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of Him, who, in the midst of storms worketh admirable things, and never ceases to enrich and fertilize the earth.
The Earth and its original Constitution.
The great Creator has made the earth of a proper nature for the production and growth of herbs, plants, and trees. It is compact enough to contain and hold the vegetables so firm that the wind does not blow them down; and yet it is light and moveable enough for the plants to extend their roots in it, and draw out the moisture and nutritive juices. And that all sorts of vegetables should grow and draw subsistence from the earth, we find it composed of several sorts of soil, which serve for other purposes also; such as potters' earth, clay, chalk, and gravel. Some serve to make bricks, others to build with, and some to make earthen-ware. There are also kinds of earth which are made use of in dyeing colours, and even in medicine. The unevenness of the ground has many advantages: a great number, and a great variety of animals and plants may live on mountains: these serve to break the violence of the winds; and they produce a great variety of wholesome plants and fruit, which would not do well in plains. They contain in their cavities the minerals and metals so useful to us: from them proceed the springs, and most of the rivers produced by the melting of the snow, by rain, and other vapours. The stones that are underground serve to build walls, to make lime and glass. As to the metals, their uses are numberless: let us only think of the many
tools our workmen and artists require; the utensils and furniture of every sort made of them, which furnish us with so many conveniences and ornaments. We also draw considerable advantages from the hardness and weight of those bodies, Nobody is ignorant of the use of minerals." Salt serves to season our food, and to keep it from corrupting. The sulphureous particles of bodies render them combustible. Even volcanoes and earthquakes, whatever mischief they sometimes do, are still useful and necessary. If the fire did not consume the sulphu. reous exhalations, they would spread too much in the air, and make it unwholesome; many warm baths could not exist; and many minerals and metals would never be produced. It is to our ignorance we should impute it, if there are so many things of which we do not see the use. In order to judge of the works of the Lord, and fo acknowledge the wisdom of them, they must not be considered only in one point of view, but taken in the whole. Many things which we think hurtful, are notwithstanding certainly of use. Others appear superfluous; and yet, if they were wanting, they would leave a void in the plan of the creation. How many things appear to us insignificant, only because we do not know the real use of them! Put a loadstone into the hands of a man who does not know its virtue, and he will scarcely deign to look at it; but tell him that we owe to that stone the progress of navigation and the discovery of a new world, and he will then be of a very different opinion. It is the same with respect to many things which we despise, or judge ill of, because we do not know the use of them, por see the cannexion they have with the whole. Da li ...to 13" } if
ALL' observation' confirms to us that the moon has a particular motion of turning round the earth from west to east; for after having placed itself between us and the sun, it retires from under that body, and continues to go back towards the east, changing from day to day the place of rising. At the end of fifteen days it will have reached the most eastern part of the horizon at the time the sun sets with us." It is then in opposition. In the evening it rises above our horizon when the sun retires below it, and it sets in the morning about the time the sun rises. If then it continues to describe the circle which it has half finished round the earth, it removes vísibly from its point opposite to the sun ; it will draw nearer to the sun, and will appear later than when in opposition, till by degrees it will only be seen a little before sun-rise. The revolution of the moon round the earth explains why it rises and sets at such different times, and why its phases are ; so various, and yet so regular. A globe illuminated by the 'sun, or by a flambeau, can only receive the light directly on one side: so, at first sight, we per ceive that the moon is a globe which receives its light from the sun.' When, therefore, it is in con , junction, that is to say, placed between the sun and, us, it turns all its illuminated side towards the sun, at and its dark side towards us, and is then, of course, vacia invisible. It rises and sets with the sun in the same region of the sky. This is what we call new moon, or the conjunction. But when the moon retires from under the sun, and goes back towards the east, t has then no longer all its dark side turned towards us: a small part of it, a little border of the lighted
half begins to appear. This illumined border we see on the right side towards sun-set, or even before it. The horns of this crescent turn to the left, or facing the east. The further the moon removes from the sun, the more visible it becomes 'to us. At the end of seven days, when it has reached a quarter of its course round the earth, it discovers more and more of its illumined side, till it shows us half of it. The light part is then turned towards the sun, and the dark part casts no light on us. Exactly half the moon is then illuminated. The half of that half can only be the quarter of the whole globe, and it is in reality this quarter which appears to us. The moon is then in its first quarter. By degrees, as the moon removes from the sun, and as the earth comes between them, the more of that part of the moon which faces us becomes light. At the end of seven days, 'reckoning from the first quarter, it is almost directly opposite to the sun, and then its whole illumined disk presents itself to us. It then rises in the east, exactly at the moment the sun sets in the west, and we have a full moon. Next day the lighted half is already a little turned from us, and we no longer see it all. The light gradually leaves the western side, extending itself in proportion on the half not facing the earth. This is the decrease of the moon, and the more it goes forward, the more the dark side increases, till at last half the dark side is turned towards the earth, and consequently half the. light side. It has then the form of a half circle, and is what we call the last quarter.' primeros .. By the admirable harmony which subsists between
the motion of this planet on its own axis, and its ? course round the gun, it so happens, that the moon ** "still shows us the same half a globe which it has . 'shown us since the beginning of the world. During
so many thousands of years, this globe has constantly, and without deviating from the same course, finished its revolution in twenty-seven days and eight hours. Regularly, and at the same periods, it has Highted sometimes our nights, and sometimes those of remote countries. With how much goodness has it pleased Divine Wisdom to grant to our earth a faithful companion to light almost half our nights! Alas! we are not properly sensible of the value of this wise plan of the Creator.i
· WHETHER' we consider mineral waters in respect to their formation, or the benefit that accrues to us from them, they are certainly valuable, blessings bestowed upon us. But even the places where these salutary springs flow are seldom what they ought to be, places consecrated to praise and gratitude towards Heaven. Let the following reflections make us more grateful to our Heavenly Benefactor: In the first place, are not the springs from whence we draw the common salt to season our food, worthy our attention? It is probable that these springs originate from the mineral salt, which the waters dissolve underground...
The mineral hot-baths are not less remarkable: there is so great a number of them, that in Germany alone they reckon about six score; and they are also so hot, that it is necessary to let the water cool for twelve, and sometimes eighteen hours, before they are fit to bathe in. What is the cause of this extraordinary heat? It certainly is not the sun; for if it were, the waters would only preserve their heat in the day-time when the sun shines, and they would grow cold in the night or in winter. ,Neither can it be attributed to subterraneous fires: for then it would