(Alexander Smellie, “The Secret Place” 1907)
“O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom have You made them all.” Psalm 104:24
Let me walk through the world, so various, so beautiful, so pleasing — with an open eye. It is strange that there are many who have no discernment of its wondrousness. They are dwellers in a palace, which has a variety and a magnificence that India’s Taj Mahal never possessed — and they are blind to its marvels!
But I would ask for a purged and illuminated vision — and then Your works in nature will astonish me. Let me walk through the world, which is the many-colored vesture of the Lord, with a believing mind.
It is both strange and sad, that men should be atheists in a universe which carries the print of the Creator’s finger on . . .
each grain of sand,
each blade of grass,
each beam of light.
They are as senseless as one who would go through a large factory, with its complicated mechanisms and machinery, and would say, “I do not believe man exists!”
But I would be wiser than they. I would subscribe to William Law’s sentiment, “Nature is what it is for this end only — that the hidden riches, the invisible powers, the blessings, the glory, and the love of the unsearchable God — may become visible, sensible, and manifest in it and by it!” This is a saner conclusion than the atheist’s.
And let me walk through the world with a joyous soul. No doubt, there is much in it to fill the heart with painfulness; and pessimism has turned to the strifes and sorrows of creation for proof of its dismal creed.
But the goodness of God is written, too, in letters of gold on hill and lake and mountain and forest and stream. Not a sunrise, but speaks of His patient and enduring grace. Not a sunset, but stirs the conscience of the sinner, and opens Heaven itself to the saint. So much of His divine glory, the Almighty Maker conveys . . .
by His sunrise and sunset touches,
by His flowers and woodland trees,
by His vast ocean and starry sky.
Therefore let me be strong and of a good courage — He remembers me, His redeemed child!
The sights and sounds of the landscape ought to be preachers and trumpets of the glory of God. In the cool of the day, when I pass through the country fields, or climb to the summit of the hill, or sit and gaze across the sea — God and my soul should meet and talk.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard!” Psalm 19:1-3
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