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WHEN We look at the heavens, they present the appearance of an immense dome touching the earth all around us, or of the half of a hollow sphere. Now, if the earth could be removed from under us, we should be able to see the other half, thus making up the entire sphere, and this astronomers call the Celestial Sphere. Now, if we watch the motion of the stars set in it, they all seem to move from east to west, that is, they rise in the east and set in the west, except some stars around the North Pole, which are always visible, but seem to move around a point in the north, called the North Pole, and this is almost exactly located by the North Star. This last star may be watched from hour to hour during the night, and so far as the eye can judge, it seems not to move at all.
There is a point in the Southern Hemisphere of the heavens just opposite the North Pole, called the South Pole. These two points seem to be the extremities of an axis on which the whole sphere turns. This revolution of the sphere on its axis, is only apparent, as it is the earth that moves, in a contrary direction, in the course of its daily revolution from west to east.
If we observe stars from one evening to another, we shall see that most of them remain in the same fixed position, with reference to each other. They look like so many bright objects set in a solid hollow sphere, so that they cannot approach each other nor recede from each other. These are the stars proper or the fixed stars. But there are a few that seem to move about among the others, some very slowly, so that we might continue our observations through many weeks or even months, before we could detect any change in position with the naked eye, while others move rapidly so that we can observe the change from one evening to another. These are the wandering stars, more commonly called the planets, of which not more than six are visible to the naked eye, and even one of these can not be seen unless its position is exactly known.
If the reader were required to guess the number of stars that can be seen in the course of an evening, the number would, no doubt, be in the tens of thousands. But in reality, if we could see even the stars of the Southern Hemisphere that are hidden from our view, because of the intervening earth, the number would not be more than about five thousand, though some whose eyes are good and well trained could see more, and others less. When we use an ordinary opera glass or telescope, where we saw only one before, we may now see tens or even hundreds, and with the most powerful telescopes of modern times, the number is increased prodigiously, the estimates ranging from thirty to fifty million.
Some stars seem to be much brighter than others. This difference may be caused by some being nearer to us than others, or by a real difference in brightness or in size. But still some stars that are known to be the nearest to us, are not by any means the brightest. Stars are classified according to their magnitudes; thus we speak of the brightest stars as those of the first magnitude, and so on, but by this, we are not to suppose that magnitude has any reference to size, for on this subject we know but very little, but to the degree of brightness. All the stars of the first six magnitudes may be seen with the naked eye, but for the others, a telescope is necessary, and in order to see those of the sixteenth magnitude, the largest telescopes must be used,
It has been found a very difficult matter to make an accurate measurer of light, so as to classify the stars with certainty. Consequently, some have placed a star in one magnitude, while others have placed it in another, as they are obliged to guess at its brightness as nearly as the eye can determine.
Catalogues of stars have been gotten up from very early times, showing the positions of the most important. The earliest of these is that contained in the Almagist, a work written by the astrono
mer and geographer, Ptolemy, about the commencement of the Christian Era, and which continued for fourteen hundred years, without change, to be the text book in schools. This catalogue is supposed to have been copied from the earlier one of Hipparchus, published about one hundred and fifty years before Christ. The number of stars was one thousand and eighty. In modern times, star catalogues have been gotten up on a far more extensive scale. That of Argelander, contains about three hundred thousand.
The ancients imagined they could see figures formed in the heavens by the peculiar grouping of the stars; although these figures may be found in the charts that accomany most school astronomies,it would be very difficult for us to make out such figures. These star groups were named in very early times, some suppose as early as the Argonautic Expedition, as many of the heroes that took part in this, are represented in the heavens, but it is more reasonable to suppose that the names of these groups, called constellations, were applied from one age to another, until we have them as they are now. Formerly, when it was desired to locate a star, the part of the body of the figure in which it was situated was named, but this method has gone almost entirely out of use, and likewise the method that followed that, of giving particular names to the stars, as Serius, the dog star, etc. The present method, is that adopted by Boyer, of Augsburg. The stars of each constellation are named in the order of their brightness, after the letters of the Greek alphabet, and when these are exhausted, numbers are sometimes used. But when neither of these methods are used, the star is located by giving its latitude and longitude.
All have noticed an irregular streak of what seems to be cloudy matter extending across the heavens. This is called the Milky Way, and if the earth were removed from under us, we should see it extending through the Southern Hemisphere so as to form a complete circle around the whole heavens. This is its appearance to the naked eye, but when
we use the telescope, what seemed to us to be a white fleecy cloud, is now resolved into an immense number of stars so close together, that without this aid to the eye, they could not be distinguished from each other.
The distances at which stars are located from us, are simply beyond all comprehension, and in consequence of their immense distances, it has been found very difficult to make any measurements at all. This has been one of the most difficult problems of modern astronomy, but by means of the refined methods now in use, some of these distances have been measured with tolerable accuracy.
The star nearest to the earth is Alpha Centauri, that is the brightest star in the constellation of the Centaur; as Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. If we should give the distance in miles, the imagination would have no conception of it, so we must use some other method. Light travels at the rate of one hundred and eighty-five thousand miles per second; now, if a ray of light should start from this star to the earth, it would require at least three years and seven months to traverse that distance. Another star, 61 Cygni, on which the first observations for distance were made, is somewhat farther away. Serius, the dog star, the brightest in the heavens, is so far away, that a wave of light must travel nearly twenty years to reach us. It requires fifty years for light to reach us from the North Star, while some of the smallest that can be seen are at such immensely great distances, that the passage of light requires from two to four thousand years, and according to some, even tens of thousands. Thus, stars may be blotted out of existance to-day, and it would require years before we could be aware of it, as the last ray of light that left it previous to its extinction would require that time to reach us. We may give another illustration to show the immense distances. To an observer on Alpha Centauri, a thread six hundred and fifty feet from the eye, would cover the radius of the earth's orbit, ninety-two and a half million miles, when looked at sidewise.
The stars are all supposed to be suns, very much like our own, surrounded by their retinues of planets, but differing a little in chemical constitution from each other. These planets, if there are any, must be very much like those of our own system, not shining by their own light, but simply by reflected light as in the case of the moon. The amount of light they would give forth, therefore, would be so small that we could not see them, even with the most powerful telescopes; for with the aid of one of these, even the star itself presents to us no disk, but
LEAVES FROM THE TREE OF LIFE.
only a mere point. The instrument used to determine the chemical constitution of the stars, is the spectroscope, and by means of this, the presence of many of the most common elements that we are acquainted with, has been detected in the atmosphere of the stars. Quebec.
Angels from friendship, gather hal! their joy.-Young.
Faith in God once quickened in the human heart, conscience is awakened and the mind is self-convicted of sin. Repentance follows as the consequence. This includes sorrow for the past and determination for the future. The first of these without the second is not genuine repentance. It is barren and fruitless, and is therefore unacceptable to God. Resolutions of future rectitude are naturally accompanied by grief for past wrong-doing, but regret may exist without reform, and such is not saving repentance, the virtue of which is in turning from evil and cleaving to good. Tears, self-reproaches, lamentations, selfabasement in language or in gesture do not constitute repentance, no matter how loudly they may be indulged in or how conspicuous they may appear, but it is evidenced by forsaking things one knows to be wrong and practicing that which one is satisfied is right. Humility is one of its chief characteristics and this prompts obedience.
There is nothing so imprudent as excessive prudence; where it obtains faith and progress are impossible.
LEAVES FROM THE TREE OF LIFE.
viz., original and actual. Original sin is that which was committed by the parents of the race, the consequences of which pass upon all of their posterity. Actual sin is that committed by each individual and for which he is personally responsible. Adam and Eve broke the divine law given to them in the garden, the penalty for which was death; natural and spiritual, the first being the separation of the spirit and the body, and the second, banishment from the presence of God. The taint descended to their offspring. Death is the common lot, and a vail is drawn between man and his maker. Thus mankind are prone to do evil, and the consequence is that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." "The wages of sin is death."
Redemption is rescue from the results of the fall. This can only be achieved by the raising of the race from the dead and restoring them to the presence of God. To effect this Christ came. Doing no sin he gave himself as a ransom for those who sinned. He upon whom
As repentance follows faith, so bap-death had no claim gave himself to death, tism succeeds repentance. For the wish to work righteousness in future implies a desire for forgiveness of past guilt, and baptism is ordained for the remission of sins. This opens the broad questions of sin and redemption and the doctrine of the atonement.
that he might satisfy eternal justice and give mercy room to act. Death came by Adam, life comes by Christ. Through one act death entered the world, through one act life will come to all that death has grasped. "As in Adam all die so in Christ will all be made alive." Good
There are two general divisions of sin, and bad, believer and unbeliever, male
LEAVES FROM THE TREE of life.
and female, young and old will be raised from the dead and brought into the presence of the eternal father. This is the work of Jesus of Nazareth, who shed his blood in this great atonement to redeem all mankind from the fall.
But this was only part of his work. He died not only to atone for original sin but for actual sin, and to become the mediator between God and man. "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin;" this is the law. His blood was shed for the sins of the whole world. For original sin unconditionally; for actual sin conditionally. Mankind had no part in the commission of the original sin, they perform nothing in the redemption therefrom. Its effects came through no acts of theirs; those effects will be removed without anything they may do. No conditions are required as preliminaries to redemption from original sin; it was committed by Adam, it was atoned for by Jesus Christ. But as each person is guilty of his own sins, so he must comply with the conditions which I will entitle him to the full benefits of Christ's atonement for his own sins. Among these conditions are faith, repentance and baptism. Saving faith must necessarily include the Son as well as the Father in its objects, because salvation comes from the Father through the Son, and as Christ died for all, there is no other name but his given under heaven whereby man can be saved. Repentance, as we have shown, includes humility, which leads to obedience, and baptism follows, in which is given to the repentant believer that remission of sins, obtained through the shedding of Christ's blood in the place of the blood of the sinner.
Baptism as a part of the Gospel is the complete immersion in water of a repentant believer, by a man having authority to act "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." All this is essential to its validity. The candidate must believe and repent. The administrator must have divine authority. The ordinance must be performed correctly. There is but "one baptism," as there is but "one Lord and one faith."
Any other kind of baptism is spurious and of no effect. The believing repentant sinner, after making covenant with God to forsake evil and keep His commandments, is taken down into the water by the duly authorized and ordained representative of the Lord Jesus, and being dead to his old sins by repentance, is buried from his old life by immersion in the watery grave; and then raised up again to newness of life, is "born of the water" and stands on earth a new creature in Christ Jesus. He is clean before God. He is as pure from guilt as a new born babe. Though his sins were as scarlet, he is now washed whiter than wool, and is prepared for the next step on the straight and narrow path which leads to life eternal. Happy indeed is he. Joy unspeakable fills his heart. Peace indescribable dwells in his bosom. Purity shines in all his nature. He has entered in by the door into the sheep fold, and is one of the flock of Christ. The load of his past misdeeds is rolled from his shoulders and he is free. The liberty of the gospel is his. Henceforth he should be the servant only of the King of Kings, and a soldier of the Cross. But he has a warfare to fight which will require all his strength, resolution and fortitude. For he has come out from the world and the world will hate him, and persecute him and malign him, and try to despitefully use him. The flesh of his own being will be in conflict with his spiritual nature now brought into actual life. And Satan, the great adversary of the children of light, with his hosts of emissaries will take special pains to tempt and try to allure him from the path of salvation. But God will be on his side, and if he holds true to his baptismal covenants he will come off more than conqueror over all, and obtain the full and complete benefits of the atonement wrought out by the spotless and merciful Savior, who henceforth is his loved and loving Lord.
C. W. Penrose.
Work for some good, be it ever so slowly; Cherish some flower, be it ever so lowly; Labor-all labor is noble and holy.-Osgood.
TRAVELS IN ITALY.
TRAVELS IN ITALY.
VERONA AND PADUA.
On the evening train leaving Milan for Verona, November 15, 1873, the passengers were considerably diverted by the conduct of a pair of Lombard peasants, who were returning from the Cathedral City, where a few hours before they had been joined in the sacred bonds of matrimony. We have no recollection of ever seeing a couple so much pleased with themselves and each other. Their admiration not resting here, the happy groom busied himself directing his fellow passengers' attention to the beauties of his bride: her eyes, smile, physique, costume, etc., were pointed to with rapturous delight, he always winding up by embracing the dear object of his admiration, who seemed greatly to enjoy the attention she attracted, and the esteem in which she was held.
We arrived at the famous city of the Scaligers in the middle of the night, a fitting time to trod the streets in which were fought the petty battles of the Capulets and Montagues. On our way to the hotel, we passed the house in which fair Juliet lived, and-need it be saidwere wont to stop a while and lean against the carved pillars of the balcony, from which shot the fiery darts of love that pierced the enamored heart of Romeo. It is surprising, considering the many thousand young men who visit this place, annually, each feeling himself a veritable Romeo, that the pillars are not worn away. The family now occupying the building, it is said, is without daughters, and indeed it were unsafe for any other to think of making it their home.
Verona is an ancient town of sixty thousand inhabitants. It was founded by the Gauls and passed into possession of the Lombard princes, who resided here during the middle ages; afterwards it fell into the hands of the illustrious family of Scaligers, under whose presidency the republic of Verona flourished for upwards of a hundred years, the rival, in many respects, of Venice. Toward the close of the fourteenth cen
tury, however, it became subject to the latter government, and remained so until the end of the Venetian republic. The town presents the appearance of being poverty-stricken; the inhabitants of belonging to some other age; their fantastic garbs are such as are seen in the old plays; broad-brimmed hats, with feathers waving above the crown, and long, full cloaks being worn by the men. Thus arrayed, their silent, measured tread falls upon the ear with apprehension, and their dark, flashing eyes are painfully suggestive of the deeds such characters dare to do. They make one feel that Verona is a good place to visit by daylight, rather than in the darkness of night.
The most interesting object in the city is the ancient Arena, built in the time of Diocletian, about 280 A. D. It is above one hundred feet high, and is sixteen hundred feet in circumference, outside measurement. The arena itself is about one hundred and fifty feet wide by two hundred and fifty feet long, or the size of the large Tabernacle, Salt Lake City. Around it rise forty-five tiers of seats, having capacity for about twenty-five thousand spectators, besides standing room for seventy thousand more. Here were witnessed the sports and games of the ancients; acrobatic, gladiatorial, and equestrian tournaments. At present, within the interior is located a small theatre, while the arcades leading to it are rented by the town, to traders and merchants of every description, who display a wonderful variety of goods for sale at exorbitant prices.
The tombs of the Scaligers are elaborate marble, bronze and gold monuments located near the church of St. Maria Antica in the open street. The finest are surmounted by canopies, supported by beautifully carved columns, above which are equestrian statues of the princes, in whose honor they were erected; beneath the canopies are the Sarcophagi, surrounded with statues of Christian heroes, and symbolical figures representing Christian virtues. Around each tomb is a costly and elegant railing