I find so much encouragement from the following quote because, prior to my salvation, I was one who “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1.25b). But now, with a regenerate heart and mind, I can delight in nature without making it an idol because it is God Himself that I see through the various aspects of His creation. It is the secondary means by which God has chosen to reveal His own glory to the world, and in that I delight!
“It appears to me that those who would forbear the study of nature, or shun the observation of its beauties, are conscious of the weakness of their own spirituality … If my graces are strong, I can look upon the outward world, and draw forth its good without feeling its evil, if evil there be; but if my religion is mainly fictitious, then hypocrisy dictates to me the affectation of unusual spirituality, or at any rate I have not grace enough to rise from a contemplation of the works of God to a nearer fellowship with God himself. It cannot be that nature of itself debases me, or diverts me from God; I ought to suspect a deficiency in my self when I find that the Creator’s handiworks have not a good effect upon my soul. Moreover, rest assured brethren, that he who wrote the Bible, the second and clearest revelation of his divine mind, wrote also the first book, the book of nature; and who are we that we should derogate from the worth of the first because we esteem the second.
Milton’s “Paradise Regained” is certainly inferior to his “Paradise Lost,” but the Eternal God has no inferior productions, all his works are master-pieces. There is no quarrel between nature and revelation, fools only think so: to wise men the one illustrates and establishes the other. Walking in the fields at eventide, as Isaac did, I see in the ripening harvest the same God of whom I read in the word that he covenanted that seed-time and harvest should not cease. Surveying the midnight skies, I remember him who, while he calls the stars by their names, also bindeth up the broken in heart. Who will may neglect the volume of creation, or the volume of revelation, I shall delight in them both as long as I live.”
From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled “Lessons From Nature,” delivered August 13, 1871.