Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  Titus 2:13

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As an illustration of the immensity of our sun we quote from Dick's Celestial Scenery, 214: "There is no point on the surface of the globe that unites so many awful and sublime objects as the top of Etna, and no imagination has dared to form a description of so glorious and magnificent a scene. The body of the sun is seen rising from the ocean, immense tracts of both sea and land intervening; the islands of Panara, Alicudi, Lipari, Stromboli and Volcano, with their smoking summits, appear under your feet, and you look down on the whole of Sicily as on a map, and can trace every river through all its windings from its source to its mouth. The view is absolutely [relatively] boundless on every side, so that the sight is everywhere lost in immensity. Yet the glorious and expansive prospect is comprised within a circle of about 240 miles in diameter and 754 in circumference, containing 45,240 square miles, which only 1/53,776,608 part of the surface of the sun; so that 53,777,608 landscapes such as are beheld from Mt. Etna behooved to pass before us before we could contemplate a surface as expansive as that of the sun; and if every such landscape were to occupy two hours in the contemplation, as supposed above, it would require 24,554 years before the whole surface of this immense globe could be in this manner surveyed, and twice that number of years (49,108), if the time of daylight, averaging 12 hours a day, were taken for the said survey." Surely, this gives us some idea of the sun's immensity!

 

We will now, as an elaboration of the thought of the magnitude of the solar system, as a feature of the magnitude of the universe, enlarge somewhat on the planets of our solar system. In so far as yet discovered, these in the order of their distance from the sun are: Vulcan, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars (the asteroids come next), Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Of these, Vulcan is the nearest to the sun and is at the same time the smallest of the planets. It is so

 

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seldom seen that some astronomers ignore its existence, some even deny its existence, though others affirm its existence as a thing they have observed. Its orbital path has a mean distance of approximately 15,000,000 miles from the sun. Because of its being but seldom seen it is not yet known how long its day and year are, i.e., how long it requires to rotate on its axis and to revolve about its orbit. Its mean distance from the sun (15,000,000 miles), while small compared with the distances of the other planets of our solar system from the sun, and negligible when compared with the distances of the other suns of the universe from us, is nevertheless large when viewed by itself; for to cover the same distance one would have to circumvent our earth 600 times at the equator, surely an immense distance! Mercury, the next planet in order from the sun is larger and is seen much more often than Vulcan, yet it is comparatively seldom seen, and to be seen must be searched for with an instrument. Its orbit is nearly two and a half times farther away from the sun than that of Vulcan, i.e., about 36,000,000 miles, or 1,440 times the distance around the earth at the equator. Its diameter is 3,100 miles, about ⅜ the size of the earth's diameter. Its circumference is nearly 10,000 miles, and it revolves about its orbit in 88 days. Thus its year is not quite ¼ as long as the earth's year. But its axial rotation is just a few minutes less than 24 hours, the length of our earth's axial rotation.

 

Next after Mercury comes Venus. Next to our full, or nearly full moon, as viewed from the earth, it is the brightest body in the heavens, and is much brighter than Sirius, the to us brightest of the stars, as distinct from planets. Venus is our nearest neighbor among the planets, though much more distant than our moon. It is about 67,200,000 miles distant from the sun, i.e., 2,689 times the distance around the earth at the equator. Its diameter and circumference are about 7,600 and nearly 24,000 miles respectively. It makes a complete

 

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revolution about its orbit every 225 days. Thus its year is about ⅔ as long as our year. Its axial rotation is between 23 and 24 hours, practically as long as our day. Its atmosphere is about as deep as that of our earth, and its beauty can best be appreciated when it is the morning star, gloriously heralding the day. Our earth is the next planet in distance from the sun. Its diameter and circumference are approximately 8,000 and 25,000 miles respectively. Its orbit encircles the sun at a distance of approximately 92,900,000 miles, or 3,712 times the distance around the earth at the equator, and thus is about 25,000,000 miles farther from the sun than Venus. All of us, of course, know the length of its year and day. Vulcan, Mercury and Venus have no moons, the earth being the planet nearest the sun having one. Its moon, especially when full, is beautiful, though that beauty is a reflected one. It encircles the earth approximately every 29½ days, giving us the lunar month. Its orbit is about 240,000 miles from the earth, its diameter being somewhat over 2,000 miles and its circumference a little more than 6,000 miles. Its bulk is about 1/50 of that of the earth. Our knowledge of the earth has helped greatly in solving many problems connected with the other planets and the suns.

 

Mars is the planet next farther away from the sun. It is in distance about 141,500,000 miles from the sun, i.e., 5,660 times the distance around the earth at the equator. While each successive planet hitherto studied is bulkier than its predecessor, Mars is not, as might be expected, larger than the two preceding ones. It is smaller than either Earth or Venus, having a diameter of 4,100 miles and a circumference just a little less than 13,000 miles. It rotates on its axis just a little more slowly than the earth and Venus, viz., in 24½ hours, but its year is much longer than that of either, being 687 days. It has two moons, each of which is smaller than that of the earth. Still farther

 

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out from the sun, scattered therefrom at about a distance of from 200,000,000 to 483,300,000 miles, where we should expect mathematically to find another planet, we run into the planetoids, of which there are more than 1,000 so far noted. Ceres, the first seen of these, was discovered Jan. 1, 1801, and practically every year since new ones have been discovered and presumably this will continue indefinitely. Ceres, the largest of these, has a diameter of 485 miles. Combinedly they do not have so large a bulk as Mercury. They are supposed to be the fragments of an exploded planet, which once was situated between Mars and Jupiter, where these planetoids, except a few, now are. The orbit of one of these, Eros, discovered in 1898, at perihelion comes within 13,000,000 miles of the earth; and another of these, Hidalgo, discovered in 1922, in the most distant part of its orbit goes out as far as that of Jupiter and has a mean distance from the sun slightly greater than that of Jupiter.

Jupiter, the largest of the planets, is the next one after Mars farther out from the sun. Most of the planetoids, as shown above, remain between Mars and Jupiter. The latter's distance from the sun is 483,300,000 miles, i.e., as far from the sun as one would travel to journey around the earth at the equator 19,332 times. Its diameter is 88,700 miles and its circumference about 280,000 miles. Its diameter and circumference are more than eleven times those of the earth. It would take more than 1,300 planets the size of our earth to equal Jupiter's volume.

 

Jupiter has nine moons, one of which is larger than Mercury and can at times be seen by the naked eye, four of its moons being easily visible by even a small telescope. Its day is of but ten hours, which means that its equator moves through space at the rate of 28,000 miles an hour; and its year is nearly as long as twelve of our years, i.e., it takes Jupiter nearly twelve years to encircle the sun. The next planet after Jupiter is Saturn, which is, also,

 

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the second largest of the planets. It is 886,100,000 miles from the sun, more than 402,000,000 miles farther out than Jupiter, i.e., its distance from the sun is 35,440 times the distance around the earth at the equator. Its diameter is 75,100 miles and its circumference is about 237,000 miles. Its day is about 10½ hours, which means that its equator moves through space at the rate of 22,571 miles an hour; and its year is nearly 29½ of ours, i.e., it takes Saturn nearly 29½ years to encircle the sun. Its volume is 750 times that of the earth. The rings of Saturn, not seen by the naked eye, make it an indescribably beautiful planet, more so than any other planet, though to the naked eye it is not nearly so brilliant as Jupiter, not to mention Venus. There are three of these rings, the outer one having a diameter of 170,000 miles, the middle one a diameter of 145,000 miles and the inner one a diameter of 113,000 miles. We believe they entirely enclose Saturn as canopies. It also has nine moons.

 

Uranus is the next planet farther out from the sun. Its distance from the sun is 1,782,800,000 miles, or 71,312 times as far from the sun as the length of the circumference of the earth at the equator. It is nearly 900,000,000 miles farther out than Saturn. Its diameter is about 30,900 miles and its circumference is about 97,500 miles, nearly four times that of our earth. Its day, axial rotation, is 10.7 hours which means that at its equator its speed is 9,112 miles every hour; and its year, orbital revolution, is more than 84 years, during which it travels nearly 6,000,000,000 miles. Its volume is 59 times that of our earth. It is invisible to the naked eye, but even a moderate telescope brings it into view, and it has at least four moons. Until recently Neptune, the next planet farther away from the sun, was considered the last of our sun's planets. It is more than 1,010,000,000 miles farther out than Uranus, i.e., 2,793,500,000 miles from the sun, or 111,740 times farther than the length of the circumference

 

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of the earth at the equator. Its diameter is 33,900 miles and its circumference is nearly 107,000 miles, over four times that of our earth; and in volume it is 72 times that of our earth. Its day is 15.7 hours, which means that its speed at its equator is 6,815 miles per hour, and its year is more than 164¾ of earth's years. Pluto, discovered but several years ago, is, so far as our present knowledge goes, the farthest out of the planets from our sun, and is; perhaps, the oldest known planet of our solar system. Knowledge of it is as yet scant because of the recency of its discovery, its immense distance and comparatively small size, which is about that of the earth. Its diameter and circumference are about equal to those of our earth, the exact dimensions being not yet accurately known. Its mean distance from the sun is 3,679,000,000 miles, or 147,160 times the distance around the earth at the equator, and hence it is 885,500,000 miles beyond Neptune. However, its orbit is varyingly distant from the sun—from 2,744,000,000 to 4,613,000,000 miles! It takes 249 years for it to encircle the sun, i.e., its year is 249 times as long as ours. Nothing as yet is known about the length of time required for it to rotate on its axis, because it appears like a point in the telescope and does not show a disc. Hence we cannot tell how long its day is, or the rate of speed at its equator. Just like Uranus and Neptune, its existence was demonstrated mathematically before it was actually discovered.

 

Surely, the above briefly stated facts on our sun and its planets show us the immensity of the solar system. Some other facts will still further show this, especially the length of the orbits of the planets and their speed through space. Thus, Vulcan's orbit is 94,246,000 miles, that of Mercury 226,195,000, that of Venus 422,231,000, that of Earth 584,000,000, that of Mars 889,072,000, that of Jupiter 3,036,670,000, that of Saturn 5,567,543,000, that of Uranus 11,101,690,000, that of Neptune 17,552,120,000 and that of Pluto 23,116,000,000

 

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miles. Even the smallest of these figures is immense, but the largest is so great that it gives us but a faint idea of what it means. But certainly they convey to our minds the immensity in the sweep with which these planets travel around their orbits. As the following will show: There are 86,400 seconds in a day (60 x 60 x 24 = 86,400). Since there are 365.25636 days in a year, we multiply this figure by 86,400 and get 31,557,149.5+, as the number of seconds in a year. If we divide this figure into the miles of the earth's orbit we have the rate of speed per second that the earth travels on its orbit. Thus 584,000,000 ÷ 31,557,149.5+ = 18.5+, which means that our earth travels its orbit at the rate of 18½ miles a second in order to complete the circuit of its orbit yearly. Mercury traverses its orbit in 88 days, which multiplied by 86,400 gives us the seconds required to make its circuit, i.e., 7,603,200 seconds. This figure divided into the miles of Mercury's orbit (226,195,000) gives us the rate that Mercury travels its orbit, which is 29.75 miles a second. Venus traverses its orbit in 225 days, or in 19,440,000 seconds, which divided into 422,231,000, the miles in Venus' orbit, gives as the rate of Venus' movement on its orbit 21.79 miles per second. Mars completes its orbit in 687 days, or in 59,356,800 seconds, and travels during that time 889,072,800 miles, which means that it travels 14.97+ miles a second.

 

Jupiter covers its orbit of 3,036,670,000 miles in 11.862 years, or in 374,330,907.37 seconds, which makes its rate of travel 8.38 miles a second. Saturn's orbit is 5,567,543,000 miles, which it runs in 29.458 years, or 929,610,510 seconds. This makes it move orbitally at the rate of 5.99 miles a second. Uranus' orbit of 11,101,690,000 miles takes it 84.015 years, or 2,651,273,915 seconds to travel, which makes its orbital rate 4.19 miles a second. Neptune negotiates its course of 17,552,120,000 miles in 164.788 years, or 4,800,236,552 seconds, which gives us an orbital rate of 3.6

 

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miles a second as the pace that Neptune sets in covering its orbit. Pluto covers its orbit of 23,116,000,000 miles in approximately 249 years, or 7,857,730,225 seconds, which gives us 2.95+ miles a second as its speed along its orbit. These figures prove that the nearer a planet is to the sun the more rapidly does it move along its orbit per second, so that whereas Mercury, the nearest planet to the sun, except Vulcan, travels at the rate of 29.75 miles per second, Pluto, the farthest known planet from the sun travels, relatively speaking, lazily along at the rate of 2.95 miles a second. We have not given Vulcan's rate because it has been seen by so few and at intervals of so many years that its year is not known exactly. Its speed on its orbit is probably about 45 miles per second. Even Pluto moves more rapidly than the most rapidly moving shell ever discharged from a gun. The shells discharged from the great gun by which the Germans bombarded Paris at a distance of about 75 miles moved at the rate of 1.1 miles a second. Pluto moves nearly three times that rapidly and Mercury more than 27 times that rapidly, while the probable speed of Vulcan is nearly 40 times as rapid. Certainly these facts help us to a better appreciation of the immensity of the solar system.

 

The figures on distances above given are so great that we cannot really understand them as written out before our eyes. Perhaps some illustrations could help us better to see these matters. Let us for impressiveness' sake show these distances in the time duration of an imaginary airplane trip taken from the sun past all its planets, even to Pluto. Let us suppose this airplane to travel at the rate of 115 miles an hour, the average speed of commercial airplane travel. We take this figure because at this rate of speed without a stop it takes just one year to travel approximately 1,000,000 miles. This means that it would take us in our airplane trip from the sun 15 years to reach Vulcan, 36 years to reach Mercury, 67.2 years to reach Venus, 92.9

 

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years to reach Earth; 141.5 years to reach Mars, 341.7 years to reach the center of the asteroids, 483.3 years to reach Jupiter, 886.1 years to reach Saturn, 1,782.8 years to reach Uranus, 2,793.5 years to reach Neptune and 3,679 years to reach Pluto. E.g., had Amram started out on such a flight from the sun in 1747 B. C., i.e., 52 years before Moses was born, he would just now be arriving at Pluto! And for aught we know there may be more planets still further out from the sun than Pluto, which might make our suppositional trip last as long as from Adam's day to now or yet longer. These facts give us a fair idea of the immensity of our solar system.

 

Its vastness can be further seen when we compare its planets and moons in volume with our earth. One of these, Vulcan, is much smaller than our earth in volume. Mercury is .055, Venus is .826 and Mars is .151 as large as our earth in volume. Pluto is about the same as our earth in volume. The other planets are very much larger. Saturn 763, Uranus 59 and Neptune 72 times the volume of our earth. The mass of these planets is also immense. Volume and mass differ in this: the volume of a body equals its mass when divided by its density. Thus V=M/D. Thus volume is the amount of space enclosed within the bounding surface of a solid, while mass refers to the amount of matter in a body viewed generally as to weight. From this standpoint Vulcan's mass is as yet uncertain, but is supposed to be as heavy as lead. Mercury is in mass .037, Venus .826 and Mars .108 that of the earth. Pluto's mass is about a third as heavy as that of the earth. The mass of the other planets is much greater than that of the earth. Jupiter's is 318.4 times, Saturn's is

95.2 times, Uranus' is 14.6 times and Neptune's is 16.9 times that of the earth. Surely in volume and mass there is immensity in the solar system! When we consider its moons the same thought is borne in upon us. Our solar system has 26 known moons, Earth

 

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has one, Mars two, Jupiter nine, Saturn nine, Uranus four and Neptune one. Whether Pluto has any moons or not is as yet unknown, it being itself visible only as a tiny point, and any moon of it must be too small for detection by any of our present instruments. The known moons are in some cases quite large. That of the earth has a diameter of 2,163 miles and a circumference of 6,795+ miles. One of Jupiter's moons is larger than Mercury. Together these 26 satellites make up a vast volume and mass of matter. Each of these has its own orbit, these orbits being quite large. In the case of our moon the orbit is 1,507,968 miles around. One of our moon's mountains is over five miles high; and some of its craters are 100 miles in diameter! Other moons, e.g., Jupiter's, have still larger orbits.

 

With these thoughts we leave the subject of the immensity of our solar system and now desire to point out some of the things in the other solar systems suggestive of immensity. As is well known, our solar system is only one of many. We have given details on it, because it serves as an illustration of what the other solar systems are like. The nearest of these is so far distant that its planets are invisible to the world's largest telescope, whose reflector is 100 inches in diameter, and which is situated on Mt. Wilson, California, a short distance from Los Angeles. With the naked eye from the earth about 8,000 of the suns of these solar systems, commonly called stars, can be seen, though not more than 2,000 of them can thus be seen from any one position. The fact that they are absolutely fixed in the same relative position toward one another and to our sun, and the fact that they are self-luminous and vastly magnitudinous, prove them not to be planets, but to be suns like the center of our solar system. They are distributed at approximately equal distances apart at intervals of from 20,000,000,000,000, to 30,000,000,000,000 miles, which is about

 

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the distance of the nearest one of the stars, suns, from our earth. Thinking of ourselves as in the center of a sphere made up of sheets of stars successively following one another at uniform distances unto infinity, the nearest stars above, below and on all sides of us at the above-named distance may be considered the first sheet, the next set at that distance away from the first being the second sheet, and so on unto infinity. So viewed, which is the actual condition, we can with our naked eye see the stars that constitute the twelfth star sheet beyond us. This means that we can see with our naked eye suns from 240,000,000,000,000 to 360,000,000,000,000 miles away. The light and seeming size of these suns diminish as the ratio of their distance increases, until the Milky Way appears and then thick darkness beyond. Thus our eyes fail to give us further information beyond the twelfth sheet of stars. The telescope must now come to our assistance.

 

These distances are so great that their statement in figures can convey but little to our comprehension. Perhaps the flight of light may make it more impressive. Light travels 186,285 miles a second and 5,880,000,000,000 miles in a year. For the convenience of having a more even number, let us assume its rate to be 6,000,000,000,000 miles. This would mean that it would take from 40 to 60 years from the time a ray of light left the farthest star that our naked eye can see until it reaches us, and from 3⅓ to 5 years for such a ray to reach us from the star nearest to us. These figures show that our sun is from 20 to 30 trillion miles distant from its next neighbor sun. This implies that each sun rules a domain contained within a sphere whose diameter is from 20 to 30 trillion miles and whose circumference is from 62,832,000,000,000 to 94,248,000,000,000 miles. These figures suggest the great likelihood of there being planets in our solar system still farther away from the sun than Pluto, whose mean orbital distance from the sun, as shown above, is

 

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3,679,000,000, and whose extreme orbital distance from the sun is 4,613,000,000 miles. This leaves a space between Pluto's extreme distance from our sun and the limits of the sun's empire of from 19,995,387,000,000 to 29,995,387,000,000 miles, a space that seems too great to be utterly void. Reverting to our imaginary non-stop airplane trip begun in 1747 B. C. by Amram and just ended at Pluto, to reach the sun nearest our sun in the direction from our sun to Pluto it would take Amram from 20,000,000 years to 30,000,000 years, or from 1747 B. C. to 19,998,253 or 29,998,23 A. D., and to reach the twelfth sheet of stars would take him from 240,000,000 to 360,000,000 years! And to travel at 115 miles an hour is a speed of no mean rapidity.

 

But so far we have considered the dimensions of the universe as visible to the naked eye. And until a few centuries ago this is all that the universe was supposed to be; and that is why the ancients counted the stars in magnitude as from one to twelve. But the invention of the telescope bared very many more sheets of stars than the twelve visible to the unaided eye; for it not only magnified very greatly the first twelve sheets of stars, but penetrating much deeper into space it has multiplied these twelve by thousands. Each new sheet discovered increases the number of suns made known to us almost at the rate of geometrical progression. The great astronomer, Sir William Herschel, toward the end of the 18th century counted 500 of such sheets (each one of which has hundreds of thousands of suns) in the Milky Way alone. Late astronomical discoveries, aided by much larger telescopes than Herschel's, have brought to light thirteen other Milky Ways in every direction around the earth, each one respectively double the space that is between us and the Milky Way that we see with our unaided eyes. And in Barton's Guide to the Constellations, p. 12, the statement is made that "the total number of stars in our

 

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system of stars has been estimated to be 30,000,000,000"! As each presumably has as many planets, planetoids and moons as our solar system, this means that, so far as present knowledge goes, there are 300,000,000,000 planets, over 300,000,000,000,000 planetoids and 810,000,000,000 moons in the known universe. But since space is without limits and the laws of gravitation require an endless succession of solar systems, the number of discovered suns will greatly increase as more powerful telescopes are invented. With light traveling at the rate of approximately six trillion miles a year, it will take 390,000 years for it to reach us from the most distant suns now known! Some are so distant as to take their light millions of years to reach us!

 

Dr. Charlmers in his Astronomical Discourses says, "What is seen may be [yea, is] as nothing to what is unseen; for what is seen is limited by the range of our instruments. What is unseen has no limits; and though [if] all which the eyes of man can take in or his fancy can grasp were swept away, there might [yea, would] still remain as ample a field over which the Divinity may [would] expatiate, and which He may have [has] peopled with innumerable worlds. If the whole visible creation were to disappear, it would leave a solitude behind it; but to the Infinite Mind, that can take in the whole system of nature, this solitude might [would] be [as] nothing—a small unoccupied point in the immensity which surrounds it, and which He may have [has] filled with the wonders of his omnipotence [and omniscience] … Though [if] this earth and these heavens were to disappear, there are other worlds that roll afar; the light of other suns shines upon them and the skies which mantle them are garnished with other stars … The universe at large would suffer as little in its splendor and variety by the destruction of our planet as the verdure

 

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and sublime magnitude of a forest would suffer by the fall of a single leaf."

 

In the foregoing we have given very briefly some of the main facts furnished us by the science of astronomy, exhibiting immensity as one of the attributes of the universe, and certainly these stupendous facts thoroughly substantiate the proposition that the universe is immense. Since the Creator is greater than His creations and embodies the attributes that He works out in His creations, He must have the quality of immensity, not as to His body, but as to the qualities of His heart and mind. And, among other things, the immensity of the universe has convinced all astronomers, so far as we know, of God's existence and His immensity in attributes; for amid the comparatively many atheistic and agnostic scientists of our days astronomers are conspicuous by their absence. Never yet have we heard of an atheistic or agnostic astronomer; for the facts with which he occupies himself are too stupendous to permit him to entertain the thought of the fool who says, "There is no God." To us the stupendousness of the universe not only proves that there is a God, but it also proves that He is an omnipotent and omniscient God. By the contemplation of its immensity we are filled with the sense of wonder, awe, reverence, worship and adoration. "O, come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!" And through such contemplation sink heart and mind, amazed, beneath the sense of God's greatness and our littleness!

 

Hitherto we have discussed unity and immensity as attributes of God's creative works. The next of these to be presented is beauty, which certainly is an attribute of God's creative works. By beauty is meant that quality of an object by whose contemplation pleasurable emotions are aroused in a rational mind and heart. Usually by the term physical beauty is meant, though the word may be used of mental beauty,

 

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e.g., the beauty of truth, and of moral and religious beauty, e.g., the beauty of holiness. The fact that there is beauty in God's creative works implies that God in His body, mind and heart possesses the mark of beauty. Indeed He possesses it in an infinite degree, for all of its examples that so abundantly manifest themselves in animate and inanimate nature are merely reflections of it as it exists in God's heart and mind. Hence it is because God is beautiful in His body, heart and mind that He has endowed His animate and inanimate creation so richly and so variedly with examples of it. Hence, no lover of beauty or example of beauty can match the Lord in His love for, and exemplification of beauty, physical, mental, moral and religious, though His creation is so replete with it.

 

In animate nature there are many examples of beauty. In creeping things there is frequently a beauty of color and form that is most enchanting. Note some species of beetles and flies, particularly certain tropical ones, as examples of this. While in form the serpent is far from beautiful, yet at times their skins are so richly colored as to make them beautiful, despite their natural repulsiveness to us. The winged creation often exhibits a richness of plumage that makes its species indescribably beautiful. A fairly complete collection of butterflies, particularly of those from the tropics, exhibit beauty of form, color and texture hard to equal. This is more especially true of natives of the tropics, and semi-tropics, like the peacock and a thousand other species of tropical and semi-tropical birds. Some of the birds of the temperate zones are only a little less beautiful than their brethren of the tropics and semi-tropics, like the humming bird„ the red bird, the blue jay, the robin and the canary. Some of the quadrupeds are beautiful in the lines of grace that mark their bodies, like the antelope, the deer, the zebra, the race horse, the St. Bernard dog and the Russian hound. Even wild animals, like the tiger, lion, panther,

 

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leopard and jaguar have fine lines of beauty. And certainly the human figure, especially that of the well proportioned human female, is "beauty all." Some human faces are exquisitely beautiful, especially so the eyes of a handsome man or beautiful woman. These few examples, taken from animate nature, prove that beauty marks God's creative works as one of its attributes.

 

But usually when speaking of beauty in God's works one refers to inanimate nature. And certainly the earth, the sky and the heavens furnish us examples of marvelous beauty. Tastes differ, and that even in matters of beauty. But where the sense of beauty is well cultivated there is a general agreement on questions of beauty, however much there may be differences in matters of detail. In the examples that we are about to present, there is general agreement on these as being beautiful. How wonderfully beautiful is a graceful, snow clad mountain! We might use Mt. Ranier, one of the most beautiful mountains in America, as an illustration of mountain beauty. The fact that its base rises at about sea level and therefrom it towers "in single blessedness" nearly 15,000 feet above the beholder, gives it the appearance of height that very few other mountains give, since most other very high mountains are simply parts of a range whose surrounding mountains take away from them much of the impression of height and beauty. A velvety green carpet lies at Ranier's feet; magnificent forests luxuriate on its lap; verdant mosses and shrubs cover its hips and loins; wondrous glaciers nestle upon its bosom and eternal snows crown its head. And when the glow of the sunset guilds its whiteness with the golden shimmer of heaven, a sight of supreme beauty blesses the beholder, who is lost in rapturous delight at the prospect. The beauties of Mts. Hood, Shasta, Pike's Peak, McKinley, Whitney, St. Elias and Wrangell in the United States, of Logan in Canada,

 

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of Orizaba and Popocatepetl in Mexico, of Aconcagua in Argentina, of Sorata and Illimani in Bolivia, of Chimborazo and Antisana in Ecuador, of Tolima in Colombia, of Elburz in Russia, of Blanc in France, of Matterhorn, Yungfrau and Moench in Switzerland, of Rosa in Italy, of Kilimajaro, Kenia and Ruwenzoro in Africa, of Demavend in Persia, of Ararat in Armenia, of Everest in India and of Dapsang in Tibet, one and all exhibit wondrous scenes of beauty in cañons, precipices, gorges, falls, streams, glaciers and snow. To the writer mountains are the most beautiful inanimate objects on earth. As the backbones of the continents they impart a beauty to this earth that is simply indescribable. Their aspects as to sublimity will be mentioned later.

 

Waterfalls are another ornament of beauty for this earth. Like mountains, some of them have aspects of sublimity in addition to beauty. Both the eastern and western hemispheres are richly blessed with waterfalls. The loftiest of these are found in mountainous districts. The beauty of a cataract is not dependent so much on the large volume of water, rather on the small volume of water combined with great height. Accordingly, mighty cataracts, like the Niagara or Victoria, are not so beautiful as much higher and narrower falls. For this reason the falls, e.g., in the Yosemite are more beautiful than Niagara and Victoria Falls, though in sublimity the former falls cannot compare with the latter two falls. Who that has stood at the foot of the Yosemite Falls, gazing at its 2600 feet of descent, its first plunge of 1600 feet and its second plunge of 400, sandwiching in between them a series of cascades and rapids of a 600 feet descent in less than 1000 feet distance, and has not recognized that he has viewed one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful falls in the world. Who can ever forget the sight of beauty that breaks upon his vision when, about a half mile on the eleven miles valley trail from

 

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Glacier Point, which overlooks the Yosemite Valley, he catches the first view of Vernal Falls (300 feet), Nevada Falls (600 feet) and Illilouette Falls (300 feet), in one sweep of his eyes? And who does not go into ecstasies of delight at the laciness of Bridal Veil Falls (600 feet), the first of Yosemite's falls to greet his eyes as he enters that marvelous valley? Wondrously beautiful are the Yellowstone Falls in the National Park. Nor will one readily forget the 800 feet descent of Multonomah Falls in the Cascades, where they meet the mighty Columbia River. Many other beautiful falls are found in America, both on the West and the East coasts. Canada has some fine falls, e.g., The Grand Falls, the largest of whose cataracts is over 300 feet, and Montmorency Falls, whose cataract is over 200 feet.

 

South America is also blessed with many very beautiful falls. In Colombia the Bogota River, but 36 feet broad at Tequendama, there plunges over a precipice to a depth of 600 feet and with its surroundings makes a very notable display of beauty. Still more beautiful, and one of the finest falls of the world, is the Kaieteur Falls, in the Potaro River, British Guiana. It is 370 feet wide and plunges to a depth of 740 feet, and is a sight of beauty never to be forgotten. One of Europe's finest falls is that of the Ruikanfoss ("smoking fall") on the Maan River, Norway, and is 805 feet high. The cascade of Gavarnie in the Pyrenees is Europe's highest falls, being over 1300 feet. Its small stream turns into spray before its reaches the ground. Its neighbor, the Seculejo, falls 820 feet, being blessed with more copious water. Switzerland owes not a little of its beauty to its numerous falls and cascades. Staubbach, because of its small volume of water, resembles in front a beautiful lace veil suspended from the top of the precipice in its fall of 870 feet. Near Martigny is the picturesque Sellesche Falls, whose last leap is 128 feet. The

 

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Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen are 300 feet broad and 100 feet high. Italy, Austria and Russia have various falls that lend much beauty to these countries. The Island of Jamaica, is renowned for its scenic beauty, to which its numerous and high falls contribute not a little. While Asia has some falls, they are less picturesque than most of those that we have mentioned, and less so than the great falls of the Zambezi, Victoria Falls, in Africa, whose breadth is 1860 yards and height is 370 feet. On the Wingeni River in Natal Africa are two wondrously beautiful falls: Great Wingeni (364 feet) and the Kar Kloof Falls (350 feet). Yea, verily, in its waterfalls the earth as a creation of God is graced with much beauty.

 

Mountains, streams and falls by relation suggest the beauties of the vegetable world. How much of beauteous ornamentation does the grass frequently lend to some landscape, with its varied hues of green and its frequent velvety appearance! The beauty-loving traveler in Switzerland is enraptured by its wondrous verdure, so varied in its strains of green. The trees of the earth are likewise one of its ornaments of beauty. Great beauty is seen in the California redwood trees, so stately and symmetrical in form and so marvelous in height and girth. Who does not admire the beauty of the weeping willow, the strong oak, especially when draped with Spanish moss, the tender poplar, the snow-covered cedar, the venerable sycamore, the stately elm, the friendly maple and the cooing pepper tree of California? Not only are there the fine trees of the temperate zone, but also the gorgeous trees of the tropics. Jamaica and Ceylon are considered the most beautiful of earth's islands, and no small share of their beauty consists of their trees. And what shall we say of the beauties of earth's plant life? The tropics are richest in the luxuriant splendor of plant life. To see some of the loveliest plants that embellish this beauteous earth, let one visit Hope Gardens, six miles

 

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from Kingston, Jamaica, or Castleton Gardens, 25 miles away, and if he is a lover of plant beauty, he will have the feast of his life thereon. To almost everybody flowers are the living embodiment of beauty; and how richly favored is the earth with floral beauty! From the humble lily of the field and the fragrant lily of the valley of Palestine to the wondrous roses of Oregon and the glorious chrysanthemums of Japan, there is an immense variety of flowers that are "beauty all," adorning the earth with most refreshing loveliness.

 

Mountains also suggest snow by their relations. Snowflakes in their greatly varied forms, no two flakes exactly alike, give us crystal forms that are at once beautiful and inimitable by human skill. Mountains and hills frequently suggest caves, and some of these are beautiful beyond the power of human description. We do not refer so much to the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, which is more weird than beautiful, though some of its chambers are beautiful. But we refer to such caves as the Great Onyx near Mammoth Cave, the Caverns of Luray, Va., the Shenandoah Caverns, Va., Wind Cave, Black Hills, S. D., the Grottos near Waynesboro, Va. They have been electrified, which brings out their beauties of crystals, stalagmites, stalactites and curtain-like walls. Some of the lights located back of thin walls or within the stalagmites and stalactites bring out marvels of color and form. These outdo in beauty the exquisite imaginations presented in the caves of the Arabian Nights. The greatest and most beautiful of all caves are the Carlsbad Caves in N. M. The U. S. government is opening up and making its many rooms accessible, one of which is 1½ miles long, 400 feet wide and 348 feet high. Many of its rooms are not yet explored. But its beauties make those of other caves just mentioned seem tame. The cave called Ear of Dionysius, in Sicily, and the Indian Chamber Caves of Jenolan, N. S., of W. Australia, are

 

 

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