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Ormuzd and Ahriman are still struggling for the mastery. The poems of Hesiod may be said to form a link between the Oriental cosmogonies and the kindred speculations of the Greek philosophers.
Chaos, in the ancient Hellenic myth, is the first -generated of all things.
In the dawn of the philosophic period, Thales and Anaximenes propound water or air as the principle of all things. The world is a living and divine thing, strictly one, sin. Air and water are mediatorial elements between fire and earth. The cosmos is a sphere, because this is the most perfect of all figures. Sun, moon, and the other five planets were created as markers of time, and placed in seven orbits. The divine ideal desiderated four natures to people the universe — gods, winged creatures, aquatic and terrestrial animals. Creating the gods Himself, cheap essay writing service us the Supreme Artificer constitutes these deputy-creators of the lower orders of being, and retires into His wonted repose f.
Bad men, after death, in the ratio of their unworthiness, become women, birds, beasts, or fishes. The Augustan age of Eome supplies poetical inter- preters of other phases of Hellenic speculation. Atoms wander- ing in infinite space enter into an infinity of combi- nations in the lapse of infinite time. The particles of matter combine, like allying itself with like. Earth, justly styled on this account Mother, brings forth all sorts of animals.
Birds issue from eggs in the genial season cheap essay writing service us of spring. Even now, in her old age, the earth can produce small animals spontaneously : she could yield them of any size in her youthful prime. These were nursed in wombs attached to the soil by fibres, — " Crescebant uteri terrse radicibus apti," — and supplied thence with milk as they were born.
Some were monstrous abortions, but only the perfect survived. Exhausted with these efforts, like a woman past bearing, cheap essay writing service us the earth, on this scale, produces no more.
And death, consigns to a common nothingness a brute and a man.
In a work of widely different purport, a poet of far inferior calibre to Lucretius becomes the mouthpiece of a worthier reading of creation.
No familiarity ought to blunt the perception of the exceeding beauty with which the best results of the unaided thought of ancient times are gathered up in the exordium to the Metamorphoses g. True, the proneness to probe beginnings was not exhausted. Cosmogonies are among the latest as among the earliest efforts of the speculative faculty, and co-exist with every stage of thought and culture. Even when faith is not in quest of a resting-place for the sole of her foot, an impulse of a less legitimate kind takes shape in the attempt speculatively to re- create creation. Despite the tutoring of innumerable failures, the human mind cheap essay writing service us is still found guessing and groping in regions where it can only guess, not know, and only grope, not see. Whether the brood of cre- dulity, or the narcotics of scepticism, these efforts are rife in every age.
To compare the Mosaic record with the residuary fable would be to compare the utterances of right reason and profound devoutness with the incoherent mutter- ings of some distempered dream. How free from the grotesque flights of an unchastened imagination! How abstinent from aught that can be stigmatized as a pandering to a childish curiosity or love of the marvellous 1! I thank the philosopher therefore for this bold amputation of monstrous ancient fables.
To the idea of a creation out of nothing no ancient cosmo- gony has ever risen. Of creation in the higher sense, or the calling into existence of habitable animated worlds, by the flat of a Supreme Eternal Spirit, out of chaos or nonentity, as in the Mosaic system, neither Hesiod nor Homer manifests any conception. The author of the Essay on " Mosaic Cosmogony " is at pains to re- impress his readers with the oft- delivered lesson of the comparative insignificance of the earth, and the contrasting magnitude of the uni- verse. Awe-inspiring, and in a sense appalling as the survey is k , no well-regulated Christian mind need shrink from it.
Goodwin challenges us to look the facts in the face.
An inner group of four comparatively small satellites, an outer group of four enormously larger, and a flock of asteroids between, such, with comets unnumbered, and sub-satellites not a few, the known retinue of the sun.
The nearest, Alpha of the Centaur, gives nine-tenths of a second, Sirius one- fourth, the pole-star scarcely one-tenth m. Sirius there- fore is about a million times farther off than the sun.
Light travels to us from the moon in a second, from the sun in eight minutes, from Sirius in fifteen years. Sirius, moreover, is believed to surpass the sun in bulk and brightness as much as Jupiter, seen from an equal distance, would outshine the earth.