« PreviousContinue »
and the superstructure erected by Scheuzer: the first a critic of the highest rank, and the most decisive authority; the other a naturalist of most ardent piety, and indefatigable perseverance in his religio-philosophical pursuits. These writers have ever received, and ever will receive, their just tribute of applause: it is not so with that part of our work which is original ; in that their labours have had no share ; and that solicits the indulgence of favourable criticism.
But we are encouraged to submit our endeavours to the tribunal of the public, by what we have hitherto enjoyed of its clemency, not to say its favour; we have to recollect, with pleasure, the attention excited by the FRAGMENTS appended to Calmet; and in pursuing the same track which we opened and trod on that occasion, we presume to hope for a continuance, at least, of that support, which we have taken additional pains to deserve. Our wish is to set before the of the reader what he must otherwise consult numerous volumes to procure, and what, when procured, should he be so fortunate, will cost him great labour and much leisure to arrange. We venture, also, to predict, that in no very distant period of time, a compendious digest of natural knowledge will be thought as necessary an appendix to the Holy Bible, as necessary a companion in the study of sacred literature, as an atlas of maps to geography, or portraits of animals to natural history. In proportion as the knowledge of the Bible is important, whether we consider its origin or its effects, its injunctions or its prohibitions, its influence on the heart, or its tendency in society; in such proportion the knowledge of natural things, contained in the Bible, is important also. Consider its extent; it ranges through all the kingdoms of nature: consider its accuracy; often it comprises the very minutiæ of art; and art, too, enveloped in technical terms. Is it credible that these emanations from the Divine Mind should be useless ? should be inserted in the most important of volumes to no purpose ? only to perplex the ignorant, and to baffle the simple! The thought is degrading to God, and injurious to man: it is worthy of infidelity, it may be fondly cherished by atheism; and to atheism and infidelity we relinquish it.
There will ever be new discoveries to be made in the Bible; not, indeed, in the principles of faith ; that neither desires nor admits of novelty; nor perhaps in the explication of those principles; that should not now be supposed unsettled. In the application of historical facts, somewhat new may be attempted, perhaps may be accomplished ; but chiefly in natural science is much to be expected. Let us rouse our torpid exertions to activity ; let us animate our reluctant minds to exercise ; let us urge our endeavours to alacrity and perseverance, and we shall find, that, having the eyes of our umderstandings enlightened, we shall see wonderful things in the ways and the works of God; things which
may surprise us into terror, or strike us with admiration; may cheer our hearts with joy, or elevate them with gratitude; may make us better men or better Christians; fitter to instruct, or to be instructed; may accompany us through all the relations of life, through all the stations of society, till at length we arrive at those regions where we shall feel the full power of that pious exclamation :
“O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
TO THIS AMERICAN EDITION.
This volume, with the exception of the Appendix and a few articles in the second part, is devoted to the Illustration of the Natural History of the Bible. It was published by the English Editor in numbers, as information was accumulated, without attention to order in the arrangement; which often occasioned perplexity to the reader in his inquiries. To obviate this difficulty, and to facilitate the reader's convenience, the American Editor has arranged the articles of this volume, in the order in which they occur in the Scriptures; and they are now, for the first time, paged in a regular series. This method, which, in conjunction with the revi. sion and improvement of the Indexes, has been attended with considerable labour, cannot fail to give this American edition, a superiority over the British.
Agreeably to an intimation given in the Preface to the second volume, the Editor has availed himself of the labours and researches of recent travellers in the East; but from the unhappy embarrassments attending the intercourse between this country and Europe, the sources of information have been greatly diminished. He has, however, made liberal extracts from the Travels of Chateaubriand and Clarke ; also, from a late compilation of W. Burton. He indulges the hope, that the selection which has been made, will be useful, and well received. The Editor's expectations from the Travels of count Valencia have been somewhat disappointed, little assistance having been obtained from the researches of this writer. To some of the readers of Calmet, who have the opportunity and means of procuring new publications, these articles may be di. vested in part of their interest and novelty, yet a larger portion of them will doubtless see them in this edition for the first time.
The Plates, which are so well calculated to elucidate many of the articles in this and the preceding volumes, have been executed with skill and correctness, by eminent artists, and at a much greater expense than was anticipated at the commencement of the work; and though a few of them are mere outlines, accurately copied, many of them are executed in a style much superior to the English copies. The Editor is happy to find that their utility is so generally acknowl. edged, and their execution so acceptable to his patrons.
With regard to the accuracy of the work, though the Editor does not presume on its entire exemption from faults, yet he believes that it would not suffer by a comparison with any European edition. Great pains have been taken to render it as correct as the nature of such an undertaking would permit. Many errors in the English edition, have been corrected in this, of which no mention is made. For any inaccuracies which may still be discovered, the Editor requests the · candid indulgence of the reader.
For the first and second volumes, comprehending the Dictionary, copious lists of errata have been made out, by gentlemen versed in the learned languages. These lists, though to a cursory
reader they disfigure the appearance of the volumes, will nevertheless be found highly useful to the critical inquirer. It is but justice here to repeat, that these errors are principally those of the London Editor; and it was not known that they were so numerous until they were reprinted.
It will readily be perceived, that the labour of correcting the errors of the English copy, making out new and copious Indexes, the enhanced cost of the engravings, and the addition of more than one hundred pages to this volume, have subjected the publisher to great expense ; he believes, therefore, that he may with propriety solicit the friends of biblical learning, and those who are engaged in disseminating a knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures, and the relig. ious public generally, for an extensive patronage of a work so well adapted to promote the interests of Christianity.
The Dictionary of Calmet with its appendages, as now published, constitutes a library of biblical learning and criticism ; and it may be doubted, whether any work, ancient or modern, how. ever extensive a range it takes, contains so much, or so important information. The rapid sale of a number of editions, in France, in Germany, in Spain, and in England, and the high approbation it has received throughout Europe, from all denominations of Christians, evince the liberality and great excellence of the work. And shall we believe the American public less disposed to appreciate its merit, or less inclined to encourage its circulation ? Arts, sciences, genius, learning, talents, and piety, have all combined, to increase its value and usefulness. To be approved and admired, therefore, by Americans, it needs only to be known.
In the full belief that these volumes are eminently calculated to increase the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, and of their Divine Author; and that they will, in proportion to the extent of their circulation, promote the cause of the Redeemer, the Editor sends them into the world. And while with gratitude he acknowledges the goodness of God in enabling him to prosecute the un. dertaking, he most fervently implores his blessing to accompany the Work.
CHARLESTOWN, FEB. 1814.
REFERRING TO SUCH PASSAGES
AS MAY BE ILLUSTRATED BY MEANS OF NATURAL SCIENCE.
their properties, on the mind of the reader, and to
shew their relation to the earth. In the beginning God created, composed the
EXPLANATION OF THE PLATE OF THE SOLAP FHOLE, OS AT, heaven, and the WHOLE earth ; this word whole has been omitted in our translation, yet the
SYSTEM. insertion of it seems necessary; and it seems too to ren This plate comprises as complete a view of the soder the following i but, but the earth was without lar system, as perhaps can be contrived in one delineaform and roid, till that period of which the following tion. It is to be considered as containing, history is about to treat.
I. A Plan of the orbits of the planets composing The Hebrew word rendered lo create, signifies to the solar system. arrange, to compose into order, a production, wheth II. The Proportions of the planets to the sun : er from former materials or not.
which is the centre of their circulation. The Heaven. This word is plural in our language,
III. An Elevation of the orbits of the planets, supas well as in the Hebrew; and signifies several heaven. posed to be seen from the sun. In the present instance it means : 1st, the fixed stars, IV. The places of the Nodes, intersections, of the in their variously distant stations, from each other, planetary orbits, with the orbit of the earth. and from the earth. 2dly, More immediately, the V. A specimen of the contradictory orbits of complanetary system, of which our earth is a member: the ets : whose courses are not circular. planets which circulate around the sun, as a centre. 1. In the centre of the system is the sun ; around
The planets are really globes of land and water, whom revolve, 1. Mercury, whose orbit is at one time like our earth, but, by reason of their distance from much farther from the sun than at another; the thin us, we perceive them only by their refulgence, and to line denoting a really circular course, the black line ordinary observation they appear as so many stars, marking the actual course of this planet. among the firmament stars. Moreover, though there 2. Venus, whose orbit is nearly circular. be several secondary planets, and likewise numerous 3. The earth, whose orbit also is nearly circular; comets, connected with our system, yet, as these are its aphelion marked u, its perihelion p. not visible to us, like the primary planets, I presume 4. Mars, whose orbit has considerable eccentricity; they were not referred to by the sacred writer under his actual course distinguished by its strength. the term heaven, as I think the visible planets ** It is said that a very small planet is lately dis
covered between Mars and Jupiter. Now, as we must admit that the Spirit of inspiration 5. The orbit of Jupiter. which guided the holy penman, formed the whole of 6. The orbit of Saturn. this system of planets, further still, as we must admit of the Georgium Sidus, the seventh planet, we. that the historian bimself knew of these planets, be- have only hinted a notice. His orbit exceeds twice cause they were generally known and studied at the the distance of Saturn; and if truly laid down, would time when he wrote, so we must infer the probability have diminished the courses of the inferior planets, that he would mention them in his history, together so as to have rendered them very small. We have with the earth, to which they are related ; because therefore preferred inaccuracy in the place of this orbit otherwise his narration would have been both disor- to confusion in all the others. derly and imperfect.
All the planets move the same way, and seen from As we shall have many occasions to refer to these the sun appear to go round him, as the sun himself replanets, under the appellation heaven, in subsequent volves from right to left; according to the order of parts of our work, we shall insert a plate of them, in the letters marked on the orbit of Jupiter, a, b, c, d, order to fix an idea of their nature, and of some of e, f, g, h, i, k, l.
Around these orbits are placed the characters of eter is 81,000 miles, being by much the largest of the the twelve signs and their degrees; these serve equal- planets, and ten times the diameter of our earth. ly to all the planets, so that as well Mercury, as Sat. He circulates in 11 years, 314 days, 12 hours, moving urn, is said to be in a particular sign, when seen from 25,000 miles
hour. any station he appears among the firmament stars His spots are so considerable, and occupy so great which compose that sign.
a part of his surface, and lie in such directions, that N.B. The degrees of the signs are reckoned from they are denominated his Belts : what they are is not sign to sign, each containing thirty degrees : and determined ; their appearance often varies. His not from any specific point, continued throughout the daily rotation is performed in 9 hours 56 minutes. circle.
The figure of Jupiter is not that of an exact globe': II. The proportion of the planets to the sun, appears his diameter, at his equator, being longer than his diby a comparison of them with the line SS. which rep- ameter between his poles, as 13 to 12, the difference resents the diameter of the solar orb. The real di- is 6,230 miles. He 'has four moons, or secondary mensions of these bodies are as follows :
planets, called satellites, all of which are visible by Mercury, the nearest planet to the sun, is in bulk means of a telescope. the smallest of the planets, being in diameter only The first, distant from his body five semi-diameters 2,160, but some say, 2,600 miles. His light is ex and three quarters ; revolves in one day and three tremely bright and lively, owing probably to his near- quarters. ness to the sun. He circulates round the sun in 87 The second, distant nine semi-diameters; revolves days, 23 hours, 16 minutes, travelling 95,000 miles in three days and rather more than a half. per hour. He has no moon; nor from his situation The third, upward of fourteen semi-diameters and has he need of any.
a quarter distant; revolves in seven days, three hours, Venus, our EVENING star, the next planet to Mer- and three quarters. cuiry, moves in nearly a circle round the sun ; her The fourth, twenty-five semi-diameters and a quaraxis is somewhat inclined to the plane of her orbit. ter distant; revolves in sixteen days and nearly three Her bulk is nearly that of the earth, being 7,900 miles quarters. in diameter ; ber light is splendid; no moon has yet Saturn's eccentricity is rather more than one twenbeen discovered to accompany her; she circulates tieth part the semi-diameter of his orbit, 55 parts in round the sun in 224 days, 16 hours, 19 minutes ; at 1,000; his diameter is 67,000 miles ; which is 14,000 the rate of 69,000 miles per hour. Spots have been less than Jupiter, he circulates in 29 years, 167 days, seen on her surface, which indicate a daily rotation 5 hours, moving 18,000 miles
5 hours, moving 18,000 miles per hour. He has ser. on her axis in 23 hours ; but some gentlemen have
eral moons. given for her rotation 24 days, 8 hours. Instead of The first, distant from his body nearly five semirevolving from west to east, as the earth does, i.e. diameters of the planet; revolves in less than two days. nearly with a horisontal motion, she revolves almost The second, distant six semi-diameters and a quarnorth and south, i.e. with a motion within 7 degrees of ter ; revolves in 2 days, 17 hours perpendicular.
The third, distant eight semi-diameters and thres The Earth moves in nearly a circle round the sun, quarters ; revolves in four days and a half. her eccentricity being only 17 parts in 1,000, in one The fourth distant twenty semi-diameters and a vear; her axis is inclined to the plane of her orbit, 23 quarter ; revolves in 15 days, 22 hours, 41 min. degrees, 30 minutes : she is 7,950 miles in diameter: The fifth, distant fifty-nine semi-diameters and uphas a daily rotation on her axis in twenty-four hours; ward ; revolves in 79 days, 7 hours. travels 68,000 miles per hour. The Earth has one Dr. Herschel has discovered two more satellites moon, which circulates round her in 29 days, 12 hours, to Saturn; revolving in the plane of the Ring, within 4.4 minutes, turning in the same time on her own axis, the former first satellite; their periods are, of the 6th and shewing spots: she is 2,180 miles in diameter. satellite 1 day, 8 hours, 53 min. of the 7th satellite,
Mars has an eccentricity of nearly one tenth part 22 hours, 37 min. 22 sec. of the semi-diameter of his orbit; his axis is not per Besides these seven moons, he has a very wonderceptibly inclined to the plane of his orbit : his diam. ful Ring, which encompasses his body at 20,000 miles eter is 4,500 miles ; he has no moon, but a very distance from it, and is resplendent. His daily rotalarge and dense atmosphere, which probably per- tion is not determined, bis distance rendering his forms some of the offices of such an attendant. His spots very obscure. His ring is thought to have a daily rotation on his axis is performed in 24 hours, rotation, and to be 20,000 miles across. 40 minutes, as is calculated by his spots : he circu- tion to the planet, it is about twice and one third his lates in 686 days, 23 hours : travelling 47,000 miles diameter; his ring revolves in about 10 hours, 32 min.
Of the Georgium Sidus, the mean distance is nearJupiter's eccentricity is about one twentieth part ly twenty times the distance of the earth: the inclinaof the semi-diameter of his orbit, 48 parts in 1,000; tion of his orbit 46* 26. The period in which he cirhis axis is nearly in the plane of his orbit ; his diam- culates round the sun is 83 years, 16 days, bis diame.