ALL that I behold with my eyes attracts me to Thee, my God and Lord; and all that Thou hast created helps me to understand Thy Divine greatness. As the arrow does not remain fixed in the air, but flies onward, so our reflections and thoughts are not intended to remain fixed upon the things of earth, but upon the end and the final resting-place, which is Thyself, my God. All those things which we see are like a road to lead us to consider the Creator. "The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole world; and that which containeth all things hath knowledge of the voice."[1 Wisdom i. 7.] He is blind who is not enlightened by such splendour in created things; he is deaf who is not awakened by such sounds; he is dumb who, with such actualities around him, does not glorify God; and he is a fool who, with such evidences before him, does not discern the first principle and cause of all this.

Open thine eyes, then, my soul; apply thy spiritual ears; loosen thy lips, and open thy heart, that thou mayest discern God in all His creatures, and mayest hearken to Him, praise, love and magnify Him: and so may not set the whole compass of the earth against thee. The compass of the earth fights against the foolish; while, on the contrary, it will prove a source of glory to the wise "who can say with the prophet: "For Thou hast given me, O Lord, a delight in Thy doings; and in the works of Thy hands I shall rejoice ".[Psalms ciii. 5.] "O how great are Thy works, O Lord; Thou hast made all things in wisdom; the earth is filled with Thy riches."[Psalms ciii. 24.] I behold in every created thing, as in a mirror, an evidence of Thy omnipotence, my God. The Majesty of the Creator shines forth in His creatures as in a glass. The senses are the door of the imagination, and by our senses we behold the creatures, through the knowledge of which we come to understand the goodness and wisdom of the Creator.

Ezechiel[Ezechiel xi. 5, etc.] when proposing to describe the building up of the Church begins with the outside wall. Before my soul ascends to the contemplation of the infinite perfections which Thou possessest in Thyself, my God, I must lift up my heart to Thy holy love, being attracted by those outward things which I see with my eyes, since they elevate me to the knowledge of Thee. "Woe unto you who regard not the work of the Lord, nor do you consider the operation of His hands,"[Isaiah V. 12.] saith Thy holy prophet Isaias. Very often by their works are the masters who have wrought them known, although we do not behold them with our bodily eyes. The statues of Phidias the celebrated sculptor demonstrated what he was, and those who had never beheld him yet knew him in this way; while Protogenes likewise recognised the great painter Apelles by a single line which he had drawn.

O Creator of all things, what is there that is so clear an image of what Thou art as myself? What more subtle and delicate lines could the hand of any artist or any clever and very excellent painter execute which could approach or be compared with the surpassing and extreme beauty of the splendours of the sky and the flowers of the field?

Then if we regard the order, harmony and concord of this universe, what canst thou say, my soul, but that thou art lifted up and made to hang upon thy God? It is a harmony so complete, with such admirable unity and proportion, that if thou wert not deaf, it would make thee forget every created thing, thy whole self being transfused into thy Creator. Each string of the instrument sounds sweetly, but all united produce a delicious melody. Every creature by itself represents to me Thy infinite power and unspeakable goodness; but when all are contemplated together, and while we regard the order of the universe, they contribute to excite an extraordinary admiration.

When the skilful musician tunes into order the discordant and diverse strings of his instrument, although you do not see him, you judge him to be great in his art. If, my soul, thou regardest the entire creation, thou wilt find marvellous harmony in things contrary to each other, since the elements, while they contain conflicting qualities, do not fight against each other, nor do lowly things run counter to the higher ones; but all unite in concord, and produce a harmony of most admirable proportion and unity, the hand of the infinite wisdom of thy God being their moving impulse.

This Lord, holding the universe as an instrument of music, unites heavenly with earthly things, general with individual. While taking note of this diversity of things so well ordered, I reflect within myself on those words of the wise man, who says: "Let them know how much the Lord of them is more beautiful than they; for the first Author of beauty made all those things ". [Wisdom xiii. 3., note 1] O how much more beautiful must He be Who hath made all things, for the Author of beauty hath painted all! O what must be the Providence of Him Who forecasts so fully for such a multitude of things, as if He were God for one only! From whence are extracted the varied tints of plants, the sweetness of fruits, the colours of birds, and the loveliness of the world? O how mighty must He be Who created all this out of nothing, and how wise He Who bestowed so many different instincts on animals, so many properties on roots, so many virtues on plants, and such various powers of genius on men; all which, when combined together, is, in comparison with Him, as if it did not exist!

Raise thyself up, then, my soul; open thine eyes and wake up; and if thou canst not discern the Divine virtue which wrought these things, at least pay regard to the works themselves, since they plainly declare Who made them, in order that He might be known, Who yet cannot be comprehended. For this cause Thou, O Lord, saidst to certain blind persons who, even when they had Thee before them, did not know Thee: "Though ye will not believe Me, believe the works".[John x. 38.] Those works declared Who Thou wert; if they who saw Thee had only had eyes to consider them; for it was no more possible to consider them and not to know Thee, than it is possible to know Thee and fail to love Thee.

1. quorum si specie delectati deos putaverunt, sciant quanto his dominator eorum speciosior est, etc. from the Vulgate Latin Bible, Sapientia xiii, 3.[back]