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another, the Aurora Borealis illumina- By the telescope, we are presented ting the sky with its fantastic corrusca- with the most astonishing displays of tions. At one time we behold the fiery his own omnipotence, in the immense meteor sweeping through the air; at number, the rapid motions, and the inanother, we perceive the forked light conceivable magnitude of the celestial nings darting from the clouds, and hear globes; and by the microscope we bethe thunders rolling through the sky.” hold, what is still more inconceivable, p. 93.
a display of his unsearchable wisdom in
the divine mechanism by which a drop This paragraph, which would be of water is peopled with myriads of ina little too florid in any connexion,
habitants,-a fact which, were it not appears to a peculiar disadvantage
subject to ocular demonstration,
would far exceed the limits of human in the work itself, by coming imme.
conception or belief. We have thus diately after a passage which con
the most striking and sensible evidence tains some plain geological remarks that, from the immeasurable luminaries upon “ earths, sand, gravel, marl, of heaven, and from the loftiest serclay, sandstone, freestone, marble, aph that stands before the throne of limestone, fossils, coals, and peat." God, down to this lower world, and to These topics, however useful and the smallest microscopic animalcula, instructive they may be, furnished
that eludes the finest glass, -He is er
ery where present, and by his power, but a poor preparation for the fancy
intelligence, and agency, animates, to take so sudden a flight upward.
supports, and directs the whole. Such But when our author has been des
views and contemplations, naturally canting on the wonderful powers of lead us to advert to the character of the telescope and the microscope, God, as delineated by the sacred writhe reflections which follow appear ters, that, “He is of great power, and much more like the result of a gen. mighty in strength;" that “his underuine feeling of admiration.
standing is infinite;" that “his ways are unsearchable and past finding out;"
and they must excite the devout mind By this admirable instrument, (the to join with fervour, in the language of microscope,) we behold the same Aladoration and praise."-p. 295. mighty hand, which rounded the spacious globe on which we live, and the Few, if any writers of this class huge masses of the planetary orbs, and have ever taken so wide a range directs them in their rapid motions over the vast territories of science, through the sky-employed, at the
as the author before us. Anatomy same moment, in rounding and polishing ten thousand minute transparent
and Physiology, Geography and globes, in the eye of a fly; and boring Geology, Natural History and Nat. and arranging veins and arteries, and ural Philosophy, Chemistry and forming and clasping joints and claws, Astronomy, are severally regions for the movements of a mite! We through which he has taken his exthus learn the admirable and astonish- cursive flight. Nor does he rest ing effects of the wisdom of God, and
even here ; but with untiring wing,
von hi that the divine care and benevolence, are as much displayed in the construc
next wanders over the spacious dotion of the smallest insect, as in the
mains of art, bringing home from elephant, or the whale, or in those each of the great inventions and ponderous globes, which roll around us discoveries of man, something to in the sky. These, and thousands of augment the riches of his hive. other views which the microscope ex- The art of printing and of navi: hibits, would never have been display- gation, the telescope and microed to the human mind, had they not
scope, the mighty labours of steam: been opened up by this admirable invention. In fine, by means of the two
these, and inany similar things instruments to which I have now ad. which testify of the capacity and verted, we behold Jehovah's empire greatness of man, are shown to extending to infinity on either hand. witness no less the manifold wis
dom of Him that made him, and they appear to us almost incapable are hailed as the harbingers of the of being surpassed. Short of abmillennial day.
solute mathematical demonstration, Were it demanded how far the we repeat it, we cannot think of author is qualified to collect the of- another piece of reasoning in our ferings of so many sciences and arts, language, on any subject, at once and present them at the feet of the so inimitable in its manner, and so Christian, we should not hesitate irresistible in its conclusions, as to say, that he has proved himself Paley's Natural Theology. One well qualified for this arduous but important respect in which Dr. Pagrateful task. We would not how ley differs from most writers of the ever, be understood to mean, that same class is, that he fastens on he is himself so universal a scholar, those examples only, which are as the fulfilment of such a purpose strong and unequivocal proofs of might seem to imply. With the the point in question. In so rich exception of wbat relates to astron- and ample a field for illustration, omy, in which study the author there was really no need of selectseems to have made very consid- ing any instances which were either erable personal attainments,) this ambiguous or weak; and accordwork is chiefly a compilation, made ingly, he has selected none. But up partly from similar works in Na- other writers on the same subject tural Theology, and partly from have not always been so discreet ; popular treatises on the several sci- and among these we are forced to ences : such, for instance, as Par- place our present author. When kers' Chemical Catechism, and the phenomena of nature afford Bonnycastle's Astronomy; which, such excellent proofs of certain being intended chiefly for the young, points in Theology-such, for instudiously remark and point out the stance, as the existence, the power, indications, which the facts they re- and the wisdom of God, we cannot cord afford, of the existence, the but think that it is injuring the cause wisdom, and the benevolence of the to attempt to derive from the same Creator.
phenomena, doctrines to which they In the REFLECTIONS, however, have, to say the most, but a doubtwhich are interspersed throughout ful application. The skeptic who the work, there was more room for had become thoroughly convinced originality. These are generally of the existence and the natural at. pertinent; some of them are stri. tributes of God, by reading one part king. But on the whole, we are of the work before us, would be inclined to think that this book will apt to lose all respect for the wri. be more likely to edify the Chris- ter, when he came to witness his tian, than to convince the infidel. feeble attempt in the fourth chapThose very reflections which are ter, to derive from the same preso agreeable and animating, to one mises, the doctrines of the resur. who needs no new arguments to rection, and the general conflagraconfirm his belief, are what most tion. Such we believe, would be disgust the unbeliever, while they the effect upon the minds of men of weaken the impression made upon science at least, and consequently the mind of the inquirer after truth, upon the only class of readers, who who is half Christian, half infidel. are qualified to estimate the validi. To such a reader, and to the con- ty of the arguments. Indeed, this firmed atheist, the cool, unimpas- whole chapter, affords so many sioned, candid, skilful arguments striking examples of the injudicious of Paley, are not only better adapt practice alluded to, that we feel it ed than any similar production, but necessary to animadvert upon it
with more severity, than we should ple itself is correct; and whatever be inclined to exercise towards a may be thought of the one just writer, whose general merits enti. quoted, (and we are inclined to tle him to so much of our respect think well of it,) we cannot consider and esteem. The chapter is enti. that which follows as at all felici. tled, “Scriptural Facis illustrated tous. from the system of nature.” To the first proposition, under this Again, if it be a fact, that the unihead, namely, that scientific know- verse is indefinitely extended, -that, of
many millions of vast globes which diledge, or an acquaintance with the
versify the voids of space, only two or system of nature, may frequently
three have any immediate connexion serve as a guide to the true inter with the earth, then it will appear pretation of scripture, we see no most reasonable to conclude, that those cause to object. To the canon also, expressions in the Mosaic history of the or rule of interpretation, which is creation, which refer to the creation added, we readily assent. It is as of the fixed stars, are not to be underfollows: that no true interpretation stood as referring to the time when of scripture will be found inconsist
they were brought into existence, as
if they had been created about the same ent with well-authenticated facts, in
time with our earth ; but, as simply dethe material world ; or, in other
claring the fact, that, at what period words, when a passage is of doubt.
soever in duration they were created, ful meaning, or equally capable of they derived their existence from God, different interpretations, it ought to That they did not all commence their be explained in such a manner as existence at that period, is demonstrawill best agree with the discoverics ble from a fact, that within the space of truth in science. The author
of 2000 years past, and even within proceeds to offer several illustra
the space of the two last centuries,
new stars have appeared in the heay. tions of this rule.
ens, which previously did not exist in
the concave of the firmament, which, If it be a fact that geological re consequently have been created since search has ascertained that the mate the Mosaic period ; or at least, had rials of the strata of the earth, are of a undergone a change analogous to that more ancient date than the Mosaic ac- which took place in our globe, when it count of the commencement of the emerged from a chaotic state, to the present race of men; the passages in foria and order in which we now bethe first chapter of Genesis, and other parts of scripture, which refer to the origin of our world, must be explained Yet the Bible unequivocally asas conveying the idea, that the earth
serts that the stars were created on was then merely arranged into its present form and order, out of the materi.
the fourth day, a declaration much als which previously existed in a con
more specific than this, that they fused mass, and which had been created derived their existence from God. by the Almighty, at a prior period in The suggestion in the following duration. For Moses no where as- passage, that they could not ali serts, that the materials of our globe have been created at that time, were created, or brought into exist
surprises us the more, as we do not ence out of nothing, at the time to
recollect to have met with the idea which his history refers; but insinuates the contrary. For “the earth,"
in any writer on astronomy, alsays he, prior to its present constitu
though several of these writers tion, “ was without form and void." whose treatises we have perused, p. 315.
were very remote from the charac
ter of the “ Christian Philosopher." It frequently happens that an il- The common supposition has been, lustration is faulty, when the princi. that these new stars were so dis
tant from us, that their light had the disorders that exist among the just had time to reach us, since the interior strata of the earth, indicacreation ; but, as that hypothesis tive of vast and destructive revoluwould not account for their disap- tions that have occurred since their pearing again, another more proba. first creation-from the ravages of ble view of the subject has been volcanoes and earthquakes--and suggested, which is thus expressed from “ thunder-storms, tempests, by Dr. Chalmers. “At such an and hurricanes"_and from “ the immense distance for observation, vast and frightful regions of ice it is not to be supposed that we around the poles.” can collect many points of resem- The fact that so many of the hu. blance between the fixed stars, and man race have been punished by the solar star which forms the cen- the operation of these natural tre of our planetary system. There agents, may be admitted as some is one point of resemblance, howev. proof of the wickedness of man. er, which has not escaped the pen. But we are of opinion that all the etration of our astronomers. We laws of nature are benevolent in know that our sun turns round upon their design, and entirely benevohimself, in a regular period of time. lent; and that the mode in which We also learn, that there are dark they are made instrumental in punspots scattered on his surface, ishing the wicked, is that these are which, though invisible to the na- brought into the range of those opked eye, are perfectly noticeable by erations which, though destructive, our instruments. If these spots on account of their resistless enerexisted in greater quantity on one gy, to the individuals that fall in side than upon another, it would their way, are still essential to the have the general effect of making well-being and safety of the whole. that side darker, and the revolu- Modern sciences,particularly chemtion of the sun must, in sucha case istry and geology, have discovered give us a brighter and a fainter side, the beneficial tendency of so many by regular alternations. Now, there of these convulsive efforts of naare some of the fixed stars which ture, which seemed before to be present this appearance. They pre designed merely to scourge and sent us with periodical variations of afflict mankind, that we feel justi. light. From the splendour of a fied by a sound analogy in repeatstar of the first or second magnitude, ing the assertion, that the opera. they fade away into some of the in- tions of all the laws of nature, even ferior magnitudes—and one, by be- in their greatest irregularities, are coming invisible, might give reason good in their intention, and designto apprehend that we had lost him ed for the security and happiness altogether--but we can still recog- of the world. nize him by the telescope, till at Thus the disruptions and dislolength he re-appears in his own cations of the strata composing the place, and after a lapse of so many crust of the earth, so far from indidays and hours, recovers his origi- cating in itself any marks of the nal brightness."*
displeasure of the Deity, is comThe second position of the au- monly mentioned by geologists as thor is, that the system of nature the most fortunate circumstance in confirms and illustrates the scrip- the world for their science ; for, tural doctrine of the depravity of had the strata remained in a hori. man. This point is argued from zontal position, (as the author seems
to take it for granted they were *Chalmers's Astronomical Discourses, created,) nearly all the facilities p. 21.
which are now offered for the study of geology, would have been want. beneficent in proportion to their ing. Instead of the knowledge sublime and awful phenomena. which the ardent devotees of this We are even now permitted to science, are now able to acquire descry in the hurricane, gleaming respecting the interior of the earth, through its black and portentous and of the diversified substances shroud, the hand of our most mer. that compose its crust, by examin- ciful Heavenly Father; and can ing, as they have now the means of unite with the Psalmist in summondoing, the edges of the inclined ing to his praise, fire and hail, snow strata--the caverns, that open and vapour, and stormy wind fulan avenue to the abysses of the filling his word. All who have at. earth—and the frightful precipi- tentively studied the atmosphere, ces that tower amid the ruins of and learned its diversified and imthe Alps or the Andes, their ob- portant agencies, both chemical and servations would be almost limited mechanical, must have deeply felt to one or two of the uppermost how necessary it is to the safety of strata, were the crust of the earth the world, that the equilibrium of formed throughout of horizontal, this fluid should be preserved, with unbroken layers. Those riches such variations only as are necesmoreover, which the mineral king- sary to make it circulate in the form dom now pours into the lap of of winds and breezes. Viewing, commerce, and administers to all therefore, the tornado as indicating the arts, would, in such a case, somewhere, a disturbance in this either lie mostly concealed forever equilibrium excessive in degree and from the view of man, or be nearly fatal in its tendency, they will regard inaccessible to the miner. Those it as a messenger of mercy presvery disorders of the interior of the sing its way onward, hurrying to earth, therefore, indicate the be- prevent a direful catastrophe. nevolent purposes of the Creator The “vast and frightful regions no less, than the life that subsists of ice around the poles," which and the beauty that blooms, on the our author considers as also degrasurface. Nor, in the opinion of ding the habitation of man, are, to the ablest geologists, are they to be our minds, striking proofs of benerreferred, in general, to the deluge, olent design in the works of creabut to revolutions which occurred tion ; and so we believe they would during that period of which the have been regarded by himself, had author has spoken in his first illus- he fully understood the influence tration, “ when the earth was with which they exert in the economy of out form and void,"--revolutions nature. His mistake lay in suppoof course, not designed to scourge sing that ice is the cause of cold; and afflict man, but to prepare the whereas its whole tendency is the earth for his habitation. The origin other way-namely, to check and of volcanoes being deep in the cav. to arrest it. Chemists have clearly erns of the earth, science has not proved that congelation, though it been able to disclose completely is caused by cold, is nevertheless the part they bear in the economy not itself a cooling but a heating of nature. We could suggest some process—that whenever water pasreasons already explored for think. ses into the state of ice, a great ing that this part is salutary ; but quantity of heat is liberated, which we will, for the present, content contributes to soften the air, and ourselves with the inference to to prevent the further reduction of which all the analogy of nature its temperature ; and, on the conpoints,-that when their agency is trary, whenever ice melts, a simifully developed, it will prove to be lar quantity of heat is withdrawn