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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Religion

The Gospel of Nature

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Transcript from original newspaper article: -

The Gospel of NatureTHE GOSPEL OF NATURE. – If the undevout astronomer is mad, as has been alleged, so also is the undevout naturalist. No theory which does not admit that infinite intelligence, operating through a system of fixed laws, controls all the operations of nature, can rationally explain the order and regularity by which they are characterized. The periodic movements and changes which take place in the animal and vegetable kingdoms are palpably the results of immutable laws. They never vary, either in time or manner. Precisely at the same seasons, year after year, the birds of passage perform their pilgrimage, and the migrants of the sea are equally punctual. The swallows are always true to time; the shad, herring, and mackerel never disappoint us. The hibernating mouse could not “turn in” and “turn out” with greater regularity if it consulted the almanack, nor the ermine and the sable put on and put off their cold-weather coats with a stricter regard to dates, if they were subject to army regulations. Insects appear and disappear without tail, rain or shine. Trees bud, plants flower, seeds ripen, leaves fall, as if by the calendar, and it has been said that if an observant naturalist, who had long been shut out from the light of day and the society of men, without any means of measuring time, were suddenly brought blindfolded into the fields and woods, he would be able, from the notes of the birds and the odours of the flowers, to discover the exact period of the year. Atheists, or men professing to be atheists, tell us that this fair world of ours, and all this order and regularity, were and are the offspring of chance. When chance shall have made a watch, but not till then, it may be worth while for those of use who read with reverent eyes the gospel of nature, and look through it up to its holy Author, to chop logic with atheists, pantheists and materialists.