S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
The earth on which we tread was evidently intended by the Creator to support man and other animals, along with their habitations, and to furnish those vegetable productions which are necessary for their subsistence; and, accordingly, He has given it that exact degree of consistency which is requisite for these purposes. Were it much harder than it now is; were it, for example, as dense as a rock, it would be incapable of cultivation, and vegetables could not be produced from its surface. Were it softer, it would be insufficient to support us, and we should sink at every step, like a person walking in a quagmire. The exact adjustment of the solid parts of our globe to the nature and necessities of the beings which inhabit it, is an instance of divine wisdom.
It is this earth that, like a kind mother, receives us at our birth, and sustains us when born; it is this alone of all the elements around us that is never found an enemy to man. The body of waters deluge him with rain, oppress him with hail, and drown him with inundations; the air rushes in storms, prepares the tempest, or lights up the volcano; but the earth, gentle and indulgent, ever subservient to the wants of man, spreads his walks with flowers and his table with plenty; returns with interest every good committed to her care, and though she produces the poison, she still supplies the antidote; though constantly teased more to furnish the luxuries of man than his necessities, yet even to the last she continues her kind indulgence, and when life is over, she piously covers his remains in her bosom.