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When he appoints, the horned Moon renews
Her waning light, and her whole visage shews :
Fulfils her course in circles scarcely known,
And cheers mankind with lustre not her own.
Pale terror flies before her friendly ray :
The traveller, benighted, finds his way:
Her destin'd rule o’er ocean she presides,
And pours upon the shores the lagging tides.
Come forth, Oman, yon azure round survey,
And view those lamps which yield eternal day.
Bring forth thy glasses ; clear thy wond'ring eyes :
Millions beyond the former millions rise:
Look farther :-millions more blaze from remoter
[skies. And canst thou think, poor worm ! these orbs of
[light, In size immense, in number infinite, Were made for thee alone, to twinkle to thy
Presumptuous mortal! can thy nerves descry,
How far from each they roll, from thee how high?
With all thy boasted knowledge, canst thou see Their various beauty, order, harmony?
If not, then sure they were not made for thee.
What is this EARTH,* of which thou art so proud ?
Lost and unknown, in the more glorious crowd,
* The globe of Earth on which we live is placed at about ninety-five millions of miles from the sun; round which it revolves in three hundred and sixty five days, five hours, forty-eight minutes, and forty-eight seconds :—besides which annual motion, it has another, on an axis, as it were, of its own, in twenty four hours, dividing time into days, &c.
The Earth's diameter is about seven thousand nine hundred and sixty four miles ;-its circumference, twenty-five thousand and twenty miles ;-its superficies one hundred and ninety-nine million, two hun. dred and fifty-six thousand, four hundred and two square miles ;and its solidity two hundred and sixty-three thousand, two hundred and forty five millions, six hundred and seventy-three thousand, cight hundred and forty-two cubic miles, --Its rate of travelling round the sun is about fifty-eight thousand miles in an hour; which is one hundred and twenty times swifter than a ball from the mouth of a cannon.
A point it scarce appears.
-* E'er it begun
The rest their courses have,
And shall, when it's no more, for endless ages run.
* That this globe hath, in its present state existed but some few thousand years, buth scripture and reason sufficiently evince. This we may learn from the slow progress of arts and sciences, from its not yet being fully inhabited, from all history and monuments of antiquity whatsoever, and from the fresh remembrance we still have of the golden age or first state of nature; which appears so much plainer as we descend to the more early writers, that we can almost trace out its origin. But, on the other hand, we have no reason to imagine all the other orbs around us to be of so late à date; for supposing the sun and planets in this our system to have been disposed in their present order, or created all at the same time, (which is the most that can justly be contended for) what inference can we bring from hence, that all the other heavenly bodies must have been so too? Bodies so remote from this earth of our's, that we can neither reach them with our eye nor our imagination, and which can no more be influenced by our globe, than one man at Rome can be jostled by another at London: And we might as well maintain, that all the people now living were born at the same minute, as that the whole universe was created at the same time. Such erroneous opinion proceeds from the vanity of mankind, in imagining these innumerable, immense bodies to have taken their beginning, only to fill up the train of attendants on our earthly spot; and that the sole design of their
Correct thy awkward pride, be wise, and know
Those glittring specks thou scarce discern'st below,
Are founts of day, stupendous orbs of light,
Thus, by their distance, lessen'd to thy sight.
creation was to be of use to us : whereas the least consideration may serve to prove bow very few are to us of any use at all.
Our glasses discover innumerably more stars than we can discern with the naked eye; and still the better our glasses are, the more we find out, lying beyond the other, and so on, for any thing we know, indefinitely and inexhaustibly. From whence then this vain opinion of ourselves ? May we not more justly suppose these glorious orbs inhabited, by those numberless orders of more glorious beings which are betwixt us and our Creator? For surely, there are more gradations, more ranks of beings between us and God Almighty than there are betwixt us and the meanest insect we know; and as we cannot, with any shew of reason, imagine all these glorioas beings to have been created at the same time with ourselves, neither can we believe their habitations to have been formed at the same time with this of our's; but by a parity of reasoning must suppose them to have been created as long before our world as these other beings have existed before mankind.
Moses, in his account of the creation (Gen. chap. i. ver. 16. God made two lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesset
Now, if thou canst the mighty thought sustain,
If it not aches thy soul, and racks thy brain,
Conceive each STAR, thon seest, another Sun,
In bulk, and form, and substance like our own.
light to rule the night,) seems to imply as much: for he is here describing whatever was created at the same time with this earth of our's, and the two great lights here mentioned, can only relate to this solar system, since they are far from being great, if considered with the other stars : for the sun itself, if not less, is no larger certainly than many of the fixed stars; and a very small knowledge in astronomy will convince any one, that the moon is less, without comparison, than any fixed star discovered by the naked eye. As to his subjoining, He made the stars also ; it indeed attests God to be the creator of all things, but seems, at the same time, to insinuate their former creation : as if he had said, after, this manner God created the earth, and made two great lights to give light unto it, even the same God who had created the stars. And in the 17th and 18th verses where it is said, God set them in the firmament of Heaven, to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness : still is meant only the sun and moon as may be learnt from verse the 14th, And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the Heavens, to divide the day from the night : and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and for years; which every body must acknowledge can be meant of nothing else but the sun and moon,