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reflect on the good that results from it: for how could I promise myself flowers and fruit, if nature did not, at this time, enjoy some rest?--How could I chant the harvest hymn, if thou didst not already, under the snow and ice, dispose the seed to flourish? Yes, Lord, it is thou, who, in granting rest to the earth, enrichest man with a thousand blessings. And for me also, O Father! there will come a day of rest; a day in which I shall rest from all trouble, sorrow, or cares. Thou hast wisely ordained the time I should devote to activity. It is now the spring and summer of my life, which must be employed in the service of my fellow-creatures. The autumn will soon come. Grant, that I may then resemble one of those fruitful trees, which pours upon us fruit in abun dance. But, in the winter of life, when I shall be covered with grey hairs, and full of days, I could wish that my rest should be as honourable and beneficent as that of nature in winter. How happy should I he, if my contemporaries should say, when speaking of me, that old man formerly devoted his youth to endeavours to serve mankind: His life has never been void of activity, of use, of benedictions: now, even his calm old age is not idle: by his wise experience, he contributes to the happiness of his family and friends: he la bours at least for the world to come, of which he will soon be an inhabitant.
However, the repose that I can promise to my. self here, is little else but a preparation for new troubles. O how I rejoice in that which awaits me in the grave, and in the bosom of eternity !--There, I shall enjoy an uninterrupted repose !... There, the remembrance of the sorrows and af. flictions which I shall have got over here, will fill my heart with inexpressible joy. In the firm hope of that repose which is reserved for me, I will apply myself with zeal to the fulfilling of all the duties to which I am called, and will devote
my talents and powers to the glory of God, and the good of my fellow-creatures. Strengthen me, by thy grace, O my God, and my Saviour, in this holy resolution.
I BEGIN this meditation with a lively sense of gratitude towards my Creator, and of pity to those of my fellow-creatures to whom nature has more sparingly distributed her blessings. I fix my eyes now on the Laplanders, and the inhabitants of the lands nearest the Arctic pole: mortals, whose taste and manner of living, when compared with ours, are not the happiest. Their country is formed of a chain of mountains, covered with snow and ice, which does not melt even in summer, and, where the chain is interrupted, is full of bogs and marshes. A deep snow overwhelms the valleys, and covers the little hills. Winter is felt during the greatest part of the year. The nights are long; and the days give but a dim light. The inhabi tants seek shelter from the cold in tents, which can be removed from one place to another. They fix their fire place in the middle of it, and surround it with stones. The smoke goes out at a hole, which also serves them for a window. There they fasten iron chains, to which they hang the caldrons in which they dress their food, and melt the ice which serves them for drink. The inside of the tent is furnished with furs, which preserve them from the wind, and they lie on skins of ani mals spread upon the ground. It is in such habitations that they pass their winter. Six months of the year are to them perpetual night; during which they hear nothing round them but the whistling of the wind, and the howling of the
wolves, who are running every where in search of their prey. How could we bear the climate and way of life of those people? How much we should think ourselves to be pitied, if we had nothing before our eyes but an immense extent of ice, and whole deserts covered with snow; the absence of the sun still making the cold more insupportable? and if, instead of a convenient dwelling, we had only moveable tents made of skins; and no other resource for our subsistence, but in painful and dangerous hunting for it; if we were deprived both of the pleasures which the arts produce, and the society of our fellow-crea. tures, to sweeten life?
Are not these reflections proper to make us observe the many advantages of our climate, so little attended to? Ought it not to animate us to bless the divine Providence for delivering us from such distresses and inconveniences, and for distinguishing us by a thousand advantages: yes: let us ever bless that wise Providence: and, when we feel the severity of the season, let us return thanks that the cold is so moderate where we dwell, and that we have such numerous ways of guarding against it. Let us also bless the almighty Governor of the universe, for granting us, in the midst of the desolate image which winter presents, the delightful prospect of spring, the very idea of which comforts and enables us to support the present evil.
But, is the inhabitant of northern countries so unhappy as we imagine? It is true, that he wanders painfully through rough valleys and unbeaten roads, and that he is exposed to the inclemency of the seasons. But his hardy body is able to bear fatigue. The Laplander is poor, and deprived of all the conveniences of life; but is he not rich, in knowing no other wants than those which he can easily satisfy? He is deprived for several months of the light of the sun;
but, to make the darkness of the night supportable, the moon and the Aurora Borealis come to light his horizon. Even the snow and ice, in which he is buried, does not make him unhappy. Education and custom arm him against the seve rity of his climate. The hardy life he leads, enables him to brave the cold: and for the par. ticular wants which are indispensible to him, nature has made it easy for him to obtain them. She has pointed out to him animals whose fur saves him from the sharpness of the air. She has given him the rein deer, which farnishes him, all at once, with his tent, his dress, his bed, his food, and his drink; with which he undertakes long journies, and which, in a word, supplies almost all his wants; and the maintenance of it is no expence or trouble to him. If, in the midst of all the misery of their condition, these poor mortals had a more perfect knowledge of God, a knowledge such as revelation gives us; if, less savage and insensible, they could draw from friendship those sweets which improve life, if it were possible, I say, to join these precious advantages to the tranquillity of mind which forms their character, those supposed unhappy people, whose kind of life frightens our depraved imaginations, would not be so much to be pitied as we think. And, if it is true, that the idea we form of happiness depends more on opinion than on reason; if it is true also, that real happiness is not fixed to particular people, or particular climates, and that, with the necessaries of life, and peace of mind, one may be happy in every corner of the earth; has not one right to ask, What the Laplander wants to make him happy?
The Wise Ordinance of our Globe.
HOWEVER limited the human mind may be, however incapable it is of going to the bottom of, or even conceiving the whole of the plan that the Creator executed in forming our globe, we may notwithstanding, by the use of our senses, and the faculties with which we are endowed, discover sufficient to make us acknowledge and admire the divine wisdom. To convince us of it, we need only reflect on the form of the earth. It is known to be almost in shape like a ball. And with what view did the Creator choose that form? In order that it should be inhabited, over the whole surface of it, by living creatures. God would not have accomplished this purpose, if the inhabitants of the earth had not every where found sufficient light and heat; if water had not been easily spread in all parts of it; and, if the circulation of wind had met with obstacles any where. The earth could not have any form more proper to prevent these inconveniencies. This round form admits light and heat (those two things so necessary to life) all over our globe. Without this form, the revolutions of the day and night, the changes in the temperature of the air, cold, heat, moisture, or dryness, could not have taken place. If our earth had been square; if it had been conic, or an hexagon, or any other angular form, what would have been the conse quence? A great part, and even the greatest part, of this earth, would have been drowned, while the rest would have languished with drought some of our countries would have been deprived of the wholesome circulation of wind, while others would have been torn to pieces with