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Variety of Forms and Functions in the World of Instinct. 7 bis enemy and his prey. If we carry our scrutiny deeper into nature, and survey the infinity of regions of life which the microscope discloses, and if we consider what other breathing worlds lie far beyond even its reach, we may then comprehend the variety of intellectual life with which our own planets and those of other systems may be peopled. Is it necessary that an immortal soul should be hung upon a skeleton of bone, or imprisoned in a cage of cartilage and of skin ? Must it see with two eyes, and hear with two ears, and touch with ten fingers, and rest on a duality of limbs ? May it not reside in a Polyphemus with one eyeball

, or in an Argus with a hundred ? May it not reign in the giant forms of the Titans, and direct the hundred hands of Briareus? But setting aside the ungainly creations of mythology, how many probable forms are there of beauty, and activity, and strength, which even the painter, the sculptor, and the poet could assign to the physical casket in which the diamond spirit may be enclosed; how many possible forms are there, beyond their invention, which eye hath not seen, nor the heart of man conceived ?

But no less varied may be the functions which the citizens of the spheres have to discharge,-and no less diversified their modes of life,and no less singular the localities in which they dwell. If this little world demands such duties from its occupants, and yields such varied pleasures in their discharge;-If the obligations of power, of wealth, of talent, and of charity to humanize our race, to unite them in one brotherhood of sympathy and love, and unfold to them the wonderful provisions for their benefit wbich have been made in the structure and preparation of their planetary home ;-If these duties, so varied and numerous here, have required thousands of years to ripen their fruit of gold, what inconceivable and countless functions may be assigned to that plurality of intellectual communities, which have been settled, or are about to settle, in the celestial spheres? What deeds of heroism, moral, and perchance physical! What enterprises of philanthropy,—what achievements of genius must be required in empires so extensive, and in worlds so grand !

Under what skies, and in what climates, these planetary races are to live and move, may be conjectured from the place which they occupy in the system. It may not be in cities exposed to the extremes of heat and cold,—nor in houses made with hands, -nor in the busy market-place,-nor in the noisy Forum,-nor in the solemn temple,-nor in the ark which rests upon the ocean,—that these feats of

power and reason are to be performed. The being of another mould may have his home in subterraneous cities warmed by central fires, or in crystal caves cooled by ocean tides,-or he may float with the Nereids upon the deep-mount upon wings as eagles, or have the pinions of the dove that he may flee away and be at rest. In our bald and meagre conceptions of the conditions of planetary life, we may gather some ideas from the existences around us. In the cities and dwellings and occupations of instinct in our own planet, rude though they be, we may trace the lineaments of the cities and dwellings and occupations of reason in another.

The motion of our sun in absolute space, attended by all the primary and secondary planets and comets of the system, is one of the most extraordinary facts which astronomy presents to us. That this group of celestial bodies are moving round some distant centre—some enormous globe which controls their motion, cannot be doubted. So distant is that centre, that though the motion of our system is at the rate of fifty-seven miles in a second, it may require thousands of centuries before it completes a single round of its orbit. We do not mention this great cosmical truth as a positive argument for a plurality of worlds; but it displays in the most striking manner the absurdity of the opinion, that machinery so vast is to remain in action during cycles so long, and that an ephemeral race like our own, seated in so small a chariot, may be the only passengers which are thus wafted through universal space—enclosed within the orbits of magnificent globes, and the network paths of a thousand comets. The mind recoils from a sentiment so absurd and so incompatible with every idea which we can form of the economy of wisdom and of power which is exhibited around us. It is a sentiment, indeed, which if the astronomical mind could give it a moment's consideration, it would place in the same category as that of a fleet of merchantmen chartered to carry a single mustard seed to the Great Mogul; or that of the largest possible railway train making the round of Europe with no other passenger than Tom Thumb!

When we quit the limits of the Solar system, and span that enormous void which lies between it and the nearest fixed star, we encounter the binary and multiple system of stars, to which the law of gravity has been traced, and where we have worlds revolving in elliptical orbits round worlds, as in the system which we have left behind us. As we advance in space to the clusters of stars and nebulæ, where all seems fixed and immovable—where the orbits described dwindle into luminous points, and where at last these points are themselves inseparable and unseen, we lose almost all the data on which we have maintained the doctrine of a plurality of worlds within the planetary system. No moons, no days and nights, no change of seasons, no atmospheres, no valleys and mountains, greet the astronomer's eye in his survey of sidereal space. But in their

Absurdity of supposing the Star-Systems without Inhabitants. 9

stead we have suns innumerable—bodies of enormous magnitude that might fill perhaps the annual orbit of our earth, shining certainly with light of their own, and possessing all the colours, and endowed with the optical properties, of the light of our own sun.

We have therefore few analogies to guide us in our inquiry if these distant globes are the abodes of life, and the residence of rational beings; but we have one great principle which supplies their place, and which cannot fail to lead us to a sound conclusion. There are many individuals who readily believe that planets like their own are the abodes of instinct and reason, and who would stand aghast with incredulity were they told that every star in the heavens, and every luminous speck is a stellar group,—that every point of a nebula which the telescope has not yet separated from its neighbours, is a sun or a world like their own, --and that immortal beings are swarming throughout universal space, infinitely more numerous than the drops of water in the ocean, or the atoms of sand upon its shores. But it is just as difficult to believe, because it is just as difficult to comprehend, what these persons must and do admit, that innumerable worlds of matter fill the immensity of space, and are kept in their place by the laws of gravity, which all matter must obey. To people such worlds with life, in place of increasing the difficulty, is the only way to remove it. It assigns the cause of their existence, and, however mortifying to human pride, and humbling to human reason, is the doctrine of an infinity of worlds, yet that pride is but rightly mortified, and that reason but truly humbled, when we realize the grand combination of infinity of life with infinity of matter. Were it otherwise, we might, without presumption, assert in the language in which the wise Alphonzo spoke of the Cycles and Epicycles of Ptolemy, that had we been present at the creation of the universe, we could have given its Creator good advice. To suppose that the Almighty filled universal space with light, or its medium, streaming from worlds innumerable to worlds that cannot be numbered, with no eye to receive it but that of the tiny occupants of the little star on which we dwell, and which intercepts only an infinitesimal of its rays, and that he launched these innumerable worlds on their eternal path in order that the descendants of Adam might study their motions, and write books upon Astronomy, is an opinion which could only find credence in minds of the most limited capacity, and in hearts devoid of all sympathy and feeling.

There is another aspect of this question which we would press on the attention of those who consider the earth as the only seat of life and intelligence. Those persons who can bring themselves to believe that all the other planets of the system are uninhabited, can have no difficulty in conceiving that the earth also might have been in the same category; and consequently, the sun with all his gorgeous vassals, and the planets with all their faithful satellites, would have performed their daily and annual rounds, without an eye to see their glory, and without a voice to lift itself in praise. To our minds, such a condition of a planet,-of the Solar system,-and consequently of the sidereal universe, would be the same as that of our own globe, if all its vessels of war and of commerce were traversing its seas, with empty cabins and freightless holds,—as if all the railways on its surface were in full activity without passengers and goods, and all our machinery beating the air and gnashing their iron teeth without work performed. A house without tenants

, a city without citizens, present to our minds the same idea as a planet without life, and a universe without inhabitants. Why the house was built, why the city was founded, why the planet was made, and why the universe was created, it would be difficult even to conjecture. Equally great would be the difficulty were the planets shapeless lumps of matter poised in ether, and still and motionless as the grave; but when we consider them as chiselled spheres teeming with inorganic beauty, and in full mechanical activity, performing their appointed motions with such miraculous precision, that their days and their years never err a second of time in hundreds of centuries, the difficulty of believing them to be without life is, if possible, immeasurably increased. To conceive any one material globe, whether a gigantic clod slumbering in space, or a noble planet equipped like our own, and duly performing its appointed task, to have no living occupants, or not in a state of preparation to be occupied, seems to us one of those notions which could be harboured only in an ill-educated and ill-regulated mind,--a mind without faith and without hope; but to conceive a whole universe of moving and revolving worlds in such a category, indicates, in our apprehension, a mind dead to feeling and shorn of reason.

We have thought it necessary thus to prepare the minds of our readers for the examination of the work placed at the head of this article. It is entitled, Of the Plurality of Worlds, and the object of it is to prove on scientific grounds that our earth is the largest, the only inhabited world in the universe! That such a work could have been written in the present day by a man of high mental attainments, and professing the Christian faith, is to us one of the most marvellous events in these marvellous times; and did we believe in the proximity of the millennial age, we should rank it among the lying wonders which are to characterize the latter times. This Essay, as its author calls it, is divided into thirteen chapters, entitled :

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Religious Arguments for a Plurality of Worlds. 11 Astronomical discoveries—astronomical objections to religion -the answer from the microscope—further statement of the difficulty-geology—the argument from geology—the nebulæ

-the fixed stars—the planets—theory of the Solar Systemthe argument from design—the unity of the world—the future.

The first chapter begins with the remarkable text,* in which the inspired Psalmist expresses his surprise that the Being who fashioned the heavens, and ordained the moon and stars, should be mindful of so insignificant a being as man.

In order to understand the grounds of this surprise, we must endeavour to ascertain the estimate in which the Psalmist held the two things which he places in such strong contrast-namely, man in his comparative insignificance, and the heavens in their absolute grandeur. The being whom God made a little lower than the angels, and crowned with glory and with honour—the race for whose redemption God sent his well-beloved Son to suffer and to die, conld not, in the Psalmist's eye, be an object of insignificance ; and measured, therefore, by his estimate of man, his idea of the grandeur of the heavens and the stars must have been of the most exalted kind. What was the precise idea of the sidereal universe which filled the mind of the inspired writer, may be within certain limits ascertained. He must either have been ignorant of astronomy, or inspired with a knowledge of it. If ignorant like the vulgar around him, he must have regarded the stars as mere specks of light studding the celestial vault, and the moon as a lamp of small diameter. In this case he could never have been surprised that God was so mindful of man. If, on the contrary, he knew, or wrote as if he knew, the true system of the universe, it must have been presented to him in one of two aspects—either as an infinitely numerous collection of worlds without life, or as the same collection of worlds inhabited by rational and immortal beings. If in the former aspect, we cannot see any ground for surprise that God should be mindful of man because innumerable masses of matter existed in the universe, obeying fixed laws, and performing appointed tasks. But if the Hebrew poet viewed these same worlds as teeming with life physical and intellectual, and with all the glorious provisions which such a condition demanded,—with new forms of being-new powers of mind-new conditions in the past, and new glories in the future, we can then understand how he marvelled at the care of God for man so comparatively insignificant. Hence we deduce from this language of Scripture a positive argument for a plurality of worlds.

“ When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained ; what is man, that thou art mindful of him ? and the son of man, that thou visitest him ?"--Psalm viii. 3, 4.

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