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whom we receive our daily Bread. How glaring soever the extraordinary Works of God's Providence appear, yet the ordinary Dispensations of it are still more wonderful both in Usefulness and Variety. Do we admire the Greatness of that Power, whereby above five thousand were fed by a few Barley-Loaves and small Fishes, and shall we not much rather with thankful Hearts and Mouths look up to and adore the Almighty Goodness of the same Eternal Being, who feeds Millions of Millions with the daily Overflowings of Riches and Plenteousness ? But in order to consider the wonderful Power and Kindness of that God, who crowneth the Year with his Goodness, and whose Paths, or, as the Old Translation renders it, whose Clouds drop Fatness; I Thall in the following Discourse take occasion to consider, I. The Words themselves, as referring

to God the Encrease of the Fruits

of the Earth. And, II. The Tempers of Mind which those

Reflections ought naturally to raise in us.

1. Then, 1. THEN, I am to consider the Words themselves, as referring to God the Encrease of the Fruits of the Earth. And here I shall if endeavour to lay before you the Means whereby God renders the Earth fo abundant in Plenty ; and 2 dly, shall consider the large and glorious Effects of those Means.

1. THEN as to the Means, whereby the Almighty renders the Earth fo abundant in Plenty. The natural Knowledge of former Ages amounted to no more than the bare and immediate referring to Almighty God all the Appearances of Nature; Philosophy in its more improved State finally indeed refers all to God, but by the Mediation of second Causes ; so that they could only view the Glory of God in the Effects of his Power and the Goodness of his Providence, but we can praise and adore him likewise in contemplacing the Means whereby those glorious Effe&ts are produced. And here, whether we consider the wonderful Instruments, whereby the Work of Vegetation 'is wrought, or the Simplicity, whereby those Instruments operate, great certain

ly

ly will his Power, and infinite will his Wisdom appear. The Means of Vegetation are the four great Elements of Nature. The Heat of the Sun draws up into tender Plants thofe prolific Juices, which the Rain so largely supplies, those Juices are proper Conveyances of the Particles of Earth, which feed and nourilh the Plants themselves ; and the Air is continually fanning and refreshing, strengthening and expanding the Parts of them.

THESE Appearances are principally caused by those Motions whereby the Heavenly Bodies particularly seem to move in their daily and yearly Courses.

THE first of these Motions causes the grateful and necessary Vicissitude of Day and Night, the latter that of the Seasons ; these Motions are so regular, so simple, so harmonious in themselves, as plainly shews they are the work of that God who is the God of Order and Wisdom. The continual Changes, which are made in the Position of the different Parts of the Earth with respect to the Sun, occafion the Variety of Seasons ; Spring,

Summer, Summer, and Autumn to bring forth, ripen and yield up the Fruits of the Ground, and Winter to prepare the Soil and the Grain sown in it for fresh Productions. The Sun again occasions the Exhalation of the Vapours and superfluous Moisture of the Earth, which, when form'd into Clouds, descend in grateful and enlivening Showers, in large Drops both of the former and latter Rain, which water and refresh the Ground. To this general Theory I would subjoin one Circumstance: It has been calculated what Disadvantages would accrue to the Earth, if the Course wherein this annual Motion is performed, was either directly from West to East, or from North to South, and the Result has been found in both Cases very great ; but the Disadvantages in the latter Case are three times greater than those in the former. The wife Providence therefore of the Almighty, who settles all things according to Weight, and has made that annual Orbit ftand obliquely to both those Directions, and has adjusted the Degrees of its Obliquity in Proportions agreeable to this Computa

tion, by making it three times more inclin'd to the eastern and western, than it is to the northern and southern Direction. Moreover, the constant and quick Succession of Night and Day are of wonderful Relief to the Plants and Fruits of the Earth ; as after the Business and Fa. tigue of the Day, our Bodies call for the Repose of the Night, to recruit our wasted Spirits in quiet Rest and Sleep, so are the cooling and refreshing Dews of the Night not less necessary to the purely vegetative Part of the World after the Heat of the Day and the warmer Influences of that glorious Fountain of Vegetation. Thus simple is the Almighty in his Operations; and nothing sure can fo greatly recommend the Works of Nature as their Simplicity. The Thoughts and Works of Man in the most common and trivial Affairs, are full of Confusion and Perplexity. The Almighty and All-wise One in the most extraordinary and mo, mentous Concerns displays himself in the most plain and simple Methods of Operation. This certainly is the Power of Omnipotence, the Consummation of Wif

dom

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