THE PLURALITY OF WORLDS
58. You have followed us in our celestial excursions, and you have visited with us the immense regions of space. We have seen suns succeed to suns, systems to systems, and nebula to nebula. The splendid harmonious panorama of cosmos has been unfolded before our eyes, and we have received a foretaste of the idea of infinitude, which we can comprehend in all its extent only in a future state of perfection. The mysteries of ether have unveiled their secret hitherto incomprehensible, and we have conceived at least an idea of the universality of things. It is important now to pause and reflect.
59. It is well, without doubt, to have recognized the smallness of the Earth, and mediocre importance in the hierarchy of worlds. It is wise to have lowered the human arrogance so dear to us, and to have become humiliated in the presence of absolute grandeur; but it will be much more satisfactory to interpret with the moral sense the spectacle to which we have been witnesses. I desire to speak of the infinite power of nature, and of the idea which we ought to form of its mode of action in the diverse extend of the universe.
60. Habituated, as we are, to judge of things by our poor little sojourn here, we imagine that nature has not been able to act, or ought not to act in other worlds, except in accordance with the rules which we have recognized here below. Now it is precisely in this respect that it is important to reform our judgment.
Cast your eyes upon any region whatsoever of your globe, and upon anyone of the productions of its nature. Do you not recognize there the seal of an infinite variety, and the proof of an unequalled activity? Do you not see upon the wing of the little canary-bird, upon the petals of an opening rosebud, the fascinating fecundity of this beautiful nature?
When your studies are applied to the winged beings which cleave the air, — when they descend to the violet of the woods, to the depths of the ocean, — in all and everywhere you read this universal truth: All-powerful nature acts according to place, time, and circumstances. It is a unit in its general harmony, but a multiple in its productions; it handles a sun as a drop of water; it peoples an immense world with living beings, with the same facility as it opens the egg deposited by the autumn insect.
61. Now, if such is the variety that nature has been able to depict in all places on this little world, so narrow, so limited, what can you imagine of its action in larger worlds, so great in extent, which far more fully than the Earth attest her unknown perfection?
Do you not then see, around each one of the suns in space, systems similar to your planetary system? But you do not see that these planets support the three kingdom of nature that develops around you. For, as no two human faces are exactly similar, this same prodigious, unimaginable variety has been displayed in the abodes of ether which float on the breasts of space.
Since animated nature commences with the zoophyte and ends with man, since the atmosphere feeds terrestrial life, since the liquid element is incessantly renewed, since your seasons are succeeded in this life by the phenomena which divide them, do not conclude that the millions on millions of worlds which roll in space are similar to this: far from it. They differ according to the diverse conditions which have been developed on them, and according to their respective roles in the drama of the universe: they are varied gems in an immense mosaic, diversified flowers in a super garden.