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superficial knowledge of astronomy, (especially since many more stars require the assistance of a good telescope to find them out, than are visible without that instrument, and therefore, instead of giving light to this world, they can only be seen by a few astronomers,) and a mean opinion of the Divine wisdom, since, by an infinitely less exertion of creating power, the Deity could have given our earth much more light by one single additional moon. Instead, therefore, of one sun and one world only in our starry heavens, as the unskilful in astronomy imagine, this science discovers to us such an inconceivable number of suns, systems, and worlds, dispersed through boundless space, that if our sun, with all the planets, moons, and comets belonging to it, were annihilated, they would be no more missed by an eye that could take in the whole creation, than a grain of sand from the sea-shore. The space they possess being comparatively so small, that it would scarce be a single blank in the universe, although Saturn, the outermost of our planets, revolves about the sun in an orbit of four thousand eight hundred and eighty-four millions of miles in circumference, and some of our comets make excursions upwards of ten thousand millions of miles beyond Saturn's orbit; and yet at that amazing distance they are incomparably nearer to the sun than to any of the stars, as is evident from their keeping clear of the attracting power of the stars, and returning periodically by virtue of the sun's attraction. And from what we know of our own system, the most reasonable ground is exhibited for concluding that all the rest are with equal wisdom contrived, situated, and provided with accommodation for rational inhabitants; for although there is almost an infinite variety in the parts of the creation which we have opportunities of examining, yet there is a general analogy running through and connecting all the parts into one scheme, one design, one whole.”*
That it is its great Proprietor's blessed and unerring will that we should conceive aright of its immensity, may be deduced from the simile He has himself been pleased to employ for the purpose of conveying the idea of infinite numbers : “ Even so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand on the sea-shore innumerable.” (Heb xi. 12.) The glory of his greatness being the glory of that goodness on which the eyes of all do wait, the hopes of all do centre ; and as we have found the sublimest regions of the boundless universe clearly ordained to specific purposes, there is, we think, good ground to infer that our lower starry one is so also--though this is a question which would not be propounded, were not a right judgment on this point likewise an essential preparatory toward the elucidation of further important particulars. The way by which we can here alone discover truth, is by deducing probabilities from certainties. When, therefore, we reflect on all our heavenly luminaries having been unquestionably called into existence in the same week which placed our small globe in the etherial firmament-on all the worlds, suns, systems, ge
nerations,* with which our heavens teem, having been formed from the same chaos, composed of like materials as our terraqueous residence—(review our observations as to the exact resemblance they bear to one another, pp. 57—59,)-pondering the general analogy which so conspicuously pervades Almighty operations throughout these nether heavens—(scan our remarks on their invariability, p. 57,)-embracing always with these wondrous recollections the remembrance of their manifest infinitude, keeping in mind the essential requisition for probationary states, (which was, we think, fully established by the result of former researches, p. 48;) knowing, as we do, that the express use of this our little globe is for a place of trial ;—from these combined considerations, there is, we think, good ground for concluding, not only that these our lower heavens are solely devoted to a definite purpose, but that that purpose is, the reception and education of probationary beings.
As this appropriation of the subordinate district of infinite space to a specific purpose, gives a precision and completion to the signification of those emblematic charts delineated by the Mosaic institution, and which most certainly were given for our learning; as we conceive that the justness of our conclusions will be further illustrated by our inspection of thein, and be found most in conformity with the regularity, uniformity, and magnificence of the great Creator's plans and ordination of the invisible and remoter regions of the boundless universe to express glorious uses, leaving that only which speaks much for itself on which to form conjectures; as the strong intimation, if not positive assertion, contained in the Scriptures concerning the final dissolution of these lower heavens and the powers that therein are, (Matt. xxiv. 29,) declares that by the same commandment which formed them together, they will be alike adjudged to be dissolved together; (Heb. xii. 26, 27;)—we have presumed to state conclusions which are not altogether steadied by our usual support, but which have resulted from inquiries entered into for the reason premised, as being nearly connected with our present contemplation, and furthermore as questions which will be necessarily involved in our intended observations on that great and notable day of the Lord, (Acts ii. 20,) when the elements will melt with fervent heat, the sun be darkened, the moon of course not give her light; the stars fall from heaven, as a fig-tree casteth her untimely leaves, * and the powers thereof be shaken, and all these things be dissolved. When
* « Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.” (Gen. ii. 1, 4.)
* The simile employed by our heavenly Instructor, when comparing the destruction of the stars to the casting away of a fig-tree's untimely leaves, the scriptural passages just inserted, with a mass of information on this subject interspersed in the prophetic writings, all conspire to show that the great and notable day of the Lord will comprise a work infinitely surpassing in magnitude that of merely annihilating our solar system,-a system which, if now destroyed, would be, as we have just seen, no
“ that voice which shook the earth hath now promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven; and this word once more' signifieth the removing those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain." Now, the ensuing passage does most explicitly ascertain what those things are which cannot be shaken ; namely, that they are the things contained in that immoveable kingdom, the third and highest heaven, (Heb. xii. 28,) where all who overcome, He will firm fix for pillars in the high heavenly temple; (Rev. iii. 12 ;) and they shall not go out.
We shall here request a careful re-inspection of the Mosaic patterns, in which we find, that like as the holy place is placed immediately under the most holy one, so in like manner the outward sanctuary is placed immediately under the secondary or intermediate one, rendering a passage through the first sanctuary as essential to the obtaining an entrance into the secondary one, or holy place, as is a passage through the holy place to the obtaining admission into the third, or most holy one. By noticing the figurative chart
more missed than would a grain of sand from the sea-shore. And when we reflect upon the infinite infinitude of the great Author of all things, how could the predictions imparted to us denominate the last and awful day—the great and notable day of the Lord—if no greater events were to be then accomplished than the annihilation of our solar system? But the prophecies pre-show the fulfilment of events every way commensurate with the infinite infinitude of almighty operations, and which are all commensurate with their infinite Former.