Images de page
PDF
ePub

of a sound. By this means, I have a perception of a thousand changes which happen around me, and even of the thoughts of other men. I experience every moment, that, as soon as my soul wishes it, my body transports itself from one place to another; that it exerciseth its power over my arms, my hands, and my feet: in a word, all my limbs are disposed to obey every act of its will. These facts are incontestible; and yet I cannot explain the manner in which they are ef fected. In this mutual influence of body and soul, there is a wisdom, a wonderful art, which I cannot fathom: and the whole result of my inquiries into it is surprise and admiration. If I consider my body separately, I find it also a master-piece of the creative hand. Here, nothing is superfluous, nothing is wanting: each limb is placed in the manner best adapted, either for the use of the body, or for its ornament. Could I wish for a limb more than those which compose a perfect body? And suppose, on the other hand, that even one only was wanting, or that my limbs were transposed, so that the eyes, for example, were set in my feet, or placed where the ears are, what inconvenience, what deformity, it would be! Of course, the exterior form of my body is already disposed with much wisdom. But the interior parts of it are still more admirable. My body was to serve more than one purpose, and to fill different functions. It was first to be the means by which the soul was to be informed, in different ways, of the presence of objects not with. in itself. The organs of sight, of smell, of hear. ing, of taste, and of feeling, answer this end; and each of them is a miracle of divine power and wisdom. But, in order that the body should transmit to the soul different sensations of the exterior objects, it was necessary it should be moveable; and, for this purpose, how many of its parts concar? The bones, the joints, the sinews, the mus

1

cles or fleshy parts, susceptible of extension or contraction, give me the power of moving in a thousand ways. In the mean time, as a machine, as wonderful as my body is, must suffer a continual waste, by its motions and functions, it was necessary, for the subsistence of the machine, that its losses should be repaired; therefore, other parts, besides those already mentioned, were necessary; some to receive the nourishment; others to grind it; to separate the juices; to make these juices circulate through the whole body; and to distribute as much of it as each limb requires, &c. All those parts actually exist in my body, and answer perfectly well the end for which they were designed.

I bless thee, O Lord, for having made me so wonderfully: all thy works are admirable; and my soul takes a pleasure in acknowledging it. To thee be praise and thanksgiving: let the harp and the psaltery celebrate thy praise. I am one of the prodigies of thy power, O Creator and Preserver! My body, formed by thy divine hand, and every sense, witness thy glory. Grant that I may praise thee each time that I exercise the faculties of my body, either when I breathe, walk, act, or rest. May rejoice eternally in thee; and may my body be a temple, in which thy Spirit will manifest its presence, and establish its dwelling for ever.

JAN. XVI.

The Hurt occasioned by extraordinary Cold.

WHY are we so ready to remark whatever inconvenience the laws of nature inay sometimes occasion? Why do we dwell upon it, and murmur at it, while we pass so lightly over the many striking advantages it obtains for us? Men, in this respect, act towards God as they generally do to

wards each other. A slight offence, the least harm they receive from their best friend, or their bene"factor, often effaces the remembrance of the essential services that have been done them. Their ingratitude and pride lessen the value of the latter, and make them consider the other as considerable injuries. It is particularly at this season that the remark is necessary. Men are attentive only to the evils which the cold may occasion, without considering the good that even the frost may do to the earth; or, at least, without thinking of it with gratitude. If they discover the least harm; if any part of the great whole should be in a suffering state, they think themselves au. thorised to murmur against God, without considering that nature, taken in the whole, draws great advantage from the cold.

Let us now weigh, without partiality, the advantages and the evils which may be attributed to it; and the result of this inquiry will be, to convince us how little reason we have to blame the government of a wise and good Providence. It is true, that severe cold has its inconveniencies and troublesome consequences. Sometimes, the water freezes to such a depth, that it is impossible to make use of the springs. The fish die in the ponds. The rivers are covered with flakes of ice, which sometimes overflow, and make great The water-mills are stopped, which ravages. soon produces a general want of bread. The wood for firing fails, or, at least, becomes very dear. Vegetables suffer in many ways. The winter seeds freeze, if they are not covered. The trees and plants die. Several animals sink through cold and hunger. The health of man, and even his life, is often exposed to danger from it. These are some of the most striking evils which the severity of the season can occasion. But how many winters do we pass without them! And though even some animals should sink under it, and some

plants perish with the cold, what is this in comparison of the advantages we draw from it? Let us be more circumspect in the judgments we➡ form of the ways of God. Knowing so little the connection between the things of this world; not being able to take in the whole extent of the chain of causes and effects; how should we be capable of judging what is advantageous or hurtful in nature? And would it not be totally unjust and unreasonable, that à partial evil should lead us to blame the whole? Let us confess our ignorance, and strengthen ourselves in the comfortable persuasion, that there is much more good than evil in the world; much more cause for content, than subjects for affliction. And let us be certain that many things, which our self-interest makes us consider as hurtful, contribute to the general good. With this manner of thinking, we shall be calm in the midst of all events; and, whatever be our fate, we shall never cease to bless our wise and beneficent Creator.

JAN. XVII.

The Repose of Nature during Winter.

THE winter days are days of rest to nature. In the preceding months, she employed herself in fulfilling the designs of the Creator, by labouring in the service of his creatures. How rich was the spring in blossoms! How many seeds it opened! And what abundance of fruit the summer has ripened for us to gather in autumn! Each month, each day, we receive some presents from nature. Is there a single instant in which she has not pleased our sight, delighted our smell, or indulged our taste? and, has she not often satisfied them all at the same time! Like a good mother of a family, she employed herself from the morning

to the evening of the year, in procuring for us, her favourites, the necessaries, conveniencies, and sweets of life. Clothing, food, amusement, all has been drawn from her maternal bosom. It is for us she has caused the grass to grow; that she has loaded the trees with blossoms, with leaves, and with fruit. It is for us she has covered the meadows with corn. For us, the vine bears its invigorating fruits. For us, the creation is adorned with a thousand charms. Tired of so many cares, nature now rests; but it is only to collect new force, to be employed again for the good of the world. However, even this rest, which nature enjoys in winter, is a secret activity, preparing in silence a new creation. Already the necessary dispositions are making, that the deserted earth may recover, at the end of a few months, the children she has lost. Already the corn shoots, which is to serve us for food. Already the fibres of plants insensibly open, which are to adorn our gardens and fields. Here, again, O beneficent Creator! I adore thy power and wisdom. The rest which nature takes is not less interesting to us, nor less worthy of entering into the plan of thy wise providence, than the activity she shews in spring and summer. Thou hast combined the several revolutions of the earth. Thou hast formed the most intimate connection between them; and equally divided its rest and labour. It has been thy will that each sun should vary the scenes of nature, in the time and manner most proper for the perfection of the whole. If I have been so senseless as to blame any thing in the government of this world, pardon, O God, my temerity. I discover, and am more and more convinced, that all the plans of thy providence, however extraordinary they may appear to my weak reason, are full of wisdom and goodness. At present, that I see the earth covered with a mantle of snow which keeps it warm, I will

« PrécédentContinuer »