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“ The invisible things of God, since the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made.”—Puul the Apostle.
" All things in Nature are prophetic outlines of Divine operations, God not merely speaking parables but doing them."Tertullian.
“The visible works of God are formed to lead us, under the direction of His Word, to a knowledge of those things which are invisible ; they give us ideas by analogy of 'a new creation,' and are ready to instruct us in the mysteries of faith and the duties of morality.”—Bishop Horne.
" This earthly world which we do see is an exact picture and pattern of the spiritual and heavenly world which we do not see.”— Kingsley.
“All the universe is written to me; I must get what it means. - Walt Whitman.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND
ONE of our critics has told us that “ Man cannot
exist, at least intellectually, without symbols and signs of various sorts and kinds, and the phenomena of Nature lie readiest to his hand, or rather to his eye, for this purpose. As such, they have been used by the poet and seer in all ages. It does not follow, however, that all signs are equally appropriate : and if it be suggested that this was the primary purpose of the great objects of the natural world, or indeed entered into their original purpose at all, common sense begins to demur." But what kind of “common sense,” we inquire ? The common sense of a savage is not the same as the common sense of a philosopher, and that of a merely natural man or an agnostic may be very
different from that of a spiritually-minded Christian. What our critic means to deny is this, that the objects of the material universe are Divinelyintended symbols of definite spiritual realities. If his contention be correct, then Nature was never meant to be a revelation of spiritual things. But the "common sense" of many great and wise men has impelled them to a different conclusion, and led them to express the conviction that all natural things are not only embodiments of Divine ideas, but were intended by God to represent truths and relationships which are spiritual in their nature and eternal in duration. Take a
few examples. Lord Bacon declared, that “Truth and Nature differ only as seal and print.” In Sartor Resartus, p. 43, Carlyle says, “All visible things are emblems. What thou seest is not there on its own account; matter only exists to represent some idea and body it forth.” Archbishop Trench in his book on Parables thus writes, “Analogies assist to make the truth intelligible, or if intelligible before, present it more vividly to the mind. But their power lies still deeper than this, in the harmony unconsciously felt by all men, and which all deeper minds have delighted to trace, between the natural and the spiritual worlds, so that analogies from the first are felt to be something more than illustrations happily but yet arbitrarily chosen. They are arguments, and may be called as witnesses, the world of Nature being throughout a witness for the world of spirit, proceeding from the same hand, growing from the same root, and being constituted for that very end. All lovers of truth readily acknowledge these mysterious harmonies, and the force of arguments derived from them. To them, the things on earth are copies of the things in heaven.” Another—whose name we do not know--has written to the same effect: "Deep in our nature there exists a tendency to seek amongst all interesting objects points of resemblance; and when some intuition keener than our own reveals that resemblance, we bow to its truth or acclaim to its beauty. This tendency to metaphor, and the universal delight in parables, comparisons, and figures of speech are no mere freaks of fancy. They have their foundation in the mind and method of Deity, whose thoughts are all in harmony, and whose works and ways are all connected one with another; so that what we call the imagination of the poet, if his reading be correct, is really the logic of omniscience." The common sense of all these wise teachers
led them to the conclusion, that "the primary purpose of the great objects of the natural world” was not only to reveal and teach earthly and natural truths, but also facts and verities which are heavenly, spiritual, and Divine. Many similar declarations could easily be given, but we shall add only two.
The first is from the pen of a true Christian seer still happily amongst us, and the second from one of the poet-preachers
of Wales, whose decease a few years ago was