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This leads me to reflect on my own body, and the change it will experience in the grave. It is true, it will entirely corrupt, but it will not be annihilated, and the essential parts which compose it will always subsist. The persuasion of this truth is sufficient to guard me against the fear of the grave and corruption, and, at the same time, to confirm the hope of a resurrection in my soul. Why then should my heart be troubled, why shudder at the thought of the
The continual duration of corporeal beings may lead me to conclude, with much probability, that my soul also will be immortal. Since none of the earthly parts will be annihilated, is it to be presumed that my soul should be the only created thing that is to be destroyed? No. The whole corporeal world would sooner perish, than one soul redeemed by Jesus Christ.
Relation that all Creatures have with one
The prodigious number of creatures there is upon the earth, is, in itself, well worthy our admiration; but what must still more strike us is the proportion between all these, and the wise chain which links this infinite multitude of different beings in such a manner, that they form but one regular and perfect whole. The extent of the animal creation is incomprehensible, and yet all of them find food sufficient. No species, however few there are of them; no individuals, however persecuted they may be, are ever extinct. It is true, that many serve as food to others, but the number of beasts of prey is not considerable. Most of them are solitary, and do not much multiply: even those that are pretty numerous, are content with little food, and cannot obtain it without much art and trouble. Several of them have enemies which prevent them from multiplying too fast; or else the weak and timid animals supply in number what they want in strength, and escape their persecutors by all sorts of stratagems and cunming. The mineral kingdom serves for the preservation of the animal, and they both tend to the good and benefit of mankind. The most useful plants, such as-corn, grow every where, multiply the easiest, and are the least liable to spoil. The animals which are most necessary to mankind are scattered every where in abundance. The productions of the different climates are suited to the particular wants of mankind. Thus, the hottest countries abound in cooling fruits. In countries liable to a great drought, there are plants and trees, which are, in a manner, springs of water, and which provide enough to quench the thirst of men and animals. Where wood is wanting, there is a great quantity of peat and turf found. If there are countries deprived of rain, and other sources of fertility, they are made amends for it by fruitful inundations, like that of the Nile in Egypt. In civil society, talents and blessings are so admirably distributed, that, as each individual may be happy, according to his circumstances, so there is nothing, that is necessary, wanting to society in general.
,,If the inclinations and dispositions of men, were · not so varied; if their tastes and tempers did not make them embrace different kinds of life; if there was not so much variety in their genins, their way of thinking, in their beauty, riches, and other outward circumstances, human society would soon become a melancholy desert. There is no rank of men who can do without others. Each country has its peculiar advantages; and, if they were common to all, there would be neither connexion nor commerce
between men. On whatever side we cast our eyes under heaven, we everywhere find the most admirable harmony and proportion. Notwithstanding the infinite variety of creatures, and the continual interruption of many of the laws of nature, it appears, that in this immense universe, all is perfect, all is planned and contrived for the general good, all is in the most regular and exact order. On whatever side I cast my eyes, I see nothing but the wisest and most delightful harmony. It shines on all sides. It embellishes every thing. "Nothing is unconnected. Every thing combines to the same end. The whole is linked together with wonderful art, and all the parts declare the power and wisdom of the great Creator.
The Production and Increase of Plants.
In general, vegetables spring from seed, and in most plants it is the flower of blossom which produces the seed, and makes it fruitful. Almost all flowers are folded up in a bud, where they form themselves secretly, and are guarded by their coat and outside leaves. Then, when the sap flows in abundance, particularly towards spring, the blossom grows large, the bud opens,' the coat falls off, and the flower appears. In the middle of the flower, there is a thread or a little pillar called pistil, which rises pretty high, particularly in tulips. Round the pistil are the stamina, with heads at the top of them, containing dust of different colours, which being scattered by the wind over the flower, makes the seed perfect.
Vegetables increase also by ingrafting. From a tender branch of a tree, when in sap, they take an eye, or a beginning of a branch, with a part of the bark, and then graft it into another tree; that is to say, they insert this eye between the bark and the wood, after which they gently tie up the whole, by rolling worsted two or three times round it. From that eye there comes a branch, which is of the same species as the tree from which the eye was taken, though the tree into which it is inserted (and which is called wild stock) should be quite another sort. Trees and other woody plants are also perpetuated by slips. From a willow, for example, they take a slip, that is to say, a single stick or branch, and put it into the ground, after having cut off the branches, that it may not in the beginning draw too much sap. Roots soon shoot out of it in the places where it had beginnings of branches, and in time it becomes a tree.
Vegetables also increase by roots : but these must have eyes, or they will not shoot. Certain plants, as strawberries and violets, cast all around them trains or long shoots, which have knots or eyes in them; these knots lengthen their fibres, strike into the ground, and become so many new feet, which may be separated from each other, to make so many more plants. The root even is a sort of eye, in which the plant is enclosed; and it has between its leaves little eyes, so that it may also be renewed by the leaves, when the little eyes or roots remain fastened to them. What a train of causes must operate to produce vegetables, to preserve and renew them. Supposing even that the seed pre-existed, what art does it not require to open them, to give growth to the plant, to preserve and continue the species. The earth must be a fruitful mother, in whose bosom plants may be placed and nourished conveniently. Water, which contributes also to the nourishment of plants, although in a less degree, must be composed of all those parts which are best
calculated to make them shoot and grow. The sun must put all the elements in motion, and by its heat cause the seed to spring up, and ripen the fruit. It was necessary to form a just balance and proportion. between the plants, in order that they should neither multiply too fast, nor be too few in number. It was necessary that the texture, the vessels, the fibres, and every part of the plant should be so disposed, that the sap, the nourishing juice, should penetrate into it, circulate, digest, and prepare itself in such a manner, that the plant should receive the proper form, size, and strength. It was necessary to fix exactly what plants were to spring up of themselves, and what were to require the care and culture of man.
In all this I acknowledge thy wisdom and goodness, O adorable Creator! Every spring thou renewest the face of nature, and crownest the year with thy blessings. Let the earth, as well as the heavens, declare the glory of thy great name, now and for evermore.
Flowers of the Month of April.
The nearer we approach the month, which presents to us the country, the fields, and gardens, in full beauty, the more we see the wild and melancholy appearance of nature wear off. Each day brings forth some new creation, and nature draws nearer to perfection. Already the grass begins to shoot, and the sheep run eagerly to feed. The corn begins to appear in the meadows, and the