Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

they appear, they are one of the Creator's masterpieces. They are hollow tubes, each of which has its root, a substance full of marrow, and several little threads which unite them! In that whitish matter or scale, which our food leaves upon the teeth, and which settles there, a great number of little animals have been discovered, by means of a microscope magnifying one million of times; and it has been found, that in a space not larger than a grain of gunpowder, there was a million of those animalcula. i . - Are not these so many circumstances that ought to make us humble in our own eyes, and raise our ideas of the Supreme Being? There are, perhaps, a multitude of wonders in our own bodies, which no one has thought of or suspected. How many imperceptible objects may there not be in nature, out of the reach of the microscope, and of our understanding? But the little we know, is more than sufficient to convince us, that it is the Lord who hath made even the most diminutive creature upon the earth. : . i

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

* The Hope of Spring. EVERY day draws us nearer to the pleasures of spring, and gives us hope of the time approaching, in which we may breathe more freely, and contemplate nature with more satisfaction and joy. This sweet expectation is almost the only one which does not deceive us, being founded on the invariable laws of nature. The charms of this hope are felt in every heart without distinction; for the beggar, as well as the monarch, may behold the spring approach with pare joy, and promise himself sure pleasure in it. This hope is not attended with impatience, because it. extends very far, and takes in a multitude of objects. / The coming of spring procures us many new pleasures: the beauty and perfume of the Aowers, the singing of the birds, and every where the cheerful prospect of mirth and pleasure. Most earthly hopes are attended with anxieties; but that of spring is as satisfactory as it is innocent and pure; for nature seldom deceives us. On the contrary, her presents generally surpass our expectations, both in number and quantity. It is a great blessing of Providence, that in all the changes of seasons, and the vicissitudes of life, we can still nourish hope in our hearts. Winter would have been infinitely more melancholy without this comfortable prospect. Encouraged by the hope of spring, we have patiently borne the inconvenience of cold and bad weather, and are now on the point of seeing that hope abundantly realized. A few more disagreeable days, and the sky will become serene, the air milder; the sun will revive nature, and the earth will reassume its ornaments.

We ought to return thanks for these sources of joy and comfort which are open to us, to soften the evils of life. Without hope, the earth would be a vale of misery, and our lives a series of sorrow and pain. But hope is given to us, as an agreeable companion through our pilgrimage. When all around us is gloomy, it opens for us a cheerful prospect of futurity, which revives, and enables us to walk with content through the sorrowful paths of life. What words, indeed, can express the great hope I may indulge as a Christian! which has entitled me to expect a felicity not confined within the narrow limits of this life. What matter how long and severe the winter of our lives? Let us hope for spring. Let us await renewal and perfection of existence in the world to come... Dai m duri' 1'?

T, Lila

LESSON XXIV.

Variety of Means which contribute to the

Fertility of Nature.

The wisdom of Providence makes use of several means to render the natural world fruitful. Sometimes the clouds fall in rain, in order to purify the air from hurtful vapours, to soften the earth, and fill it with nourishing juices. At other times, when the earth is deprived of the blessings of rain, a soft dew frequently moistens and renders fruitful such plants as appear ready to wither. The snow, which in winter covered our fields and meadows, not only served to guard the earth from the severe cold, but, by means of the salts with which it is mixed, contributed also to the fertility of the land. The frequent storms that are felt in spring, preserve the air from corruption, dry the earth, and disperse the rain over the whole surface of the globe. What benign influence have they also upon the earth in making it fruitful: with every thunder-shower the Creator spreads his precious blessings on the earth. One may, without extravagance, maintain with certainty, that there is no revolution in the air, or on the earth, which does not, directly or indirectly, contribute to the fertility of our globe. Each season brings back the phenomena peculiar to it; and each phenomenon of nature produces effects, the happy infiuenee of which is more or less visible. Even those visitations which cause great destruction in certain countries, are only particular evils, which contribute to fulfil beneficent views, as there result from them advantages to the world, when considered in the whole.

In all times and places, let us acknowledge the tender care of our beneficent Creator! Our globe, continually rolling in the starry space, is sometimes sown with flowers, at others covered with snow;

here adorned with vines, there crowned with ears, of waving corn. It sings continual praises, and uniting with the harmony of the spheres, declares the power and goodness of the great Creator. When the snow and ice change our fields into deserts; when the tempest roars in the winds; when the lightning and thunder make mortals tremble; when the rivers, leaving their beds, overflow whole countries; when all the elements seem to conspire, the destruction of the world : it is then that the return of spring prepares for the inhabitants, of the earth, health, joy, peace, and plenty.

In order to lead mankind to a sense of their destination, to a horror of sin, and to the practice of virtue, the Almighty sometimes makes use of violent, and at others of mild methods. Sometimes he thinks proper to punish the sinner severely, to lay heavy judgments, and of a long duration, upon him, in order to awaken him from his slumber. He speaks to hardened hearts as to the Israelites on Mount Sinai, with lightnings and with a voice of thunder. With others he makes use of opposite measures: he endeavours to snatch them from vice and vanity, and to draw them to him by the gentle ways of blessings and goodness.

LESSON XXV.

The difference between Animals and Plants. The difference between animals and plants is so great, and so visible, that it requires but a very slight observation to be convinced of it. Undoubtedly, one remarkable difference consists in the animals having the faculty of moving and changing place; a faculty of which the vegetables are totally

deprived. A much more essential difference is the faculty of feeling, which cannot be denied to animals, whilst it cannot be granted to plants. To this must be added, the manner of being nourished, which is still another distinction between them: animals, by means of exterior organs, are capable of choosing their proper food: plants, on the contrary, are obliged to take what nourishment the earth affords, without any choice. This is given them from the moisture of the earth, and by the action of the veins in the leaves, which pump and draw in the nourishing juices, with which the air is filled.

The number of species is much greater in the animal than in the vegetable kingdom. In the insects alone, there may, perhaps, be a greater number of classes (taking in those which can only be seen with a microscope) than there are of visible plants on the surface of the globe; neither have the animals such conformity with each other as the plants have, whose resemblance makes it difficult to class them. Who can avoid observing another remarkable difference, as to the place where they live. The earth is the only place where plants can grow and multiply; most of them rise above its surface, and are fastened to the soil by roots more or less strong; others are entirely underground. A small number grow in the water; but, in order to live, it is necessary they should take root in the earth. Animals, on the contrary, are less limited in place. An innumerable multitude people the surface and the interior parts of the earth. Some inhabit the bottom of the sea; others live in the waters at. a considerable depth. Many live in the air, in vegetables, in the bodies of men and animals, in fluid matter, and also in stones.

If we consider animals and plants, in respect to size, we shall find still a striking difference. Between the size of a whale and that of a mite, the distinction

« AnteriorContinuar »