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PSALM Ixv. II. Thou crownest the Year with thy Good
ness, and thy Paths drop Fatness.
HE constant Revolutions
of the Year, and the reguT lar Succession of fruitful
Seasons consequent there
upon, are such obvious and ample Declarations of the Goodness. and Power of that God, by the Bounty of whose Hands, and Riches of whose Mercy, our Hearts are filled with Food and Gladness, that St. Paul calls them the Witness he left of himself in the
v World. By our Creation we do indeed
exist, but by the Providence of that Almighty Nourisher of Mankind we continue in our Existence ; we enjoy that Existence with Comfort, and are enabled to perform all the necessary and plausible Functions of Life. But such is the degenerate State of fallen Mary, we are apt to forget the Largeness of those Benefits, which are poured daily upon us, we look upon them as Blessings of course, depending upon such stated Rules and Laws of Nature, as shall not be broken ; and with the Indifference of unthankful Receivers, we fancy the Fruits of the Earth, the Fruits of our own Industry, But if we consider God as well the wonderful Controuler, as Author of Nature, who ordereth as well as created all things for the Pleasure of his Almighty Will, we shall find abundant Reason to give continual Thanks for continual Mercies, their being common by no Means taking off from their being great ; and with the humble Praise of Dependancy and Gratitude, we ought to look up to the Allbountiful Hand of the Almighty, from
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 çrowneth the Year with his Goodness, and whose Paths, or, as the Old Translation renders it, whose Clouds drop Fatness ; I shall 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
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, fhall consider the large and glorious Effects of those Means.
1. Then as to the Means, whereby the Almighty renders the Earth so 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 contemplating the Means whereby those glorious Effects 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 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 those prolific Juices which the Rain fo largely supplies, those Juices are proper Conveyances of the Particles of Earth, which feed and nourish the Plants themfelves; 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 firft of thefe Motions causes the grateful and necessary Vicissitude of Day and Night, the latter that of the Seasons ; thefe Motions are fo 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,