« 上一頁繼續 »
Now did your time permit, I might lead you through the solar system, and except in orbital conformity in Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and the larger planets, you would hardly find an instance in which any point coincided with the orbit of the earth. But when we make a minute examination of even these large bodies, the anomalies, so far as this hypothesis is concerned are not less glaring; Jupiter presenting the only instance in which a man might possibly believe the planet to have become what it it is by mere mechanical agency, while it would require a stretch of faith much greater than atheists allow should be exercised in the word of God, to conceive it even then. Whilst the plane of his orbit is inclined only 1° 19', his axis is inclined 3° 52', which is more than double that of his orbit. And in the case of Saturn, the inclination of whose orbit is nearly double that of Jupiter, the inclination of his axis to his orbit is most unatheistical, being so much as 30°. This planet is also surrounded with rings which revolve around him-their axis being parallel to the axis of Saturn, consequently both Saturn and his rings are inclined at an angle of 30° to the plane of the orbit they describe around the sun. His satellites revolve around him in nearly the same plane, with the exception of the outermost, which is inclined to the plane of his orbit 24° 56' only. Now here is a planet surrounded by a ring of the description required by this hypothesis, but it does not fulfil its conditions; for instead of being in the plane of its orbit, it faces it at an angle of 30°. And then this last-named satellite contradicts the theory again, by being nearly 6° nearer the plane from which its cosatellites have departed. Such contradictions to a theory one would almost esteem sufficient. these are not all, nor even the most contradictory, for when we come to the next planet, we meet with a greater contradiction still, for the axis of the satellites by which he is attended are nearly parallel to the
plane of the orbit of the planet, and they turn in the precisely opposite way to that of the other bodies in our system. A more flat contradiction could not be given to any theory than these facts present. And indeed they are so thoroughly beyond all rule, that mechanical creation seems in the light of such facts, to be perfectly absurd. The more we penetrate into the conditions required by this system, the more do we find the planets refusing to be tramelled by its requirements. Instead of moving in one plane they move in every plane-instead of their axis being perpendicular to the plane of their orbits, they range from 3 to 30°, while their moons obey not one of the imposed conditions. We have not by any means exhausted the points in which the solar system contradicts the nebular hypothesis, but will only notice one, which it seems to me proves their positions and motions to be derived not from the application of a blind mechanical force, but from the power and wisdom of an all-wise and mighty Creator. The hypothesis assures us that the original nebulous mass will move in a circle, and when it leaves a ring, that this ring will also move in a circle around the central nucleus. Well, we have a ring, or rather, I believe, four rings round saturn; do they then fulfil this condition of the nebular hypothesis? they do not. The axis of the ring is indeed parallel to the axis of Saturn, but they are not concentric with Saturn, but oscillate about his centre continuously. He must be wedded to atheism indeed, or totally unable to appreciate mechanical arrangements, who does not see that this fact establishes the interference of controlling intelligence, whilst it flatly and finally determines the destination of the nebular hypothesis. This system, by leaving the planets moving in circles, would leave a system in unstable equilibrium, and expose them to perpetual attacks from each other—whilst the eccentricity of their orbits, given by an all-wise Creator, furnishes a safeguard against these disturb
ing forces; and especially do we see this wisdom in the movements of such appendages as the rings of Saturn, which revolve within 3000 miles of his surface, and are surrounded and attracted often unequally by the revolution of the exterior satellites, for had they been projected from the surface of Saturn by vortical agency, and in perfect circles concentric with Saturn, these unequal forces of the satellites might have impelled the rings upon the planet; but now we see the wisdom of the architect of the universe, who in projecting these rings around the planet Saturn, has given them a composite motion, by the first part of which, viz: their great velocity, they are preserved against the action of the planet itself; and the second an oscillation by which they are preserved from attacks from without by superior satellites. For this last motion the nebular theory furnishes no generating power, it stands out in bold relief, exclaiming with the retrogade movement of the satellites of Uranus, 'the hand that made us is Divine.' I might here introduce the subject of the density of these bodies as presented by this hypothesis and by actual facts-Venus being nearer the sun but less dense than our earth, and many other matters-for as I have already said, these strictures do not by any means exhaust the discrepancies between the solar system and the nebular theory. They are decisive however of the intimated title of this lecture, that mechanical creation is a fallacy, and prove that whether God be good or merciful, that he is a skillful all-wise mechanic, who has boundless resources, infinite ingenuity, and wondrous adaptive skill. They farther prepare us for the revelation of the gospel, and induce us more readily to believe its wondrous declarations, by shewing that he who devised the scheme of redemption is indeed wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. They make our faith in Him more intelligent, our hopes more confident, when we see how he protects his mechani
cal productions from decay, and preserves by such varied and complicated devices their most simple and apparently unnecessary parts-for the human mind cannot fail to discern in all this caution, that itself may have a share, and while the Bible teaches us to say, "Our Father who art in heaven," and "give us this day our daily bread," and reveals a scheme of compensations by which our sins may be forgiven, we can look up to the stars which bespangle the firmament, and in the minutest as in the greatest matters, read the power, wisdom, and control of our Father, and feel all doubts as to destiny removed, when holding fast by him who is the centre of all things, the guide and governor of all worlds, whose hand none can stay from working, or say what or why doest thou?
I have not done more than enter upon the subject of the lecture-the vast field of geology is still untouched, shewing wondrous creations of species in their places and ages, which nothing but creative power specially exerted could have accomplished. I have, so to speak, only set the door of the temple slightly ajar, and though from even this small opening we have seen the Divine Hand moving and controlling the various and glorious orbs that roll in the immensity of space-yet the subject invites and claims farther consideration, and offers the assurance that the deeper we penetrate, the more satisfactory will become the conviction, that verily there is a God, who ruleth in the heavens above and the earth beneath.
BY CHARLES COWDEN CLARKE, ESQ.
[Delivered at the Royal Manchester Institution, Sep., 1856.]
Life of Molière. Friendship of the Prince de Condè. Moliere's passion for the stage. His change of name. False family pride. Facility of composition. His wit and polished style. Marriage and private life. French wit and humour.
Jean Baptiste Poquelin, surnamed Molière, was born in Paris in 1662, six years after the death of our own Shakspere. He was the son of an upholsterer, but several of his family had held honourable posts in the French metropolis. The eldest of six children, young Poquelin was destined to follow the trade of his father; and until the age of 14 he did so, with few of the advantages of a liberal education. His mother, who knew her son's ardent thirst for knowledge, aided by his grandfather, obtained the paternal sanction to procuring him better instruction; and when the boy was placed at college, the old gentleman used to take him of an evening to the theatre with him, a circumstance to which may very naturally be traced the origin of Molière's dramatic bent.
Molière's education advanced in proportion with his own superior mental endowments, and he became an accomplished scholar. Among several others who afterwards proved eminent men in their several careers, one of his fellow-students was the Prince de