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constantly to fulfil the great designs of the Creator towards us; and serenity of mind, and gaiety of heart, will render our days cheerful, whilst virtue and tem. perance will make our disposition mild, and our health firm.

FEBRUARY III.

An Uniformity of Temperature would be disadvan tageous to the Earth.

MANY people suppose that the earth would be a paradise, if throughout the globe there was an equal distribution of heat and cold, the same degree of fertility, and the same division of day and of night. But admitting that things were thus arranged, and that in every part of the world there was the same degree of cold and heat, is it true that mankind would gain by such a regulation more of nourishment, of convenience, or of pleasure? On the contrary, if God had complied with such foolish desires, the earth would have been a miserable and sorrowful habitation. By the present wise arrangement there is au infinite diversity in the works of nature. But what a sad uniformity would reign, how the earth would be spoiled of her beauties and her charms, if the revolutions of the seasons, of light and of darkness, of cold and of heat, were no longer to take place. Thousands of plants and of animals, which can only multiply in countries where the heat is at a certain degree, would soon cease to exist. Amongst the immense variety of natural productions very few can live in all climates. The greater part of creatures inhabiting cold countries could not support the heat of warm climates; whilst those transported from the torrid zone to the regions of the north could as ill bear the

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change. If then an uniformity of temperature existed, many natural productions must perish, and nature being deprived of the charms of diversity, we should lose innumerable blessings.

If every country of the earth produced the same things, wore the same appearance, and possessed equal advantages, the necessity of intercourse would be done away; commerce must cease, and many arts would remain unknown: the sciences also would suffer from the want of communication. Besides, how should we be able to regulate the degree of heat and fix the temperature? Was it every-where as hot as is the torrid zone, who could support the temperature? For those regions which are cold always withdrawing a portion of heat from those which are hotter, the heat diffused through the earth would much exceed that of the torrid zone; and thus men, plants, and animals, must all perish. Suppose again a temperate heat should every-where pervade the earth, of such a degree of temperature as should be beneficial to all creatures, the air must then have the same degree of elevation, density, and elasticity. But if this were to take place, one chief cause of the winds would be removed, and the most disastrous consequences must result from their cessation. The air would become loaded with impurities, the equable degree of heat over the earth would occasion maladies, contagions, and plagues, and our imaginary paradise would be converted into a desert.

Wise and beneficent Creator! all that thou hast done is good. This confession is the result of the reflections I have made whilst contemplating thy works. I wish always to think thus at the sight of every object which nature presents; and, instead of vainly imagining faults and imperfections, may I ever call to mind thy infinite wisdom, and the weakness of my own capacity!

Many things which at first view appear contrary to the order, and unnecessary to the utility, of the universe, are arranged with wisdom, and regulated by goodness and beauty. What may to me seem in. sufficient and imperfect, furnishes to men of a more enlarged understanding subjects of just admiration, and calls forth their praises of the infinite perfections of the Creator. As in nature he has made an apparently unequal distribution of cold and heat, of light and darkness; so also he has displayed great diversity in his dispensations towards rational creatures, and has not assigned the lot of each in a similar manner. Yet in this, as in nature, his ways are ever the ways of wisdom and of love; all that the Lord has ordered and regulated is perfect and admirable; all his paths are mercy and truth: to him be glory for ever and ever.

FEBRUARY IV.

Consideration of the Stars.

To every person who delights to reflect on the works of God, the firmament of heaven, where the resplendent stars roll their vast orbs, opens a noble field for observation. The harmony, the grandeur, the multitude, and the brilliancy of these celestial spheres, offer a most enrapturing spectacle to him who loves silently to contemplate the works of nature. The appearance of the stars alone, supposing even that we had no knowledge of their nature and design, would be sufficient to fill the soul with joy and with admiration; for where can we see any object so striking and magnificent as the expanse of æther, resplendent with the varied luminaries, which, in their several degrees of magnitude and brightness, traverse

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the heavens in cloudless majesty? But can we sup. pose that an infinitely wise Being has adorned the celestial canopy with these sublime objects merely as a beautiful spectacle or picture? Would he have formed those suns merely that the inhabitants of this earth might have the pleasure of seeing in the firmament a number of luminous points, of whose nature and destination they know little, and which are often not to be seen at all? No one who takes a broad survey of nature, and observes the wonderful harmony and agreement between all her works and their pro posed end, can suffer such an idea to enter his mind. We cannot doubt but God, when he ordained the stars to shine, had a much more exalted view than to procure for us an agreeable sight. Though we cannot precisely determine all the particular ends which they may serve, it will not be difficult to acknowledge that one of their uses is the advantage as well as ornament of this world, of which the following observations will doubtless convince us.

Amongst those stars which are most easily dis tinguished, there are some constantly observed in the same part of the heavens, and which we always see immediately over our heads. These are certain guides to those who travel during the obscurity of night, by sea as well as by land. To the mariner they point out his course, and enable him to reach the place of his destination. Other stars vary their aspects, and though they always preserve the same situation with regard to one another, they daily, with respect to us, change the order of their rising and setting; and their variations, which are performed in regular order, are to us of great utility: they serve to measure time and to regulate it by fixed laws. The constant and stated revolutions of the stars accurately determine the end and the return of the seasons. By these means the

labourer knows precisely when to trust his seeds to the earth, and in what order to conduct the cultivation of the fields.

But whatever benefit the stars in these respects may contribute to the earth, we ought not to presume that is the only or the principal end which God has proposed in the creation of these wonderful bodies. Is it possible to believe that the wise Creator has filled the immense expanse of æther with millions of worlds and of suns, merely, that a few individuals of this earth may be enabled to measure time and ascertain the return of the seasons? Doubtless these numerous globes are formed for much nobler purposes, and each one has its particular destination. All these stars being so many suns, with the power of communicating light, heat, and animation to other spheres, is it probable that God should have endowed them with this power in vain ? Would he have created suns which can shoot their rays far as the earth, unless he had also created other worlds to enjoy their benign influence? Would God, who has peopled with so many living creatures this earth, which is but as a point in the heavens, have fixed in the regions of space so many vast orbs, desert and uninhabited, fruitlessly to roll their course ? Certainly not. We have every

reason to believe that each of the fixed stars which we see over our heads by thousands, one above another, and all around, far as the eye can penetrate, and yet farther, to distances immeasurable by our limited faculties, are suns equally resplendent as that which beams on our horizon, the life of our system ; have each worlds revolving round their centre, and receiving the blessings of their influence. We may also suppose that these spheres serve as abodes to different orders and species of living creatures, all rejoicing in the power and celebrating the magnificence of God.

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