Imágenes de páginas

nuity of their power and chaos instantly engulfs the fair fabric of creation. Relax only the power of gravitation, and every planet shoots madly from its orbit; augment, ever so slightly, its power, the equilibrium is destroyed, and world after world sinks into the sun.”

Says that eminent Christian philosopher, Dr. Thomas Dick: "A very slight view of the planetary system is sufficient to impress our minds with an overwhelming sense of the grandeur and omnipotence of the Deity. In one part of it we behold a globe fourteen hundred times larger than our world, flying through the depths of space, and carrying along with it a retinue of revolving worlds in its swift career. In a more distant region of this system we behold another globe, of nearly the same size, surrounded by two magnificent rings, which would enclose five hundred worlds as large as ours, winging its flight through the regions of immensity, and carrying along with it seven planetary bodies larger than our muon, and the stupendous arches with which it is encircled, over a circumference of five thousand seven hundred millions of miles. Were we to suppose ourselves placed on the nearest satellite on this planet, and were the satellite supposed to be at rest, we should behold a scene of grandeur altogether overwhelming; a globe filling a great portion of the visible heavens, encircled by its imroense rings, and surrounded by its moons, each moving in its distinct sphere and around its axis, and all at the same time flying before us in perfect harmony, with the velocity of twenty-two thousand miles an hour. Such a scene would far transcend everything we now behold from our terrestrial sphere, and all the conceptions we can possibly form of motion, of sublimity, and grandeur. Contemplating such an assemblage of magnificent objects, moving through the etherial regions with such astonishing velocity, we would feel the full force of the sentiments of inspiration : "THE LORD God OMNIPOTENT REIGNETH. His power is irresistible ; his greatness is unsearchable; wonderful things doth he which we cannot comprehend. * * *

“ The planetary system likewise exhibits a display of the wisdom and intelligence of the Deity. If it is an evidence of wisdom in the artist that he has arranged all the parts of a machine, and proportioned the movements of its different wheels and pinions so as to exactly accomplish the end intended, then the arrangements of the planetary system affords a bright display of the manifold wisdom of God. In the centre of this system is placed the great source of light and heat ; and from no other point could these solar emanations be propagated in an equitable and uniform manner, to the worlds which roll around it. Had the sun been placed at a remote distance from the centre, or near one of the planetary orbits, the planets in one part of their course would have been scorched with the most intense heat, and in another part would have been subjected to the rigors of excessive cold, their motions would have been deranged, and their present constitution destroyed. The enormous bulk of this central body was likewise requisite to diffuse light and attractive influence throughout every part of the system. The diurnal rotations of the planets evince the same wisdom and intelligence. Were these bodies destitute of diurnal motions, one-half of their surface would be parched with perpetual day, and the other half involved in the gloom of perpetual night. To the inhabitants of one hemisphere the sun would never appear, and to the inhabitants of the other the stars would be invisible; and those expansive regions of the universe, where the magnificence of God is so strikingly displayed, would be forever veiled from their view. The permanency of the axes on which the planets revolve was likewise necessary, in order to the stability of the system, and the comfort of its inhabitants; and so we find that their poles point invariably in the same direction or to the same points of the heavens, with only a slight variation, scarcely perceptible till after the lapse of centuries. As the planets are of a spheroidical figure, had the direction of their axes been liable to frequent and sudden changes, the most alarming and disastrous catastrophes might have ensued. In such a globe as ours the shifting of its axis might change the equatorial parts of the earth into the polar, or the polar into the equatorial, to the utter destruction of those plants and animals which are not capable of interchanging situations. Such a change would likewise cause the seas to abandon their former positions, and to rush to the new equator; the consequences of which would be, that the greater part of the men and animals with which it is now peopled would be again overwhelmed in a general deluge, and the habitable earth reduced to a cheerless desert. But all such are prevented by the permanent position of the axis of our globe and of the other planets during every part of their annual revolutions, as fixed and determined by Him who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working.'"

There are more fearful analogies: “ The disappearance of some stars,” says Prof. Vince, “ may be the destruction of that system at the time appointed by the Deity for the probation of its inhabitants." Says Prof. Mitchell, in a most eloquent lecture, after supposing a world to be endowed with a will, and to violate one of the laws of God, bringing upon it cold, darkness and destruction, “ No, my friends, the analogies of nature, applied to the moral government of God, would crush all hope in the sinful soul. There, for millions of ages these stern laws have reigned supreme. There is no deviation, no modification, no yielding to the refractory or disobedient. All is harmony because all is obedience. Close forever, if you will, this strange book claiming to be God's revelation - blot out forever its lessons of God's creative power, God's super-abounding providence, God's fatherhood and tender guardianship to man, his erring offspring, and then unseal the leaves of that mighty volume which the finger of God has written in the stars of heaven, and in those flashing letters of living light read only the dread sentence, • The soul that sinneth it shall surely die.'”

The field of philosophical and scientific study that throws light on the perfections of the Deity and reproduces the doctrines of revelation is inexhaustible. In the study of astronomy alone we may clearly discern the unity of God, for the different parts of the universe bear the impress of the same Divine Mind ; the omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence of God, for only such a Being could produce, adapt and sustain such a complex and boundless system of worlds; the benevolence of God, for the vast phenomena of the solar system, from the tempered rays of the sun to the position of that luminary in the heavens, proclaims His love to man.

Again : every world may be supposed to have its innumerable varieties of animal and vegetable life, and to be inhabited, the superior worlds by.superior intelligences. How vast must be the conceptions of the Deity; for each world and each variety of animal and vegetable life are but the impress of the Divine Mind — the thoughts of God in the past. We may read in the heavens as well as in the Scriptures, that he is an infinite God, that there is no searching of his understanding; and we may here remark that other sacred books have a false philosophy, and a false astronomy, but the Bible bears the impress of the same Intelligence that created the universe.

Hundreds of like analogies might be collected from this branch of study alone. Ought not such palpable facts, and such convincing evidences suggest to the teacier a field for the spiritual as well as for the mental improvement of those entrusted to his care ?



FROM Jordan's wave where heaven grew bright,

And the dove dropped down in the smile of God,
My steps went forth to the desert and night,

Her mantle hung o'er the dreary road,

And the desert was dark, and the desert was lone,

And I longed in the better land to be,
When a sudden glory over me shone,

And the ministering angels came to me.


I saw the hungry lions wait

In the den of vice to seize on me,
But I upward looked and the golden gate

Of Heaven swung back, and the glory to be

Flashed full on the steps that lead to God.

“Whom the world overcomes shall inherit all things,” This by the ear of faith I heard,

And I caught a glimmer of golden wings.

Then I said, I am weak, I should falter and fall

If thou, O my Father, shouldst cease to uphold,
Let the wings of the angels build round me a wall,

'Till I cross the bright steps of the city of gold.

And sin I resisted and lengthened my days,

And health gives me promise of blessings in store,
And the steps of the past reflect heavenly rays,

And a Paradise morning, the path way before.


FOREIGN visitors speak of the quick movements and the thin, sharp faces of American bankers and financiers. But the reckless haste which perhaps characterizes us as a people is seen in our educational as well as our financial circles. In the latter we mark some good and some evil results, but these we do not propose to discuss. In the process of mental training, to vary an old proverb,—“If hurry comes in at the door, knowledge goes out at the window.” Most minds develop slowly, if they develop well. A genius like Pascal, who can

work out Euclid at the age of eleven and write on Conic Sections at sixteen, is found only here and there. From the age of six years to that of sixteen, an ordinary mind needs all the time commonly given to study to grasp firmly the elements of the different branches of knowledge taught in our schools. Three years longer are surely needed to acquire proficiency in the use of those elements. And then the college or university should teach the scholar the higher paths of learning, and send him forth, not indeed finished, but perfectly furnished, by constant practice of his powers, to take his stand among those who can benefit the world by literary labor. In this way a nation is advanced in the ranks of letters by the ability of her scholars.

But what is the course too often pursued ? At six the child goes to school,

“With his satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping like snail,

at twelve he “ prepares for college”; at fourteen he enters the university; at eighteen he takes his profession ; and at twenty-one takes charge of our souls, our bodies, and our quarrels.

The last seven years are surely the most important of all; but for three of these the mind of “ Young America” must be devoted to the chosen profession, so that four years only are, in fact, given for much development. We contend that the fruit of this hurry is to lower the grade of general scholarship. We see one out of twenty distinguished for literary attainments, while in England and Germany a much greater proportion is found. And the difficulty can be remedied only by elevating the entrance-requirements of college and university to correspond. With some six or seven exceptions, our colleges graduate men who stand exactly on a level with the graduates of Eton and Rugby. In stead of the literary training for four or five years which the English boy then gets at Cambridge or Oxford, our boys plunge into the law or medical school. No one can deny that this condition of things lowers our grade in the rank of scholars. The facility with which our learned professions are gained, crowds them full. Lawyers without a brief, physicians without patients, clergymen without charges,—the land is full of them. We believe that but for the peculiar circumstances of our land-its wondrous

« AnteriorContinuar »