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superintended the affairs of the household? Though you searched in vain for the owner, you would know for a certainty that he was not far off.
Now contemplate the great temple of nature, so vast in proportions, so perfect in design, so elaborate in detail, so beautiful to the eye, that we never grow weary of beholding it. Look at the glorious luminary which sheds its flood of light throughout this temple by day, and the myriads of lamps suspended from the blue dome of heaven by night. Gaze on the magnificent and ever-varying pictures embellishing this temple, and moving before us in panoramic view-pictures that serve as models to works of art; for the works of art approach nearer to perfection, the more closely they copy the models of nature. It is the triumph of human genius to be
true to nature.
See the rich, flowery carpet which is spread before you. Admire also the fecundity of the earth, which yields all kinds of fruits for the nourishment of man. She presents to us her varied stores with so much regularity, that her unceasing bounty is no longer considered a marvel; but rather it would be a marvel, if she once failed in her supplies.
And, then, what sweet music comes from those winged songsters that people our woodlands! But sweeter still and more soothing is that silent melody produced in our heart by the harmony of nature:
"Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it."1
And while the palace made with hands decays with time; while its lamps must be replenished with oil; while its pictures fade, and its carpets become motheaten ;-this palace of nature is renewing its beauty every day. Its countless lamps are as bright now as when they were fixed in their azure roof; its pictures are ever-changing and ever-new; its carpet is as fresh and downy and bright to-day as when it was trodden upon by Adam.
Who can look on the works of creation, without exclaiming with the Psalmist: "Thou, O Lord, didst found the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thy hands," and without feeling in his inmost soul that an invisible Power is ruling over this beautiful temple of nature? When Robinson Crusoe observed a human footprint on the sand, in the island of Juan Fernandez, he justly concluded that some man had trodden there. And how can we behold the works of creation without tracing the footprint of the Almighty! It is marked on every star of the firmament, on every leaf of the forest, every sand on the sea-shore. How true are the words of Wisdom: "All men are vain, in whom there is not the knowledge of God; and who by these good things that are seen could not understand
Him that is, neither by attending to the works, have acknowledged who was the workman. . . . For by the greatness of the beauty, and of the creature, the Creator of them may be seen, so as to be known thereby" (chap. xii).
Indeed, every man whose intellect is not perverted, is forced to acknowledge that a world in which such beauty and harmony and order are displayed, must be the work of a supremely intelligent Being. All men, even the most uncultivated, have a sense of the beautiful; they have certain fixed and uniform canons of taste more or less developed; they have in their mind an ideal by which they can at once determine whether, or not, a certain work is marked by order and regularity. The most ignorant peasant will recognize order in the disciplined march of an army, and disorder in the pell-mell rout of a mob. The sense of order is, therefore, common to us all, and we see it everywhere displayed in the universe.
Now this order presupposes an adaptation of means to an end. This adaptation implies a wonderful conception and foresight, and this conception and foresight manifest an intelligent Creator. There is no other reasonable way of accounting for the order existing in the universe. It cannot be the result of chance, as some ancient philosophers imagined. Chance, as we commonly understand the term, implies a cause which does not foresee the effect that follows from it. Chance involves the absence of uniformity and continuity. But in the world of nature, we observe laws that are constant and invariable in
their operations. We see a regular succession of day and night, and a uniform revolution of the seasons. The theory which attributes to chance the order and harmony pervading the world, is thus eloquently refuted by Cicero, when, in the words of the Stoic Cleanthes, he mentions the causes which have led all men to believe in the existence of some celestial and divine power. "The strongest of these causes," he says, "is the regular motion of the heavens, the gradation, diversity, beauty, and harmony of the sun, the moon, and all the stars-to behold which is of itself sufficient evidence that they are not the work of chance. If, when we enter a house, a school, or a hall of justice, we at once trace the order, method and discipline therein observed to some cause, and conclude that there is some one who commands and to whom obedience is paid; how much more, when we see the wonderful motions and revolutions of such a prodigious number of heavenly bodies, continuing with unimpaired regularity for endless ages, ought we to be convinced that those movements are governed and directed by an intelligent Being!" 1
For like reasons the formation of the world cannot, as Epicurus and some modern materialists have surmised, be ascribed to the fortuitous accretion of eternally-existing atoms. For, the arrangement of the universe is marked, as we have seen, by conspicuous order and beauty, revealing a marvellous Intelligence. The material substance of which the
1 De Natura Deorum, L. II., C. V.
world is composed, is utterly devoid of intelligence; and the atoms, or elements of matter, cannot possess any rational power which is not inherent in the whole mass. We might as well suppose that the sublime poems of Homer or of Milton were produced by the accidental grouping together of letters of the alphabet, as that the universe was constructed by the chance accumulation of atoms. This supposition would destroy the first principles of reason. For it would be tantamount to admitting the existence of an effect, denying at the same time the existence of a cause capable of producing it.
The constant and regular motion of the planetary system also demonstrates the existence of a Supreme Being. The countless stars of the Firmament above us, as well as the planet on which we dwell are in perpetual motion. Now everything which is in motion must be impelled ultimately by a Power distinct from and superior to it. Hence there exists a Power or Being distinct from, and superior to created things.
If, on reaching the uninhabited island to which I referred before, you discovered there in the midst of the solitude, a railroad engine complete in all its parts, though you could find no trace of man, you would, at once, reasonably conclude that some skilful mechanic had wrought it. And we see before us this grand and complex engine of the Universe so vast in proportions, so perfect in detail ;—an engine not standing still, but in perpetual motion. This earth which we inhabit, though it forms but an insignificant part of the whole machinery of nature,