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he created the human species, wished their happiness; and made for them the provision which he has made, with that view, and for that purpose.. The same argument may be proposed in dif ferent terms, thus: Contrivance proves design; and the predominant tendency of the contrivance indicates the disposition of the designer. The world abounds with contrivances; and all the contrivances which we are acquainted with, are directed to beneficial purposes. Evil, no doubt, exists; but is never, that we can perceive, the object of contrivance. Teeth are contrived to eat, not to ache; their aching now and then is incidental to the contrivance, perhaps, inseparable from it: or even, if you will, let it be called a defect in the contrivance; but it is not the object of it. This is a distinction which well deserves to be attended to. In describing implements of husbandry, you would hardly say of a sickle, that it is made to cut the reaper's fingers, though from the construction of the instrument, and the manner of using it, this mischief often happens. But, if you had occasion to describe instruments of torture or execution, this engine, you would say, is to extend the sinews; this to dislocate the joints; this to break the bones; this to scorch the soles of the feet. Here pain and misery are the very objects of the contrivance. Now, nothing of this sort is to be found in the works of nature. We never discover a train of contrivance to bring about an evil purpose. No anatomist ever discovered a system of organization, calculated to produce pain and disease; or, in explaining the parts of the human body, ever said, this is to irritate; this to inflame; this duct is to convey the gravel to the kidneys; this gland to secrete the humour which forms the gout. If by chance he comes at a part of which he knows not the use, the most he can say is, that

it is useless: no one ever suspects that it is put there to incommode, to annoy, or torment. Since, then, God hath called forth his consummate wisdom to contrive and provide for our happiness, and the world appears to have been constituted with this design at first, so long as this constitution is upholden by him, we must, in reason, suppose the same design to continue.

There is always a single example, by which each man finds himself more convinced than by all others put together. I seem, for my own part, to see the benevolence of the Deity more clearly in the pleasures of very young children, than in any thing in the world. The pleasures of grown persons may be reckoned partly of their own procuring; especially if there has been any industry, or contrivance, or pursuit, to come at them; or if they are founded, like music, painting, &c. upon any qualification of their own acquiring. But the pleasures of a healthy infant are so manifestly provided for it by another, and the benevolence of the provision is so unquestionable, that every child I see at its sport affords to my mind a kind of sensible evidence of the finger of God, and of the dis position which directs it.'

63

No. VII.

REFLECTIONS ON THE SOLAR SYSTEM.

Quid potest esse tam apertum, tamque perspicuum, eum coelum suspeximus, coelestiaque contemplati sumus, quam esse aliquod Numen præstantissimæ mentis, quo hæc regantur?

CICERO.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firma• ment showeth forth his handy work.'

DAVID.

WHEN Winter extends his desolate domain, and we are deprived of all the beauties of contemplation in the vegetable world, the radiant orbs on high still shine with undiminished splendour, and inspire the religious philosopher with the most awful sentiments of wonder and devotion. Their prodigious magnitude and distances, with the regularity and harmony of their motions, all concur to declare, with the eloquent heathen philosopher and the royal Psalmist above, that," the hand that formed them is divine.'

"

It is no wonder, then, that astronomy is a science of the earliest antiquity, and that it has claimed the admiration of all ages. Poets, philosophers, and historians, have all bestowed upon it the highest encomiums; and even kings' have enriched it with their labours. The poets, in particular, have been lavish in their praises of this

Belus, King of Assyria; Atlas, King of Mauritania; and Uratus, King of the country situated on the shore of the Atlantic ocean; are severally recorded, as the persons to whom the world owes this noble science; and. among the moderns, Alphonsus, King of Castile, enriched it. with those tables that still bear his name.

subject'. Of these, however, 1 shall be content to select a few only from the magnificent effusions of Young, whose sublime muse was more particularly devoted to nocturnal contemplations.

How is Night's sable mantle laboured o'er,
How richly wrought with attributes divine!
What wisdom shines! what love! This midnight pomp,
This gorgeous arch, with golden worlds inlaid!
Built with divine ambition! nought to Thee;
For others this profusion.

The soul of man, His face designed to see,
Who gave these wonders to be seen by man,
Has here a previous scene of objects great
On which to dwell; to stretch to that expanse
Of thought, to rise to that exalted height
Of admiration, to contract that awe,
And give her whole capacities that strength,
Which best may qualify for final joy.

This prospect vast, what is it?-Weighed aright, "Tis nature's system of divinity,

And every student of the night inspires,
'Tis elder scripture writ by God's own hand.

What read we here?-The existence of a God?-
Yes, and of other beings, man above;
Natives of either, sons of higher climes?

Why from yon arch, that infinite of space,
With infinite of lucid orbs replete,
Which set the living firmament on fire,
At the first glance, in such an overwhelm
Of wonderful, on man's astonished sight
Rushes Omnipotence?

Night opes the noblest scenes, and sheds an awe,
Which gives those venerable scenes full weight,
And deep reception in the intendered heart.
This gorgeous apparatus? This display!
This ostentation of creative power!
This theatre!-what eye can take it in?

' Manilius, a Roman poet, wrote a poem on Astronomy, of which five books are extant.

By what divine enchantment was it raised,
For minds of the first magnitude to launch
In endless speculation, and adore?

One sun by day, by night ten thousand shine,
And light us deep into the Deity;
How boundless in magnificence and might?

Bright legions swarm unseen, and sing, unheard
By mortal ear, the glorious Architect,
In this his universal temple, hung
With lustres, with innumerable lights,
That shed religion on the soul; at once,
The temple and the preacher! O how loud
It calls Devotion!-genuine growth of Night!
-Devotion! daughter of Astronomy!
An undevout astronomer is mad.

What magnificent ideas of the Creator and his works, indeed, does the starry firmament present! How far superior the subject to the most sublime conceptions of the human mind!

Astronomy, indeed, derives from its nature a certain degree of dignity, and upon it, we should recollect that navigation (so important to the interests of this country), geography, and chronology, chiefly depend. By the aid of astronomy, man is enabled to pass the apparently boundless ocean, to penetrate into foreign climates, to become better acquainted with those which he inhabits, and regulate the dates of ages past.

The heavens appear to us to be thickly spangled with stars of different magnitudes and degrees of brilliancy: these are called fixed stars and planets. The ancients, who knew so little of the motions of the planets, had no means of investigating the true disposition of their orbits, which is the cause of the variety of opinions formerly held on this subject. Some of their philosophers supposed the earth to be immoveable, as the centre of the universe, and that all the celestial bodies moved round her. Among these was Claudius Ptolemy, the ce

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