May 08, 2006

We read this aloud Sunday. Kind of long but it's really really nice...
Photos taken 5/6/06.

A Meditation for the First of May

Isaac Watts

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What astonishing variety of artifices, what innumerable millions of
exquisite works, is the God of Nature engaged in every moment. How
gloriously are his all-pervading wisdom and power employed in this useful
season of the year, this spring of nature! What infinite myriads of
vegetable beings is he forming this very moment, in their roots and
branches, in their leaves and blossoms, their seeds and fruit! Some indeed
began to discover their bloom amidst the snows of January, or under the
rough cold blasts of March. Those flowers are withered and vanished in
April, and their seeds are now ripening to perfection. Others are showing
themselves this day in all their blooming pride and beauty; and while they
adorn the gardens and meadows, with gay and glowing colors, they promise
their fruits in the days of harvest. The whole nation of vegetables is
under the divine care and culture, his hand forms them day and night with
admirable skill and unceasing operation, according to the natures he first
gave them, and produces their buds and foliage, their flowery blossoms, and
rich fruit in their appointed months. Their progress in life is exceeding
swift at this season of the year; and their successive appearances, and
sweet changes of rainment are visible almost hourly.

But these creatures are of lower life, and give but feebler displays of
the Maker’s wisdom. Let us raise our contemplations another story, and
survey a nobler theatre of divine wonders. What endless armies of animals
is the hand of God molding and figuring this moment throughout his brutal
dominions! What immense flights of little birds are now fermenting in the
egg, heaving and growing towards shape and life! What vast flocks of
four-footed creatures, what droves of large cattle are now framed in their
early embryos, imprisoned in the dark cells of nature! and others perhaps
are moving toward liberty and just preparing to see the light.

What unknown myriads of insects in their various cradles and nesting
places are now working towards viatility and motion! and thousands with
their painted wings just beginning to unfurl and expand themselves into
fluttering and daylight; while other families of them have forsaken their
husky beds, and exult and glitter in the warm sun-beams!

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An exquisite world of wonders is complicated even in the body of every
little insect, an ant, a gnat, a mite, that is scarce visible to the naked
eye. Admirable engines! which a whole academy of philosophers could never
contrive; which the nation of poets hath neither arts nor colors to
describe: nor has a world of mechanics skill enough to frame the plainest,
or coarsest of them. Their nerves, their muscles, and the minute atoms
which compose the fluids fit to run in the little channels of their veins,
escape the notice of the most sagacious mathemetician, with all his aid of
glasses. The active powers and curiosity of human nature are limited in
their pursuit, and must be content to lie down in ignorance. "Hitherto
shall ye go, and no further."

It is a sublime and constant triumph over all the intellectual powers
of man, which the great God maintains every moment in these inimitable works
of nature, in these impenetrable recesses and mysteries of divine art. And
the month of May is the most shining season of this triumph. The flags and
banners of almighty wisdom are now displayed round half the globe, and the
other half waits the return of the sun, to spread the same triumph over the
southern world. This very sun in the firmament is God's prime minister in
this wondrous world of beings, and he works with sovereign vigor on the
surface of the earth, and spreads his influences deep under the clods to
every root and fiber, molding them into their proper forms, by divine
direction. There is not a plant, nor a leaf, nor one little branching
thread, above or beneath the ground, that escapes the eye or influence of
this beneficent star. An illustrious emblem of the omnipresence and
universal activity of the Creator.

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But has this all-wise Creator, this supreme Lord of all Nature, no
intellectual prime minister at all in these his dominions? Has he delegated
all his powers to that bulky globe of fire which we call the sun, that
inanimate and unthinking mass of matter? Is this huge burning and senseless
body commissioned to penetrate every dark cranny of nature either with it's
light or heat, and to animate every atom in the vegetable and animal
kingdoms; and yet no intellectual being, no spirit so much akin to God, as
to be favored with the like extensive vice-regency? Though the light of
reason does not tell his name, yet has not revelation informed us?

Yes, surely there is a man after God's own heart, the fairest image of
the creator, the nearest of kin to him, among all the works of his hands.
There is a man, and his name is Jesus, who holds most intimate and personal
union with the Godhead, in whom all divine wisdom dwells bodily, and to his
care has the Father committed all the infinite varieties of the vegetable
and animal world. By him are all these wonders produced in the course of
providence, as by an under-agent in the kingdom of nature. Is not the
government of heaven and earth put into his hands? Is he not made Lord of
principalities and powers, of men, of angels, and devils, and of all their
works? And can we think that he has been denied the government of the lower
parts of his Father’s workmanship? Does he not manage all things in the
world of grace? Surely then we may infer, he rules us wisely and as
spaciously in the upper and lower regions of creation, as an intellectual
and conscious instrument of the providence of his Father, God. "My Father
worketh hitherto, and I work. I and my Father are one. And every creature
which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are
in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing and honor,
and glory, and power, be to him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the
Lamb for ever and ever. Amen."

Republished May 1, 2006
Bill of Rights Bicentennial Committee
Concordville, PA

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