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Comparing these with the mean distances above given, we cannot but remark the near agreement, and can scarcely hesitate to pronounce that these mean distances were assigned according to a law, although we are entirely ignorant of the exact law, and of the reason for that law."-Brinkley's Astronomy, p. 90.

The fourth lecture considers the “objections to natural and revealed religion, which have been drawn from astronomical principles.”

I. Buffon's theory is first disposed of, and the comet, which, he says, sliced off the planets from the sun, as if it were slicing a cucumber, is shewn to be too eccentric even for a comet. If the theory be correct, “We must recur to an original projectile force; the very difficulty which the hypothesis proposes to elude.”—P. 62.

II. La Place fancied all matter to have been originally nebulous and highly attenuated, and afterwards condensed about different centres by gravity.

The very diffusion of matter endued with innate gravity, which this hypothesis supposes, itself implies the action of a Divine Power.—P. 69.

It may supply the instruments by which it might have pleased the Almighty to execute his will, but can never account for the wisdom which is apparent.P. 70.

The other strange notions of irreligious star-gazers are treated with deserved contempt, and left unnoticed. The author then proceeds to refute the objections to revelation. It is impossible, one would think, as he properly observes, to look up to the heavens, and not bless the Lord.

Some, however, have regarded the heavens with very different feelings. Struck with the magnitude of the universe compared with the works and dwellings of man, they have urged the improbability, that a being so insignificant in the general scale of the universe should be so favoured, as to have an express revelation made to him of the will of the Most High. And they have dwelt upon the arrogance of man who, among all the various creatures which we have reason to believe people innumerable worlds, conceives himself to be selected as the peculiar care of God.

But surely to reason thus, is to reason both presumptuously and unwisely. Who shall say, except he should be enlightened with wisdom from above, by what laws of moral government it may have pleased the Creator to govern the universe? Who shall say that this world alone has been favoured with a divine communication? We presume not to draw aside the veil which separates us from the dealings of the Almighty. But any reasoning must be entirely inconclusive, which rests upon an assertion, itself incapable of proof.

Besides, such reasoning controverts every analogy which can be drawn from the things which we see. The eyes of the Lord are over all his works. The most minute parts are laboured with the same scrupulous accuracy as the most extensive. Objects too small for the unassisted human sight are finished with the same care, provided for with the same wisdom, as those which to us appear the most important. It is plain, from mere observation, that all distinction of small and great respects created beings only. In the works of God, no such distinction exists. And when we conclude that man may be overlooked, or treated with less attention, because he occupies a relatively small portion of the visible universe, we reason from the affections of our own minds to the dealings of Him who “ fainteth not, neither is weary:" we confound the feebleness of man with the unlimited power of God.—Pp. 72–74.

It was precisely this notion which induced Lord Byron to prate so absurdly, and which that sapient Leigh Hunt so thoroughly misunderstood. The objections deduced from the alleged antiquity of oriental astronomy are then introduced; but though not refuted, as we expected to find them, sufficient is said to disprove the assertions of the eastern writers.

But whether the astronomical computations of the Hindus are derived, as is pretended, from real observations made full three thousand years before the Christian era, or not, the chronological system founded upon them is evidently artificial. The very inspection of them is sufficient to satisfy the enquirer, that they are the production of an ingenious but fanciful people, well skilled in numerical computation, and undeterred by periods of any length. That the ages of the world, marked by great natural catastrophes, should be arranged in periods according to a fixed numerical law—that the length of human life should at the end of each be diminished in a determinate ratio-to say nothing of the corresponding alteration of the moral character of mankind in every age, and the various degrees of illumination which are supposed to have been preternaturally imparted, are suppositions so evidently imaginary that to mention them is to confute them. When it is further considered that the Hindus are beyond all others skilful in committing the most notorious forgeries to give a colour to their fanciful schemes, the degree of importance, which has sometimes been attached to their pretensions, will be found far greater than they really deserve.

It is, besides, very remarkable, that the same astronomical systems, which have been held forth as opposing the Mosaic chronology, actually confirm it. The date ascribed to the commencement of their age, called the Kali Yuga, in their more modern systems of astronomy, has been shewn, with as much accuracy as the subject allows, to be that which the Septuagint version of the Scriptures ascribes to the general deluge: and is the same which was used by the Arabians, and also adopted in the celebrated astronomical tables constructed by order of Alphonsus, King of Seville. In the system of chronology also which existed among the Hindus two hundred years before Christ, their history was divided into astronomical periods, at the beginning of which they then placed the creation of the world. And the first of these periods extended nearly to the time of the deluge; when all traditional knowledge would have, as it were, a fresh point from which it would spring.-Pp. 80–82.

The Egyptian astronomy is thus summarily settled :

Any results, however, which have been obtained, afford too slender a foundation for any certain conclusion: and it is sufficient for our present purpose to observe, that they who have hitherto examined these representations with the greatest care, deduce from them a degree of antiquity, which, however extraordinary as an historical fact, is by no means inconsistent with the chronology of the sacred writings.-P. 83.

As a contrast to the above, the author notices the results of the great Newton's study, in six lines from the Principia; and then relates the beautiful and affecting incident of young Horrox-an incident scarcely paralleled in the history of abstract science, and one, we think, aptly chosen to interest the peculiar class of auditors at St. Mary's.

One of the most simple, but striking, and even touching instances of the union of science with piety, is incidently found in the life of Horrox, a youth of our own country, and also a member of our own body; whose short life gave promise of the greatest advancement in science. The visible transit of the planet Venus over the sun's disk is a phænomenon which very rarely occurs. Between two successive instances more tha a century generally elapses: and an opportunity of observing it from a given point of the earth's surface is still more rare. The observation is also of such great importance in determining the elements of the planet's orbit, and the dimensions of the solar system, that on the last two occasions, expeditions were expressly sent from various parts of Europe to the most distant regions of the globe, in order to observe the transit.

A phænomenon so rare, requiring at least an approximate calculation of the time of its occurrence, and the assistance of sufficient instruments, was observed by no human eye, from the creation of the world to the middle of the seventeenth century of the Christian era. Horrox, a young man but twenty-one years of age, residing in a remote district of this country, and almost deprived of the assistance of books and instruments, discovered that the imperfect tables of the planetary motions then in use gave reason to anticipate a visible transit of the planet. His superior knowledge enabled him to compute more correctly the time at which it would take place; and he made his preparations with all the anxiety which so new and important an observation was calculated to excite in an ardent mind. On the day before the transit was expected, he began to observe; and he resumed his labours on the morrow. But the very hour, when his calculations led him to expect the visible appearance of the planet upon the sun's disk, was also the hour appointed for the public worship of God on the sabbath day. The delay of a few minutes might deprive him of the means of observing the transit. If its very commencement were not noticed, clouds might intervene: the sun was about to set: and nearly a century and half would elapse before another opportunity would occur. Notwithstanding all this, Horrox twice suspended his observations, and twice repaired to the house of God. When his duty was thus paid, and he returned to his chamber the second time, his love of science was gratified with full success. His eyes were the first which ever witnessed the phænomenon which his sagacity had predicted. Pp. 84–86.

But we did not suppose that the splendid topic would thus be dismissed; much might have been said useful, as well as satisfactory, to those to whom Mr. Chevallier was bound to plead the importance of that revelation which he undertook to defend. And no argument could have found a surer base than that which the biography of Horrox could supply. Many are the students in that walk of science, which Horrox cultivated, yet within the walls of Alma Mater, who might be led, like him, to “ look through nature up to nature's God." There was a field for the Christian philosopher to expatiate in, which Mr. Chevallier has contented himself with slightly skimming on a flying wing. “ Ille volat, simul arva fuga, simul æquora verrens.”

Virg. Georg. III. 201. We wish the author had taken more pains to treat his subject in a more edifying and Christian manner. As it is, the first part of the work is neither more nor less than a series of astronomical memoranda, which might have been worked up into matter for




practical exhortation and devotional reflection. The author's talents are good, his reading creditable, and his style generally correct and pure; and in his miscellaneous discourses, though far below zero as to academical importance, there is a good spirit of evangelical earnest

We wish some of this spirit had been infused into the former, and some of his labour employed in the latter, part of the volume. It would then have been more worthy of a place beside the treatise

Scripture Difficulties," and even the Lectures for 1826. We fully agree with the author in the conclusion of his Preface: All who consider the duties of his office, will acknowledge that some change is necessary either in the number of lectures required, or in the time allowed previous to publication."



Art. II.-Davidica ;Twelve Practical Sermons on the Life and Cha

racter of David, King of Israel. By HENRY THOMPSON, M. A. of St. John's College, Cambridge, and Assistant Minister of St. George's, Camberwell. London: Rivingtons, 1827.

The character of David, more especially with reference to the declaration that he was “the man after God's own heart,” has ever been one of the most pregnant sources of cavil to the unbeliever. However clearly the objections built upon this expression have been refuted, they have still been repeated again and again in the same spirit, almost in the same words, and with the same unblushing confidence, as if they had all the charms of novelty to recommend them. Nor is it difficult to trace the design of this vexatious warfare, though the scheme is deep-laid, and artfully contrived for the furtherance of its darling purpose. It cannot be intended to call forth a repeated answer to a worn-out theme; for the renewal of a victory, attended with the most unequivocal success, could only be the means of rendering defeat more decisive and conspicuous. The talent which has been exhausted in repelling the attacks which are incessantly made

upon the citadel of faith, and the additional glory which attaches to the cause of revelation from every fresh incursion of infidelity, is sufficient proof that the enemy have nothing to expect but the most disheartening repulses from those, who are able to wield the weapons of learning and truth in defence of their religion and their God. But it is the cold and heartless hope of entrapping the unwary, and of spreading doubt and misbelief among those who have not the means or the ability of sifting an argument, and searching out the fallacies of a sophism, which calls forth the unceasing exertions of the sceptic. To the poor and the uneducated the store - houses of theological literature are a sealed book; and the effect of an appeal to the reason

of those, who cannot be expected to reason aright, can scarcely fail to flatter their vanity into an admission of a doctrine so insidiously proposed. Where is the unlettered reasoner who would detect the non sequitur of the following syllogism ?-The Scriptures represent David as the man after God's own heart: but David was a murderer and an adulterer; therefore the Scriptures sanction the commission of murder and adultery.

Under these circumstances, we can conceive no object to which the attention of the Christian pastor can be directed, with more probable benefit to his flock, than the occasional illustrations, in plain and popular language, of those characters of Scripture, which, like David, have been the subject of atheistical misrepresentation. To paint the different shades of good and ill-to shew in what particular instances the example of a remarkable personage is to be followed, and in what to be avoided—to limit expressions, which have been artfully wrested into a general sense, to their only legitimate interpretation-and to do all this in terms which the most unlearned can understand and appreciate, is one of the surest means of helping the Christian to a reason of the hope that is in him, and of placing the thoughtless and unwary on their guard against the snares which are laid for them. With respect to the royal Psalmist, this has been fully done in the volume before us. In the first Discourse, Mr. Thompson has set aside the stumbling-block of the sceptic, by shewing that, in his public character only, was David “the man after God's own heart,"— in the jealous care with which he preserved the religion of the one true God, and shut out every avenue to the encroachments of idolatry. He then proceeds to adapt the several passages in the monarch's life to the purpose of moral instruction, setting each event in the light which Scripture warrants, and offering them respectively either as safeguards against temptation, or incitements to overcome it; as patterns of duty, or as cautions against sin. . Several minor points, which are scarcely of sufficient importance to require a separate consideration, are treated collectively in the last Discourse ; and the whole concludes with an earnest and affectionate admonition to his hearers, to make the Bible their study, to investigate the evidences of their belief, and not hastily to admit a cavil which ignorance alone prevents them from answering

The utility of this volume is greatly enhanced by the plain and intelligible style in which it is written. The truths which it contains, and the arguments which it offers, could not be otherwise than beneficial to the most talented member of his congregation; but to the poor, and those who require wholesome instruction, in language suited to their inferior acquirements, its easy and persuasive addresses will be invaluable. There are no flowers of rhetoric, no tropes, no

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