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THE PERFECTIONS OF GOD
PHENOMENA OF THE YEAR.
REV. HENRY DUNCAN, D.D.
“ Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former
ardhebe latter, in his season
“ O'er all his boundless realms beneath the sky,
From parch'd Angola to the cheerless Poles,
Lundie on SEPTEMBER.
" Go ask thy heart, What spirit thus abides
In every region ? Thus minutely works
Knox's SONGS OF ISRAEL.
27 MAR 1974
PRINTED BY W. OLIPHANT, JUN, AND CO. 23, SOUTH BRIDGE, EDINBURGH.
This last volume of the series will be found, in some respects, to differ in its character from the preceding volumes, and to bear, in a large portion of its contents, a less direct reference to the season of the year. It seemed right that the concluding volume, besides containing various details of autumnal appearances, produce, &c. and of the diversified labours of harvest, should be mainly occupied with the general results of that remarkable system which pervades animated nature, and of which the phenomena of the revolving year constitute one of the most prominent features. The wisdom and goodness of this system consist, not in its independent perfection, but in its admirable adaptation to the circumstances and condition of fallen man. The problem has been said to be, “ matter being given to construct a world,” but more truly the problem was, human nature being given, to construct a system by which the bodily and mental powers should be developed and carried forward towards perfection, and mind should meanwhile be exhibited in all its various phases.
In the arrangements and operations of Providence this problem has been solved. Man is subjected to wants in order to stimulate his dormant powers; and while nature, yielding to his judicious labours, is made to supply these wants, new wants are created, and the stimulus to continued exertion is increased. Again nature is propitious, and again new wants arise ; and thus man is urged forward, from improvement to improvement, in an increasing ratio, and an interminable series.
The chief wants of man, which Providence has employed as agents in this very peculiar system, are those of food, clothing, and shelter, giving rise, in the progress of society, to the corresponding arts of agriculture, manufactures, and architecture, with the concomitant of commercial intercourse; and these, so far as they spring, either directly or indirectly, out of the differences of seasons or of climate, form legitimate materials for the concluding volume of the “ Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons."
It will not be thought improper, however, that such interesting subjects should be pursued somewhat further, than a strict adherence to the leading object of the work might seem to require. There is something exceedingly interesting in the details of that progress, by which society has arrived at its present state of improvement in the arts, and to the continuance of which there is no assignable limit. In prosecuting this inquiry, the author has felt it to be his duty, as well as his delight, to keep always in view the overruling hand of an unseen but everoperating Intelligence; and, in marking the extent of human attainments, he has never ceased to direct the mind to the Great First Cause, and thence to the means of our redemption, and the future destiny of our race. RUTHWELL MANSE, 31st October 1837.