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which are exhibited in the ordinary movements of the material universe. We have no hesitation is asserting, that, with regard to this attribute of the Divinity, there is a more grand and impressive display in the Works of Nature, than in all the events recorded in the Sacred History. Nor ought this remark to be considered as throwing the least reflection on the fulness and sufficiency of the Scripture revelation ; for that revelation, as having a special reference to a moral economy, has for its object, to give a more particular display of the moral than of the natural perfections of God. The miracles to which we have now referred, and every other supernatural fact recorded in the Bible, were not intended so much to display the plenitude of the power of Deity, as to bear testimony to the Divine mission of particular messengers, and to confirm the truths they declared. It was not, for example, merely to display the energies of Almighty power, that the waters of the Red Sea were dried up before the thousands of Israel, but to give a solemn and striking attestation to all concerned, that the Most High God had taken this people under his peculiar protection—that he had appointed Moses as their leader and legislator—ard that they were bound to receive and obey the statutes he delivered. The most appropriate and impressive illustrations of Omnipotence, are those which are taken from the permanent operations of Deity, which are visible every moment in the universe around us; or, in other words, those which are derived from a detail of the facts which have been observed in the material world, respecting magnitude and motion.
In the first place, the immense quantity of matter contained in the universe, presents a most striking display of Almighty power.
In endeavouring to form a definite notion on this subject, the mind is bewildered in its conceptions, and is at a loss where to begin or to end its excursions. In order to form something approximating to a well-defined idea, we must pursue a train of thought commencing with those magnitudes which the mind can easily grasp, proceeding through all the intermediate gradations of magnitude, and fixing the attention on every portion of the chain, till we
arrive at the object or magnitude of which we wish to form a conception. We must endeavour, in the first place, to form a conception of the bulk of the world in which we dwell, which, though only a point in comparison of the whole material universe, is, in reality, a most astonishing magnitude, which the mind cannot grasp, without a laborious effort. We can form some definite idea of those protuberant masses we denominate hills, which rise above the surface of our plains; but were we transported to the mountainous scenery of Switzerland, to the stupendous range of the Andes in South America, or to the Himalayan mountains in India, where masses of earth and rocks, in every variety of shape, extend several hundreds of miles in different directions, and rear their projecting summits beyond the region of the clouds—we should find some difficulty in forming an adequate conception of the objects of our contemplation. For, (to use the words of one who had been a spectator of such scenes) “ Amidst those trackless regions of intense silence and solitude, we cannot contemplate, but with feelings of awe and admiration, the enormous masses of variegated matter which lie around, beneath, and above us. The mind labours, as it were, to form a definite idea of those objects of oppressive grandeur, and feels unable to grasp the august objects which compose the surrounding scene.” But what are all these mountainous masses, however variegated and sublime, when compared with the bulk of the whole earth ? Were they hurled from their bases, and precipitated into the vast Pacific Ocean, they would all disappear in a moment, except perhaps a few projecting tops, which, like a number of small islands, might be seen rising a few fathoms above the surface of the waters.
The earth is a globe, whose diameter is nearly 8,000 miles, and its circumference about 25,000, and, consequently, its surface contains nearly two hundred millions of square miles-a magnitude too great for the mind to take in at one conception. In order to form a tolerable conception of the whole, we must endeavour to take a leisurely survey of its different parts. Were we to take on Station on the top of a mountain, of a moderate size, nd
survey the surrounding landscape, we should perceive an extent of view stretching 40 miles in every direction, forming a circle 80 miles in diameter, and 250 in circumference, and comprehending an area of 5,000 square miles. In such a situation, the terrestrial scene around and beneath us, consisting of hills and plains, towns and villages, rivers and lakes—would form one of the largest objects which the eye, or even the imagination, can steadily grasp at one time. But such an object, grand and extensive as it is, forms no more than the forty thousandth part of the terraqueous globe ; so that before we can acquire an adequate conception of the magnitude of our own world, we must conceive 40,000 landscapes, of a similar extent, to pass in review before us : and, were a scene, of the magnitude now stated, to pass before us every hour, till all the diversified scenery of the earth were brought under our view, and were 12 hours a-day allotted for the observation, it would require 9 years and 48 days before the whole surface of the globe could be contemplated, even in this general and rapid manner. But, such a variety of successive landscapes passing before the eye, even although it were possible to be realized, would convey only a very vague and imperfect conception of the scenery of our world ; for objects at the distance of 40 miles cannot be distinctly perceived ; the only view which would be satisfactory would be, that which is comprehended within the range of 3 or 4 miles from the spectator.
Again, I have already stated, that the surface of the earth contains nearly 200,000,000 of square miles.Now, were a person to set out on a minute survey of the terraqueous globe, and to travel till he passed along every square mile on its surface, and to continue his route without intermission, at the rate of 30 miles every day, it would require 18,264 years before he could finish his tour, and complete the survey of “this huge rotundity on which we tread :".
-so that had he commenced his excursion on the day in which Adam was created, and continued it to the present hour, he would not have accomplished one-third part of this vast tour.
In estimating the size and extent of the earth, we ought also to take into consideration, the vast variety of objects with which it is diversified, and the numerous animated beings with which it is stored :-the great divisions of land and water, the continents, seas, and islands, into which it is distributed; the lofty ranges of mountains which rear their heads to the clouds ;-the unfathomable abysses of the ocean; its vast subterraneous caverns and burning mountains ; and the lakes, rivers, and stately forests with which it is so magnificently adorned :-the many millions of animals, of every size and form, from the elephant to the mitc, which traverse its surface; the numerous tribes of fishes, from the enormous whale to the diminutive shrimp, which “play” in the mighty ocean; the aerial tribes which sport in the regions above us, and the vast mass of the surrounding atmosphere, which encloses the earth and all its inhabitants as “ with a swaddling band.” The immense variety of beings with which our terrestrial habitation is furnished, conspires, with every other consideration, to exalt our conceptions of that Power by which our globe, and all that it contains, were - brought into existence.
The preceding illustrations, however, exhibit the vast extent of the earth, considered only as a mere superficies. But we know that the earth is a solid globe, whose specific gravity is nearly five times denser than water, or about twice as dense as the mass of earth and rocks which compose its surface. Though we cannot dig into its bowels beyond a mile in perpendicular depth, to explore its hidden wonders, yet we may easily conceive what a vast and indescribable mass of matter must be contained between the two opposite portions of its external circumference, reaching 8,000 miles in every direction. The solid contents of this ponderous ball is no less than 263,858,149,120 cubical miles—a mass of material substance of which we can form but a very faint and imperfect conception-in proportion to which, all the lofty mountains which rise above its surface, are less than a few grains of sand, when compared with the largest artificial globe. Were the earth a hollow sphere, surrounded
merely with an external shell of earth and water, 10 miles thick, its internal cavity would be sufficient to contain a quantity of materials one hundred and thirty-three times greater than the whole mass of continents, islands, and oceans, on its surface, and the foundations on which they are supported. We have the strongest reasons, however, to conclude, that the earth, in its general structure, is one solid mass, from the surface to the centre, excepting, perhaps, a few caverns scattered here and there, amidst its subterraneous recesses: and that its density gradually increases from its surface to its central regions. What an enormous mass of materials, then, is comprehended within the limits of that globe on which we tread! The mind labours, as it were, to comprehend the mighty idea, and, after all its exertion, feels itself unable to take in such an astonishing magnitude at one comprehensive grasp. How great must be the power of that Being who commanded it to spring from nothing into existence, who
measures the ocean in the hollow of his hand, who weigheth the mountains, in scales, and hangeth the earth upon nothing !"
It is essentially requisite, before proceeding to the survey of objects and magnitudes of a superior order, that we should endeavour, by such a train of thought as the preceding, to form some tolerable and clear conception of the bulk of the globe we inhabit; for it is the only body we can use as a standard of comparison to guide the mind in its conceptions, when it roams abroad to other regions of material existence. And, from what has been now stated, it appears, that we have no adequate conception of a magnitude of so vast an extent; or, at least, that the mind cannot, in any one instant, form to itself a distinct and comprehensive idea of it, in any measure corresponding to the reality.
Hitherto, then, we have fixed only on a determinate magnitude-on a scale of a few inches, as it were, in order to assist us in our measurement and conception of magnitudes still more august and astonishing. When we contemplate, by the light of science, those magnificent globes which float around us, in the concave of the sky, the earth,