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see, how gradually does the splendour of the sun appear! How beautiful is every part of the country, wherever you turn your eye! The high mountains covered with bushes and trees; the meadows, the fields of springing grain, and all that rejoices our hearts by its beauty, is created by God for our advantage. The mountains attract the vapours in the air; and thus the springs are formed in them, from which water flows for our use. They are a protection from high, stormy winds, and afford shade in hot summer days. In the mountains there are great rocks of stone, of which we build houses: in other parts of them we find iron, lead, silver, gold, colours, and other useful things. And along their sloping sides they are often covered with great forests, with the wood of which we warm ourselves, prepare our food, build houses, and make useful furniture. These mountains and hills are almost universally covered with thousands of nutritious and wholesome herbs and grasses, which are a great blessing: for every part of them is useful. The roots of many serve for medicine and food; the blossoms delight the eye and the smell; the stalks and leaves are not only wholesome food for cattle, but often useful remedies in many disorders. And here, these great fields covered with green corn, wheat, barley, and other sorts of grain, what striking proofs of the abundant goodness of God! How many nutritive kinds of food and drink can we not prepare from them! How wholesome and strengthening is the bread that is made from them! And how wonderful that we are not tired of eating it daily, or even several times a day! This good grain can be cultivated in most of the countries on earth; many thousands live daily upon it; and, that a want of bread might not easily take place, God has so ordered, that a single grain of corn produces many others; sometimes thirty, forty, even sixty, and more."
Child. How does that happen?
Father. Do you not see how that farmer is working the earth with the plough? Anther goes behind him, and throws the seed into the ground. The seed becomes moist in the earth, and begins to swell; by this the outward skin of the grain is broken; little fibres force themselves out of it into the earth, and suck up the good juice; this juice pushes up a little kind of grass from the grain, ^ which is now become quite soft; this continues to shoot up, and preserves in itself the new fruit, like the case of a knife, till it is strong enough to bear the air and the sun; the ear of corn then creeps out of the stalk, as out of its sheath, becomes ripe, and proper for food. Oh, how often have you been refreshed and satisfied by this nourishing food! Should you not thank God in your heart for every morsel of bread? Should you not daily apply all the strength you receive from the enjoyment of this and other food, to the production of good, for the honour of your God? Should you not also gladly give to the poor a part of that, which God has given to you in superfluity? God does much good to us, my child! Let us be kind, as God is kind!
In the mean time they arrived at a wood; "What animals are those," cried the child, "which run into the bushes so swiftly?"
Father. In these animals also, my dear child, you will admire the wisdom and power of your God. You may look upon a wood as a city, in which the beasts have their dwelling. God suffers these animals to be born, to grow up and become fat, that man may have no furthur trouble with them, than to catch, and prepare them for food- But because some animals are dangerous to man, God has implanted in them a fear of man, so that they fly from him: he has provided them with a firm nature and a strong bodily frame, to bear rain, wind, and storms: he has given some a very thick skin, and fur, that they may not be frozen in the cold winter: he has furnished them with sharp teeth, and some with horns and claws, that they may be able to defend themselves. But the wise Creator has so arranged all this, that it is useful to man. We eat the flesh of many of these animals: we make coverings and clothes of their skins, and medicines of the horns of stags and the fat of other animals: every part of them is created for use. That we may have assistants in our labour, and be able to live in still greater convenience, God has given other animals a tame nature, so that they dwell with and serve man. The dog watches for our safety, and assists in catching game; the horse carries and draws for our greater bodily convenience; the ox is often used for ploughing; cows give us milk, butter, and cheese; the sheep, wool for our clothes: the hair and skins of these, and other tame animals, serve for clothes, covering, and household purposes. How different in taste and smell, is the flesh of these animals, so that we may not loath it, which would be the case if we were
always to eat one kind. In how many different ways can we prepare it! And how wonderful, my child, that no useful kind of animals has died away in so many thousand years, from the creation of the world; and also that none is entirely extirpated, though men daily eat of it. What a proof of the goodness of the Highest, that he has given most of these animals a fine shape, so that they also afford us pleasure, when we look at them. See the beautiful, shining horse, how nobly he carries his neck! how he throws his foot! How well shaped is a stag with his antlers! How slender and well made are many kinds of dogs! Yet all this is greatly surpassed by the beauty of J)irds! Observe yonder pigeon in the field, how wonderfully the colours of its wings are mixed! how the golden feathers of its neck play and shine in the sun! When, in time to come, you will be able to understand properly, how artfully the birds are made internally, that they may be able to raise themselves in the air and fly, you will be still more astonished at the wisdom of God.
Child. Oh, tell me something of it now!
Father. I cannot very well, my child: you must have an anatomized bird, with all its parts before you; you can then comprehend