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FEBRUARY XIII.

Short Duration of Snow.

W E see the instability of the snow, and the rapidity with which it disappears when played upon by the sun-beams, or exposed to the effects of a humid mild air, and frequent showers. Frequently the whole aspect of nature, in a few hours, assumes a new ap. pearance, and scarcely a trace of snow is left behind. By these sudden changes we may justly be reminded of the inconstancy and vanity of all human affairs. Every season, and every variation that their succession induces, declare to us with a loud and impressive voice, that all is uncertain, all vain, and of short duration. If we look around us through the vast field of nature, shall we find any thing which is not fragile and perishable? How soon are we bereft of the pleasures of sense; scarcely do we begin to enjoy them when they clude our eager grasp! Often when the sun first gilds the earth we are light, easy, gay, and content, smiling with comfort and plenty; but ere night has drawn her sable curtain, our pleasure is fled, our enjoyment ceased, and grief weighs heavy on our aching heart. Where exists the individual who, at some period or other, has not cruelly felt the uncertainty and short duration of terrestrial joys, and who has not known the pangs of disappointed hope? What is more inconstant than the favours of fortune, or more uncertain than the continuance of life and the blessings of health? Yet whilst we are in possession of these benefits, such reflections seldom or never occur; like those who, tempted by the beauty of some winter's morn, sally out unprepared for the storm, which at that season they ought to expect. Whilst fortune smiles, and we live in a round of gaiety and pleasure, we laugh at all fears of their ever failing,

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and despise all thoughts of preparing for an evil day. But fleeting as the snow beneath the sun-beams are all the enjoyments and gratifications which do not arise from the influence of religion, the exercise of the mind, and the feelings of the heart; cultivate these, and you will be enabled to enjoy a portion of that felicity which endureth for ever the sure reward of virtue and a well-spent life.

FEBRUARY XIV.

The Creation.

THE time was when this earth, the heavens, and their revolving suns, existed not: God ordained their being, and at his almighty will they arose. Before that period the whole was one huge and shapeless mass, where confusion ruled and chaos held her empire; the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. On the first day of the creation the spirit of God moved upon the face of this rude and formless heap, which now felt a motion penetrate deep, as the centre, from above and beneath, and all around. He said, Let there be light, and there was light; and God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. Hitherto the waters and the earth were confounded together, undistinguished from each other. God separated them, and said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were above the firmament, and it was so; and God called the firmament heaven: and the evening and the morning were the second day. The waters still covered the face of the earth, when on the third day God said, Let the waters under the heaven be VOL. I.

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gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear; let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after its kind: and it was so. On the fourth day God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years: and it was so. The sun appeared as the greater light to rule the day, and the moon, with inferior splendour, to rule the night; the stars also were then created. On the fifth day God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life; and immediately the whales rolled in the ocean, and the seas teemed with life and the winged fowl he gave to possess the air. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas; and let fowl multiply in the earth.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living crcature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. Every thing was now prepared; and God created man, to whom he gave dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For this purpose he created him in his own image, after his own likeness, and endued with a rational soul. As a companion to man he created woman, with equal gifts and equal rule: to them both he gave dominion over the earth and all created things, and with them he rested from all the works which he had made.

Can any one reflect upon this sublime history without being astonished at the power, the intelligence, and infinite wisdom manifested in the works of the creation? Or can any one peruse it without pausing a while to admire the grandeur of the objects and the sublimity of the design? Wherever we cast our view

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we see the proofs of a divinity, whose glory the heavens declare, whose power unlimited their extent gives to know. It is only by being led from the sight of the objects of the creation to a contemplation of the Divinity, of his attributes, and of our own real condition, that we derive any true benefits from their presence, or even that we deserve to be inhabitants of this fair universe. But we cannot acknowledge the greatness and the glory of God in the works of the creation, without our souls being enlarged, and our hearts penetrated with love and gratitude for the Divine Author. If this truth were universally felt, we should have little need of coercion to deter men men from vice, or of lectures to excite them to virtue. Let those whose feelings are not yet callous, walk abroad and contemplate nature, where they will find objects sufficient to arrest their attention, to excite their utmost admiration, and to call forth their charity and their love. Here is

the source of every thing that is great, noble, and exalted; of every thing that is sublime, beautiful, and enrapturing; and here is ever to be found the Almighty God, who alone is worthy of our homage, our praise, and our adoration.

FEBRUARY XV.
Of Brutes.

WHEN We attentively examine the bodies of dif ferent animals, we discover many advantages which they possess over man. Many of them have bodies much stronger and more compact than those of the human species. Most of them at their first entrance into the world are capable of using all their limbs, of seeking for their food, and of following the instinct imparted to them by nature; and are not liable to the

cruel sufferings which we experience in our infancy, and which so often injure our constitution. And what an admirable instinct and sagacity they display! What address and skill they exert in the use of their senses! How exquisite is their sense of smell! How piercing their sight! How rapid, how nimble, how active all their movements! How they speed and fly along! And if we consider the wonderful structure of some of their organs, the noble and majestic figure of some animals, we shall find, with respect to bodily perfections, we often yield to, or scarcely equal, many of the brute creation.

Some people are so weak as to complain that God has not given them the wings of the eagle, the force and speed of the fiery courser, the subtle smell of the dog, the eye of the hawk, and the agility of the stag. But such desires are the offspring of ignorance, of folly, and of presumption; of men, who do not feel that they possess a soul which enables them to soar far above these animals, and to make all their powers serve the convenience of man. Without mind we should indeed be inferior to brutes, which so far excel us in bodily powers; but they enjoy these advan tages to enable them to live in the state allotted them without the reasoning faculty: for miserable indeed would have been their lot, did they not possess their present advantages; or were they possessed of reason, in a state of slavery, living only to be butchered, or to perpetually toil for the benefit of man.

We have here renewed cause to admire the wisdom and mercy of Providence, who has thus formed the brute creation. We see his wisdom in having given them instinct, sagacity, and strength, in a certain degree, proportionate to their necessities; and made all subservient to man: and his mercy is manifest in their entire ignorance of their situation. They possess all the pleasures they are capable of enjoying, but

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