Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

No. V.

THE CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHER. [

ON THE PLANETS.

There are in our system nine primary planets, which re* volve round the Sun, to which astronomers have given fhe following names:— Mercury, Venus, the Earth) Mars, Ceres, Pallas, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Geoigium Sid us. Some of them are attended by moons, or secondary planets. The Eaith has one moon, Jupiter roar, Saturn seven, and the Geoigium Sidussix. The planets are all of them globular in their shape, and move round the Sun at different distances, from east to west. The planes of their orbits do not coincide with that of the Earth, but cross it with different angles, though none of them vary more than six degrees north or south. The Zodiac, or girdle, which encompasses the heavens, and includes the track of all the planets, is not more than twtelve degrees in width. In the middle of which, like a path in a broad road, we find the orbit of the Earth. Those planets whii-h are nearest the Sun, move with the greatest velocity. As the planets move in elliptical orbits, having the Sun in one of the foci of the ellipsis, it Is evident each planet must be nearer the Sun at one time than at another; and they are known'to increase in velocity as they approach the Sun, ajnd decrease when moving from it; yet they all observe this remarkable law, viz. They describe equal areas in equal times; that is, if a line were drawn from the Sun to any one planet, the space described by that line would each day be exactly the same, although the planet moves one day faster than another; because, in proportion as the velocity of the planet is increased; the line would be shortened in consequence of the nearer approach of the planet to the Sun. Another law by which the distance of the planets may be ascertained is equally surprizing, that the squares of the periodical times of any planet are •exactly proportioned to the cubes of their distances. Thus, for example, as the square of 365 days (the time of the Earth's resolution round the Sun) is to 225 (the number of days in whic h Venus performs her revolution) so is the cube ol 95,000,000 of miles (the Earth's distance from the Sun) to a fourth number, which will be the cube of the distance of Venus. When ohi of the heavenly bodies is so situated, as by its motion in its orbit to approach nearer the Earth, as it advances it appears stationary; at other times, in consequence of the Earth's moving with greater velocity, the planet may be, as it were, left behind it; and will then appear to have a retrograde motion.

Venus and Mercury are called Inferior Planets, because they ore within the Earth's orbit: all the rest which aiewithout, are

ealled Superior. Mercury being nearer the Sun, and very sınall, is bụt seldom seen, because usually hidden by the splendor of the solar rays. The orbit of Venus includes that of Mercury; and is distinguished from the other planets by a peculiar brightness. Being between the Earth and the Sun, she appears with various phases; horned, gibbous, &c. like the Moon. Both the inferior planets, at certain times, pass over the Sun's disk, which is ealled their Transit. Of the superior planets, Mars is nearest the Earth. Spots have been seen upon its surface ; from whence the length of its days and inclination of its axis has been ascertained. A small planet, whose orbit

is next to that of Mars, was discovered by Mr. Piazzi, the first · day of the present century ; ter which he has given the name

of Ceres Ferdinandez. Another planet, still smaller, was discovered by Dr. Olbers, March 28, 1802, which he has called Pallas. . · Dr. Herschell, on account of their comparative smallness, distinguishes the two last planets by the name of Asteroids; and it is conjectured there may be others which are not yet discovered *. At a considerable distance from the orbit of Pal. Jas, is Jupiter. When viewed through a telescope, several belts are seen across the disk of this farge planet: they vary in their appearance'; and are supposed to be ranges of clouds. Four moonsg of different sizes, revolve round Jupiter; and are frequently eclipsed by his shadow, Saturn is nearly twice as far as Jupiter from the San: a planet distinguished from all the rest hý a thin, fat, broad, luminous ring, which encompasses the body of the planet, but does not touch it; and appears to be divided into two, by a distinct line in the middle of its breadth. Saturn has seven moons. The Georgium Sidas is at such a distance, that it can only be seen by a telescope. It has six moons. For a more particular account of the inag. nitudes, distances, &c. of the heavenly bodies, we must refer the reader to the Table annexed to our next Essay. There is another description of bodies which revolve round the Son, called Comets : they move in orbits very elliptical; and their rines of revolution are so long, and their distances so great, thiat little is kilown of them. Their appearances are dif. ferent : some appear only as a faint vapour; others have a solid part in the middle. When they approach the Sun, they put forth a kind of tail of luminous matter, which is always directed towards the Sun. The number of comets cannot easily be ascertained, but it is supposed to be very great. It is certain, that before the year 1771, more thaa 450 bad been seen.

The brief view we have taken of the Solar System, is enough

* Very recently since this paper was written) another asteriod has been discovered by Mr. Harding, which is called Juino. It is ascertained by Dr. Herschell to be of the same nature with Ceres and Pallas.

to shew the being and providence of God. When we see a piece of machinery, we say ' the hand of an artist has been here:' so when we observe the admirable order and regularity of the motions of the heavenly bodies, which altogether compose one vast machine, of which the Earth itself is but a small part, can we help exclaiming, The finger of God is here ! — Such order and beauty could never have arisen from chance and accident. "He who thinks," says Cicero, " that it had not its origin in mind and understanding, must himself be destitute thereof." But though the movements of these bodies be so harmonious and uniform, yet, to an inconsiderate observer, they woukl appear confused and irregular; and, instead of advancing in their orbit, would appear at times to b* fixed; and, at other times, to move backward. So it is in the ways of God: to an eye of sense, his w ork seems at a stand ^ his purposes defeated, and the promises of his Word unfulfilled. But this is the conclusion of Ignorance and Unbelief. Could we see as Jehovah sees, we should perceive that all things work together, however opposite they may seem, to accomplish the purposes' of his sovereign will. Were it possible for us to fix our station in the Sun, we should from thence behold the hosts of Heaven moving in their several orbits, without the least, even apparent, contusion. It is entirely owing to the situation in which we are placed, that we ever imagine there is any thing like irregularity in their motions; and should it be our privilege to " appear with Christ in glory," we shall discern that all the ways of the Lord are right, and we in the wrong, in presuming to judge when we ought to have obeyed; and to reason when we ought to have believed his promise and relied 'On his word; remembering, that what " we know not now, we jball know hereafter."

"His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding ev'ry hour:
The bud may have a bitter taster

But sweet will be the ftow'r t" Cowper.

I'fi&AlI.

THE OttiGtN OF PREACHING.

Then began men to call upon the Name of tit Lord. Gen. iv. 26.

Whatever may be deemed the exact meaning of these words, it is allowed they must refer to some distinguished period of revival in religion. The marginal reading,'" to call themselves by the name of the Lord," seems to denote, that the sons of God, or worshippers of Jehovah, distinguished thetnselves from the sons of men, or descendants of Cuin, by associating for domestic or public worship.

Some would translate the words, " then began men to call, to itivocatc, or pray i N the name of the Lord," that is, in th« name of the Messiah, the Mediator between God and man; having now, since the birtli of Setli, and especially of Enos, clearer views of the promised seed, and of the use of his name in their addresses to Cod.

But it appears to me more probable that the passage refers to the origin of preaching the gospel, or public; instructions, as the learned Ainsworth and others intimate. Mr. Smith, in his Essay on the Sunday-Sabbath, primed 10'94, and dedicated to Queen Mary, cites great and approved authorities for rendering these words, as they also occur in Gen. xii. 8, 'to preach in or of the Name of Jehovah.' So Malicendo: Prrcdicavit Pe nomine Jehovee, 'He preached of the name of God.' — So Piscator: Charah, r/amare,—' to call to God, is to pray; to call to men, is to preach ;' and from Charah seems to be derived xnp/<rtrtity 'to preach or proclaim *.'

The grand object of the patriarchal preachers was Jesus Christ, who is often called in Scripture "The Name of the Lord+. —"The Name of the Lord is a strong tower."—"In ■his Name shall the Gentiles trust''—"The Name of the Lord is great in might"—and, "Let him that walketh in darkness trust in the Name of the Lord." This is "the name above every name"—" How excellent is thy name in all the earth!"

It is pleasant to think that, from the earliest ages this blessed name was proclaimed to sinners of mankind; for the very life, substance, and spirit of revelation is, and always was, "Jesus Christ and him crucified." "To him all the prophets gave testimony." All who have known this Name have put their trust in him; and it has been as ointment poured forth to believers under every dispensation. Let us exult then in this saving Name, and sing with the royal poet, " I will extol thee, my God, O King; and I will ble>9 thy Name for ever and ever"; and " blessed be his glorious Name for ever and ever !" and let the whole earth be filled w ith his glory! Amen and Amen.

Ct,ERlCWS.

* See Preliminary Discourse to Elihu, by Dr. Hodges, p. ii. t See Horse Solitarije, vol. i. p. 194.

PART OF THE WILL
OF THE LATE REV. MR. BOSTON,

Author of ihe Fourfold State, &c. &c.

In the name of the Three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost,— one undivided self-existent and eternal Jehovah. Amen. —I, J. B. of

, being, through rich mercy and free grace, enabled to sit at the teet of Jesus Christ,, clothed with hi*

[ocr errors]

righteousness, in my right mind and memory, and of sound judgment respecting my eternal state, and those truths which are essential to salvation; considering the mortality or this life, knowing 'tis appointed for men once to die, and not knowing how soon it may be my Heavenly Father's will to remove me out of this time-state, and rank my immortal spirit among " the spirits of itist men made perfect," do hereby make this my La=t Will and Testament in manner and in form following; that is to say, First, I commit my immortal soul to liim,— with reverence and humility be it spoken, — to him who is my everlasting light, my God and my glory; to him w ho is my head guardian, and has promised to be my guide even unto death; to him who ordained me to eternal lite from before the foundation of the world ; to him who hath shined into my heart, has given me the light, and the knowledge, and the glory of himself in the face of Jesus Christ; to him who hath caused me to pass from death to life, and promised I shall never more come into condemnation; to him who has promised never more to leave nor forsake me, and to this end has implanted his fear in my heart, and will not let me depart from him; to him who hath loved mewith an everlasting love, and with lovingkindness hath drawn me; to him who passed by me when 1 lay in the open field (viz. a state of nature) exposed to the just vengeance of a broken law, polluted in my sins and in my blood, who, when he saw me in this ruined state and condition, looked upon me in his own appointed time with a look of love, complacency, and delight, and said unto me live! yea he said unto me live; to him who has promised my "bread shall be given, and my water be made sure," and that, as my day is so ghall my strength be;" to him who will not suffer me to be tempted above that he will enable me to bear up under, but, blessed be his holy name, has promised, with every temptation to make a way for my escape, and that all things shall work together for my good, and has given me a full persuasion, " that neither life nor death, principalities nor powers, things present northings to come, shall ever separate me from his eternal love in Christ Jesus;" this is iny God, my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my buckler, the horn of my salvation, and my high tower; and this is the God whom I adore: — and Secondly, I commit mv body to him who is " the resurrection and the life,"knowing that at the last day he will raise it up and fashion it like unto his own most glorious body, and re-unite it to my glorified sou), and will condescend to take me into a more close union with himself than 1 have everyet experienced, where I shall behold him us he is, and see him face to face; for the arrival of which most glorious time my soul often pants as do the harts for the water-brook, and am ready to say" Come Lord Jesus come quickly." To this glorious personage 1 des'ue to ascribe equal honour, power, and praise with him who ordain

« FöregåendeFortsätt »