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The distance at which the heavenly bodies, particularly the sun, are placed from the earth, is a manifest evidence of Divine Wisdom. If the sun were much nearer us than he is at present, the earth, as now constituted, would be wasted and parched with excessive heat; the waters would be turned into vapour, and the rivers, seas, and oceans, would soon disappear, leaving nothing behind them but frightful barren dells and gloomy caverns; vegetation would completely cease, and the tribes of animated nature languish and die. On the other hand, were the sun much farther distant than he now is, or were his bulk, or the influence of his rays, diminished one half of what they now are, the land and the ocean would soon become one frozen mass, and universal desolation and sterility would overspread the fair face of nature, and, instead of a pleasant and comfortable abode, our globe would become a frightful desert, a state of misery and perpetual punishment.* But herein is the wisdom of God displayed, that he has formed the sun of such a determinate size, and placed it at such a convenient distance, as not to annoy, but to refresh and cheer us, and to enliven the soil with its genial influence ; so that we plainly perceive, to use the language of the prophet, that " He hath established the world by his wisdom, and stretched out the heavens by his understanding."

The rotation of the several planetary globes around their axes, to produce the alternate succession of day and night, strikingly demonstrates the wisdom and benevolence of their great Author. Were the earth and the other planetary worlds destitute of a diurnal motion, only one half of their

It forms no objection to these remarks, that caloric, or the matter of heat, does not altogether depend upon the direct influence of the solar rays. The substance of caloric may be chiefly connected with the constitution of the globe we inhabit. But still, it is quite certain, that the earth, as presently constituted, would suffer effects most disastrous to sentient beings, were it removed much nearer to, or much farther from the central luminary. Those planets which are removed several hundreds of millions of miles farther from the sun than our globe, may possibly experience a degree of heat much greater than ours; but, in this case, the constitution of the solid parts of these globes and of their surrounding atmospheres, must be very different from what obtains in the physical arrangements of our globe,

surfaces could be inhabited, and the other half would remain a dark and cheerless desert. The sun would be the only heavenly orb which would be recognized by the inhabitants of each respective world, as existing in the universe, and that scene of grandeur which night unfolds in the boundless expanse of the sky, would be for ever veiled from their view. For, it appears to be one grand design of the Creator in giving these bodies a diurnal motion, not only to cheer their inhabitants with light and warmth, and the gay colouring produced by the solar rays; but also to open to them a prospect of other portions of his vast dominions, which are dispersed in endless variety throughout the illimitable regions of space; in order that they may acquire a more sublime impression of the glory of his kingdom, and of his eternal Power and Godhead. But, were perpetual day to irradiate the planets, it would throw an eternal and impenetrable veil over the glories of the sky, behind which, the magnificent operations of Jehovah's power would be, in a great measure, concealed. It is this circumstance which we should consider as the principal reason why a rotatory motion has been impressed on the planetary globes; and not merely that a curtain of darkness might be thrown around their inhabitants, during the repose of sleep, as in the world in which we dwell. For, in some of the other planetary worlds belonging to our system, the intelligent beings with which they are peopled, may stand in no need of that nocturnal repose which is necessary for man; their physical powers may be incapable of being impaired, and their mental energies may be in perpetual exercise. And, in some of those bodies which are surrounded with an assemblage of rings and moons, as the planet Saturn, the diversified grandeur of their celestial phenomena, in the absence of the sun, may present a scene of contemplation and enjoyment, far more interesting than all the splendours of their noon day. Besides, had the planets no motion round their axes, and were both their hemispheres supposed to be peopled with inhabitants, their physical state and enjoyments would be as opposite to each other, as if they lived under the government of two distinct independent Beings. While the one class was

basking under the splendours of perpetual day, the other would be involved in all the horrors of an everlasting night. While the one hemisphere would be parched with excessive heat, the other would be bound in the fetters of eternal ice; and, in such a globe as ours, the motion of the tides, the ascent of the vapours, the currents of the atmosphere, the course of the winds, the benign influences of the rains and dews, and a thousand other movements which produce so many salutary and beneficial effects, would be completely deranged. Hence we find, that in all the planetary bodies on which observations can conveniently be made, a rotatory motion actually exists, in the secondary, as well as in the primary planets, and even in the sun himself, the centre, and the mover of the whole: in which arrangement of the Almighty Creator, the evidences of wisdom and design are strikingly apparent.

This amazing scene of Divine workmanship and skill, which the planetary system exhibits, we have reason to believe, is multiplied, and diversified, to an indefinite extent, throughout all the other systems of creation, displaying to the intelligences of every region, "the manifold wisdom of God." For there can be no question, that every star we now behold, either by the naked eye, or by the help of a telescope, is the centre of a system of planetary worlds, where the agency of God, and his unsearchable wisdom, may be endlessly varied, and, perhaps, more strikingly displayed than even in the system to which we belong. These vast globes of light could never have been designed merely to shed a few glimmering rays on our far distant world; for the ten thousandth part of them has never yet been seen by the inhabitants of the earth, since the Mosaic creation, except by a few astronomers of the past and the present age; and the light of many of them, in all probability, has never yet reached us; and perhaps never will, till the period of " the consummation of all terrestrial things." They were not made in vain; for such a supposition would be inconsistent with every idea we can form of the attributes of a being of infinite perfection. They were not intended merely to diversify the voids of infinite space with a useless splendour which has no relation to intellect

ual natures; for this would give us a most distorted and` inconsistent idea of the character of Him who is "the only wise God;" and we are told, by an authority which cannot be questioned, that "by his wisdom he made the heavens, and stretched them out by his understanding." The only rational conclusion, therefore, which can be deduced, is, that they are destined to distribute illumination and splendour, vivifying influence, and happiness, among incalculable numbers of intelligent beings, of various degrees of physical, moral, and intellectual excellence. And, wherever the Creator has exerted his Almighty energies in the production of sensitive and intellectual natures, we may rest assured, that there also, his infinite wisdom and intelligence, in an endless variety of arrangements, contrivances, and adaptations, are unceasingly displayed.

But, after all, whatever evidences of contrivance and design the celestial globes may exhibit, it is not in the heavens that the most striking displays of Divine wisdom can be traced by the inhabitants of our world. It is only a few general relations and adaptations that can be distinctly perceived among the orbs of the firmament; though, in so far as we are able to trace the purposes which they subserve, the marks of beauty, order, and design, are uniformly apparent. But we are placed at too great a distance from the orbs of heaven, to be able to investigate the particular arrangements which enter into the physical and moral economy of the celestial worlds. Were we transported to the surface of the planet Jupiter, and had an opportunity of surveying, at leisure, the regions of that vast globe, and the tribes of sensitive and intellectual existence which compose its population-of contemplating the relations of its moons to the pleasure and comfort of its inhabitants-the constitution of its atmosphere, as to its reflective and refractive powers, in producing a degree of illumination to compensate for the great distance of that planet from the sun-its adaptation to the functions of animal life-the construction of the visual organs of its inhabitants, and the degree of sensibility they possess corresponding to the quantity of light received from the sun-the temperature of the surface and atmosphere of

this globe corresponding to its distance from the central source of heat, and to the physical constitution of sensitive beings-in short, could we investigate the relations which inanimate nature, in all its varieties and sublimities, bears to the necessities and the happiness of the animated existences that traverse its different regions, we should, doubtless, behold a scene of Divine wisdom and intelligence, far more admirable and astonishing than even that which is exhibited in our sublunary world.-But since it is impossible for us to investigate the economy of other worlds, while we are chained down to this terrestrial sphere, we must direct our attention to those arrangements and contrivances in the constitution of our own globe, which lie open to our particular inspection, in order to perceive more distinctly the benevolent designs of Him "in whom we live, and move, and have our being." And here an attentive observer will find, in almost every object, when minutely examined, a display of goodness and intelligence, which will eonstrain him to exclaim, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!"

Wisdom, considered as consisting in contrivance, or the selection of the most proper means in order to accomplish an important end, may be exemplified and illustrated in a variety of familiar objects in the scene of nature.

The earth on which we tread, was evidently intended by the Creator to support man and other animals, along with their habitations, and to furnish those vegetable productions which are necessary for their subsistence; and, accordingly, he has given it that exact degree of consistency which is requisite for these purposes. Were it much harder than it now is; were it, for example, as dense as a rock, it would be incapable of cultivation, and vegetables could not be produced from its surface. it softer, it would be insufficient to support us, and we should sink at every step, like a person walking in a quagmire. Had this circumstance not been attended to in its formation, the earth would have been rendered useless as a habitable world, for all those animated beings which now traverse its surface. The exact adjustment of the solid


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