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CHRISTIAN LADY'S MAGAZINE.
THE TREASURES OF WISDOM.
All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in our Lord Jesus Christ. In these words, what a bright sunbeam of heavenly truth visited the first heathen converts of Laodicea and Colosse ! They had been rescued, only just before, from the gross darkness of Pagan idolatry ; and would understand a very small part of its true meaning. And even now, when modern science holds up her prism before it, as one face after another receives the light, it bursts into a thousand forms and colours of unknown and unexpected beauty, on which the spiritual eye can gaze with ever-growing pleasure. That Jesus of Nazareth, the Saviour of sinners, is the Lord of all power, the Maker of all worlds, the Wisdom that upholds the universe, is a truth that may well dazzle the eye of human science ; since even the seraphim veil their faces before it, and wonder and JANUARY, 1847.
tremble while they adore. It is the duty of Christians, in these last days, to see that their growing knowledge of the works of creation only ministers to their reverence and gratitude to their exalted Saviour, and endears him more and more to their hearts, who loved them, and gave Himself for them.
In our last number these words of the apostle were connected with the discoveries of astronomy on the vastness of the sidereal universe. But first we had to announce a remarkable discovery, without a precedent in the history of the science; and to remove a serious difficulty, in the supposed inconsistency between the revelations of modern astronomy, and the great doctrines of the Christian faith. When we set out, in thought, for a brief survey of the universe, to gather the lessons it yields concerning the glory of Christ ; we could barely reach the boundary of our system. It may be well to extend our view still further, before we enter on the deeper lessons of Physical Astronomy. We may then strive to unlock another and richer casket of these treasures of wisdom, in the secret and mysterious laws which bind together the whole starry universe.
It is no easy task in our present state, while we are shut in daily with the illusions of our senses, and the trifles and follies of life, to ascend the lofty eminence to which earthly science invites us, and realize the immeasurable vastness of creation which it unfolds to our view. Numbers alone, when they pass a very narrow limit, fail to excite any distinct idea of greatness. We need to borrow the help of fancy, before we awake to any real sense of their immense vastness, and lose ourselves in the unspeakable grandeur and majesty of the works of God.
Let us conceive, then, that on the instant of Adam's creation, a messenger had been sent from earth, with the swiftness of the hurricane, to spread the tidings through the planets of our own system. Before he could have reached the latest found planet, Enoch would have been translated to glory, and the flood have been sent on a world of sinners ; Sodom and Gomorah would have been consumed with fire, the chosen people have completed their long sojourn, and wandering in Egypt and in the wilderness ; David would have come to the throne, and the temple of Solomon have been reared. And if he had set out at once on his return, and travelled as swiftly, night and day, towards our earth again, three hundred years must pass, even at the present hour, before he could complete his long and solitary journey.
Such is the immense vastness of our own planetary system. And yet this prodigious circuit is only a mere speck, when compared with those depths of space which lie between us and the nearest star, and still more, when compared with the still more immeasurable regions which the telescope has discovered to our view. Three thousand years have now passed, since the Psalmist uttered that sublime sentence—“ He telleth the number of the stars ; he calleth them all by their names. In that very hour, let us suppose that some spirit left our earth, gifted with the speed, not of the storm, but of light itself, and thus took the wings of the morning, that he might explore the extent of this new revelation of the Divine greatness. What would be the experience of such a messenger, in searching out the limits of his Maker's presence, and the boundaries of the dominion of God ? Until now, he would have been unable to visit all those stars, which we see with our naked eye in the midnight firmament ; and ten thousand times ten thousand years must be still spent on his journey, before he can touch at every star, perhaps even at every system of stars, which the telescope has latterly revealed. How can we dwell for one moment in quiet thought on such a universe, and not borrow from that song of the harpers on the glassy sea ;—“ Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty ! Who shall not fear thee, O Lord ! and glorify thy name !”
It is but lately, within the last century, that the widest field of astronomy has been opened, and already thousands of nebulæ have been discovered ; while our sun, and all the stars scattered through our firmament, with the innumerable multitudes of suns that form the milky way, are all referred to one single nebula, which alone supplies all the splendour of our skies. Each nebula, in like manner, will contain its own galaxy of countless worlds, millions on millions of suns, clustered thick together in the field of our telescopes, though spaces almost infinite really separate them from one another, like the stars that form our own system. Each of these countless suns, in each of these dim nebulous systems, may have its own planets, moons and satellites, the present or future abodes of animated life. Each of these planetary worlds may itself contain unknown treasures of knowledge, either in its past history, or in its prophetic purpose in the ages to come, beyond all the power of human imagination to conceive. But all these treasures, however vast and unsearchable, are now hidden in Christ. He who washed the feet of his disciples, and wept at the grave of Lazarus, is the true owner of all these mysteries and wonders, which human science, after toiling on through myriads of ages, will find itself utterly unable to ex
plore. “He knoweth what is in the darkness,"_in those vast intervals of these starry systems, where solitude and silence may seem to brood for ever ; and the light dwelleth with Him” wherever, in the most distant region of the universe, a flood of glory, from suns brighter than our own, pours its everlasting splendour over worlds, in due season to be peopled with life, and enriched with unknown varieties of moral and spiritual being !
But we have dwelt, hitherto, only in the outermost court of the temple, which the Almighty has reared for His own glory throughout the immensity of space. From the dim and imperfect survey of the size, magnitude and distance of the heavenly bodies, let us pass on to Physical Astronomy, or the secret laws that determine the celestial motions. We may here discover fresh treasures of deeper wisdom, hidden in the merciful bosom of our Incarnate Lord.
To enter on this field of thought, let us fix deeply in our minds the statements of the two beloved Apostles, that all things were made by Christ in the beginning, and that He upholdeth all things continually by the word of His power. These truths have only to be combined with all the successive discoveries of modern astronomy, and the hopes these have awakened of still more wonderful laws of celestial harmony, that may be reserved for the discovery of the ages to come ; and we may then lose ourselves, as in a labyrinth of Paradise, in the variety of spiritual wonders which unfold themselves to our view. May a beam of light, from Him who is the true light, shine down upon us, and prosper our meditations !
What was the actual state of Astronomy, when these words of the Apostle were first written ? Only a few