"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, ao are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."
—Isa. Iv. 9.
God's world is wide apart from mine—wide apart, as the calm, lofty, imperishable, unattainable heavens, to which none of my ladders can climb.
I feel it difficult to discover a living Person in the skies. It is not hard to think of God, when I look on the homelier and gentler aspects of nature, or when I turn to the kindly relationships of human life, or when^I enter my soul with its cries and hopes and longings. But when I leave such missionaries of Him for the heavens, I am disappointed. They seem so far from humanity, and so oblivious to my sorrows and joys. Is there a Heart up there? I ask. Is there an Eye which takes in those constellations upon constellations ? Is there a Soul that plans for them? In the vastness I lose the personality of God.
I am overpowered by the infinitude of the skies. I can set limits to the earth, and can pierce to its origins, and can classify its forms, and can track its changes. But the midnight heavens confound and baffle me, and, looking up to them, I am oppressed by my insignificance. The remoteness of luminary and planet, their mass, their number : I shrink from contemplating these. I see more stars than I can count, and those are the nearest fringe of the universe; beyond them are worlds behind worlds. The God Who comprehends this mighty sum of things, and governs it, bewilders me. I must be valueless in His presence, I say; and the thunder of His majesty and power makes me afraid.
I realise my frailty in comparison with the strength and independence of the skies. Alps may be tunnelled by man's genius and patience ; the estuaries of the seas can be bridged; an agent so impalpable and so arbitrary as electricity is harnessed to a thousand uses. But the heavens teach me my limitations. I cannot keep the glory of the sunset. I cannot moderate the glare of the noonday heat. I cannot bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion, or lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season. And the God Who marshals them as a shepherd does his sheep : His mightiness abashes me.
I am rebuked by the obedience and purity of the skies. To my vision, there is nothing but order, nothing but brightness, nothing but the music of the spheres. Duty is not flouted in the celestial world. She " preserves the stars from wrong, and the most ancient heavens through her are fresh and strong." And God is still holier than the skies. Cherubim and seraphim veil their faces before His radiance, and the heavens are not clean in His sight. How He must abhor my evil ways and thoughts I I have not kept my orbit. I have not maintained my stainlessness. I have grieved and disavowed my Lord.
Am I not rebuked by the heavens which speak of Him?