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ON THE PLANET ASTRÆA, &c.
Now, if there be any truth in this law, or any Soon after the rediscovery of Ceres, on the physical reason for its existence, there either 28th March 1802, Dr Olbers discovered a second must have been, or must still be, a planet be new planet, to which he gave the name of tween Mars and Jupiter, at the distance cor. Pallas. Its magnitude was nearly the same as responding to the number 28; and if there are that of Ceres, not exceeding 200 or 300 miles in any other planets yet to be discovered beyond diameter; but what was at first almost incre.
the orbit of Uranus, which is very probable, dible, its distance from the Sun was nearly the Il they will be placed at the following distances : same as that of Ceres, being 27.9, a number
almost identical with 28, the place where a new Nos. . . . 192 384 768 1536 3072 &c.
planet had been expected. | Distances 196 388 772 1540 3076 &c.
In the course of other two years, a third Supposed new planets
planet was added to the solar system by M. So strong had become the conviction that a Harding, astronomer at the Observatory of planet did exist between Mars and Jupiter, that Lilienthal, near Bremen; and, strange to tell, Baron Vou Zach had ventured to calculate its this planet also was situated at nearly the same probable elements, and twenty-four astronomers distance from the Sun as its two predecessors, formed themselves into a society in the autumn namely, at a distance corresponding with the of the year 1800, for the express purpose of number 261. discovering this new planet. M. Schroeter of Confounded with this superabundance of Lilienthal, well known by his accurate maps of planets, in a region of the solar system where the Surface of the Moon, was the president, and one only was expected and desired, astronomers Baron Von Zach, astronomer to the Prince of hitherto devoted to observation, began to specuSaxe Gotha, was the secretary to this associa- late respecting the cause of such extraordinary tion; and the members engaged to observe, results. Although one planet only was required with the greatest care, every star visible through to fill the void, and give harmony to the solar their telescopes, within the limits of the zodiac. system, yet the one actually discovered was so A year had scarcely elapsed before a new small, that it destroyed the harmony in the planet was discovered between Mars and Jupiter, magnitude of the planets, though it established occupying the very place which corresponded a harmony in their distances. The two addiwith the distance 28 in the preceding series of tional bodies, equally small with the first, benumbers,* and, what is equally singular, the came a new source of perplexity, and stamped, discovery was not made by a member of the as it were, a character of disorder upon the association !
system of the world. This great discovery we owe to Joseph In this dilemma it occurred to Dr Olbers that Piazzi, astronomer to the King of Naples at these three small planets were fragments of a larger Palermo. When he was observing the stars one; that this planet had been burst by some on the 1st of January 1801, he noticed one in internal convulsion; and that as all the fragthe field of his telescope which had a different ments had diverged from one common centre, aspect from all the rest, and, as it changed its there ought to be two nodes in opposite points place, and had a very dense atmosphere, Piazzi of the heavens through which they should all regarded it as a comet. He continued to ob sooner or later pass. Having found that these serve it till the 2d of February, having on the nodes should be in the constellations.Virgo and 24th January sent an account of his discovery the Whale, and that it was in the last of these to Oriani, La Lande, Bode, and Von Zach, and that Juno had been discovered, Dr Olbers informed them that he liad observed it sta- examined, thrice every year, these two consteltionary, and retrograde in the short space of lations, till on the 29th March.1807, he disten days. From this information these astro- covered in the constellation Virgo, a fourth small nomers drew the conclusion that the new body planet, to which he gave the name of: Vesta, was a planet; and all Europe was excited by whose mean distance from the Sun corresponded the intelligence. M. Gauss of Brunswick com with the number 22). puted the elements of its orbit, and the astro If these four planets are the fragments of a nomers of England, France, and Germany strove larger one; if a planet has been burst in pieces to rediscover it. Piazzi himself had been ob- by an internal force, powerful enough to overliged to discontinue his observations by a dan come the mutual attraction of the fragments, gerous illness, and it was not till January 1802, we can scarcely doubt that other fragınents of that the planet was rediscovered by Dr Olbers different sizes have been projected into space, of Bremen. From gratitude to his patron the the larger ones revolving round the Sun in the King of Naples, Piazzi gave the name of Ceres vicinity of the principal fragments, and the Ferdinandea to the new planet. The king smaller ones at a greater or a less distance, or ordered a gold medal to be struck in honour of probably drawn into the sphere of attraction, Piazzi; but the modest astronomer requested of the Earth, or any other planet that happened that the sum intended for this purpose should to be nearest to the place of explosion. Adoptbe expended on the purchase of an equatorial ing this view of the subject, Sir David Brewster, instrument for his observatory.
in a paper read to the Royal Society of Edin* The exact mean distance of the new planet is 27.65. burgh in 1808 or 1809, endeavoured to show
that aerolites or meteoric stones, which so fre- tance from the Sun 26.39-a little less than that quently fall from our atmosphere, are the of the same planet. smaller fragments of this burst planet, which Such of our readers as have a tolerably good may have been revolving in space till they telescope will have no difficulty in obtaining a were precipitated upon our globe.* This sight of this interesting body, from the followspeculation, which was considered as a very ing table of its position for the next month:-extravagant one at the time, has received much
North countenance from the periodical fall of fireballs,
Ascerision. 'shooting stars, and aerolites at two periods of
1846, March 22, 75° 54' 8" 19° 33' 19" the year; and Baron Humboldt+ actually ranks
30, 79 20 22 20 11 12 among the bodies of the solar system a host
April 7, 82 59 30 20 41 52 of very small asteroids, whose orbits either
15, 86 49 50 21 6 32 intersect the orbit of the Earth, or approach it
23, 90 49 30 21 24 31 very nearly, and give occasion to the pheno In contemplating the strange phenomenon of mena of aerolites and falling stars.”
fire small planets moving round the Sun in in. Since these views were published, they have terlacing orbits, and filling up a blank space in received new support from the discovery of a the solar system, and in explaining this phenofirth planet, belonging to the same group of menon on the supposition that the five bodies asteroids which revolve between Mars and are the fragments of a larger planet that has Jupiter; and it is highly probable that many been rent in pieces, and exploded by an enor. new fragments will be detected when more mous force in its interior, the mind does not at powerful telescopes are directed to the heavens, first welcome the idea that the harmony of the and when astronomers shall have undertaken solar system has been thus established. While a more thorough examination of the smaller we observe around us everything in a state of stars in the region of the zodiac. This new transition and decay-the mightiest of man's planet, to which the name of Astræa has been works crumbling into dust, and even his own given, was discovered on the 8th of December physical and moral nature in a state of degrada. 1845, by M. Hencke of Driersen, in Prussia, a tion and ruin-we are apt to look to “ the evergentleman who was once connected with the lasting hills” as enduring memorials of divine Post-office in that town, but who, having a great power, and still more to the system of the world passion for astronomy, has, during the last to which we belong, as the type of stability and fifteen years, been making himself acquainted permanence. But this idea has no reasonable with the relative positions of the zodiacal stars, foundation. The perturbations in the planetary for the very purpose of discovering another are as great and numerous as those in the moral fragment of the burst planet.
world, and there are elements of decay in our On the 8th of December, M. Hencke ob. system which forebode its eventual dissolution. served, between two stars of the ninth or tenth We are not entitled, however, to regard great magnitude, and marked on the Berlin maps, a convulsions in the natural world as proofs of star of the ninth magnitude, not marked on the defective harmony, either in planets or in sysmaps; and being familiar with that part of the tems. The hurricane cleanses the taipted atheavens, he was certain that it had moved into mosphere through which it rages; the flood its present position. In letters to Professor cleanses the polluted channel over which it Encke and Shumacher, announcing the fact, sweeps; and it was by great convulsions in the he expressed his conviction that the star was a heart of our own globe, that might have burst it new planet. It has, accordingly, been observed in pieces, that its stratified crust was broken up by astronomers in various parts of Europe; and into mountains and valleys, and hill and dale; it has been placed beyond a doubt that it is a and that the gold and silver, the metals and the fjth member of the group of asteroids revolving fuel, the gems and the precious stones wbich between Mars and Jupiter. The following are
had been hidden in its bowels, were thrown up its elements, as given by Encke :
to the hand of man, that he might collect and Epoch of mean lon-?
employ them. Forests of gigantic growth were gitude, 1846, Jan. O days, 0 hrs. 89° 32' 12" buried in the earth, and cycles of organic life Longitude of Perihelion, 214° 53' 7"
were necessarily entombed, before this beautiful Longitude of Node,
119 44 37
globe was ready for the reception, and worthy
of the admiration, of its intellectual occupants. Inclination of Orbit,
7 42 8
We cannot venture to conjecture what great Eccentricity,
0 207 993 Time of Revolution
purpose has been, or is to be, accomplished by 4 round the Sun,
yrs. 3 m. 21 days. the bursting of a planet. The race that may
be allowed to discover it will doubtless feel aud The time of revolution is about twenty-three acknowledge irs wisdom. We who are perdays less than that of Juno, and its inean dismitted but to see the fact must content our
selves with the lesson, not unworthy of being * See Edinburgh Encyclopædia, article Astronomy, vol. 11., p. 641; and Ferguson's Works, vol. il., Astronomy, p 46 learned, that we have already seen, in the + Kosmos, or Survey of the Universe. He also describes them as moving singly in closed sings, by which -- the heavens shall pass away with a
planetary system, a proof of that mighty agency
oi in multitudes like a stream.
great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; and the earth, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up.”
FRAGMENTS FROM A MINISTER'S DAY
TII E INFIDEL.
I was visiting a few neglected families in the district. I entered the house of one who was a stranger to me. I saluted the family frankly, and was received coldly, though not with incivility. It was the house of a mechanic, and there seemed no tokens of poverty or want. The husband was rather a young man, under thirty, I should suppose, and in good health. His manner was distant--almost supercilious,
He was lying at ease upon his bed after his midday meal, waiting till his dinner hour should expire, rind busily engaged in reading. After a few general remarks, during which he did not lay aside his book, I asked its name and nature. After some hesitation, as if a little ashamed, he answered that it was a novel.
“Do you read no other than such? " “Oh, yes; many others."
“Of what kind," we asked, for he seemed unwilling to speak freely.
“I read books of mechanics, and sciences, and useful information."
“Do you ever read your Bible ? "
“No!” This negative he uttered in a peculiar tone, and with a peculiar sort of expression, bordering on a sneer, as if he neither read nor believed it. I understood his meaning at once, and asked why he never read it.
“ There's no philosophy in it," he replied.
“What do you mean by philosophy?" I asked, thinking that he was using a word at random which he did not understand.
“I mean," said he, “that which explains the reasons of things."
From the way in which he said this, I saw at once that he was really a more intelligent man than I was inclined at first to suppose hini, and resolved to speak to himn accordingly. I thought it best not to irritate hirn, by asking what philosophy there was in a novel, but simply remarked that I thought there was more real philosophy in the Bible than he imagined.
“For instance," I said, “ does not the Bible give us the best information about God?"
“No," he replied; “I got this best from nature and from the works of creation."
“But the works of nature can only tell you about the mind of God, not about his heart. They tell you about his power and wisdom, but not about his love. A watch may show me the watchmaker's skill and ingenuity, but it cannot tell me anything about his feelings or his temper. Now, creation shows me the wisdom of God, but not his kindness and grace. Yet it is upon the state of God's heart and feelings that our happiness entirely depends. Is not this the true philosophy of things!!!
“Yes," he replied, “I dare say it is."
Resolved to carry on this point which he himself had started, I asked aguin of him: “Ilow are we to
know the heart of God? for until we know this, it is but since we have ascertained that there is none, we plain that we cannot be happy?"
will go mourning all our days.” This is true philo“I do not know," said he, “ except from creation." sophy.
“But it is plain, on your own admission, that In like manner, what a world were this of ours, if creation can tell us nothing about the heart of God. there were no Bible! That there should be a God, Where, then, are we to find this information, which and yet no revelation of his will no communication we need so much, and which is so indispensable to between him and his creatures-no intimation of his our happiness?” He was silent-his philosophy failed purposes and desires—how incredible! how unphilohim.
sophical! That God should make us, and then cast “ Is it not plain," said I,“ that such information as us off, and refuse all intercourse with us, how imI speak of can only come from God himself? He only possible! And then how sad if such be the case ! knows what he is and feels; and he only can tell us The very thought of such a calamity would be enough of it. Now, is not this true philosophy ?"
to solemnize and sadden the soul. To know that He admitted that it was, but made no remark. there is a God, and yet have no fellowship with him,
“ Well, the Bible professes to be the book which is never hear his voice, or taste his love, or learn his intended to give us the needed information about will —to look up to the azure heavens, and say: "God God. It professes to tell us what are the feelings in is there, but he will not speak to me; he will not tell the heart of God towards us. Would it not be worth me about himself; he will not let me hear one word your while to study it for this end ?"
concerning all he is doing, and devising, and thinkHe assented, but said something about “evidence.” | ing: God is there, but he will not tell me how I may
“Those who have studied it most declare that there be happy; he has given me life, but he will not show is as much evidence for its being the Word of God as me how that life may be a blessing; he shows me the for creation being the work of God. In these circum- material world around me, but he will not show me stances, would it not be well to inquire ? Would not the spiritual world within and above me, with which this be true philosophy ? You say you would like to alone my soul can have sympathy-how sad! how know what are the feelings of the God that made awful! Better not to be at all, than to have an you towards his offspring; and would it not be worth existence so totally severed from him who made me, while to see if you might not get in the Bible the best and made with such amazing capacities for being and most authentic of all information upon the sub- happy or wretched.” What a struggle it must have ject-that which comes from himself ? "
cost the Infidel, if he be sincere, to come to the conHe again assented, and seemed touched, but said clusion that there is no Bible. The thought must nothing.
sadden all his days. Next to the Atheist, of all men “ Besides," said I, “ if that source of information he should be the most sorrowful; for what darker fail you—if you find the Bible to be untrue-then, cloud can overshadow a creature's days than the if you are in earnest, you will go directly to Himself. thought that the God who made him treats him as You beliove him to have made those mighty works an outcast, and refuses to hold communion with the around you. You believe that he hears and sees you, being that he has made? Surely this is true philothough he himself is unheard and invisible. Now, sophy. It is the philosophy of instinct-it is the will you not, then, go to himself, and ask him to philosophy of feeling—it is the philosophy of the teach you? Do you think that be who made you intellect—it is philosophy such as no man can shake would be unwilling to tell you about himself? or, off. If there be no Bible, everything is darkness, at least, would it not be worth your while to try? mystery, and sorrow. Would not this be true philosophy?" He was
“'Tis the darkness of darkness, silent, though he seemed interested. I arose, and
The midnight of soul; took my leave. Unexpectedly he was called away
No moon on the depths to a distance, and I never saw him again. What
Of that midnight shall roll! were the fruits of that conversation I know not. We have more philosophy upon our side than
NOTES ON WESLEYAN-METHODISM. Infidels are willing to allow. The above anecdote, which is a literal fact, and not a mere imaginary
BY DR JOHN B. BENNETT. picture, may assist in showing our readers where the true philosophy lies.
Editor of the “ Watchman," London. What a universe, if there were no God! The body
(Continued from page 281.) without the soul, or the world without the sun, would be nothing to this. Surely even Atheists, if they are Tue adoption of field-preaching had been one sincere and earnest, must feel that Atheism is a sys breach of Church order, and the formation of tem of gloom. It must have cost them many a sigh religious societies—within the Establishment, before they could come to the conclusion that there yet not subject to its ecclesiastical authorityis no God; and their life must be a life of depression another; a third and important step in the and sorrow-as that of outcasts who have discovered course of “ irregularity," was the employment of that they are without a father, without an inherit- preachers who had not received Episcopal ordiance, and without a home. May they not well say : nation. Thomas Maxfield was the first of these. “Oh! we wish there had been a God, an all-wise, Mr Wesley had authorized him, during his own all-powerful, all-loving one, to have cared for us, and absence from London, to pray with and advise filled the void of our aching bosoms with his love; I the society; and when he heard of his begin.
NOTES ON WESLEYAN-METHODISM.
ning to preach, he hastened back to silence him. | 1747, Mr Wesley himself visited the island, But his mother-whose views had been indis- and was immediately followed by Mr Charles putably high-church-said, “John, you cannot | Wesley. As might have been expected, they suspect me of favouring readily anything of encountered fierce opposition both in tbat and this kind; but take care what you do with re- in their numerous subsequent visits. Romanist spect to that young man, for he is as certainly mobs thirsted for their blood, and the grand called of God to preach as you are.” On hear- jury at Cork once represented Charles Wesley ing. Mr Maxfield preach, and learning what and several of the preachers as persons of ilifruits had resulted from his efforts, Mr Wesley fame, rogues and vagabonds, and common dis“submitted to what he believed to be the order turbers of his majesty's peace,” praying that of God.” Here, as in many other instances, “they might be transported.” The work proshe acted on the principle that, however he pered notwithstanding. Circuits and societies Inight value ecclesiastical order in its own place, were formed. Many nominal Christians were he would regard the salvation of souls as the led to seek the power of godliness, and not a object of paramount importance. The plan of few were converted from Popery. A native an itinerant ministry was now instituted, the ministry was raised up, from the ranks of which country being divided into “circuits,” to each the early Wesleyan itinerancy in England itself of which two or three "travelling preachers" | was recruited by such men as William Thompwere appointed, under the direction of the son (the first president of the English Conannual “Conferences," the first of which assem- ference after Mr Wesley's death), Walter Grifi bled in London in 1744. Even then the ulti- fith, Thomas Walsh, and Adam Clarke. A wate separation of the societies from the Es- foundation was laid for operations which have
tablished Church was contemplated as not im- since extended widely, not only through the '; robable, and a resolution to this effect was regular circuit ministry, but by an Irish mission i lopted: “We do, and will do, all we can to instituted in 1799, and having as one of its prevent those consequences which are supposed first agents the well-known and indefatigable to be likely to happen after our death; but we Gideon Ouseley), by mission schools (instituted cannot, in good conscience, neglect the present in 1823), and by other arrangements, especially opportunity of saving souls while we live, for suited to the wants and circumstances of that fear of consequences which may possibly, or interesting portion of our empire. To these, probably, happen after we are dead.” The however, we shall have occasion to refer Wesleys and their assistants, therefore, la- again. boured on in the face of opposition from the As early as 1744, Mr Wesley had a correspress, from the pulpit, and from, in not a few pondence with the Rev. James Erskine, from instances, the brutal violence of infuriated which he learned that several pious ininisters mobs, instigated-sometimes actually led on, and others in Scotland rejoiced in the success by clergymen. The erection of separate places of his labours, notwithstanding the difference
of worship became indispensable, the churches of their sentiments on some points. Perhaps, 1. of the Establishment being closed against the in these days when Christian union engages so
Wesleyans, and thus yet another step towards much attention, the readers of the Treasury will Nonconformity was taken. The publication of not grudge the space occupied by the following books and tracts was employed with vigour, extract from Mr Erskine's letter :both in defending the system against the numerous attacks by which it was assailed and
Are the points which give the different denomina
tions (to Christians), and from whence proceed sepadiffusing information. Indefatigably as John
rate communities, animosities, evil-speakings, surWesley travelled and preached, he yet found mises, and, at least, coolness of affection, aptness to time to be a voluminous writer. In 1778 he misconstrue, slowness to think well of others, stiffness established the periodical then called “The in one's own conceits, and overvaluing one's own opiArminian Magazine,” which he conducted nion, &c., &c. --are these points (at least among the while he lived, and which is still continued by clearly revealed, and as essential, or as clearly con
far greatest part of Protestants) as important, as the Conference, on an enlarged plan, however, nected with the essentials of practical Christianity, under the title of the “ Wesleyan-Methodist as the loving of one another with a pure heart ferMagazine.”
vently, and not forsaking, much less refusing, the While the system was spreading in England, assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of its influence soon extended far beyond the bor
some was, and now of almost all is ? ders of that country. Mr Williains, one of the Subsequently, however, much prejudice was preachers, crossed over to Ireland, and began excited against Mr Wesley in Scotland, by the to labour zealously in Dublin. Ireland was at republication of Mr Hervey's “ Eleven Letters,” that time in a state of lamentable gloom as to with a strongly worded preface by Dr Erskine. its religious condition. A death-sleep seemed He (Mr Wesley) had three times visited Scotto have come upon what had been evangelical | land; and preaching only upon the fundamental in its Protestantism, and the mass of the people truths of Christianity, had been received with were the unresisting and unreasoning vassals great affection. The societies had increased, of Rone. Mr Williams' efforts were crowned, and several of his preachers were stationed in however, with encouraging success; and in different towns. But the work referred to pro