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wants and pleasures, shall one day rise as witnesses against me, if I neglect to contemplate and admire thy works.
- The State of some Animals during Winter.
We do not see any of those millions of insects and birds, which, during summer, are in the air, in the water, and on the earth. At the approach' of winter they disappear from our countries, where the climate does not agree with them, and where they can no longer find food. The first stormy day is a signal to them to rest from their labour, to put an end to their mode of life, and to quit their homes. We mistake if we believe that winter destroys those animals: they continue to live even in that season of the year. Providence so provides, that none of them perish. The bodies of some animals are formed in such a manner, that the same causes which deprive them of food, make such revolutions in them as prevent their requiring any. The cold numbs them, they fall into a sound sleep, which lasts till the return of heat opens the earth, causes their necessary food to spring up, and wakens them from their heaviness. These animals hide themselves in the sand, in pits or hollow places, in the bottom of ponds or marshes, where they cannot be found out or disturbed. Their state is a kind of death, or rather a swoon; and they do not revive till the gentle warmth of spring penetrates to their retreats. Some sorts of birds, at the approach of winter, undertake long journeys, to seek rin other climates a more temperate air and proper food. Some fly in numbers from one country to another.
Several go to Africa, crossing the Mediterranean, and return the following spring to our countries.
Lord, how admirable is thy wisdom! how tender and beneficent thy mercies to the least of thy creatures? Thou hast impressed upon the minds of some animals that wonderful instinct, which warns them of the day in which they should abandon their summer habitations, in order to pass their winter in another climate, Thou hast pointed out to others, the places where they may pass in safety their night of winter in a sound sleep. Thou revivest them again
when the season of their new life arrives. Every , time I reflect on these changes, they lead me natu
rally to think of what will happen to myself at my death; for my state, in some measure, resembles y that of these birds. At the end of my life I shall also
quit my home, my pleasures, and my companions, to go into a better world. I shall also rest and sleep some time, but at the moment of the new creation I shall awake; and, clothed with the strength and beauty of youth, I shall begin a life that will be eternal. , .What happens to animals affords me also another edifying reflection: I see from thence that Providence watches over the very smallest link of the . immense chain of beings. I discover with what fatherly goodness he provides for the preservation of the weakest and lowest of creatures, in situations wherein it would appear impossible to mere human wisdom. Would it not then be doing injustice to the wisdom and kindness of my Creator, to doubt his care - of me, and to give myself up to trouble and anxiety about my subsistence? Certainly, that God who gives to insects and to birds their food in due season; who provides them retreats, and places of rest in pits and rocks; who directs them to find their food in different countries; will take care of me in time of need and distress,
We may often see in winter, towards the spring, a sort of transparent, bright, and variegated clouds in the sky. From the north there appears a splendid Kght, which comes close to the other clouds. Lastly, from these northern clouds, there dart white rays of light, which reach to the centre of the heavens. This ethereal phenomenon, called Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, is still in some respects, one of those natural effects, the cause of which cannot be very exactly determined. Some naturalists suppose it to be a magnetic substance, which, accumulating and thickening towards the north, may shed a certain light at a distance. Others think, what is more probable, that the Aurora Borealis 'is occasioned by nitrous and frozen particles, which, rising in the air, and joined to the vapours, and to the fat and oily exhalations sent forth by the whales, and other immense fishes, which abound in the north, are lighted up, and made brilliant by that light which the Laplanders almost continually enjoy." Lastly,' some philosophers pretend, that this phenomenon is only the atmosphere inflamed, and a storm not yet come * to maturity. The uncertainty in which the best informed and most learned men are, in respect to this phenomenon, 'is very instructive to us.' How many things do we see in the air, in the sky, and upon earth, which are still mysteries, even to the very best naturalists? These phenomena ought to humble the human mind, whose pride and vain curiosity often prevent its acknowledging how limited its faculties are. Many inconsiderable things confound the most learned in their meditations, and escape our enquiries: and there are a number of
objects, which, indeed, we acknowledge to be planned with much wisdom, and to be very useful; but few of us can discover their true principles, their purpose, or their connexion with the natural world and its several parts. However, this ignorance does not affect our happiness; and, after all, uninformed as we may be on this point, and a number of others, we know, at least, that every phenomenon of the physical and intellectual world happens only by the will of an alwise, almighty, and perfect Being, who directs them for the good of the Universe. We have no occasion to know more in a life so short as ours; and this is doubtless sufficient to induce us to adore and bless Him, who is the author of things so wonderful, and so much above our comprehension. . I find, in the mild and majestic splendour of the light from the Aurora Borealis *, a sign of the power and goodness of Providence. I behold those celestial lights without fear; because I know that the Lord of heaven has not created any thing to be a torment and misfortune to his creatures. And perhaps there are people in the northern countries who draw great advantages from those phenomena, though they so little influence ours.
When these lights were first observed in Europe, in the 18th century, whole nations of the superstitious and ignorant were thrown into consternation and terror; they iinagined that they saw whole armies in motion, and battles fought in the air. Indeed some pretended to fortel events by them, threatening the people with war, famine, or pestilence.
The extreme smallness of certain Bodies. The vaulted sky, the depths of space, and its unlimited extent, those vast bodies which shine in the firmament, the variety of creatures which cover our globe, and which fill the air and the water, all these declare the glory of the Mighty God, and tell us his power is infinite. But it must not be supposed, that the power and wisdom of the Creator is only visible in the immense size of the world. Even in the smallest objects, in the most inconsiderable parts of the natural world, the greatest subjects of admiration are to be found. The construction of a grain of sand, seen through a glass which greatly magnifies every object, is sufficient to fill the mind with asto. nisbment. Who indeed would not be surprised to learn, that there is sometimes an insect living in the midst of a grain of sand which the eye can scarcely discover ? Examine also with a microscope (which magnifies some millions of times) the mouldy appearance on a piece of bread, and you will see in it a thick forest of fruit-trees, the branches, leaves, and fruit of which are easy to be distinguished. But even in our own bodies we may perceive objects of inconceivable smallness, which perhaps we have not yet taken notice of, and yet deserve all our admiration. They are covered with an innumerable multitude of pores, of which the naked eye can only distinguish a small part. The epidermis, or skin, resembles the scale of a fish: it has been calculated, that a grain of sand would cover 250 of those scales, and that one single scale would cover 500 of those interstices, or those pores which give passage to the insensible perspiration.
Have you ever reflected on the wonderful construc. tion of the hairs of your head? as inconsiderable as