Robert Blair (1593-1666) was one of the 2000 Puritan pastors who was ejected from the national Church in England in 1662. To be more exact, he left early, as he was forced to resign his charge in late 1661. His father had died when Robert was very young, and his mother was left a widow for nearly 50 years. He does not seem to have been raised in a particularly religious household, and his mother only professed conversion much later in life.
About the age of six, Robert was left alone in the house in Irvine, Ayrshire, one Lord’s Day as he was feeling indisposed. He records that the Lord caused his conscience to reflect upon this query: “Wherefore (meaning “For what reason”, not “Where”) servest thou, unprofitable creature?” Young Blair recorded – or older Blair remembered: “I, not being able to answer, looking out at a window, I saw the sun brightly shining, and a cow with a full udder. I thought with myself, I know that [the] sun was made to shine and give light to the world, and that [the] cow was made to give milk to nourish me, and the like; but being still ignorant wherefore [i.e. “as to why”] I was made, I went pensive up and down that gallery wherein I was”.
Contemplating the place of a cow in the cosmic scheme of things led the six-year old to think of the kirk where such a mystery might be disclosed. Thus it was that not long after this experience, young Blair found himself in the local kirk where the preacher was an English minister who had been censured by the bishops, and was heading for Ireland. His text was “But as to me, it is good to me to draw near to God” (Psalm 73:28).
Blair wrote later: “These words, being the text whereon he was preaching, he very often repeated in his sermon; and every time my heart was much affected therewith. I consented to that truth, and heartily approved it, and thought, verily, the Lord had given me the answer of the query that my conscience had made a little before”.
It is not given to all to contemplate a cow and to be drawn near to God, but it is yet another illustration of the truth that the creation rightly viewed will point us to the Creator of heaven and earth.