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The Utility of our Sensesi I HAVE senses; that is to say, I am a being, who by means of several wonderful organs of my body, can procure myself several sorts of sensations. By my eyes, I can acquire the perception of light and colours; by my ears that of different sounds; by smell and taste, that of agreeable or disagreeable emanations of savours and scents, of sweet and bitter, and other such properties of the body, which I can make use of; and, by my feeling, I have the sense of heat and cold, of wet and dry, of soft and hard, &c. Now, I represent to myselt' how wretched I should be, were I deprived of these useful organs. If I had not sight, how could I escape that multitude of dangers 'which surround me, or form to myself any idea of the magnificence of the heavens, the beauty of the country, and all the agreeable objects with which the earth is filled ? Without the organ of hearing, how 'could I perceive many dangers at a distance? How could I, in my youth, acquire school-knowledge, learn languages, obtain ideas, the talent of reading, and many other faculties, which distinguish me so advantageously from the brute creation? If I had been refused the organs of smell and taste, how could I distinguish, in my food, what was hurtful or otherwise? I could not enjoy the perfumes of spring, or a number of things, which now afford me such pleasing sensations. And, without my feeling, how should I be able to discover, either in sleep, or awake, what was hurtful to me? or, how should I be able to attend to my preservation? I cannot, therefore, give too much praise, that I see, hear, smell, and feel. Oh! may I never be insensible to the value of my senses, or make a bad 'use of them, since they were given me for the noblest purposes.
Winter is the Image of our Life.
In the winter days there are continual changes. Flakes of snow, and showers of rain, storms and calms, cloudy days and serenę skies, succeed each other. The snow has scarcely covered nature with its brilliant whiteness, when the rain comes to destroy it. The sun scarcely shows itself, when it again disappears from us. Are there not the same vicissitudes in the moral world? If many of the days in winter are dark, dull, and gloomy, so are many scenes through life. But as storms and darkness are necessary, and conformable to the wise laws of nature, so are the disagreeable accidents and the adversity which we sometimes experience in the world. Who can prevent the day from being obşcured by dark clouds, or our happiness from being disturbed, sometimes by others, and sometimes by accidents? How is it possible the sky should be always calm and serene; or that our minds should enjoy uninterrupted repose? The present constitu; tion of our nature will as little admit our being always free from pain and disagreeable sensations, as the constituțion of the natural world would admit of the air never being loaded with clouds. Paşsions, which often produce good, but often also produce bad effects, are exactly įn the moral world what storms are in nature; and, as winter and fraştę are sources of fertility, so are afflictions and sufferings the means to obtain wisdom and virtue. . Darkness teaches us the value of light. A continual light would dazzle and fatigue the sight. A serene day never gives us so much pleasure, as when it has been preceded by dark and cloudy weather. In the same manner, we should be less sensible of the blessing of health, were wę not tayght to feel it by 1994) Isid - TIME: 90: T to ? the painful effects of sickness. After all, it is certain, that we, in general, are too much inclined to exaggerate our evils. They events and accidents that happen to us are seldom as melancholy as we imagine. Our self-love, our pride, and our excess of delicacy, blind us often to such a degree, that we look on every thing that happens to us as real and great evils; while, on the contrary, we take no notice of our real advantages, and the swects which attend us. It is at least certain, that all our troubles ought to be reckoned as nothing, in comparison of the multitude of blessings and pleasures that are bestowed upon , us by Divine Providence. Those very evils, of which we complain, will prove real, though disguised blessings, if we know how to make a wise use of them: just as the snow, the storms, the frost, and other variations of the seasons, are means which God makes use of to grant us new favours. When the sky has been long dark and stormy, the clouds at length dissipate, and calm and sunshine bring back joy and gladness." The heavier the showers are, the sooner the clouds vanish." The darker they are, the sooner the rays of the sun disperse them. Misfortunes fill up but a short space of our lives; and when they appear to us the heaviest, when we seem sinking under them, it is a proof that they are soon to end." ??
'I will accept, then, without murmuring, the crosses and disappointments it, may please the Almighty to allot me. For those who sow in tears, will reap in joy. When the short miseries of life are over, I shall find how advantageous they have been to me; and I shall bless my Creator for having conducted me to heaven through paths of tribulation and sorrow. Von 5:17 54
, : int n 5: These are the thoughts which will support me in
every misfortune. As 'the expectation of spring makes the gloomy appearance of winter supportable, So does the sweet hope of futurity encourage me to bear, with resignation and fortitude, the present
miseries. Through the darkness of this life, there opens to me the delightful prospect of a happy hereafter. What I foresee, already sheds light on the path through which I walk; and by this way I shall imperceptibly arrive at the blessed abodes of peace, light, and happiness.
An Invitation to contemplate God in the Works
Oye who adore with me the Lord, by whom the heavens and the earth were made, come and reflect on his works! Behold the wonders, he has done!- acknowledge, and have a lively sense of his mercies! Of all the knowledge we can acquire, this is the most important, the most easy and agreeable. We could dispense with many sciences which we take such pains to learn; but the knowledge of God and his works is absolutely necessary, if we wish to fulfil the end of our creation, and by that means secure our happiness here and hereafter. It is the best preparation to understand, and to receive as we ought, the gospel of Jesus Christ; for this reason, because in teaching his disciples the truths of religion, the Divine Redeemer often spoke of the works of nature, and made use of the objects which the physical and moral world afford, to lead his hearers to reflections on spiritual , and heavenly things. In general it is a noble employment, and well worthy of man, to study the book of nature continually; to learn in it the truths which may remind us of the immense greatness of the Creator, and our own littleness; his blessings, and the obli- gations they impose on us. It is shameful for men to be inattentive to the wonders which surround him on every side, and to be as insensible to them as the brutes are. What employment can be more pleasing to the human mind, than meditations on the admirable works of the Most High!- to contemplate, throughout all nature, the power, wisdom, and goodness of our Creator and Preserver! What can be conceived more delightful, than to discover in the whole creation, in all the natural world, in every thing we see, traces of the providence and tender mercies of the Father of all beings! There are no amusements, no worldly joys, of which we are not soon tireil. But the pleasure we feel in contemplating the works of the Lord, is a pleasure ever new. It is in this light I often represent to myself the felicity of the saints in heaven. I ardently wish to be with them, because I am persuaded it is in their society, in their blessed intercourse only, that my insatiable desire of increasing in knowledge and wisdom, is to be satisfied. But, while we are still at a distance from this happiness, let us endeavour, at least, to come as near it as possible, by habituating ourselves now, to what will be hereafter and for evermore, the employment of all good men. Let us admire the power and wisdom of the Creator in each of his creatures. This employment will make us not only happy, but virtuous : for, if we have the Most High and his works continually in our sight, with what love and veneration shall we not be penetrated ? · With what confidence shall we not resign ourselves to him ? Every thing around us, every thing within ourselves, will serve to lead us to God, as the source of all;, every thing will more and more contribute to inspire us with piety. These, O Heavenly Father! are the engagements I make before iheaven and earth, in presence of every creature thou hast formed. This sun which shines upon me, this wir which I breathe, this earth, which bears me and gives me food; all nature, so wisely framed for our