience, and the most that we can know is little in comparison of what is concealed from our view, we yet discover sufficient to convince us that the perfection of God is infinite, and his power and goodness without bounds; and may he graciously condescend more and more to remove the film from our eyes, that we may acknowledge him in all his works, and feel in ourselves a degree of that divine peace and ineffable love with which he governs the universe and arranges the spheres!
Of the constituent Parts of Water.
WHEN we drink water, if we suppose that we are partaking of a pure and simple element, we are deceived; for naturalists affirm that each drop of water is a little world, in which the four elements and the three kingdoms of nature are united. There is scarcely any water that does not contain much heterogeneous matter, which is readily discovered when the water is either distilled or filtered: and however incredible this may appear, it is sufficiently proved by the most exact and accurate experiments.
Besides its elementary parts, water contains different earthy particles; such, for example, as belong to the mineral kingdom; as calcareous earths, nitre, and other salts. This will appear less remarkable if we consider how many earthy particles the water must meet with and dissolve in its course, or carry along with it. Water also contains an inflammable principle, which becomes manifest when in a state of corruption; and it contains a large portion of air, which is manifested during ebullition. It possesses heat, which keeps it in its fluid state; for when deprived of its caloric it is congealed, becomes heavy, and acquires the hardness of stone. Thus common water contains earth, salts, hydrogen or inflammable gas, heat, and air; which proves the truth of the assertion, that all the elements are united in a single drop of water.
But are plants and animals found in it? It certainly contains the principles of vegetation; since all plants derive
from water their most nutritive juices, and are indebted to it for their growth and increase. As to the animal kingdom, there is abundant evidence of its existing in water; to say nothing of the fish and other aquatic animals with which it is peopled, there is not a single drop of water which has not inhabitants perceptible through the microscope; and we well know the facility with which insects are propagated in stagnant waters, the germ of which must have previously existed in the water, though certain circumstances might have prevented their development.
The consideration of all these particulars should lead us to reflect upon the wise providence of the Creator, who has not by chance formed the waters of so many parts. Were it purely simple, it might perhaps make the most pure beverage; but its medicinal virtues would be lost. From the great nutriment which it affords to plants, we may naturally suppose that it yields some of the nutritious properties it contains to men and animals; and though in itself -it may not be very nutritious, it tends to the more perfect solution of our aliment, and to distribute it more readily through the minuter vessels. It is found to be the most wholesome beverage, and one which we cannot do without; the salutary effects of which are often felt when every other drink is prejudicial.
How grateful then ought we to be to God, whose goodness has so amply provided for our necessities! He has prepared for us that kind of food and drink which is fittest for our nature, and the most beneficial to our comfort and health; and he has imparted a salutary virtue to the most ordinary and indispensable means of subsistence. Let us therefore praise God for the water which he has given to allay our thirst, and digest our food; and though we should have nothing but bread and water for our sustenance, let us endeavour to be contented and grateful. Let us implore the blessing of God on what we eat, and ask grace to use it with a cheerful and contented mind.