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human race, but that he watches over them with paternal care, is evident from the equal number of the sexes, and from the exact proportion in which, in all countries, men enter and quit the stage of existence; so that the earth is neither destitute, nor too full of inhabitants.
Baptismal registers prove that the sexes are nearly equal in number, the males preponderating—the proportion being about twenty-one males, to twenty females; but war and various accidents to which men are exposed, preserve an equality between the sexes.
And the number of births generally exceeds that of deaths; for it has been calculated that if ten persons die annually, twelve or thirteen are born. Thus the human race is continually multiplying. If this were not to be the case, and the proportion of deaths were to exceed that of births, a country would be depopulated in a few centuries, particularly as the population may be affected by various accidents, such as pestilence, famine, or war.
By comparing the bills of mortality of different countries, it is found, that in those years which are not remarkable for
destructive epidemic disease, there dies in villages out of forty people, one ; in small towns one out of thirty-two; in very populous towns and cities, one in twenty-four. Of a hundred children that die yearly, three are always still-born; but scarcely one in two hundred dies in the birth. Of the hundred and fifteen women who die, only one dies in child-bed; and out of four hundred deaths, only one happens in childlabour.
Now, it is to be remembered that man has no control whatever over these matters, and therefore the most natural inference to be drawn, is, that God has the most tender solicitude for the life of man, and that he regards it as very precious; for if the divine wisdom had not operated, how could the proportion between the sexes, and between births and deaths, be so equally maintained, and so admirably preserved at all times and in all places ? We have thus taken a very
of some of the evidences of divine wisdom which appear in the general arrangements of the Heavens, the Earth, the Animal and Vegetable Kingdoms, and with respect to Mankind; and when these admirable arrangements are seriously contemplated, every rational mind will be disposed to exclaim with the Psalmist, “There is none like unto thee, O Lord, neither are there any works like unto thy works.” And be it : remembered, that the examples in this chapter are only a few out of a multitude of similar instances, which might be produced to shew the
wisdom of Providence. And if we admire and extol the wisdom displayed by men, surely we shall feel a sentiment of admiration at the view of a million of instances of Divine Wisdom, which infinitely transcend the powers of the human understanding. Such was the invariable conduct of the sacred writers. “I will meditate on all thy works," says the Psalmist," and talk of all thy doings. I will utter abundantly the memory of thy great goodness, and speak of all thy wondrous works." And what can be more gratifying, than to contemplate in the heavens, in the earth, in the night and day, and indeed throughout nature, the proofs which they afford of the wisdom of our Creator? What can be more delightful than to recognise, in the whole creation, in all the natural world, in every thing we see, traces of the ever-working providence of the Great Father of all ?
THE GOODNESS OF PROVIDENCE.
THESE are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
The providence of God displays goodness. The arrangements which are made, all tend to promote the happiness and welfare of the various ranks of sensitive and intelligent beings. Every part of nature exhibits an unbounded display of the goodness of God. Wherever we turn our eyes, we evidently perceive that “the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord,” and that his
tender mercies are over all his works."
If we consider the INFERIOR ANIMALS, we may see the goodness of providence displayed. may
be observed that the immense multitude of living creatures with which the earth is filled is a striking display of “the goodness of God." More than 100,000 species of animated beings are dispersed through the different regions of the air, the water, and the earth, besides myriads which are invisible to the naked eye. There is not a single spot in any region of the globe but what teems with animate beings. Yet all this vast assemblage of sensitive existence is amply provided for by the bountiful Creator. “These all wait upon Him, and he giveth them their meat in due season.” They enjoy not only life, but also a happy existence. The sportive motions of the animal tribes
the birds skimming through the air, warbling in the groves, and perching on the trees—the beasts of the field bounding through the forest and the meadows -the fishes sporting in the waters and the winged insects by a thousand wanton mazesall declare that they are rejoicing in their existence, and in the exercise of those powers with which the Creator has furnished them."*
The care which is exercised over the weakest and most helpless of living creatures is a proof