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of the Eternal. The physical universe was full of startling truths or facts, and by the powers of investigation, and by the aid of the exact sciences, man ascertained these truths, All these truths, whether arithmetical or mathematical, revolved round and converged towards one central truth the law of gravitation. Although numbers, measures, weights, and distances were not fictions, yet they could have taught us nothing of the physical universe with any great degree of certainty, beyond the earthly home to which our bodies were confined, if the great central truth.
—the law of gravitation—had not been discovered. Unlocked by that truth, the mysteries of the universe were mysteries no longer; and by its aid man tracked his way by an unerring line over the pathless abysses of infinitude : and there was a strong resemblance between the universe of matter and the universe of mind and morals. Good and. evil, vice and virtue, pain and pleasure, were no less real than distances and weights and measures ; nor were the problems they presented less wonderful than those of algebra and geometry. The truths and facts of moral science, like those of physical science, were only to be discovered by aid of the great master law or central truth, which took the place in the moral world that is held by gravitation in the world of matter. And that central truth the master law, that common centre towards which all. other moral truths converged-he should show them was Christianity, which threw light on moral darkness, cleared. up moral mysteries, united what seemed discordant into one great whole, and was to nature as the translation of a mystic hieroglyph, the great converging centre of every moral truth the creation unfolded. The universe held forth many truths for our apprehension and enlightenment; but among them were four great moral ones which stood out in bold relief like the salient points of a landscape gigantic inountains which brought their broad breasts to the sunlight, though their lofty peaks reached high above the clouds. They were — 1st. The power, wisdom, and goodness of the Deity; 2nd. The creature's imbecility; 3rd. Aberration and restoration; 4th. The Goodness triumphant. These were not only taught by the visible creation, but were also the basal truths on which all the doctrines of revelation rested ; and since in this position. they were often objected to by man, he would endeavonr to
show that the teachings of nature were in these respects consentaneous with those of revelation. The wide regions of immensity teemed with evidences of God's wisdom, power, and goodness. Orbs innumerable as the sand on ocean's shore, testified to the greatness of Him who called them into being, and some of these were so large that our earth was but as an atom to a mountain in coniparison,
It was impossible for the human mind to attain to an adequate conception of the material universe that stood prominently forth, projected, as it were, from the mind of Deity, an enduring witness of His creative power. Thirty drops of water might be placed in an ordinary teaspoon, and in every one of those drops millions of living creatures (monad animalcula) could not only live, but enjoy life; but yet if the Atlantic Ocean could be severed into teaspoonfuls, and those teaspoonfuls into drops, and those drops multiplied by the hundreds of millions of living beings for which they provided means of exuberant enjoyment, the vast total would scarcely approximate to the numbers of the radiant orbs that stud the regions of immensity, and there pursued their destined orbits as witnesses of His almighty power who called them into being. What was displayed here? Was it simply alnighty potentiality, which could act as it pleased, or had we not the manifest exertion of almighty power? But was there only power? The elements of the motions of these orbs were composed of two forces—the projectile impulse that hurled them into space ; and gravitation, that drew them towards the centre around which they revolved; so that they were prevented on the one hand from wandering vagrantly into space, and, on the other, from rushing headlong on the body of their central orb. And could the proper balance be calculated for untold millions of worlds without the exertion not only of power,
but also of Infinite wisdom ? This was not all. The echoes of nature gave, in everrecurring utterances, their testimony to the truth that the creatures God had formed were guarded with a loving Father's care. In most poetical language, Mr. Ragg dwelt at length upon the evidences of Divine goodness, as found in nature, and summed up this part of his lecture by say. ing, that as the flower gathered up from earth and air the separate principles which unite in its rich perfume, even so revelation appeared to have combined nature's ten thousand times ten thousand voices, and given them forth the utterance of God's power, wisdom, and love.
The imbecility of the creature was the next point dwelt upon, in which the liability of animated nature to the universal law of death was set forth in glowing imagery, and the inability of man to control the powers of nature was eloquently described as showing the imbecility of the highest of material creatures. Although man was a co-worker with God, and was enabled to make use of and enjoy all things, yet the moment he sought to command or to alter, his impotency made it evident that he was not their lord, and that the elements of matter were not under his control. This great truth was consentaneous with the written Word of God. The accidents, disease, and death which man was liable to through the infraction of physical laws, were but the outward symbols of the moral law, by breaking which he had become so sunk in moral imbecility. And as nature had not only an Ordainer but an Administrator, the Holy Scriptures agreed with the embodied declaration of its unnumbered voices, and whatever was the secondary cause of accidents, referred them to the first, in the permissive or active will of the Administrator_“Thou takest
their breath, they die.”
On the third great subject the rev. lecturer spoke at length, showing that aberration or departure from righteousness, against which the pride of the human heart so constantly rebelled, had its parallel in the physical world. Everywhere we had exhibitions of instability; immutability and stability being attributes of God alone. Change was written everywhere-on the atmosphere with its varying clouds, the unstable bosom of the restless deep, and the upheavals, depressions, and oscillations of the solid earth. The stalwart frame was wearied by daily toil;“ tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep," completed the restoration. Some of the lower animals slept for long periods in the winter, yet these periods alternated with others of active life—thus completing the aberration and restoration, The deterioration and renewal of the atmosphere, the deviations of the planets and satellites from their orbits, also pointed us analogically to man's divergence from the path of right, and that counter-attraction—the attraction of the Cross—which won him back to the rectitude in which, and for which, he was first created.
There was yet another subject—Goodness triumphant, and the crowning act of aberration and restoration he left to be developed there. Everywhere scenes of evil, physical and moral, were abundant; but these were constantly attended by an ever-living stream of goodness-goodness modifying the evil, and rendering its existence subservient to benevolent ends. Sleep, death’s forerunner, was also life's restorer. Exhaustion contributed to the pleasure of replenishment, and the pangs of hunger to the enjoyment of food. The thunderstorm refreshed the parched earth ; the boisterous wind dispersed the poisonous exhalations; while every convulsion through which our earth had passed had been productive of benefits to man, under the guidance of Him who “ weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance." The rev. lecturer then sketched, in eloquent terms, ideal landscapes of geological formations long passed away, describing how successive change, in the earth's crust, each upheaval of ocean's bed, and each depression of continent and island, had tended to produce the present formation of the surface of the globe, and to deposit great mineral treasures for the use of man. And (said the Lecturer) let these exhibitions of triumphant goodness in physical phenomena point us to the greatest of exhibitions that ever occupied the stage of time-point us to its highest development in Christianity; for these physical transactions and phenomena are but the visible transcripts of a great moral truth-goodness triumphant over evil.
MR. J. C. FARN.
[Delivered at the Eccles Mechanics' Institute.]
ANY people suppose that song-singing is very well as
an amusement, but worthless in the practical conduct of life. We are of a different opinion, and are fully assured that song has its mission in common with every other literary effort, and only needs wise direction for that mission to do its work. There is very great need for a sweeping reform musically, metrically, and inorally, in our song-singing efforts, and that reform is being aided by the public meetings of our literary institutions. The words and the tunes of our popular songs are frequently of the most contemptible character-few of them being worth the wretched paper upon which they are printed. Few of them teach anything worth anybody's while to learn, whilst many of them are ridiculous failures considered as atteinpts at wit, or the expression of opinion or feeling. Doubtless as education spreads among us, many of them will die a natural death; and the sooner the better, for many of them have already lived far too long for the mental and moral culture of those who use them. There is one merit about our new songs they are never indecent—which is more than can be said of some of our old ones. There are songs often sung in public-houses and in workshops which it is positive pollution to sing or hear. Only low, uncultivated, sensual natures can appreciate them. If there were no other songs to choose from than the class we have mentioned, the matter would not be mended. It is not better to have bad songs than none at all; but we are not driven to this, for even out of our common song-books, some good ones, or, at all events, some far above the average, may be selected; to adopt the worst is an unmistakable evidence of an execrable taste. If we cannot select those in praise of virtue, let us at least not select those which pander to vice. Such songs cannot be said or sung without exciting contempt and