Musings upon Deity

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There was a time when all seemed plain and clear;

Or, if in mystery immersed, the end Ran circling into cause, without a fear

Lest the great order of the All should bend, Or crack into division of the plan Built by the Soul Supreme, who gave to man The thought that might unlock as with a key At least the outer courts of mystery. But now, with deeper thought, still deeper shoots

The unknown strata-realm, the hidden cause; And more and more entangled spread the roots

Of life's eternal tree. Vast Nature's laws Traverse each other — fight for victory. The wolf and lamb both dear to God must be. Scorpion and snake he made, as well as man. Spider and fly are equal in the plan Of his great providence. The hawk and dove Are foes, but both protected by his love. The teeming earth is still their procreant mother. " He feedeth them," — though one feed on the other. One half the world devours the other half ; And millions groan while other millions laugh. That death may triumph, life incessant grows. No favorites cold impartial Nature knows. The strong survive; but only circumstance Helps them to live, — and this seems born of chance. The weak may live, if elements but prove Propitious, — earth below and skies above. All is conditioned ; but no final plan For all creation can be known to man.


Yet in its place each serves some hidden end;

Nor can it live, unless that unseen Friend

Be near—that vast benign Intelligence

We cannot know — which some name Providence,

Some Nature, and some God; the Power that lurks

In cells and atoms, and in all things works

For purposes beyond our sight and ken,

From stage to stage of growth, —from apes to men,

It may be, — so with science most profound

Philosophers of modern days expound.

But never may their speculations cloud

That clear-eyed common-faith, too large to shroud

Itself in matter; for it still must see

O'erruling and indwelling Deity,

Creator and Sustainer, Heart and Soul,

Pervading the illimitable whole.


Why clings the soul to God when all seems dark ?

To Duty — when the last dull, glimmering spark

Of virtue in a nation's life and creed

Goes out, and manhood lies a trampled weed ?

To Immortality — when atheists climb

To thrones sustained by fashionable crime ?

To Brotherhood — when slaves themselves confess

They are but beasts whom Nature cannot bless ?

What power is this which lives when all is dead,

And lifts through rotting worlds its godlike head,

And owns a heaven-born origin, nor aims

To show ancestral titles to its claims ?

Account for it who can. To me it seems

A light divine, whose primal solar beams

Illumine man, and not a self-born glow

By evolution bred through stages slow.

Leave me this dream at least, O sciolists,

Nor shroud me in your speculative mists 1


Thou — so far, we grope to grasp thee!

Thou — so near, we cannot clasp thee !

Thou — so wise, our prayers are heedless 1

Thou — so loving, they are needless 1

In each noble thought thou shinest;

Earth and dross to gold refinest.

In each deed of love thou warmest;

Evil into good transformest.

Soul of all, and moving centre

Of each moment's life we enter;

Breath of breathing, light of gladness,

Infinite antidote of sadness;

All-preserving ether flowing

Through the worlds, yet past our knowing, —

Never, never past our loving;

Never from our life removing;

Still creating, still inspiring;

Never of thy creatures tiring.

Artist of thy solar spaces,

And thy humble human faces;

Mighty glooms and splendors voicing ;

In thy plastic work rejoicing;

Through benignant law connecting

Best with best — and all perfecting.

Though all human races claim thee,

Thought and language fail to name thee 1

Mortal lips be dumb before thee I

Silence only may adore thee 1

Christopher P. Cranch.