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follow from thence, that we are authorised to take • from them, without pity or regret, a life which 'is so." dear to every creatnre; and that, when necessity forces us to it, we should find a barbarous pleasure in it, or think we have a right, in thus depriving them of life, to make them suffer torments, often more cruel than death itself? I grant that the Creator has given us the animals for our use and pleasure, and that they are designed, by their labour, to spare ours. But does it follow that we must unnecessarily fatigue them, exhaust them with labour beyond their strength, refuse them sustenance merited by their services, and aggravate their sufferings by severe treatment ? Surely no more need be said in regard to this kind of abuse. But men fall sometimes into the other extreme, by setting too high a value on animals; even those of a social character, which are more connected with us, which live in our houses, which amuse, or are useful to us, : inspire us often with an extravagent and ridiculous affection. I am almost ashamed to say, there are men and women extravagant enough to love those creatures to such a degree, as to sacrifice to them, without scruple, the essential duties they owe to! their fellow-creatures. . Parents, and all who have the charge of children's education, or who live with them, cannot be too attentive to avoid scrupulously themselves any abuse of animals. It is the more necessary to dwell on this maxim, because in general it is neglected; and very bad examples of this kind are given to children, , which sometimes have an influence upon their whole education. No beast ought to be killed in their sight: much less should they be employed to do it." Let them be taught to treat animals, as beings which : have life and feelings, and towards whom we have duties to fulfil. But, on the other hand, take great care that children do not attach themselves too much to animals, or grow passionately fond of them, as they are apt to do. In guarding carefully against
children's making a bad use of animals, either way, they should also be taught to make a good use of them, that they may, from their earliest age, be accustomed to acknowledge, even in the formation of those creatures, an impression of the perfections of the Creator. . . . .
Isi.. Use and Necessity of Air.
Air is the element to which all this lower world owes its life, beauty, and preservation. . All the changes we observe in the different beings our globe contains, depend on air. It is absolutely necessary for the preservation of animals; for most of them would die in half a minute, if they were deprived of it;, and the others could not support the want of it above two days at most. Not only terrestrial creatures, and those which fill the air, require that element, but it is necessary also to the inhabitants of the water; and what is more, they require a change of fresh air as much as other animals. The birds, in order to fly, must be supported by the air; for which reason their lungs have openings, through which the air they breathe passes into the cavity of their bodies. This single circumstance discovers to us a profound sagacity; for the body of the bird being filled, and in a manner swelled by the air, becomes lighter and more fit for flying.
Even plants, in order to vegetate and grow, require air, and have a multitude of little vessels which serve to imbibe it, and by means of which, even the smallest particles of them are provided with all the necessary juices. Nothing would be more easy, than to multiply proofs of the necessity of air. Let us dwell on one single circumstance only, which demonstrates it very clearly. If there were no air, there would be no twilight before sun-rise. It would come suddenly above the horizon: would appear the same as it does towards the middle of its course, and would not vary its appearance till the instant it would vanish entirely from our sight. The sun, indeed, would strike our eyes with a bright light if there was no air ; but it would resemble a great fire burning in an open country in the middle of the night. It would in some sort be day, as the sun and the objects immediately surrounding us would be visible to us; but all the rays that would fall on any bodies, at a certain distance, would reflect in a direct line, and be lost in the extent of the heavens. Therefore, while the sun would be placed directly over our heads, we might still be in a sort of night, if there was no air between that globe and us. Let us draw together all the advantages that air is of to our earth. It is of use to the life and breathing of living beings: to the motion of winged animals, and those which swim in water: to the propagation of sounds; to hold the earth in equilibrium with the other globes; to the formation of vapours, rain, and winds. How necessary is it also to make the earth fruitful, to favour the vegetation of plants, and disperse the bad vapours which exhale from different bodies! The sun could not furnish us with either heat or light enough, if our globe was not surrounded with air. Nobody could be heard, if the air did not set the organs of speech in play; if it did not transmit sounds, and act on the organs of hearing. How innumerable, then, in all respects, are the advantages which the air and winds procure to mankind? If we accustom ourselves to contemplate, with an attentive mind, the great object of our ' creation, we shall be naturally led to extol the works and the blessings of God. What may often make us
neglect this duty, is our casting but a superficial glance over his works; and, in enjoying his blessings, our hearts have not always been sensible how little we deserve them.
THE soil is not the same every where. The upper stratum is generally formed of a black, .. movable, rich earth, which being moistened by broken remains of plants and animal substances, becomes the nutritive support of millions of vegetables which enrich our globe. But even that stratum varies in quality. It is sometimes sandy and light, at others clayey and heavy, and often moist or dry, sometimes warmer, and sometimes colder. This is the reason why some herbs and plants grow naturally in certain countries, and require art and culture in others. The variety of soil also makes vegetables of the same kind differ in quality, according to the ground where they have been planted. If all soils were alike, if all were of the same quality, we should be deprived of many vegetables; because each species requires a soil analagous to its nature: some require a dry soil, some a' moist one; some require heat, others a colder soil; some grow in the shade, others in the sun; several grow in mountains, and many more in valleys. From thence it happens, that each country has a certain number of plants peculiar to it, and which do not grow in equal perfection in others. If the alder be transplanted into a sandy soil, and a willow into a rich and dryearth, it will be found, that those soils are not fit
for these trees, and that it will agree with them better to plant the former near marshes, and the latter on the borders of rivers. Therefore our Creator has provided for each species, by allotting to them the soil analagous to their internal constitution. It is true, that art can sometimes force nature to produce according to pleasure: but it is seldom worth the trouble; and, in the end, nature is found to have much the advantage of all the researches and labours of art.
The same variety that is observed in the soil of our globe, is found in the characters of mankind. There are some whose hearts are so hardened, that they cannot profit by instruction. No motive can influence; no truth, however evident, can rouse them from their indolence. This character may be compared to a stony ground, which no climate, nor the most careful cultivation, can render fruitful, A character almost as worthless, is that where levity predominates: persons of this sort, it is true, receive the salutary impressions of religion and piety, but are discouraged by the least obstacle that comes in their way; and their zeal vanishes as easily as their good resolutions. In the minds of trifling, timid, weak people, truth and virtue cannot take root, because there is no depth. They resemble light and dry soils, where nothing comes to maturity, and where every thing dries up, as soon as the heat of the sun is felt; because they do not supply the plant with the nourishing juices it requires. But how happy those characters with whom, as in a good soil, the seeds of piety ripen and produce an abundant, harvest of good fruit.
On these several dispositions observable among men, depend, more or less, the effeet of true religion upon the heart. In vain the sower sows the best seeds; if the soil has not the suitable qualities, all his care is in vain. The purity and goodness of the seed cannot supply the natural defects of the soil. For when it is so hard and close that, the seed