Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

What obligations are we not under to that noble and pow erful invention, the telefcope! by whofe affiftance we become acquainted with the preceding facts: how many thousand objects has it difcovered, which to human eyes were formerly invifible! In the conftellation Pleiades, commonly termed the Seven Stars, have been seen at least seventy ftars. This may hint a caution to us, when reafoning on fubjects beyond our powers there exift many principles, and causes, not to be discovered without what I may term, telescopic affiftance.

This magnificent firmament, decorated with ftellar fires, has ever been among the favourite ftudies of mankind: it is true, the day is the time for activity, and diligence; man is therefore engaged to pursue his business by a flood of light poured forth around him, and few inducements divert his attention from his immediate concerns; but that none of his time may be waste, even in the periodical absence of the moon, the ftars attract his contemplation, and direct upwards his attention, his views, and his defires.

The whole of what we fee is probably but a part of the great, the universal system :-whether we are in its extremes, or whether nearer its centre; whether its centre be the beatific prefence, around which circulates the whole; or whether our appointed heaven be nearer our abode, we know not: but we know, that Deity is every where; equally vifible by the operations of his power, on our own globe, in our own country, in our own perfons, as if this was the only diftrict of his dominion, and his peculiar refidence was among the fons of men.

LADIES and GENTLEMEN,

We have now completed what we propofed, in our Survey of the Celestial Phenomena;-when fubjects of importance, and magnitude, engage our attention, it is neceffary, not only to inspect them part by part, but also to confider the general refult, the effect of the whole: thus fome magnificent edifice, not only delights and pleases by its ornaments and decora tion, but by the fymmetry and proportion of its parts, by united elegance and greatnefs, commands admiration and ap plaufe. Such is the effect of the heavenly phenomena; each in his orb is interefting; each in his orb proclaims the power and wifdom which appointed it; each in his orb exemplifies Almighty fkill, and obeys Almighty direction, folicitous to be found in his ftation, and freely performing his courfe, in profound fubmiffion to its author's original fiat, and continued impulfe.

The refult of the whole, is the most auguft chorus of praife of which mortals, like ourfelves, can form any conception; and, indeed, in order to form a conception (imperfect as it is) of this combination, we are obliged to use every art, and to fummon all our powers. We begin with an inftance moft obvious, and proximate; we rise from this to a fecond, from a fecond to a third, till we vifit tracks of light. Such is the progress we have pursued in this series of Lectures; our appointed luminary affifted us to imagine the properties of luminaries almoft infinitely remote; our native system fupported our gueffes at fyftems beyond

inspection i

infpection; and our planetary chorus aided our ideas of that general, that univerfal chorus, that system of systems, whose combination affords perpetual meditation and reflection. Yet, after all which can be faid on the contrivance of worlds, after all our remarks on the wifdom evident in their formation, and the fkill manifeft in their conftruction, one adoring thought in the human mind, one effort of rifing gratitude, one ejaculation. of genuine praife, is infinitely fuperior in value to all their fplendour: actuated by no principle of love, but impelled by power, excited by no defire of acceptance, but obedient merely as revolved, they efteem not, nor adore, nor praise, (but paffively) their omnipotent Author; let then those who can actively esteem, admire, and adore, let thofe fupply their deficiency. Thefe heavenly objects call, and with no feeble voice, on every power of our minds, and excite to fuch duty every principle of reason, reflection, and thought.

Reflective adoration is not only the moft proper and direct, but alfo the most facile and eafy employment of our faculties; it requires not depth of ftudy, unweariable continuance of obfervation, life-long engagement of attention and remark ; yet is unquestionably certain of divine fuccefs and acceptance. If, on many occafions during the courfe of thefe Lectures, we have had occafion to acknowledge our ignorance, to own that the works of Deity are beyond our conception, with what humility fhould we think and fpeak of DEITY itfelf! The whisper of his ability we hear, but the thunder of his power who can tell? A ray of his fplendour we difcern,

[ocr errors]

but what is the weight of his glory? A fpan repletes our li mited faculties; if we extend our ideas beyond fubjects with which we are intimate, we quickly feel a memento which advifes us, that moderation is wisdom. Though we conceive a period antecedent to the ftellar fires, though we await the close of their existence, and thus conceive of duration; though we add to regions of conftellations other regions beyond them, roving in idea through realms of splendour, and thus conceive of fpace; by all this, what advance have we made in conception of HIM, to whom all time is Now, and all space

a POINT!

Upon much the fame principles as the Zodiac was origi nally diftinguished, have the other parts of the heavens been peopled with men, animals, and objects, according as the imagination of beholders made or found a likeness. Most of these figures (termed CONSTELLATIONS) are of high antiquity, and many of them refer to the Argonautic expedition (before A. D. 955 years). Others are added fince, in allufion to pofterior incidents; and, but in the last century, one particular star was named (cor Caroli) Charles's heart, in memory of Charles I. of England. What ftars are not included in any conftellation are termed unformed; but the conftellations are now drawn fo as to omit as few as poffible. These contrivances arc of great ufe to astronomers, but to them only; and are feldom well understood without the afliftance of a Globe.

The conftellations and their forms differ in various nations.

[merged small][ocr errors]

T1

66

HE eagle, in elevated ether, rifing beyond the track of mortal eye, and foaring in regions of aerial space—yet feels, that far below is his aerie, his habitation, his abode, the objects of his care, his tenderness, his anxiety, to whom he returns with rapid wing, with energetic velocity: so we, who have mounted, in former discourses, beyond this vifible diurnal sphere," who have traversed realms of light, and expanfes of fplendor, who have examined refulgent orbs, distant, -immensely diftant! yet, with invigorated delight and complacency, we turn our attention to that globe of which we are natives in contemplating other spheres furprised and pleafed, not interested; our admiration is the not to be withheld applaufe of a cafual fpectator, but void of the heart-felt rapture of permanent enjoyment: whereas, when we furvey the earth, our dwelling-when we inquire its properties, explore its conftruction, or inveftigate its productions, it awakens the finer feelings of the mind, it claims an intimate relation, a perfonal concern, a fentiment, which ftrongly connects with the tendereft paffions of humanity.

J

The Earth, LADIES and GENTLEMEN, is a planet among the planets; and performs its. revolution around the central fun; whofe invigorating beams vifit every part of it, but not D d

VI.

at

« AnkstesnisTęsti »