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maintain that the plague is owing to indifpofition in the human body, caufed by worms: yet I do not deny but that a vast quantity of infects may give rife to the plague or other fimilar difeafes. History is full of fuch relations, and, as able philofophers have found the thing probable, I confider it as very poffible. Indeed, when that innumerable multitude of enemies has perifhed and covered the earth with carcafes, it is natural to fuppofe that there will iffue from them certain volatile particles which being dif perfed through the air, enter into our bodies by ref piration, and disturb their economy.




INSECTS do not only make war on other infects, as we see thofe that are most useful to man,fuch as bees, preyed upon by wafps and hornets, but cattle are alfo expofed to their affaults. Inceffantly attacked by these infatiable creatures, the larger animals receive wounds from their fting, which penetrate to the blood. Some attach themfelves to the orifice of the wound `and fuck the liquor which diftils from it; others are not content with a fingle fting, but infli&t the wound, feveral times. Such is that fort of fly whose dart is ftrong enough to pierce the fkin of these animals. There it introduces its eggs, which cause those strange

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tumours formerly fuppofed, by fuperftition, to be the effect of forcery.

Beasts likewife nourish in their bowels infects of feveral forts. Few people are ignorant that horses which feed in meadows fwallow worms while they brouze the grafs. These pretty much refemble the feed of a gourd, except that their body is intersected with rings by which they can fhorten or extend themselves: they attach themfelves ftrongly to the fuperior orifice of the ftomach of the animal, and move, only to mix with the aliment. Dogs, befides these gourd-fhaped worms, have likewise another kind, which are fo flender, that a great number of them together have the appearance of a clue of thread. Cattle in general are very much affected by worms; they lofe their flefh, and often die in fpite of the most efficacious remedies. Another poifon concealed under the grafs, is a fort of bug called Bupeftris by Pliny, which makes the body of the animal fwallowing it fweli till it burft. To avoid repetition, I fhall not here mention any thing of the difeafes which leeches caufe in animals when fwallowed with their drink; and I fhall conclude with obferving that the mortality in fheep, a circumftance fo interefting to the proprietor and to the fhepherd, and which too often deceives the vigilance of the one, and the fkill of the other, proceeds moft frequently from infects which devour the liver of thefe animals to fuch a degree, that the deftruction of that part neceffarily caufes the death of the animal.




Of all the reflections I have hitherto made, none have been aimed fo much at atheifm as thofe I propose to introduce in this chapter. I do not doubt but I fhall offend its partizans; but if they will for a little unloose the bandage with which they voluntari ly blind themselves, and deign for a moment to hear me without prejudice, I do not despair of fhewing them truths which they have hitherto been ignorant of. I know that truths are odious to them, and that with them obftinacy is fet against reafon; however I fhall venture to fpeak to them in its favour. Thofe who acknowledge the Scripture as a book containing the facred depofit of the word of God are ftruck with admiration at the thought of the prodigious number of animals which the power of God collected in the ark. The infidel laughs at this and treats it as a fable: but he does not confider that things equally furprifing happen every day under our eyes do we not fee for inftance, that certain kinds of infects, after having collected in myriads, fometimes pass over feas, and caufe famine and defolation in diftant lands? What principle leads them thither?

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Is it reafon or inftin&t? Be it either the one of the other, I ask the atheist from whence they have received it? If he proceeds ftep by step it is impoffible but he must remount to the fupreme caufe whence this principle, whatever it may be, originally derives its own existence, But let us go a little farther; these infects, notwithstanding their feeble conftitution, carry their depredations into a country affording but a moderate harveft, while they fpare another which promised them a much more abundant foil. What is the caufe of this election? Is it determined by judgement; or by chance? Neither one nor the other can be attributed to infects, because they are incapable of judgement, and because they act only from a caufe determinate and neceffary. But once more, what is that caufe? It is that which hath bestowed existence on all beings vifible and invisible: it is God according to the man of reafon; it is chance according to the atheift. I wish much that one of thofe fublime geniufes who doubt of every thing, even of their own existence, would tell me what is chance. It is nothing but a name devoid of fenfe, a word fignifying nothing, a term to cover ignorance, a chimerical being to which is attributed what belongs folely to the powerful Architect of the universe. Atheifs accufe us of weakness; but have we not greater reafon in this cafe to treat them as madmen, who adopt the doubtful for the probable, falfhood for truth, impoffibility for reality? Is it then degra ding to acknowledge a God? Is it dangerous to ferve him? Is it difhonourable to humanity to believe that he is the creator of mankind? Is it to defpoil ourfelves of our rights to confefs that we are indebted to him for every thing? Is it to rank ourselves with the brutes to allow that it is he who has formed them? It is the province of reafon to answer thefe questions; and if I appeal to confcience I am mistaken, if it would not declare openly that the


wounds inflicted on us by infects either on our bodies or on the goods we poffefs, proceed from an Almighty hand which knows when to frike, and which cures when it fees fit. What a fhame is it for man that the vileft animals of the earth fhould teach him to remember God, and to refpect his power!

The juftice of the fupreme being displays itself in the punishment of the crimes of a whole nation. He excites against them voracious enemies which fwal. low up all expectations from the fruits of the earth. This is founded on the authority of Scripture. Among other maledictions with which the deity threatned the Ifraelites if they difobeyed his voice, this is not one of the leaft; DEUT. xxviii. 38. "Thou fhalt carry much feed out into the field, but fhalt gather little in; for the locuft fhall confume it." Such in effect was the inftrument he made use of to punish the iniquities of that people. IoEL i. 5. "The locuft hath eaten what the palmer-worm hath left; and that which the locuft hath left, hath the canker-worm eaten; and that which the canker worm hath left, bath the caterpillar eaten." This chastisement was as real as the threat had been pofitive: but as famine awaited the crime, plenty fucceeded repentance; IOEL ii. 25. 26. "I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the canker worm and the caterpillar and the palmer-worm, my great army which I fent among And ye fhall eat in plenty." Of the different plagues with which God vifited the fews, thiswas al-ways one of the most confiderable. When the armies and the chiefs trangreffed his commands, he fent against them a host of foes which human power was totally unable to refift. "I have fmitten you with blasting and mildew; when your gardens and your vineyards, and your figtrees, and your olive trees increafed the palmer-worm devoured them. Amos iv. 9.




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