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a parallax by the most powerful instruments. The remoteness, therefore, of the nearest beyond the orbit of Uranus, must be, what from the poverty of earthly language we must be content to call immeasurable. This is indeed a marvellous mystery. It compels us to call creation an infinite immensity. It aggrandizes the Creator into a sublimity, that would render it the most presumptuous folly for us to imagine that He could think of, or care for us, if He had not expressly revealed to us his condescending regard, and his invitation and command, that we should attach ourselves to Him. But this awful greatness, makes that revelation the more inestimable to us; for, without sueh a charter, without such personal authorization for our affectionate adoration and grateful duty, what could our reason suggest to us, while it contemplated a majesty so tremendous, but a tremulous dread, and silent despair?? ”
All these bodies God now. formed and fashioned. They are, truly, marvellous works; and, it is no small advantage to us, that we are infallibly assured of their origin and their Creator. We see, that, like unto ourselves, they are created beings; that they have nothing which they have not received; that they were called into light and warmth by the same Lord that called us into existence; that they are servants, and not masters; that they are subordinate instruments of a mighty and beneficent God, who is the cause of all, who is in all, and who is above all.
Without this certain information, men are very liable to run into dangerous and sinful errors. We know, that, where a right notion of their origin has not prevailed, men have been deceived into giving them a character and ascribing to them a capacity which cannot be theirs ; in considering them to be deities, and offering them worship as such; a practice which must be offensive to Him that formed them, “who knoweth whereof they are made,” and who not only views them now in their full usefulness and glory, but who is by His eternity able to look back on them in their primal matter,--to look even beyond that, into their original nothingness. This practice is offensive to Him, and men have been oftentimes warned against it in the clearest and strongest terms. It has been condemned as a sin, both in the adoring of that which cannot receive adoration, and in the supposing of similitude in him who hath neither parts nor passions. We find, in the holy Seriptures, repeated injunctions on this subject: we are constantly instructed and admonished of the real case, “ lest we lift up our eyes unto heaven, and whenever we see the sun, and the moon, and the stars, should be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord our God hath divided unto all nations under heaven.” They are divided, or distributed unto all nations; all nations are made partakers of the effects of their influence; but, they are not causes in themselves; glorious, magnificent, and even in a high degree incomprehensible by us, as they are, they are the work of another-of God; He is their Master; they can do but what He directs them to do. They cannot move from the station to which He hath appointed them. They must obey the laws which He hath set them. David speaks of the “heavens,” as “the work of his fingers,” and “the moon and the stars” as those which He hath“ ordained,”—and he says, “ By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” They are, in truth, but great bodies, formed by Him, placed by Him in the upper firmament, and so constituted and disposed as to send light, and other their proper influences, throughout the world. They are the agents of a bounteous and omnipotent Providence, appointed to the service of the world wherein they are fixed; and should rather teach and induce us to adore Him who made them, and appointed them to their respective stations, than lead us into an adoration of themselves, sinful as regards us, and useless as regards them. Of themselves, they have no power; all the power they exercise, all their capacity of working, with all their display of magnificence and splendour, have been assigned to them by Him, who is their Lord as He is our God: without His appointment and permission, they would be ineffectual and vain. They make no movement, they give no light, no warmth, or other influence, but according to His will and design. It was one object of the inspired writer, in presenting his account of creation, to supply men with such facts concerning the several works of it, as should lift their minds up to the real Author, and oblige them to ascribe the honour and offer the worship where they were due. In that age of the world, the worship of the heavenly bodies was very prevalent ; Moses, therefore, explained, so far as was necessary, how and by whom they were made. He shewed their origin, their substance, and their subordinate existence. He exposed the sin of the false worship, and declared who was the true object of adoration : he led from the creature to the Creator. Thus we understand that in the giving to mankind an account of creation in order and in truth, something more than mere information was intended ; it was not for the gratifying of speculative inquiry; but it was for preservation of men from error and sin. Men had lost or corrupted the knowledge on this subject, which it is undoubted they had at one time previously possessed in sufficient exactness; and one unfortunate consequence of their falling into ignorance was their falling into sin. They had become so debased, as to be unable to raise them. selves to a recognition of the Author of the world, because He was unseen, and to rest upon bodies which were seen.
These bodies act, certainly, in regular manner; but that is only because God has directed them so to act, and not because they are independent agents. Here it is that much of mistake and mischief has befallen the world. Seeing in this, as in every other ordination of good, the regular working of nature, men have been inclined to think it to possess an influence, independent of any superior power; to regard nature itself as
deity; so turning one of the most benevolent arrangements of God into an occasion and instrument of dishonouring and offending Him—of affronting Him in a point wherein He is peculiarly jealous. For the use of the world which He had made, and for prevention of injury, He has appointed to all things such regularity of proceeding as would hinder them from any considerable or hurtful deviation, except on His own special intervention; and, seeing this, seeing that the day succeeds the night, summer the spring, and, in like manner, the autumn and the winter; seeing the regular rising and setting of the sun and the moon, with the as regular ordination of the stars,—they have conceived that there was no power or principle which could either effect a change in the one or exercise a control over the other; passing by the fact, that this very regularity was bestowed upon them by God, and that without Him it could not have been originally had, or afterwards continued. “O that men were wise, and would understand these things, then should they understand the loving-kindness of the Lord.” O that men would say with the righteous Daniel, “ Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings : he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: he revealeth the deep and secret things : he knoweth what is in darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.”
These bodies are said to have been made to “ rule