Imágenes de páginas

double purpose of quenching thirst, the same time, that they were and recruiting exhausted animal properly aware of the danger of nature, and in the most perfect intemperance. Nothing certainly manner. It is in the highest de- can be conceived of, more suited gree-I refer only to the case of to the wants of a labourer, toiling temperate persons-grateful to the in the dust or sun, athirst and palate, refreshing to the system, weary, than a plate of strawberries, and salutary in its remote and gen- a melon, or a basket of cherries, or eral effects. It is a consideration, peaches, or apples. With these also worthy of remark, that when and other fruits, which might easily our friends visit us, the feelings of be raised in sufficient abundance, hospitality very justly prompt us to together with such simple drinks set before them some refreshment as common beer, milk, and molas-a refreshment not only general- ses and water ; and cider when ly acceptable, but often needed. desired, the labouring classes of Those who have no fruit, very com- the community would undoubtedly monly offer their friends some kind be able to perform the greatest of fermented liquors--the very thing quantity of work, with the highest perhaps which is neither needed health, and in the best spirits. nor desired. But those who have The expense of cultivating fruit fruit, almost invariably bring it is much less than is generally supforward, and to the evident satis- posed. In the court yards and garfaction of their guests. And when dens connected with most houses, fruit and liquors are both presented, there is ground sufficient,-and the fruit is seized with avidity, and ground usually unoccupied for the wine, the strong beer, and the raising in abundance every variety spirits are generally left untouched. of fruit suited to the climate, with The man indeed, whose appetite is the single exception of apples. not satisfied with delicious fruits The original expense of procuring alone, already possesses a danger the trees is trifling; and even this ous fondness for spiritous liquors. may soon be wholly saved by a It may be thought by some, that little pains in raising them. That the labouring classes of the commu. which is indispensably necessary, nity would set but little value upon and which constitutes the principal the substitute here proposed for difficulty in the way of procuring ardent spirits. Whether they would fruit, is the frequent attention re. or not, it is certain that the use quisite for preserving the trees from which they make of ardent spirits injury while young, for improving is detrimental. But what reason the fruit by introducing good sorts, can be assigned why they should and for keeping up a continued value fruit less than other men. supply. But this requisite attention They have the same appetite ; and makes no serious encroachment fruit is equally refreshing to them. upon the time ; and those who The reformation of drunken labour- have bestowed it, have found themers, by the substitution of fruit for selves abundantly compensated by ardent spirits, is certainly not ex- the pleasure and healthfulness of pected: nor indeed the reformation the occupation, aside from the diof any other class of drunkards. rect enjoyment of their labours. But in those cases where the natur. Very great exertions are now al taste has not been vitiated by making to banish all improper use the use of ardent spirits, it is be- of ardent spirits from our land. In lieved that fruit would be chosen these exertions every Christian and by labourers invariably, in prefer- every philanthropist must rejoice. once to ardent spirits-allowing at Since the commencement of these

exertions, the importance of provi. from the invisible particle of odour ding substitutes for ardent spirits that is wafted on the breeze, to the has frequently occurred to the be- resplendent orb that pours floods nevolent, and various substitutes of light on surrounding worlds ; have been suggested. In recom- there is not a spot, where the stumending fruit for this purpose, it is dent may not ply his powers of not designed to have it take the investigation, and feast with deplace of other suitable substitutes; light; or where the Christian may but to have it introduced into their not find cause to reverence and number, with that rank and impor adore. Though to the superficial tance in the scale to which its just observer all may seem confusion, claims may entitle it.

still it is a confusion so nearly allied But in all our exertions to pre- to regularity, as to possess charms vent intemperance our hopes must which are sought in vain from any be placed chiefly in the extension other source. But to the student, of correct religious principle. The as he enters the field of nature, and dangers inseparably attendant upon begins a scientific survey of her the use of ardent spirits may be works, all things assume a new aspointed out ; and suitable substi- pect. Where he had seen nothing tutes may be proposed; but against but disorder, he discovers perfect every attempt at reformation, the regularity. And as he extends his concurring influence of interest and investigations, his delight rises to appetite will be set in array. wonder and astonishment, that so Against these, considerations of a few and simple are the laws, which temporal nature will have little govern the almost infinite variety weight. The only adequate rem- of forins and movements that apedy is the fear and love of Him pear on our globe, and in the exwho has solemnly assured us that panse of the heavens ; and though drunkards shall not inherit the he may with propriety exclaim ; kingdom of God.. B m . “0Lord, how manifold are thy

works,” yet he cannot fail to add,

“in wisdom hast thou made them ON THE WORKS OF GOD.

all.” Think, for a moment, of the ALL parts of nature's works are ten thousand kinds of animals that replete with exhibitions of infinite inhabit the globe; yet so uniform skill. To whatever point we turn are the laws of their formation, in this vast theatre of divine work that a single bone of any one of manship, the eye is met by beauties them is a sufficient guide for ascer. unnumbered, which rise in endless taining with certainty, not only succession to dazzle and confound. whether the animal, of which it And there is a peculiar aptitude in formed a part, was an inhabitant the study of nature, to interest, of the water, or roamed in the forplease, and profit. Here is ample est, or soared on the wing; but scope for the most vigorous exer- whether it peacefully fed on the cise of all the intellectual faculties. vegetable productions of the earth, From the blade of grass that is or rapaciously seized its food at the trampled under foot, to the tower- expense of kindred life. Or turn ing cedar that loses its top in the your thoughts to the immensely clouds; from the microscopic an- diversified forms that compose the imalcula that sports in the cup, to vegetable kingdom. According to the leviathan that buffets the bil- Humbolt's estimation, not less than lows of the deep ; from the grape forty-four thousand kinds of plants that blushes in the garden, to the are actually known ; yet the immorstar that twinkies in the skies; tal Linneus has discovered, that such system pervades the whole, principle, depends the very exisas to divide them into only twenty. tence of the universe. Remove four classes, containing, upon an it, and the rivers would cease to average, scarcely more than five flow, or would spread desolation orders in each class. Thus, of over , surrounding countries, and the numberless millions of plants, convert them into stagnant marshthat clothe the earth with verdure, es ; springs of water would no lonand give such freshness and gaiety ger gush out in the vallies ; the to spring, and such richness and heavens would forbear to give us beauty to summer ; each individual rain, and the earth to yield her bears so distinctive marks of rela- increase ; nay, by the rotation of tionship to one or other of these the earth, the mountains would be classes and orders, as to enable hurled from their bases, and the the botanist, with a glance of the inhabitants of the globe with all eye, to assign it to its appropriate their possessions, swept away with class and order. Enter the labora- the besom of destruction ;-worlds tory of the chemist, and see what would be converted into ruinous the Maker of all things has done to heaps, or scattered in broken frage simplify the study of his works. ments through the immense abyss A single shelf contains the elements unknown. Other principles in this of the material world. Less than branch of science, equally simple, sisty simple substances compose and scarcely less important in their the earth and all its productions. consequences, might be enumer. These, with their various combina- ated. I might enter into various tions, form all that is beautiful, all other departments of nature, and that is curious, all that is grand in dwell upon the beauties and wonnature,

ders that have been discovered in In that department which is each ; but it would be incompatiappropriately denominated natural ble with my present design. Sysphilosophy, there is no less cause tems of worlds, with all their grandof admiration. It is the same prin- eur, with all the magnificence, with ciple, that causes the vapours to which their adorable Author has rise, and the winds to blow; that seen fit to invest them, present suspends the clouds over our heads, themselves for our inquiries and and brings them down in showers ; contemplation. The study of nathat guides the rivers in their chan- ture's works, although in every part nels, and keeps the fountains of highly interesting and profitable, is the great deep from being broken no where so sublimely interesting up ; that holds our buildings upon and profitable, as in that departtheir foundations, and retains the ment which contemplates the span. earth in its orbit; that directs the gled heavens, and regards those stars in their courses, and prevents glimmering spots that bestud the worlds from dashing against worlds. sky; somie, as immense globes of To inquire whether the attraction heat and light ; uthers, as worlds of cohesion and that of gravitation like our own, covered with verdure, are one and the same principle and filled with inhabitants. Of all under different inodifications, does sciences, astronomy is the most not come within the limits of our sublime ; is best calculated to give present subject. But certain it is, energy, elevation, and expansion that the attractive power, which is to the mental powers. It is a just properly entitled gravitation, pro- remark, that the mind becomes duces all the effects that have just assimilated to the objects of its been enumerated, and ten ihon contemplation. If these are low sand more. Upon this simple and groveling, the mind will be

correspondingly degraded. If they proportion. All this could never are noble and elevated, it will par- be accomplished, unless there were take of their elevation. In other an astonishing regularity, uniformidepartments of science where ma- ty, and simplicity in the laws of terial objects are concerned, com- nature. This subject too may paratively small portions of matter serve to show, with what exalted are regarded as wholes, and smaller faculties man has been endowed by subdivisions, as parts. In astrono- bis Creator; may well excite the my, systems are regarded as wholes, student to persevering diligence in and worlds, as parts. Vast as the the pursuit of his investigations ; subject is, it falls within the limits and ought to remind all of the of human comprehension. Where importance of assiduously cultivathen, in the whole field of science, ting, according to their opportunican be found so grand a theme, so ties, the powers which have been sublime a subject for contemplation, so richly bestowed upon them. as that which astronomy affords? But let us turn to actual phenomWhere, short of Him who made, ena, and facts that have been disand presides over all, can the mind covered. Look at yonder luminlight upon objects, so nobly calcu- ous point in the heavens. It is lated to call forth its highest efforts, larger, and shines with steadier and to waken every faculty, to summon brighter lustre, than others around up all its energies ; almost to sever it. It is the planet Jupiter. Let its connection with the petty inter your imaginations take wing and ests of this little world, and give it soar away some hundred millions a buoyancy to rise, till kingdoms, of miles, and light upon it. It is and empires, and the earth itself, a world almost fourteen hundred dwindle to a point? I do not say, times as large as the globe we that the mathematical principles, by inhabit. What now has become of which the motions of the heavenly the earth we were accustomed to bodies are investigated,and by which consider so enormous a body? It the laws that regulate them are as- has vanished; or is dimly seen certained, have in themselves any pe. among the smallest stars. The culiar tendency of this kind ; though sun has lost more than half his in their application they certainly magnitude, and shines with diminhave ; and it cannot fail to excite ished splendour. Other stars, and the liveliest admiration, that, stand- other planets, perhaps, belonging ing upon this earth, the astronomer to our system, which the utmost can determine with precision the stretch of human invention has not revolutions, rotations, velocities, been able to discover, now preperiodical times, distances, magni. sent themselves to view. Thus tudes, and densities of worlds, you may in imagination wander hundreds of millions of miles dis- from planet to planet till you have tant. To one unacquainted with surveyed the whole solar system, the subject, all this may at first embracing an extent of thirty-six view seem a mere chimera of the hundred millions miles, and a space brain ; and he may be induced to of more than ten thousand millregard the facts which astronomers ions miles in circuit, compriassert, as nothing better than vague sing, according to actual discoveconjecture. But in this he is es. ries, thirty globes, or worlds, four sentially mistaken. They arrive of which are immensely larger, at their conclusions by a process and one of which is more than a no less certain, than that which million times larger, than the earth ; guides the mere arithmetician in -and after all, what have you the solution of a problem in simple seen? Aņ atom, a speck, a mere point in the immensity of nature's the field of mental vision, and enworks. Other suns, centres, in all large the intellectual powers, has : probability, of other systems, in natural tendency to show man bis number exceeding all calculation, littleness, and to give him a humilyet remain unsurveyed. That the iating view of his own character. greatest diameter of the earth's And well it may ; for the more be orbit, which is one hundred nine. looks abroad, and the more correct ty-four millions miles, is but a views he comes to entertain of othpoint, when compared with the er things, of other beings, and of distance of the nearest fixed star, other worlds, the more just estimate is capable of the most perfect dem- he will be enabled to form of his onstration ; and it is scarcely less own comparative non-importance in certain, that stars have been dis- the scale of existences. What covered four hundred ninety-seven little things, we mortals are ? And, times the distance of one of these. in this view of things, how contempAnd since every improvement in tible the pomp of all human greatthe telescope, which has enabled ness; how vain the bustle of selfthe astronomer to penetrate far- importance; how empty the show ther into the immensity of space, of wealth and the pride of power? has unveiled new clusters of worlds, But what exalted thoughts, are we it can hardly be called a bold pre- at the same time constrained to ensumption, to say, that there is no tertain of Him who made, upholds, limit to their number. So that, if and governs all ; who hung so pumwe should be placed upon the re- berless worlds upon nothing, and motest star that has ever been gave them their first impulse to discovered, others would rise to run their'ceaseless round; and who view, as far beyond ; and could still continues to roll them on, and we make such a remove once a guide them all in strict conformity second, during a life of a hundred to the exactest laws. , When we years, we should but just enter speak of the laws of nature, it is the vestibule of creation.

by no means intended to convey With what propriety may we the idea, that they possess any effi. here adopt the language of the ciency in themselves. They are psalmist, and say ; " When I con- merely the modes of divine ope. sider thy heavens, the work of thy ration; the rules, whieh the Creator fingers ; the moon and the stars, has established and is maintaining which thou hast ordained; what is in the government of the universe. man, that thou art mindful of him? When a heavy body, on being and the son of man, that thou visit thrown upward, returns to the earth, est him ?” Whatever view we we say it falls by the law of gravitatake of this subject, it is preemi. tion, or gravitation is the cause of nently calculated to humble the its descending. But it is nothing pride of man. The contemplation else, than the power of the deity, of the heavens seems to have been operating uniformly in this manner. one of the favourite means, which I am aware, that it has been made David employed to obtain a clear a question, whether the Creator did view of his own insignificance; and not originally communicate to mathe seems always to have retired ter, power to operate by certain from such contemplations, with an laws; and, consequently, whether overwhelming sense of his turpi- all the phenomena, exhibited in the tude and unworthiness in the sight works of nature, are not the result. of Him, whose throne is beyond the of an inherent efficiency in matter stars. Here let me drop the re- itself, independently of his immemark, that wbatever tends to extend diate agency. That these phenom..

« AnteriorContinuar »