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rational enough to indulge in the pure and delightful enjoyment which this magnificent object of nature is so calculated to inspire! If they could but feel, that the sight of beautiful nature must naturally fill the heart with pious delight, and profound veneration for the Creator! If they could, in fine, comprehend, that one single thought, which rises in the soul on seeing the dawn of day, may become the happy beginning of a Christian life, would it not be worth giving up some hours of sleep for it?
On the Buds of Flowers.
What a multitude of flowers in the bud, are at present enveloped and closely shut up in their intrenchments; all their beauties are hidden, and their charms are veiled. Such is the wretched miser, who lives by himself, who centers all in himself, and whose views are mean and selfish; who makes his own private advantage or pleasure the only object of his desires, and the narrow motive of his actions. But soon the penetrating rays of the sun will open the buds of the flowers, and will deliver them from their silken bonds, that they may blow magnificently in our sight. What delightful perfumes will they exhale! Thus, also, may the most sordid miser become beneficent, when his soul is enlightened by grace. To a heart of stone may succeed a feeling and compassionate one, susceptible of the sweetest and tenderest emotions. By the mild influence of the Sun of Righteousness, the social affections discover themselves, and open more and more. Sensibility no longer centers in one object; it becomes universal ; extends its generous cares to all mankind, and all that is within its reach is benefited thereby. When I reflect on the buds and blossoms, I think of you, O lovely youth of both sexes! The beauty and power of your minds are not yet unfolded. Your faculties are still in a great measure concealed. The hope which your parents and masters conceive of you will not be so soon realized. When you consider these buds, say to yourselves, I resemble that bud; my parents and masters expect from me the unfolding of my talents and faculties; they do every thing for me; they neglect nothing for my information and instruction; they watch most tenderly over my education; to the end that I may become (first by blossoms, and afterwards by excellent fruit) their joy and comfort, and make myself useful to society. I will therefore do all in my power to fulfil the pleasing hopes they form. I will take advantage of all the improvement and instruction they give me, in order to become every day wiser, better, and more amiable. For this purpose I will take care not to give way to the desires and passions of youth, which might be fatal to my innocence, and destroy all the hopes cona ceived of me.
THE zoophites, or animal plants, are insects; though by their outward form, their immobility, and their manner of increasing by buds and seeds, they are very like real plants. These animals, as well as plants, can be multiplied by slips, and by ingrafting. Their animal nature only shows itself by the sensibility and voluntary motion observed in them. Most of the zoophites hold by a sort of root to the sea or the waters they live in. Some inhabit stony and chalky places; others are surrounded with a shell, more like horn; and lastly some are entirely soft and fleshy. They increase by a sort of bud, which contains a young animal, that grows some time with the stalk, then falls off and becomes a complete animal. Should we ever have supposed, that there were animals whose form was so like unto plants, as to spring up like them ? or that might be ingrafted like a plum-tree, turned inside out like a glove, and produce their young as a stalk shoots its branches ? It is scarcely sixty years, since any man, who would have hazarded such ideas, but would have passed for a madman. And yet it is now incontestable, that there are such animals, which not only by their form, but also by their manner of being perpetuated, resemble plants. By this discovery, made in the first half of the eighteenth century, natural history has been greatly illustrated. It may even be said, that it has enlarged our ideas; and since the discovery of animal plants, it is almost impossible to determine exactly, "where the animal kingdom ends, and where the vegetable begins.
It is generally believed, that the difference between plants and animals consists in the former having neither sensibility nor motion, and the latter having both. That is then the distinguishing character between plants and animals; but how faint the shade, how slight and almost imperceptible the line, which separates the two kingdoms, when we think of the discovery of the zoophites! Thus, the several species of créatures rise, grow to perfection, and approach one another so nearly, that the limits which separate them can no longer be distinguished. Throughout all nature, we see something of infinity, as the peculiar characteristic of its great Author,
The Pleasure of cultivating Fields and Gardens.
The culture of fields and gardens is one of the most agreeable employments, and perhaps the only one that is compensated by so many pleasures for the trouble taken. Most works confine men to a room or shop; but he who devotes himself to country pursuits is in the open air, and breathes freely upon the magnificent theatre of nature. The blue sky is his canopy, and the earth enamelled with flowers is his carpet. The air he breathes is not corrupted by the poisonous vapours of cities. Many agreeable objects present themselves to his sight, and, if he has any taste for the beauties of nature, he can never want pure and real pleasures. In the morning, soon as day-break again opens the brilliant scene of the creation, he hastens to enjoy it in his fields or gardens. The dawn proclaims the near approach of the sun. The grass springs up again revived, shining with dew-drops, brilliant as diamonds. Delightful perfumes, exhaled from herbs and flowers, refresh him on every side. The air resounds with the songs of birds, expressive of their joys and their happiness.
Would it be possible, at the sight and sense of so many pleasing and affecting objects, that the heart should not be touched with delight, with love, and gratitude towards our Creator. What contributes still more to render agriculture and gardening particularly agreeable, is the infinite variety of objects it affords, of works, and employment, which attach us to it, by constantly affording new ones, and preventing the distaste inseparable from sameness. Nature presents the husbandman with numberless agreeable changes. Sometimes he sees the plants springing out of the earth; others rising high,
and unfolding themselves; others again in full bloom.
Come, all people, bless the Lord, and praise his work. He is the source of all good. He sends the rain to water the barren fields, and it is through him alone that the earth becomes fruitful.
"The tulip is certainly a very beautiful flower; and, if we consider that every year there blow millions of tulips, which all differ from each other, the proportion and beauties of which are infinitely varied, we must have lost all feeling not be struck with admiration. Certainly, to be convinced of the existence of a wise and good God, we need only contemplate a tulip in full bloom, Therefore, when we look at a bed of tulips, let us not limit ourselves to the admiration of their beauty, but let us admire, above all things, the infinite wisdom of that Being who has formed these flowers, and executed them in such perfection. Whatever charms the tulip possesses, it loses a little of its value, in being merely food for the eye, and having no sweet smell. For when we compare it with the carnation, which, joined to the beauty of its form, has the most exquisite perfume, we soon forget the gaudy dress of the tulip. Such is the fate of persons who are endowed with beauty, and set off their charms with every ornament, but are destitute of the beauties of the mind. The former captivates but for a very short time, while the beauty of the mind remains when all the charms of form are fled; and the esteem which our virtues inspire, is constant and durable. A vir