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STATE AND PROSPECTS OF ASTROLOGY.
knew what it signified, which our translators evidently did not. In Lev. xvii, v. 7, and 2 Chron. xi, v. 15, the Lxx render the word D'T'YU, SHOIRIM, by mataiois and mataion, signifying vanities. But there is no doubt that they used the word demons to signify the powers of the heavens, for they so ender
rd SHEDIM (Psalm cvi, v. 37), “ the pourers forth,” or genial powers of Nature; to which David says the Israelites sacrificed their sons, &c.; and also the same word occurs in Deut. xxxii, 17, the passage being literally, “they sacrificed O'T, LESHEDIM,“ to the pourers forth :" by whom, says Mr. Parkhurst, “the idolators meant the great agents of Nature, or THE HEAVENS*.”
It was, says the learned Mede, “ the very tenet of the Gentiles, that the sovereign and celestial gods were to be worshipped only purd mente, with the pure mind, and with hymns and praises ; and that sacrifices were only for demons.” Such was the theology of Thales and Pythagoras, the academics and stoics, and only the epicures or ATHEISTS taught otherwise; they referring all things to chance and the fortuitous concurrence of atoms! When the Athenians, Acts xvii, 18, opposed St. Paul, they said “he seemeth to be a setter forth of strange demons," not "gods," as our translators have it; for in 1 Cor. x, 20, they render the same word
It surely could not signify both. This idea of the character of the heavenly bodies, viz. as mediators, because ministers of the Deity, was the foundation of Zabaism, or the worship of the stars; and, as already set forth, it laid the way for the introduction of idolatry. It is clearly still in existence, though modified, among the Catholics, who worship the ministers of God, or, in reality, demons, whom they call saints, and of whom
one of the most ancient pagan writers, speaks, and with whom Plato agrees, and says, “ when good men die they attain great honour and dignity, and become demons; and “we ought for ever after to serve and adore their sepulchres as the sepulchres of demons." Only substitute for “ demons” the word "saints," and we have the true and veritable catholic doctrine. Alas! there is nothing new under the sun in PRIESTCRAFT.
“CHANCE” has got a new name now; for as our modern philosophers will not acknowledge that every thing arises from the action of " that chain of natural causes of which the heavens were the chief," and which upholds the necessity of an over-ruling Providence the very essence of christianity-which teaches us that “not a sparrow falleth to the ground” without it—and as they dare not acknowledge Chance-the very essence of atheism—why, they cleverly avoid the difficulty by adopting the term
“ Things do not happen' by chance;" oh, no!
* Heb. Lexicon, p. 721.
STATE AND PROSPECTS OF ASTROLOGY.
say they, “but they merely happen as coincidences.” Thus they get away from the philosophy of cause and effect, at the same time that they evade christianity, or the doctrine of Providence, and bow down the gift of human reason before this bastard atheism, less noble than even the fortuitous concurrence of atoms.
If we may be thought severe in these strictures, we would beg the reader to turn to page 958 of the Athenæum, published 231 Sept. last, for an illustration of the reality of what we say. The men who deny Providence by incidental argument, who uphold the doctrine of " coincidence," and that “accidental,” are not far from palpable denial of that christian principle. Speaking of the cholera, the writer declares that "it has been the habit of pious ignorance to attribute such visitations to an over-ruling Providence, whose fiat we could not control, and to whose power we must submit with humility.” Why, yes; we have been accustomed to attribute all such and all other « visitations” to Providence; aye, to an “over-ruling Providence ;” and our “ pious ignorance” has led us to consider that the denial of the obligation of His creatures “to submit with humility” to His "power" is near akin to "flat blasphemy.” What avail confessions of His existence, if we, like the Epicurean atheists, deny, in this way, His “over-ruling Providence ?" We never doubted that the Providence we worship brings about the ends He purposes by means ; that is, the regular course of nature. Yet that course He may, and does, probably, interfere with occasionally; for, to compare great things with small, Nature may be likened to a watch, which the maker, having regulated, leaves to pursue its course ; yet may he occasionally see fit to accelerate or retard its movements.
But this daring writer goes on to say, “we now know, not only what are the conditions under which epidemic cholera is developed, but that those conditions are avoidable by art.” Yet he, with most imbecile and ludicrous inconsistency, is compelled to admit, a few lines farther on, that “the best observers are yet uncertain whether cholera depends [depend] on a contagion generated in the body or not.” How, then, in the face of such an admission, in the very teeth of the fact that this “ visitation" has swept away its tens of thousands, in spite of all the efforts of all the men of science in Paris, Petersburgh, and a hundred other cities, can this same scribe assert that, “ destructive as is this terrible disease, it is entirely under the control of human agency?”
Our readers will remember that it is in a critical journal we find this jumble of folly and blasphemy; and they will not be
STATE AND PROSPECTS OF ASTROLOGY.
surprised, therefore, to see a well-attested fact, which proves beyond dispute the reality of astrology, treated as a fiction, or rather termed a mere “coincidence;" as if it really were not evidence of cause and effect. Blasphemy and fallacy couple well together. At page 908 of the Athenæum we read as follows:
“ Among the coincidences of words and things are prophecies of every species, when fulfilled.” Pretty fair, this, for professed believers in the Bible. “One remarkable class is that of predictions made in jest.” And then the writer goes on to say, that a celebrated prediction of Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royalfulfilled in a most striking and inconceivable, nay, miraculous manner, if astrology did not exist and shew us similar cases every day—was made in jest, forsooth! But our readers shall have it in the exact words of the writer. The case appeared in the London Chronicle in 1771, and the writer states that he had from Whiston, who had it from Flamsteed himself:
" Flamsteed, when Astronomer Royal, was consulted by a poor woman at Greenwich, for the recovery of a large parcel of linen which she supposed to have been stolen. The sage, to amuse himself, drew a figure with circles and squares in it, and then gravely informed the woman, that if she would look in a certain dry ditch, which he described, the parcel would be found. And there it was found, to the dismay of the astronomer; who feared, no doubt, that all who did not take him for a conjuror might believe him to have been the thief: and serve him right ! as it is expressively said.”
Only fancy the Astronomer Royal, the mighty Mr. Airy, being consulted by an old woman for the recovery of her lost linen! Think of the honour of the great philosopher, to whom the calculations of Mr. Adams, a Cambridge man, touching the existence of a planet as yet unknown, were so contemptible as to be cushioned, till the prying eyes of a French astronomer detected the treasure on the dusty shelves of Greenwich Observatory ! Think of the mighty man being “consulted” about lost linen! And yet it seems the Astronomer Royal who first held the office was not surprised or offended, but quietly sat down to humbug
poor laundress, and “amused himself” (how badly Astronomers Royal must lack amusement!) by drawing a figure with circles and squares in it. (How singular that this should be the very kind of figure that astrologers have ever been in the habit of drawing to represent the appearance
of the heavens!) And then the sage” gravely informed the poor woman, that, if she would look in a certain dry ditch, which he described, the parcel would be found!” Did he? Why, if he really did not believe that the parcel would be so found, he must have known that he would be speedily shewn to be more deserving to be called a fool for
STATE AND PROSPECTS OF ASTROLOGY.
his pains than to be deemed “a sage;" and a very heartless fool, too, to play with the feelings of a poor woman already distressed by the loss of her goods. Such was not the character of Flamsteed. But what led the poor woman to think of going to sult” the Airy of his day in the moment of her distress? Why, the fact that it was well known that he believed in and practised astrology. And the evidence of this fact may be seen in Hone's Every-day Book, in which is given the very figure of the heavens that Flamsteed erected for the moment of laying the first stone of Greenwich Observatory. And this said “figure, with circles and squares in it,” proves him to have been an excellent practical astrologer, who elected that happy moment for the building an observatory which has been eminently successful, and endured a century without any mishap, we believe; as we trust it may continue to do, under the benevolent and fortunate influences its astrological founder elected for its construction.
But the parcel “ was found” where the “figure” pointed out that it should be; a cause of wonderment to the ignorant noodles who write against astrology without even understanding what
a figure of the heavens” really is ; though, to the genuine astrologer, the only wonder would have been if the parcel had not been so found, according to the indications of the heavens. And thus their ignorance leads these writers to deny generally the facts of astrology; but where, as in this case, the facts are too patent, too manifest to be denied, they quietly sit down to tell all manner of falsehoods, to deny the philosophy of cause and effect, to uphold chance, and even to cry down the sublime and holy doctrine of an over-ruling Providence, rather than confess the reality of those influences of the stars which the wise men among the Hebrews thought nowise inconsistent with the power, the goodness, and the Majesty of JEHOVAH.
The case we have given proves a great deal; for it proves that, as the Editor of the Athanæum cannot be ignorant of the history of Flamsteed, and must have seen the Every-day Book, he admits wittingly a very absurd and not less mendacious account of a simple transaction, which stands as an unshaken testimony of the reality of the doctrines of the influence of the stars—in brief, of astrology; and must so continue to stand and uphold the sacred Truth, in despite of the foul malice of all such labourers in the vineyard of Falsehood, the fee-simple of which seems to be vested in the hands of some of our modern public writers. The Editor can have no excuse, as he asserts that he has examined nativities;" and, therefore, he knew very well what the figure that Flamsteed drew really was. But let us
charitably hope that this false statement was inserted, without his knowledge, by some one of the base men who pander to the public prejudices against astrology in such publications; mere literary “cheats,” under the influence of Mercury, when ill dignified.
Where are thy secret laws, 0 Nature, where?
Thy torch-lights dazzle in the wintry zone;
There has thy sun some sacred, secret throne ?
Lomonosoo, a Native Russian.
The aurora borealis, or northern daybreak, as the name imports from the close resemblance of the aspect of the sky before sun-rise, is one of the most striking and brilliant of all optical phenomena, and particularly in those regions where its full glory is revealed. To give any thing like an adequate description of such a truly magic aspect, the skill of the painter and the graphic art of the poet are demanded.
The appearances exhibited by the aurora are so various, from the first dawning of a summer's morn to the most gorgeous spectacle the most vivid imagination can picture, that to attempt any thing like an adequate description, in a brief essay, would be absurd : a slight glance may excite inquiry, and awaken curiosity to know more of so wonderful a phenomenon.
The history of these phenomena takes us back to the days of Aristotle, who describes them as occurring on certain nights, their appearances “resembling flame mingled with smoke, the predominant colours being purple, bright red, and blood colour.” Xenophon, Homer, and Virgil, and other classical writers, notice them; and among the chronicles of the middle ages they are spoken of as “surprising lights in the air,” converted by the vulgar and the ignorant, as their imagination led them, into gleaming swords, contending armies, and disastrous prognostics.
Dr. Haley mentions a very brilliant display of aurora in 1716, on which he wrote a paper on the Philosophical Transactions, wherein he states that “nothing of the kind had occurred in England for more than eighty years, nor of the same magnitude since 1574.” In 1575, Cornelius Gemma, Professor in the University of Louvain, says,
“ In the aurora were seen a great many bright arches, out of which gradually issued spears, cities with towers, and men in battle array; after that, there were excur