Chapter XXVI.—Germination of Seeds.
“And what occasion is there to mention more instances in which divine providence has ordained the production of animals to be effected in various ways, that order being superseded which is thought to be assigned by nature, from which not an irrational course of things, but one arranged by his own reason, might be evinced? And in this also is there not a full work of providence shown, when seeds sown are prepared by means of earth and water for the sustenance of men? For when these seeds are committed to the earth, the soil milks upon the seeds, as from its teats, the moisture which it has received into itself by the will of God. For there is in water a certain power of the spirit given by God from the beginning, by whose operation the structure of the body that is to be begins to be formed in the seed itself, and to be developed by means of the blade and the ear; for the grain of seed being swelled by the moisture, that power of the spirit which has been made to reside in water, running as an incorporeal substance through certain strait passages of veins, excites the seeds to growth, and forms the species of the growing plants. By means, therefore, of the moist element in which that vital spirit is contained and inborn, it is caused that not only is it revived, but also that an appearance and form in all respects like to the seeds that had been sown is reproduced. Now, who that has even a particle of sense will think that this method depends upon irrational nature, and not upon divine wisdom? Lastly, also these things are done in a resemblance of the birth of men; for the earth seems to take the place of the womb, into which the seed being cast, is both formed and nourished by the power of water and spirit, as we have said above.