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ROR, in which we may by permission, and if we ourselves are willing, view ourselves; because the infinite wisdom, power, and goodness of our Creator, has placed the image of every thing that is in man, in the natural world also : as Solomon says-“ Also he hath set the world in their heart;" * (Eccles. iii.) and therefore, whenever this MIRROR is removed, either much or little, we accordingly see less, understand less, and are able to express less of ourselves, in exact proportion to the degree in which it is removed.
The images in this mirror of the natural world, are, however, sometimes difficult to be truly read by the eye of the understanding, because, as shown above, they are generally presented under another form and name ; so that it may be truly said, “mutato nomine, de te fabula narratur.” (Horace.) And secondly, because they are often extremely complicated; hence they are like a crowd of persons at a masquerade, where we are among strangers until they unmask, and then we recognize old acquaintances. Lastly, the Spirit of truth alone can truly open the internal vision of the mind;
* This author once heard the following comment on this text, by a reverend gentleman, viz. “ Yes, our hearts by nature are too full of the world and its vanities.” It was replied by another reverend gentleman,“ Very true, but God does not put them there."
or give the necessary clue, or key, or alphabet, to read either this natural cypher, or the spiritual and glorious mirror of the written Word of God, with true and saving knowledge.James i.
From what has been premised, it is obvious, I suppose, that natural objects form a kind of language, which is that of symbols, and that nature, though not God, is a book of God, corresponding to his word, as clay, or an impression on clay, answers to the seal which impressed it ; See Job; or as the body resembles or sets forth the invisi- Section I. ble spirit therein, of which it is the outward form, or " tabernacle.”—2 Cor. v. Rev. xv.
But the language of nature being universal, is much superior in some respects to our vocal, and, as they may be truly called, dead languages ; because they are arbitrary, and have therefore no inherent native meaning or spirit in themselves. For what obstacle is there in the nature of things, to calling black white, or darkness light? If such had originally been the allotment given to sounds, with respect to things, we should have found no inconvenience from the change of unmeaning words. But in symbolical language, the matter which we call light is the very thing in itself, and darkness is the very thing in itself; and therefore all the human, and even all the mere animal world, read and understand it, in a natural sense, without
a teacher. The soul feels the essential difference, and the absolute contrast between them, both instinctively, and in their effects; and therefore they are true and convincing images to an awakened mind, of spiritual light and darkness, truth and error, knowledge and ignorance.
From the premises I infer, in spite of prejudice, that the hidden meaning, (to say the least,) of many natural objects, viz. those which relate to husbandry, to architecture, and to the various natural objects contained in the parables of holy Scripture, is spiritual and evangelical ; and if such is the case with so many, surely the resemblance or correspondence must extend to all, without exception. I must therefore give my readers credit for having as much discernment as myself, and proceed. *
Upon the whole, I conclude that the fundamental principle, the siné qua non of all true or vital knowledge, in natural as well as in spiritual things, is, that a man should have faith
* Those who allow a partial analogy between natural and spiritual things, but deny a universal analogy, would confer a great favour on such dreamers as myself by pointing out the line of distinction, where the analogy ceases. The parables of Holy Scripture contain animals of all kinds; viz. birds, beasts, and fishes; also vegetables, viz. trees, plants, flowers; also the minerals, viz, gold, &c.; also what we call elements, viz. air, light, fire, water, earth. Now, therefore, what is left for the recusants?
in God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, “ in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge :” (Coloss.) and it is equally evident, that all natural philosophers who have not this faith, know nothing profitably or vitally, for “ from the wicked (or faithless) their light is withholden."-Job xxxviii.
GENERAL OPENING OF THE SUBJECT.
I apprehend it to be impossible that any man of a rational and considerate spirit of mind, and only very moderately embued with natural science, can survey our solar system, either directly, or in treatises of astronomy and natural philosophy, imperfect as they must in some measure be, without seeing and feeling the presence of the Deity, in these his glorious works! that is to say, if the man be not an atheist.
From the HEAT, LIGHT, and viTAL AIR, or The Sun. spirit of natural life, of the natural sun, the ONE, yet threefold source of natural life, health, and joy, food and raiment, to the whole world; from his regal, central situation in the visible heavens, the seat or throne of his dominion ; and at the same time, from his actual presence in every part, by means of the three distinct modes of his operations, his denominations, and his offices; (see the 19th psalm;) by which
he keeps up a continual connexion with the
I have already endeavoured, (See Section or
and vehicle of it,) to imagination, and sentiment or The Air. affection, and appetite ; that the air, (at least
within the limits of the moon's attraction,) is the