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nize him by the telescope, till at length he reappears in his own place, and, after a regular lapse of so many days and hours, recovers his original brightness. Now, the fair inference from this is, that the fixed stars, as they resemble our sun in being so many luminous masses of immense magnitude, they resemble him in this also, that each of them turns round upon his own axis ; so that if any of them should have an inequality in the brightness of their sides, this revolution is rendered evident, by the regular variations in the degree of light which it undergoes.


Shall we say, then, of these vast luminaries, that they were created in vain ? Were they called into existence for no other purpose than to throw a tide of useless splendour over the solitudes of immensity ? Our sun is only one of these luminaries, and we know that he has worlds in his train. Why should we strip the rest of this princely attendance? Why may not each of them be the centre of his own system, and give light to his own worlds ? It is true that we see them not ; but could the eye of man take its flight into those distant regions, it should lose sight of our little world, before it reached the outer limits of our system—the greater planets should disappear in their turn-before it had described a small portion of that abyss which separates us from the fixed stars, the sun should decline into a little spot, and all its splendid retinue of worlds be lost in the obscurity of distance-he should, at last, shrink into a small indivisible atom, and all that could be seen of this magnificent system, should be reduced to the glimmering of a little star. Why resist any

a longer the grand and interesting conclusion ? Each of these stars may be the token of a system as vast and as splendid as the one which we inhabit. Worlds roll in these distant regions ; and these worlds must be the mansions of life and of intelligence. In yon gilded canopy of heaven, we see the broad aspect of the universe, where each shining point presents us with a sun, and each sun with a system of worlds where the Divinity reigns in all the grandeur of his high attributes—where he peoples immensity with his wonders ; and travels in the greatness of his strength through the dominions of one vast and unlimited monarchy.

The contemplation has no limits. If we ask the number of suns and of systems the unassisted eye of man can take in a thousand, and the best telescope which the genius of man has constructed can take in eighty millions. But why subject the dominions of the universe to the

eye of man, or to the powers of his genius? Fancy may take its flight far beyond the ken, of eye or of telescope. It may expatiate on the outer regions of all that is visible

and shall we have the boldness to say, that there is nothing there? that the wonders of the Almighty are at an end, because we can no longer trace his footsteps ? that his omnipotence is exhausted, because human art can no longer follow him ? that the creative energy of God has sunk into repose, because the imagination is enfeebled by the magnitude of its efforts, and can keep no longer on the wing through those mighty tracts, which shoot far beyond what eye

hath seen, or

, the heart of man hath conceived—which sweep endlessly along, and merge into an awful and mysterious infinity ?

Before bringing to a close this rapid and im

perfect sketch of our modern astronomy, it may be right to advert to two points of interesting speculation, both of which serve to magnify our conceptions of the universe, and, of course, to give us a more affecting sense of the comparative insignificance of this our world. The first is suggested by the consideration, that, if a body be struck in the direction of its centre, it obtains, from this course, a progressive motion, but without any movement of revolution being at the same time impressed upon it. It simply goes forward, but does not turn round


it. self. But, again, should the stroke not be in the direction of the centre-should the line which joins the point of percussion to the centre, make an angle with that line in which the impulse was communicated, then the body is both made to go forward in space, and also to

, wheel upon its axis. In this way, each of our planets may have had their compound motion communicated to it by one single impulse ; and, on the other hand, if ever the rotatory motion be communicated by one blow, then the

pro gressive motion must go along with it. In or der to have the first motion without the second,

there must be a twofold force applied to the body in opposite directions. It must be set a-going in the same way as a spinning-top, so as to revolve about an axis, and to keep unchanged its situation in space. The planets have both motions; and, therefore, may have received them by one and the same impulse. The sun, we are certain, has one of these motions. He has a movement of reyolution. If spun round his axis by two opposite forces, one on each side of him, he may have this movement, and retain an inflexible position in space. But, if this movement was given him by one stroke, he must have a progressive motion, along with a whirling motion ; or, in other words, he is moving forward ; he is describing a tract in space; and, in so doing, he carries all his planets and all their secondaries along with him.


But, at this stage of the argument, the matter only remains a conjectural point of speculation. The sun may have had his rotation impressed upon him by a spinning impulse; or, without recurring to secondary causes at all, this movement may be coeval with his being,

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