The mystic insight of Isaac Watts
As I write this we are enjoying the most glorious May bank Holiday weather, which has broken all records? I spent the early part of today with family on a trip down the Wye Valley and though I know the valley well it seem that these weather conditions have brought qualities of colour which the the stunning beauty of the area.
On days like this nature in all its glory is breath taking and awe inspiring all at once and makes me wan to cry out with the psalmist ‘ The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Back home, enjoying a chilled drink on the patio as the afternoon cools towards evening, I notice movement in a mound of soil in the garden. On closer inspection I see an army of ants going about their business with seemingly great purpose and determination. I find I am less inclined to wax lyrical about ants and hymns of praise spring less readily to mind as I watch the ants march across the patio towards me.
Thank goodness for the very gifted Isaac Watts, whose hymns we love and whose prose and poetry show us the divine mystery of God even in the most seemingly insignificant creatures. In a piece entitled ‘Meditation on the first of may’ he writes…
‘What an exquisite world of wonders is complicated even in the body of every little insect – an ant, a gnat, a mite, that is scarce visible to the naked eye. Admirable engines! which a whole academy of philosophers could never contrive, which the nation of poets has neither art now colours to describe, nor has a world of mechanics skill enough to frame the plainest and coarsest of them.
Their nerves, their muscles and the minute atoms which compose the fluids fit to run in the little channels of their veins, escape the notice of the most spacious mathematician, with all his aid of glasses. The active powers and curiosity of human nature are limited in their pursuit and must be content to lie down in ignorance.
It is a sublime and constant triumph over all the intellectual powers of man which the greatest God maintains in every moment in the inimitable works of nature – in these impenetrable recesses and mysteries of divine art.’
So as springtime unfolds into summer I pray that you might glimpse the glorious divine mystery pulsing through all of life and nature in abundance, an infinite generosity whose wisdom and grace seem to know no bounds.