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UNITY IN VARIETY, IN NATURE, AND IN THE BIBLE.
IS NONE OTHER BUT
FOR THERE IS ONE GOD ; HE-Mark 12; 32.
The Law of Unity pervading all nature, proves that nature has but one God. When the child first opens his eyes upon the world, what a multiplicity of objects crowd upon his attention !
Men, beasts, birds, insects, trees, shrubs, rivers and brooks, with ten thousand other objects, impress him with the fact that he lives in a world of variety. He soon finds it impossible to treasure up so many
individual objects in his memory, much less can he find a distinct name for each individual; but his intellect soon suggests to him the idea of classifying, for although he sees such a variety, there is still such unity, that much which can be predicated of one object, can also be predicated of many others. He applies the term man to the whole race of human beings, and in like manner he uses the words beast, bird, fish, tree, &c. In process of time, he is able to trace a closer resemblance between certain individuals of a race,
there exists between those individuals and all the rest of the race.
From beasts he selects those to whom he applies the generic names, sheep, swine, dog, bear, &c. From
birds, he selects the hawk, the dove, the swallow, &c. The fishes he also divides into tribes, to which he applies such generic names as the salmon, the trout, the mackerel, &c. The whole race of trees, undergoes a similar division, and he speaks of the oak, the pine, and the ash, &c. Neither can the human mind rest here. It seeks to divide each genus into different species; and hence, the white bear and the black bear, the fish hawk and the hen hawk, the black ash and the red ash. These different species are also susceptable of numerous other divisions and subdivisions. But every time the dividing process takes place, the number of classes is increased, while each class comes nearer to unity, until we arrive at the individual itself.
We may then turn our eye back through all these varieties, classes, species and genera, and reflect that much that can be predicated of one can also be predicated of all. To all, we apply the terms weight, size, length, breadth, hardness, &c., and we speak of them as being good or bad, ugly or beautiful. We may speak of a good man, a good horse, a good tree, as well as of a good apple, which implies that there is a certain kind of unity common to all. also to remember that all things in nature, both of the animal and vegetable kingdoms, are composed of but few simple substances. The light of science has greatly diminished the number of these substances, and hence we may infer that when this subject is fully traced out, it is possible we shall find, that all things terrestrial are composed of one mysterious fluid, constantly changing its relations, and assuming new forms. Thus we have unity in variety. 2.
There is a very close analogy between animate and inanimate nature.
The water that circulates through the earth, the sap of the tree, answer a similar purpose to the blood of animals; and so with the turf, the bark, and the skin. The rock is analogous to the bone, and the earth to the flesh. The leaves of trees answer the same purpose as the lungs of animals, and the seeds of certain plants are scarcely distinguishable from eggs. Much human language is built upon the resemblances between animate and inanimate nature; thus we speak of the veins of water, of artesian wells, of the earth opening her mouth, and of the blood of the grape. These figures are not merely accidental, for the same exist in all languages. They are not forced and far-fetched, invented by philosophers, but they are founded upon analogies, which are real and natural, as is apparent from the fact that children have a perception of them.
3. There is a striking analogy between different limbs and functions, beth in the animate and in the inanimate world.
Some of the ribs of the serpent, that enable him to crawl upon the ground, are lengthened into fins in the fish, they become legs in the quadruped, wings in birds, and legs and arms in men. They are the same, and answer a similar purpose in all animals, though the higher the animal the more perfect the developement. The skeleton of the leaf, bears a close resemblance to the branch, and is a perfect fac-simile of the tree, from which it was taken -a miniature tree exists in every seed. Thus we have a wheel within a wheel.
The entire vegetable kingdom is made up of numerous forms, enveloped, in larger forms of the same shape, like
certain curious boxes we have seen, enclosing numerous others of the same form, though of smaller dimensions.
Thus we see one plan, one law of unity, reigns through the vegetable, as well as the animal kingdom.
The roots of a tree are but inverted limbs, and the tree will often thrive well, if they are made to change places ; the limbs will shoot into the earth, and become roots, while the roots will soon assume the bark of limbs, and
forth leaves, flowers and fruit.
4. If we compare vegetation with crystalization, we shall find that one law, to a great extent, governs both. The frost upon your window assumes the form of trees. This appearance always predominates. After a sleety rain, an evergreen seems to have a set of additional leaves of frost, built on at the ends of its own, of precisely the same form, that could not be distinguished from the real except by their color. Thus the leaves of the spruce and fir, and the frosts of heaven, are controlled by one law. Is there not unity here?
5. A striking analogy is seen between human genealogies and the forms of trees. Nothing is more natural, than to represent the genealogy of families by trees. This is no arbitrary contrivance, but it really has its origin in the great law of unity, which governs all nature, as is apparent from the fact that in all ages and nations the genealogy of families have been thus represented. First, we have the single family, of which the parents would be the trunk, and the children limbs. Then we go back another generation, and the parent himself becomes a limb. We continue our course backward, till we have the whole
human family, represented by one immense tree, upon which the place of the individual is scarcely discernable.
Thus the human family, as well as all other nature, seems to be made up of innumerable similarities, each one larger and swallowing up all beneath it.
6. Shall we look into the world of literature? We find here the same principle of unity. Of the English poets, Chaucer, Spencer, Shakspeare, Milton, Dryden, Pope, Burns, Cowper, and Montgomery, are universally acknowledged to be the great limbs of poetry, while others are branches and leaves; or they are mighty branches of rivers, while all others are streams flowing from them.
Just so with English prose writers. There are certain great names, which are made models by all others. Gibbon Hume and Robinson, are the models of English history; and so astronomy, natural science, moral philosophy and theology, have their way marks.
Thus English literature is bound in a unity; and on a still broader scale, the literature of the whole world is bound in a similar unity.
7. The same law of unity governs and binds together matter and spirit. Spirit is by no means so distinct from matter as many imagine. The material world is a complete figure of the spirit world. Matter, the representative of spirit, is of so gross a texture, as to come within the
of our senses, and its design is to lead the mind upward to the invisible. This is evident from the fact that the entire vocabulary applied to mental and spiritual subjects, was taken from nature. Every word was at first applied to a natural thing; hence every spiritual idea must have its