Imágenes de páginas


Prognostic Signs of the Weather.

WINDS, heat, cold, rain, snow, fogs, drought, and many other changes in the temperature of the air, do not always depend on certain and regular causes. There are, however, some signs in nature which often indicate the kind of weather about to take place. The position of our globe with respect to the sun, which is known to us by the four seasons of the year; the changes of the moon, the period of which can be exactly determined; the influence which these heavenly bodies and the different planets in our system have upon the temperature, the agitation, and the serenity of the air, are immutable, and on them prognostics respecting the weather may be reasonably founded. The consequences drawn from these are less to be contemned, because they are established upon truth and confirmed by experience. From analogy we have a right from the past, under similar circumstances, to judge of the future. It is true a thousand contin gencies may affect the temperature of the air with changes as great as they were unexpected; but we must remember that these accidental circumstances seldom exist for a length of time, and though they may occasion considerable alteration in the ordinary course of the weather, they only remain for a short space, and their operation is very limited: whilst, on the contrary, the changes of weather generally follow a certain order, governed by certain rules; and the attentive observer of nature, by comparing the experience of several years, will often be able to foresee them.

We seldom err when we suppose that the north and east winds will bring cold, the south wind heat, and

the west rain; and that during the north-west wind it rains in summer and snows in winter. We may also conjecture with probability, that when the morning sky is red, there will be wind or rain in the course of the day; and that a sky tinged with streaks of red in the evening promises fair weather the following day? From the weather of spring we anticipate that of summer: if in the former we experience much fog, we may expect a wet summer; if in the spring there are great floods, we may be apprehensive in the summer of violent heats and multitudes of insects. When storms have been frequent in spring, we have no rea son to fear the return of hoar-frosts.

But supposing that we had no power of predicting the weather, we might still be perfectly easy on that head: the variations of weather, considered as a whole, depend upon fixed laws established by the Creator from the beginning of time; and we may with certainty assure ourselves, that, however unfavourable it may seem, every change of weather is advantageous to the earth, and contributes to its fertility. Let us then, in every alteration the temperature of the air undergoes, repose in confidence upon that God, who never acts but wisdom and mercy mark his progress; whose every dispensation is wise and beneficent, whether he rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm, or smiles in the beauty of serenity. All his ways declare his goodness, and all his paths display his glory; wisdom and benignity manifest him in all his works, and the continued experience of his benevolence evinces his heavenly care and fatherly love. Let us for ever bless and adore, whilst we admire with awe, the sublimity of his grandeur, and the incomprehensibility of his mercy; and from generation to generation, let every one enjoying the breath of life sing his praise and exalt his name.



Position of the Sun.

THE sun is placed by the Creator in that part of the heavens which is best adapted to its nature, and to the great offices it performs. It possesses a determinate volume, and is placed in a space proportioned to the motions it was appointed to execute. It is fixed at a proper distance from those planets upon which it is to act: and this position, arranged so many thousands. years ago, he has retained, uninfluenced by the wreck of empires and the revolutions of ages. Nothing short of infinite power could have effected such a miracle; nothing less than an Almighty God could have created this immense globe, placed it in a suitable situation, defined its limits, determined its motion, subjected it to invariable laws, and preserved it through the lapse. of ages in that position and order which in the beginniug he had prescribed to it. And the wisdom and advantages of this arrangement, whether we consider this earth alone, or the whole system of worlds encircling the sun, the expérience of centuries amply testify.

The burning rays that issue from a globe of fire a million times larger than the earth must be incon ceivably active, if in falling they continued close to each other; but as they separate more and more in proportion as the distance from the common centre increases, their force will be diminished in the ratio of their diverging. Had our earth been placed in a point where these rays acted upon it in a greater number, or at a less distance, the intensity of the heat could not have been endured; or had it been thrown to the very extremity of the solar system, it would have received only a faint light, and not warmth enough to ripen its fruits and ordinary productions. The sun then is placed in that part of the heavens where it can be most beneficial, by which it

communicates to our world a light and heat sufficient to penetrate and vivify the earth by its salutary rays, rarify the atmosphere, and produce all those happy effects without which we should neither receive the benefits of dew and of rain, nor the blessings of clear and serene days. But arranged as it is, it causes the alternation of day and night, and the vicissitudes of the seasons.

It is not to the sun only, but to every planet and star that shines in the firmament, that God has allotted a place suited to its nature, and adapted to the ends it has to perform in the creation. Every human being has likewise a place assigned him in the creation, and certain duties to fulfil. And may we each attempt to act in our station, and perform the duties there allotted us, with as much exactitude and fidelity as that with which the sun throughout his course dis. charges his important functions, according to the immutable laws prescribed to him from the beginning of his creation! As the sun imparts his blessings freely to the whole earth, and all created beings; so let every one, according to his power and capacity, exert himself for the good of mankind, share and divide with his fellow.creatures the advantages he enjoys, communicate to the ignorant the knowledge which he may have acquired, impart strength and comfort to the feeble, and bountifully distribute to the indigent those blessings which the favour of Heaven has granted to him. The man who thus acts may feel a confidence that he is in some degree answering the great end of his creation.


The Permanency of Corporeal Beings.

NOTHING perishes in nature; from the beginning of the world to the present period not a single atom

Permanency of Corporeal Beings.


has been annihilated. The first groves produced by the power of God were clothed with rich verdure and beautiful leaves: these withered, fell, and ceased to be leaves; but the particles of which they were composed remained, and were converted into dust, clay, or earth. The matter of which the first leaves and herbs were formed still exists, and has lost none of its essential parts; and the constituent parts of the plants, which now flourish, will exist whilst the world shall endure. It is true the wood which we burn ceases to be wood; but its particles do not cease to exist, being dispersed into ashes, soot, and smoke. And though nature is subject to constant changes, every thing that is decomposed is regenerated, and nothing finally perishes.

We must not always judge from appearances: when revolutions and convulsions agitate the face of nature, we are induced to believe that many beings are totally destroyed; but this is an error, they are only dif ferently modified, and become the materials which enter into the composition of other beings. The water which exhales in steam and vapour is not lost it only leaves one place to increase in another. Thus what from want of information we regard as being entirely destroyed, has only undergone a change of parts; and the world, considered in the whole, is now what it was in the first day of its being, though many of its component parts have experienced very considerable alterations.

These considerations may induce us to reflect upon the revolution our bodies may undergo in the grave; though they will entirely dissolve into dust, they will not be annihilated, but their component parts will continue to exist. The conviction of this truth may fortify us against the fear of the grave and the dread of corruption, whilst it will strengthen our belief in the resurrection.

« AnteriorContinuar »