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particle is beyond the utmost fagacity and penetration of man. Struck with fo much of the admirable structure both of the whole and of each part as he is permitted to fee into, he must confefs that more remains behind above his feeble comprehenfion, and his final exclamation must be : These are thy glorious works, Parent of Good! Almighty, thine this universal frame,

Thus wondrous fair!-Thyfelf how wondrous then!

Those innumerable ftars which our weak fight can difcern, those which the curious aftronomer has been able to discover by the help of telescopes, and thofe, perhaps in ftill greater number, which even Mr. Herfchel's inftruments have not been able to draw within our ken, are all fo many funs, many of as great, and poffibly many of much greater, magnitude than ours. Reasonable and just analogy pronounces that each of these is probably accompanied by as many attendant planets as our fun. In our fyftem the fize of this our globe is not even a medium with that of other planets. Whilft the diameter of the Earth is about 6700 miles, that of Mercury is indeed only 2748, but that of Jupiter is 120,650 miles. Can it be fupposed that bodies of fuch magnitude, and ftars not inferior to our fun, were created merely to regulate our seafons, to guide our steps or our navigation, or to ornament the of man's refidence as with fo many lamps? Much lefs bodies placed at finaller distances would have equally anfwered these ends. No; fuch immense bodies, and fo many funs, many of which are imperceptible to the naked eye, must have had more immediate and more important purposes. Reafon muft affure us that the planets of our system, and those attendant on other funs, muft have been destined for the habitation of other creatures, of whofe natures we are indeed and must remain for ever ignorant, but whofe exiftence feems not problematical. The fatellites of fome of our planets, fo wifely increased and diftributed to fupply light at their great distances from the fun, proclaim it beyond a doubt. If heat, however, is entirely dependant on proximity to the funand on the intenfity of its rays, we can have no conception that any living creature can exist in Mercury, from the violent heat occafioned by the

ent the canopy of man's refidence

vicinity

vicinity of that body to the fun; or in Saturn, from the extreme cold arifing from its prodigious distance from that fuppofed fource of heat. But if heat is really more dependant on the nature of the materials of which animal or inanimate bodies are compounded, and the aptitude of their compofitions to be acted upon by the fun's rays, than on any real warmth conveyed by them, we can then conceive that the inhabitants of Mercury may not be more fcorched by their proximity to the fun, or thofe of Saturn more frozen by their distance from it, than we are on this earth. The denfity of all the planets exactly proportional to their distances from the fun fhews that this is really the cafe. If the rays of the fun are only mediate causes of heat, if they are only agents capable of bringing it forth, the difference of their intenfity at the feveral distances of the planets may be fully compenfated by the more immediate caufes, the quantity of calorific particles contained in thofe planets and the force of their adhesion. The universal and all-foreseeing providence of the Supreme Being extends itfelf with equal bounty to all and every part of the universe. Under his powerful hand, one fingle agent operates all the wonders of his beneficent intentions; and at fuch unequal distances the fame fun animates the foil and inhabitants of Saturn without fcorching thofe of Mercury. Light alfo is weakened by diftance. The compofition of the moon is fuch as to reflect to us a moft benign light during the night, but it is probably invifible in Saturn. The compofition of that planet's moons and ring must be exceedingly different; for they not only reflect ample light on that planet, but, notwithstanding their immense distance, are visible, and make it more vifible to us.

THOUGHTS

THOUGHTS

ON THE

STRUCTURE

OF THIS GLOBE

LETTER VI.

Abstract of the Syftem of Professor Wallerius on the Formation and Structure of the Earth.

BEFORE I venture to expose to you,

I venture to expofe to you, Sir, my own ideas on the original formation and structure of this globe, and on the changes which have reduced it to its prefent ftate, you will give me leave to introduce you to the knowledge of the opinions of Mr. Wallerius, who not many years fince published a regular system on thofe fubjects. That learned professor has been styled by the Swedes the father of mineralogy, as they had before given to his countryman Linnæus the honourable name of father of botany, fully confirmed by the univerfal fuffrage of all Europe. This philofopher

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displays not perhaps that vivacity of imagination nor that feducing eloquence which diftinguish Meffieurs de Buffon and Bailly; he will not captivate fo many readers, nor obtain fuch rapid conqueft of opinions; but profound, clear, and concise reasoning will, when his work fhall be better known to the learned of Europe, fecure to him a more folid reputation of real fcience. Suppofe him not, however, deftitute of imagination; his, it is true, is not exhaled in the flowers of ftyle; but that chapter of his work in which he calls into order the confused abyss of fluid matter, and in which he combines, 'arranges, and develops the fucceffive origin of the various substances of which the earth is now compofed, will fhew him to have poffeffed that vaft conception and that quickness of feizing the moft diftant connection of things which truly characterize the great genius. Mr. de Luc of Geneva, already mentioned, published about the fame time his fentiments on the fame subjects, and, though probably uncommunicated, their opinions coincide on moft points. As of a more concife and regular fyftem, I fhall chiefly confine myself to an abstract of the work of Mr. Wallerius. You will be surprised, Sir, to find him closely following step by step, and in fact confining himself to the explication of that mosaical narration which the philofophers of your nation have accustomed you to look upon as a confused tale, inexplicable by nature, and unworthy of the attention of the man of science; or at least as the disguised and veiled account of the creation, meant not to convey phyfical truths, but calculated to fuit the prejudices and understandings of an illiterate and

and ignorant people. Here you will fee the fucceffive progrefs of creation delineated, however briefly, by Mofes, not only connected with but fupported and confirmed by the fucceffive application of the only well known fundamental laws of nature. In fact, if that narrative is true, and, as chriftians fuppofe, inspired by the Divinity himself, nothing in it, though certainly not intended directly to instruct us in the arcana of nature, should be found incompatible with her pofitive and immutable laws. When' the fun is faid to stand still in Gibeon, or to retrograde on the dial of Ezechias, scripture talks only of appearances as thefe really were, effected not by any alteration in the rotation of the whole earth, but by fome partial refraction of its rays, as yet happens in fome mornings or evenings before that body really appears in fight, or after it has in fact disappeared. It talks the language then alone comprehenfible, as we yet do, though we know the contrary, in common converfation: but here it relates facts without attending to their being perfectly comprehended or not; its only object is to inftruct us that God was the fole creator and disposer of all that is. This idea of the neceffary truth of facts afferted in Genefis will both account for the anxiety of Mr. Wallerius and myself to fhew that no part of these facts is really inexplicable by true philofophy, though for want of more certain knowledge our explications may yet be defective.

You have seen, Sir, that I have already endeavoured to fhew, from the most authentic documents of the history and gradual pro3 N

grefs

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