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burning of the last day. The earth, the air, the clouds, the sea, are all replete with a subtile penetrating fire, which, while at rest, is neither felt nor observed, and was absolutely unknown to some of the inost learned for ages ; till accidental discovery hath now laid open the treasures of fire in heaven and earth to all that have the use of their sight and senses. The publication of the philosophy of fire hath been so sudden and so universal, and is so wonderful in itself, that it seems to be second to the publication of the Gospel : at least, there is no event in philosophy or literature that comes near to it.
In this element we live and move ; and, perhaps, so far as our frame is mechanical, we are moved by it. When excited to action, it turns into a consuming fire, which no sul-stance can exclude, no force can resist. The matter of lightning, which seems to break out partially and accidentally, is now found to be constitutional and universal in the system of Nature : so that the heavens, which, according to the language of the scripture, are to melt with fervent heat, want no foreign matter to convert them into fire. What is called phlogiston can rise in a moment from a state of quiescence to a state of inflammation ; and it discovers itself in many bodies where we should little expect to find it. The earth, and the works that are therein, carry within them the seeds of their own destruction; and may be burnt up by that element which now resides within them, and is only waiting for the word from its Creator.
Upon the whole then, philosophy, so far as the term signifies a knowledge of God's wisdom and power in the natural creation, which is the best sense of the word ; this philosophy, I say, is so far from being ad. verse to true religion, that with all the common evia
dences of Christianity in reserve, we may venture to meet the philosopher upon his own ground; we have nothing to fear from the testimony of Nature; we appeal to it: we call upon every man of science to coinpare the Gospel which God hath revealed, with the world which God hath created : under an assurance, that he will find the latter to be a key unto the former, mour 'noble philosopher hath well asserted. We have ventured to try this comparison upon the general plan of Christianity, and we see how it answers. · And if Nature answers to Christianity, it contradicts ' Deism ; and that religion cannot be called natural which is contradicted by the light reflected upon our understandings from natural things. The Socinian is nearly in the same situation with the Deist : and they may both join together in calling upon Nature, from morning until night, as the Priests of Baal called upon their Deity: but there will be none to answer; and philosophy must put out one of his eyes before it can admit their doctrines. In short, take any religion but the Christian, and bring it to this test, by comparing it with the state of Nature, and it will be found destitute and defenceless. But the doctrines of our faith are at- . tested by the whole natural world. Wherever we turn our eyes, to the heaven or to the earth, to the sea or the land, to men or to beasts, to animals or to plants, there we are reminded of them. They are recorded in a language which hath never been confounded : they are written in a text which shall never be cor
The Creation of God is the school of Christians, if they use it aright. What is commonly called the world, consists of the forms, manners, diversions, pursuits, and prospects, of human society. But this is an artificial world, of man's making : the subject of his study,
the object of his ambition. The natural world, of God's making, is full of wonder and instruction; it is open to all, it is common to all. Here there can be no envy, no party, no competition; for no man will have the less for what his neighbour possesses. The world, in this sense, may be enjoyed without fraud or violence. The student in his solitary walk, the husbandman at his labour, the saint at his prayers, may have as much as they can desire, and have nothing to repent of; for they will thus draw nearer to God, because they will see farther into his truth, wisdom, and goodness.
Some have expressed their astonishment at the choice of hermits, and men of retirement, as people who have fled from all the enjoyments of life, and consigned themselves to melancholy and misery. They are out of the world, it is true; but they are only out of that artificial world of man's making, in which so many are hastening to disappointment and juin : but they are still in that other better world of contemplation and devotion, which affords them all the pleasures and improvememts of the mind, and is preparatory to a state of uninterrupted felicity.
Let us then, finally, give thanks to him, who to the light of his Gospel hath added this light of nature, and opened the wonderful volume of the creation before us, for the confirination of his truth, and the illumination.' of his people ; that we may thence know and see the certainty of those things, wherein we have been instructed. As all his works are for our good, let it be our study and our wisdom to turn them all to his glory.
SIXG TO THE HARP WITH A PSALM OF THANKS
GIVING. PSALM XCVIU. 6.
THESE words, like many others in the Psalms of
Music will need no other recommendation to our attention as an important subject, when it shall be understood, as I mean to shew in the first place, that it derives its origin from God himself: whence it will follow, that so far as it is God's work, it is his property, and may certainly be applied as such to his service. The question will be, whether it may be applied to any thing else.
What share soever man may seem to have in modi. fying, all that is found in this world to delight the senses, is primarily the work of God. Wine is prepared by human labour: but it is given to us in the grape by the Creator. The prismatic glass is the work of art; but the glorigus colours which it exhibits to the eye are from him who said, Let there be light. Man is the contriver of musical instruments; but the principles of harmony are in the elements of nature; and the greatest of instruments, as we shall soon discover, was formed by the Creator himself. The element of air was as certainly ordained to give us harmonious sounds in due measure, as to give respiration to the lungs. This fluid' is so constituted as to make thousands of pulses at an invariable rate, by means of which the proportions and coincidences of musical sounds are exactly preserved. The same wisdom which established the seven conspicuous lights of the firmament, which gave names to the periodical measure of time in a week; and which hath distinguished the severi primary colours in the element of light, hath given the same limits to the scale of musical degrees, all the varieties of which are comprehended within the number seven..
In the philosophical theory of musical sounds, we discover some certain laws which demonstrate that the divine wisdom hath had respect and made provision for the delight of our senses, by accommodating the nature of sounds to the degree of our perception. As this must be a pleasing consideration to the lovers of music, I shall beg leave to enlarge upon it. :
There is no such thing in music as a simple or soli. tary sound. Every musical note, whether from a string, a pipe, or a bell, is attended by other smaller notes which arise out of it. When a string sounds in