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that he had so asserted his own supremacy, he summoned those principles and bodies into substance
whereof all things in this lower world are made, should lose the qualities which now they have; if the frame of that heavenly arch erected over our heads should loosen and dissolve itself; if celestial spheres should forget their wonted motion, and by irregular volubility turn themselves any way as it might happen ; if the prince of the lights of heaven, which now as a giant doth run his unwearied course, should, as it were, through a languishing faintness, begin to stand, and to rest himself; if the moon should wander from her beaten way, the times and seasons of the year blend themselves by disordered and confused mixture, the winds breathe out their last gasp, the clouds yield no rain, the earth be defeated of heavenly influence, the fruits of the earth pine away, as children at the breasts of their mother, no longer able to yield them relief; what would become of man himself, whom all these things do now serve? See we not, plainly, that obedience of creatures unto the law of nature is the stay of the whole world ? Notwithstanding, with nature it cometh sometimes to pass as with art. Let Phidias have rude and obstinate stuff to carve, though his art do that it should, his work will lack that beauty which otherwise in fitter matter it might have had. He that striketh an instrument with skill, may cause, notwithstanding, a very unpleasant sound, if the string whereon he striketh chance to be uncapable of harmony. In the matter whereof things natural consist, that of Theophrastus takes place, Πολύ το ουχ υπακούον ουδε δεχόμενον το εύ. Much of it is oftentimes such, as will vy no means yield to receive that impression which were best and most perfect. Which defect in the matter of things natural, they who gave themselves unto the contemplation of nature amongst the heathen, observed often: but the true original cause thereof, divine malediction, laid for the sin of man upon these creatures, which God had made for the use of man, this being an article of that saving truth which God hath revealed unto his Church, was above the
and shape, on which, in thenceforward times, these creations should, under Himself, be made to depend.
reach of their merely natural capacity and understanding. But howsoever, these swervings are now and then incident into the course of nature ; nevertheless, so constantly the laws of nature are by natural agents observed, that no man denieth, but those things which nature worketh are wrought either always, or for the most part, after one and the same manner. If here it be demanded, what this is which keepeth nature in obedience to her own law, we must have recourse to that higher law, whereof we have already spoken ; and because all other laws do thereon depend, from thence we must borrow so much as shall need for brief resolution in this point. Although we are not of opinion, therefore, as some are, that nature in working hath before her certain exemplary draughts or patterns, which subsisting in the bosom of the Highest, and being thence discovered, she fixeth her eye upon them, as travellers by sea upon the pole star of the world, and that according thereunto she guideth her hand to work by imitation : although we rather embrace the oracle of Hippocrates, That each thing, both in small and great, fulfilleth the task which destiny hath set down. And concerning the manner of executing and fulfilling the same, What they do they know not, yet is it in show and appearance as though they did know what they do ; and the truth is, they do not discern the things which they look on: nevertheless, forasmuch as the works of nature are no less exact, than if she did both behold and study how to express some absolute shape or mirror always present before her, yea, such her dexterity and skill appeareth, that no intellectual creature in the world were able by capacity to do that which nature doth without capacity and knowledge ; it cannot be, but nature hath some director of infinite knowledge to guide her in all her ways. Who is the guide of nature, but only the God of Nature? In him we live, move, and are. Those things which nature is said to do, are by divine art performed, using nature as an instrument; nor is there any
How forcibly, I again say, is the omnipotence of God manifested to us! He, at his own word, by his
such art or knowledge divine in nature herself working, but in the guide of nature's work. Whereas, therefore, things natural, which are not in the number of voluntary agents, (for of such only we now speak, and of no other,) do so necessarily observe their certain laws, that as long as they keep those forms which give them their being, they cannot possibly be apt or inclinable to do otherwise than they do ; seeing the kinds of their operations are both constantly and exactly framed, according to the several ends for which they serve, they themselves in the meanwhile, though doing that which is fit, yet knowing neither what they do, nor why; it followeth, that all which they do in this sort, proceedeth originally from some such agent as knoweth, appointeth, holdeth up, and even actually frameth the
The manner of this divine efficiency being far above us, we are no more able to conceive by our reason, than creatures unreasonable by their sense are able to apprehend after what manner we dispose and order the course of our affairs. Only thus much is discerned, that the natural generation and process of all things receiveth order of proceeding from the settled stability of divine understanding. This appointeth unto them their kinds of working; the disposition whereof, in the purity of God's own knowledge and will, is rightly termed by the name of Providence. The same being referred unto the things themselves, here disposed by it, was wont by the ancients to be called natural destiny. That law, the performance whereof we behold in things natural, is as it were an authentical, or an original draught, written in the bosom of God himself; whose Spirit being to execute the same, useth every particular nature, every mere natural agent, only as an instrument created at the beginning, and ever since the beginning used to work his own will and pleasure withal. Nature, therefore, is nothing else but God's instrument. In the course whereof, Dionysius, perceiving some sudden disturbance, is said to have cried out, Aut Deus naturæ own command and authority, and without intermediate agency, made them all to be! He needed no principle of seed from which to produce; he required not that seed should be sown, that time should develop in the earth ; that the seasons should conduct in gradual process; that the rain should contribute moisture, or assist to fulness; that the sun should dispense its heat; or that the gales of heaven should give, as it were, breath and life; he did then, as he could also do now, if it pleased him, order all on the instant into being and perfectness; and, when he had done so, he created instruments and agents for their future maintenance and support. This dealing was very consistent with the purposes and proceedings of an Almighty Creator: he exercised his power in creation, the highest act in which it could be exercised, and left the further charge-in submission, be it remembered, to his own will, as it ever must be—to subordinate agents. It would hardly have become the Divine Majesty to be seen at all times, and on all occasions, using a personal interference: he made his appointments; he formed and established his laws; and, in true sovereign manner, left them to work, according to the scheme he had enacted, as if, indeed of themselves,-because, by properties bestowed upon them by him,yet in strictest obedience to the directions of his will, and in complete consequence of it. May we not see, that the wise legislator, when he has proposed his institutes and laws, leaves them to their proper working, and ceases that attention to minute matters, which in the progress of his framing of them, while they were but on the way to the standard of their appointment, he had found to be requisite ? that, however he may be at hand, ready to prevent any perversion of their design, or interruption of their action, he deems it to be totally inconsistent with his own character, and their free and intended
patitur, aut mundi machina dissolvitur ; either God doth suffer impediment, and is by a greater than himself hindered; or, if that be impossible, then hath he determined to make a present dissolution of the world; the execution of that law beginning now to stand still, without which the world cannot stand. This workman, whose servitor nature is, being in truth but only one, the heathens imagining to be more, gave him in the sky the name of Jupiter ; in the air, the name of Juno; in the water, the name of Neptune; in the earth, the name of Vesta, and sometimes of Ceres; the name of Apollo in the sun; in the moon, the name of Diana; the name of Æolus, and divers others, in the winds; and, to conclude, even so many guides of nature they dreamed of, as they saw there were kinds of things natural in the world. These they honoured, as having power to work or cease accordingly as men deserved of them: but unto us there is one only guide of all agents natural, and He both the creator and worker of all in all, alone to be blessed, adored, and honoured by all for ever.-HOOKER.
operation, to be ever employed in personal interference regarding them ? May we not see, that the wise workman acts by the same rule, and with the same method, as concerning the machinery he has prepared and set up? that, having formed its several parts, and fitted them together; having constructed it into a whole, he leaves it to its appointed duty and delegated powers, however the wisdom of his