« السابقةمتابعة »
beginning of his apostasy. In the language of Mr. Wesley, " He was a murderer-in inclination, from the beginning-of his becoming a devil; and abode not in the truth, commencing murderer and liar at the same time.” See his note on the text; also Henry. The reason assigned why he "abode not in the truth," namely," because there is no truth in him,” describes his destitution of this principle ever since he first entertained the self-originated thought and purpose of casting off his allegiance to God, whensoever, wheresoever, and under whatsoever circumstances that event transpired. We conclude, therefore, that the most consistent and rational interpretation of this disputed text is that which refers the whole to Satan before the creation, or at least the fall of man; and thus feel freely authorized to regard this text, in connection with the one from Peter associated with it in the Calm Review, as being as much entitled to be considered the key to the correct interpretation of the 6th of Jude, as that is of these.
12. The fact involved in the new theory with regard to holy angels, who, as well as all others, according to this system, were once probationers on some“ planetary world” assigned them by the author of the “propositions,” which fact was referred to in the Calm Review as a counterpart of this new theory, is passed over in the - Defense” in a manner which might have been expected, sanguine as the author appeared to be of its correctness and the solidity of its basis. Now the object of the Calm Review, in referring to this counterpart of the new system, must have been perfectly obviouscertainly not for the purpose of disproving the doctrine, because the onus probandi, it is conceived, lies on the other side ; but simply to show what strong claims this new theory makes upon our credulity. If these claims can be met by evidence drawn from divine revelation, by the sober and consistent construction of Scripture, it certainly should most cheerfully be done. But where in the Scriptures is there the slightest intimation, either that the original resi. dence of angels was the one described in the new theory, or that, having proved their fidelity by the test therein named, they were then translated to the paradise of God, their present home? We confess it is our misfortune not to be able to discover it anywhere but in the new system itself. And moreover, we find ourselves as much at a loss to know what the circumstantial evidence” is, which the “ Defense” says “is plainly on the side of the new system.” If the fact, that holy angels are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation," is supposed by the * Defense” to constitute such evidence, it is impossible for us to see how it makes any more in favor of the new system than the old, or, indeed, any other which may be invented. It is not marvelous, therefore, that in his confidence in the perfection of his system, and the harmony of all its parts, its projector, in closing this paragraph, should incautiously slide into that description of sophism to which we are extremely liable under certain circumstances, viz., pelitio principii; a begging the question; stating in argument the very thing to be proved ; to wit, that “ a different part of the universe was originally their place of probationary residence; but having been faithful according to the commandment of their Maker, they were taken from it to stand in his presence;" where, we may add, as the Scriptures declare, they now minister before him, executing his benevolent designs toward man during his probationary history.
13. We cannot obtain our own consent to close these strictures on the “ Defense,” without first adding a few “moral reflections” arising from the view we have taken of this subject; when we shall cheerfully submit the whole matter to the judgment, piety, and candor of the intelligent, cautious, and prayerful reader; with the conscious and grateful satisfaction of having honestly endeavored to follow the path of clearly-revealed truth, daring to venture no farther than divine revelation sheds its rays upon our footsteps.
14. There is an element in our mental constitutions which prompts us to desire to know all that can be known on every subject within the range of our intellects. This propensity is most apt to discover itself under certain peculiar mental combinations. Where the imagination is vivid and strong, the reasoning powers vigorous, the principle of curiosity active, accompanied by considerable boldness and independence, we may look for the most perfect development of this principle. Add to these a strong desire for the reputation of having originated a new doctrine, theory, or system, with a capacity to invent and arrange a lively feeling of the love of novelty, and you have that class of mind which is most likely to indulge itself in speculation. And when from its own fruitful resources it has produced some new doctrine or system, or some new view of a given question or subject, it is apt to adhere to it with invincible tenacity. Such mental offspring becomes identified with the parent mind, and is cherished, if possible, with more than paternal affection. These principles, carried out in religious speculation, promise no real advantages to Christianity ; but, on the contrary, often produce an influence which proves in no small degree prejudicial. However great the skill possessed by men of such minds in adjusting the relative parts of their own originated doctrines and systems; however adroitly they may wield their subtilties; and however acute their discrimination between hair-breadth distinctions; it is not from men of this class of mind, or who thus indulge their native intellectual propensities, that the Church has most to hope. They are seldom found to be her ablest defenders, the most successful supporters of the cause of truth, or the first to become its martyrs. With regard to several doctrines and questionable points in theology, after the lapse of ages, the greatest and best of men are found still to differ. Instead therefore of arraying themselves on opposite sides of mere speculative theories, and systems of doctrine, surnaming themselves by some “school” of divinity, how much better for all ministers of Christ to act on the advice given by Bishop Potter to Mr. Wesley, who thus refers to it in sermon cix :" Near fifty years ago a great and good man, Dr. Potter, then archbishop of Canterbury, gave me an advice, for which I have ever since had occasion to bless God : If you desire to be extensively useful, do not spend your time and strength in contending for or against such things as are of a disputable nature; but in testifying against open, notorious vice, and in promoting real, essential holiness."
S. COMFORT. St. Louis, Nov. 3, 1898.
Comets were regarded during the ages of barbarism as the har. bingers of fearful convulsion in both the physical and political world, and accordingly looked upon with a superstitious awe and dread. As the darkness of that period began to give way to the increasing light of science, these phenomena furnished food for the imaginations of speculative theorists, who employed all their ingenuity in as. signing to them some rational purpose among the multifarious works of the Creator. So late as the beginning of the 18th century they were represented as the abode of the damned. Mr. Whiston, in the fertility of his imagination, thought he discovered in this theory the peculiar nature of the punishment of the finally impeni. tent. Carried, according to his view, from the remotest limits of the system into the chilling regions of darkness and cold, and then hurried back into the vicinity of the sun, they alternately experience the extremes of cold and heat, which renders their sufferings excru. ciating and horrible beyond description. But the day of such visionary speculations has gone by; and comets are now regarded as constituting a part of that wonderful system which the Almighty at the first spoke into being, and which he continues to govern by fixed laws, for his own glory and the happiness of his creature man. Comets being studied now with a view to penetrating more deeply into the mysteries of the physical universe, and laying open the resources of knowledge, no small attention is waked up among the friends of science, when one of these singular planets is about to appear in our visible heavens. Uninfluenced by that superstitious awe which restrained the terror-stricken of the barbarous ages, or the visions of later theorists, they calmly prepare themselves for the night vigils, and watch the course of the wanderer with intense interest, to ascertain what discoveries they may make by the advantage it affords for ascertaining more perfectly the laws upon which the interesting sci. ence of astronomy is based.
Hence did the approach of Encke's comet, whose course had been so accurately ascertained as to give assurance of its appearance during the autumn of the present year, excite much attention both in Europe and this country.
The following observations by Professor Wartmann, of Geneva, Europe, and the communications from H. S. S. of New Haven, and VOL. X.-Jan., 1839.
Professor A. W. Smith of the Wesleyan University, at Middletown, Conn., published in the Journal of Commerce of this city, will be interesting to some of our readers, and no doubt acceptable to all :
“ In conformity with the prediction of the illustrious director of the royal observatory of Berlin, Encke's comet will this year, for the 10th time since its discovery, return to its perihelion. To facilitate the search of it by astronomers, and particularly amateur astronomers, I have drawn up against its approaching visit, as I did in 1828, 1832, and 1835, a map indicating with considerable detail its positions and apparent geocentric course in the starry heavens, at first for every five days, then for every two, and lastly for every day, during a period of five months, comprised between the first of August, 1838, and the first of January, 1839.
On referring to the map it will be seen that the comet will at the beginning of August travel through the constellation Aries ; after that it will slowly cross those of the Fly and Medusa's head. The 9th of October it will be in the constellation Andromeda, and on the 10th, at Geneva, will enter the circle of perpetual apparition, and will remain, night and day, above the horizon 29 days—that is to say, till the 8th of November-having successively passed over the constellations of Cassiopæia, Cephus, the Dragon, and the left wing of the Swan. On the 9th of November it will be in the constellation Hercules, and fol. lowing up its course with a greater or less rapidity, on the 23d of the same month will reach Serpentarius, on the 25th the Serpent, on the 11th December the Scorpion, and eight days afterward, viz., the 19th, will pass to its perihelion, near the bright star Antares ; but then, as well as for ten days before and after, the comet will not be visible, on account of its proximity to the sun. Toward the end of December it will enter Sagittarius, where it will perhaps be observable a little while before sunrise, although then it will be more than 44,000,000 of leagues from the earth.
The map shows that the comet, in this its visit to as, will only meet on the road three considerable stars viz., delta of Hercules, of the fourth magnitude, over or near which it will pass on the 14th November, about 11 o'clock in the evening, the star iota, of the 6th magnitude, of the same constellation, over which it is possible it will be projected during the night of the 21st of November; and lastly, a small star of the 6th magnitude of the Scorpion, toward which it will be directing its course during the night of the 28th or the morning of the 29th December. But, on the other hand, as the map indicates, the comet will pass very near some bright stars, such as delta, gamma, and kappa of Cassiopeia, from the 20th to the 24th of October, iota and alpha of Cepheus, the 28th and 31st of October; near eta, of the same constellation, on the 1st of November ; near theta, of Hercules, on the 10th ; and near lambda of the Serpent, on the 25th.
In all these cases observers should on no account neglect looking out for any occultations of stars, whether central or not, so as to satisfy us whether the star observed with a powerful telescope disappears completely in crossing the denser part of the cometary nebu. losity.
I published at the time the observation I made at Geneva, the 28th November, 1828, of the occultation of a star of the 8th magnitude by this comet. The star disappeared entirely, (tout-à-fait,) but indeed my telescope of observation, which was a very good one, had only a very small magnifying power.
It will then be very important, during its approaching appearance, to get some good observations of this phenomenon, so as to place beyond a doubt whether the star's disappearance depends upon the magnifying power of the instrument employed, or whether we are to refer the occultation as really brought about by the intervention of a solid nucleus, which exists in some part of the gasiform material of the comet.
The return of the comet will this year present peculiar interest to astronomers, inasmuch as the comet being very favorably situate relatively to the sun and earth, it will be observed with much greater facility than during its two last visits; indeed it is not impossible that this diminutive body, generally visible only by the help of telescopes, may, as in 1828, become for several days, about the 8th of November, visible to the naked eye, having the appearance of
a faint nebula, white, somewhat round, reflecting a pale light, but discernible, should the sky be very clear. It will then be situated near the head of the Dragon, toward the west, and in the latitude of Geneva ; at about eight o'clock in the evening, will be about 40 degrees above the horizon.
The places of the comet, as shown on the map, are taken from the ephemeris of it, which Mr. Charles Bremiker has calculated with much care from the elements of M. Encke, on the hypothesis of an ethereal resisting medium in space. Passage to the perihelion, the 19th of December, 1838, at noon, mean time at Berlin, or at noon, 28 minutes and 58 seconds, mean time at Geneva.
deg. min. sec. Longitude of the perihelion
157 27 31.8
from mean equinox Longitude of the ascending node 334 36 31.8
of Dec. 19. Indication of the orbi ...
13 21 29
This hypothesis of the existence of a resisting fluid, which will produce, as is known, the slight accelerated motion of the comet, M. Encke thinks must be retained, although M. Bessel, the profound astronomer of Konigsberg, says, on the occasion of the late appearance of Halley's comet, that he considers the effect of the "ether” only as one among the many possibly disturbing causes, and thinks that the change of the volume which Encke's comet undergoes as it approaches the passage to the perihelion may as well be attributed to a real loss (deperdition) of its constituent molecules, as to any condensation which the comet would undergo in penetrating the region of the ether.
M. Encke, who has discussed this new hypothesis of M. Bessel, finds this unlikely, inasmuch as he says that it will not explain the facts observed. It is then ardently to be wished, that forthcoming observations may throw fresh information on a subject of such high