Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

And if we turn our eyes from the invisible to the visible world, what do we behold? The same scenes,

the same action, the same end, the happiness, not of Man alone, but of all created beings. The groups of crystals are no longer restricted within the limits of a water-drop, they tower high in the heavens as domes or pinnacles, sometimes resembling closely the minute crystals we were just examining. But those rugged peaks were formed long, long before Man's eye could watch their growth, before his mind proceeded from that Heaven to which their summits figuratively point. And on those very summits there lies outspread a sheet of spotless snow, the constituent particles of which again resemble the diminutive formations that the microscope reveals, each crystal vieing with its neighbour in the beauty and variety of its pattern. So here, again, we have the vast and the diminutive in nature closely interlinked by that great Power which framed them both.

From those same summits he who has surmounted them looks down upon a varied scene on earth. His eye may follow in the valley all those graceful undulations which form so marked a contrast with the rigid lines and angles that limit Man's abodes. Beneath his very feet, perhaps, the hidden forces which contributed to raise the eminence on which he stands, imprisoned now by God's almighty hand, are striving and struggling to be free once

Yonder is massed a sea of clouds, and there, with a warning sound which often comes too late, the natural forces find their vent more readily, flashing in angry lightning on some hapless wayfarer, or rending the oak of ages. As he descends, the traveller passes through an

more.

ever-changing scene, and he may witness nature's moods and aspects as they are ever manifested to the denizens of various lands and climates of the earth. Quitting the eternal snows, the bare grey rocks rising, it may be, here and there in pillared masses, crystals of hardest stone, he first arrives at levels where lichens and mosses, and the vegetation of the arctic zones abound. Here, if he list, his memory and imagination may carry him to lands where similar productions serve as food for elk and reindeer, animals for whose enjoyment a beneficent Creator has prepared such humble plants. Soon modest little flowers appear; the gentian first, a harbinger of lovely blossoms, massed in profusion lower down; and here, perhaps, the chamois bounding past reminds him of the approach of his congener, Man.

He makes his first appearance as a fell destroyer, an animal in search of prey, with leaden bullets more unerring than the tiger's claws or serpent's fangs; and so the gentle creature, instinct with life a moment previously, and bounding happily along from crag to crag, sniffing the mountain air, or signalling its mate, falls panting and bleeding at his very feet, casting towards him who soon will feed upon its flesh, a soft appealing glance that speaks reproachfully of love and pity which should stir the human breast. Down he descends to pine and fir plantations, trees of whose useful products all the cottages below are framed, and all their household furniture constructed. Humble but precious wood, one of the greatest gifts of God to man! Down lower still, and he arrives at · temperate zones, where fertile meadows, “with verdure clad,” and waving fields of golden corn, reward the sower's

toil; and where the harvest-home is being celebrated by a merry throng, with joy of work accomplished stamped on every brow. Should he descend in warmer regions, he may witness scenes in nature so luxuriant as to remind him of the songs of Eastern bards of old. There he may see the "cedars of Lebanon which He hath planted”; may hear “the young lions roar after their prey, seeking their meat from God.” He may admire the stately palm, of which the fruit, the leaves, the bark, the trunk, each is a separate boon to Man, for raiment, food, or shelter. There birds and insects vie with one another which shall win his admiration for their Maker. It

may be that some village nearer home is his first resting-place; and entering its modest churchyard, he may stay to admire a graceful willow drooping o'er a grave. Its branches, bending downwards, may remind him of his future resting-place, and make his heart grow sad, although the neighbouring spire attracts his gaze towards heaven. But then, does every tree direct the pilgrim's thoughts to earth? Is it not that alone which decorates his mortal grave? Whilst of the rest it may be said, or sung

Rooted in earth they firmly stand,
Raising their heads by God's command;
And thus to earth stand rooted, we,
The body chained, the Spirit free.

XIV.

CONCLUSION.

THE VIEW OF GOD IN SCIENCE AND TRADITION.

In tracing the traditionary picture of the Deity in the first Part of this work, we confined ourselves to the views of an important section of ancient monotheists, and of their modern Trinitarian descendants in the Western world ; but those who desire to obtain a faithful image of the Divinity as He has been hitherto reflected in the human mind, must of course also direct their attention to other revelations of his nature. They must follow the rise and progress of those religious faiths which number their hundreds of millions of followers, and which have exercised so powerful an influence on Eastern society and civilisation. Still more superficial and imperfect has been the survey of nature from which we have endeavoured to obtain a faint conception of the Ruler of the universe as He is revealed by science, and it would not be surprising, therefore, if on comparing those two faulty and defective ideals we failed to recognise in them one and the same perfect Being, the God of nature and of Man.

But making every allowance for the incapacity of the artist and for the ignorance of the age; and admitting that if even the ablest hands and noblest mind had photographed the pictures, they would still have to be returned to the dark chamber of the future to become developed under the influence of clearer intellects and purer senses; still the

fact remains that if the Ruler of the universe and the Father of the human race be One, then, as soon as we are able to obtain definite views of him as He appears to us in his two aspects, their simultaneous observation should disclose wellmarked features identical in both, and there should be presented to our mind's eye a more real, prominent, and lifelike conception of the Divine Being than could be obtained from the contemplation of either picture viewed alone.

Tradition and Science, then; agree in teaching us that there exists an active, intelligent, personal Power, which imparts life and motion to the universe. Those who have made the acts and thoughts of men their chief study, and have watched the higher influence which has shaped the destiny of our race, have called that power“ God," or the “Good Spirit,” comparing him to a human mind and investing him with human qualities. The existence of such a Being and our consciousness of his active presence lend a positive sanction to that view of him, which is however modified by scientific research and the observation of the vast universe, so far as to suggest that we possess only a portion of his attributes, and are therefore but partially able to understand his nature. Those, on the other hand, who have made physical science their study, and who have always had before their eyes visible effects produced by visible or invisible causes, have designated him the great “First Cause.” To the former class of thinkers He has been the omniscient Guide and Ruler of men ; to the latter the unerring and omnipotent Power that moulds and

governs all creation, and the joint investigations of both have shown that his action in the universe is feebly reflected in the acts and demeanour of men towards each other and towards

« НазадПродовжити »