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The Man Born Blind. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a inan which was blind from his birth. John vs.. 1, «. 409
Dogs and Swine.
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ve your pearls before swine; lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you, Matth. vii, 6. 42J
Christ the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. John xiy. 6, T _ - - _ 433
The Case of the Lazv Stated.
For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the pronuse made of none effect. Rom. iv. 14, » 444
Rahab and Jericho.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. Heb. xi. SO, 31. - - - - - - 455
The Good Samaritan.
Then said Jesus unto him, go and do thou likewise. Luke x. 37. 466
JlSD THE EARTH BROUGHT FORTH GRASS, AND HERB YIELDING SEED AFTER HIS KIND, AND THE TREE YIELDING FRUIT, WHOSE SEED WAS IN Itself; AND GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD. GEN. I. 12.
J.F an author, who should undertake to explain the proportion of architecture, were to trouble us with a long preface, to prove that every house we see must have been the work of some man, because no house could possibly build itself, or rise into form by accident; I presume, we should all be of opinion, that he might have spared this part of his labour. It seems equally superfluous to insist, that the structure of nature could not raise itself; the cases being exactly parallel, and both self-evident to common sense. There is a sort of sense,, which pretends to discover, not only that the argument is necessary, but that the proof is deficient. We trust, however, that such neither is, nor ever will be common. If there really be such a thing as speculative or philosophical atheism, that doctrine must be the individual point, in which the affectation of wisdom meets the extremity of folly: and it would be loss of time to reason with it. We therefore take it upon the authority of the text, that herbs, trees, fruits and seeds, are the work of God; and the present occasion requires us to consider how, and in
VOL. IV. ~, B
what respects, this work is good, and displays the wisdom of the great Creator.
The goodness ascribed to this part of the creation is evidently not moral but natural: it means, that the several articles of the vegetable kingdom have that sort of goodness of which they are capable; that they are beautiful and perfect in their kinds; wonderful in their growth; sufficient in their powers and properties; and beneficial in their uses. In these capacities we are to consider them; and to observe how the wisdom of the Creator is manifested.
First, in the form and structure of vegetables.
Secondly, in the manner of their growth.
Thirdly, in their natural uses, for meat and medicine.
Fourthly, in their moral uses; for the advancement pf human prudence and religious faith.
Herbs and flowers may be regarded by some persons as objects of inferior consideration in philosophy; but every thing must be great which hath God for its author. To him all the parts of nature are equally related. The flowers of the earth can raise our thoughts up to the Creator of the world as effectually as the stars of heaven: and till we make this use of both, we cannot be said to think properly of either. The contemplation of nature should always be seasoned with a mixture of devotion; the highest faculty of the human mind; by which alone contemplation is improved, and dignified, and directed to its proper object. To join these together is the design of our present meetingj and when they are joined, may .they never more be put asunder!
In the form-and structure of plants, with the provision for their growth and increase, there is a store of matter which would more than fill a philosophical trea-, treatise: I must therefore content myseff with tracing, some of the outlines of so large a subject.
The first thing that engages the curiosity of man and tempts him to bestow so much of his labour and attention upon this part of the creation, is the beautiful form and splendid attire of plants. They who practise this labour know how delightful it is. It seems to restore man in his fallen state to a participation of that felicity, which he enjoyed while innocent in Paradise. ''
When we cast our eyes upon this part of nature, it is first observable that, herbs and trees compose a, scene so agreeable to the sight, because they are invested with that green colour, which, being exactly in the middle of the spectrum of the coloured rays of light is tempered to a mildness which the eye can bear. The other brighter and more simple colours are sparingly bestowed on the flowers of plants; and which, if diffused over all their parts, would have been too glaring, and consequently offensive. The smaller and more elegant parts are adorned with that brightness which attracts the admiration without endangering the sense.
But while the eye is delighted with the colouring of a flower, the reason may be still more engaged with the natural use and design qf a flower in the ceconomy of vegetation. The rudiment of the fruit, when young and terider, requires some covering to protect it; and accordingly, the flower-leaves surround the seat of fructification; when the sun is warm, they are expanded by its rays, to give the infant fruit the benefit 6f the heat: to1 forward its growth when the sun sets, and? the cold of the evening prevails, the flower-leaves naturally close, that the air of the night may not injure the seed-vessel. As the fructification advances, and