The book of creation.
The book of nature open lies,
With much instruction stored;
But till the Lord anoints our eyes
We cannot read a word.
Philosophers have pored in vain,
And guessed, from age to age;
For reason's eye could ne'er attain
To understand a page.
Though to each star they give a name,
Its size and motions teach;
The truths which all the stars proclaim,
Their wisdom cannot reach.
With skill to measure earth and sea;
And weigh the subtle air;
They cannot, LORD, discover thee
Though present everywhere.
The knowledge of the saints excels
The wisdom of the schools;
To them his secrets God reveals,
Though men account them fools.
To them the sun and stars on high,
The flow'rs that paint the field,
And all the artless birds that fly,
Divine instruction yield.
The creatures on their senses press,
As witnesses to prove
Their Savior's pow'r, and faithfulness,
His providence and love.
Thus may we study nature's book
To make us wise indeed!
And pity those who only look
At what they cannot read.
John Newton (1725-1807)
Olney Hymns, 1779