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Wonders of the day and night.
other God save their Maker and the appointer of their bounds, Him who laid out the universe.
7. No one must tolerate such as say, that the Maker of (4.) light is different from the Maker of darkness; for let a man remember Isaiah's words, I the Lord form the light and Is. 45,7. create darkness. Why, O man, art thou offended with these? Why so annoyed at the time of rest given thee? The servant would not have gained it from his masters, but for the darkness bringing a necessary respite. And often, after toiling in the day, how are we refreshed by nights; and he who was yesterday amid labours, starts in the morning vigorous from a night's rest? And what more conduces to religious wisdom than the night, when oftentimes we bring before us the things of God, and read and contemplate the Divine Oracles? when too is our mind more alive for Psalmody and Prayer than at night? When does a recollection oftener come over us of our sins than at night? Let us not then be perverse enough to entertain the notion, that another besides God is the Maker of darkness; for experience shews that darkness is good and most useful.
8. Those persons ought to have felt astonishment and admiration, not only at the sun and moon, but also at the well-ordered choirs of the stars, their unimpeded courses, their respective risings in due season; and how some are the signs of summer, others of winter, and how some mark the time of sowing, others introduce the season of sailing. And man sitting in his ship, and sailing on the boundless waves, looks at the stars and steers his vessel. Well says Scripture concerning these bodies, Let them be for signs, and for seasons, Gen. 1, and for days, and for years; not for star-gazings, and vain 14. tales of nativities. Observe, too, how considerately He imparts the daylight by a gradual growth; for the sun does not rise upon us, while we gaze, all at once, but a little light runs up before him, that by previous trial our eye-ball may bear his stronger ray: and again, how He has cheered the darkness of night by the gleam of moonlight.
9. Who is the father of the rain; and who hath given (5.) birth to the drops of dew? Who hath condensed the air into Job 38, 28. Sept. clouds, and bid them carry the fluid mass of showers, at one time bringing from the north golden clouds, at another, Job 37.
Job 38, 37.
94 Wonders of the clouds, rain, and snow, of flowers and trees.
LECT. giving these a uniform appearance, and then again curling them up into festoons and other figures manifold? Who can number the clouds in wisdom? of which Job saith, He knoweth the Job 37, balancings of the clouds, and hath bent down the heaven to 16.Sept. the earth; and, He who numbereth the clouds in wisdom, 37. Sept. and, The cloud is not rent under them. For though measures Ibid. of water ever so many weigh upon the clouds, yet they are not Job 26, rent; but with all order come down upon the earth. Who Ps. 135, brings the winds out of His treasuries? Who, as just now 7. Job said, hath given birth to the drops of dew? Out of whose Sept. womb cometh forth the ice, watery in its substance, but like stone in properties. And at one time the water becomes snow like wool, at another, it ministers to Him who scatγεία. ters the hoar-frost like ashes; at another it is changed into 16. a strong substance, since He fashions the water as He will. Ibid. Its nature is uniform, its properties manifold. Water, in the Ps. 104, vines is wine, which maketh glad the heart of man; and in the olives oil, to make his face to shine; and is further transformed into bread, which strengtheneth man's heart, and into all kinds of fruits.
10. For such wonders was the great Artificer to be blasphemed? or rather to be worshipped? And after all I have not yet spoken of that part of His wisdom which is not seen. Contemplate the spring, and the flowers of all kinds, in all their likeness still diverse from one another: the deep crimson of the rose, and the exceeding whiteness of the lily. They come of one and the same rain, one and the same earth; who has distinguished, who has formed them? Now do consider this attentively:-the substance of the tree is one,-part is for shelter, part for this or that kind of fruit; and the Artificer is One. The vine is one, and part of it is for fuel, part for shoots, and part for leaves, and part for tendrils, part for clusters. Again, how wondrously thick are the knots which run round the reeds, as the Artificer hath made them! Out of the one earth come creeping things, and wild beasts, and cattle, and trees, and food, and gold, and silver, and brass, and iron, and stone. Water was but one nature; yet of it comes the life of things that swim, and of birds; and as the one swim in the waters, so also the birds fly in the air.
Wonders of fishes, birds, beasts, and insects.
11. And this great and wide sea, in it are things creeping (6.) innumerable. Who can tell the beauty of the fishes that are Ps. 104, therein? Who can describe the greatness of the whales; and the nature of its amphibious animals? how they live both on rèv væódry land and in the waters? Who can tell the depth and' breadth of the sea, or the force of its enormous waves? Yet it stays within its boundaries, because of Him who said, Hitherto Job 38, shalt thou come and no further; and here shall thy proud 11. waves be stayed. And to shew the decree imposed on it, when it runs up on the land, it leaves a plain line on the sands by its waves; declaring, as it were, to those who see it, that it has not passed its appointed bounds.
12. Who can understand the nature of the fowls of the air? how some have with them a voice of melody; and others have their wings enriched with all manner of painting; and others soaring on high, stay motionless in the midst of the sky, as the hawk. For by the Divine command the hawk Job 39, having spread out her wings, stays motionless, looking down 26.Sept. towards the south. Who of men can behold the eagle? But if thou canst not read the mystery of birds when soaring on high, how wouldest thou read the Maker of all things?
13. Who among men knows even the names of all wild beasts? or who can accurately classify their natures? But if we know not even their bare names, how shall we comprehend their Maker? The command of God was but one, which said, Let the earth bring forth wild beasts and cattle and Gen. 1, 25.Sept. creeping things after their kinds; and distinct natures sprung from one voice at one command, the gentle sheep, and the carnivorous lion,-also the various instincts of irrational creatures, as representations of the various characters of men. The fox is an emblem of men's craftiness, and the snake of aggi friend's envenomed treachery, and the neighing horse of wanton Jer.5, 8. young men, and that busy ant, to arouse the sluggish and the dull; for when a man passes his youth idly, then he is instructed by the irrational creatures, being reproved by that Scripture which saith, Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider Prov. 6, her ways and be wise; for when thou beholdest her in due season treasuring up food for herself, do thou copy her, and treasure up for thyself the fruits of good works for the world to come. And again, Go to the bee, and learn how industrious Prov. 6,
LECT. she is; how hovering about all kinds of flowers, she culls the honey for thy use, that thou also ranging over Holy Scripture mayest lay hold on thy salvation, and being satisPs. 119, fied with it mayest say, How sweet are thy words unto my the ho- taste, yea sweeter than honey and the honeycomb to my neycomb, mouth.
omitted in He
14. Is not the Artificer then rather worthy to be glorified? For what if thou know not the nature of every thing? are the things therefore, which He has made, without their use? For canst thou know the efficacy of all herbs? or canst thou learn all the advantage which comes of every animal? Even from poisonous adders have come antidotes for the preservation of men. But thou wilt say to me, "The snake is terrible," fear thou the Lord, and it shall not be able to hurt thee; "The scorpion stings," fear thou the Lord, and it shall not sting thee; "The lion is blood-thirsty," fear thou the Lord, and he shall lie down beside thee, as by Daniel. And, truly, there is whereat to wonder, in the power even of the creatures; how some, as the scorpion, have their weapon in a sting, while the power of others is in their teeth, and others again get the better by means of hoofs, and the basilisk's might is his gaze. Thus from this varied workmanship, think of the Artificer's power.
15. But these things perchance thou art not acquainted with; thou hast nothing in common with the creatures which are without thee. Now then enter into thyself, and consider the Artificer of thine own nature. What is there to find fault with in the framing of thy body? Master thine own self, and there shall nothing evil proceed from any of thy members. At the first, Adam in paradise was without clothing, as was Eve, but it was not because of aught that he was, that he was cast out; nought that we are then is the cause of sin, but they who abuse what they are: but the Maker is wise. Who hath prepared the recesses of the womb for childbearing? Who hath given life to the lifeless thing within it? Job 10, Who hath fenced us with sinews and bones, and clothed us with skin and flesh, and soon as the babe is born, brings forth fountains of milk out of the breasts? And how doth the babe grow to be a child, and the child to be a youth, and then to be a man; and is again changed into an old man, no
διὰ τὰ μέλη. ὁ τῶν
Lesson taught in these wonders.
one the while discerning exactly each day's charge? How also does part of our food become blood, while another part is separated for the draught, and another is changed into flesh? Who is it who gives its never ceasing motion to the heart? Who hath wisely guarded the tenderness of the eyes with the fence of the eyelids? for concerning the complicated and wonderful contrivance of the eyes scarcely do the ample rolls of physicians sufficiently inform us. Who also hath sent each breath we draw, through the whole body? Thou seest, O man, the Artificer; thou seest the wise Contriver.
16. These things has my discourse dwelt on now, passing over (8.) many, yea innumerable, other matters, and especially things incorporeal and invisible, that on the one hand thou mayest abhor those who blaspheme that good and wise Artificer; and that on the other, from what has been spoken and read, and from what thou canst thyself find out or think of, thou mayest proportionably see the Creator by the greatness and Wis. 13, beauty of the creations; and that bending the knee with godly reverence to the Maker of all things, things of sense and things of mind, visible and invisible, thou mayest with an honest and holy tongue, and with unwearied lips and heart, sing praises to God, saying, O Lord, how manifold are Thy Ps. 104, works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all for to Thee : belongeth honour and glory and greatness, both now and for ever and ever. Amen.