There Is A God
( Originally Published 1879 )
THERE is a God ! The herbs of the valley, the cedars of the mountain, bless him; the insect sports in his beam ; the bird sings him in the foliage ; the thunder proclaims him in the heavens ; the ocean declares his immensity; man alone has said, " There is no God ! " Unite in thought at the same instant the most beautiful objects in nature. Suppose that you see at once all the hours of the day, and all the seasons of the year ; a morning of spring, and a morning of autumn ; a night bespangled with stars, and a night darkened by clouds ; meadows enameled with flowers; forests hoary with snow; fields gilded by the tints of autumn; then alone you will have a just conception of the universe ! While you are gazing on that sun which is plunging into the vault of the west, another observer admires him emerging from the gilded gates of the east. By what inconceivable power does that aged star, which is sinking, fatigued and burning, in the shades of the evening, reappear at the same instant fresh and humid with the rosy dew of the morning? At every hour of the day the glorious orb is at once rising, resplendent as noonday, and setting in the west ; or rather, our senses deceive us, and there is, properly speaking, no east or west, no north or south, in the world.
Go out beneath the arched heavens, at night, and say, if you can, "There is no God!" Pronounce that dreadful blasphemy, and' each star above you will reproach the unbroken darkness of your intellect ; every voice that floats upon the night winds will bewail your utter hopelessness and folly.
Is there no God ? Who, then, unrolled the blue scroll, and threw upon its high frontispiece the legible gleamings of immortality? Who fashioned this green earth, with its perpetual rolling waters, and its wide expanse of islands and of main ? Who settled the foundations of the mountains? Who paved the heavens with clouds, and attuned, amid the clamor of storms, the voice of thunders, and unchained the lightnings that flash in their gloom?
Who gave to the eagle a safe eyrie where the tempests dwell, and beat the strongest, and to the dove a tranquil abode amid the forests that echo to the minis: trelsy of her moan? Who made THEE, O man ! with thy perfected elegance of intellect and form ? Who made the light pleasant to thee, and the darkness a covering, and a herald to the first gorgeous flashes of the morning ?
There is a God. All nature declares it in a language too plain to be misapprehended. The great truth is too legibly written over the face of the whole creation to be easily mistaken. Thou canst behold it in the tender blade just starting from the earth in the early spring, or in the sturdy oak that has withstood the blasts of fourscore winters. The purling rivulet, meandering through downy meads and verdant glens, and Niagara's tremendous torrent, leaping over its awful chasm, and rolling in majesty its broad sheet of waters onward to the ocean, unite in proclaiming " THERE IS A GOd."
'Tis heard in the whispering breeze and in the howling storm; in the deep-toned thunder, and in the earth-quake's shock; 'tis declared to us when the tempest lowers ; when the hurricane sweeps over the land; when the winds moan around our dwellings, and die in sullen murmurs on the plain, when the heavens, overcast with blackness, ever and anon are illuminated by the lightning's glare.
Nor is the truth less solemnly impressed on our minds in the universal hush and calm repose of nature, when all is still as the soft breathings of an infant's slumber. The vast ocean, when its broad expanse is whitened with foam, and when its heaving waves roll mountain on mountain high, or when the dark blue of heaven's vault is reflected with beauty on its smooth and tranquil bosom, confirms the declaration. The twinkling star, shedding its flickering rays so far above the reach of human ken, and the glorious sun in the heavens—all—all declare there is a universal FIRSTS CAUSE.
And man, the proud lord of creation, so fearfully and wonderfully made—each joint in its corresponding socket—each muscle, tendon, and artery, performing their allotted functions with all the precision of the most perfect mechanism—and, surpassing all, possessed of a soul capable of enjoying the most exquisite pleasure, or of enduring the most excruciating pain, which is endowed with immortal capacities, and is destined to live onward through the endless ages of eternity—these all unite in one general proclamation of the eternal truth—there is a Being, infinite in wisdom, who reigns over all, undivided and supreme—the fountain of all life, source of all light—from whom all blessings flow, and in whom all happiness centers.