Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

It is not within the compass, or consistent with the plan, of this undertaking, to enter at any length into the nature and appearance of these wondrous orbs: the main object is to set forth or exhibit, so far as the permission of God has enabled, the act of creation; to declare the author of it; to manifest its performances, and glories, on scriptural grounds; and to lead men, in all they see and feel, to recognise God, the mighty and benevolent Creator, Preserver, and Go

This is the object; and not to indulge in any speculation which Scripture does not authorize, not to attempt any field of inquiry, except in such case as may assist to confirmation of the statements which the inspired writer has given. God, we are told, made two great lights; the greater light, which

vernor.

created in the first day, God gave no proper place or fixation ; and therefore the effects named by anticipation (which was to separate day from night) were precisely performed, after this light was congregated, and had obtained life and motion. Neither did the wisdome of God cause why it should move (by which motion, dayes and nights are distinguished) till then ; because there was not yet any creature, to which, by moving, the sunne might give light, heat, and operation. But, after the earth (distinguished from the waters) began to bud forth the bud of the herbe, &c. God caused the sunne to move, and (by interchange of time) to visit every part of the inferior world ; by his heate to stir

up

the fire of generation, and to give activity to the seeds of all natures: for, as a king, which commandeth some goodly building to be erected, doth accommodate the same to that use and end, to which it was ordained; so it pleased God (saith Procopius) to command the light to bee ; which by his all-powerful word he approved, and, approving it, disposed thereof, to the use and comfort. of his future creatures. --RALEIGH.

is the sun, to rule the day; and the lesser light, which is the moon, to rule the night; he made, it is added, the stars also, whose splendour is likewise poured out in the night'. These lights, as has been noticed, or the light which is dispensed from or through them, were produced from that general principle of light, which was called into being on the first day of creation, after the same manner in which the various other parts of the world were produced from the general mass, then created. I do not say that the whole principle of light was involved in or given to the dispensation of these bodies; but, only that, in their capacity of lights, they were formed from it as their originating substance. God, in the first instance, commanded the light to be; he produced it from the mass,

1

Of celestial bodies first the sun
A mighty sphere he framed, unlightsome first,
Though of ethereal mold: then form’d the moon
Globose, and every magnitude of stars,
And sow'd with stars the heav'n thick as a field :
Of light by far the greater part he took
Transplanted from her cloudy shrine, and plac'd
In the sun's orb, made porous to receive
And drink the liquid light, firm to retain
Her gather'd beams, great palace now of light.
Hither, as to their fountain, other stars
Repairing, in their golden urns draw light,
And hence the morning planet gilds her horns;
By tincture or reflection they augment
Their small peculiar, though from human sight
So far remote, with diminution seen.

MILTON.

or chaos; and he now, from this general product, formed these particular lights. That the whole principle of light was not absorbed, is evident from the fact that no substance is without heat; if any were without it, it could not be acted upon by it; it is not, therefore, said that the sun, and the moon, and the stars, are the exclusive holders of the means of light, although they are the so great dispensers of it; but, that they govern the day and the nightthat they give light from themselves, and regulate that light which is still generally distributed, which gave the first light to the world, and was the origin of day.

The first office of these lights was, as we learn, to divide the day from the night. The division of the light from the darkness, and the ordaining of the respective courses of day and of night, were of the work of the first day; but, here these lights are said to be appointed to divide the day from the night. The principle of light, and the condition of darkness, were the first ordinance of God; or, rather, the principle of light was his first ordinance, all having been hitherto essentially dark; and, on the instant that light was created, it was divided from the darkness; that is, while the one part, of the globe was under the influence of darkness, the other was under the influence of light. There were then, indeed, night and day, or evening and morning, as space of -time; but, nothing to distinguish them; and these bodies were now ordained with these capacities, and for these purposes : they were to divide the day

from the night,—the light had already been divided from the darkness; and this division was to be effected by the motion of the earth in relation to these bodies; when that motion should carry it to the presence of the sun, it would be day; when it should carry it from the presence of the sun, it would be night; wherefore, the sun divided the day from the night, and so ruled over the day. The moon and stars ruled over the night, because they shone, or penetrated by their brilliancy through the darkness, and prevented the earth from being overwhelmed by it. They were “for signs and for seasons ;” by their appearance and influence they were made to cause or direct, subserviently to their Creator, the seasons of spring, of summer, of autumn, and of winter; to do thus, by their nearer approach, or their further distance; and they are in such respect signs to us of the seasons, and instructions in the occupations of life; marking the fit time for the several duties which are dependent on those several seasons. They

for days and years ;" by the same kind of division, which their swifter or slower motion effects in the course of time. The swifter motion makes the day—the four-and-twenty hours,—that day which is made up of light and of darkness, of day and of night: the slower motion makes the year'. It is by

66

are

1

The primitive sacred year originally consisted of twelve months of thirty days each, or 360 days. This was in use before the deluge: as appears from Noah's reckoning five months, or 150 days, from the seventeenth day of the second month, to the

this regularity of motion that all parts of the earth are visited in due order by the cheering and invigo

seventeenth day of the seventh month, as expressing the time of the rising of the waters ; and seven months and ten days more, till the waters were dried up, and Noah and his family left the ark, after a residence therein of 370 days, or a year and ten days, till the seven and twentieth day of the second month of the ensuing year. (Genesis vii. and viii.) This was also the original Chaldean year; for Berosus, in his History of the Antędiluvian kings of Babylonia, counted their reigns by Sari, or decads of years; and a Sarus, as Alexander Polyhister related, (Apud Syncell. p. 32,) was 3,600 days, or ten years, consisting each of 360 days. After the deluge, this primitive year was handed down by Noah and his descendants to the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Indians, and Chinese; as is evident from the testimonies of the best and most ancient writers and historians.—Dr. Hales.

The month is a measure of time originally derived from the moon, in almost every nation and language. Among the Hebrews, Jarah signified both the moon at full, and the month ; compare Job xxxi. 26. with xxix. 2. Hhadash, the moon at new, and the month ; compare Numb. x. 10; Psalm lxxxi. 3. with 1 Sam. xx. 5; Ezekiel xlvi. 1; Numb. xxviii. 11, &c. Among the Greeks, unv, the month, is evidently related to unun, the moon : and from unvis, according to Varro and Macrobius, was derived the Latin mensis, or month. In like manner, the Saxon monat, and our month, are evidently derived from the moon. The civil, or calendar month, originally consisted of thirty days; in which time

a lunation was supposed to be finished. Thus, during the deluge, Noah counted five months equivalent to 150 days, at thirty days to one month. And such was its fixed length among the Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, and Grecians. Afterwards, it was found by more accurate observations, that the length of a lunation was only twenty-nine days and a half. When the thirtieth day, which Hesiod called "old,” was named by Solon“ old and

« ZurückWeiter »