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it would move constantly round the sun, arriving at every that we cannot make it extend beyond the oval in any revolution at the point from whence it started.
direction. We are now in a condition to explain in some degree Now it is in one of such points is that the sun is situated, how we are to regard the motions of the planets round the in the earth's orbit. The oval, if we could possibly see it sun. When the Almighty had created the various bodies at once with the eye, would scarcely appear to us to deviate which compose the universe, he exercised his infinite power from a cirele: it being rather a round, not a long oval. We and wisdom by imparting to them various velocities of here speak only of the earth's orbit, but the same remark motion. The sun being made very much larger than all applies to the orbits of all the planets, which orbits are all the planets put together, exerted a more powerful attraction more or less oval. We use the term oval in preference to on them than they could exert on him; consequently, the the term elliptical, because it is more familiarly known; planets were drawn towards the sun out of their original the meaning of each is, however, the same. paths, and made to revolve round the larger body. But We may now be asked, whether the planets move equably how shall we sufficiently admire the exquisite skill with in every part of their orbits,-that is, If a planet move at the which the various velocities were adapted to the size of the rate of so many miles in an hour at one part of its orbit, various bodies! What parallel can we find in the poor and will it move with the same velocity at another part ? This imperfect works of man, to that surpassing power of ad question, on account of the oval form of the paths in which justment by which the velocities of the planets are regu- the planets move, must be answered in the negative. They lated ! The earth moves some hundreds of thousands of do not move equably in different points of their orbits. miles in a single day; and yet, if her velocity were to Suppose that in the following figure, the point s were like deviate by a small fraction, either more or less, the earth the axle of a wheel, and that twelve equidistant spokes, or would, in the first case, gradually recede from the sun, radii, reached from it to the boundary of the oval, then the and never again approach near him; and in the second earth, in passing by the end of each spoke during her revo case, it would approach to, and fall upon, the sun. It is lution, would not pass from one to another in exactly equal when such results as these are obtained, that science times, but would take a longer time to pass from spoke to enables us to appreciate the striking truth, that man's spoke at one part of her revolution than at another. But efforts even in his proudest moments, are but poor and now let us suppose, that the time which the earth takes to humble attempts to follow after, or to imitalli, that which revolve round the sun be divided into twelve equal parts, the Great Being performs with such boundless perfection. and that we draw a spoke from the axle, or the point s, to We applaud, and we give rewards to the man, who can the boundaries between all the twelve spaces respectively make a chronometer which will be accurate within a few passed over by the earth in those equal times; then it will seconds in the year; and well may we do so, for it is a be found that the open space between any two adjoining signal instance of human industry and ingenuity to produce spokes, measures exactly the same number of square miles such an instrument. Yet a mere fraction of such an error at every part of the orbit. The spokes towards the end A in the movements of the bodies composing the solar system, will be closer together would be fatal to its stability. Truly wonderful, indeed, is than those towards B, but it, that the eleven planets should revolve round the sun in they will at the same time periods differing greatly one from another, and at such be longer, so that the exvarious distances from him ; and yet, that each one should cess of length precisely have a velocity so exquisitely adjusted to its size and compensates for the defiposition as to bring it precisely round to the same point ciency in width. Here is after every entire revolution round the sun. The sun, another instance of the then, the golden magnet which thus draws all the other admirable adjustment planets towards itself, is surrounded with whirling worlds, which is observable in which borrow their light from him and share it with one the motions of the heaanother. Well might the poet of the seasons exclaim venly bodies. The orbits Thou, O sun !
of the planets are all Soul of surrounding worlds! in whom best seen
oval, and differing in the Shines out thy Maker! May I sing of thee ?
form of the oval; yet the
law which we have just
stated is found to be con-
stant. The more the oror thirty years, to Mercury, whose disk
bit approaches to what Can scarce be caught by philosophic eye,
we may term a long oval, Lost in the near etfulgence of thy blaze.
the greater is the difference between the lengths of the
spokes towards the two ends. Yet in every case, a disagree FORM OF THE ORBITS OF THE PLANETS.
ment in length is made up by a reverse disagreement in Our remarks hitherto have been so expressed as to lead the openings between them, so that these areas or openings to the conclusion that the planets move in perfect circles are all equal. We have been anxious to avoid every round the sun at all times, and under all circumstances. appearance of scientific difficulty in these details; but we Such, however, is not strictly the case. The paths which will just mention that those who may be able to consult they describe are oval or elliptical
. Most persons know the larger works on Astronomy, will find this law thus expressed; form which is meant by the term oval. If we hold an egg that“ a planet always describes equal areas in equal times." in the hand, and look at its outline, it will give a near Those fleeting and transient visiters, comets, are too approach to this form: and, indeed, the word oval is derived seldom in sight to afford the means of making such correct from ovum, the Latin for an egg. Such, then, is the form observations of the nature of their orbits, as have been of the paths in which the planets move. Now we may made with respect to the planets. We shall, by-and-by, inquire whether the sun is exactly in the middle of this have to speak individually of several comets, which have oval, or near either end of it. To this it must be answered appeared at various times, but we now merely refer to their that the sun is not precisely in the middle, but that he is a motion generally. It is now believed, from the best obserlittle nearer to one side than the other. It will be useful vations which have been made, that the comets move in to give an idea of the position which the sun occupies. exceedingly long oval orbits, by which means they are at Suppose A B represent the orbit or path in which a planet one time very near to the sun, and at other times at an im(such as the earth) moves round the sun. (We have made mense distance from him; still, however, the same general this a larger oval in proportion than the earth's orbit really resemblance to the orbits of planets is to be noted, and, in is, in order that our meaning may be more conspicuous.) addition, that the elongation of the form of the cometary There are two points F and s (called foci, plural of the orbit is frequently excessive. Latin word focus, signifying a fire-place), which have We shall hereafter have to show, that the four largest of peculiar properties. If we stick a pin in each of the points the planets have moons, or satellites, revolving round them, of i and s, and fasten the two ends of a bit of thread to them, which our moon, the earth's satellite, is the one which (taking care that the thread is just long enough to reach to attracts a larger share of our attention than any of the any one part of the circumference, as at P.) we shall find others. Now it is interesting to observe, that the moon of that we shall be able to make the thread exactly touch itself describes an oral orbit round the earth, in a similar every other part of the oval, by stretching it out; but manner as the earth does round the sun. But here a
* Thomson had written this before the year 1730 ; and the planet singular effect results :-if the earth were stationary, the Uranus was not discovered until 1781,
moon's orbit would be found, as in the case of the planets,
to be an oval with respect to the earth; as, however, the He has said, let there be lights in the firmament of their earth revolves round the sun, and, of course, carries the heaven, to divide the day from the night; and let them be moon with it, the real path of the latter becomes a very for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years; and singular and complicated curve,—it is a zig-zag circle let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven, to give round the sun, with several indentations and as many pro- light upon their earth; and it was so. And God has also tuberances.
made to them great lights. To all of them he has giren Thus then do we form some general idea of the manner the sun to rule the day; and to many of them has he in which the planets are situated, with respect to one another given moons to rule the night. To them he has made the and to the sun. It will be useful to recapitulate a few stars also. And God has set them in the firmament of points before we proceed further.
heaven, to give light upon their earth, and to rule over the We have seen that there is a glorious luminary, the Sun, day, and over the night, and to divide the light from the in the centre of a moving system; that there are eleven darkness; and God has seen that it was good. planets revolving round him in the following order, begin In all these greater arrangements of Divine wisdom, ning from the nearest,-Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, we can see that God has done the same things for the Vesta, Juno, Ceres, Pallas, Jupiter, Saturn, and Úranus; accommodation of the planets that he has done for the that these planets describe paths which are not quite cir- earth which we inhabit. And shall we say, that the recular but oval, and that the sun is in one focus of the semblance stops here because we are not in a situation to ellipse or oval. The motions of the planets we have like observe it? Shall we say, that this scene of magnificence wise found are not uniform, but that their velocities vary
has been called into being merely for the amusement of a according to their distances from the sun. These general few astronomers ? Shall we measure the counsels of heaven details will qualify us to enter upon the consideration of all by the narrow impotence of the human faculties? or con the planets individually, their dimensions, distances from the ceive, that silence and solitude reign throughout the mighty sun, velocities of motion, intluence upon one another, appa- | empire of nature; that the greater part of creation is an rent size as seen from the earth, and many other points of empty parade ; and that not a worshipper of the Divinity is interest to the admirers of the works of God. When that to be found through the wide extent of yon vast and iminquiry shall have been completed, we shall enter upon the measurable regions ? consideration of those very beautiful and important results,
“ It lends à delightful confirmation to the argument, which depend upon the rotation of the planets on their when, from the growing perfection of our instruments, we axes,-a species of motion to which we have not hitherto can discover a new point of resemblance between our Earth alluded.
and the other bodies of the planetary system. It is now We cannot better conclude this portion of our subject ascertained, not merely that all of them have their day and than by presenting the reader with the eloquent words of night, and that all of them have their vicissitudes of a pious and eminent divine, in connexion with the sublime seasons, and that some of them have their moons to rule subject which has thus far occupied us.
their night and alleviate the darkness of it; we can see of “The world in which we live, is a round ball of a deter one that its surface rises into inequalities, that it swells mined magnitude, and occupies its own place in the firma- into mountains and stretches into valleys; of another, that ment. But when we explore the unlimited tracts of that it is surrounded by an atmosphere which may support the space which is everywhere around us, we meet with other respiration of animals; of a third, that clouds are formed balls of equal or superior magnitude, and from which our and suspended over it, which may minister to it all the earth would either be invisible, or appear as small as any
bloom and luxuriance of vegetation; and of a fourth, that of those twinkling stars which are seen on the canopy of
a white colour spreads over its northern regions, as its heaven. Why then suppose that this little spot, little at
Winter advances, and that, on the approach of Summer, least in the immensity which surrounds it, should be the
this whiteness is dissipated, giving room to suppose, that exclusive abode of life and intelligence? What reason to the element of water abounds in it, that it rises by evapothink that those mightier globes which roll in other parts ration into its atmosphere, that it freezes upon the applicaof creation, and which we have discovered to be worlds in tion of cold, that it is precipitated in the form of snow, magnitude, are not also worlds in use and in dignity ? | that it covers the ground with a fleecy mantle, which melts Why should we think that the great Architect of nature, away from the heat of a more vertical sun; and that other supreme in wisdom, as He is in power, would call these worlds bear a resemblance to our own, in the same yearly stately mansions into existence and leave them unoccupied ? round of beneficent and interesting changes. When we cast our eye over the broad sea, and look at the “Who shall assign a limit to the discoveries of future country on the other side, we see nothing but the blue land ages? Who can prescribe to science her boundaries, or stretching obscurely over the distant horizon. We are too restrain the active and insatiable curiosity of man within far away to perceive the richness of its scenery, or to hear the circle of his present acquirements ? 'We may guess the sound of its population. Why not extend this principle with plausibility what we cannot anticipate with confidence. to the still more distant parts of the universe ?
What The day may yet be coming, when our instruments of obthough, from this remote point of observation, we can see
servation shall be inconceivably more powerful.
may nothing but the naked roundness of yon planetary orbs ?
ascertain still more decisive points of resemblance. They Are we therefore to say, that they are so many vast and may resolve the same question by the evidence of sense, unpeopled solitudes; that desolation reigns in every part of which is now so abundantly convincing by the evidence of the universe but ours; that the whole energy of the Divine analogy. They may lay open to us the unquestionable attributes is expended on one insignificant corner of these vestiges of art, and industry, and intelligence. We may mighty works; and that to this earth alone belongs the
see Summer throwing its green mantle over these mighty bloom of vegetation, or the blessedness of life, or the tracts, and we may see them left naked and colourless after dignity of rational and immortal existence ?
the flush of vegetation has disappeared. In the progress “ But this is not all. We have something more than the of years or of centuries, we may trace the hand of cultivamere magnitude of the planets to allege in favour of the
tion spreading a new aspect over some portion of a planetary idea that they are inhabited. We know that this earth surface. Perhaps some large city, the metropolis of a turns round upon itself; and we observe that all those mighty empire, may expand into a visible spot by the celestial bodies which are accessible to such an observa- | powers of some future telescope. Perhaps the glass of tion, have the same movement. We know that the earth some observer, in a distant age, may enable him to construct performs a yearly revolution round the sun; and we can the map of another world, and to lay down the surface of it detect, in all the planets which compose our system, a re
in all its minute and topical varieties. But there is no end volution of the same kind, and under the same circum- of conjecture; and to the men of other times we leave the stances. They have the same succession of day and night. full assurance of what we can assert with the highest proThey have the same agreeable vicissitude of the seasons.
bability, that yon planetary orbs are so many worlds, that To them light and darkness succeed each other; and the they teem with life, and that the mighty Being who presides gaiety of Summer is followed by the dreariness of Winter. in high authority over this scene of grandeur and astonishTo each of them the heavens present as varied and magni- ment, has there planted the worshippers of His glory."ficent a spectacle; and this earth, the encompassing of CHALMERS, Astronomical Discourses. which would require the labour of years from one of its puny inhabitants, is but one of the lesser lights which
LONDON: sparkle in their firmament. To them, as well as to us, has God divided the light from the darkness, and he has
JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND.
PUBLISHED IN WEEKLY NUMBERS, PRICE ONE PENNY, AND IN MUNTHLY PARTS, called the light day, and the darkness he has called night.
The figure we have given above of this singular bird, | lights to deceive the birds, and dogs to destroy them, has been copied, by permission of the author, from the feathers, which are extremely soft, being in high the last part of Mr. Gould's splendid work on the estimation in the manufacture of cloaks of cerebirds of Australia. The scientific world were in- mony; "a mat ornamented with them is the most debted, in the first instance, for their knowledge of costly dress a chief can wear.” So highly prized is the Apteryx, to the late Dr. Shaw, by whom it was a garment of this description, that a European, who figured and described in the Naturalist's Miscellany. had resided in New Zealand for six years, had an This specimen was presented to the doctor by Captain opportunity of seeing but one cloak made of these Barclay, of the ship Providence, who brought it from feathers, and no consideration could induce the New Zealand in the year 1812. At the death of Dr. owner to part with it. Several specimens of the Shaw, this, at that time unique, example passed into skins of this singular bird have been lately presented the possession of the present Earl of Derby. In to the Zoological Society of London by the New consequence of no public collection containing a Zealand Association, and its peculiar characters have specimen, the naturalists of the Continent were slow been better ascertained, although as yet little is in believing in its very existence. M. Temminck known of its habits. It has been stated, that the considered that, like the dodo, it was an extinct natives decoy the Apteryx from its lurking place by species; while others, among them M. Lesson, be- breaking the dead branch of a tree, the sudden snaplieved it was altogether fabulous, and that its descrip- ping sound produced causing it to start from its contion was founded on the remains of the dodo preserved cealment. in the British Museum.
The peculiar structure of the Apteryx, the length Within these few years, the existence of the Apteryx of its bill, the strength of its feet, and the almost has been well established; its native place is New entire absence of wings, caused it to be a difficult Zealand, where it is known by the name of kiwikiwi. task to assign it to its proper place in the system. It is hunted at night by the natives, who employ | The bill of the Apteryx, being long and slender, at VOL. XII.
first sight bears a great resemblance to that of the ground in the form of a chamber; in these latter curlew, but on closer examination a great distinction situations it is said to construct its nest of dried fern is observable; the nostrils in the bill of the last bird and grasses. are always placed at the base, and this is necessary While undisturbed, (says Mr. Short, in a letter to Mr. on account of the mode of seeking its food, consist- | Yarrell,) the head is carried far back in the shoulders, with ing of worms and other small animals which are the bill pointed to the ground; but when pursued, says found imbedded in mud, into which the bird plunges the native of New Zealand, it runs with great swiftness, its bill. If the nostrils were at the tip, they would carrying the head elevated like the ostrich. be filled with earth, and the creature be at least in
When attacked it defends itself very vigorously, commoded. The Apteryx, on the other hand, obtains striking rapid and dangerous blows with its powerful its food from the surface, and, therefore, the placing feet and sharp spurs, with which it is also said to the nostrils at the extremity is a useful arrangement, beat the ground in order to disturb the worms on by which the organs of smell are brought nearer to which it feeds, seizing them with its bill the instant the object in view; and this is more necessary on they make their appearance; it also, probably, feeds account of its being a nocturnal bird, the darkness upon snails and insects. Very recently a perfect specausing the eyes to be of little service.
cimen of this bird, preserved in spirits, has been The bird itself is about the size of a three months' | received by the Zoological Society of London, and we old turkey, and of a dark brown colour; the flesh is may shortly expect a full and accurate account of its black, sinewy, tough, and tasteless. Mr. Gould gives anatomical structure. his opinion on the subject in the following words:
A mature consideration of the form and structure of this remarkable bird, lead me to assign it with little hesitation
SCRIPTURE PICTURES. to the family of the Struthionidæ, (birds allied to the The absurdities of Chinese paintings have been ostrich) and my reasons for so doing, will, i think, be obvious to every one who will examine and compare the familiar to us from our earliest days, and we have species with the members of that group. The essential often laughed at the grotesque effects which their characters in which it differs, consist in the elongated form ignorance of the art of perspective produces, at their of the bill, the shortness of the tarsi, and in the possession houses apparently hanging in mid-air, and trees growof a sharp spur, terminating a posterior, rudimentary toe. ing out of their windows, streams running upwards Regarding the ostrich as the species to which it is least instead of downwards, and steeples which seem to nearly related, we find in the emu and the rhea a much rival Baron Munchhaussen's. nearer approach, not only in the more lengthened form of the bill of the latter, but also in the situation of the nostrils, The art of painting has elsewhere been brought to which, in the rhea, are placed nearer the tip than in any perfection, yet in one class of pictures at least) abother species of the group, the Apteryx excepted; in fact, surdities, less glaring indeed, but not less real, are to when we compare the bills of the two birds, it is evident be found, in artists too whose names have attained a they are both formed on one plan, that of the Apteryx being deservedly high place in the ranks of fame. an elongated representative of the thea, with the nostrils
In Scripture paintings we shall see representations placed at the extreme tip. In both these birds there is the same peculiar elevated
as untrue to recorded facts as Chinese pictures can horny cere or fold. The tarsi are much shorter, and the be with respect to natural objects ; and as objects of nails of the toes much more curved than in the rhea, but sight make a greater impression on us than what we the scaly covering of these parts, in both birds, is precisely read, the false ideas conveyed in this way have, as the same; and it may be further observed, that the number might have been expected, taken pretty deep root. of toes increase as we pass on from the ostrich, there being
The liberties in which painters have indulged themonly two in that bird, three in the rhea, emu, &c., and three, with the rudiment of a fourth, in the Apteryx." The selves in their representations of the great enemy of wing of the Apteryx, though scarcely more than rudi- man, are most gross, and we might say ridiculous, mentary, agrees with that of the rhea in having a strongly. were it not for the fatal consequences which have hooked claw at its extremity, while in the structure of its attended these absurd representations, and were it feathers it approaches the nearest to the cassowary, but not that they have been instrumental in making the unlike what attains in that bird, the feathers are entirely doctrine of Satanic influence a matter of scoffing and destitute of the accessory plume, in which latter respect it jest instead of a powerful motive to watchfulness and again agrees with the rhea.
The members of this group, although few in number, fear. The Christian painters have pillaged the proare remarkable for their structural peculiarities, each being fane poets for a personification of Satan, and we see modified for its own peculiar habits and economy, and in on canvass, not the fallen archangel, dreadful in his none is this circumstancé more remarkable than in the moral influence over the souls of men, powerless now Apteryx, which, at the same time that it departs the farthest
over their bodies, but the heathen fiction Pan. This in form from the type of the group, (the ostrich,) also departs latter, with goats' horns, distorted countenance, cloven the farthest in its mode of life and general economy; being, in fact, adapted to the peculiarities of its own country, and feet, and long tail, was well suited for the character fitted for the particular kind of food there to be obtained.
he was intended to represent for producing panic Although the Apteryx approaches nearer to the rhea fears, rustic merriment, and frolic mischief, to those than any other known bird, I am inclined to think that in whose sports and interests he was fabled to take several intervening links will yet be discovered between them; indeed, a native of New Zealand who was present produce a more grotesque representation, and better
an especial concern. Nor, perhaps, could imagination at one of the late meetings of the Zoological Society, stated adapted for suggesting and keeping alive the associathat there is another Apteryx in New Zealand, with a shorter and thicker bill, but which he considered to be the
tions which led mankind to fable the divinity of Pan, male of the present species. Without doubting that he and make him preside over rural affairs and sports. has spoken to the best of his knowledge, I suspect that it But is there the slightest community between this will prove to be distinct, and that the two birds in my plate mixture of frolic, fun, and benevolent care, and that are representatives of both sexes.
fearful being whom inspired authority represents as The favourite localities of this bird are low marshy a roaring lion, going about seeking whom he may situations, and those covered with extensive and devour; whom the same authority exhorts us to resist dense beds of fern, among which it conceats itself ; steadfastly, and from whose wily attacks even our and when hard pressed by dogs, the usual method of Lord himself, in his human character, was not exchasing it, it takes refuge in crevices of rocks, hollow
An imperfect knowledge of the manners trees, and the deep boles which it excavates in the and customs which prevailed at the time of the
Scripture narrative, has given rise to another class of a dove," to mean, that the appearance which indicated errors in our Scripture paintings; as an illustration the descent of the Holy Spirit, had a hovering motion of this, one will readily occur. Those who are ac like a dove *; that this appearance was, in fact, a quainted with ancient history, know that it was the flame of fire which hovered around and descended on custom among the eastern nations, and among the Christ, as a bird hovers and lights upon any object. Romans, to recline at meals, instead of sitting as we In confirmation of this opinion it has been observed do. In the pictures of the Last Supper, however, by the Rev. Dr. Hinds, (see his Three Temples of the our Lord and his Apostles are represented as sitting one true God,) that fire, a light from heaven, appears round the table; and yet the words of the Evangelist to have been the established sign of God's presence; evidently imply a reclining posture; “ Now there it was in fire that God appeared to Moses in Midian; was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples it was the Sheckinah which signified Jehovah's abode whom Jesus loved :" this is intelligible only under in the tabernacle; by a pillar of fire God conducted the supposition that they were in a recumbent pos- His people through the wilderness, and at the delivery ture, and that consequently the head of one person of the law the Most High appeared amidst lightning approached the shoulder of the person that was above on Mount Sinai. In later times, at the dedication of him.
the temple at Jerusalem, it was miraculously filled There are other mistakes in Scripture representa with a glory and a mysterious light; and after our tions which appear to arise from an inattention to the Lord's ascension, it is recorded that, on the day of Scripture narrative, The Evangelists, and before Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost descended on the them the prophets, all describe the Immanuel as apostles, that "there appeared unto them cloven having nothing to distinguish Him in outward garb tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them." and appearance;
“ He hath no form nor comeliness," To represent, then, a bird as descending upon our says Isaiah: the people looking upon Him, asked, Lord, seems quite inconsistent with every other ac“Is not this the carpenter's son?" and the very com count of the appearance of the Divine Spirit which plaint against Him was, that He gave no sign by is recorded, and seems an unworthy symbol of Him which they might know Him. Yet in defiance of all who, under the more awful imagery of “a consuming this, almost all painters have represented our Lord fire,” is so often mentioned by the inspired writers. with that distinguishing mark of a glory round His There are many other instances of misrepresentahead, which, had it really existed, would have been a tions in Scripture paintings which might be noticed, sign unto the people. This mistake may appear un- and which, when once the attention is called to the important, since not even a child probably can really subject, will be easily detected. imagine that this is a true representation. Still the
* The words in the original imply that it was a hovering motion, fact is thus far kept out of sight, that there was like a dove. nothing external by which Jesus could be recognised; that they were to judge Him by His works, and that when He did appear under a form that could show His divine original, (as at the transfiguration,) it was
All day the low-hung clouds have dropt
Their garnered fulness down ; only to a chosen few; to Peter, and James, and John,
All day that soft, gray mist hath wrapt and as a reward, doubtless, for their having believed
Hill, valley, grove, and town. on Him without a sign.
There has not been a sound to-day To an inattention to the Scripture narrative, another
To break the calm of nature; very common mistake in Scripture pictures may be
Nor motion, I might almost say, traced. It has often been observed how little of our
Of life, or living creature ;Lord's early history is unfolded to us. But it is re
Of waving bough, or warbling bird, markable that almost the only fact that is recorded
Or cattle faintly lowing :respecting it, and which is given, doubtless, with a
I could have half believed I heard view to our imitation and for the sake of the example,
The leaves and blossoms growing. is so altered by painters as to be useless to us in this
I stood to hear,- I love it well,
The rain's continuous sound; respect. We are told in the Sacred Writings that Jesus at twelve years old went up to Jerusalem after
Small drops, but thick and fast they fell,
Down straight into the ground. the custom of the feast, and that He was found “in
For leafy thickness is not yet the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, both
Earth's naked breast to screen, hearing them and asking them questions," setting an
Though every dripping branch is set example (that is) to children, of the humility and
With shoots of tender green. desire for instruction which peculiarly becomes their
Sure since I looked at early morn, age. Many painters, on the contrary, represent
Those honeysuckle buds Christ as sitting and teaching, not hearing, in an
Have swelled to double growth; that thorn attitude and place which plainly indicates that He
Hath put forth larger studs. was giving, not receiving, instruction, and the whole
That lilac's cleaving cones have burst, force of His example in this respect, as a practical
The milk-white flowers revealing; lesson to young people, is consequently lost.
Even now, upon my senses first
Methinks their sweets are stealing. In the representations of our Lord's baptism, there is another very common error committed by painters,
The very earth, the streamy air, which is the more worthy of notice, because it both
Is all with fragrance rife!
And grace and beauty everywhere tends to degrade the subject, and also to keep out of
Are flushing into life. sight what throws light on other passages of Scripture. To illustrate these words of Scripture: "And
Down, down they come—those fruitful stores,
Those earth-rejoicing drops ! Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out
A momentary deluge pours, of the water; and lo, the heavens were opened unto
Then thins, decreases; stops. Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like
And here the dimples on the stream a dove and lighting upon Him;" a dove is represented
Have circled out of sight; as hovering over Jesus. Many commentators of great
Lo! from the west, a partiug gleam merit have understood these words, "descending like
Breaks forth of amber light.