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eflort, it is obvious, that such branches of know.edge as are calculated to enlarge the capacity •f the mind, and to throw a light over the revelations and the works of Goa, should no longer be overlooked in the range of our religious content ula tions.
V.—The extensive range of thought which the diversified objects in nature present, Would
RATE A TENDENCY TO INSPIRE US WITH
It is owing, in many instances, to want of attention to the impressive displays of wisdom and omnipotence in the material world, that our pious feelings and devotional exercises arc so cold and languid. We stalk about on the surface of the earth, and pass from one day to another, without reflecting on the grand and complicated machinery around us, which is carrying us along through the regions of space, and from one portion of duration to another, as if the mighty energies of the Eternal Mind, exerted in our behalf, were unworthy of our acknowledgement or regard. How few, for example, reflect, when they open their eyes in the morning, and perceive the first beams of the rising sun, that since they lay down to sleep, the divine power has been exerted in carrying them more than four thousand miles round to the eastward, in order that they might again be cheered with the morning light; and that, during the same period, they, a'mng with the earth and its vast populaion, have been carried forward 476,000 miles from that portion of space which they occupied seven hours hefore! Or. if they have no idea of the motion of the earth, and attach no belief to such an opinion, how is it they do not reflect, that after night has thrown its shades around them, the sun, and ten thousand other vast globes, must move several hundreds of millions of miles before their eyes can again behold the light of day? Either the one or the other of these cases must be the fact; and, in either case, there is presented to our view a display of the omnipotence and the superintendence of Him in whom we live and move, which demands our gratitude, our admiration, and praise. Andean it ever be supposed, that such reflections, combined with all the other excitements to reverence and gratitude, will not tend to elevate our contemplations, and to raise our pious feelings to a higher piteh of devotion? Whether the psalmist entertained any views of this kind when ho composed the ninety-second Psalm, we cannot certainty determine ; but I presume, the pious and contemplative mind, when awaking from the slumbers of the night, under such impressions, mi^bt sing the first part of that song of praise with peculiar emphasis and delight—" It is a good thing to give thanks to Jehovah, and to king jiraise to thy name, O thou Most High! to
show- forth thy loving kindness in the morning. For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work,1' (or thy powerful energy :) "I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord! how great are tlty works! and thy thoughts" (or contrivances) " are very deep! A brutish man knoweth not, neither doth a fool understand this.n
An extensive acquaintance with nature arJ science, combined with Christian principle would also induce profountl humility. The mar who has made excursions through the most diversified regions of thought, is deeply sensible of the little progress he has attained, and of tho vast and unbounded field of divine science which still remains to be explored. When he considers the immense variety of sublime subjects which the volume of inspiration exhibits, and of which he has obtained but a very faint and imperfect glimpse—the comprehensive extent, and the intricate windings of the operations of Providence, and the infinite number of beings over which it extends—the amplitude and magnificence of that glorious universe over which Jehovah presides, and how small a portion of it lies open to his minute inspection—he is humbled in the dust at the view of his own insignificance; he sees himself to be a very babe in knowledge ; and, as it were, just emerging from the gloom of ignorance into tho first dawning* of light and intelligence. He feels the full force and spirit of the poet's sentiments—
"Much learning shows how little mortals know."
When he considers the comprehensive extent of the divine law, and its numerous bearings on every part of his conduct, and on all the diversified relations in which he stands to his God, and to his fellow men; and when he reflects on his multiplied deviations from that eternal rule of rectitude, he is ashamed and confounded in the presence of tho Holy One of Israel; and, on a review of his former pride and self-conceit, is constrained to adopt ihe language of Agur and 'of Asaph—" Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. "So foolish was I, and ignorant, I was as a beast before thee." He views the meanest and the most ignorant of his species, as but a very few degrees below him in the scale of intelligence, and sees no reason why he should glory over his fellows.
This feiitiment might be illustrated from ths example of some of ihe most eminent men, m whose minds science and religion were combined. The Honourable Mr. Boyle was the most unwearied and successful explorer of the works o; God, in the age in which ho lived, and all nis philosophical pursuits were consecrated to tns service of religion. Among other excellent trails in his character, humility was the most conspicuous. "He had about him/' says Bishop Burnet, * all that unaffected neglect of pomp in clothes, lodging, furniture, and equipage, which agreed with his grave and serious course of life," and was courteous and condescending to the meanest of his fellow men. "He had," says the same author," the profoundest veneration for the great God of heaven and earth, that I ever observed in any person. The very name of God was never mentioned by him without a pause, and a visible stop in his discourse;" and the tenor of his philosophical and theological writings is in complete unison with these traits of character. Sir Isaac Newton, too, whose genius seemed to know no limits but those of the visible universe, was distinguished by his modesty, humility, and meekness of temper. He had such an humble opinion of himself, that he had no relish of the applause which was so deservedly paid him. He would have let others run away with the glory of his inventions, if his friends and countrymen had not been more jealous of his honour than he was himself. He said, a little before his death, " I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to havo been only like a boy playing on the sea-ehore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.**
The same sentiment might have been illustrated from the lives of Bacon, Locke, Dr. Boerhaave.Hervey, Nieuwentyt, Ray, Derham, the Abbe Pluche, Bonnet, and other eminent characters, who devoted their stores of knowledge to the illustration of the Christian system. For an extensive knowledge of the operations of God has a natural tendency to produce humility and veneration; and wherever it is combined with pride and arrogance, either among philosophers or divines, it indicates a lamentable deficiency, if not a complete destitution of Christian principle, and of all those tempera which form the bond of union among holy intelligences. After the attention of Job had been directed to the works of God, and when he had contemplated the inexplicable phenomena of the divine agency in the material world, he was ashamed and confounded at his former presumption f and, in deep humility, exclaimed, " I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee; wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.** In accordance with what has been now stated, we find that the most exalted intelligences, who, of course, possess the most smentive views of the works and providential
arrangements of God. are represented u also the most humoie in '.heir <?*oortmeni and us displaying the most D**1snund -everence is their incessant adorations. Tbev "(nil aow% before Him who sits upon the throne: and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.'' Their moral conduct evinces the same lowly temper of mind. They wait around the throne, in the attitude of motion, with wings outspread ready to fly, on the first signal of their Sovereign's will, they 11 do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word," and do not disdain to perform important services, in our wretehed world, to the meanest human being who is numbered among " the heirs of salvation." In like manner, were we endued with the grasp of intellect, the capacious minds, the extensive knowledge, and the moral powers which they possess, we would also display the same humble and reverential spirit, and feel ashamed of those emotions of vanity and pride, which dispose so many of the human family to look down with contempt on their fellow mortals.
If the leading train of sentiment which pervades this volume be admitted, the following general conclusions may be adduced >- That, in conducting the religious instruction of the young, the works of God in the material world, and the most striking discoveries which have been made as to their magnitude, variety, and mechanism, should be frequently exhibited to their view in minute detail; as illustrations of the attributes of the Deity, and of those descriptions of his nature and operations contained in the volume of inspiration;—that the books put into their hands should contain, among other subjects, popular and striking descriptions of the facts and appearances of nature ;—that seminaries should be established for the occasional instruction of young persons, from the age of 15 to the age of 2O or 30, or upwards, in all those popular branches of natural and moral science which have a tendency to enlarge the capacity of their minds, and to expand their conceptions of the incessant agency of God ;—and that the nr.rasters of religion, in their public instructions, snouia frequently blend their discussions of divine tonics vith illustrations derived from the scenes Of creation and providence.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS.
No. I. p. 23 —Illustration of the Rate of Motion m the Heavenly Bodies, on the supposition that the earth u at rest.
The distance of the lun is about 95 millions of miles; consequently, the diameter of the circle he would describe around the earth would be 190 millions, and its circumference 697,142,857, which forms the extent of the circuit through which he would move in 24 hours, if the earth were st rest. This number divided by 24, gives 25,880,952, the number of miles he would move in an hour; and this last number, divided by 60, gives 414,682, the number of miles he would More in a minute. The nearest star ta reckon
ed to be at least 20,000,000,000,000, or twent hillions of miles distant from the earth; consequently, its daily circuit round our globe would measure more than 125,000,000,000,000 miles. This sum divided by 86,400, the number of seconds in a day, would give 1,454,861,111, or somewhat more than one thousand four hundred millions of miles, for its rate of motion in a second of time—a motion which, were it actually existing, would, in all probahility, shatter the
The unlearned reader may, perhaps, acquire a more distinct idea of this explanation trom the following figure:
Let the small circle A, in the centre, represent round the earth every 24 hours. The line A B Jie earth, and the circle B C D E the orhit will represent the distance of the sun from the *f the sun, on the supposition that be moves earth, or 95 millions of miles; the line B D the
diameter of the orbit he would describe; and the circle B C D E the circumference along which he would move every day, or 59? millions of miles, which is somewhat more than three times the diameter. If the line A F represent the distance of the nearest star, the circle P G H I will represent the circuit through which it would move every 24 hours, if the earth were at rest It is obvious, from the figure, that since the stars are at a greater distance from the earth than the sun, the circle they would describe around the earth would be larger in proportion, and, consequently, their velocities would be proportionably more rapid; since they would move through their larger circles in the same lime in which the ■un moved through his narrow sphere. But the supposition that the earth is the centre of all the celestial motions, and that the different stars are daily moving around it with different velocities, and the slowest of these motions is so inconceivably rapid—is so wild and extravagant, that it appears altogether inconsistent with the harmony of the universe, with the wisdom and intelligence of the Deity, and with all the other arrangements he has made in the system of nature.
No. II. p. 34.—Experimental illustrations of the Pressure of the Atmosphere.
The pressure of the atmosphere is most strikingly illustrated by means of the air-pump. But as few persons, comparatively, possess this instrument, the following experiments, which any person may perform at pleasure, are sufficiently convincing on this point. Take a common wine-glass, and fill it with water; apply a piece of paper over the mouth of the glass; press the paper to the rim of the glass with the palm of the hand; turn the glass upside down; withdraw the hand from the paper, and the water will be supported by the pressure of the atmosphere. That it is the atmospherical pressure, and not the paper, which supports the water, is evident; for the paper, instead of being pressed down by the weight of the water, is pressed upward by the pressure of the atmosphere, and appears concave, or hollow in the middle. If the dame of a candle be applied to the paper, it may be held, for an indefinite length of time, close to the paper, without setting fire to it. The same fact is proved by the following expe-imont :—Take a glass tube, of any length, and of a narrow bore; put one end of it in a basin of water; apply the mouth lo the other end, and draw out the air by suction; the water will immediately rise toward the top of the tube; and if the finger or thumb bo applied lo the lop of the tube, to prevent the admission of air, and the tube removed from the basin of water, the water in the tube will be supported by the pressure of the atmosphere on the lower end. Again: —Take a wine-glass, and burn a small bit of
paper in it; and when the paper is burning press the palm of the hand upon the mouth of the glass, and it will adhere to the hand w'vh considerable force. In this case, the pressure of the atmosphere will be sensibly felt: for i: will sometimes require considerable force to detach the glass from the hand.
The pressure of the atmosphere explains a variety of common phenomena. When we take a draught of water out of a basin, or a running stream, we immerse our mouths in the water, and make a vacuum by drawing in the air; the pressure of the atmosphere upon the external surface of the water then forces it into the mouth. The samo cause explains the process of a child sucking its mother's breasts—-the action of a boy's sucker, in lifting large stones— the rise of water in pumps—the effects produced by cements—the firm adhesion of snails and periwinkles to rocks and stones—the scarcity of water in the time of hard frosts—and the fact that a cask will not run by the cock, unless a hole be opened in some other part of the cask.
No. III. p. 118.—On the means by which it may probably be ascertained whether the Moon be a Habitable World.
About six years ago, the author published, in the Monthly Magazine, a few observations Or the surface of the moon, in which a few remarks were offered on this subject. The following is an extract from that communication;—
"If we be ever to obtain an ocular demonstration of the habitability of any of the celestial orbs, the moon is the only one, where we can expect to trace, by our telescopes, indications of ihe agency of sentient or intelligent beings; and I am pretty much convinced, that a long continued series of observations on this planet, by a number of individuals in different places, might completely set at rest the question, ' Whether the moon be a habitable world V Were a vast number of persons, in different parts of the world, to devote themselves to a particular survey of the moon—were different portions of her surface allotted to different individuals, as the object of their particular research—were every mountain, hill, cavem, cliff, and plain accurately inspected—and every change and modification in the appearance of particular spots carefully marked and represented in a series of delineations, it might lead to some certain conclusions, both as to her physical constitution, and her ultimate destination. It can be demonstrated, that a telescope which magnifies 100 times, will show a spot on the moon's surface, whose diameter is 1223 yards; and one which magnifies a thousand times, will, of course, enable us to perceive a portion of her surface, whose size is only 122yards; and, consequently, an object, whether natural or artificial, of no greater extent than cne of our large edifices, (for example, St. Paul's church, London,) may, by such an internment, be easily distinguished. Now, if every minute point on the lunar surface were accurately marked by numerous observers, it might be ascertained whether any changes are taking place, either from physical causes, or from the operations of intelligent agents. If a large forest were cutting down—if a city were building in an open plain, or extending its former boundaries—if a barren wasie were changing into a scene of vegetation—or, if an immense concourse of animated beings were occasionally assembled on a particular spot, or shifting from one place to another—such changes would be ind"" d by certain modifications of shade, coloui, or motion; and, consequently, would furnish a direct proof of the agency of intelligent beings analogous to man, and of the moon being a habitable globe. For although we may never be able to distinguish the inhabitants of the moon, (if any exist,) yet if we can trace those effects which can flow only from the operations of intelligent agents, it would form a complete demonstration of their existence, on the same ground on which a navigator concludes an unknown island to be inhabited, when he perceives n urn an habitations, and cultivated fields.
"That changes occasionally happen on the lunar hemisphere next the earth, appears from the observations of Horschel and Schroder, particularly from those of the latter, in the transactions of the 'Society of Natural Philosophy,' at Berlin, Schroeler relates, that on the 3Oth December, 1791, at five o'clock, P. M.with aseven feet reflector, magnifying 161 times, he perceived the commencement of a small crater on the frmth-weat declivity of the volcanic mountain in the Afore Crisium, having a shadow of at lean 2" 5. On the 11th January, at twenty minutes past five, on looking at this place again, he could see neither the new crater nor its shadow. Again, on the 4th January, 1792, he perceived, in the eastern crater of Helicon, a central mountain, of a clear gray colour, 3" in diameter, of which, during many years' observations, ho had perceived no trace. 'This appearance,' he adds, ' is remarkable, as probably from the time of Hevelius, the western part of Helicon has been forming into its present shape, and nature seems, in that district, to be particularly active.'—In making such minute observations as those to which I allude, it would be proper, along with an inspection of the moon's luminous disk, to mark the appearances of different portions of her dark hemisphere, when it u partially enlightened by the reflected light from the earth, soon after the appearance of new moon. These researches woul 1 require a longcorUinued series of the most minute observations, by numerous observers ir different regions of the globe, which could be effected only by
exciting, among the bulk of mankind, a general attention to such investigations. But were thii object accomplished, and were numerous observations made from the tops of mountains, and in the serene sky of southern climes, where the powers of the telescope are not counteracted by dense vapours, ihere can be little doubt that direct proofs would be obtained that the moon is a habitable world; or, at least, that the quostion in relation to this point would be completely set at rest."
No. IV.—Remarks on the late pretended di*c«i very of a lunar Fortification.
The British public was lately amused by the announcement of a discovery said to have been made by Professor Frauenhofer, of Munich. This genileman was said to have discovered a fortification in the moon, and to have distinguished several lines of road, supposed to be the work of the 'unar inhabitants. It is scarcely necessary to say, that such announcements are obviously premature. To perceive distinctly the shape of an object in the moon, which resembles a fortification, it is requisite, that that object be of a much larger size than our terrestrial ramparts. Besides, although an object resembling one of our fortifications were perceived on the surface of the moon, there would be no reason to conclude, that it served the same purpose as fortifications do among us. We are so much accustomed to war in our terrestrial system, and reflect so little on its diabolical nature, that wo are apt to imagine thai it must form a necessary employment even in other worlds. To be assured that a fortification existed in the moon for the same purpose as with us, would indeed be dismal tidings from another world; for it would be a necessary conclusion, from such intelligence, that the inhabitants of that globe are actuated by the same principles of depravity, ambition, and revenge, which have- infected the moral atmosphere of our sublunary world. With regard to the pretended discovery of the lunar roads, it may not be improper to remark, that such roads behooved to be at least 400 feet broad, or ten times the breadth of ours, in order to be perceived as faint lines through a telescope which magnifies a thousand times; which is a higher power, I presume, than Frauenhofer can apply with distinctness to any of his telescopes. It is not at all likely that the lunar inhabitants are of such a gigantic size, or employ carriages of such an enormous hulk, as to require roads of such dimensions, since the whole surface of the moon is only the thirteenth part of the area of our globe.
Schroeter conjectures the existence of a great city to the north of Manus, (a spot in the moon,) and of an extensive canal towards Hygena, (another spot,) and ho represents part of the spot