« AnteriorContinuar »
I REPRESENT to myself this first day of the year, as if it were the first day of my life; and I presume to hope, from the blessings received, that this year will equal those which have been granted me from my birth till now. - What may I not hope from my heavenly Father, who, from the first moment of my existence, provided for me with so much tenderness and goodness? In my parents he gave me friends, who, from my very birth, supported and brought me up, and whose disinterested affection protected me in that weak and helpless state. Without such care, how could I have been preserved to enjoy the many blessings I now possess ?
I enter with the present day into a new period of life, not so much unprovided for, nor so helpless, as when I first came into the world, but with equal occasion for assistance in many respects. I require friends to add to the comforts of my life, to support my spirits when oppressed with grief, and to warn me of dangers that I might otherwise
fall into.” And surely my heavenly Father will grant me this best of blessings. : Whatever may happen to me during the course of the year, he has undoubtedly chosen for me a friend and comforter, who will be my adviser in difficulties, and my consoler in misfortunes; who will share the sweets of prosperity with me, and in moments of Weakness will aid and support my reason. If in the course of the year I experience any misfortune, which I could not foresee; if any unforeseen happiness fall to my lot; if I have any loss to bear which I could not expect; all will work together for my good. Full of this conviction, I begin the new year. Let what will happen, I shall be more and more confirmed in the persuasion, that God will be my preserver in my old age, as he was in my youth. If I find myself exposed to poverty and distress, I hope to remember the days of my helpless infancy, that more critical state in which he protected me. If I meet with ingratitude from a friend, even that ought not to make me unhappy. He who created me can raise up other friends, in whose tenderness I may enjoy delight and comfort. · If my days be full of danger, and persecution be my lot, even these ought not to terrify me; I should put my trust in that power which protected my childhood when it was exposed to many dangers. .?.. .
Not to acknowledge the hand of Providence, but in extraordinary cases, is to betray our igno- . : rance and weakness: things daily offer which
ought to excite our attention and our admiration. The formation of a chicken in an egg, is as great a miracle of the power and wisdom of God, as the creation of the first man formed out of the dust. Likewise the preservation of our life, if we reflect on the several causes and effects which combine for that purpose, is no less wonderful than the resur.. rection of the dead. The only difference between them is, that one happens but seldom, while we every day witness the other. This is the reason it does not strike us more sensibly, or raise our admiration as it otherwise would do. Undoubtedly, my own experience ought to convince me fully, that a Divine Providence watches over the preservation of my days. I am not certain of a single moment of my life. I feel how incapable I am of preserving my life, or of preventing many an infirmity, or danger, with which I am threatened. Subject to so many wants, both mental and bodily, I am thoroughly convinced, that, were it not for the tender mercies of God, I should be a very wretched creature. The union of my body and soul, their reciprocal and continual acting on, each other, are inconceivable, and neither depend on my will nor power. The beating of my pulse, the circulation of fluids within me, go on without interruption, and without my being able to contribute to them in the smallest degree. Every thing convinces me that my faculties, my state, the duration of my existence, does not depend on my will. If my breath be not stopped; if my blood still circulates; if my limbs have not yet lost their activity; if the organs of my senses have preserved their play; if, in this instance, I have the faculty of thinking, and the use of my reason: it is to God alone that I am indebted for it. But why do I reflect so seldom, and with so little gratitude, on the daily ways of Providence? Ought not the refleetions which now offer themselves, to have
always been imprinted on my heart? Ought I not, at least, every morning and evening of my life, to meditate on the benefits of my Creator; admire and thank him for them? How just that I should do so! and that, by this homage, I should distinguish myself from the brutes, who have not receiv. ed the faculty of contemplating the works of their Creator.
The Care which Providence takes of Animals,
during the Winter Season.
How many rational beings, dispersed in the different countries of the world, are provided at this season, with all the necessaries of life. The greater their number, the greater variety of wants they have, according to their condition, their age, and their manner of living. Unable to form a plan, and take secure measures for our own preservation, the many arrangements, so full of wisdom and goodness, made by our Creator to provide for it, deserve our attention and admiration. But there would be a sort of selfishness in confining the divine goodness and wisdom to the preservation of mankind alone, without remembering the care that Providence also takes of animals during winter. A care which he extends to creatures much greater in number on the earth, than the rational beings who inhabit it.'
That the prodigious number of animals which our globe contains, should find food or habitation in summer, is not surprising, because all nature then is disposed to concur towards that end. But that in this season, the same number of creatures, those millions of quadrupeds, of reptiles, of birds,