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she may elegantly employ her noblest faculties. Unbounded space surrounds her, and a scene of infinite wisdom is displayed before her. He can, never want a companion, who has cultivated ac, quaintance with those glorious objects which adorn the canopy of heaven. Neither can he stand in need of a book to fill up the vacant space of his leisure hours, when the magnificent volume of nature is always open to his view. Nor is he ever at a loss for profitable as well as pleasing topics of conversation, who has furnished his mind with that rich variety of ideas, which this noble science affords. And as it in, spires us with the most exalted sentiments of the deity, so at the same time it suggests to us the most becoming notions of ourselves. For as it most clearly discovers the perfection of the Creator, so it as evidently demonstrates the imperfections of the creature; I mean in point of intrinsic worth, and real excellency, when compared with the first, greatest and best of beings. And therefore it has a natural tendency to mortify pride, and extinguish every spark of arrogance and self-conceit, For though the astronomer's knowledge is vastly more extensive than another's, yet he is, upon that very account, more sensible of his ignorance. and imperfection.

The contemplation also of these sublime and heavenly objects lifts up the soul above every thing that is human. “ Erigimur (says Tully) altiores fieri videmur; humana despicimus; cogitantesque supera atque cælestia, hæc nostra, ut exigua et minuta, contemnimus.” Whilst she is employed in these sublime exercises, she looks with an eye of contempt, upon all sublunary things. All earthly objects seem beneath her notice. Their vanity and emptiness are conspicuously displayed ; nay, they almost vanish and disappear upon the comparison. She pities the turbulent princes of this earth, whose restless and ambitious souls are continually waging war for an inconsiderable part of this little ball, when the whole bears no proportion to the objects of her meditation.

It must be a noble entertainment indeed, and something wonderfully engaging to the human mind, to contemplate the glorious theatre of nature; where the divine geometer, as Plato calls him, has observed the exactest rules of symmetry and proportion. The regular vicissi. tudes of the seasons, and the constant and invariable returns of day and night; the revolutions of the planetary orbs, and the various phænomena of the heavens, must be beautiful spectacles indeed; but to know the causes of these appearances is something inexpressibly agreeable to the mind of man; as it, in some measure, satisfies that restless desire of know, ledge, which is inherent in human nature.

The advantages which arise from this noble science are too many to be here enumerated. Every one knows that navigation and geography are indebted to astronomy for all the valuable improvements that have been lately made in those useful sciences. What a high opinion the ancients had of astronomy, may be learnt from Plato, Strabo, Cicero, Plutarch, and others. Cicero himself had no small skill in this divine science; as we may learn from all his philosophical works, but more particularly from his second book of the Nature of the Gods. Homer had some acquaintance with it; and Virgil, if I am not mistaken, a much greater. It is with inimitable beauty and propriety, he introduces the astronomer Iopas, at that elegant entertainment prepared by Dido for Æneas, making known the principles of his art :

-Citharâ crinitus Iopas
Personat auratâ, docuit quæ maximus Atlas.
Hic canit errantem lunam, solisque labores :
Unde hominum genus, et pecudes; unde imber, et ignesa
Arcturum, pluviasque Hyadas, geminosque triones:
Quid tantum oceano properent se tingere soles
Hyberni, vel quæ tardis mora noctibus obstet.

Æn. i. 744.

With curling tresses grac'd, and rich attire,
Iopas stands, and sweeps the golden lyre ;
The truths, which antient Atlas taught, he sings,
And nature's secrets, on the sounding strings.
Why Cynthia changes; why the sun retires,
Shorn of his radiant beams, and gcnial fires;
From what originals, and causes, came
Mankind and beasts, the rain, and rising flame;
Arcturus, dreadful with his stormy star;
The watry Hyads, and the northern car ;
Why suns in summer the slow night detain,
And rush so swift in winter to the main.


It is generally, I think, agreed, that the Egyptians and Babylonians, by their constant observations, laid the first foundations of astronomy; and that the Greeks improved them into a science, by the application of geometry. This was, indeed, the infancy of astronomy. Then it just began to dawn; but now it is arrived at its meridian glory, by the exquisite sagacity and unwearied diligence of Newton, Flamstead, Halley, Bradley, and other exalted geniuses, who have done honour to the British nation : men who will enjoy a kind of immor. tality upon earth, and be reading lectures to future generations!

STUDENT, vol. i. p. 336. No. LVIII.

Animalia sunt jam partim tantula, ut horum
Tertia pars nullâ possit ratione videri.
Horum intestinum quod vis quale esse putandum est ?
Quid cordis globus, aut oculi ? quid membra ? quid artus ?
Quantula sunt quam siat subtilia, quamque minuta!


Insects so minute, the view
Not half their puny members can discern.
What here are organs ! what intestines here:
The globule what, that forms their heart or eye?
Their tiny limbs ? their tendons ?.
Each part so subtile, so minute the whole.


It has been a common observation among the curious and inquisitive part of mankind, that in investigating one subject, there often is thrown new light upon another. Something quite unexpected starts up in the course of the inquiry, and the accidental discovery is often of more importance, than the original business of the research. It is in this light that we see the infinite use of experimenting: to a careful and attentive man, scarce any one observation of this kind ever passed without its use, without some addition to science; however much it may have failed in regard to the purpose instituted to serve.

it was

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