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· The Jewish nation is not the only one which have been perfecuted by insects ; their ravages have often altonished and defolated the countries of the heathen, After diligently searching into the nature and reafon of such phenomena, nothing appear more probable, than to attribute the cause of them to the anger of the Gods. This sentiment ought to make atheists suspect themselves ; the more fo, as without the aid of Scripture, without any motive of interest, without any propension but that of the heart, without any lighis but those afforded by their own minds, these Pagans acknowledged the existence of a Deity in whom resides the supreme right to chastise vice, and to reward virtue.

If we examine attentively what we suffer from in. fects, far froin finding any thing to blame in the con. duct of the Supreme Being, to whom we owe obe. dience, we shall find nothing but striking instances of infinite wisdom. The very fear which there aniinals inspire us with has its uses ; it serves to make us more attentive, more prudent, more careful. They oblige the gardener to provide the proper means for preserving the precious fruits of his care and toil. Vermin excite us to the cleanliness of our persons ; the spider to that of our houses ; and the moth to that of our furnkure and clothes. Besides, by a mar. vellous disposition of Providence, there is not an infect on the face of the earth whose poison has the same degree of strength on creatures in general; that is, it does not affect all bodies equally as it af, fects some. The caterpillar and spider may be fatal to man, while they not only prove delicate morsels to many birds, but even specific remedies against their diseases ; so that it may with truth be faid that some things which are poison to one animal become salu. tary to others. The rule is not even general in the human species. There are instances of people who

have lost their life by having had the misfortune to swallow insects which others have eaten from a capricious taste without feeling the smallest inconve. nience. Such is the profound wisdom of the Creator, who hath introduced into this lower world such ad. mirable order, that the same thing which tends to the , prejudice of one contributes to the advantage and happiness of another.

Lastly, the goodness of the first mover is confpicuous in the bounds which he has prescribed to the life of those insects 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 necessities. For who doubts that instead of momentary evils we would have been subject to perpetual torments, had these animals been generated with us, if they attended us during life, and had survived us or our descendants ? One insect which commits depredations can act only in a certain time; another which would eat incessantly is obliged to wait till night before it can appease its hunger ; a third seeks its subsistance during the day ; but when night conies it can neither find nor devour any thing, What would be the consequence could all these voracious insects satisfy their hunger at all times and in áll 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 nostrils, for instance, have their natural means of defence. The one is covered with a skin, and furnished with small glands, which exude a bitter substance, disagreeable to infects: the others are furnished with hairs, which cross, and form a sort of barrier, to defend the entrance. Let us add to this, that all countries are not equally favourable to insects. There are some, in which they rather languish than live ; fome, which do not seem at all Hh

made made for them, sending forth vapours, which are ab. solutely noxious to them. Even in their favourite regi. ons, they are not protected from many dangers which threaten them. Wind, rain and moisture weaken and kill them, when in their greatest strength ; sometimes the North wind and frost surprise them in the midst of warm weather, or before they have had time to fortify themselves against the approach of winter. Some vegetables are prejudicial to them, certain ani. mals feed on them, and one {pecies of infect fometimes hinders another from multiplying. On the earth the spider eats the fly, and the chafer the gnat; in the waier, the crab devours the leech ; on the surface of rivulets, the trout feizes the fly; in the fields and about towns, the fwallow clears the grana. naries and farm yards; the tom-uit the gardens ; the sparrow and the wagtail, the lower grounds. The Lizard and the Chameleon likewise live on insects. 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 first cause, who hath aranged all things with such order and goodness, that while so many insects are of such real advantage to us, so many different animals, and e. ven insects concur in preventing the excessive mula tiplication of those which might hurt us, so that in every view, the good overbalances the evil ?

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We have seen, in the preceding Chapter, obvious fraces of the wise conduct of the Deity in the creation and government of this world. Some others remain to be pointed out in the present. The facul. ty which God has bestowed on man, of contriving different means of defence against the injuries caused by insects, is one very evident mark of his beneficence. Nature is a school; but how few people incline to study at it! We wish ourselves enriched by its trea. sures, we wish to be ignorant of no mystery which it teaches ; but no sooner do we encounter its difficulties, than we turn our back and refuse to return. One is discouraged on the road, indolence prevents others from setting out. Far from attempting to gain the source by a glorious but difficult road, we turn aside, and content ourselves with foolish fancies, which absurd custom only hath fanctioned. And indeed we are at this day still almost in the dark with regard to those means by which we may deliver our. selves from the depredations of infeéts. In the Church of Rome, recourse has been had to different exorcisms, other people have fabricated ainulets and talismans 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 efficą. cy of prayer, or the worth of the remedies I am a. bout to prescribe. It is true, that it is impossible totally to exterminate insects, both because their num. ber is too great, and because it augments at every inftant, by the rapidity with which they multiply.However, we ought not to despair of finding the means of reducing them in number, or of prevent, ing their excessive multiplication. · There are several ways of preventing their increase; the easiest and most natural, in my opinion, are the following. By spreading on the ground, ashes mixed with pigeon's or goat's dung, not only insects newly come forth, ' but those about to be hatched, are destroyed. To take advantage of the time before insects deposit their eggs, is likewise a very sure way. By destroying the old ones, we rid ourselves of the generation they would have produced ; and, we thus perform in an instant, what we would not fail to have been employ. ed in during the whole course of a year. But fhould the season anticipate our intentions, we must seek their nests in the furrows and clefts of trees. In truth, the industry of insects, in choosing places, in which their brood may be in safety, makes it impossible but some of them must escape our search. They hide their eggs, sometimes under the earth, sometimes under the bark of trees, sometimes in walls; but, if in one province, the country people would use stratagems on their part, it is certain they would ensure that profit, of which they are often frustrated.There are some husbandmen who plough their grounds in autumn, as soon as the cold begins to be telt. The practice is a good one ; for the plough, in opening the soil, throws the eggs of grasshoppers and locusts, and other insects on the surface, where they perilh either with the frost, or by rains, or they are eaten by the birds. We cannot defend fruit.


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