Chapter XXVII.—Power of Water.
“But in this also the divine providence is to be admired, that it permits us to see and know the things that are made, but has placed in secrecy and concealment the way and manner in which they are done, that they may not be competent to the knowledge of the unworthy, but may be laid open to the worthy and faithful, when they shall have deserved it. But to prove by facts and examples that nothing is imparted to seeds of the substance of the earth, but that all depends upon the element of water, and the power of the spirit which is in it,—suppose, for example, that a hundred talents weight of earth are placed in a very large trough, and that there are sown in it several kinds of seeds, either of herbs or of shrubs, and that water enough is supplied for watering them, and that that care is taken for several years, and that the seeds which are gathered are stored up, for example of corn or barley and other sorts separately from year to year, until the seeds of each sort amount to a hundred talents weight, then also let the stalks be pulled up by the roots and weighed; and after all these have been taken from the trough, let the earth be weighed, it will still give back its hundred talents weight undiminished. 816 Whence, then, shall we say that all that weight, and all p. 173 the quantity of different seeds and stalks, has come? Does it not appear manifestly that it has come from the water? For the earth retains entire what is its own, but the water which has been poured in all through is nowhere, on account of the powerful virtue of the divine condition, which by the one species of water both prepares the substances of so many seeds and shrubs, and forms their species, and preserves the kind while multiplying the increase.
[De Maistre, Soirées, vi. 259.]