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spondency? No: By no means. The prospects of the church were never brighter; were never so bright, so full of promise, as they now are. Behold, over the length and breadth of this land, what has God wrought for us. No, we need not despond. Upon us, as upon no age that has preceded us, the heavens are dropping fatness; God is shedding the most select and precious of his mercies. What if the sabbath is gone, as to any protection of it by law; and atheism and popery are plying their respective devices to arrest the progress of truth and salvation ;-and the enemy has, in many respects, come in like a flood? It is written, that the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him; and most cheering is the present fulfilment of that assurance. Let but christians do their part, and their salvation is nearer than they had believed. Let them cultivate a decided, stedfast, uncompromising piety, which shall justify them to each other and to the world, in laying claim to the full assurance of hope, and all is safe.

Ministers at the altar, we call upon you to set an example to your people, and hold out before the public the real character and claims of that religion, which it is your exalted privilege to teach. The stake depending on your fidelity to your trust, is inconceivably great. On the standard of piety among christians of this generation in our country, momentous consequences are suspended. You are forming the characters of those who are called upon to decide under God, what shall be the character and condition of our country for ages to come. It is with you, in the discharge of your proper duties, to set in operation an influence on the intellectual and moral habits of the people, which in after times, no christian and no patriot will be able to contemplate without emotions of sublime pleas

ure.

We call upon the churches throughout the land, wherever we can make our voice heard, to prepare themselves by aiming at a full assurance of hope, for a more determined resistance against the many adverse influences with which they have to contend. Be more decided christians, brethren. Think of what you can do; and let that be the measure of what you resolve you will do, in the cause of Jesus Christ. Pray more. Watch more. Give more. Labor more. And never grow weary of so blessed a work as yours.

We call upon men of influence and standing in the community, to "lift their views to a level with their station," and contribute their influence to form public opinion aright. Their voice, temperately but wisely uttered, will be heard and respected. In all our numerous popular assemblies throughout the land, continually receiving, and continually affecting in various ways the public sentiment, they hold a high and a responsible station. They are the

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organs through whom the people speak and act, and issues of the most solemn import are depending on their decisions. Guardians of the public weal, may we not then, in our humble character as christian spectators, appeal to you with confidence, in behalf of what we conceive to be the vital interests of our common country. Her prosperity we know you cherish with all the pride and ardor of patriotic feeling. But let it never be forgotten, no, not in moments of the greatest political excitement, that all her prosperity is suspended on the virtue and intelligence of her children-that the God of holiness is her protector; and consequently, that her strongest bulwark is the pure and stedfast piety of her churches, compared with which, her ocean ramparts, and the thunders of ber navy, and the chivalrous devotion of her armies to the cause of liberty, are nothing.

ART. VII.-THE LIFE OF SIR ISAAC NEWTON.

The life of Sir Isaac Newton, By David Brewster, LL.D. F.R.S. New-York: J. & J. Harper, 1831.

A FEW years since, when the "author of Waverley" was in his prime, and was pouring forth his stream of fiction with a redundancy which seemed to say,

Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis ævum,

the reading community appeared almost to have come to the conclusion, that sound knowledge was an intruder in good society, and should be condemned to close confinement in the study of the inveterate plodder, or the laboratory of the half-insane philosopher. At the present moment, however, it is gratifying to observe that a powerful reaction is taking place; that an appetite for substantial intellectual food is beginning to prevail; and that learning and genius are combining their efforts to supply it with wholesome nutriment. Instead of wearing any longer the scholastic garb, and confining her instructions to the retirements of the closet, science is putting on a popular attire, and introducing herself into the various circles of society, under the full conviction that her noblest end is to enlighten and improve the great body of mankind.

The work before us we regard, as one of the most interesting and successful attempts which have ever been made, to adapt scientific knowledge to the taste and capacity of general readers. It is not a little surprising however, that the man who seems by

common consent, to bear the palm of intellectual greatness whose name is associated in every enlightened nation, with the idea of all that is comprehensive in genius, and penetrating i research, should have been left so long without an extended and complete biography in his native language. The public may con gratulate themselves, however, that the task has at length fallen into such able hands. Himself one of the first philosophers of the age and acquainted experimentally with the difficulties and embarrassments to be encountered in the prosecution of original scientific researches, Dr. Brewster is eminently qualified to appreciate and portray the labors and character of Sir Isaac Newton. Connected as that great name is with the noblest achievments of philosophy, the work before us is very properly made to exhibit a general view of the progress of the human mind in threading the labyrinth of physical science, and of the present state of knowledge in relation to those subjects upon which such a flood of light was poured by him, who modestly contented himself with the title of "the interpreter of nature."

In tracing the progress of those inquiries which resulted in the discoveries of Newton, we need hardly say, that they had their origin, as far as astronomy is concerned, with Copernicus. Others had felt the utter absurdity of the received opinions, and had been groping after more consistent views; but it was reserved for him to rise a morning star upon the darkness, and to gild a dawn which was to brighten into perfect day. Copernicus was born at Thorn, in Prussia, in 1473. He first entered on the medical profession, but becoming dissatisfied with this pursuit, he devoted himself to the study of astronomy at Bologna, and subsequently became a teacher of mathematics at Rome. By the influence of a relative he was at length appointed to a canonry in the chapter of Frauenburg, and it was in the retirement which this situation afforded him, that he pursued his most important astronomical researches. After an attentive examination of existing theories, a diligent study of the heavens, and the most patient reflection upon the result of his inquiries-labors which engaged his attention for more than thirty years he at length completed his system of the universe. He did not however, awaken the prejudices of a narrow-minded and superstitious age, by throwing it at once before the world. He chose rather to permit his doctrines silently to work their way to notoriety; and it was not until 1543, thirteen years from its completion, that the whole work on the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies, was published at Nuremberg, at the expense of Cardinal Schonberg, and with a dedication to the Pope. Copernicus lived only to see a complete copy a few hours before his death.

In 1546, three years after the death of Copernicus, was born Tycho Brahe, at Kundstorp, in Norway. From observing an

eclipse of the sun, while a student at the university of Copenhagen, he conceived a passionate fondness for the study of astronomy; and gradually rose, first under the patronage of Peter Hainzell, burgomaster of the city of Augsburg, and afterwards under that of Frederick, king of Denmark, to the rank of the greatest astronomer of the age. Frederick conferred on him a canonry and a pension, which together afforded an income of three thousand crowns, and established for him the famous observatory of Uraniburg at the expense of 20,000l. Here for twenty one years he carried on his observations; but in the succeeding reign, that of Christian IV., the royal patronage was withdrawn from the observatory, and Tycho was reduced to the necessity of becoming an exile from his country. Under these circumstances, at the invitation of the emperor, Rodolph II., he repaired to Prague, where a pension was settled upon him, and an observatory erected for his use. He did not however long survive these changes fortune, but died at the age of fifty-five, leaving the valuable results of his observations to those who should come after him. He had discovered the variation of the moon's motion, the equation for the place of her apogee and nodes, and had determined the greatest and least elongation of her orbit; and though he rejected the system of Copernicus, he had carefully studied and recorded the phenomena of the heavens.

Tycho was succeeded in the field of discovery by John Kepler. This zealous laborer in the cause of science, was born at Wiel in Wirtemberg, in 1571. He was for several years professor of mathematics at Gratz, in Styria; but having been compelled, on account of his religious opinions, to quit that situation, he had been prevailed upon by Tycho to settle at Prague, and aid him in making his calculations. With all the observations of his prede-cessor before him, and with greatly superior powers of general reasoning, he applied himself patiently to the examination of established facts; and after many years of the severest study, he demonstrated successively the three great fundamental truths, usually denominated the laws of Kepler, viz: that the planets move in elliptical orbits; that equal areas are described in equal times; and that the squares of the periodic times, are as the cubes of their distances.

At the same time that Kepler was thus laying the foundation of physical astronomy, a distinguished contemporary was throwing open to the world a field of observation vastly more extensive, than had hitherto been conceived of by the human mind. This was Galileo, the son of a Florentine nobleman, and born at Pisa, in 1561. So early had he distinguished himself by his scientific attainments, that at the age of twenty-five, he was appointed by the

Grand Duke of Tuscany to the mathematical chair of his native city. At the age of forty five, while on a visit at Venice, he accidentally heard it reported, that a Dutchman of the name of Jansens had constructed an instrument by which objects at a dis tance were made to appear larger and more distinct. The subject immediately engaged his fixed attention: and being well acquainted with the properties of lenses, he soon constructed an instrument of such perfection, as "to show things almost a thousand times larger, and about thirty times nearer to the naked eye." Such was the origin of the telescope; and no sooner had its illustrious inventor brought it to a tolerable state of perfection, than he tried its wonderful powers upon the heavenly bodies; and on the first day of its use, he discovered three of the satellites of Jupiter, and shortly afterwards the fourth. In prosecuting his observations, he noticed the various appearances of the planet Venus, and thence inferred its revolution round the sun; detected the solar spots, and deduced from them the rotatory motion of that great central luminary; observed the peculiar appearances of Saturn, though without ascertaining the form of its ring, and discovered the moon's libration and inequalities of surface, with many other interesting and important facts. All his discoveries conspired to shake to its foundations the Ptolemaic system, and to establish that of Copernicus; and Galileo was ardently anticipating the day, when the world would hail with joy the rising light of truth. But in this he was mistaken. Prejudices which had lain undisturbed by the quiet labors of Copernicus, were now roused into active and bitter opposition; and to the deep dishonor of the age, the philosopher whose genius had laid open the secrets of distant worlds, was condemned, on a charge of heresy, to the dungeon of the Inquisition, where, though with some remission of the rigors of confinement, he finally closed his life, on the 8th of January 1642.

To these predecessors of Newton, may be added the names of Bouillaud, a native of Laon in France, Borelli, a Neapolitan, and Dr. Robert Hooke; each of whom made some advances upon those who had gone before him, and threw out important hints which were afterwards resolved into established facts. In astronomy, therefore, the path of discovery was fairly opened when Newton entered the field.

In optics, comparatively little progress had been made. Roger Bacon, in the thirteenth century, had bestowed some attention upon the subject. Of those who followed him, down to the time of Newton, some of the most conspicuous were the Diggeses, Kepler, Snell, Descartes, Boyle, Grimaldi, Hooke, Dr. Barrow, and Gregory, the inventor of the reflecting telescope. But their discoveries extended only to the reflexibility and refrangibility of light, and to

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