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species inore, than to see a little creature, inhabiting a small spot amid innumerable worlds, taking a survey of the universe; comprehending its arrangement; and entering into the scheme of that wonderful connexion and correspondence of things, so reinote, and which the exertions of a God, alone, could have established

This science was known to the ancients; but to what extent or accuracy, their opinions are too broken and obscure, to afford full information. What Ptolemy relates of the observations of the heavens, by which Hipparchus reformed astronomy two thousand years ago, proves, indeed, that in the most remote periods, this sci ence was studied. In particular, it was highly cultivated by the Chaldæans. From Babylonia it passed into Egypt; soon after it was carried into Phænicia; and thence it was translated into Greece by Thales, who was the first of that nation who could calculate an eclipse. Bụt the Greeks derived their purest knowledge of astronomy from the Pythagoreans, who asserted, that the earth and the planets moved round the sun, which was at rest in the centre of the system. It is also said, that the Greeks improved their knowledge in astronomy, from


conversing with the Druids, who, according to Julius Cæsar, instructed their pupils in the science of the stars, and the magnitude of the heavenly bodies. From the Greeks, the Romans imbibed their information on the subject of the planetary worlds. And from these different fountains, chiefly through the channels of Arabia, did astronomical science pass into Europe. The old astronomy, supposed the earth fixed and quiescent in the centre, and that the heavenly bodies performed their revolutions round it. The new astronomy, or the Copernican, supposed the sun at rest in the centre, and the planets, with the earth, to move in ellipses round him.

The system of Copernicus, which he published about the year 1500, and which undoubtedly is the most simple, the most conforınable to observation, and the most adequate to the explanation of the planetary phænomena, we thus see, is so far from being of even recent date, that it was in some respects, though perhaps not correctly, taught by Pythagoras, Aristarchus, and

Diogenes Laertius, and Plutarch, have transmitted to us their doctrine on this subject. The latter, speaking of the opinion of Timæus the Locrian,

says, those * Duten. Recherches.

many others.

says, that by holding the different planets to be animated, Timæus meant nothing more than that the sun, the moon, and the other planets, served for the mensuration of time, by their revolutions; and that the earth should not be imagined to be always stationary, but to have a circular motion, as since taught by Aristarchus of Samoś, and Seleucus. An hoc modo moveri statuebat terram, quo solem, lunam, & quinque planetas, quos conversionum causâ appellat instrumenta temporis. Et oportuit terram devinctam circa axem universi, non ita fabricatam intelligi, ut uno contenta loco maneret, sed quæ converteretur & circumageretur. Post modo Aristarchus & Seleucus OStenderunt. Aristarchus lived about 300 years before Christ.* The astronomers of our days, indeed, have carried their discoveries into the regions of the stars, and know the planetary system, better than Hipparchus, Ptolemy, or any others of the ancients. But some of the sublimest truths relative to this celestial science, (and which have not been firmly established among us for more than three centuries) were unquestionably known to several nations of antiquity. Their demonstrations have not come down to us; they have been lost. But, if in those writings which have escaped the injuries of time, we find variety of instances of the splendor and profundity of their meditations, we cannot but believe that some of the learned of those nations took the same pains, and might have been perhaps not much less successful than the moderns, in their speculations on astronomy. And this conjecture is strengthened by many of the titles that are preserved, of works which have perished.

With what people astronomical researches commenced, it would be vain to inquire. It has been said, astronomy has been known from the beginning of the world. But this, by say. ing too much, says little to the purpose.

As a science, it unquestionably is of ancient date. Nor would it be perhaps adventuring too far, were we to suppose it to have been known to those portions of the earth, to those lost people, whom we have supposed to have been submerged, when the present face of things was drawn into existence. All the various titles, says Bryant, that we find in the heathen mythology, we at last find comprized in Apollo, or the Sun. Hence his Priest was styled Purcon. Dionusus, Bacchus, however denominated, all related ultimately to the Sun. And hence, Selden re


marks, sit Osiris, sit Omphis, Nilus, Siris, sive quodcunque aliud ab Hierophantis usurpatum nomen, ad unum tandem solem, antiquissimum gentium numen, redeunt omnia. Hippa was anciently a title of Apollo, and was sometimes expressed in the masculine gender Ingos. Pausanias takes notice of a curious and remarkable piece of antiquity, though he almost destroys its meaning, by referring it to a horse. It stood near Mount Taygetus, in Laconia, and was called the Monument of Hippos. The Author tells us, that at particular distances from this Monument, stood seven pillars, XATI TGOTOV Obfeel agzallov, placed, says he, as I imagine, according to some ancient rule or method; which pillars were supposed to represent the seven planets. This, however rude, remarks Bryant (but here Bryant himself is in an error), is certainly the most antient representation upon record, and consequently the most curious of the planetary system.

To the Chaldæans, as to the first astronomers, we are directed to look by historians in general, both sacred and prophane. But properly speaking, there was no such nation as the Chaldæans; nor any such kingdom as Chaldæa. They are mentioned in the scriptures,


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