« AnteriorContinuar »
ourselves an inexhaustible and pure source of delight. We shall then have a foretaste of that fulness of joy, which we shall experience in thy presence for evermore.
Animals are Causes for Man to glorify God. It is not sufficient that we treat animals ''with kindness; we ought also to endeavour to make the best use of them. How then can that be, but by making them serve to glorify God! This all creatures do, but particularly the animated beings. In every plant, tree, flower, or stone, the greatness and glory of the Creator are visibly imprinted; but it appears with still more lustre in the animal creation. Examine the construction of one only of those animated beings. What art, what beauty, what admirable wisdom shall we find; and how will these wonders multiply, if we think of the almost infinite number and astonishing variety of animals! From the elephant to the mite (which is only visible
through a microscope) all is harmony! And if, · at first sight, we think we discover any imperfection
in certain things, we soon find it is only our ignorance, which has led us to form a 'wrong judyment: It is not necessary that every individual should make deep researches on this subject, nor be a learned naturalist. It is enough to attend to the most familiar and the best known things before 'us.
We see, for example, a multitude of animals, all admirably formed; who live, feel, and move, as we do; who are, like us, liable to hunger, thirst, and cold, and consequently require, as we do, that their wants should be supplied. To all those crea
tures God has given life; he preserves, he gives them what is necessary, and takes care of them, as a father of a family does of those that compose his household. Shall we not from thence conclude, that he has the goodness, the tenderness of a father ? Shall we not also conclude, that we ougbt to love that Being, who is mercy itself? If the care of the Creator extends to animals, what will he not do for us? If he makes it his study to render the lives of those creatures happy and easy, what may we not expect from his beneficence? Let the cautious, fearful man then blush at his anxieties; he who, as soon as he finds himself not in affluence, falls into apprehensions and fears that the Almighty will let him perish for want.
Let us indulge another reflection upon the instinct pf beasts, and take occasion from it to admire and adore that Great Being, who so wisely combines the means with the end. As the instincts of animals all tend to their preservation, this appears most evidently in the love and care the beasts have for their young. Our Lord himself, to express the utmost parental cares, makes use of the image of a ben gathering her chickens under her wings. It is indeed a most affecting sight to behold the natural and strong affection the hen has for her young ones, and the constant care she takes of them. She seldom takes her eyes off them, but runs to their assistance at the approach of the least danger. She flies at the aggressor with courage, and hazards her own life to save that of her chickens. She calls them, and encourages them by her maternal voice. She spreads out her wings to receive and conceal them. She neglects all sorts of convenience to herself; and, in the most uneasy posture, studies the safety and. welfare of the objects of her affection. Who does not here acknowledge the hand of the Most High! Without the maternal care of the hen; without that. instinct so strong, and so superior to every thing, the chickens, the whole species, would infallibly
perish. Can it be said, that what the hen does for her young is done with understanding and reflection; that she judges, reasons, foresees, combines, and draws consequences ? Certainly not. And though, at first sight, every thing really seems to proceed from the tenderness and understanding of the bird; yet we must acknowledge in it a superior hand, which shows itself without our knowing in what manner it acts: therefore it is the duty of man to seek in the animals an occasion to glorify God; it is an indispensable duty, which ought to be sacred to him, and is equally agreeable and useful..
Reflections on the Blossoms of Trees.
At the time our gardens and fields are adorned" with nearly all the ornaments of spring, all Europe appears with equal pomp, and every where presents the most cheerful prospect. The power of the first word pronounced by the Creator, when he formed the world, produced all these magnificent effects. He has in a few days renewed, and in a manner created the earth again, for the use and pleasure of his intelligent creatures. Come, Oman! come and try what thy wisdom and power can do. Art thou able to make a single tree blossom, to order a single tulip to appear in all its beauty, or call from the earth the smallest blade of grass? Draw near, ye learned artists, and skilful painters! Contemplate these flowers, examine them with the most scrupulous attention; is any thing wanting to their perfection? Da you find any fault in the mixing of the colours, in their form or proportion? Could your pencil express
the dazzling red of the peach blossom: could you imitate the fine enamel, the uniformity and simplicity with which a cherry-tree in blossom is adorned? But why do I say imitate? Are you even capable of feeling all the magnificence of renewed nature, or of forming to yourselves a just idea of its inimitable art. If there were no stronger proofs on earth of the power and wisdom of God, the flowers of spring alone would be sufficient to convince us of it. Each tree that blossoms, each herb and flower proclaims his goodness and wisdom, which is over all the earth.
We remark an infinite variety in the blossoms of trees. All are beautiful; but their beauties are various. One surpasses another; but there is none which has not something pleasing peculiar to itself. However greai the Creator in the dispensing his gifts, he still reserves to himself the liberty of bestowing more on some than on others. But this difference is only in respect to accessary qualities. Such a tree, for example, has blossoms of a dazzling white; another has red stripes and shades, which the first wants: some have added to the beauty of their form and colour, an exquisite perfume; all these differences do not in the least affect their fertility. Thus, though we have not the same advantages, as appear in some of our fellow-creatures, it ought not to afflict or disturb us: for the loss of any accidental beauty, of whatever nature it may be, does not hurt our real welfare,
Let our chief study be, to act in such a manner, that when the beauty and charms of the body are no more, we may supply their place with abundant fruits of virtue and piety.
The morning dawn discovers to the world' a. new and magnificent creation. The shades of night deprive us of the sight and enjoyment of the earth and sky; but when the light of day returns, we behold all nature renewed and embellished: the earth appears arrayed in all its magnificence; the mountains crowned with forests; the hillocks clothed with vines; the fields covered with their harvests; and the meadows watered with rivulets. The horizon glows; the clouds are allotinged with variety of the liveliest colours; cheerful flowery vales are discovered at a distance; and the dew-drops that fall on the flowers take the mild lustre of apparent pearls. By degrees, as the light increases, the spectacle becomes more magnificent. We go from light to light, till at last nature presents us with her most glorious object, the rising sun! and the first ray that escapes over the mountain which had concealed it from us, darts, rapidly from one end of the horizon to the other. By degrees the disk of the sun appears, and at length shows itself entire; then advances and runs its course, with a majesty which the human eye can no longer support. O Lord! who art father of the whole creation, the joy and gladness of all nature, the animation of every being, invites me also to raise my soul towards thee with the most lively transports of gratitude and joy. Thou art the very source of light; from thee proceeds each beauty of the morning dawn. If thou didst not exist, there would be neither sun, nor dawn, nor creation.
But are not those indolent men much to be pitied, who never gave themselves the heavenly pleasure of contemplating the rising sun? O, if they were but