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how unsearchable are his councils, and his ways of creation and providence' past finding out."
This characteristic of variety, which is stamped on all of the works of Omnipotence is, doubtless, intended to gratify the principle of curiosity, and the love of novelty, which are implanted in the human breast; and thus to excite rational beings to the study and investigation of the works of the Creator; that therein they may behold the glory of the Divine character, and be stimulated to the exercise of love, admiration, and reverence. For, as the records of revelation, and the dispensations of Providence, display to us the various aspects of the moral character of Deity, so, the diversified phenomena, and the multiplicity of objects and operations which the scenery of nature exhibits, present to us a specimen of the ideas, as it were, of the Eternal mind, in so far as they can be adumbrated by material objects, and exhibited to mortals, through the medium of coporeal organs.
To form a conception of the number of these ideas, as exhibited on the globe in which we live, would baffle the arithmetician's skill, and set his numbers at defiance. We may, however, assist our conceptions a little, by confining our attention to one department of nature; for example, the ANIMAL KINGDOM. The number of the different species of animals, taking into account those which are hitherto undiscovered, and those which are invisible to the naked eye, cannot be estimated at less than 300,000. In a human body there are reckoned about 446 muscles, in each of which, according to anatomists, there are at least 10 several intentions, or due qualifications to be observed its proper figure, its just magnitude, the right disposition of its several ends, upper and lower, the position of the whole, the insertion of its proper nerves, veins, arteries, &c. so that in the muscular system alone, there e 4,460 several ends or aims to be attended to.-The bones are reckoned to be in number about 245, and the distinct scopes or intentions of each of these are above 40; in all, about 9,800; so that the system of bones and muscles alone, without taking any other parts into consideration, amounts to above 14,000 different intentions or
adaptations. If now, we suppose, that all the species of animals above stated, are differently constructed, and, taken one with another, contain, at an average, a system of bones and muscles as numerous as in the human body -the number of species must be multiplied by the number of different aims or adaptations, and the product will amount to 4,200,000,000. If we were next to attend to the many thousands of blood vessels in an animal body, and the numerous ligaments, membranes, humours, and fluids, of various descriptions-the skin with its millions of pores, and every other part of an organical system, with the aims and intentions of each, we should have another sum of many hundreds of millions to be multiplied by the former product, in order to express the diversified ideas which enter into the construction of the animal world. And, if we still farther consider, that, of the hundreds of millions of individuals belonging to each species, no two individuals exactly resemble each other-that all the myriads of vegetables with which the earth is covered, are distinguished from each other, by some one characteristic or another, and that every grain of sand contained in the mountains, and in the bed of the ocean, as shown by the microscope, discovers a different form and configuration from another
-we are here presented with an image of the infinity of the conceptions of Him in whose incomprehensible mind they all existed, during countless ages, before the universe was formed.
To overlook this amazing scene of Divine Intelligence, or to consider it as beneath our notice, as some have done -if it be not the characteristic of impiety, is, at least, the mark of a weak and undiscriminating mind. That man who disregards the visible displays of Infinite Wisdom, or who neglects to investigate them, when opportunity offers, acts as if he considered himself already possessed of a sufficient portion of intelligence, and stood in no need of such sensible assistances to direct his conceptions of the Creator. Pride, and false conceptions of the nature and design of true religion, frequently lie at the foundation of all that indifference and neglect with which the visible works of God are treated, by those who make pretentions
to a high degree of spiritual attainments. The truly pious man will trace, with wonder and delight, the footsteps of his Father and his God, wherever they appear in the variegated scene of creation around him, and will be filled with sorrow, and contrition of heart, that, amidst his excursions and solitary walks, he has so often disregarded "the works of the Lord, and the operation of his hands."
In fine, the variety which appears on the face of nature, not only enlarges our conceptions of Infinite Wisdom, but is also the foundation of all our discriminations and judgments as rational beings, and is of the most essential utility in the affairs of human society. Such is the variety of which the features of the human countenance are susceptible, that it is probable, that no two individuals, of all the millions of the race of Adam, that have existed since the beginning of time, would be found to resemble each other. We know no two human beings presently existing, however similar to each other, but may be distinguished either by their stature, their forms, or the features of their faces: and on the ground of this dissimilarity; the various wheels of the machine of society move onward, without clashing or confusion. Had it been otherwise-had the faces of men, and their organs of speech, been cast exactly in the same mould, as would have been the case, had the world been framed according to the Epicurean system, by blind chance directing a concourse of atoms, it might have been as difficult to distinguish one human countenance from another, as to distinguish the eggs laid by the same hen, or the drops of water which trickle from the same orifice; and, consequently, society would have been thrown into a state of universal anarchy and confusion. Friends would not have been distinguished from enemies, villians from the good and honest, fathers from sons, the culprit from the innocent person, nor the branches of the same family from one another. And what a scene of perpetual confusion and disturbance would thus have been created? Frauds, thefts, robberies, murders, assassinations, forgeries, and injustice of all kinds, might have been daily committed without the least possibility of detection.-Nay, were even the variety of tones in the
human voice, peculiar to each person, to cease, and the hand-writing of all men to become perfectly uniform, a multitude of distressing deceptions and perplexities would be produced in the domestic, civil, and commercial transactions of mankind. But the All-wise and Beneficent Creator has prevented all such evils and inconveniences, by the character of variety which he has impressed on the human species, and on all his works. By the peculiar features of his countenance, every man may be distinguished in the light; by the tones of his voice he may be recognized in the dark, or when he is separated from his fellows by an impenetrable partition; and his hand-writing can attest his existence and individuality, when continents and oceans interpose between him and his relations, and be a witness of his sentiments and purposes to future generations.
Thus, I have taken a very cursory view of some evidences of Divine Wisdom, which appear in the general constitution of the earth, the waters, and the atmosphere, and in the chracteristic of variety, which is impressed on all the objects of the visible creation. When these and other admirable arrangements, in our sublunary system, are seriously contemplated, every rational and pious mind will be disposed to exclaim with the Psalmist "There is none like unto thee, O Lord, neither are there any works like unto thy works."- "Thou art great, and dost wondrous things, thou art God alone."-"O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works towards the children of men!"
When we consider not only the utility, but the beauty and grandeur of the wise arrangements of nature, what reason have we to admire and adore the goodness of the great Author of our existence? Were all the diversities of shape and colour, mountains and vales, rivers and lakes, light and shade, which now embellish the various landscapes of the world, to disappear, and were one unvaried scene perpetually to present itself to the eye, how dull and wearisome, and uninteresting would the aspect of the
universe appear to an intelligent mind! Although the variegated beauties which adorn the surface of our globe, and the vault of heaven, are not essential to our existence, as sensitive beings, yet, were they completely withdrawn, and nothing presented to the eye, but a boundless expanse of barren sands, the mind would recoil upon itself, its activity would be destroyed, its powers would be confined, as it were, to a prison, and it would roam in vain amidst the surrounding waste, in search of enjoyment. Even the luxuries of a palace, were it possible to procure them amidst such a scene of desolation, would become stale and insipid, and would leave the rational soul, almost destitute of ideas and of mental energy, to the tiresome round of a cheerless existence. But, in the actual state of the world we live in, there is no landscape in nature, from the Icebergs of Greenland to the verdant scenes of the Torrid Zone, in which objects, either of sublimity or of beauty, in boundless variety, are not presented to the view; in order to stimulate the mind to activity, and to gratify its desire of novelty, and to elevate its conceptions of the Beneficent Creator.
And, if the present constitution of our world displays so evident marks of beauty and benevolent design, now that it is inhabited by an assemblage of depraved intelligences, and its physical aspect deformed, in consequence of "the wickedness of man"-what transporting beauties and sublimities must it have presented, when it appeared fresh from the hand of its Almighty Maker, and when all things were pronounced by him to be very good? After a deluge of waters has swept many of its primeval beauties, and has broken and deranged even its subterraneous strata, this terrestrial world still presents to the eye a striking scene of beauty, order, and beneficence. But we have the strongest reason to believe, that, before sin had disfigured the aspect of this lower world, all was "beauty to the eye, and music to the ear"-that "immortality breathed in the winds, flowed in the rivers," and exhaled from every plant and flower. No storms disturbed the tranquillity of nature, nor created the least alarm in the breasts of its holy inhabitants. No earth