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and he may have derived both the one and the other from an immediate fiat of the Creator. But, there is an actually observed phenomenon of the heavens, which advances the conjecture into a probability. In the course of ages, the stars in one quarter of the celestial sphere are apparently receding from each other; and, in the opposite quarter, they are apparently drawing nearer to each other.
If the sun be approaching the former quarter, and receding from the latter, this phenomenon admits of an easy explanation, and we are furnished with a magnificent step in the scale of the Creator's workmanship. In the same manner as the planets, with their satellites, revolve round the sun, may the sun, with all his tributaries, be moving, in common with other stars, around some distant centre, from which there emanates an influence to bind and to subordinate them all. They may be kept from approaching each other, by a centrifugal force ; without which, the laws of attraction might consolidate, into one stupendous mass, all the distinct globes, of which the universe is composed. Our sun may, therefore, be only one member of a higher
family--taking his part, along with millions of others, in some loftier system of mechanism, by which they are all subjected to one law, and to one arrangement-describing the sweep of such an orbit in space, and completing the mighty
, revolution in such a period of time, as to reduce our planetary seasons, and our planetary movements, to a very humble and fractionary rank in the scale of a higher astronomy. There is room for all this in immensity; and there is even argument for all this, in the records of actual observation; and, from the whole of this speculation, do we gather a new emphasis to the lesson, how minute is the place, and how secondary is the importance of our world, amid the glories of such a surrounding magnificence.
But, there is still another very interesting tract of speculation, which has been opened up to us by the more recent observations of astronomy.
What we allude to is the discovery of the nebula. We allow that it is but a dim and indistinct light which this discovery has thrown upon the structure of the universe ; but still it
; has spread before the eye of the mind a field of
very wide and lofty contemplation. Anterior to this discovery, the universe might appear to have been composed of an indefinite number of suns, about equi-distant from each other, uniformly scattered over space, and each encompassed by such a planetary attendance as takes place in our own system. But, we have now reason to think, that, instead of lying uniformly, and in a state of equi-distance from each other, they are arranged into distinct clusters-that, in the same manner as the distance of the nearest fixed stars so inconceivably superior to that of our planets from each other, marks the separation of the solar systems; so the distance of two contiguous clusters may be so inconceiv. ably superior to the reciprocal distance of those fixed stars which belong to the same cluster, as to mark an equally distinct separation of the clusters, and to constitute each of them an in. dividual member of some higher and more extended arrangement. This carries us upwards through another ascending step in the scale of magnificence, and there leaves us wildering in the uncertainty, whether even here the wonderful progression is ended; and, at all events, fixes the assured conclusion in our minds, that, to an eye which could spread itself over the whole, the mansion which accommodates our species might be so very small as to lie wrapped in microscopical concealment; and, in reference to the only Being who possesses this universal eye, well might we say, " What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou shouldest deign to visit him ?”
And, after all, though it be a mighty and difficult conception, yet who can question it ? What is seen may be nothing to what is unseen ; for what is seen is limited by the range of our instruments. What is unseen has no limit; and, though all which the eye of man can take in, or his fancy can grasp at, were swept away, there might still remain as ample a field, over which the Divinity may expatiate, and which he
may have peopled with innumerable worlds. If the whole visible creation were to disappear, it would leave a solitude behind it-but to the infinite Mind, that can take in the whole system of nature, this solitude might be nothing; a small unoccupied point in that immensity which
surrounds it, and which he may have filled with the wonders of his omnipotence. Though this earth were to be burned up, though the trumpet of its dissolution were sounded, though yon sky were to pass away as a scroll, and every visible glory, which the finger of the Divinity has inscribed on it, were to be put out for ever - an event, so awful to us, and to every world in our vicinity, by which so many suns would be extinguished, and so many varied scenes of life and of population would rush into forgetfulness-what is it in the high scale of the Almighty's workmanship? a mere shred, which, though scattered into nothing, would leave the universe of God one entire scene of greatness and of majesty. Though this earth, and these heavens, were to disappear, there are other worlds, which roll afar; the light of other suns shines upon them; and the sky which mantles
l them, is garnished with other stars. Is it presumption to say, that the moral world extends to these distant and unknown regions ? that they are occupied with people ? that the charities of home and of neighbourhood flourish there? that the praises of God are there lifted