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unenlightened, on beholding the light of the sun, the verdure of the fields, and the resplendent varieties of the creation, that God is perfect, and that all his works are good.
The practical use to be made of this conviction is, to inquire how far we are severally conducive to the general welfare of the world. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handy-work.” In all Nature is perfection, and all moves in obedience to him. Are we then grateful for his benefits? Do we discharge the duties of the stations allotted us? Do we fulfil the end of Nature! Do we give glory to God in the gratitude of praise, or the more useful marks of thankfulness, in good-will and good acts to men? Do we work diligently for the glory of our Creator, for the benefit of our fellowcreatures, and for the salvation of our souls? This is the great employment that we have to perform; this is the best fruit of all our study and our knowledge. This incomparable wisdom will the contemplation of nature teach us; and if we are not forgetful of the excellent lesson, we shall indeed experience blessed effects. When the sun shall be no more a light by day, nor the moon by night, those who fear God and work righteousness shall be secured in everlasting habitations; be crowned with inconceivable and immortal bliss.
It is recorded in the life of the pious Dr. Watts, that when he went abroad among the scenes of rural verdure, beauty, and fruitfulness, like the bee in its industrious ranges for celestial sweets, he was solicitous to gather fresh food for heaven by contemplation, or fresh materials and ornaments for future compositions. The pastures covered with flocks and herds, the fields waving with the ripening harvests, the groves resounding with the melody of birds, enlivened his praises; and he saw, heard, and confessed his God in all. The skies by day struck his soul with admiration of the immense power, wisdom, and goodness of their divine Author; the moon and starry train by night increased his conceptions of the Deity; and in the open manuscript of God, the wide-extended heavens, he read the letters of his great and wonderful name with profound homage and veneration. All that met his eye or ear was laid, as it were, under a tribute to yield him improvement, and consecrate and enrich his moments of leisure and necessary cessation from study; and, in short, Nature was only a scale to his devout soul, by which to ascend to the knowledge and adoration of God. The Doctor exexclaims,
What are my eyes, but aids to see
Inserib'd with beams of light
my sight. Jeremy Taylor, a profound divine, gives the following excellent advice :
“ Let every thing you see represent to your spirit the presence, the excellency, and the power of God ; and let your conversation with the creatures lead you unto the Creator : for so shall your actions be done more frequently with an actual eye to God's presence, by your often seeing him in the glass of the creation. In the face of the sun you may see God's beauty; in its noontide heat you may feel the warmth of holy zeal'; in the water his gentleness to refresh you; and it is the dew of heaven that makes your field your bread. This philosophy, which is obvious to every man's experience, is a good advantage to our piety, and, by this act of the understanding, our wills are checked from violence and misdemeanor."
What! though I trace each herb and flower,
And drink the morning dew,
How vain were all I knew!
The pedant's idle claim,
ORATORIO OF SOLOMON. Feltham observes, that “ surely the varieties of created beings were formed for the inward soul, as 11.
well as for the outward senses. He was a true philosopher, who, being asked how he could endure life without the pleasure of books, answered, the works of creation were his library, wherein, when he pleased, he could muse upon God's deep oracles.” Oh! how canst thou renounce the boundless store
Of charms, which nature to her votaries yieids?
The pomp of groves, and garniture of fields;
And all the dread magnificence of heaven;
The meanest insect we can see, and the most contemptible weed we can tread upon, is really sufficient to confound atheism, and baffle all its pretensions. How much more that astonishing variety of God's works, with which we are continually surrounded !
What anger, envy, or any bad passion, can torment his breast, whom not only the greatest and noblest objects, but every sand, every pebble, every grass, every fly, can divert; and to whom the returns of every season, every month, every day, suggest a circle of most pleasing reflections ?
God is seen in all, and all in God :
the trees s;
STUDY OF NATURE-concluded.
O Nature ! ever lovely, ever kind,
To whatever part of the creation we turn our view, there is something entertaining to the senses, the imagination, or the understanding. The whole appearance of Nature has a majestic and pleasing aspect: she shews in her countenance the goodness no less than the grandeur of the Creator. Is not the light itself, that prime production of creative power, a glorious and heart-cheering object, which salutes our opening eyes every morning, throwing aside the curtains of night, and presenting anew the great scene of moving Nature. The study and knowledge of Nature affords to the human mind a source of evergrowing delight. The more men contemplate the structure of the world, the more of order and beauty do they perceive in it. The more they are charmed with the admirable marks of divine skill and benevolence, the higher and nobler pleasure will they derive from such benevolent and laudable pursuits.
The most sublime and unknown Being is, at the same time, and without any contradiction, the most condescending, the most familiar, and the most intelligible. Though no man can behold him, yet he is clearly recognized in the visible creation: though no thought can comprehend bim, yet something of him may be understood by every creature around us. If, indeed, we attempt to gaze on the excessive effulgence of his glory, we are instantly struck blind, and lost in profound darkness; if we attempt to penetrate into the most holy recesses of his nature, we are immediately thrown to an infinite distance from him. But if, with a becoming sense of our own weakness, and the narrow limits of all human knowledge, we do not vainly attempt to pry into the secrets of the divine essence, but are content with the manner and measure of knowledge allotted to our feeble nature; if we are satisfied diligently to observe and catch the scattered rays of his glory reflected on every side from his works, and to discover him where, and as far as, he intended to make himself discoverable by us; we shall then act in a manner becoming our reasonable nature, and shall arrive at a more extensive and certain knowledge of the attributes of God, than we can possibly have of the qualities of any other nature or person in the universe. We shall see more manifest and astonishing effects of his power than of any other power; we shall discern more admirable contrivances of his wisdom than of any other wisdom; and receive more ample proof and satisfactory experience of his goodness, than we can have of the goodness of any creature whatsoever. We shall find that all the operations of the potent elements, all the curious strokes of human art and sagacity, all the love of the kindest human affections, are but so many streams issuing from the fountain of his fulness, diffused through various channels to the world of mankind. There is no power which he did not delegate, no wisdom which he did not teach,