The Study of Nature
N H SW K F
Aesthetics, Amusement, Feeling, Piety, Design, Theology of Nature, Human Species, Eschatology
'A taste for the beauties of nature highly conduces to a genuine and refined enjoyment'. However, for the Christian, as opposed to 'he who is of the world', there is the added advantage that they are calculated to 'draw forth sentiments of love and adoration' towards the creator. Unlike human art, where a more cultivated sense magnifies the defects, the student of nature is only the more aware of the perfections of divine art. 'What to others may seem something like a blot on the fair proportions of creation, He, by a sort of moral alchymy converts to a beauty'. 'All the works of nature are perfect, because they are the works of God'; thus, the study of nature is a wholly pure pursuit. (226) 'There is something well suited to the nature of man in the study of nature; something akin to the living principle within him that seeks for aliment, unsullied by any of the defilement that necessarily attaches itself to whatever is of man'. This thirst relates to the 'primeval purity' of the human soul. Contrasts 'human science' unfavourably with the 'study of human nature': 'That raises to distinction among men—this confers happiness; that may employ the mind, the mere reasoning faculty—this is the science for the soul; the heir of immortality; the spark of divinity that glows within us'. (227) Imagines the purification of the world as the 'new creation', and speculates about 'the spirits of the just made perfect' visiting it and 'the book of nature' being 'opened to their perusal' (227–28). Concludes that the study of nature harmonizes our ideas 'with those of the seraph hosts, from whose intellect all darkness is removed' (228).
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]