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maintain that the plague is owing to indisposition in the human body, caused by worms ; yet I do not deny but that a vast quantity of insects may give rife to the plague or other similar diseases. History is full of such relations, and, as able philosophers have found the thing probable, I consider it as very possible. Indeed, when that innumerable multitude of enemies has perished and covered the earth with carcases, it is natural to suppose that there will issue from them certain volatile particles which being dispersed through the air, enter into our bodies by respiration, and disturb their economy.
Op The Injuries Which Insects Cause To oTher Animals.
Insects do not only make war on other insects, as we fee thole that are most useful to man,such as bees, preyed upon by wasps and hornets, but cattle are also exposed to their assaults. Incessantly attacked by these insatiable creatures, the larger animals receive wounds from their sting, which penetrate to the blood. Some attach themselves to the orifice of the wound and fuck the liquor which diltils from it; others are not content with a single sting, but inflict the wound several times. Such is that fort of fly whose dart is strong enough to pierce the skin os these animals. There it introduces its eggs, which cause those strange G g 2 - tumours tumours formerly supposed, by superstition, to be the esfect; of sorcery.
Beasts likewise nourish in their bowels insects of several sorts. Few people are ignorant that horses which seed in meadows swallow worms while they brouze the grafs. These pretty much resemble the seed of a gourd, except that their body is intersected with rings by which they can shorten or extend themselves: they attach themselves strongly to the superior orisice of the stomach of the animal, and move, only to mix with the aliment. Dogs, besides these gourd-shaped worms, have likewise another kind, which are so slender, that a great number of them together have the appearance of a clue of thread. Cattle in general are vciy much affected by worms; they lose thtir flesh, and often die in spite of the most efficacious remedies. Another poison concealed under the grass, is a fort of bug called Bupestris by Pliny, which makas the body of the animal swallowing it swell till it burst. To avoid repetition, I shall not here mention any thing os the diseases which leeches cause in animals when swallowed with their drink; and 1 shall conclude with observing that the mortality in sheep, a circumstance so interesting to the proprietor and to the shepherd, and which too often deceives the vigilance of the one, and the skill of the other, proceeds most frequently from insects which devour the liver of these animals to such a degree, that the destruction os that part necessarily causes the death of the animal.
The Devastations Made By Insects Are So Many Marks Of The Power, The Justice, The Wisdom, And Even Of The Goodness Of God.
Of all the reflections I have hitherto made, none have been aimed so much at atheism as those I propose to introduce in (his chapter. I do not doubt but I (hall offend its partizans; but if they will fora little unloose the bandage with which they voluntarily blind themselves, and deign for a moment to hear me without prejudice, I do not despair of shewing them truths which thev have hitherto been ignorant of. I know that truths are odious to them, and that with them obstinacy is set against reason; however 1 shall venture to speak to them in its favour. Those who acknowledge the Scripture as a book containing the sacred deposit of the word of God are struck 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 consider that things equally surprising happen every day under our eyes : do we not fee for instance, that certain kinds of insects, after having collected in myriads, sometimes pass over seas, and cause famine and desolation in distant lands ? What principle leads them thither? Is it reason or instinct? Be it either the one or the > other, 1 ask the atheist from whence they have received it ? If he proceeds step by step it is impossible but he must remount to the supreme cause whence this principle^ whatever it may be, originally derives its own existence, But let us go a little farther; these insects, notwithstanding their feeble constitution, carry their depredations into a country affording but a moderate harvest, while they spare another which . promised them a much more abundant soil. What is the cause of this election ? Is it determined by judgement," or by chance ? Neither one nor the 0ther can be attributed to insects, because they are incapable of judgement, and because they act only from a cause determinate and necessary. But once more, what is that cause ? It is that which hath bestowed existence on all beings visible and invisible r it is God according to the man of reason ; it is chance according to the atheist. I wish much that one of those sublime geniuses who doubt of every thingj even of their own existence, would tell me what is chance. 'It is nothing but a name devoid of fense, a word signifying nothing, a term to cover ignorance, a chimerical being to which is attributed what belongs solely to the powerful Architect of the universe. Atheists accuse us of weakness; but have we not greater reason in this cafe to treat them as madmen, who adopt the doubtful for the probable, fallhood for truths impossibility for reality? Is it then degrading to acknowledge a God? Is it dangerous to serve him ? Is it dishonourable to humanity to believe that he is the creator of mankind? Is it to despoil ourselves of our rights to confess 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 reason to answer these questions; and if I appeal to conscience I ant - mistaken, jf it would not declare openly that the
wounds inflicted on us by insects either on our bodies or on the goods we possess, proceed from an Almighty hand which knows when to strike, and which cures when it sees sit. What a shame is it for man that the vilest animals of the earth should teach him to remember God, and to respect his power!
The justice of the supreme being displays itself in the punishment of the crimes of a whole nation. He excites against them voracious enemies which swaU 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 Israelites if they disobeyed his voice, this is not one of the least; Dkut. xxviii. 38. " Thou shalt carry much seed out into the sield, but shalt gather little in; for the locust shall consume it." Such in effect was the instrument he made use of to punish the iniquities of that people. Ioel i. 5. "The locust hath eaten what the palmer-worm hath left; and that which the locust hath left, hath the canker-worm eaten; and that which the canker worm hath left, hath the caterpillar eaten." This chastisement was as real as the threat had been positive: but as famine awaited the crime, plenty succeeded repentance; Ioel ii. 25. 26. "I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the canker worm and the caterpiilar and the palmer-worm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty." Of the different plagues with which God visited the sews, thiswas always one of the most considerable. When the armies and "the chiess trangressed his commands, he sent against them a host of foes which human power was totally unable to resist. "1 have smitten you with blasting and mildew; when your gardens and your vineyards, and yom sigtrees, and your olive trees increased the palmer-worm devdured them. Amos iv. 9.