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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: October 2010
  • First published in: 1859

PART III - THE STARRY HEAVENS

Summary

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold Who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth.”

Isaiah, xl. 26.

If the Solar System had comprised in itself the whole material creation, it would alone have abundantly sufficed to declare the glory of God, and in our brief review of its greatness and its wonder we have seen enough to awaken the most impressive thoughts of His power and wisdom. But that system is but as a single drop in the ocean. What boundary may be set to creation we know not, but we can trace it far enough to perceive that, as far as our senses are concerned, it cannot be distinguished from absolute infinity: and in leaving our Sun and his attendants in the background, we are only approaching more amazing regions, and fresh scenes will open upon us of inexpressible and awful grandeur. We are now to contemplate not one Sun, but thousands and myriads: — not a planetary system of subordinate globes, but aggregations of Suns; — pairs, groups, galaxies of Suns — “the host of heaven,” — all independent in unborrowed splendour, yet many evidently, and all by clear implication, bound together by the same universal law which keeps the pebble in its place upon the surface of the earth, and guides the falling drop of the shower, or the mist of the cataract.