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be the laboratories of the universe, wherein the most salutary remedies for the decay of the whole are preparedh.” All this must appear to a sober mind, unbitten rage

which grows out of the heat of these new discoverers, to be nothing less than astronomy run mad. This occasional creation of new systems and worlds, is in little accordance with the Christian scriptures, or, I believe, with any sober speculation upon the attributes of the creator. The astronomer seizes upon some hint so fine as scarcely by any ingenuity to be arrested, immediately launches forth into infinite space, and in an instant returns, and presents us with millions of worlds, each of them peopled with ten thousand times ten thousand inhabitants.

We spoke a while since of the apparent unfitness of

many of the heavenly bodies for the reception of living inhabitants. But for all this these discoverers have a remedy. They remind us how unlike these inhabitants


be to ourselves, having other organs than ours, and being able to live in a very different temperature. “The great heat in the planet Mercury is no argument against its being inhabited ; since the Almighty could as easily suit the bodies and constitutions of its inhabitants to the heat of their dwelling, as he has done ours to the temperature of our earth. And it is very probable that the people there have such an opinion of us, as we have of the inhabitants of Jupiter and Saturn; namely, that we must be intolerably cold, and have very little light at so great a distance from the sun.”

in Philosophical Transactions for 1785, p. 217.

These are the remarks of Fergusoni. One of our latest astronomers expresses himself to the same purpose.

“We have no argument against the planets being inhabited by rational beings, and consequently by witnesses of the creator's power, magnificence and benevolence, unless it be said that some are much nearer the sun than the earth is, and therefore must be uninhabitable from heat, and those more distant from cold. Whatever objection this may be against their being inhabited by rational beings, of an organisation similar to those on the earth, it can have little force, when urged with respect to rational beings in general.

“But we may examine without indulging too much in conjecture, whether it be not possible that the planets may be possessed by rational beings, and contain animals and vegetables, even little different from those with which we are familiar.

“Is the sun the principal cause of the temperature of the earth? We have reason to suppose that it is not. The mean temperature of the earth, at a small depth from the surface, seems constant in summer and in winter, and is probably coeval with its first formation. “At the planet Mercury, the direct heat of the

Astronomy, $ 22.

sun, or its power of causing heat, is six times greater than with us. If we suppose the mean temperature of Mercury to be the same as of the earth, and the planet to be surrounded with an atmosphere, denser than that of the earth, less capable of transmitting heat, or rather the influence of the sun to extricate heat, and at the same time more readily conducting it to keep up an evenness of temperature, may we not suppose the planet Mercury fit for the habitation of men, and the production of vegetables similar to our own?

“At the Georgium Sidus, the direct influence of the sun is 360 times less than at the earth, and the sun is there seen at an angle not much greater than that under which we behold Venus, when nearest. Yet may not the mean temperature of the Georgium Sidus be nearly the same as that of the earth ? May not its atmosphere more easily transmit the influence of the sun, and may not the matter of heat be more copiously combined, and more readily extricated, than with us? Whence changes of season similar to our own may take place. Even in the comets we may suppose no great change of temperature takes place, as we know of no cause which will deprive them of their mean temperature, and particularly if we suppose, that on their approach towards the sun, there is a provision for their atmosphere becoming denser. The tails they exhibit, when in the neighbourhood of the sun, seem in some measure to countenance this idea.

“We can hardly suppose the sun, a body three hundred times larger than all the planets together, was created only to preserve the periodic motions, and give light and heat to the planets. Many astronomers have thought that its atmosphere only is luminous, and its body opake, and probably of the same constitution as the planets. Allowing therefore that its luminous atmosphere only extricates heat, we see no reason why the sun itself should not be inhabited k."

There is certainly no end to the suppositions that may be made by an ingenious astronomer. May we not suppose that we might do nearly as well altogether without the sun, which it appears is at present of little use to us as to warmth and heat? As to light, the great creator might, for aught we know, find a substitute ; feelers, for example, endued with a certain acuteness of sense: or, at all events, the least imaginable degree of light might answer every purpose to organs adapted to this kind of twilight. In that way the inhabitants of the Georgium Sidus are already sufficiently provided for; they appear to have as little benefit of the ligh as of the heat of the sun. How the satellites of the distant planets are supplied with light is a mystery, since their principals have scarcely any. Unless indeed, like the sun, they have a luminous atmosphere, competent to enlighten a whole system, themselves being opake. But in truth light in a greater or less degree seems scarcely worthy of a thought, since the inhabitants of the planet Mercury have not their eyes put out by a light, scarcely inferior in radiance to that which is reflected by those plates of burning brass, with which tyrants in some ages were accustomed to extinguish the sense of vision in their unfortunate victims. The comets also must be a delectable residence; that of 1680 completing its orbit in 575 years, and being at its greatest distance about eleven thousand two hundred millions of miles from the sun, and at its least within less than a third part of the sun's semidiameter from its surface'. They must therefore have delightful vicissitudes of light and the contrary; for, as to heat, that is already provided for. Archdeacon Brinkley's postulate is, that these bodies are “possessed by rational beings, and contain animals and vegetables, little different from those with which we are familiar.”

* Brinkley, Elements of Astronomy, Chap. IX.

Now the only reason we have to believe in these extraordinary propositions, is the knowledge we possess of the divine attributes. From the force of this consideration it is argued that God will not leave any sensible area of matter unoccupied, and therefore that it is impossible that such vast orbs as we believe surround us even to the extent of infinite space, should not be “ richly stored with rational beings, the capable witnesses of his power, magnificence and benevolence." All difficulties

Ferguson, $93.

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