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ir come to us from a niggardly hand. The rays of light are piously diffused, and in sufficient abundance to chase away e most minute vestige of the shades of night. The extension light is a most valuable property of that great and invalule blessing, for it is by it that we are enabled to see bodies at distance during the day, and by the same operating cause, e mariner, during the hours of darkness, observes the fiery acon glimmering from afar. The heat of the sun is also most potent in its operations. Tith ease it penetrates into the bowels of the earth, and finds 3 way into the most secret recesses of nature ; so that, in the pressive language of Scripture; "there is nothing hid from e heat thereof." But, indeed, what could possibly exist with It it? The Sun may be truly styled the grand enlivening inciple of the universe --without his influence the crimson le behoved to stagnate in the veins of animated beings; the trees could never break forth into leaves, nor plante ring up into flowers; we would no more behold the meawa mantled over with green, nor the vallies standing thick ith corn ; or, to speak in the beautiful language of a prolet*: No longer would the fiy-tree blossom, nor fruit be in the ne: The labour of the olive would fail, and the
fields could yield meat : The flocks must be cut off from the fold, and there buld be no herd in the stall. It penetrates the beds of metal, ad finds its way to the place of sapphires. In short, the neficial agency of this magnificent luminary is inexpresslet. The sun is also the fountain of cheerfulness, While all iture is enlivened by his presence, it is also cheered by his fts. “ Truly (says Solomon,) the light is sweet, and a. easant thing it is for the eyes to behold
the sun." And the thor of the Spectator" has well observed, that the suns a particular influence on the mind of man and making the art glad, for a proof of which he refers us to a consideration the natural world, when this luminous globe withdraws his ys for a few moments by an eclipse. The human mind delights in variety, and one great cause at produces cheerfulness in the heart of man, as he walks road and contemplates the face of nature, is no doubt that versity of light and shade, of colour and hue, that in every rection salutes his eye. In this respect also, the sun may
said to be the fountain of cheerfulness, as it is certainly e cause of colour. The sun is the great limner of nature, hose beautifying rays paint creation. The blushing auties of the rose, the modest blue of the violet," as GOLD,
Habak. iii. 17.
SMITH obseryes, “are not in the flowers themselves, but in the light that adorns them. Orlour, softness and beauty of figure, are their own, but it is light alone that dresses them up in those robes which shame the monarch's glory*.
The sun may, therefore, also be well styled the fountain colour; and, but for this, what disadvantages would we labour under, notwithstanding the beneficial distribution of light and heat. In that case, we would not only be unable to distin guish objects at a distance, and to perceive the colour of the rạiment of our nearest friends, but he incapable of observing any difference of complexion betwixt the ink that flows from our pen, and the paper on which we write ;-without this dis criminating property of light, no pleasing variety would orele spread the great carpet of nature; the same unvaried hue, in every direction, would meet our eye; the same dull uniformity would every where prevail.
Such are some of the beneficial consequences that resuk from the Sun, with respect to the earth. We shall now con sider him in another and a more exalted light, as the centre
THE SOLAR SYSTEM.
Colours are not, indeed, as many have been apt to imagine, in nate in bodies, but are found to proceed from that particular texture of their particles by which they are disposed to modify and reflect the rays of the sun in a certain manner, and this is not merely a modern opinion, for PYTHAGORAS and Piato taught, that colours resulted solely from the different modifications of reflected light.
What ! my reader may exclaim, is there, in reality, no such thing colour in nature but what is produced by the sun's rays? Then all things must be the same in the dark, and it may be possible so to ter the modification of the particles of matter in some bodies, un make them assume a different complexion. All bodies must indeed as to colour be the same in the dark, and that it is possible so to sleep the structure of the constituent particles of some bodies, as to make them put on a different appearance, we need not have recourse to some of the mysterious operations of chemistry to prove. Take bat! handful of snow, and put it into a vessel by the side of the fire, vi what becomes of its wbiteness or light a candle, and place it under a cover, placed at such a convenient distance as to arrest the smoke its ascent, and from what coloured body does the soot proceed! White loaf-sugar melted over the fire, first turns brown, afterwiel black, and a single grain of this tingęs a quart of fair water we beautiful yellow.
"ROM the consideration, that, by the laws of nature, all the ?sser heavenly bodies are made to revolve round the greater, 2 the same manner that the moon is made to move round he earth, it was to be expected, that the Sun, the centre of system in which so many planetary and cometary bodies vere made to move within the sphere, or verge, of his attracon, would be a body of very considerable magnitude; and hat he is said to be to such an extent, that his solid bulk is omputed to be 64 million of times larger than the moon, a Gillion of times bigger than the earth, or 500 times greater han all the other planets put together* !
From what we ourselves experience of the benefits of this uminary, we have reason to conclude, that the sun is placed n the most convenient situation in the heavens, and at the nost suitable distance from each of the respective bodies which nove around him; and that, however nigh or remote their ourses may be to the common centre, or however slow or apid in their movements, the inhabitants of all those bodies vhich are inhabited, will have forms and powers no less suited o their situations than ours :
" And constitutions fitted for that spot,
“ Where providence, all-wise, has fix'd their lot.” The sun, although generally considered as fixed, is known y his spots to make a revolution on his axis, in somewhat ess than our month, and is likewise said to be agitated by a mall motion round, what is called, the centre of gravity of he Solar System. His motion, however, is so comparativey small, that he may, indeed, be said to be fixed, with respect
THE PLANETS. Of the planets, which have yet been discovered, the first, ir nighest to the Sun, is MERCURY. His diameter is comjuted to be less than the half of that of the Earth, and his rear is not quite so long as three of our months: The light ind heat of this planet are supposed to be about seven times reater than the earth receives, yet he is said to move at the ate of more than 109,000 miles in an hour! Being so nigh he Sun, Mercury is seldom seen, but when he is, it is a little ifter sunset, and before sunrise, and he appears to emit a right white light. U U 2
The * In a treatise of this nature, it may be better to impart to our eaders an idea of bulk of the planets, and the time of their reolutions by comparison, than otherwise, on which account, we shall confine ourselves to this method, just stating the extent of the diameter of the carth, the time of its revolution, &c. as a criterion to udge by
The diameter of Venus is somewhat less than that of the Earth, and her year is not quite eight of our months. In the heavens she moves next in order to Mercury, and note withstanding she is supposed to be surrounded by an atmo. sphere like the Earth, her light and heat are said to be twice as much as ours. Like the Sun, this brilliant planet has he spots, like the Moon she has her phases, und she moved at the rate of upwards of 80,000 miles an hour! Venus ap pears in the heavens the brightest of all the planets, and a cording as she is situated, is sometimes called the Morning sometimes the Evening Star*.
Next to Venus comes our EARTH, attended by her constant companion, or satellite, the moon. The diameter of the Earth may be computed to be about 7,964 miles, her distance from the sun 95 millions of miles, and, moving at the rate of 68,000 miles an hour, she completes her annual revolution in 36 days and somewhat less than 6 hourst; all the while whirling round on her axis once in 24 hours with such velocity, that the inhabitants at the equator are carried round at the rate of 1,042 miles, and those in the latitude of London about 64 miles in an hour.
I have already explained several of the phenomera resulting from the motion of the Earth, but there is one astronomie cal fact I would here mention, which may sound strange the ears of some of my readers; viz. that we are actually nigher the sun in winter than in summer! Were it not for this, it is presumed, that the severity of our winters, (being chiefly occasioned by the obliquity of the sun's rays, as they at those seasons, fali on our atmosphere,) would be rendered still more intolerable and severe.
The magnitude of the Moon, is said to be about 36 of that of the Earth, about which she moves at the distance d 236,847 miles, and completes her revolution in somewhat less than 28 days, travelling at the rate of 2270 miles an hour.
MARS, whose diameter is little more than one half of our Carth, moves next ber in the order of the planets: He comletes his revolution in something less than 687 of our days, o that his year is nigh twice the length of ours, while his ght and heat are considered to be not quite the half of what ve enjoy. Mars revolves at the rate of 55,223 miles an hour, nd appears in the heavens of a dusky red colour. What are called the New PLANETS, are to be found betwixt he orbits of Mars and of Jupiter : but as so little is yet nown respecting them, I shall just mention their names, vith the dates of their discoveries: Ceres was discovered by 1. Piazzi in Sicily on the 1st Jan. 1801; Pallas, was disa overed by Dr. OLBERS, of Bremen, on the 28th March, 1802; uno, was discovered by Mr. HARDING of Lilienthal, Bremen, st Sept., 1804 ; and Vesta, was discovered by Dr. OLBERS, 9th March, 1807. These being so very small in comparison rith the others, Dr. HERSCHEL does not deign to denominate hem planets, but Asteroids.
But very different is the case with JUPITER, which is the argest of all the planets, and adorned by his belts, atended with his glorious retinue of four moons, comes next in rder in the heavens. The magnitude of this stupendous lanet, is indeed said to be no less than 1400 times larger than he earth: His year is something less than twelve of ours, nd he moves at the rate of 29,894 miles in an hour. In conequence of his distance from the sun, his light and heat are omputed to be only about o't of what the earth receives, but le former of these may be compensated by the number of his hoons; by one, or more, of which, there is scarcely any part fthis planet but what is enlightened during the whole night, xcept his poles, and there is no saying, but what has the apearance of Jupiter's belts, may be something of an atmospheric ature, so constituted as-to imbibe, and considerably increase, le heat of the sun's rays. Jupiter in the heavens, appears to he eye next in magnitude to Venus..
Beyond the orbit of Jupiter, moves SATURN, attended by a tinue of no less than seven satellites or moons, and having his ody surrounded by an interior and exterior ring. Although. se diameter of this planet ihan 966 times that of the earth, nd moving at the rate of 22,072 miles in an hour, he comletes the revolution of his wide circle in a period not much ss than 20 of our years!
The light and heat which he receives from the sun, are comuted to be about too part of what the earth receives, but > compensate for this, besides the rings and moons already Uu3