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XXVII.

THE SUPERNATURAL.

Psalm xciv. 8, 9, 10.

“ Take heed, ye unwise among the people: Oye fools, when will ye understand ? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? or He that made the eye, shall He not see? Or He that nurtureth the heathen, it is He that teacheth man knowledge, shall not He punish ?”

This place contains a far deeper lesson than the superficial reader is at first aware of. We read it over, and we think that it simply assures us, as in fact all the rest of Scripture does, that God's eye is ever open, and His ear ever ready to hear.

Perhaps we have a vague idea that it teaches us that God sees and hears more perfectly than man does.

But we can hardly enter into the full force of the text till we gird up, as it were, the loins of our mind to face the inquiry, How do we see and hear? What organs do we use in order that we may see and hear, and how do we see and hear by them? And what eyes and ears has God to enable Him to see and hear ?

When we come to look these questions in the face, then we see something of their magnitude. Our eyes and our ears are the gates through which we attain to all, or almost all our knowledge. There are, it is true, wonderful instances of persons, born blind and deaf, who have been taught to read raised letters with their fingers; and so the knowledge of God's word, and all the glorious truths it contains, as well as much natural information, has been communicated to such persons under apparently insurmountable difficulties—but this is an exception which proves the rule. The reception of knowledge under such circumstances as total want of sight and hearing from the birth amounts to almost a miracle. The

very wonder which it excites shows us how dependent we are upon two of our senses, at least, for all that can be called knowledge.

But what, after all, is seeing? According to the discoveries of modern science, it is something of this sort: There is, pervading all the space around us, an exceedingly subtle form of substance, which, for want of a better word, we call a fluid-something, perhaps, like the electric fluid.

This fluid is excited and put in motion by any burning thing, such as the sun, or a lamp, or candle. Any burning thing excites in this fluid an incredible number of exceedingly minute waves. These waves strike upon the various objects we see around us, and are reflected from them to a very small mirror in the

centre of the eye. Behind this little mirror is a nerve which communicates with the brain, the seat of the thinking power. In some way which God only knows, the little picture on the mirror of the eye is so transferred through the nerve to the mind, that the mind has the object within it, and can think and reason about it, and remember afterwards its form and figure. So that a very great many things must combine to enable us to have in our minds the image of any object. The light of the sun must shine upon it. The light of the sun must be reflected from the object in a straight line to our eye. When reaches our eye it must find the little mirror in our eye unclouded, and the nerve which communicates the sensation from the eye to the mind in the brain must be able to perform its functions. All these things, and many more, must meet and work together, if we are to see and recognize, and have imprinted on our minds the features of any one of our friends, or the gay colours of any flower, or the form of any living creature.

Any one of these things failing, we cannot see any object whatsoever. If there be total darkness, or if anything which we want to see is so placed that the rays from it cannot strike our eyes, as when it is behind some other object; or if our eye be injured—if its crystal coats be not transparent throughout, or if the nerve which leads from the eye to the brain be paralyzed, then we cannot see. It is to us as if there were no sun, no moon or stars, no landscape, no faces of our friends.

And more than all this, the more we know about light, and the science of light, and the laws by which it is governed—the more we know about the formation of the eye, and the nice adaptation of its structure to the laws of light, the less are we able to understand how any being can see without light, or without an eye. An ignorant man, a man who knows not the nature of light, and how the eye is adapted to receive the rays of light, and the nerves of the eye to convey the impression to the brain -a man ignorant of these things may think that in some way or other we might see in total darkness or without eyes. A scientific man knows that there can be no seeing in the dark-no seeing without eyes.

Such, then, is the way in which we see with

the eye.

But the Psalmist in the text asks the question, “He that made the eye, shall He not see ?" And it is quite clear that this is a question to which there is but one answer. If we see with the eye

which is made for us, He must see Who made the eye for us. We did not make our own eyes. They must have been made or designed for us by some Being Who knew well the nature and laws of light, and Who knew well how to mould to His purposes the various forms

of the fleshly substance which are built together in the human body,* and Who, most marvellous of all! knew how to join together our bodies and our spirits, so that the light which comes into the fleshly material eye actually leaps the boundary between flesh and spirit, and in some way shines into the very soul itself.

A Being Who has thus enabled us to see must Himself see; but how does He see? How does God see, inasmuch as He has not a body as we have, and so has no eyes like ours.

So that here is a marvellous paradox. The more we know about light and its laws, and our eye and its structure, the more we feel how inconceivable it is for a being without eyes like ours to see; and yet the more we know about light and its laws, and our eyes and their structure, the more we must acknowledge that we are in the hands of a Being to whom our keenest sight is as blindness itself.

Blindness itself, I say. * The world and the man, the thinker and the subject of his thought, came from one origin. How can the inference be resisted that the things which our mind sees so clearly, the harmonies and analogies in the world, and its right and wrong, and its beauties, were put there to be seen, and that what our thought apprehends was put there by another wiser thought for us to discern? This is the opinion of the vulgar, but it is so natural that the mind disciplined in material philosophy slides into such language in all less guarded moments. Hard it would be to describe the eye without at some point mentioning the design or forethought which has prepared it for so many different circumstances.

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