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importance, and this is, that you will give one-tenth of all you earn for charitable purposes. If any of you have not given your heart to the Saviour, as I just begged of you, do this right away. I wish you would read my tract, “KNOCKING AT THE Door," published by the American Tract Society. The Lord bless you, my dear children. Very affectionately,
EVENING CONVERSATIONS.-N0. IX.
BY REV. ROBERT SEWELL.
THE NEBULÆ, DOUBLE AND CHANGEABLE STARS. Ellen. I believe papa promised, at our last conversation upon the stars, to tell us next about the nebulæ, or those misty appearances of light which we see in various parts of the heavens.
Mamma. These phenomena afford us the most gigantic ideas of the immense area of creation. Upward of two thousand of these lucid beds have been discovered, and many of them, doubtless, containing more stars than we observe in the sky, even including the milky-way.
Papa. These nebulæ partake of various forms, and differ in brightness, giving proofs of the operation of mind, in the formation and position of matter.
Sarah. Have not these cloudy spots, generally, been proved by powerful glasses, to be multitudes of stars, whose distances cause them to have these hazy appearances ?
Papa. In most of them, the telescope shows this to be the case, but there are many which the strongest lens cannot resolve into stars; and some suppose they may be strata of light or gaseous matter, which is in process of consolidation, and from which future worlds, by the power of the Creator, will emanate.
John. I think you said, papa, that those nebulæ are of various forms, and exhibit various degrees of light or brightness.
Papa. Yes, some of them are comparatively bright; others so obscure, as to render it difficult to detect them. Some appear to be round, some oval, others of a long, elliptic shape; some exhibit an annular form, like luminous rings, and others are like ellipses, with dark spaces in their centres; but the greater number approximate to a roundish form.
Mamma. Some astronomers have calculated the number of stars in the milky-way to be upward of ten millions, and then reckoning the twenty thousand nebulæ, each containing as many, and we have the amazing sum of more than twenty thousand millions of stars, within the reach of telescopic view; and Professor Mitchell fearlessly asserts that the day never will come, when the centre of the universe will be found by man. Taking this view of the heavens, we see a mighty plan, rising in magnitude by the same principles of progress and growth, as we behold in the more minute works of Creation. Systems are collected into clusters; these are arranged into firmaments, and even those distant firmaments appear to be connected with each other, and not strewn about in the regions of space, as if done by the hand of an undesigning or unskillful agency.
Sarah. There appears, then, to be no part of nature unoccupied ; and the old proverb, that “Nature abhors a vacuum,” is literally true.
Papa. The farther we pry into the regions of space, the number of the starry host appear to multiply, and the limits of creation to extend and widen. Coleridge remarks, “It is surely not impossible, that to some infinitely superior being the whole universe may appear as one plain, the distance between planet and planet being only as pores in a grain of sand ; and the spaces between system and system no greater than the interval between one grain and a grain adjacent."
John. Do not the nebulæ, of which we have been conversing, change their form and appearance ?
Papa. One of these phenomena is so enormous that it sustains àn angle of 10' That, supposing it to be at the distance of a star of the eighth magnitude, its size must be at least more than three millions of times that of the sun. Its shape has undergone such visible changes that the surmise is not improbable, that here we have the germ of millions of worlds, to be evolved in future ages, where life, beauty, and intelligence are destined to play their various phases.
Ellen. Are any of these nebulæ visible to the naked eye ?
Papa. Yes, several. There is one in the girdle of Andromeda, the oldest known, and also the nearest, which has often been mistaken for a comet, and, on account of its beauty, has been styled the queen of nebulæ. Another immense phenomenon of this nature is seen in the sword of Orion ; which, by reason of its great distance, was never resolved into stars, until viewed through the mighty instrument, lately made and erected at his own expense, by Lord Ross, in Ireland, which is now enriching the world by its numerous and startling discoveries in the heavenly regions.
Sarah. You have mentioned, papa, that some of the nebulæ may be matter, from which new worlds may be emanating, by the power of the Almighty. I wish to ask, if any of the stars noted by former astronomers are now missing in the great fabric of nature.
Papa. Since the face of the heavens was first studied, upward of a dozen stars, whose places were laid down upon the maps of ancient philosophers, have disappeared, while several new ones have been discovered. Some of them have, for a time, shone forth with great effulgence, and then gradually disappeared. Formerly seven stars were numbered in the Pleiades, but now the naked dis. cerns but six. And besides the disappearance of stars, there are some that vary in their degree of brightness. One of the most remarkable of these is Algol, in the head of Medusa, which changes from the second to the fourth magnitude in the course of a little less than three days.
Ellen. Please tell us, papa, how this wonderful phenomenon can be accounted for ?
Papa. Some have supposed that vast portions of the surfaces of these stars are covered with large dark spots, which, during the diurnal rotation of the orb, present themselves under various angles, and thus produce a gradual variation in its brilliancy. Sir Isaac Newton thought that the sudden blaze of some stars may
have been occasioned by the falling of a comet into them, by which means they would be enabled to cast a prodigious light for a while; after which they would gradually return to their former state.
John. I think I have read, that many of the stars appear to be double, and even triple. Am I correct?
Papa. This is, indeed, a fact. Castor, one of the twin stars in Gemini, is a remarkable instance of it. But those double and triple bodies are now generally supposed to be occasioned by the proximity of certain stars to each other, which, by reason of their distance, appear to us to form but one sphere. But, upon close observation, it is found that these stars move around each other, giving us the grand idea of system moving around system, central suns carrying with them all their relative planets. Another remarkable discovery is, that several of the double stars, or binary systems, are found to emit rays of different colors. In such instances, the larger star is usually of a violet or orange hue, while the other appears to be either blue or green. Isolated stars, of a color almost as deep as blood, occur in many parts of the heavens, but no green or blue star, of any decided hue, has, we believe, ever been noticed, unassociated with a companion brighter than itself.
Mamma. These facts give us a sublime idea of the great beauty which exists among the works of the Creator. Not only the flowers and the wing of an insect are adorned, as it were, by the penciling of the Deity, but even worlds and systems partake of the same pleasing variety ; perhaps to call forth the admiration of intellectual beings.
Papa. I hope, my dear children, you will always feel it to be both a duty and a privilege to search into and consider the works of the Creator. To render the study of the stars still more interesting, I intend, as soon as I have opportunity, to take you to the observatory, where you will view some of these heavenly bodies under a telescopic appearance, and your admiration will be yet further increased. As it is growing late, we must now close this interesting conversation, and I hope we shall retire with feelings of profound reverence and adoration to that great and good Being whose sublime works we have been contemplating.
LESSONS FOR MOTHERS OR MATERNAL ASSOCIATIONS.
OME few years since we saw the Presi
dent of the United States pass through
were filled with the crowds. The windows and doors of the dwelling-houses and stores were thronged with spectators, and many were seen climbing up the posts, and into the trees, to see him. All were curious to see the President of the United States, because they had heard so much about him, and thought he was a great man. Perhaps some of our readers may have seen such a crowd of people turn out to see some great man, or to witness some great event.
So it was when our Saviour was on earth. As he went about doing good, from place to place, the people heard of him, and byand-by all the villages and cities throughout the country heard of his fame, and were very anxious to see him.
It so happened, on one of our Saviour's journeys, he passed through a city called Jericho, where there lived a man whose name was Zaccheus. Now Zaccheus was the chief
among the publicans, and he was rich. He had heard of the Saviour, and he sought to see Jesus, who he was, and could not for the press,