« НазадПродовжити »
“ Jabez Bunting (Chief of Pehiakura) said, “For eighteen years I have been called a Christian, but was a name only. I did not enjoy the salvation of Christ; and this was the case up to the present year. A short time ago I heard Mr. Henry Lawry preach from, “Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life.' He said, “Those who come aright shall be received, and such alone.' My fear began when I heard this word, and remembered what the lads' (Students at the Institution) 'had testified; and I resolved to seek that which many of them had found. I prayed to God, but felt my heart grow hard ; I determined to spend a week in solemn, fervent prayer; during one whole day I prayed, and then saw what a great sinner I was. I could neither eat nor sleep, day or night; I was in an agony.' (Here he sobbed, and was speechless for some time, his manly chest heaving with emotion, his manly face bathed in tears. After a while he resumed.) “This knowledge and sorrow did not come from myself, but from God, whom I sought and found, and now had peace and constant joy. I found the Lord at the Lord's table. He was made known unto me in breaking of bread. And now my heart cries to the Lord night and day. I wish to tell my countrymen everywhere of these things, which the Lord hath wrought.
“Timothy.—'I have just escaped from the belly of hell : I resolved more than ever to flee to Christ when I heard the sermon last evening.' (Saturday night.)
“ Paul.—' I have seen that I am lost as a sinner; but have determined to trust in Christ.'
“ Matthew.—'Long ago I embraced Christianity, but went astray in the war. Then I saw God looking upon me, and I was afraid. I was sorry for my sin, and felt more than I can tell at the last sacrament, when the great weeping took place.' (Referring to a most signal season of divine power which had recently occurred at the Institution, when the native members of the Pehiakura tribes had received the Lord's Supper.)
“James. The way in which I was brought to repentance was by hearing a sermon delivered by Mr. Buddle. I was then like the man described in Rom. vii. Great was my sorrow, and I cried, O my Father, my Saviour, turn unto
me, and forgive me my sin! Hell appeared open, and great was my distress; but God answered my prayer, and light, light brighter than day, spread over my heart: the joy of my spirit continues with me always.' (Here he wept profusely, and looked the things he could not utter.)
“William King.---- This is my thought: in this way I began to serve the Lord. I went to worship, but did not think God was the true God. Mine was a name, a fashion; but I was ignorant until I came from Taranaki to the Institution, where I began to feel that I was a sinner. My sins were not set on one side of me, but they were set before my eyes, and they looked me straight in the face! I then prayed all Saturday, Sunday, and all the next day: great was my sorrow, heavy my burden. But early the next morning I found peace, and was very happy in God's love. I felt that I was a child of God.' (This lad has travelled five to six hundred miles, to tell his friends that God has saved him from sin, and to exhort them to believe in Christ.)
“ Thomas Chapman.--Sickness came upon us, and I was afraid to die : I thought upon God, and saw that the wages of sin was death. I could not rest, but sought unto Jesus. I did seek him in right earnest, and found him; yea, I tied myself fast unto him, and unto his people.'”
THE NEW PLANET, NEPTUNE. In the able and interesting papers which contribute so much to the value of “ The Youth’s Instructer,” and with which our kind correspondent at Greenwich furnishes us monthly, the discovery of this new member of our system has already been noticed. But we have just seen the thirteenth Number of “ The North British Review,” in which there is an article giving a particular account of the discovery, and, as we may say, the discoverers. We are persuaded that our readers will be both gratified and edified (for we may rightly use the theological term) by a somewhat extended notice of the important subject. We shall, therefore, by extracting and condensing, compile a paper for our own Numbers.
So long ago as 1758, some disturbances in the motion of “Halley's Comet” led Clairaut, a celebrated astronomer at Paris, to hazard the opinion, they might be occasioned by some planet too distant for discovery. In 1781, Uranus was seen by Herschel, and astronomers soon became perplexed by the discrepancies between its observed and its calculated positions in its orbit, that is to say, its perturbations. And, before we go any farther, as these have had so much to do with the discovery of “ Neptune,” these shall be the subject of remark. The planets, it is commonly said, are all attracted by the sun. The truth is, all matter is under the universal law of gravity. The planets attract the sun, as well as the sun the planets: only, as the mass of the sun is so great, compared with that of the planets, the former is not particularly noticed. They likewise attract each other, sometimes more, sometimes less, according to their great or less distance. This mutual attraction causes perturbations; that is, so influences, by accelerating or retarding their motions in their respective orbits, that they arrive at different points in them sooner or later than would otherwise be the case : and it is a proof of the remarkable accuracy of the observations and calculations of astronomers, that these perturbations (the name applied by astronomers to such cases) are clearly perceived and noticed. And is not this wonderful? Here is a body distant from the sun about one thousand eight hundred millions of miles, as Uranus. The diameter of its orbit is double this, or three thousand six hundred millions; and its circumference about three times its diameter, or ten thousand eight hundred millions. It traverses this in eighty-four years, at the rate of one thousand five hundred miles an hour. Notwithstanding this, astronomers can fix the precise place in which it ought to be at any given time: and such are the perfection of the instruments and the carefulness of the observers, that it can be known whether the planet really is in that place, at that time. So nice are the calculations, so accurate the observations, that a variation (that is, perturbation) of only three minutes (a minute being the sixtieth part of a degree) can be distinctly perceived. Indeed, it is upon this seeiningly trivial circumstance that the important discovery of the New Planet rests.
On these perturbations we have only another observation to make ; but it is one that ought to excite our highest admiration, and lead to devout and humble adoration of Him who “ made the stars also.” It might be supposed that these disturbances might go on increasing, till the stability of the entire system would be affected, and were ultimately destroyed. But no. On the contrary; they supply, by the wonderful wisdom and power of the Creator, the means of its perpetuity. They mutually counteract each other, and, in effect, so neutralize each other, as actually (so nicely have they been calculated, so admirably adjusted) to preserve the balance of an exact regularity. Some of the greatest astronomers have made the necessary calculations, and ascertained the results. When the disturbances have reached a certain amount, a contrary effect takes place; the amount diminishes, disappears, appears in an opposite direction, and goes on till counteraction again commences, and the same effects take place, the issue of the whole being a well-balanced average of perpetual stability. Let the reader think of the numerous bodies in the solar system, and their ever-varying distances from each other, producing an ever-varying amount of action, disturbance, reaction, and restoration : and then let him think of the wisdom that has so ordered the sizes, distances, movements, and all the circumstances, of these bodies, that even disturbance produces regularity! They are placed under one law : its operations seem to threaten mischief: they are so adjusted, each to each, and each to all, that instead of mischief there is benefit! What do they not lose, who refuse to acquire a knowledge which presents so singular a proof and illustration of the wisdom that contrived the arrangement, and the power that at first effected, and continues to preserve it? What can baffle such wisdom? oppose such power ? And it is the wisdom and power of that ever-living God, of whom we may say, unless we are most destructively and guiltily wanting to ourselves, “ And this God,” the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, “ is our God for ever : he will be our guide unto death.” O! the rich blessedness of those who can so say; and who, knowing these instances illustrative of his character, make of their knowledge a fragrant gum which
they put on their censer, kindle it with the holy fire of divine love, and, in fervent and adoring praise, offer it before his altar as a sweet-smelling savour, acceptable to him through our “great High-Priest, Jesus the Son of God.” O reader, whenever thou reflectest on such subjects, pause to offer the tribute which it is thy happiness to be able to pay, thy greater happiness to be inclined to pay : say, in the very depths of thy spirit, and with all its fervour, “We praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord !”
Having briefly explained the nature and cause of these planetary perturbations, we resume the thread of our narrative. In 1821, Bouvard published his tables of observations, &c., on Uranus; and then, the disturbances, sometimes amounting to three minutes, (that is, there was this difference between the points where the planet was seen to be, and in which calculation said it ought to be, began to excite inquiry. The Rev. Mr. Hussey, of Hayes, in Kent, conceived that they might be caused by some body beyond the planet. The fact was established. No power from within its orbit could explain it. There must be a cause. Is it to be found in some body without ? A dozen years afterwards Bouvard and Hussey met, and their conversation strengthened the notion till it almost became an opinion, and they wished particular attention to be directed to a certain quarter of the heavens by those who had the opportunity. Others, however, did not agree with them; and what might have been the discovery of 1834, was reserved for 1846.
A nephew of Bouvard's, however, did not lose sight of the subject; and the possibility of the existence of an extraUranian planet began to assume a more definite form in the minds of astronomers. In 1843, an illustrious astronomer, M. Bessel, visiting Sir John Herschel, stated his opinion that the perturbations of Uranus were only to be explained by the influence of an exterior planet.
In 1841, the subject particularly occupied the attention of Mr. J. C. Adams, then an Undergraduate of St. John's College, Cambridge. He was then studying for the usual degree ; but he formed (and committed to writing) the resolution, that he would, as soon as possible after taking his
Vol. XI. Second Series. O