“Behold the fowls of the air; God feedeth them.” Do they, then, stay at home, and do nothing, expecting crumbs of manna to drop from rich table in the skies? Are they found, empty of all craving, regardless of the changing year, and hanging ever upon miracle? Why, their whole existence is a continued quest after that physical good which is their true and only end; and to pilfer the garden and the field, to skim and sip the stream, to dress their plumage with finer gloss, and sing the song of glad abundance, is their work from morn to night. What eager industry flutters in the spring around the skirts of the plantation, gathering the bits and brakes scattered for them by the winter’s storm! What busy preparation, at autumn’s first chill wind, wheels and musters overhead, for the long flight over Southern seas, the swift cheering on the slow, and the young wing supporting the old! What studious watch, under the semblance of flashing sport, does the home-loving swallow keep! And is not this truly called a feeding of the creatures by their Maker? Is it not his hand that is opened, when they are filled with good? Yes; only, “That which he giveth them, they gather”: he supplies their wants, not without activity of theirs, but by means of it; not by causal miracle, but by constant law; by putting his skill within them, as well as spreading his affluence without."
James Martineau, photo by Vezon Thierry.