« ZurückWeiter »
periments. There are some other English words, of immediate derivation from this Hebrew one, which, while the mo. dern philosopher knows not, nor considers, his pride as with bird. lime will be held by the plumes, respecting nature's process to vegetation.
• There are other words. used by our Hebrew philosopher and the prophets, that will give light and pleasure to the rural philosopher, who has curiosity to compare the operations of nature with the account the original scriptures give of them. The toil will delight all impartial men, who can blot the clasic page out; all who are not bewildered and stupefied in the dreams and fallhoods of deilin ;'all who have but a spark of reason left in their breasts; that will be sufficient to dircover the congenial relation subsisting between God's word · and his works.
1773 is one of those words ; its idea is that of an instrument to convey light; it is translated a candlestick, lamp, fire, light; and when the jod is found in the place of the vau, it is 10 plow land, to fallow ground; our English word nerve is derived from it ; and the office of the nerves in the human body may with great certainty be known by it; but not till all the lumber of the modern philosophy be got clear out of the head; for while that remains, truth cannot enter ; while that exists in the mind, a comment on the word will be similar to putting a jewel of gold into a swine's fnout. He that cannot see the compatibility of the ideas under this word recited above, will have, but an obscure notion of the physical reason of plowing or fallowing the ground.'
He will have the food of vegetables to be neither earth, water, salt, nor oil, but a gum, or astral balsam.
• This is the ground and foundation of all the augmentation and multiplication in the natural world; this is the true na. tural cause of the growth or increase of our corn, hay, trees, a &c. This is the fire, the aliment brought down from heaven by our Prometheus ; the want of this aliment is the reason why the fini in ponds die for want of rain ; and though there is water enough in the pond, yet the vegetables growing there, that never raise their heads above the surface of the water, perish also for want of rain. I might here adduce a multitude of instances of the like kind, in confirmation of the doctrine above..
The food of vegetables hath been mistaken totally by all the writers on agriculture that I have seen, and while men follow their own fancies, and draw conclusions from their own preconceived imaginations, how can it be otherwise? In vain do inen talk of nature, while they dwell on their own concep
tions, and will make no use of her principles, nor be guided by her author : hence it is that they have mistaken the most filthy composts for vegetable food, at the same time making it a matter of as great nicety to know what compost will best agree with their foil, as for a physician to know what phyfick is best for a man groaning under a complication of diseases ; yet confess, that vast tracts of manured land in Europe have been rendered barren for many years by a misapplication of compofts ; and that instead of physick to the sick land, it has proved poison. This must always be the case, till the true food of vegetables is known; as also how to bring it into contact with the roots of the plants: and that philosophy must not only be very defective, but I think worse than ignorance, that cannot tell how far this celestial treasure is put. in our power, to direct its energy for our own profit.
" Whether the true food of vegetation is here discovered or not; or whether it is pointed out sufficiently plain or not, the reader is to judge : but when he has made himself malter of the subject, I mhall have no fear of his damnatory sentence. But what if the book be condemned to the flames, and the author to contempt, for daring to plead for a true Mosaic natural. philofophy: it will not surprize him : but even then, he will not submit a truth of so much importance as the food of vegetables to vote ; for when it is contested, he has more to say in support of it: for it is evident, that among all the Systems of the sciences not one of them is so deficient, or ra. ther so completely erroneous, as the present system of agriculture : yet by the state of their agriculture, the liberty, policy, and philosophy of any kingdom may be known: where the fields are barren, the markets empty, and provisions dear; tyranny, ignorance, and want of policy are conspicuous. In particular cafes, when we see barren fields, we know the owner is either a fool or a lluggard, or that he is under oppreffion.
. I shall no doubt be put in mind of the different foils to be mnet with, sometimes in the same field; and that they are not all to be treated alike. It is granted : a marth overflowed with salt water at the return of every tide, is not to be treated like a mountainous country; the former is not fit to grow cucumbers, nor the latter ofiers : but it will not folloiv from thence, that either of them wants comport: for inixing the different soils is found by experience to effect more than all the dung upon earth. . Who ever saw a dungliil produce any thing but rank weeds ? and when spread upon the ground, it promotes the growth of weeds: The reason of which is so plain, that it would be almost affronting the understanding of the Vol. XXIX. Fob. 1770. K
reader to mention it. We see the heat of the brutes stomach destroys not the vegetable quality of the seeds of plants. All the ardor that can be given to the ground, by compost of any kind, is but temporary ; that by dung of a very Mort duration; that by horns, hoofs, oyster-fhells, &c. of a longer; but all is but a kind of quacking with the earth, and frequently ruins its constitution, as is confessed by Duhamel, and is evident by the taste of our vegetables near London.
. But a more perinanent recruit of the earth's strength may at a much less expence be obtained than that by an annual compost. By this I do not mean to seclude the use of all compost, where it can be come at free cost, such as penning of fheep, &c. but to diffuade the farmers from the enormous charge they are at from year to year for manure, when, if they would fallow their land oftener, and kill their weeds, they would find their profit in it more than in all the composts they use. I have known farmers, who have been at a vast expence for manure ; another, who could not bear that expence, by mere industry has had better crops, without any manure at all,
than the former had with all theirs. ... Furius Vefinius, a peasant, being accused before the people of Rome for a sort of wizardry done by him upon his neighbours lands, whiclı, though of greater extent, yet yielded not fo good crops as his that were less, took no other course to justify his innocence, than to bring with him on the day of his appearance the instruments of agriculture, kept in exceeding good order, beseeching his judges to believe that hic had made use of no other wizardry than those, together with abundance of pains and watching, which to his sorrow he knew not how otherwise to represent." . However, amicist all the extravagance and fanaticisin of this author, in regard to agriculture, he proposes some methods for reducing the price of provisions, which are not unworthy of attention.
IX. Sermons on the Efficacy of Prayer and interceffion. By Samuel
and difensions concerning prayer. It is agreed that prayer is a reasonable and neceffary duty in the peefent situation and circumstances of mankind; that it has a natural tendency to beget and proinote all those amiable dispositions of mind, which render men happy in themselves, and agreeable
to one another. But there are different sentiments with respect to its efficacy. Some tell us, that it is not the design of prayer to move the affections of the Supreme Being, as good speakers move the hearts of their hearers by the pathetic arts of oratory, nor to raise his pity, as beggars by their importunities and tears work upon the compallion of the bystanders ; that God is not subject to those sudden paflions and emotions of mind which we feel; nor to any alteration of his measures and conduct by their influence; that he is not wrought upon, and changed by our prayers, for with him is no variablene's nor shadow of turning; that prayer only works its effect upon us, as it contributes to change the temper of our minds, to beget or improve right dispositions in them, to lay them open to the impressions of spiritual objeets, and thus qualify us for receiving the approbation and the blchings of our Creator.
Others have thought, that this notion of prayer is defective and erroneous. They have observed, that it is indeed one of the natural means of moral and religious improvement; but that this is not the whole account of the matter, nor even the most obvious way of considering the subject; that when the fçripture says, akk and it shall be given you, the plain meaning of the words must be, that the Almighty may be moved by prayer; and that it may be so, though we may not be able to conceive how it is effected.
Dr. Ogden, who embraces this opinion, observes, that when a plain Christian retiies to his clolet to beg the blefling of his Maker, the alteration, which his prayer will inake on his own mind, is not the effect he thinks of, or expects from his devotions. Nay, says he, if this be indeed all that he is to expect, and he be made to comprehend it, the discovery, it is very possible, may be attended with inconvenience, a diminution of that very advantage which is supposed to be his only one. The earnestness of his prayers may be checked, by the recollection of the design of them, and bis fervor cooled by the very consciousness that he is only endeavouring to excite it.
In the following pallage he seems to explain the efficacy of prayer in a very clear and unexceptionable manner :-'You inay j'emember a liule ancient fable to the following purpose. An old man upon his death-bed, said to his sons as they stood round bim, I am poilefied, my dear children, of a treasure of great value, which, as it is fit, muli now be your's. They drew nearer: nay, added the fick man, I have it not here in my hands; it is deposited somewhere in iny fie ds ; dig, and you will be sure to find. They followed bis directions, though they iniltook his meaning. Treasure of gold or silver there was none; but by means of this extraordinary culture, the land k2
yielded in the time of harvest such an abundant crop, as both rewarded them for their obedience to their parent, and at the same time explained the nature of his command.
4 Our Father, who is in heaven, hath commanded us in our wants to apply to him in prayer, with an assurance of success : ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find. Now, it is certain that without his immediate interpofition, were his ear heavy, as the scripture phrase is, that he could not hear, there is a natural efficacy in our prayers themselves to work in our minds those graces and good dispositions which we beg of the Almighty, and by consequence to make us fitter objects of his mercy. Thus it is, that we ask, and receive ; we feek, and, like the children of the fagacious old husbandman, find also the very thing which we were seeking, though in another form : our petitions produce in fact the good effects which we desired, though not in the manner which we ignorantly expected.
• But yet, allowing this consideration its full force, there is no necessity of stopping here, and confining the power of prayer to this single method of operation. Does the clear afsurance of its use in this way preclude the hopes of every other advantage? Must we needs be made acquainted with all the efficacy of every thing that is our duty, and know the whole ground, and reason of all the actions which Almighty God can possibly require of us ?
. When the Israelites, under the conduct of Joshua, were commanded, upon hearing the sound of the trumpet, to fhout, quith a great fout ; and the wall fell down fiat, so that the people went up into the city, every man Araight before him, and they took she city; was the reason of this command, and the operation of the means to be made use of, understood by all that were concerned ? Was it the undulation of the air, think you, the physical effect of many concurrent voices, that overthrew the walls of Jericho ! or, suppose the people were commanded to Mout in token of their Faith; (for it was by Faith, as the. apoftle speaks, that the walls of Jericho fell down ;) which way is it that Faith operates in the performance of such wonders ?
. You will say, no doubt, that these were wonders, and the care miraculous; and that we are not from such extraordinary events to draw conclufions concerning the general daries of Christianity.
The drought, that was in the land of Israel in the time of Elijah, I suppose no one will deny to have been miraculous. Yet we have the authority of an apostle to conclude from it in general, that good men's petitions are efficacious and powerful. Elias was a man subject 10 like pasions as we are, and be prayed carnefily that it migbe not rain; and it rained not on : be carib
concerned coat of many suppose the pa itu