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« There dwells a noble pathos in the skies, • Which warins our passions, profelytes our hearts: “ How eloquently shine the glowing orbs! “ Remonstrating great truths in style sublime *?'
CH A P. XXI.
THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE POWER OF THE
« We read God's awful power, imprinted high,
“ With golden letters, on the starry sky t." I N what majestic lines is it there written! In what
legible characters is it there recorded ! In how striking a manner is it there displayed! “ By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." He faid, “Let there be light, and there was light. Let there be a firmament, and their was a firmament. Let the fun rule the day, and the moon the night, and so it was !” At his command, order sprung out of confufion, and the beautiful fabric of the universe emerged from chaos. « He stretched out the north
* Dr. Young.
+ Mrs. Barbauld.
over * Thomson.
over the empty place,” suspended the earth upon nothing, and bade the planets go their everlasting round. With what wonderful rapidity, and yet with what perfect regularity, do they perform their revolutions! How minutely faithful to the vicissitudes of day and night! How exactly punctual in bringing on the changes of their respective seasons ! By the great Creator were they first set in motion. He impressed upon them the power of gravitation, by which they hang felf-balanced on their centres, and require nothing but this amazing property for their support. If it were the pleasure of the Deity, that this principle should cease to exert its energy, the universal frame would be diffolved, and all Nature would return to her original chaotic state : or, as the ingenious and much-admired author of the Seasons expresses it,
“ Should God hide his face, “ Th' astonish'd fun, and all th' extinguish'd stars, “ Would loosening reel, wide from their spheres, " And chaos come again * !"
ON THE GOODNESS OF THE DEITY, DISPLAYED
IN THE CREATION.
« That God, when he undertook the work of creation, transformed himself into Love." He has no occasion, however, to transforin himself into this amiable principle, for he is the fountain and the source of it. It is much easier to believe that there is no God, than that he is not good and beneficent. He created this earth, and all the brighter realıns on high, and peopled thein with so many tribes of inhabitants, for no other purpose, but to transfufe his exuberant kindness, and to communicate felicity and joy to innumerable ranks of sensitive and intelligent existence.
Large as the compass of creation is, every thing contributes to the beauty, the order, and well-being of the whole. The fun is the inexhauited source of light and heat and comfort, shedding day through all the system, and extending his benign and enlightening influence to surrounding worlds. The clouds being raised in copious exhalations from the vaft ocean, are kindly commiffioned to drop down fatness as they fall, to diffuse fertility over the earth, and to scatter fiowers over the field.
The goodness of the Deity warms in the morning fun, refreshes in the evening breeze, similes in the blossoms of spring, and shines in the constellations of heaven.
<“. The glitt’ring stars By the deep ear of meditation heard, “ Still in their midnight watches sing of Him.”
What an amiable idea of the Author of Nature. doth this convey to us! Is it possible to conceive, any excellence so attractive, as infinite benevolence, guided by unerring wisdom, and exerting almighty. power, on purpose to make a whole universe happy?
ON THE RISE, PROGRESS, AND REVOLUTIONS
MANKIND must have made a very consider
able improvement in observing the inotions of the heavenly bodies, before they could so far difengage themselves from the prejudices of sense and
popular opinion, as to believe that the earth, upon which we live, was not fixed and immoveable.
We find accordingly, that Thales, the Milesian, who, about 580 years before Christ, first taught aftonomy in Europe, had gone so far in this subject, as to calculate eclipses, or the interpositions of the moon between the earth and the sun, or of the earth between the sun and the moon.
Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher, flourished about ten years after Thales, and was, no doubt, equally well acquainted with the motion of the heavenly bodies. This led Pythagoras to conceive an idea, which there is no reason to believe had ever been thought of before, namely, that the earth itself was in motion, and that the fun was at rest. He found that it was impossible, in any other way, to give, a consistent account of the heavenly motions.
The fyftem, however, was so extremely oppofite to all the prejudices of fense and opinion, that it never made great progress, nor was ever widely diffused in the ancient world. The philosophers of antiquity, despairing of being able to overcome iga, norance by reason, set themselves to adapt the one to the other, and to form a reconciliation between them.
This was the case with Ptolemy, an Egyptian philofopher, who flourished 138 years before Christ.