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them seasonably? If we have been enriched with the summer and autumn fruits, was it not with the intention that we should share them with our fellowcreatures, now when nature is at rest! The more the cold increases, the more disposed we should be to relieve the necessitous-to pour into the bosom of poverty all we can spare. "What other end could Providence propose in the unequal division of earthly riches, were it not to excite beneficence in the wealthy, by the affecting scenes of the miseries of the poor. Let us, therefore, have compassion on our fellow-creatures, and not let them suffer more than even the brutes. It is our duty to soften their evils, and Providence permits us to have a share in this honour. It is our duty to clothe, to feed, and to comfort them. Nobody is so poor, but that they may do some good. Let us enjoy the sweetest satisfaction that a noble mind can feel, by relieving the wants of others; by softening and lessening their weight of adversity. How easy is it to do this! We need only retract a few of our expences in dress and pleasures. How fit an offering would it be to virtue, were our benevolence to be attended by a conquest over our passions, in retrenching the indulgence of luxury and vanity, in order to bestow our charity on the poor !
The very things which appear hurtful may be
for our Benefit.
The evils we sometimes meet with enhance the value of our blessings, as colours are relieved and set off by shade. If there was no winter, should we be as sensible as we are of the charms of spring? Should we know the value of health without sickness, the sweets of repose without labour, the peace and consolation of a good conscience, if we had never been tried and tempted? The more obstacles there are to our happiness, the greater our joy when we surmount them. The heavier our misfortunes are, the more happy we feel when delivered from them. If all our days were prosperous, we should give ourselves up to luxury, pride, and ambition. If we were never pressed to it by necessity, nobody would take the trouble to be active or laborious in business; nobody would make use of their talents, or cultivate their minds: nor would they be animated with zeal for the public good. If we were never liable to danger, how should we become prudent, or learn compassion? If we had no evils to fear, how easily should we be intoxicated with happiness, and forget our gratitude to God, charity towards our neighbour, and all our duties in general! Are not then these virtues, these blessings of the soul, preferable to a constant train of pleasing sensations, which would also become dull and insipid to us by possession. He who reposes always in the lap of felicity, soon grows negligent of doing good, and is incapable of any great action; but let him feel the strokes of adversity, and he will recover his wisdom, activity, and virtue. How unjust and inconsistent are the desires of men! They wish to live quiet, contented, and happy, and they object to the means which lead to it. In the heat of summer, we sigb for coolness; and yet we are displeased when we see the clouds collect which are to obtain this for us. Thunder-storms purify the air, and make the earth fruitful; yet we complain that the flashes of lightning terrify us. We acknowledge the use of coals, minerals, and baths, but we do not like earthquakes. We wish that there should be no infectious or epidemical disorders, and yet we complain of the storms which prevent the air from corrupting. We love to be attended by servnnts, and yet we wish there was no poverty or inequality of situations. In a word, we wish in most things for the end without the means. Let us acknowledge the wise and beneficent designs of God, even when he permits frequent alternatives in our lives, from joy to sorrow, from happiness to misery. He is our Father, whose goodness we ought to be convinced of, even when he thinks proper to chasten us! We are in a world subject by nature to revolutions, and have often experienced, in the course of our lives, that what our ignorance made us consider as an evil, has in reality proved a happiness to us. Let us then receive with calm resignation the evils with which we are afflicted; they will only appear terrible at first; the longer we are used to them, the more supportable we shall find them, and the more we shall feel their salutary effects. We shall at length be convinced, that without these afflictions, which we now lament, we should never obtain the happiness designed for us hereafter.
LESSON CXL. Incidental Revolutions of our Globe. NATURE every day produces of itself changes on the surface of the earth which affect the whole globe. Many ancient monuments prove, that its surface in several places sinks down more or less; sometimes quicker, sometimes slower. The wall built by the Romans in Scotland, in the second century, which went across the whole kingdom, from sea to sea, is at present almost entirely nnder ground; and there are remains of it every day still discovered. The mountains are exposed to the same overthrow, occasioned either by the nature of the ground, the waters which undermine and sap them, or by subterraneous fires. But when some parts of the globe sink down, there are others, on the contrary,
which rise up. A fertile valley, at the end of another century, may be converted into a marsh, where clay, turf, and other substances, form beds one over another Lakes and gulfs turn into land. In stagnant water there grows a quantity of rushes, sea-weed, and other plants. The animal and vegetable substances, by corrupting in it, gradually form a sort of mud and mould; and the bottom at last rises so high, that what was formerly water becomes dry land. The subterraneous fires also produce great changes on our globe, which are called earthquakes. These violent shocks and convulsions occasion great devastation, and considerable alterations on the surface of our planet. The outer coat of the earth breaks in different places, sinks in on one side, and rises up on the other. The sea also partakes of those commotions; and the most sensible effect that appears from them are the new islands which rise up. They are produced by the bottom of the sea being raised up; or they are composed of pumice stones, of calcined rocks, or other substances thrown out from some volcano.
History informs us, that by earthquakes, which subterraneous fires occasioned, whole cities have been swallowed up, and sunk sixty feet underground; so that afterwards the earth which covered them was sowed and cultivated. Several of the alterations produced on our globe have been caused by the undermining of waters. The course of water is often diverted. Even the banks change their place. Sometimes the sea retires, and leaves whole continents dry, which used to be its bed. Sometimes it overflows lands, and covers whole countries. Kingdoms that were formerly close to the sea, are at present removed to a great distance from it. The anchors, the great iron rings to moor vessels, and the wrecks of ships found upon mountains, in marshes, and at a great distance from the ocean, prove beyond a doubt, that many places which are now firm land were formerly covered by the sea. There is every reason to believe, that England was formerly joined to France: the beds of the earth and stone, which are the same on both sides of Calais, and the shallowness of the strait, seem to prove it. Countries nearer the pole are liable to great change by the severity of cold. In autumn, the water penetrates through a multitude of little crevices into the rocks and mountains. It freezes there in winter, and the ice dilating and bursting causes great havóck. From hence we may learn, that all things here are subject to constant vicissitudes. In all this, how evidently does the wisdom, power, and goodness of the Creator shine forth.
Of the Clothing provided for us by Providence. The goodness of Providence appears even in our clothing. How many animals bestow upon us their skins, their hair, and their für, for this purpose. The sheep alone, with its wool, furnishes the most nécessary part of our dress; and it is to the valuable labour of a worm that we owe our silks. How many plants also do we find of use in this respect! Hemp and flax furnish us with linen, and many different textures are formed of cotton : but even those vast stores of nature would be insufficient, if God had not endowed man with industry, and with an inexhaustible fund of invention, to contrive and prepare clothing of many sorts. When we reflect on all the preparations for making linen, we shall find how many hands are necessary for a few yards only. Let us not then be vain of our dress, as we must have recourse for it, not only to the animals' most contemptible in our eyes, * but also to the rank of people our pride disdains the * most. But why has the Creator obliged us to provide