« PoprzedniaDalej »
we may presume upon its universal application. Whether the chaos be of matter, or of spirit, the same Divine Spirit conducts the series of its transformations. Not only is the history of the creation a parable, but the every-day works and ways of God, in nature, are parables. Day unto day and night unto night, all the objects, laws and changes of heaven and earth, utter human speech.
Take the simple facts as they stand :—
I.-" Thou makest darkness." Darkness is a
part of Divine order.
"Darkness," I have heard it said, "is nothing more than the absence of light." You might as well say, that a corpse is nothing more than the absence of the soul. A corpse, although a very inane somewhat, is somewhat, if you please. Darkness, likewise, is quite a positive somewhat. We are not to think of it as occasioned by the
setting of the sun.
the setting of the sun.
It is not occasioned by
long. The earth abides quite as firmly under our feet by day as by night; that for one thing is a solid mass of darkness. And the dark atmosphere is present at noon-day, hidden in the solar ocean. Darkness is a creature of God. "Thou makest darkness." It is the name of a thing, as much as light is the name of a thing. We have solid darkness and fluid darkness, darkness in masses and darkness as gases. "God called the light, Day, and the darkness, He called Night." "Darkness is a substantive," says the school-boy-" it is the name of something that exists." According to the vulgar use of the word, substance, darkness is much more substantial than light, and, beyond all comparison, heavier. So far as we know, darkness is necessary to the revelation of light. What are colors, but signs of the junction between light and darkness?-indicating the mode and measure in which different dark substances are capable of receiving and reflecting light.
Universal darkness is a house for light. The atmosphere is an ocean of darkness, and the ether that floats above the atmosphere, is a still subtler ocean of darkness; but they are admirable dwellingplaces and vehicles for light. Darkness is that, upon
which, or through which, the light shines. "Thou makest darkness." It is an essential part of God's work. Perhaps, (but I fancy there is no need of saying, perhaps,) every creature in heaven is in himself darkness, yet so finely organized, as to be in the highest degree receptive and transmissive of the Eternal Light? The holy angels certainly know that they would be instantly dark spirits, if God withdrew His Presence.
II.—“It is Night; wherein all the beasts of the
forest do creep forth."
Darkness, as well as light,
Light is good for flowers,
serves its own purposes. but it is not so good for their roots. There would be no flowers long if the roots did not abide in darkness. Darkness is essential to those things which flourish in the light. Eyes rejoice in light, but the stomach, which is a great laborer, and very essential withal to the eyes, fulfils its patient work under darkness. Light is glorious, but there are creatures who cannot do with it, it overpowers them. Darkness is a defence. There are birds, insects and reptiles, who cannot bear the sun they never venture out, till it is dark. The beasts of the forest are stupified by light. By day, they are inactive and sleep. "Thou makest darkness;"-the beasts of the forest awake, they
are clothed with energy, they go forth for their food and pleasure. They "creep forth." For about the creatures, whose element is darkness, there is always something subtle and stealthy:as though they had no absolute authority for their existence. By slinking away before the light, they seem to confess :-'We belong only to the strife and twilight of the universe. When the great Day comes, we shall be no more.'
III." The young lions roar after their prey,
and seek their meat from God." know not God, but God knows them, and understands the roar of their desire. Their meat is "prey," and they "roar" for it; for violence and impatience are the animus of their rank, brute flesh. God answers the roar of the lions: poor brutes, it is their nature to be fierce and restless till they are satisfied. Awful is the midnight forest, when its fierce tenants awake to their infernal concert,when the roar of the lions, the screams and yells, squalls and howls of other beasts, are rising from earth to heaven. They are the prayers of the forest under night. God expects no meeker prayers from His wild beasts.
IV.—“The sun ariseth; they gather themselves
together and lay them down in their dens." Great wonder-working God, Thou clothest Thy strength with beauty. Thy Beauty is Thy Power. How dreadful is Thy Gentleness to the ungentle! Thou bringest no greater force to bear upon Thy wild and dreadful beasts, than the rising of the sun. So have I read in the book of the Wars of Heaven, that the meek angels of His Presence, through the blood of The Lamb, in them, overcame the Dragon and his angels. And I have read a vision of future things, in which a little child holds all beasts in stillest awe.
Also Thy sun, O Lord, the wonder of the universe, and the great power thereof, ariseth without anger and noise. Very meekly Thy sun ariseth; for he confoundeth not, too suddenly, even the beasts. By little and little he riseth upon them, that they may have time to wind up their carousal and disappear. It is enough. The yelling, the screaming, the howling, the roaring, are over. The furious ones prey no more: light makes dastards of them. They are not children of light, they are not. They gently retire, they lie down in their dens. It is Day. There are children of the Day, and there are children of Darkness. While the beasts had their sport, man slept. Now the beasts sleep; and 'man rises, and "goeth forth unto his work and to