We hold our existence at the mercy of the elements. The life of man is a state of continual vigilance against their warfare. The heats of noon would wither himlike the severed herb. The hail would smite him to death, did he not seek shelter and protection against them. His clothing is the perpetual armour he wears for his defence, his dwelling the fortress to which he retreats for safety. Yet, even there the elements attack him.
The winds overthrow his habitation. The waters sweep it away. The fire, that warmed and brightened it within, seizes upon its walls and consumes it, with his wretched family. The earth, where she seems to spread a paradise for his abode. It sends up death in exhalations from her bosom. the heavens dart down lightnings to destroy him. The drought consumes the harvests on which he relied for sustenance. Or the rains cause the green corn to "rot ere its youth attains a beard." A sudden blast ingulfs him in the waters of the lake or bay from which he seeks his food. A false step, or a broken twig, precipitates him from the tree which he had climbed for its fruit.