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the sake of the validity—to discern it, to attest it. When the office is duly constituted the church gives its sanction, because it thinks God has already given his; it sanctions that man as a minister whom it judges to have been previously made one by God; it receives from him the declaration, that he believes himself called to take the office on him; and the sanction which it then gives, amounts to a declaration that he also believes such to be the fact."--pp. 16—18, 20, 21.

When he reads these enlightened expositions of the scriptural opinions and practices of pur pastors respecting the ministry, our letter-writer will blush, if he be not past shame, for the slanders he has published against them.

We cannot follow the idle gossip and witless twaddle which our would-be "regular" dissenting minister has published, after the laborious collection of nearly twenty years ;* but as he glories in having told his mind, we shall in conclusion faithfully express our own. There are passages in his pamphlet which indicate a godly concern for the honour of Christ and the salvation of men — strangely at variance with its general tendency. The author, in the preface, confesses that “it is next to impossible to write what he has written, and in the way he has written it, without at times entertaining feelings which it would have been better could they have been avoided.” We, therefore, will not resent, as they deserve, his injurious, and, we must add, unjust statements; but assure him that our judgment is, that this epistle is far better adapted to gratify the infidel and the scoffer than to benefit the parties he wishes to reform. And, therefore, if the habit of treating with levity sacred and solemn themes, has not already blighted and withered in his soul, the fruit of the Spirit, we would recommend him to take this pamphlet to his closet, and there on his knees before God to ask himself whether he ought not to be humbled and confounded for so lamentable a violation of the laws of meekness, truth, and charity!

Astronomy and Scripture ; or some illustrations of that science and of

the Solar, Lunar, Stellar, and Terrestrial Phenomena of Holy Writ. By the Rev. T. Milner, M.A. London: J. Snow. 1843. 12mo.

pp. 394.

We have frequently taken occasion to recommend to the younger portion of our readers, the attentive perusal of various excellent books,

* Ex. gra.—“On one occasion, I have been told." “ Some few years ago." “ This brings to mind, a tale which was related to me.” “I could not help thinking of one or two old stories which I had heard.” Some sixteen or seventeen years ago." “Another short specimen of preaching some fourteen or fifteen years ago.” " I heard a tale a long time ago."

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on the connexion of science with revelation, and on the study of the material creation in its various departments. It has afforded us great pleasure, to speak to our friends of the value of those labours, which have been devoted to such studies by Wiseman, Smith, Dick, Redford, Duncan, Mudie, and many others; and we are happy now to be able to recommend another volume for the libraries of that interesting class for whom it has been prepared. Mr. Milner states that,

“ The object of this volume is to illustrate the relation between the chief facts of Astronomy, and the general testimony of Scripture, with a view to promote the interests of religion and science. It is written popularly, being intended for the use of those classes of young persons who revere the word of God, and seek an acquaintance with His works."

Keeping this object in view, he presents to his readers a very interesting collection of astronomical facts, and details the various ways in which those facts were discovered.

Before opening this or any volume which professes to examine the facts of a science in connexion with inspired Scripture, it is necessary that the object of the writer should be properly understood. That object is not to teach the science which may be brought under review, but to select from it such portions as may come into contact with any part of revealed truth, for the purpose of showing the harmony that exists between them. If the design of the writer be not clearly understood, he may be very foolishly censured for not giving a full and comprehensive treatise, or presenting some new facts, while at the same time it was no part of his plan to do the one or the other. We have heard of the writer of some three-penny pamphlet, who in this way erected himself into the office of censor on Dr. Chalmers, because his astronomical discourses conveyed but little astronomical science, while it was not the design of Dr. Chalmers to do more than show that the leading and well-known facts of astronomy were not contradictory to revelation. If it should therefore be objected to the volume before us, that it does not convey any new facts, it will be sufficient to reply that it was not the writer's design to do so, that design being to show the harmony of Scripture with the sublime science of which he treats, and to bring its facts to the illustration of the various passages in which allusion is made to them: in that design, he has in our opinion succeeded to admiration. But our readers shall judge for themselves.

We have been much pleased with the light which the following passage throws on the controversy of Elijah with the priests of Baal :

“We may trace the same progression from bad to worse, in the rites, as well as in the objects of the ancient idolatry. From the simple act of veneration mentioned by Job, there appears to have been a corresponding transition to grosser usages, as the human mind came under the dominion of more earthly and debasing forms of superstition. The prophet Jeremiah speaks of the Jews offering cakes to the queen of heaven.' This was at an era when the celestial orbs were served through the medium of graven images, and was a wide remove from the salutation with the hand and the lips, of the moon 'walking in brightness.' Then, as a further progress, came the offering of animal and human victims, with the infliction of self-torture. The priests of Baal offered the sacrifice of a bullock to him on Carmel, placing it on an altar upon which fagots were piled, and there they cried aloud, and cut themselves with knives and lancets, to induce him to be propitious, and assert his divinity by consuming the sacrifice with fire.

“ The symbolic character of Baal, as an emblem of the sun, is the true key to the interesting transaction on Mount Carmel. The sun attained his meridian splendour, but there was no voice, nor any that answered:' the sacrifice remained unconsumed. Adoring in Baal the great orb of day, here was a visible demonstration afforded to the people of the inefficiency of the object of their confidence and trust. At the hour of noon, when the solar rays are most intense, the vows and protestations of his worshipers appear to have been most vehement; for, if success were not attained then, it was less likely afterwards. The fagots upon the altar, which were not ignited by the fervour of the meridian sun, they could not expect to be enkindled by his evening beams. It is particularly noted that at noon Elijah mocked them.' Their defeat was now certain. The sun was undeified to their gaze—the wood was unconsumed, and thenceforth the strength of his rays must decline. Behind the heights of Carmel, and the blue billows of the Mediterranean, he descended without giving the required attestation of his divinity. The shades of evening began to gather over the scene of sacrifice. Then, at the bidding of the prophet, the fire came down, which the fanatical idolators were compelled to refer to the Being he invoked, the Lord who made heaven and earth!

“ The wisdom of Elijah is apparent in this transaction, in delaying the vindication of the aspersed honour of Jehovah, and the display of his own Divive authority, until the time of the evening sacrifice. However anxious he might be to convince the idolators of their error, and to assert the claims of the God of Abraham to exclusive deity, it was not the part of prudence to attempt it sooner. Had he proceeded to sacrifice, and to bring down the supernatural fire before the sun set, the people might have hailed it as the gift of their solar deity, have still magnified Baal, and have only honoured Elijah as standing higher in his favour than his established priesthood. But as this took place after the sun had disappeared, the demonstration was complete, that the light of heaven was but a powerless instrument in itself, and that the God of the prophet was the blessed and only Potentate.'”—pp. 24—26.

We are glad to have the opportunity of transferring to our pages, the views, given by Mr. Milner, on the prolongation of the day at the command of Joshua :

“The physical effect produced may thus be stated. The day was wearing away. The sun was declining in the western heavens. The moon was visible in her orbit. The ordinary hour was approaching, when the shadows of evening and night wrapped the world in darkness. But by supernatural means the period was deferred. The sun appeared stationary in the sky, and the light of day continued long beyond its natural term of duration, affording opportunity to Israel to finish the overthrow of their enemies. The moral design of the miracle was to vindicate the superintending providence of God, under whose direction Joshua acted; and to refute an idolatry which opposed his supremacy, by the defeat of his votaries, in the presence of their idol. The sun was one of the objects of Amorite worship; and an appearance of the laminary above the horizon, long after the time of his ordinary setting, while his


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worshipers were destroyed, was a practical proof of his inefficiency to them, and subordination to the God of Israel.

"A Divine volition would only be necessary, to stay the moon in her orbit, and to stop the diurnal revolution of the globe, when the phenomena of the sun and the moon standing still, would be presented to the senses of men. We may speculate upon the naturally fatal consequences following such a suspension of the laws of motion affecting the earth with an increased temperature, flirting out the waters from their basins, and producing disturbances in the general system of the universe ; but we ought reverently to remember the mighty hand of God,' to which, all things are possible.' We are not, however, informed as to the mode of operation. We are not in circumstances to decide upon that point. Nevertheless, with. out presumption, we may refer to a class of analogous phenomena, in relation to it.

“ From the refractive power of the atmosphere, the following effects result. The atmosphere being the densest at the horizon, the refraction is there the greatest. Hence the moon appears much larger to us in the horizon, than in the zenith, though really more distant from us by the entire semidiameter of the earth, and often distinctly exhibits an elliptical form, whence the phenomenon of the horizontal moon. Both these appearances are also true of the sun, though not so open to observation, owing to his greater splendour. The average amount of the horizontal refraction being equal to about the apparent diameter of the sun and moon, it follows, that when the sun's lower limb appears morning and evening just to rest on the horizon, his entire body is actually below it, and would be completely invisible but for the refraction of his rays. Owing to refraction, therefore, the sun's stay is daily prolonged in the heavens. His orb appears above the horizon in the western sky, when really beneath it. The natural day is lengthened out-an effect precisely similar in its nature to that which the miracle involved, in an extraordinary degree, in the time of Joshua.

“ The candid reader will not mistake the purport and design of these remarks. They are simply meant to relieve him of some difficulty, which many thoughtful minds have felt, in conceiving of the stupendous occurrence at Gibeon. They point us to analogous phenomena, transpiring upon a lesser scale, the product of agencies now in operation. Nothing is affirmed or insinuated in the sacred narrative as to the means employed. Nor are the foregoing observations intended to affirm or insinuate anything, upon a point with reference to which we are confessedly in the dark. They are merely advanced to convey the fact, that a similar effect, though in a far feebler degree, is daily produced by the common refractive power of the atmosphere; and that the cause operating intensely, the effect would be proportionably intense. It would not detract from the glory of the event, or infringe upon its miraculous character in the least, had we certain knowledge, that by giving increased refractive power to the atmosphere, the image of the sun was maintained above the horizon long after the actual body of the luminary had disappeared. This would as much require and evidence the will, control, and power of God, as stopping the revolution of the earth upon its axis, and commanding it to rest upon its poles.”—pp. 141–144.

We have omitted several remarkable cases of refraction, for which we must refer to the volume.

The remarks on the sun-dial of Ahaz, the whole of which we should be glad to copy, proceed on the principle assumed in the preceding observations. We must be satisfied with an extract:

" In the prophecy of Isaiah, the expression employed is, 'so the sun returned ten degrees.'* This is popular language, like that of the sun's rising and setting. It describes the appearance presented to the eye. The miracle consisted in the sun's apparent place in the heavens being altered—in his appearing to have retraced his course to the horizon ten degrees backward towards the zenith-causing a corresponding change in the shadow on the dial. There is no necessity for supposing the earth's diurnal motion to have been affected, and positive retrogradation on its axis to have taken place, in order to produce the effect produced. Increasing the density of the atmosphere, so as to cause an extraordinary refraction of the solar rays, would be sufficient for the purpose; and it is more congruous with the wisdom and perfections of God, to employ simple means to accomplish his will, rather than those that are complex. To give to Hezekiah and his people an assurance of the care of Providence, by a visible demonstration of power, was the object in view; and as this might be effected by causes that would operate locally, it is reasonable to suppose them to be employed, in preference to one which would have affected the whole mass of the globe. Singular effects have resulted from rapid changes in the constitution of the atmosphere, similar to the occurrence witnessed by the Jewish monarch. Romauld, prior of the cloister at Metz, on March 27th, 1703, observed the shadow on his dial to deviate an hour and a half, owing, doubtless, to some change transpiring in the condition of the atmosphere, affecting its refractive property. In the case of the retreating shadow on the sun-dial of Ahaz, the magnitude of the phenomenon, the prophet foretelling it, the monarch having the choice whether it should advance or retire, and what he chose being accomplished—these are elements which constitute the event strictly miraculous, though the agencies employed might be purely natural."--pp. 152, 153.

We should be happy to make our young friends still further acquainted with this excellent volume, but we can do no more than to produce in their minds a wish to examine leisurely its valuable contents ; and if the mere taste which we have given, should excite a desire for a larger supply, we can assure them that Mr. Milner has placed a very ample and very delightful repast within their reach.

We should add that the volume is embellished with one of Mr. Baxter's very beautiful oil-coloured engravings, representing a very wonderful instance of atmospheric refraction which appeared in England in 1698, when

“The real sun shone out with his usual brightness, as the centre there represented. On each side, a false sun appeared of nearly equal brightness, and perfectly white. At the same time, at a considerable distance, a half-sun was seen, having its convex side turned towards the real sun, and of a scarlet colour. It was at eight o'clock in the morning, and remained perfectly distinct for two hours.”—p. 145.

Sermons preached in the ordinary course of his Ministry, and chiefly at

Manchester, by the late R. J. M'All, LL.D. With a Portrait.

8vo. pp. 488. London : Jackson & Walford, 1843. The publication of another posthumous volume bearing the name and likeness of the late Rev. Dr. M‘All, appeared to us a proposal of no

* Isa, xxxviii. 8.

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