Page images


We must address the child in the manner of children's converse.

Young reader, there are certain first principles which you.must understand and keep in memory, before you can profit by certain pleasing information. You are aware that the author of an Almanac must know much of the sun, and moon, and other worlds, which

you not. He tells you of an eclipse many months, or years, before it takes place. He tells you to a minute when it begins; how much of the sun or moon will be dark. ened, and when it will cease, &c., &c. The reason he can do this is, he has looked through a telescope, and has found out the distance of the sun and of the moon, how large they are, &c., &c. Astronomers can see through those glasses worlds which we cannot see with the naked eye; and they have discovered many facts concerning distant worlds, which seem strange to those who have not read, or who have not looked through the telescope. These are the astronomical facts which you are desired to mark attentively:

1. Our sun is many thousand times larger than the world we walk on.

2. Our earth flies entirely around the sun in one enormous circular sweep, once every year.

3. There are some worlds much nearer to our sun than we are, and flying around it. We must notice them one by one, beginning with the nearest.

First. There is a world smaller than our earth, (a beautiful little world,) which flies around the sun at the distance of almost forty millions of miles. This is much nearer the sun than we are. Astronomers have chosen to name this little world Mercury. It has no

It does not need one; because it is so close to


the sun that it has many times the light and heat which we enjoy.

Secondly. If you will come some twenty millions of miles further from the sun, you will pass

another beautiful world just about the size of the one we live on. It is the same that we see so often and call the even. ing star. Astronomers have named it Venus. It is more than sixty millions of miles from the sun. Al. though this is a great distance, yet it is nearer the sun than we are, and has more light without a moon, than we have with one. It does not need a moon, and it has


Thirdly. The next world we come to, is our earth. We are the third in order from the sun, and ninety-five millions of miles from that luminary. We have a moon, and it is of great service to us.

Fourthly.* If we pass on from the sun, almost four hun.


* The smaller planets between us and Jupiter, we have passed

The unread could not easily understand the facts which it would have been necessary to state concerning these worlds, had we mentioned them. A moon of any size near enough to Mars, would pull him from his orbit, and do him other incurable injury. But we have no doubt that by the density of his atmos. phere, (or in some other way,) this want is made good. As tronomers believe that it is atmospheric consistence which has tinged with red, and thus given name to this world. As it re. gards the other four little worlds, we have reason, (when we look at crossing orbits and other facts,) to believe that two of these worlds were once but one; and that the other two, were the satellites to this now exploded planet. This discussion we do not enter. It does not materially affect our inquiry, therefore we have passed it by. We have one Perhaps to add in connection with another. Perhaps a world once rolled there, and was shivered. Perhaps its inhabitants forgot their God, and at last denied him, even his existence.

dred millions of miles beyond where we are, we reach a world as large as fifteen hundred of our earth. This has been named Jupiter,--almost five hundred millions of miles from the sun. It must need a moon indeed. It has four. But (according to the laws of attraction, and the principles of astronomy,) four large or service. able moons would drag a world like ours to fearful ruin. The remedy is the size of Jupiter. This world, with so many moons, is (by chance ?) so large and ponderous, that it moves on unwaveringly.

Some have avowed, (and with reason on their side,) that at a distance so enormous, even four moons can. not make up the want, and afford a supply of comforts such as we enjoy.

Others answer, that the nights of that world are never long. Each side of that cold planet is exposed to the face of the sun every four or five hours.

Fifth. If we go from the sun nine hundred millions of miles, we come to a stupendous world, (as large as a thousand of this ;) it has seven moons, and other con. trivances are plainly visible, which must make up

the want of light and hea that would be felt without them.

Sixth. Go from the sun eighteen hundred millions of miles, and we find a large and beautiful planet. Six moons have been seen, and how many more may be there, which distance renders invisible to us, we are unable to say. Also, what additional plans and arrangements are there furnishing a bountiful supply of heat and light, our short telescopes will not enable us to determine.

We must here pause and ask the reader to make one deduction from the few facts which we have selected

from the multitude. Before this conclusion is drawn, however, some items must be recalled to the reader's remembrance.

The atheist does not tell us of any law of nature, of any attraction, or natural tendency of things, which secured it from all eternity, that Mercury should have no moon, or that we should have one. We never have heard, and never expect to hear, any other than two causes referred to as effecting these things. One is, that the kind Creator was also wise; and that he or. dered seven moons to sail around Saturn, and only four around Jupiter, because Saturn was almost as far again from the sun as the other. The other cause is, that it has happened so always! It has been fortunately right from everlasting! The three last worlds mentioned did not chance to be smaller than they are!

The first three worlds named are not as large as the others. Had they been thus massy, they would have fallen into the sun, or their motions must have been in. creased, altering our seasons, and shortening them so as to require an endless train of changes throughout all the elements.

We have now glanced at fifteen or twenty items, (chances,or mercies,) any one of which, altered in any way, would destroy a world! The catalogue does not stop here. Millions and millions would not fill up the list. We only point to a few palpable illustrations, and we have not time to do more, even if the reader had patience to examine a long detail. We could not name a thousand on a page, much less specify a thousand facts. But what would a thousand be out of the countless millions that exist in every direction. We have a few more examples to present, but must first men.

tion the inference we have promised to request of the reader. The following inference we cannot ourselves avoid, and we ask the reader if his deductions from facts noticed are not the same.

Inference.—When we find a heart which loves any amount of falsehood, a credulity broader than a hun. dred oceans, a predilection for enormous untruth, reach. ing across a thousand worlds, we must infer that (un. influenced by the Spirit of eternal truth) man "loves darknessand not the light.

A preference for darkness is depravity. If depraved, man is fallen, for the pure hand of his Sovereign made him not so at first. Da

More examples.-Reader, we would not proceed in this detail, were it not that we are all prone to forgetfulness where important truth is concerned.

We have told you that the train of mercies, which the atheist calls CHANCES, is endless. We desire not merely to state, but to impress it upon you. Dear reader, if you choose you may inquire after an astron. omer's glass and look through it. You may see our sun and twenty-nine worlds, large enough to be inha. bited, sailing round him. This makes thirty orbs which excite our wonder and employ our admiring gaze. We cannot write concerning thirty worlds, but we may notice one or two, to remind you that wisdom and good. ness have been extended to the rest. We will look for a short time at the worlds nearest us, our own earth and its moon.

Our moon flies round our earth at the distance of two hundred and forty thousand miles. Its diameter is 2,180 miles.

Some facts to be stated may be such as those who bave never read astronomy understand with difficulty,

« PreviousContinue »