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And God made two great lights
, the greater light to rule the day, and the lefser light to rule the night he made the stars also. v. 15.
made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” (Ver. 14–19.) Instantly the sun glowed in the firmament of the heavens, and the moon and the stars also, each in its own appointed orbit; and the creation (I should gather from the verses I have quoted) not only embraced what is called the solar system, i. e., the sun, moon, and planets, but the whole of the celestial luminaries—“the starry host” - whether fixed or planetary.
The light of the first day was indeed glorious; but it had no glory, by reason of this glory that excelled; for the sun, the future source of light, was ALL GLORIOUS, and came forth on this, the first day of its creation, as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and rejoiced as a strong man to run his race. (Ps. xix.) And when, by the daily rotation of the earth, the sun had sunk in the western sky (the first sun-set in the new world) to light up in its course the other parts of the globe; then as the light faded away, that vast concave above us, which had been from the second day as the deep and heavy azure, now became illumined with innumerable bright and beautiful stars, some of one magnitude, some of another;—some comparatively so near to the earth, that the agitated atmosphere did not ruffle the
rays of light passing from them; others so remote, that though of amazing magnitude, they twinkled as their rays reached us. And then the moon, nearly at its full, rising in the opposite sky, where the sun had set, seemed to come forth the queen of the night, to rule over it as the sun had over the day; and so the evening and the morning were the fourth day. I remember, when very young, being struck with those sublime lines, I think of Dr. Young :
“ Behold this midnight glory! worlds on worlds !
Amazing pomp!-redouble this amaze;
The glory and the mercy of this fourth day's creation are so vast, that, like as it was on the third day, I hardly know where to begin, in describing them to you; for the sun is not only the source of light and heat to us, and the principal cause, under God, of all vegetation, but it also gives light to the moon and planets, which, in its absence, shine upon us. But in a lesser point of view, all our astronomical calculations depend entirely on the known distance, position, and motion of the heavenly bodies, which to all countries, and especially a commercial island, like our own, is of immense importance; and, excepting to those who have witnessed it, the accuracy with which the pathway of a ship is marked through the great ocean seems almost incredible ; so that it not unfrequently happens that a vessel will come from Sydney to the English Channel, and not be ten miles out of her