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commence with Spring; and it may be proper, few words, to state one or two reasons which induced the Author to depart from that order, and begin with Winter.
Winter is not the death of Nature, neither is it merely the season of Nature's sleep after the labours of the vegetable world are finished: It is much more. It is the season of gestation, when nature is preparing in her womb the embryo of the coming year. A thousand secret operations are in progress, by which the seeds, buds, and roots of future plants and flowers, are not only preserved but elaborated, that, when the prolific months of Spring arrive, they may burst into life in all the freshness and vigour of a new birth. This, which is both a more important and a more interesting view than that which is commonly entertained, represents winter as the first stage in the processes and developments of the revolving year, and fixes it as the natural commencement of a Work, which has for its object an exhibition of the SACRED PHILOSOPHY OF THE SEASONS.
There is another circumstance, too, which involves no principle, indeed, like the former, but which renders the plan adopted a matter at least of convenient arrangement. Winter is the season in which, although the hand of a beneficent and wonder-working Creator is every where to be distinctly traced, there are fewer objects of interest, in comparison with the other. seasons, to arrest the attention, and to engage the mind in devout contemplation of the Divine perfections. An Author, studying to gain the public fa
vour, must, doubtless, regard this as a disadvantage in making his first appearance; but then, it has this counterbalancing use, that space is thus gained for some necessary introductory papers on the broader end more general cosmical arrangements, which are peculiar to none of the seasons, but common to them all. As the plan of daily reflections, of a certain moderate length, obliges the Author to stretch his literary offspring, as it were, on Procrustes bed, the convenience of including such papers in the volume devoted to Winter will be readily acknowledged.,:: The expressions "contrivance," " ingenuity,"
compensation for defects," &c., as applied to the operations of the Eternal, seem, in some sense, to detract from the infinite perfection of His character, and to bring the exercise of His attributes too much on a level with the operations of the human mind. But this arises from a defect, not merely in the language, but the conceptions of men ; and while we are sensible of the inadequacy of these expressions, we know not how to apply a remedy. In this, the Writer only follows in the track of others. 998 i
The Sunday papers contain religious and moral reflections, generally suggested by the subject of discussion on the preceding week.
A few papers have been kindly furnished by ingenious friends, which are distinguished from those of the Author, by being subscribed with their initials.
NOTE TO THE THIRD EDITION.
A SECOND Edition of the two first Volumes of this Work having been called for, while the third and fourth volumes were going through the press, large impressions of these two latter volumes were printed to meet the expected demand; and the whole Series having now been completed, and sold off, a new issue of the entire Work is required. This has induced the Author to revise it with care, and to make such additions and alterations, as the rapid advance of science, even during the short interval that has elapsed since the production of the first Volume, has rendered proper. He trusts that the improvements which have been made in this Edition, will show that he is not insensible to the value of that approbation with which the Public has honoured his humble labours.
HYBERNATION OF INSECTS.