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THE

NORTH BRITISH REVIEW.

MAY, 1854.

ART. I.-Of the Plurality of Worlds. An Essay. London:

J. W. Parker & Son, 1853. 8vo, pp. 280. If there is one thought of the contemplative mind more profoundly innate than another, and one sentiment of the heart more affectionately cherished, it is the thought that penetrates into the future, and the sentiment that scans its glories. The Past, and its hoary recollections,—the Present in all its pregnancy of weal or of wo, sink into insignificance beside the throbbing anticipations of the Future. But, universal as is the thought, and glowing as is the sentiment, Reason has not succeeded in giving a form and locality to its conceptions, nor has the Fancy

ventured to delineate the Paradise of its desires. In the infancy of Astronomy, indeed, when we knew nothing beyond the ocean and the mountain range that terminated our view, the poet could but place his Elysium in the sky, and the Christian sage the mansion of his future, in the New Heavens and the New Earth of his creed. Thus limited in its range, the human mind, whether under the dominion of its imagination or its judgment, had no resting-place for its conceptions; and, though faith never lost its grasp of the great truth, nor hope ceased to gild it with its auroral hue, yet what that future was to be in its physical relations,-in what region of space it was to be spent,—what duties were to characterize it,—and what intellectual and spiritual gifts were to be its privileges, neither the philosopher nor the Christian had ventured to suggest.

When Science, however, taught us the form, and size, and motions of our Earth, the magnitude and distance of the Moon, and the functions which it exercises in enlightening the Earth, and agitating its ocean,* it became a subject of eager inquiry, if

* The sun would have given us tides without the moon. VOL. XXI. NO. XLI.

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