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No. 393 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

Natural Philosophy quickens this Taste of the Creation, and renders it not only pleasing to the Imagination, but to the Understanding. It does not rest in the Murmur of Brooks, and the Melody of Birds, in the Shade of Groves and Woods, or in the Embroidery of Fields and Meadows, but considers the several Ends of Providence which are served by them, and the Wonders of Divine Wisdom which appear in them. It heightens the Pleasures of the Eye, and raises such a rational Admiration in the Soul as is little inferior to Devotion.

It is not in the Power of every one to offer up this kind of Worship to the great Author of Nature, and to indulge these more refined Meditations of Heart, which are doubtless highly acceptable in his Sight: I shall therefore conclude this short Essay on that Pleasure which the Mind naturally conceives from the present Season of the Year, by the recommending of a Practice for which every one has sufficient Abilities.

I would have my Readers endeavour to moralize this natural Pleasure of the Soul, and to improve this vernal Delight, as Milton calls it, into a Christian Virtue. When we find our selves inspired with this pleasing Instinct, this secret Satisfaction and Complacency arising from the Beauties of the Creation, let us consider to whom we stand indebted for all these Entertainments of Sense, and who it is that thus opens his Hand and fills the World with Good. The Apostle instructs us to take advantage of our present Temper of Mind, to graft upon it such a religious Exercise as is particularly conformable to it, by that Precept which advises those who are sad to pray, and those who are merry to sing Psalms. The Chearfulness of Heart which springs up in us from the Survey of Nature’s Works, is an admirable Preparation for Gratitude. The Mind has gone a great way towards Praise and Thanksgiving, that is filled with such a secret Gladness: A grateful Reflection on the supreme Cause who produces it, sanctifies it in the Soul, and gives it its proper Value. Such an habitual Disposition of Mind consecrates every Field and Wood, turns an ordinary Walk into a morning or evening Sacrifice, and will improve those transient Gleams of Joy, which naturally brighten up and refresh the Soul on such Occasions, into an inviolable and perpetual State of Bliss and Happiness.


[Footnote 1: Paradise Lost, Bk iv. ll. 148-156.]