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The Jewish nation is not the only one which have been perfecuted by infects; their ravages have often aftonifhed and defolated the countries of the heathen. After diligently fearching into the nature and reafon of fuch phenomena, nothing appear more probable, than to attribute the caufe of them to the anger of the Gods. This fentiment ought to make atheifts fufpect themselves; the more fo, as without the aid of Scripture, without any motive of interest, without any propenfion but that of the heart, without any lights but thofe afforded by their own minds, thefe Pagans acknowledged the existence of a Deity in whom refides the fupreme right to chastise vice, and to reward virtue.

If we examine attentively what we fuffer from infects, far from finding any thing to blame in the conduct of the Supreme Being, to whom we owe obedience, we fhall find nothing but ftriking inftances of infinite wisdom. The very fear which thefe animals infpire us with has its ufes; it ferves to make us more attentive, more prudent, more careful. They oblige the gardener to provide the proper means for preferving the precious fruits of his care and toil. Vermin excite us to the cleanlinefs of our perfons; the spider to that of our houfes; and the moth to that of our furniture and clothes. Befides, by a marvellous difpofition of Providence, there is not an infect on the face of the earth whofe poifon has the fame degree of ftrength on creatures in general; that is, it does not affect all bodies equally as it af fects fome. The caterpillar and fpider may be fatal to man, while they not only prove delicate morfels to many birds, but even specific remedies against their difeafes fo that it may with truth be faid that fome things which are poifon to one animal become falutary to others. The rule is not even general in the human fpecies. There are inftances of people who

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have loft their life by having had the misfortune to fwallow infects which others have eaten from a capricious tafte without feeling the fmalleft inconvenience. Such is the profound wisdom of the Creator, who hath introduced into this lower world fuch admirable order, that the fame thing which tends to the prejudice of one contributes to the advantage and happiness of another.

Laftly, the goodness of the first mover is confpicuous in the bounds which he has prefcribed to the life of thofe infects which are dangerous to us. By limiting their duration to a few months, or a few days he has been careful for our peace, as well as for our neceffities. For who doubts that inftead of momentary evils we would have been fubject to perpetual torments, had thefe animals been generated with us, if they attended us during life, and had furvived us or our defcendants? One infect which commits depredations can act only in a certain time; another which would eat inceffantly is obliged to wait till night before it can appeafe its hunger; a third feeks its fubfiftance during the day; but when night comes it can neither find nor devour any thing. What would be the confequence could all thefe voracious infects fatisfy their hunger at all times and in all places? And if they can give us pain, many methods concur to defend us from them, or to prevent their hurting us beyond a certain degree. The openings of the ears, and of the noftrils, for instance, have their natural means of defence. The one is covered with a skin, and furnished with fmall glands, which exude a bitter fubftance, difagreeable to infects: the others are furnished with hairs, which crofs, and form a fort of barrier, to defend the entrance. Let us add to this, that all countries are not equally favourable to infects. There are fome, in which they rather languish than live; fome, which do not feem at all H h made

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made for them, fending forth vapours, which are ab folutely noxious to them. Even in their favourite regions, they are not protected from many dangers which threaten them. Wind, rain and moisture weaken and kill them, when in their greateft ftrength; fometimes the North wind and froft furprise them in the midft of warm weather, or before they have had time to fortify themfelves against the approach of winter. Some vegetables are prejudicial to them, certain animals feed on them, and one fpecies of infect fometimes hinders another from multiplying. On the earth the fpider eats the fly, and the chafer the gnat; in the water, the crab devours the leech; on the furface of rivulets, the trout feizes the fly; in the fields and about towns, the fwallow clears the grananaries and farm yards; the tom-tit the gardens; the fparrow and the wagtail, the lower grounds. The Lizard and the Chameleon likewife live on infects. Who is there that will not acknowledge in all these particulars, an over-ruling providence? Who is there who will not look up to the existence of a firft cause, who hath aranged all things with fuch order and goodness, that while fo many infects are of fuch real advantage to us, fo many different animals, and even infects concur in preventing the exceffive mul tiplication of the fe which might hurt us, fo that in every view, the good overbalances the evil?



WE have feen, in the preceding Chapter, obvious traces of the wife conduct of the Deity in the creation and government of this world. Some others remain to be pointed out in the prefent. The faculty which God has beftowed on man, of contriving different means of defence against the injuries caused by infects, is one very evident mark of his beneficence. Nature is a school; but how few people incline to study at it! We wish ourfelves enriched by its treafures, we wifh to be ignorant of no mystery which it teaches; but no fooner do we encounter its difficulties, than we turn our back and refufe to return. One is difcouraged on the road, indolence prevents others from fetting out. Far from attempting to gain the fource by a glorious but difficult road, we turn afide, and content ourselves with foolish fancies, which abfurd custom only hath fan&tioned. And indeed we are at this day ftill almoft in the dark with regard to thofe means by which we may deliver ourfelves from the depredations of infects. In the Church of Rome, recourfe has been had to different exorcifms, other people have fabricated amulets and talifmans to which great virtues have been attributed.

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Whatever credit these means may have gained with the people, they are far from having the efficacy of prayer, or the worth of the remedies I am a bout to prescribe. It is true, that it is impoffible totally to exterminate infects, both because their number is too great, and because it augments at every inftant, by the rapidity with which they multiply.However, we ought not to defpair of finding the means of reducing them in number, or of preventing their exceffive multiplication. There are feveral ways of preventing their increafe; the eafieft and moft natural, in my opinion, are the following. By fpreading on the ground, afhes mixed with pigeon's pr goat's dung, not only infects newly come forth," but those about to be hatched, are deftroyed. To take advantage of the time before infects depofit their eggs, is likewife a very fure way. By destroying the old ones, we rid ourfelves of the generation they would have produced; and, we thus perform in an inftant, what we would not fail to have been employ. ed in during the whole course of a year. But fhould the feafon anticipate our intentions, we muft feek their nefts in the furrows and clefts of trees. In truth, the industry of infects, in choofing places, in which their brood may be in fafety, makes it impoffible but fome of them muft efcape our fearch. They hide their eggs, fometimes under the earth, fometimes under the bark of trees, fometimes in walls; but, if in one province, the country people would ufe ftratagems on their part, it is certain they would enfure that profit, of which they are often fruftrated.There are fome hufbandmen who plough their grounds in autumn, as foon as the cold begins to be felt. The practice is a good one; for the plough, in opening the foil, throws the eggs of grafshoppers and locufts, and other infects on the furface, where they perish either with the froft, or by rains, or they are eaten by the birds. We cannot defend fruit


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