Thursday, November 13, 2008

A God of wonder and variety

Orion Nebula
The Orion Nebula

If it be true that “Order is heaven’s first law,” I think it must be equally true that variety is the second law of heaven. The line of beauty is not a straight line, but always the curve. The way of God’s procedure is not uniform, but diversified. You see this with a glance, when you look at the creation around us. God has not made all creatures of one species, but he has created beasts, birds, fishes, insects, reptiles. All flesh truly is not the same flesh, neither are all bodies of the same order. The dull dead earth itself is full of variety. Gems sparkle not all with the same ray. The grosser and less precious rocks are marked and veined each one according to its own fashion. In the vegetable world what a variety of plants, shrubs, herbs, flowers, and trees, we have about us. In any one of the kingdoms of nature, whether it be the animal, vegetable, or mineral, you shall find so many subdivisions that it would need a long schooling to classify them, and a lifetime would not suffice to understand them all. Consider the winged creatures which flit through the air-what a diversity there is between the tiny humming bird, which seems to be but a living mass of gems, and the eagle which with soaring wing ascends to the sky and sports with the lightnings.

The whole world is full of marvels, and no two marvels alike. You shall never be able to find God repeating himself. This great Master may often paint two pictures which seem alike, but investigated with the microscope, what differences at once are revealed! Even those stars which seem to shine with rays of the same brilliance, are discovered by the aid of the telescope to be of different colors, forms, and orbits. Nay, even the very clouds are piled in varied forms, and the masses of nebulae which make up the milky-way are distinguishable from each other. God, in no instance that we can ever find, has used the same mould a second time. He is so affluent of designs, so abundant in the wisdom that devises, so prolific in plans, that even when he would accomplish the same end he chooseth to take another road to it; and that new road is quite as direct as those by which he has formerly reached his purpose.

From a sermon entitled "The First Five Disciples," delivered May 15, 1864. Flickr photo by Marc Soller; some rights reserved.

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