Youth's Magazine,  3rd ser. 7 (1834), 52–55.

The Stars

R S, Halstead




Astronomy, Aesthetics, Wonder, Theology of Nature, Degeneration, Natural Theology, Error, Piety

People mentioned:


Publications cited:

Herschel 1833

    Asserts the beauty and wonder of the heavens; observes that 'the increase of knowledge we now possess, raises our astonishment still higher' (52). Describes the number, size, distance, motion, and changes of the stars. Observes of the disappearance of old and the appearance of new stars: 'We allow that all the works of God are perfect; and they are so, till they have answered the purposes to which they were destined, though they may then fall into ruin and be dissolved' (53). Refers to the constancy of the astronomical constellations: 'The earth is constantly changing. [...] But the heavens shew us the same aspect, teaching us the power and immutability of the throne of the Eternal'. Quotes from Young's Night Thoughts: 'The Stars / Are elder Scripture writ by God's own hand— / Scripture, uncorrupt by man'. Observes that this has more than poetic truth, and reports Thomas Maurice's view that 'the whole of the southern constellations are a commentary on the books of Moses and decidedly prove their truth'. (54) Reports that James Montgomery also alludes in his poetry to the physical representation of divine themes in the astronomical constellations. Considers, however, that this 'Scripture' was not 'uncorrupt by man', observing that the mythology of the Greeks arose out of it by error, since they 'could not by natural wisdom rise to any just conception of diving things'. Argues that the views adopted here of the heavenly bodies 'as the work of the Almighty, expand the powers of the mind' and give 'enlarged views' of God. Argues that they also humble human pride. Asserts: 'If we would enjoy the works of God aright, we must be brought into that temper of mind inculcated by the gospel'. An editorial footnote relates: 'On so interesting a subject we have taken the liberty to add to our correspondent's [i.e. R S's] communication'. (55)

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