Nature comprises the material things in the universe of God and the powers which produce existing phenomena; the existing system of things; a material universe acting according to the rules of physical constitution and existence.
The processes of nature are always the same, because they are the results of fixed laws.
"Art may err, but Nature cannot miss." -- Dryden.
"Laws of nature" is a general statement of natural processes, and the invariability of natural processes is credited to the Creator and ruler of the universe.
Nature does not act independently of God. God is perpetually at work in nature and he works through his laws.
"Nature is but a name for an effect whose cause is God." -- Cooper.
The Impress of God
Upon all created things is plainly seen the impress of the Creator. Nature testifies of God. A thoughtful and susceptible mind brought into contact with the mysteries and miracle of the universe, cannot help but recognize the working of infinite power. It is not by accident or any inherent power that the earth continually produces its bounties, and yearly continues its circuit of the sun. An unseen hand is guiding the movements of the heavenly bodies. A mysterious life pervades all nature; assists the flight of birds and the feeding of their young; brings the bud to blossom and the flower to fruit. Assists the bee to build its hive, and the beaver to build its dam.
Nature testifies to the fact that the intelligent hand of the Infinite is at work.
"There's not a leaf within the bower, there's not a bird upon the tree, there's not a dewdrop on the flower, but bears the impress Lord of three." -- Amelia Opie.
Nature in her work testifies of the intelligent presence of an active agency of a Supreme Being.
The Power of God in Nature
"Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by names, by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth." -- Isa.40:26. The hand of infinite power is constantly guiding this planet and every other heavenly body.
"The study of nature is intercourse with the Highest Mind. You should never trifle with nature." -- Jean Louis Agassiz.
"The book of nature is only read by those who turn its pages."
"Learn from the birds what foods the thickets yield; learn from the beasts the physic of the fields; the art of building from the bee receive; learn of the mole to plough, the worm to weave."
Nature knows the best methods and through all the ages there has not been the slightest variation in the methods. Man's plans change.
The beaver has never been taught to build a dam; the first one he built is as good as the last; and the dam built today is no different, or any better, than the one he built centuries ago. The same species of birds always build the same kind of a nest. There are thousands of different species of birds, and each species' nest is of different structure, some are very complicated, yet, each kind of bird has always built the same kind of nest, and from time immemorial there has never been the slightest change or variation.
This is true all through nature, because the instinct to build is natural and God given, and God never changes.
"Nature is miraculously wise. Indeed, nothing else should be expected, since nature is nothing but an expression of the infinite embodied in the cosmos of things."
Healing In Nature
There are protective, restoring, and healing forces in nature. The bark knocked off a tree grows in from the edges to cover over the denuded area. Trees subject to constant winds develop stronger roots, and usually grow leaning from the wind to lessen resistance.
One of the most interesting facts about the human body is its power of self protection. A broken limb heals; hair, nails and skin removed grow back. An eye or a kidney removed, -- the one remaining increases in function and efficiency, until it does almost the work of two -- compensates. All materials of the body are supposed to be renewed about every seven years.
Law of Nature
"There are no lies in God's universe; every comet arrives on scheduled time and every natural law is obeyed." -- Rev. Dr. Malcomb McLeod.
David says, -- "The works of thy hands are verity," and "O Lord how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy riches." -- Psalms 104:24.
"The laws of nature are seen to be nothing but combinations of force with a view to purpose; combinations which indicate complete knowledge, not only of what is, but of what is to be, and which sees the end from the beginning." -- Duke of Argyll in, "Reign of Law."
A close observer of nature will see law, order, and purpose, manifest so plainly that "the man who runs may read."
"The laws of nature are God's thoughts thinking themselves out into the orbits and tides." -- C.H. Parkhurst in "Sermons."
"The Lord by his wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew." -- Prov.3:19,20.
Law and Order
Law and order reign, not only over the creations that are about us upon this earth, but throughout the whole universe of God.
The dew is deposited through the "law of condensation." The ebb and flow of the tides never vary. The earth, with all heavenly bodies throughout space, are all moving in their orbits about one another according to law, with the harmony and regularity of clockwork, and with such exactness as to be referred to by the poets as "the musical spheres," perfect harmony.
"Forever singing as they shine, the hand that made us is divine." -- Addison.
Man has finally accounted for the suspension and circulation of the heavenly bodies by the "Law of Gravitation," -- in other words; he is beginning to see something of the law, order, and power of God, -- beginning to line up with an "old established order" of things.
Crystallization, chemical reactions, electrical phenomena, -- in fact, all acts or processes which are resultant from created things, are under control of laws, whether they are understood or not -- for God, the Creator of all, is a God of "law and order," otherwise pandemonium would result. It was lack of harmony that caused some of the angels to "lose their first estate."
The Human Machine
The human body is "Fearfully and wonderfully made." Its mechanism presents mysteries that baffle the most intelligent. Laws govern the operations of the human machinery, and these laws are of Divine origin. They are written by the finger of God upon every nerve, muscle and faculty, and if the human agent will obey these laws, there will be healthful action; there will be freedom from suffering, sickness and disease. These are penalties for the violation of the laws of our being, which are nature's laws, the laws of God.
Wonders of Nature
There are myriad marvels in nature, from the animated invisible creations of infusoria and bacteria, to the largest animals that roam the earth. Inanimate materials of the earth are filled with mysteries; the atomic structure of elements, which combine to make different kinds of materials; the beautiful colorations of materials such as precious stones, flowers, and animals -- such as insects, birds, fish, etc.
Some of the bacteria of the microscopic world assist in the preservation of life; others are the cause of disease, and are enemies of mankind. Many disease producing germs find their way into the body. Why do they not always produce trouble? Simply because nature has provided the body with fighting forces to resist these invasions, and in many cases the enemy is overcome and destroyed before serious damage is done The white blood cells of the body are "scavengers" that destroy many germs and poisonous substances. Many inherent forces are at work to protect the body, which is "fearfully and wonderfully made."
Insect World Filled with Marvels and Mysteries
Few branches of nature offer such possibilities of fascinating study as the insects. In every type of country, there is always something going on; the eternal struggle for existence, the ways of the sluggard, the thrifty, the songs of nocturnal insects, crickets, katydids, -- their night life, all is very interesting.
Any modest little flower bed in the back yard will attract an interesting aggregation of animated wonders. Some of these insects viewed through an ordinary magnifying glass are beautiful beyond description; beetles, butterflies, insects, worms, spiders, and all the rest. Loose flat stones shelter many interesting kinds; many species may be dredged from ponds; after dark, many are attracted to a light; dead wood and fungus house many.
Animals Adapted To Environment
Animals seem adapted to their surroundings; their color and appearance blend in with the soil and verdure about their habitat, so that sometimes they are not easily seen, -- nature's arrangement for their protection. The polar bear of the Arctic regions is white, as the ice and snow upon which he roams; the horned toad of the desert can hardly been seen upon the sand.
Skins and plumage of animals often change with the seasons to afford them more safety. There is a bird called the ptarmigan, a species of grouse, found in northern mountainous regions, which changes its plumage with the seasons in order to blend in with the color scheme prevailing; in the winter, the plumage is white; in the summer it is gray or brownish.
There are "stick insects," and "walking leaves;" their colors vary to enable them to sometimes pass the day on the wood of dead trees, where there is plenty of insect life. Some insects resemble the flowers upon which they are found.
The shy fox brushes out his tracks with his tail; a certain fish ejects a dark fluid which envelops it as a "smoke screen," the chameleon, a species of lizard, has the power to change its color as conditions may require.
This subject is too broad to receive more than this passing notice, but it will serve to show that there is wisdom displayed in the creation of even the lower animals.
Chemistry Creates New Things
The possibilities of chemical changes and reactions that may take place in the material world are unlimited. Animals, forests and vegetation buried centuries ago by upheavals of the earth, have in course of time, become changed through chemical reactions into coal beds, diamonds, oil pools, peat bogs, and asphalt deposits; various areas of soil, sediments, and minerals, have been changed to quantities of marble, varying in color from white, to various hues, -- some of great beauty. Trees have become changed to stone, petrified, -- as can be observed in the Petrified Forest of Arizona. In the Metropolitan Museum of Natural History, New York City, may be seen the trunk of a tree, one side wood, gradually blending into stone on the other side.
The white tusk of a walrus, buried in the earth for centuries, may, through chemical reactions, be changed to beautiful, blended, varigated colors of black, white, brown and gray.
Precious stones, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and all others, have originated from baser materials by chemical reactions of mixed elements and crystallizations.
Sugar can be made from rags; paper from wood. There are silk substitutes in rayon, and nylon. Nylon is made of coal. Many big business corporations have Chemical Research Laboratories where experiments are conducted to cheapen the price of products, originate new materials, or increase efficiency. Trying to find out the possibilities in nature.
Elements of Matter
All matter can be reduced to about ninety-two primary elements, such as hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, potassium. These cannot be separated into anything different. The same combination of these elementary substances will always produce the same material, -- and this process of breaking up of material into these elements, to produce known substances, or create new, is always the same the world over, and always has been. The "Law of Constancy" always acts the same.
"There is a chemistry of the stars, of the sun and planets and moons, of the earth, of life, of death, -- of everything in nature, as well as of the products used from day to day." -- Beverley Clark, Ph.D. in "Marvels of Modern Chemistry."
Water is always composed of two different elements of matter, hydrogen and oxygen. Two elements of hydrogen and one of oxygen, always make water. No other combination produces water, never did and never will. The same material is always composed of the same number of primary elements. The "Law of Constancy" never fails; it extends into the heavens above, the earth beneath, and the water under the earth, and it shows super human arrangement, which man is just beginning to work out.
Beauties of Nature
Nature is the work of God, art is the work of man. Man can imitate, but never equal or excel.
"The longer I live, the more my mind dwells upon the beauty and the wonder of the world." -- John Burrows in "Summit of the Years."
There is beauty in all the creations of God, if our eyes are sufficiently trained to detect it. There is nothing more delicate and beautiful than the flowers; their intricate and exact arrangement, with various colors of different shades, from deep to mild tints, and blended; petals, stamens, pistils, pollen, perfume, -- and then the seed and process by which it is produced.
Some fish are highly colored and of very delicate construction. All is beautiful in nature, even the desert has its beauty. Where can you observe more beautiful coloring than in the rainbow?
"Consider the lilies of the field . . . and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." -- Matt. 6:28,29. Even the stars of heaven are brilliantly colored, white, blue, red, yellow, and they scintillate in the firmament above like the sparkle of precious stones. "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork." The beautiful construction and coloring of birds, from the tiny humming bird to the mighty ostrich is difficult to comprehend.
The Earth Teems With Beauty
"The sweetest song ear ever heard was the carol of a bird." -- Lord Byron.
The earth is full of beauty and music, and so much of it seems to be going to waste; even the desert flowers are beautiful and fragrant.
"Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its fragrance on the desert air."
From "Gray's Elegy."
The poet George Gordon Byron in "Child Harold's Pilgrimage," expresses his feelings with nature by the sea, as follows, --
"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture by the lonely shore,
There is a society, where none intrudes
By the deep sea and the music in its roar;
I love not man the less, but nature more,
From these our interviews in which I steal
From all that I may be or have been before,
To mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal."
Nature covers the universe, so that the volumes that might be said would only be as a speck in eternity.
Religion Is Taught In Nature
"God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees, and flowers, and clouds and stars." -- Martin Luther.
"In singing bird and opening blossom, in rain and sunshine, in summer breeze, and gentle dew, in the ten thousand objects in nature, from the oak of the forest, to the violet that blossoms at its roots, is seen the love that restores, and nature still speaks to us of God." -- Mrs. E.G. White.
"There is a religion in everything around us, -- calm and holy in the unbreathing things of nature, which man would do well to imitate." -- Ruskin.
"The earth is crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God."
All creation seems to breathe forth the wisdom, power, and love of God. The study of nature always leads to God, and should inspire in man a desire to know of the Creator of the heaven and the earth.
"We find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones and good in everything." -- Shakespeare.
William Cullent Bryant in Thanatopsis, says, -- "To him who in the love of nature holds communion with her visible forms she speaks a varied language."
The study of nature is intercourse with the highest mind. "Go forth under the sky and list to nature's teachings."
"Look through nature up to nature's God." -- Pope.
"The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard." -- Psalms 19:1-3.
The Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Romans adds his testimony as follows:
"The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and God-head." -- Rom.1:20.
God is the origin and foundation of all things. All true science will be in harmony with his works, and all true education will lead to obedience to his government.
"Wise man, wise man, you who preach, kneel to learn what grass blades teach. Kneel to dew-drops' globing skies, to show you more of Paradise. Wise man, wise man, do you know in your wisdom, how green things grow? How revelations burst from seeds? And Gospel's banner up from weeds? Your creed is only a blinding wall! Preacher, preacher, do not pass Eden's pointing blades of grass! Wise man, wise man, so to be rooted in Divinity." -- Louis Ginsberg in "American Hebrew."
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