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CONTEMPLATIONS

ON THE

STARRY HEAVENS.

HIS Evening, I exchange the nice Retreats of Art, for the noble Theatre of Nature. Inftead of measuring my Steps under the Covert of an Arbour, let me range along the Summit of this gently rifing Hill.There is no Need of the leafy Shade, fince the Sun has quitted the Horizon, and withdrawn his fcorching Beams. But fee, how Advantages and Inconveniencies are ufually linked, and chequer our Affairs below! If the annoying Heat ceases, the Landschape and its pleafing Scenes are alfo removed.--The majestic Castle, and the lowly Cottage, are vanished together. I have loft the afpiring Mountain, and its ruffet Brow;

T

I look round, but to no purpose, for the humble Vale, and its flowery Lap. The Plains, whitened with Flocks, and the Heath, yellow with Furze, disappear. The advancing Night has wrapt in Darkness the long-extended Foreft, and drawn her Mantle over the Windings of the Silver Stream. I no longer behold that luxuriant Fertility in the Fields; that wild Magnificence of Prospect, and endless Variety of Images; which have fo often touched me with Delight, and ftruck me with Awe, from this commanding Eminence,

THE Lofs, however, is fcarce to be regretted, fince it is amply compensated by the opening Beauties of the Sky. Here I enjoy a free View of the whole Hemisphere; without any Obftacle from below, to confine the exploring Eye; or any Cloud from above, to overcaft the fpacious Concave. "Tis true, the lively Vermillion, which fo lately ftreaked the Chambers of the Weft, is all faded: But the Planets, one after another, light up their Lamps; the Stars · advance in their glittering Train; a Thousand and a Thousand Luminaries fhine forth in fucceffive Splendors; and the whole Firmament is kindling into the most beautiful Glow. The Blueness of the Ether, heightned by the Seafon of the Year, and ftill more enlivened by the Abfence of the Moon, gives those Gems of Heaven the ftrongeft Luftre.

ONE

ONE Pleasure more, the invading Gloom has not been able to fnatch, from my Senfe. The Night rather improves, than destroys, the Fragrance which exhales from the blooming Beans. With these the Sides of this floping Declivity are lined, and with these the balmy Zephyrs perfume their Wings. Does Arabia, from all her fpicy Groves, breathe a more liberal, or a more charming Gale of Sweets? And, what is a peculiar Recommendation of the rural Entertainments, presented in our happy Land, they are alloyed by no Apprehenfions of Danger. No poisonous Serpent lurks under the Bloffom, nor any ravenous Beaft lies ready to start from the Thicket.- -But I wander from a far more exalted Subject. My Thoughts, like my Affections, are too eafily diverted from the Heavens, and detained by inferior Objects. Away, my Attention, from thefe little Blandishments of the Earth, fince all the Glories of the Sky invite thy Regard.

WE have taken a Turn among the Tombs, and viewed the folemn Memorials of the Dead, in order to learn the Vanity of mortal Things, and to break their foft Enchantment-We have furveyed the Ornaments of the Garden; not that the Heart might be planted in the Parterre, or take Root among the flowery Race; but that these

these Delicacies of a Day might teach us to afpire after a better Paradife, where Beauty never fades, and Delight is ever in the Bloom * A Third time we lighted the Candle of Meditation; and fought for Wisdom, not in the crouded City, or wrangling Schools, but in the filent and lonely Walks of antient Night *. Let us once more indulge the contemplative Vein, and raise our Speculations to thofe fublimer Works of the great Creator, which the Regions of the Sky contain, and this dufky Hour unveils +.

If we have difcerned the Touches of his Pencil, glowing in the Colours of Spring; if we have feen a Sample of his Beneficence, exhibited in the Stores of Nature; and a Ray of his Brightness, beaming in the Blaze of Day; O! what an infinitely richer Field for the Display of his Perfections, are the Heavens, The Heavens, in the most emphatical Manner, declare the Glory of God. The Heavens are nobly eloquent of the Deity, and the most magnificent

Heralds

*

Alluding to the feveral Subjects of the Three preceding Effays.

+ Night opes the nobleft Scenes, and sheds an Awe, Which gives those venerable Scenes full Weight, And deep Reception in th' entender'd Heart. Night Thoughts, N°. 9.

3

Heralds of their Maker's Praise. They speak to
the whole Universe; for there is neither Speech
fo barbarous, but their Language is understood;
nor Nation fo diftant, but their Voices are heard
among them *.
-Let me then, while Multi-
tudes are buried in Sleep, liften to their filent
Lectures. Perhaps, I may receive fuch impref-
five Manifestations of " the eternal Power and
"Godhead," as may fhed Religion on my Soul,
while I walk the folitary Shades; and may be a
tutelary Friend to my Virtue, when the Call of
Bufinefs, and the Return of Light, expofe me
again to the Inroads of Temptation.

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THE Ifraelites, inftigated by Phrenfy, rather than Devotion, worshipped the Hoft of Heaven. And the Pretenders to Judicial Aftrology talk of, I know not what, myfterious Efficacy in the different Afpect of the Stars, or the various Conjunction and Oppofition of the Planets.---Let thofe, who are unacquainted with the fure Word of Revelation, give ear to thefe Sons of Delufion, and Dealers in Deceit : For my Part, it is Matter of Indifference to me, whether the Conftellations fhone with Smiles, or loured in Frowns, on the Hour of my Nativity. Let CHRIST be my Guard; and, fecure in fuch a Protection, I would laugh at their impotent Menaces. Let

CHRIST

* Pfal. xix. 3.

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