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By considering the law of gravitation which takes place throughout the solar system, it will be evident that the earth moves round the sun in a year. It has been stated and shown, that the power of gravity decreases as the square of the distance increases, and from this it follows with mathematical certainty, that when two or more bodies move round another as their centre of motion, the squares of the time of their periodical revolutions, will be in proportion to each other, as the cubes of their distances from the central body. This holds precisely with regard to the planets round the sun, and the satellites round their primaries, the relative distances of which are well known.
All globes which turn on their own axes, will be oblate spheroids, that is, their surfaces will be farther from their centres in the equatorial than in the polar regions ; for as the equatorial parts move with greater velocity, they will recede farthest from the axis of motion, and enlarge the equatorial diameter. That our earth is really of this figure, is demonstrable from the unequal vibrations of a pendulum, and the unequal length of degrees in different latitudes.
Since, then, the earth is higher at the equator than at the poles, the seas naturally would run toward the polar regions, and leave the equatorial parts dry, if the centrifugal force of these parts, by which the waters were carried thither, did not keep them from returning. Bodies near the poles are heavier than those nearer the earth's centre, where the whole force of the earth's attraction is accumulated. They are also heavier, because their centrifugal force is less on account of their diurnal motions being slower. For both these reasons,
bodies carried from the poles toward the equator, gradually lose part of their weight.
Experiments prove that a pendulum which vibrates seconds near the poles, vibrates slower near the equator, which shows that it is lighter, or less attracted there. To make it oscillate in the same time, it is found necessary to diminish its length. By comparing the different lengths of pendulums vibrating seconds at the equator, and at London; it is found that a pendulum must be 2,542 lines* shorter at the equator than at the poles.
INTERROGATIONS FOR SECTION THIRD. What is GRAVITY? Do falling bodies strike the surface of the earth at right angles?
Do falling bodies, near the earth, always direct their course to its centre ?
Where is the centre of gravity situated ?
When bodies are projected in a right line, what brings them to the earth?
If there were no attractive power at the centre of the earth, what would be the consequence were a body so projected, and not meeting any resistance from the air ?
We find that the moon moves round the earth in an orbit nearly circular. Why is it so?
Where is that attractive power situated ?
* A line is 1-12th part of an inch.
Where is the centre of attraction of the solar system placed ?
How far is the moon deflected by gravity from a tangent in one minute of time?
How far does a falling body descend in one second ?
In what proportion are the squares of the times of the periodical revolutions of all the planets ?
What will be the form of all planets which revolve on their own axes ?
Why will they be of that form?
Why is a pendulum vibrating seconds, shorter at the equator than at the poles ? What is the length of a pendulum vibrating seconds at the equator?
Ans. 39,2 inches.'
The contemplation of the heavenly bodies has a tendency to fill the mind with a devout adoration of the Supreme Ruler of the universe, and at the same time to sink the beholder in deep self abasement. Thus it was with the psalmist ;- When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and stars which thou hast ordaired, what is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou visitest him? That a view of the number of the stars, their magnitude, the exact order in which they move, naturally inspires the mind with a sense of the grandeur of the Deity, of the vastness of His wisdom and power, has been attested in all ages, and must be witnessed by every one who glances at the beautiful canopy over our heads. The study, therefore, of a science which unfolds the glories, displays the beauties, and developes the principles, which adorn and govern the heavenly world, must not only be delightful in itself, but must tend also to give the mind an enlarged view and a devout contemplation of the Creator's glory.
Like all other good things, this science has been abused, even to idolatrous purposes. Under the name of astrology--which signifies the doctrine of the stars-superstitious minds were led to connect the events of the world, and even the destinies of individuals, with an influence which the stars exerted over them.' Hence, the ancient astrologers, or fortune tellers, as they have been called, from ascertaining what star
man was born under, pretended to predict the even of his life, under a fancied belief that the heavenly bodies had a ruling influence over the physical and moral world.
These astrologers exerted for a long time an astonishing and most injurious control over the minds of an ignorant populace; but as the lights of true science
arose and shone upon the intellectual world, this species of sorcery has been exploded, and astronomy can be taught, understood, and believed, without connecting it with those sorceries, by which the minds of an ignorant and superstitious people were bewitched.
Indeed, it has been asserted by some, that no part of the works of God more strikingly exhibits His constantly superintending care than do the movements of the heavenly bodies. The laws which govern the planets which compose the solar system, though so far understood as to enable the astronomer accurately to calculate their results as to the times and seasons of their revolutions, are, nevertheless, so far beyond the reach of human investigations, that it is extremely difficult, if not utterly impossible, to account for their efficiency. Who is able to explain the causes which produce what are called the centrifugal and centripetal forces, propelling the heavenly bodies around in those circular and curvilineal directions by which their courses are distinguished? And who can explain in what the law of gravitation itself consists? Who, then, but He, who created all things by the word of His
power, and hung the earth pendulous in the vast expanse, can so regulate the immense machinery by which the planetary system is controlled, as to keep each planet in its own orbit, to make it move around its common centre with such exactness, and finally, so to manage them all, that one never interferes with, nor impedes the progress of another? Is this inexplicable machinery the effect of chance? Or have the laws by which it is governed originated from the fortuitous operation and movements of those bodies themselves ? Must we not rather say
“There God bas bid the globes of light
Their endless circuits run;
The day obeys the sun.'
His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years.' And in reference to the mysterious movements at, which we have glanced above, the same immortal bard has said,
"If they list to try
Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb.'
What if the sun
Progressive, retrograde, or standing still.'
· ETERNAL power, whose high abode
AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY.
In our last number we gave a condensed view of the operations of this society for the seventeenth year of its existence, as presented in the annual report for the year 1833. It was there stated that the number of Bibles and Testaments issued was ninety-one thousand, one hundred and sixty-eight, and that the whole amount expended was eighty-six thousand, three hundred and sixty-two dollars and twentyfive cents, and from thence concluded that each copy of the sacred Scriptures cost the community nearly one dollar.
We have received a communication from the Rev. Mr. Brigham, corresponding secretary of the American Bible Society, in which he states that twenty-two thousand dollars of this amount was paid to cancel an old bank debt, contracted during the general supply'• that fifteen thousand three hundred dollars were paid out in cash directly to missionary bodies to promote the printing and circulating the Scriptures in foreign countries'—that five thousand, two hundred and forty-two dollars and nine cents were also paid out for stereotype plates, and which were not ready to be used during the year. These sums make an aggregate amount of forty-two thousand, five hundred and forty-two dollars and nine cents, which ought to be subtracted from the amount said to have been expended in the manufacturing and distributing of Bibles and Testaments. We very gladly make this correction, as stated by the secretary, and shall rejoice to find that the institution can sustain the purity and integrity of its character so as to pass on unhurt through the fire of the most rigid scrutiny.
The error in the above statement would not have been so great, had the whole of what we had written for publication appeared ; but not having room for the whole, it was cut off at the place where it ended. The remainder of our remarks, therefore, so altered as to suit the above correction, are herewith subjoined, and those editors who may have copied from us, are requested to make the needful correction, and likewise publish any other portion of these remarks they may see fit. The additional remarks, which were intended
to accompany the statements published in our last, are the following :
So long as this benevolent institution shall keep steadily in view its primary objects, namely, the supplying the destitute poor with the word of life, on the cheapest possible terms, so long the religious, liberal, and charitable portion of the community will feel under an obligation to yield the Society its hearty support. But should the Society ever deviate from this straight forward path, by mingling other objects with it, by entering into competition with private and individual interests, by manufacturing and vending Bibles and Testaments merely for the purpose of swelling the annual amount of its business, and thus rendering extra salaried agents necessary for the completion of its objects, it would certainly lose that strong hold on the affections of the people which it has obtained, and which has called forth such spontaneous applause, as well as many acts of munificent support.
These remarks are made entirely in the spirit of friendliness, as the writer has entertained a great veneration for that noble institution, and has thought that it is almost the only religious benevolent society which could claim, with any show of justice, to be truly American, or national in its character. We are jealous, therefore, of its honor, and do not wish it to jeopard its high standing by any act which might seem to give cause of suspicion respecting the purity of its designs, or the benevolence of its objects. How far, also, the furnishing of missionary societies, which are purely denominational in their character, unless it distribute its donations equally among all sects, may hazard its reputation as a strictly national, and exclusively Bible society, we will not pretend to determine ; but we cannot but know that so far as a missionary is aided in his peculiar work by the liberality of the American Bible Society, so far the denomination to which he belongs is favored above others. We have been led to this remark, by perceiving in the treasurer's report, the following items of charge :• To cash paid the American Board of Commissioners,
for Foreign Missions, for Scriptures at Sandwich Islands
$ 5,000 00 Do. do. in Cherokee language
300 00 Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, for Scriptures in Burmah
5,000 00 American Board of Commissioners, for Foreign Missions, for Scriptures in Bombay
Making in all
$15,300 00 We do not wish to be understood as even suggesting that it is morally wrong thus to aid these respective missionary societies; but we would simply inquire whether it would not be less exceptionable for