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tures who adore the same God, the same Father and Saviour, as do the inhabitants of this earth, and for the happiness of whom God has the same cares and solicitude as for us.
But as our knowledge upon this great and interesting subject must necessarily be limited, at present let us be grateful for the certain and known benefits we receive from the moon, in which the tender cares of Providence for man are evidently manifest. The moon is so near to us that we receive from her more light than from all the fixed stars together; by this means we have a noble and sublime object to contemplate, and receive incalculable advantages from its presence; since by its light we enjoy a continued day, and are enabled to travel in safety and with pleasure, as well as pursue many necessary occupations. By its means we can also exactly measure time, and through the medium of the almanack the vulgar are benefited by the abstruser studies of the philosopher. Lord Omnipotent! I adore thy wisdom and goodness in the light of the moon as in that of the sun. As I contemplate the heavens which thou hast formed, thy grandeur fills me with admiration and astonishment. May 1, O Lord! lift up the eyes of my understanding to thee, far above all terrestrial objects! To thee, who hast created all these magnificent globes, and wisely arranged them for our benefits. The starry heavens, which illumine the winter nights, announce thy majesty, and attest the infinity of thy empire!
Rain fertilizes the Earth.
THE fertility of the earth chiefly depends upon the moisture which it receives from rain and aqueous vapours. If the irrigation of the earth depended upon the care and la bour of man, his toil would be unceasing; and with all his exertions he could not prevent the desolating effects of dryness and famine. Men might assemble and unite all their forces, they might exhaust their rivers and their fountains,
without being able to supply the creation with a sufficiency of moisture to prevent the plants and vegetables drooping and perishing for the want of water. Hence we see how necessary it is that the exhalations and vapours should be collected and retained in the clouds, which, by the aid of winds, shower down fertility upon the ground, by refreshing and renewing the vigour of plants, trees, and vegetables. The treasures so exuberantly teeming on the earth's surface are richer than the gems of Golconda or the mines of Peru; for we can live without gold and without silver, but without herbs and grain we could not exist. The advantages of rain are incalculable; it entirely renovates the face of the earth, and the furrows of the field eagerly drink the descending waters. The seeds develope their beauties, and the labours of the husbandman are rewarded. The farmer works, sows, plants, and God gives the increase. Man does all that depends upon his exertions, and what he cannot effect God executes; in winter he covers the seeds with a protecting mantle, and in summer warms and vivifies them by the sun's rays, and adds to their nourishment by rain. He crowns the year with his benefits, and causes his blessings so to succeed each other, that men are not only nourished and supported, but their hearts overflow with joy and gaiety.
The showers fall upon the pastures of the wilderness, and the little hills rejoice on every side. The fields are white with flocks, the valleys are covered with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing. Bless then and rejoice in your Creator; by his order the seasons are renewed, and succeed one another with beauteous regularity. For us the rains descend, and the earth is clothed with fertility and verdure. God opens his liberal hand, and showers down blessings upon man; our countries receive them, and joy and gladness fill the earth. Let us then adore the Creator, and sing songs of joy and of praise to his honour and glory for ever and ever.
Of the Shortness and Uncertainty of Life.
WE require frequent warnings to induce us to reflect on the shortness and uncertainty of life. Such remembrances are highly useful; for we have naturally a strong inclination to drive from our minds all ideas of death; and if that was not the case, there are always a thousand cares, and innumerable species of dissipation, which divert us from thinking upon our end, or which render such thoughts of little efficacy. It is however necessary often to reflect upon this state, which one day or other must arrive; and by frequently and duly contemplating it, we shall meet its approaches with firmness, and not sink overcome by fear. In this season of the year many images of death daily present themselves before our eyes. Nature every where deprived of those beauties and fascinating charms which in summer delighted our view and filled our souls with pleasure; the fields and the gardens, where we have so often walked with delight, and inhaled the gentle breezes that wafted over a thousand fragrant flowers, conveyed the sweetest perfumes and balmy airs, where every sense was joy, are now deserted, wild, desolate, and forlorn; nought is seen around but one wide waste of bleak sterility, where no verdure delights, no variety charms, and night usurps the day.
Perhaps this may be a just representation of some now flourishing in the pride of youth and the full vigour of intellect and gaiety of heart; when old age shall weigh heavy upon them, and all their former vigour, cheerfulness, and alacrity shall have ceased; when the infirmities peculiar to that state, and a temper soured by vexation and disappointment, will no longer bear the amusements and pleasing society they formerly delighted in; and when they no longer possess attractions to render them agreeable or even supportable companions. The tedious and gloomy days of such an old age will be a burden, from the oppression of which every rational being will long to be relieved. Though the days of winter are so short we have no reason to complain, since there are so few attractions to induce us
to walk abroad in this season; neither should we regret that the period of life is of short duration, but rather consider it as a blessing, since its way is often strewed with thorns and beset with evils; and many have to drink of the cup of misery even to the dregs.
Many animals pass the winter in a profound sleep, from which they do not begin to awaken till they feel the mild and reanimating heat of the sun communicate vitality to their system. The long night of winter steals upon us unexpectedly in the midst of our occupations, and interrupts our labours; and here we may perceive a lively image of the night of death, which often arrives when least expected and when least wished for. In the midst of a thousand projects and schemes of future felicity and of future grandeur, when perhaps on the eve of some great and important transaction, the cold hand of death presses on our eyelids, and they are for ever sealed with darkness: when this solemn period shall arrive, may the thoughts and the actions which we are at that instant engaged in bear the torch of truth to be applied: and may we not shrink from the trial! Thus we may continually derive the most useful and beneficial reflections from the changes effected by winter; and let us not fear often to contemplate those images of death, from which we may gain many essential advantages. Let us make ourselves familiar with the idea of our latter end, and let it in every situation of life come home to our hearts: we shall then be able to receive the awful messenger without dread: it will be a consolation to us in misfortune, a friend and faithful counsellor in prosperity, and a shield against every temptation.
Principle of Combustion generally diffused throughout Nature.
DURING the long nights of winter, when the cold is intense, fire is a benefit which we cannot too highly prize or gratefully acknowledge. How comfortless and miserable we
should be if combustible matters were not abundantly dif fused through nature! They are contained in sulphur, in animal fat, in oils, in wax, in vegetables, in bitumens, &c. And though these substances appear inactive, no sooner are they ignited than they evince abundant activity and motion. Ignition may be performed by the collision of bodies having proper access to the air; thus with a flint and steel striking against each other sparks are produced; and this is the ordinary way in which the fire we use, for domestic purposes is obtained. But we are satisfied with enjoying the continual services that this element performs, without troubling ourselves to inquire how it is produced. If we were more attentive to the causes of certain natural phenomena, we should every where find proofs of infinite wisdom and goodness. With the most beneficial views God has diffused throughout nature the principle of combustion in such a variety of substances, that we can convert it to all kinds of uses, and enjoy its useful power upon every occasion. Happy should we be if we only accustomed ourselves to pay more attention to the benefits we daily receive from the bountiful hand of God! But I fear it is their constant occurrence which renders us callous and indifferent to such high marks of Divine favour. And yet the proofs that we daily receive of the goodness of God are those which we can least of all pass by; they are such as most peculiarly deserve to be acknowledged with joy and unceasing gratitude. Let us then often reflect upon our wise and merciful Creator, and whilst we rejoice in his blessings, let us not forget the source from whence they flow, nor cease to remember that by again dispensing to less fortunate beings those benefits the goodness of God has enabled us to obtain, we most effectually render our gratitude acceptable to the Lord.
Equal Distribution of the Seasons.
THOUGH the rays of the sun now fall obliquely upon our part of the earth, and all our fields are under the influence of freezing winds, there are countries which enjoy all the