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this, including suns, planets and satellites, partakes of the same character, these ever revolving with an undisturbed order around the far-distant and superior Center on which they are all dependent. Hence we arrive at the interesting fact, that the entire structure of the Universe is one complete solar system, that its movements describe a series of perfect circles, and that its center is a majestic Sun, which enshrines the inmost soul of God.
How beautiful, how sublime, and glorious, are all these wide-spread creations ! Inconceivable in number, and seemingly boundless in extent, they shine like gems on the bosom of the all-pervading Life. Beauty, harmony, and perfection reign supreme. Worlds on worlds, systems on systems, governed by definite and established laws, move in silence on their majestic course, and there is no jar, no confusion or discord, to disturb the voiceless music of the spheres. And as the scul looks up to those shining orbs—as it listens to the wondrous story of their birth-as it contemplates their number, their magnitude, and extent, it may gain exalted and truthful conceptions of the Divine nature and economy, and learn wisdom from the unerring lines which are traced by the Almighty hand. From the radiant sky, though it be euwrapt in eternal silence, there flows down a divine revelation—a spirit-language, which falls with celestial sweetness on the senses of the soul. No written revelation of the Divine existence—no verbal description of the handiwork of God, could be made so impressive and powerful as those living witnesses, and that still, small voice. How elevating and peaceful is the influence which they impart, and yet how grand the contemplations to which they lead ! Here is contained the confirmation of the soul's most cherished faith ; for who can view the countless worlds in the firmament -—who can read the unchanging laws by which they are governed—who can behold the sublime order and harmony with which they move in their endless circles, and say within his heart there is no God, or feel his soul unmoved with reverence for the wisdom of the skies? It is here—in the vast creationthat we may find the truly sacred volume, whose characters of light reveal the principles of wisdom.
From the views presented in the preceding portions of this volume, it will be perceived—and on this point the writer would most strongly insist—that creation was a gradual and progressive work ; that it resulted, not from the direct interposition and instantaneous operation of Almighty power, but rather from those natural, established processes which were developed from the inherent laws and tendencies of original matter. The supposition that all the majestic worlds of the universe were brought into being, as it were, in a moment, by one imperative command of the Almighty, it would seem can scarcely be entertained by the reasoning mind. This, let it be observed, is not the method in which God works. While it is freely acknowledged that Deity is omnipotent in the performance of his will, it is evidently impossible that He should act inconsistently with his own nature, or that he should pursue any course different from that method which is the natural and eternal expression of his own mind. Now all the evidence which can be obtained from the present order of Nature as to the peculiar mode of His operation, clearly shows that every result is accomplished—every effect produced, by the progressive action of established, invariable laws. Since, then, there is no proof that the Divine Being, who is immutable in his nature, has ever changed his mode of action in relation to the universe, it is clear that the obvious method by which all spheres and existences are now governed, represent also the beautiful process by which they were first brought forth from the womb of Chaos.
The same important principle of progressive development which was manifested in the original formation of worlds, is exhibited also in the creation of other and higher forms of matter which appear upon their surfaces. While the worlds themselves may be regarded as primary productions, the various bodies which are developed on their superficies may be classed as secondary and ultimate productions. But it is an interesting truth that, throughout the entire range of natural develop ments, the same general laws and processes are instituted in all cases, and made subservient to the end required ; and so the same universal principles are made to apply to the secondary as well as to the primary creations, and the same manifestations of progressive growth are witnessed in the vegetable and animal productions of the planets, as in their own formation, evolution, and harmonious unfoldings. It would be doing injustice to the general subject of this volume, if the writer neye lected to refer particularly to the progressive developments which are carried forward on the surfaces of worlds, subsequently to their separation from the parent-sun. This indeed is a theme which has superior claims on the attention of the human mind, and is capable of being investigated and understood in the light of reason, though it should lead the thonghts back even through the clouds of flame that enveloped the chaotic elements.
To illustrate this part of the subject, it will be proper to confine our attention wholly to this planet, since this may be considered as an appropriate index to, and example of, the various corresponding developments, which are taking place on other planets that exist in similar conditions. When first derived from its parent-source, the earth necessarily partook of a liquid and igneous nature, and was consequently in a condition entirely unsuited to the production of any of the objects that now adorn the expanse of Nature. For ages the globe remained a barren and uninhabited waste, on whose surface life, beauty, and intelligence had as yet no birth. Propelled by the projectile force which it received from the sun, it rolled through space as an immense ball of fire, over which Death and Chaos seemed to reign supreme. And yet even in this crude and undeveloped mass were contained the germinal elements of all higher forms, which needed only appropriate conditions to be brought forth to a glorious perfection. In the lapse of time, therefore, which embraced a period of many centuries, the earth having thrown off in dense emanations a portion of its internal heat, and its surface being thus subjected to a cooling process, it began to assume a more dense and compact form ; so that ultimately, the principles of motion, association, and progression being in constant operation, all the present superior developments of the primitive substance were caused to be unfolded, resulting in the existence of minerals, vegetables, animals, and man.
The reader should understand that these several developments were not all produced at the same time, but at different