Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

texture. As for those plants which bear the cold of winter, they are preserved underground by their roots or fruits, till the mild warmth of spring makes them bud again. Some seeds are lodged in the middle of the fruit; others in pods and shells. But every seed is protected and preserved in the manner most suitable to its nature. Every where we may trace the Divine Creator. i

LESSON XXVIII.

Use of Vegetables.

When I consider the great number and variety of vegetables, I discover in this circumstance, as in every thing else, the beneficent views of my Creator. What, indeed, could he propose, by covering the carth with so many different herbs, plants, and fruits, but the advantage and happiness of his creatures? There is so great a number, and such variety of plants, that they already reckon above thirty thousand species of them, and every day there are new species and new classes found. Their increase is infinite. For example, who would not be astonished, that a single grain of wheat should produce two thousand others, and that a single seed of poppy should multiply to such a degree, that in two or three years a whole field might be sown with it. Can we suppose, that the Almighty had not the advantage of his creatures in view, when he ordained this prodigious increase of plants? There can remain no doubt of his intention, if we consider the use made of vegetables from the remotest times. Do not plants and fruits furnish us every day with the most wholesome and nourishing food? Do we not mostly owe our clothes, houses, and fur

niture, to the vegetable world? There is no part of plants that has not its use. The roots furnish medicaments; they serve for food and fuel, to make pitch, dyes, and all sorts of utensils. Of wood, they make coal, buildings, fires, medicines, paper, dyes, and a vast number of instruments. The bark even has its utility' in medicine, in tanning, &c. The ashes serve to manure and improve the ground, to : bleach cloth, to make saltpetre; and they make use of pot-ashes in dyeing. Rosin is useful in many manufactures: pitch and tar are made of it. They make use of turpentine, gums, and mastic, in medicine and for perfumes.,

Flowers please and delight, both by their colour and smell. They serve as medicines, and are partie cularly useful in furnishing bees with wax and honey. The fruits, which ripen by degrees, serve for our food, and are eaten either raw, baked, dried, or pre-i served. But vegetables are not for the use of man alone; they are of still greater use to animals, most of which have no other food. The reason there are so many fields, and so great variety of herbs and plants, is, that all the different animals may find their ,' proper food.

Who can reckon all the blessings the vegetable world affords us?; It is at least manifest, that all the arrangements made in this respect, tend to the use : of all creatures. . There is not a plant upon earth, that has not its purpose and use. What sentiments, therefore, of gratitude and veneration, ought, we not to feel, at the sight of a country, a meadow, i : or a field. itd .?!!!!by

Pi?"}}!"

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

,

The Change of Season. Disnacje --'!! ;'Oisiti svo jim rojstna hugis, Ilir In the warmest, as well as in the coldest climates, there are but two seasons of the year really different. The coldest countries have summer about four months; during which the heat is very great, occasioned by the length of the days. Their winter lasts eight months. Spring and autumn are scarcely perceptible there: because, in a very few days, an extreme heat succeeds an extreme cold; and, on the contrary, the great heats are immediately followed by the most severe cold. The hottest countries have a dry and burning season for seven or eight months. Afterwards comes rain, which lasts four or five months; and this rainy season makes the difference between summer and winter. It is only in temperate climates, that there are four seasons really different in the year. The summer heats gradually decrease, so that the autumnal fruits have time to ripen by degrees, without being hurt by the cold of winter. In the same manner, in spring the plants have time to shoot and grow insensibly, without being destroyed by late frosts, or too much hastened by early heats. In Europe, these four seasons are most perceptible; and particularly in Italy and in the south of France. By degrees, as we advance towards the north, or towards the south, the spring and autumn are less marked. From the middle of - May to St. John's day, it rains less frequently; after which, the violent rains return, and continue to the end of July. The months of February and April are generally very uncertain weather. If the melted snow and rains remained on the ground, without falling away or evaporating, the water would annu

ally rise to the height of a foot and three quarters in most countries. This change of seasons deserves our admiration. It cannot be attributed to chance; for in fortuitous events there can neither be order nor constancy. Now, in every country throughout the world, the seasons succeed each other with the same regularity as the nights and days, and change the appearance of the earth precisely at the, appointed time. We see it successively adorned with herbs and leaves, with flowers, and with fruit. Afterwards it is stripped of all its ornaments, till spring returns, which, in some degree, revives it. Spring, summer, and autumn, provide food for men and animals, in giving them abundance of fruits. And though nature appears dead in winter, that season is not without its blessings; for it moistens and fertilizes the earth, and, by that preparation, makes it fit to produce plants and fruits in due season.

It is now that charming season begins again, which opens such an agreeable prospect before us, and makes amends for the dreary winter days that are past. The spring approaches every day, and brings with it innumerable pleasures and blessings. How many have wished to live to see the renewal of nature, and to recover, in the fine days of spring, from all they had suffered during winter. But they have not had the consolation to see this day, and their lives were ended before the winter was

over.

More favoured than many millions of my fellowcreatures, who have been carried off by death, I still live, and may indulge the joy with which spring inspires me. But how often have I seen this season, without thinking of the goodness of my Creator, without opening my heart to gratitude and love! And perhaps this is the last spring I shal} see upon earth. Perhaps, before the equinox returns, I shall be in my grave, Let this thought lead me to feel so much the more sensibly the happiness granted' me, and to redeem, with more care, every moment of this transitory life. r u

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

Harmony between the moral and natural, :

World. . . .! The wisdom of the Deity lias created so great · an affinity between the world and its inhabitants,

as to show that the one was manifestly made for the other: there is a connexion and perfect harmony in all his works. Human nature and the surface of the earth have very near relations to each other, and a striking analogy. As the bodies of plants and animals form, grow, arrive at maturity, and perish; so are men subservient also to this law of nature, As there is a great diversity of climates and soils, some barren and others fruitful; so is there an equal variety in the minds, talents, and faculties of men, Such has been the plan of the Creator; and there is in this variety more goodness and wisdom than we think of at first sight. Far from appearing defective, we should find it all perfection, if we had a thorough knowledge of things. If any body was tempted to object to God's not having given the same faculties, the same degree of understanding to all mankind; we might answer, Who art thou, blind and weak mortal, that darest to question the Almighty on what he has done? Shall the creature say to the Creator, Why bast thou; made me thus? We might as well 'ask, Why God, has not ordained that all the kingdoms and countries on earth should be equally agreeable and fruitful?. Why in certain places the soil is rich and fertile,

« AnteriorContinuar »