« PoprzedniaDalej »
of providential goodness, and may justly excite our admiration. They are inspired with a strong natural attachment to their young. means, they nurse them with tenderness, and seem to think no pains too great to be taken for them, and no danger too great to be ventured upon, for their good and safety. They caress them with affectionate notes, put food into their mouths, suckle and cherish them, teach them to gather food for themselves, and perform the part of nurses deputed by Providence, to assist such feeble, helpless creatures, until they are able to provide for themselves.
Other animals whose offspring is too numerous for the parent to provide for, are cast immediately on the care of Providence. Yet every one of them is particularly furnished with what is necessary for its subsistence. This is the case with the various tribes of insects.
Admirable provision is made for some of the must helpless creatures, at a time when they must otherwise utterly perish. The winter is an inconvenient season to afford them nourishment, when the fields, the trees, and the plants are bare, and the air chilled with frost. Providence, at that season, lulls them to repose, so that, without any inconvenience to themselves, they pass the wintry months in a torpid state. They suffer no waste, and consequently need no support.
The returning spring awakens them, and they immediately find every thing prepared for their ample supply, and full satisfaction.
In regard to the goodness of Providence towards the animal creation, Dr. Paley eloquently observes, “It is a happy world after all. The air, the earth, the water, teem with delightful existence. In a spring noon or a summer evening, on whichever side I turn my eyes, myriads of happy beings crowd upon my view. The insect youth are on the wing. Swarms of newborn flies are trying their pinions in the air Their sportive motions, their wanton mazes, their gratuitous activity, their continual change of place without use or purpose, testify their joy and the exultation which they feel in their lately discovered faculties. A bee among the flowers in spring is one of the most cheerful objects that can be looked
upon. to be all enjoyment; so busy and so pleased : yet it is only a specimen of insect life, with which, by reason of the animal being half domesticated, we happen to be better acquainted than we are with that of others. The whole winged insect tribe, it is probable, are equally intent on their proper employments, and, under every variety of constitution, gratified, and perhaps equally gratified, by the offices which the Author of nature has assigned to them. But
Its life appears the atmosphere is not the only scene of enjoyment for the insect race. Plants are covered with insects, greedily sucking their juices, and constantly, as it should seem, in the act of sucking. It cannot be doubted but that this is à state of gratification : what else should fix them so close to the operations, and so long ? Other species are running about with an alacrity in their motions which carries with it every mark of pleasure. Large patches of ground are sometimes half covered with these brisk and sprightly natures. If we look to what the waters produce, shoals of the fry of fish frequent the margins of rivers, of lakes, and of the sea itself. These are so happy that they know not what to do with themselves. Their attitudes, their vivacity, their leaps out of the water, their frolics in it, (which I have noticed a thousand times with equal attention and amusement) all conduce to shew their excess of spirits; and are simply the effects of that excess. Walking by the sea-side in a calm evening on a sandy shore and with an ebbing tide, I have frequently remarked the appearance of a dark cloud, or rather very thick mist, hanging over the edge of the water, to the height, perhaps, of half-a-yard, and of the breadth of two or three yards, stretching along the coast as far as the eye could reach, and always retiring with the water.
When this cloud came to be examined, it proved to be nothing else than so much space filled with young shrimps in the act of bounding into the air from the shallow margins of the water, or from the wet sand. If any motion of a mute animal could express delight, it was this; if they had meant to make signs of their happiness, they could not have shown it more intelligibly. Suppose, then, what I have no doubt of, each individual of this number to be in a state of positive enjoyment; what a sum, collectively, of gratification and pleasure have we here before our view!”
Cowper beautifully expresses the happiness which the animal tribes enjoy.-
The bounding fawn, that darts across the glade
THE GOODNESS OF PROVIDENCE IS ESPECIALLY MANIFESTED TOWARDS MANKIND.
In relation to Man, God has not left himself without a witness to his goodness, in that he is constantly doing them good, and giving them rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with food and gladness.
The goodness of Providence towards man is presented in a very forcible manner by Dr. Dwight, he observes, that “God makes mankind the subjects of extensive enjoyment in the present world. Our health, food, and raiment are means of enjoyment to us daily, throughout our lives. Our friends and connexions, also, continually, and extensively contribute to our happiness. The pleasantness of seasons; the beauty and grandeur of the earth and the heavens ; the various kinds of agreeable sounds; the immensely various and delightful uses of language; the interchanges of thought and affection; the peace and safety afforded by the institutions of government; and the continual gratification afforded in employment; are all, in a sense, daily and hourly sources of good to man, all furnished, either directly or indirectly, by the hand of God. If we consider these things with any
attention, we shall perceive that some of them are unceasing ; and that others of them are so frequently repeated, as almost to deserve the same appellation.
We shall also perceive, that they are blessings