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Recreations in Astronomy With Directions for Practical Experiments and Telescopic Work

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During all the ages there has been one bright and glittering page of loftiest wisdom unrolled before the eye of man. That this page may be read in every part, man's whole world turns him before it. This motion apparently changes the eternally stable stars into a moving panorama, but it is only so in appearance. The sky is a vast, immovable dial-plate of "that clock whose pendulum ticks ages instead of seconds," and whose time is eternity. The moon moves among the illuminated figures, traversing the dial quickly, like a second-hand, once a month. The sun, like a minute-hand, goes over the dial once a year. Various planets stand for hour-hands, moving over the dial in various periods reaching up to one hundred and sixty-four years; while the earth, like a ship of exploration, sails the infinite azure, bearing the observers to different points where they may investigate the infinite problems of this mighty machinery.

This dial not only shows present movements, but it keeps the history of uncounted ages past ready to be Page 4 read backward in proper order; and it has glorious volumes of prophecy, revealing the far-off future to any man who is able to look thereon, break the seals, and read the record. Glowing stars are the alphabet of this lofty page. They combine to form words. Meteors, rainbows, auroras, shifting groups of stars, make pictures vast and significant as the armies, angels, and falling stars in the Revelation of St. John—changing and progressive pictures of infinite wisdom and power.

Men have not yet advanced as far as those who saw the pictures John describes, and hence the panorama is not understood. That continuous speech that day after day uttereth is not heard; the knowledge that night after night showeth is not seen; and the invisible things of God from the creation of the world, even his eternal power and Godhead, clearly discoverable from things that are made, are not apprehended.

The greatest triumphs of men's minds have been in astronomy—and ever must be. We have not learned its alphabet yet. We read only easy lessons, with as many mistakes as happy guesses. But in time we shall know all the letters, become familiar with the combinations, be apt at their interpretation, and will read with facility the lessons of wisdom and power that are written on the earth, blazoned in the skies, and pictured by the flowers below and the rainbows above.

In order to know how worlds move and develop, we must create them; we must go back to their beginning, give their endowment of forces, and study the laws of their unfolding. This we can easily do by that faculty wherein man is likest his Father, a creative imagination. God creates and embodies; we create, but Page 5 it remains in thought only. But the creation is as bright, strong, clear, enduring, and real, as if it were embodied. Every one of us would make worlds enough to crush us, if we could embody as well as create. Our ambition would outrun our wisdom....