페이지 이미지
[ocr errors]

The Physical and Moral World,

110 these manifestations of it, occasion of providence, or history, both of the ally in his works, and more frequently world and the church, is represented in his word, are, perhaps, designed by the same septenary number. By to direct our minds to the subject, as comparing the following passages, we not of an arbitrary or human origin, perceive how, in a general manner, but flowing necessarily from the nature God conducted the affairs of this world of God, itself; and therefore, must upon the septenary principle, and how have an eternal moral obligation upon the first saw or rest, into which he himall intelligent creatures.

self entered, was emblematical of the Now, if this view of the subject be the last you or rest, which remaineth correct, as it evidently appears to me in heaven for the people of God: Gen. after a great deal of investigation, ii. 2; vii. 4, 10; viii. 10, 12 ; xli. 25, that there is undoubtedly a foundation 32 ; Exod. xvi. 22, 30. Where God for it; what a powerful argument is represented as working a weekly does it form for the sanctification of miracle for the express purpose of prethe sabbath? And those who would serving this seventh day revolution. endeavour to do away with this sacred | Also Josh. vi. 3–16. Heb. iv. 1-11. day, from the consideration that it is and Psal. xvi. 11. only ceremonial, and not moral, are But without resting the subject on certainly mistaken ; and may as well what is thus declared in scripture, we endeavour to alter the established must observe again, that it is even laws of nature concerning God's bow written in legible and indelible characin the clouds, and the harmony which ters in the book of nature, as well as springs out of the seven sounds of the in the book of revelation. This apoctave, or the changes of the moon, pears evident from the seven colours which appears with a new face to the of the rainbow, and the seven notes of inhabitants of this globe every seven the octave in music. In both cases, days; and thus is as a sign in nature nature arranges these objects coninstructing man of the sabbath. stantly in sevens,

without any

variation The number seven, therefore, first, less or more at any time. And to this from its being the number of perfec- class of natural bodies, instructing tion; secondly, from its being fre- mankind by sevens, the lunar phenoquently employed in this mystical mena inay with equal propriety be sense, both in scripture and in ancient added: for the Moon taking twentytradition; and thirdly, from its being eight days, or thereabout, to comwritten in legible and indelible charac- plete a revolution in its orbit, and reters in the book of nature, as well as gularly changing its figure every quarin that of revelation; shews its founda- ter of its course, presents to us a new tion to be more deeply laid than we face every seventh day. Each quarter are at first sight apt to suppose. being thus specifically marked, con

This number, both among believers sists of a septephemeral number, if the and heathens, was not only the num- expression is allowable. ber by which they computed their But further, as the word yaw, or time, divided into weeks of so many seven, signifies likewise an oath, or a days; but it was considered by all, as person made sufficiently secure by means the number of perfection, sufficiency, of an oath, Heb. vi. 16. so God condeor completion. It frequently occurs in scends to say of himself, Isa. liv. 9. this sense, I say, both in scripture, nyavs “I have been made sufficient and in ancient tradition. Throughout security that the waters of Noah should the former, it is used with emblema- no more go over the earth." But how tical reference to the scheme of provi- was this? In the history, Gen. ix. dence, displayed in the creation and 8—17. there was no wrath of God bistory of the world. Its application spoken of.* But there was his sign, to the creation of the world is quite or bow in the clouds, which consists of manifest; for, it is said, “In six days the seven coloured rays of light, which, the Lord made heaven and earth, the from their very number, constitute to sea, and all that in them is; and rest- every succeeding generation the yaw, ed on the seventh day from all his work or seven-fold representation of the oath which he had made. And God blessed or determination of God, in the form the seventh day, and sanctified it,” &c. of a semi-circle in the heavens, that And in the book of the Revelation, and some of the Prophets, the scheme * Parkhurst Heb. Lex. under yaw, iv.

he will never again destroy the earth | trumpets---seven kings, seven thunders, by a flood. The rainbow, containing seven thousand names of men slainthe seven coloured rays of light, is the the dragon with seven heads and seven emblematical xav, testifying to all ge- crowns; the beast with seven heads; nerations, that the destructive work seven angels, with seven vials of the of a deluge is completed, past, and seven last plagues,” &c. &c. gone; and that the earth shall never There are also in the prophecies of again be destroyed by water. So Daniel and the Apocalypse, repeated that here a law of nature is made to allusions to a symbolical period, deinstruct man in a very important part noted by the half of seven, or three and of the counsel of God; and that in a half ; it is called, a time, and times, a very beautiful and simple maoner and half a time, or three years and a indeed!

half, or forty-two months, or twelve As an example of the many instan- hundred and sixty days, being three ces which Mr. Macnab adduces from years and a half, containing twelve scripture of the frequent reference to months of thirty days each. Besides this sacred number, I notice the fol- the above, there are, in every part lowing:

of scripture, innumerable other alluOn the seventh day God rested sions to the septenary number, indifrom the work of creation-Enoch the cating its connection with the whole seventh from Adam, was translated- scheme of creation and providence. the killing of Cain was to have been In heathen tradition, we also find avenged seven-fold-Noah bad seven innumerable allusions to the septenary days warning of the flood, and was number.* Cicero declares (whatever commanded to take fowls into the ark he may mean by the expression) that by sevens-Abraham gave seven ewe it contains the mystery of all things. lambs to Abimelech, as a memorial Hippocrates affirms, that this number, for a well*_Joseph mourned seven by its occult virtues, tends to the evoludays for Jacob—the seven years'plenty, tion of all things. He means, I supand seven years' famine, were foretold pose, that things go on till they are to Pharaoh by the vision of seven fat repeated such a number of times, till and seven lean cattle, and seven full they come to their climacterix or comand sevenblasted ears of corn.—Among pletion: And he, like Shakspeare the Jews, their divinely appointed afterwards, divides the life of man feasts were almost constantly regulated into seven ages. by the number seven; thus, the seventh Nor is it unworthy of our notice, year was declared sabbatical ; and at that the translators and publishers of the end of seven times seven years, our common bible, had in some way commenced the Jubilee, &c.—And in been impressed with the idea of this the book of the Apocalypse, we like- subject; for they have inserted an inwise behold this sacred number more | dex, divided into the seven ages of the frequently referred to than any other : world, as they call it. Thus admit-John was commanded to address ting, that the number seven, in their seven epistles to the seven churches of opinion, comprehended a scheme fof Asia-There appeared seven golden history or providence, including all candlestics, and seven stars, in the things; though it is questionable whehand of him that was in the midst-ther their division be accurate. the seven lamps before the seven spi- This number, also, in the time of rits of God the book with the seven our blessed Lord, and indeed long seals—the lamb with seven horns and before that period,t seems to have seven eyes-the seven angels with seven been used proverbially.

Hence, says

* That is to say, the seven ewe lambs were * Cook's Inquiry into the Patriarchal and the token, or memorial of the agreement, or Druidical Religion, 2d Ed. p. 4, 5. Boyce's covenant, into which Abraham and Abimelech Pantheon, p. 168, 2d Ed. Leland's Christian had entered respecting the well. The ewe

Revelation, part 1, ch. ii. Dr. Waterland's lambs consisting of seven in number, emblema- Charge, 19th May, 1731, p. 4–58. Hollotically represented the deed as completed, and way's Originals, vol

. ii. p. 58. Beausobre's from which there could be no appeal. The Introduction to the New Testament, in Bishop ancient Arabians, in like manner, according to Watson's Theological Tracts, vol. iii. p. 236. Herodotus, lib. iii. ch. 8. in making their so- Herodotus, lib. iii. ch. 8. Jemn covenants, used seven stones smeared with + Gen iv. 23, 24. 1 Sam. ii. 5. Prov. xxvi. human blood.

25. Jer. xv. 9.

The Physical and Moral World.

114 Peter, “ Lord, how often shall my of himself? Since, however, he did brother sin against me, and I forgive not accomplish it even in three perihim ?” He asks—“Till seven times ?" | ods, but extended it to seven, six of as if such extraordinary forbearance which were operative, and the seventh would render it complete or perfect. marked by a cessation or rest from his But our Lord, in order to convince works, because they were completed him, that in this important article, and made answerable to the purpose merely one seven, though a complete for which they were intended; the number, was too little, answered him question still remains, By what law in like manner, by an extension of the was Gud regulated, even in this ? number to “ seventy times seven. Was it not by some law or principle

Now, therefore, after it having been in his own nature? This, I own, is a thus demonstrated, how universal and great and sacred subject: and, I deeply rooted the notions of mankind, tremble to launch into an ocean so respecting this peculiar number, have vast and boundless; but as the holy uniformly been; and how they con- oracles of God speak of it, even so, as stantly associated therewith the idea long as with due reverence, humility, of plenitude, totality, and completion, and sacred awe upon our mind, we proand the like; is it not natural to con- ceed upon that ground alone, we clude, that undoubtedly there must may be assured our warrant will bear have been something at the bottom of us out. it which gave rise to such singular That it was not an arbitrary deed procedure? Is it any wonder that we even in God himself, to extend the should insist on the fact, that philoso- creation and completion of the uniphers have laboured in vain to recon- verse to a period of seven days, and to cile this refractory number with some stamp the same septenary character on astronomical cycle; and that the some other parts of his works, we acutest infidels have been strangely may infer from what is said of him in perplexed to account for the ideas of his own word. In the book of the mankind respecting it? “It has, in- Kevelation, ch. i. 4; iv. 5. there is deed,” as Mr. Macnab observes, mention made of the seven Spirits of “fairly baffled them.”

God; which representation of the DiIn order, therefore, to explain this vineBeing seems to constitute the bases moral phenomena, he very properly of his incomprehensible nature ; and has recourse, as we have now done, to according to which he appears to have the scripture account of the creation created and modelled the universe ; in six days, terminated by a seventh of and that, not merely as it respects the consummation. But, as we noticed be- time occupied in its formation, but fore, a question here occurs respecting even as it respects the nature of the the Deity himself, which, if his own laws which govern many of the creaword did not seem to warrant, we tures, whether animate or inani, should have passed it over in silence. mate. In several instances, it is deThe question is, Why did God him- monstrable that they proceed upon self proceed either as it respects time this ratio ; three of which are obvior any thing else, according to a sep- ous to every one; namely, the seven tenary number? Why was not this colours of the rainbow, the seven first and stupendous work of creation sounds of the octave, and the changes completed in a period of one day, or of the moon to a new face every seven one portion of time, now begun to re- days. To these we may add a fourth, volve in his own One Eternal Existence? | though not demonstrated in the same Or, since the scriptures speak of God manner to our senses, yet it is proved in the plural number, saying, “Hear equally to our satisfaction; that is to O Israel, for Jehovah thy Aleim, is say, the seven periods occupied in the one Jehovah;" and in other parts re- formation and completion of the unistrict this number to three, namely, verse. These septenaries, therefore, the Father, Word, and Spirit; why, are not merely ideal fancies of the it may be asked, did he not accom- human mind, without any rational plish the work of creation in three pe- foundation ; but are things fixed in riods, since he did it not in one, an- nature, so fixed, that, like every other swerable to this triune representation law of nature, they cannot be altered,

though all men should try to the utMatt. xviii. 21, 22.

most of their power to do so.


roomcordones The septenary law is undoubtedly versal: the one is centripetal, by which to be recognized, as well in the life of the planets tend in a right line to the man himself, as in some other crea- body of the sun; the other centrifugal, tures. As it was alone by observing by which the planets being in motion, the phenomena of nature, that the im- do endeavour to fly off in a right line mortal Newton demonstrated the laws from the axis of their motion. The of attraction and gravitation; so it fixed stars shine with an unborrowed was by a similar mode of procedure light; and are, in all probability, the that the life of man has been observed suns, the centres of innumerable to divide itself into septenary revolu- worlds, revolving round them, as in tions. It was not a mere ideal hypo- this our lower system. thesis of the ancients, to say, that in To illustrate, prove, and perfect this seven months, and not sooner, after theory, has been the work of the most conception, a child may be born, and illustrious names thatever adorned the live—that the primary teeth are evolv- annals of philosophy ; and all to which ed in the seventh month, and are shed this paper pretends, is an humble enand renewed in the seventh year—that deavour to elucidate and establish at twice seven years puberty begins, this theory, by submitting some of the at thrice seven, manhood-at four results of the observations and reasontimes seven, man is in full possession ings of these learned and scientific of his strength, and so on.

These remarks, like the Newtonian system, The Fixed Stars ---Our attention are the result of observations; and shall first be directed to some inquiries the causes of the phenomena unques- respecting the fixed stars ; and we tionably arise from some law in the should be glad to the utmost of our economy of the human constitution, ability, to conduct your imagination, which is regulated by a septenary revo- amazed and enraptured, lution. It may, therefore, be called, the septenary law of nature, the same

“ Amid the radiant orbs as the motion by which it is observed The life-infusing suns of other worlds!

That more than deck—that animate the sky, that bodies naturally approach towards each other, was denominated the law 1. Their distance. Perhaps there, of attraction.

never was a bolder effort of human (To be continued.)

genius, than that which has attempted

to calculate the distance, at which LECTURE ON ASTRONOMY.

those bright celestial bodies are placed

The method adopted by the ( Concluded from col. 24.)

celebrated Hugens was original and

ingenious. He closed the end of his A general idea of the Newtonian twelve-foot tube, with a thin plate, in theory may be given in a few words. the middle of which he made a very The sun is the central body of the small puncture, which puncture he solar system.

The planets move contracted until the sun, when looked round the sun in orbits which are ellip- at through it, appeared of the magnitical, in the following order:-Mercury tude and brightness of the star Sirius. nearest to the globe of the sun ; Venus He then found, that the appearance of next; then the Earth, with its satellite the whole body of the sun, compared the Moon; then Mars ; then Jupiter, with bis appearance through the little with its satellites ; then Saturn, with hole in the plate, was, as 27664 to 1. his satellites and ring; and last of all, Now the contracting of the sun, till the planet discovered by Herschel, his diameter is the 27664th part of called, in compliment of his late Ma- what we every day see, is the same jesty, the Georgium Sidus, with its thing as to remove him 27664 times satellites. Perhaps it should here be his present distance from us; and noted, that within the last 20 years, supposing the star Sirius, the nearest four new planets have been discover of the fixed stars, to be equal in maged, revolving betwixt the orbits of nitude to the sun, and supposing the Mars and Jupiter. Vesta, Ceres, Pal- sun's distance to be 95 millions of las, and Juno. This orbicular motion miles; then, 95 millions, multiplied of the planets is accomplished by the by 27664, the product in miles, is the joint action of two laws or forces, as distance of the nearest fixed star. And simple as they are efficient and uni- what a product! what a distance

from us.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Mr. Hugens concluded from his cal- a telescope which magnifies 6450 culations, that a cannon ball, travel times. ling with its utmost velocity, would 2. Their number. The number of require seven hundred thousand years, these celestial orbs, is even more an to pass from us to the nearest of the object of wonder than their immeafixed stars.

surable distance. What a numerous Another method by which it has and splendid host is surveyed by the been attempted to measure, what in- naked eye! But level a telescope at deed seems to be the immeasurable any point of the heavens, which to the distance of the fixed stars, is by pa- naked eye seems clear of stars, and rallax. It seems at last admitted that you immediately discover one, or ten, they have an annual parallax ; but on or more, according to the power of all hands it is allowed that it scarcely your instrument, and its field of view; amounts to a single second. Allowing take a more powerful telescope, and it, however, to be l"; we have then you discover more stars; and this ina right-angle triangle, whose verticle crease of discovery keeps pace with angle is l", and whose base is 95 mil- the improvement and perfection of our lions of miles, the mean distance of glasses, to the very utmost extent of the earth from the sun. The side of that perfection. Telescopes, however, this angle, which is the distance of have their limits, as well as the unasthe star, is twenty billions, one hun- sisted eye; but who shall place limits dred and fifty-nine thousand, six hun-to the empire of existence? Who dred and sixty-five millions of miles ! shall say a distance in which our powers of conception are scattered and absorbed !

Where ends this mighty building? where Perhaps this matter might be render- The suburbs of creation? where the wall

begin ed a little more plain thus:--Suppose Whose battlements look o'er into the vale tbe nearest fixed star to be the centre of non-existence! nothing's strange abode. of a vast circle, in boundless space; Where---at what point of space, Jehovah from this centre let two radii be dropp'd drawn, at only ' apart; these radii His slacken'd line, and laid his balance by,

Weigh'd worlds, and measured infinite no must be drawn out till they were 190

more !” millions of miles apart, before they would reach the plane of the earth's The probability is, that the number orbit. What an angle must that be, of stars which come within the limits only 2" of a circle, and subtended by of human observation, bears no prothe whole diameter of the earth's portion to the number which lies beorbit!

yond those limits ; and that some of But angles and calculations aside, those vast globes are so remote, that the amazing distance of the fixed the first beam which they sent forth at stars is manifest from this extraordi- their creation, has not yet arrived at nary circumstance, that there is not our system! a telescope in the world which magni- There is no object in the heavens, fies them in the smallest degree! The wbich fills us with greater astonisheffect of telescopes upon these celes- ment and perplexity, than the Galaxy tial bodies, is not to enlarge their or Milky-way. To the naked eye, it sensible disk, but merely to make presents the appearance of a lucid them brighter and better defined. girdle or zone, of an irregular breadth, Dr. Herschel always found that their forming a complete circle round the apparent diameter was less, as the heavens. To account for this awful power of his magnifiers was greater ; tract of glory and light, was long a and the smallest proportional diameter desideratum in astronomy; and at that he ever obtained, was, when he length, the admirable telescopes of employed the extraordinary power of Dr. Herschel have shown that it is 6450 times. It is a very curious infe- occasioned by an immense pumber of rence deducible from this statement; small stars-small, from the inconthat if we were only one 6450th part of ceivable remoteness of those regions our present distanoe from the fixed where they exist. That celebrated stars, they would appear to us.no astronomer found, from observation, larger in bulk than they do now; but some hundreds of thousands of stars, present the same insensible diameter in the Galaxy, within the compass of as they do, when viewed through a few degrees; but when he proceeds

« 이전계속 »