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admiration which we owe to the sublime Author of the universe, we may at the same time observe that the situation of this magnificent view changes with the seasons. Thus, if we mark the place where the sun rises in spring and in autumn, we shall find in summer it is more to the north, and in winter more to the south. It is reasonable to conclude that some motion must occasion these changes; and many naturally suppose it is the sun which moves, and thus occasions us to see it sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other. But as the same phenomena would take place though the sun were to remain immoveable and the earth to turn round it, and that we neither perceived the motion of the sun nor that of the earth, we ought to give less weight to our own vague conjectures than to the repeated observations that astronomers have made in the heavens; which sufficiently prove that the rotatory motion of the earth alone effects the changes we remark in the situation of the sun.

In the first place, let us represent to ourselves the immense space in which the heavenly bodies are placed it is either empty, or contains a very subtle fluid called ether, in which this globe, and all the planets composing the solar system, move in their different orbits; in the centre of which shines most conspicuously the sun, of whose grandeur above all the planetary system we have spoken in a preceding discourse. The gravity which our globe has in common with all other bodies directs it towards the centre, or the sun attracts the earth by the superior force which greater bodies possess over smaller, and by which the latter are attracted; so that, as the earth tends to fly from the sun, and is counteracted by the superior attractions of that luminary: by this means the earth is made to describe a circle round the sun, somewhat analogous to the curve described by a cannon-ball; which, though it soon falls to the earth, yet

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might prolong its course for the space of some miles, if it had been projected from the top of a high moun. tain. Suppose the elevation were still greater, it would fly proportionably farther; continue adding to this imaginary height, and it would go as far as our Antipodes, in order to return to the point whence it set out.

All these effects take place from the laws of gravi tation, or the attractive force of our globe; and in this manner is caused the revolution of the earth round the sun. The orbit it describes is not, how. ever, entirely circular, but an ellipsis, in one focus of which the sun is placed, by which arrangement we are farther from that star, at one period than at another. This orbit is 44,000 semi-diameters of our earth; and to make its revolution round the sun, the earth em. ploys 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 43 seconds, being the space of time which completes our year, after which revolution we find the sun in the same part of the firmament: for in every part of the earth's orbit we see the sun in the opposite side of the heavens, so that though the earth is continually moving, we imagine it is the sun which is in motion. In spring, the sun being equally distant from the two poles causes the equality of day and night. In summer, it is twenty-three degrees thirty minutes nearer the north, which occasions the greater length of our days; in autumn, it returns to an equal distance between the poles; and in winter, it is as far towards the south as in summer it was towards the north, thus occasioning our shortest days.

Such being the order and the arrangement of the great works of the creation, we have yet additional cause to admire and adore the wisdom and supreme goodness of the Creator. Each new intelligence that we gain of the Father of Nature, by his works, is precious; we every-where discover his greatness, and

are led to acknowledge that he has perfected all with consummate wisdom. Let us then, with the fullest assurance and the most entire confidence, commit the conduct of our lives to Him who governs all things in the perfection of his wisdom; let us banish all doubt and mistrust, and surmount every fear, by faith in the Almighty Creator of the heavens and the earth; and may we be permitted to call him by the tender appellation of Father, through the redeeming grace of Christ!

APRIL III.

Abundant Riches of Nature.

To be convinced of the liberality with which nature distributes her gifts, it is sufficient to reflect upon the prodigious number of human beings who receive from this beneficent mother their support, clothing, and comforts of every kind. But as this daily happens, perhaps the impression made upon our hearts is feeble, or we disregard the blessings we are continually receiving: we will therefore consider those creatures which are partly formed for our use, and some of which are the objects of our contempt. This consi deration will teach us, that every creature inhabiting the earth displays the merciful goodness of the Creator; and, if our hearts are still susceptible of feeling, must call upon us to glorify his holy name.

Innumerable multitudes of creatures inhabiting the air, the earth, and the waters, are daily indebted to nature for their subsistence. Even those animals which we ourselves feed properly owe their nourish. ment to her. The various species of fish all subsist without the help of man. The forests will produce acorns, the mountains grass, and the fields different

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seeds, without any culture. Amongst birds, the most despicable as well as the most numerous tribe is that of sparrows; the number of which is so prodigious, that the produce from the fields of a large kingdom would not suffice for their support during the space of one year. It is nature which takes from her immense magazine what is necessary for their subsistence, and they are only the least part of her dependants. The number of insects is so immense, that centuries ́ may elapse before all their different species shall be known. How numerous are the flies, and how many different species of insects float in the air, of whose stings we often feel the smart! The blood which they extract from us is a very uncertain and accidental kind of nourishment; we may reckon for one insect which is supported in this manner millions which have never tasted of blood, either human or of any other animal. On what then do these creatures live? There is scarcely a handful of earth that does not contain living insects, which are nourished in it by means of one another. In each drop of water creatures are discovered, whose means of existence and multiplica. tion are inconceivable.

Immensely rich as is nature in living creatures, she is not less fertile in the means of supporting them. From her every creature receives its shelter and aliment; for them she causes the grass to grow upon the earth, giving to each the choice of that food which is most suitable to its nature; and none amongst them is so despicable that she disdains to regard it with affection, and refuses to provide for its support. Herein is plainly manifested the power of the Almighty, which effects what all the people of the earth united together could not accomplish. He satisfies every living creature, and nourishes alike the birds of the air and the inhabitants of the waters and the earth. And will he do less for man? Whenever doubts and VOL. I.

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uncertainty arise, let us remember the multitude of beings which God daily supports! Let the fowls of the air, the wild beasts of the desert, and the millions of creatures which do not depend upon the care of man, teach us how to live contentedly. He who adorneth the flowers of the fields with their beauty who feedeth every animal, surely knows all our wants; and he heareth the prayers of the afflicted when uttered in the language of faith and purity of heart.

APRIL IV.
Sun-rise.

HAVE you ever witnessed that superb spectacle which the rising sun daily affords ? Or has indolence, the love of sleep, or absolute indifference, prevented your contemplating this splendid phenomenon of nature? Perhaps you are of that class of beings who prefer the indulgence of a few more hours of sleep, to the gratification of seeing the east illumined by the first rays of the sun; or you are, of the opinion of those who, satisfied that the sun is present to enlighten and to cheer the earth, never trouble themselves with reflecting upon the cause of such an effect. Or perhaps you are like millions of people who daily see this grand spectacle without emotion, and without forming any idea of it, but who pass it by without regard or reflection. To whichever class you belong, suffer yourself at length to be roused from your state of in. sensibility, and learn what thoughts the view of the rising sun ought to excite in your mind.

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There is no spectacle in nature more grand and beautiful than the rising sun; before which, the most magnificent dress, that human art can prepare, the most splendid decorations and ornamental designs of

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