Sep 11, 2011

The Gospel in the Stars III

Mazzaroth by Frances Rolleston

"The writers of the Scriptural annunciations of the prophecies had the same divine truths communicated to them as had been revealed to Adam, Abel, Seth, and Enoch. They have delivered them, speaking as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Those who invented the emblems seem to have desired to perpetuate symbolically the unwritten revelation made to that earliest race. The agreement of the results of the two modes of transmission, the written and the emblematic, will here be seen. In some instances it may appear intentional, in others incidental to the unity of the subject. That subject, the great theme of prophecy in all ages, was in both the seed of the woman who should bruise the serpent's head, the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, and returning in glory to triumph and to reign.

The prophecies were given of God: the words in which the prophets expressed them were of the Holy Spirit. The names and emblems of astronomy, intended to convey those divine truths, were of man, the efforts of human intellect to aid in extending and perpetuating the knowledge of those prophecies at first orally communicated."


Stars given for Signs

"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years." (Gen. 1: 14)

Seiss wrote:

"...when God said of the celestial luminaries, 'and let them be for signs,' He meant that they should be used to signify something beyond and additional to what they evidence and express in their nature and natural offices. Nor can any sense be attached to the words, consistent with the dignity of the record, without admitting that God intended from the beginning that these orbs of light should be made to bear, express, record, and convey some special teaching different from what is naturally deducible from them."

"What the stars were thus meant to SIGNIFY, over and above what is evidenced by their own nature, interpreters have been at a loss to tell us. And yet there should not be such a total blank on the subject. Light has been at hand all the while. For ages this whole field has been almost entirely left to a superstitious and idolatrous astrology, which has befouled a noble and divine science and done immeasurable damage to the souls of men. But we here find it claimed to be a sacred domain laid out of God in the original intent of creation itself. And when I look at the deep and almost universal hold which a spurious and wicked treatment of this field has so long had upon mankind, I have been the more led to suspect the existence of some original, true, and sacred thing back of it, out of which all this false science and base superstition has grown, and of which it is the perversion. There is no potent system of credulity in the world which has not had some great truth at the root of it. Evil is always perverted good, as dirt is simply matter out of place. It is the spoilation of some better thing going before it. And so there is reason to think that there is, after all, some great, original, divine science connected with the stars, which astology has prostituted to its own base ends, and which it is our duty to search out and turn to its proper evangelic use." ("The Gospel In The Stars," pages 10,11)

"The book of Genesis is largely made up of early records held to be sacred, distorted fragments of which have come down through all the more ancient peoples; and the quotations of those records in their foundation-book of the volume of inspiration appear in the Bible with precisely the same allusions which attend them everywhere else.

Thus, in the very first chapter of Genesis, in the account of the creation of the celestial luminaries, there is a distinct statement of their appointment and uses, including and specifying one which can in no possible way be satisfactorily and adequately explained in fidelity to the divine Word without admitting what we claim for the ancient system of the constellations. It is there written that "God said, Let there be lights (luminaries, light-bearers) in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be fore SIGNS, and for seasons, and for days, and for years...and it was so" (Gen. 1:14,15).

Whatever this being "for signs" may mean, it is here affirmed to be one of the intended uses of the heavenly luminaries. It is also included in the statement that God is the author of that use, that is was instituted and established by Himself, and, further still, that said use was a matter of fact at the time this record was made; for it is added, "it was so."

It has been one of the standing perplexities of commentators to explain what this making of the heavenly orbs into "SIGNS" can mean, apart from "seasons," "days," and "years" which depend upon their natural revolutions.

There is in the sacred statement an element of historic fact overlooked by our commentators, but presenting some clue to the real meaning. It is affirmed that at the time of the making of the statement the use of the heavenly orbs as "signs" existed. The record is plain: God said, "Let them be for signs...and it was so." The record itself dates far back beyond Moses, for the same, in almost the same terms, has been found in the cuneiform writings made more than two thousand years before Christ. The same is also found in some sort traditionally preserved among all the primitive peoples, who must have derived it from one common source antedating the Babel dispersion. It certainly belongs to the time of Noah, who perhaps was the prophet of God who originally wrote it, and from whom the world after him received it.

Was there anything, then, in Noah's time of such note and sacredness as to answer to the statement of the actual use of the heavenly bodies as a system of "signs"? Unquestionably there was, and that system was the system of the constellations. This is not a matter of guess or inference, but a matter of positive record dating back to Noah's time..."

"A less direct, but an equally striking, indication of the same thing appears in the vast range of vivid coincidences between the imagery, symbolism, and general diction, the doctrines and the prophecies, of Holy Scripture, and the pictures, names, and images which appear in these ancient "signs." So largely and so completely does the one answer to the other that infidels have seized upon this correspondence to prove that Christianity has been derived from the myths of the constellations. No one can look at the texts cited in this book in connection with the constellations, one after the other, without being struck with the marvellous analogy throughout. But how could all this have been, or hold good through so vast a system, except on the admission that the same God who has given us the Gospel was equally concerned in the making of the constellations as a grand prophetic record of what, in the fulness of time, should be accomplished by "the Seed of the woman"?"

"The theory that they have come from natural observation of the seasons and man's occupations in different parts of the year is but a rationalistic conjecture, unsupported by facts or analogy. It is mere guess of men pressed by the presence of a great and masterly system marked on the heavens for which they knew not how to account--a guess which will not stand the test of its own assumptions or common sense, much less the light now in the world's possession respecting the remoter antiquities of man." (Preface)

"To throw contempt on Christianity as a mere accomodation of certain old mythic ideas common to all primitive peoples, these men adduced a large amount of traditional and astronomic lore, proving the great antiquity of the constellations, and showing a striking correspondence between them and the subsequent scriptural story of Christ and salvation...The arguments of these infidels is indeed fatally defective, especially in assuming that the old astronomy throughout, and all the myths and worships associated with it, have come solely from the natural observation and imagination of man, apart from all supernatural light, revelation, or inspiration...Like all the efforts of unbelief, it signally fails. But though the argument, as such, is false and worthless, it does not follow that the materials collected to build it are the same. For the most part, they are solid enough in themselves, and the gathering of them was a valuable contribution to a better cause. The showings made of the close likeness between the old constellations and the Gospel are well founded, and can now be illustrated to a much greater and more minute extent. But, instead of proving Christianity a mere revival of old mythologies, they give powerful impulse toward the conclusion that the constellations and their associated myths and traditions are themselves, in their original, from the very same prophetic Spirit whence the Sacred Scriptures have come, and that they are of a piece with the biblical records in the system of God's universal enunciations of the Christ."

"A sign is something arbitrarily selected and appointed to represent some other thing. The letters of the alphabet are "signs" --signs of sounds and numbers. The notes on a clef of musical writing are "signs" --signs of the pitch and value of certain tones of voice or instrument. There is no relation whatsoever between these "signs" and the things they signify, except that men have agreed to employ them for these purposes. Their whole meaning as "signs" is purely conventional and arbitrary--something quite beyond and above what pertains to their nature. And so with all "signs."

"When Moses said that the swarm should be a "sign" to the Egyptians, there was nothing in the nature of the thing to show what was thereby signified. When the prophet told Hezekiah taht the going back of the shadow on the dial should be a "sign" that he would recover from his sickness, live yet fifteen years, and see Jerusalem delivered out of the hand of the Syrian invader, there was nothing in the nature of the thing to express this gracious meaning. Isaiah's walking barefoot had no natural connection with the Syrian conquest of Egypt, and yet this was "for a sign" of that fact. And thus when God said of the celestial luminaries, "and let them be for signs," He meant that they should be used to signify something beyond and additional to what they evidence and express in their nature and natural offices. Nor can any sense be attached to the words consistent with the dignity of the record, without admitting that God intended from the beginning that these orbs of light should be made to bear, express, record, and convey some special teaching different from what is naturally deducible from them."

The Prophet Job & Mazzaroth & The Golden Age

"The book of Job, so far as we can ascertain, is the oldest book now in the world; and it is a book which, more than all other books of Holy Scripture, abounds in astronomical allusions. Distinct and unmistakable references are contained in it to the constellations as we still have them. We there read of "Arcturus with his sons," "the sweet influences of Pleiades" "the bands of Orion" and "the fleeing Serpent" We there likewise read of "Mazzaroth" with its "seasons"—stations, stopping-places—which, according to the margin of our English Bible, the Jewish Targum, and the ablest Christian interpreters, is nothing more nor less than the Solar Zodiac. Astronomy, even as we now have it, was therefore established and well understood in Job's day. Nay, from the various astronomical references in the book different astronomers claim to be able to calculate the time in which Job lived, which they give as from B. c. 2100-2200. (See Miracle in Stone, pp. 203—206.)

From internal evidences in the particular framework and order of the Solar and Lunar Zodiacs, Bailly was thoroughly convinced of a state of the heavens at the time these Zodiacs were formed which can occur only at intervals of more than twenty-five thousand years, but which really did exist in and about four thousand years before the Christian era. Nouet, on similar grounds, came to the same conclusion. (See also Miracle in Stone, pp. 140 seq.)

On the basis of astronomy's own records, apart from all other testimony, we are thus inevitably carried back to a period within the lifetime of Adam and his sons for the original of the Zodiac, and, with it, of the whole system of our astronomy."

"And to this agree the ancient sayings and worthiest traditions of the race. The best philosophers, the most honored poets, and the historians who have penetrated the deepest into the beginnings of humanity unite in commencing man with God and in close and happy fellowship and communion with the Divine Intelligence. Everywhere throughout the world of primitive nations the first of men were the greatest of men, the wisest, the divinest, and the most worshipped; and the first age was the Golden Age.

Plato says: "Our first parent was the greatest philosopher that ever existed." Baleus says: "From Adam all good arts and human wisdom flowed, as from their fountain. He was the first that discovered the motions of the celestial bodies, and all other creatures. From his school proceeded whatever good arts and wisdom were afterward propagated by our fathers unto mankind; so that whatever astronomy, geometry, and other arts contain in them, he knew the whole thereof." Keckerman doubts not that "our first parents delivered over to their posterity, together with other sciences, even logic also; specially seeing they who were nearest the origin of all things had an intellect so much the more excellent than ours by how much the more they excelled us in length of life, firmitude of health, and in air and food."

The Jews hold it among their traditions that Adam wrote a book concerning the creation of the world, and another on the Deity. Kissaeus, an Arabian writer, gives it as among the teachings of his people that Abraham had in his possession certain sacred writings of Adam, Seth, and Enoch, in which were "laws and promises, threatenings from God, and predictions of many events;" and it is affirmed of Abraham that he taught astronomy to the Egyptian priests at Heliopolis.

From the ancient fragments of Berosus, Polyhistor, and Sanchoniathon, as well as from the lately-recovered Assyrian tablets, we learn of the existence of sacred records which had descended from knowing men of the earliest times, who taught the world all the wisdom it had, and on whose instructions and institutes none were able to improve, but from which there was a constant tendency to apostatize.

Enoch is also specially credited with special wisdom and writing, particularly as relating to astronomy and prophecy. Bochart writes: "I cannot but add what is found concerning the same Enoch in Eusebius, out of Eupolemus, of the Jews. He says that Abraham, when he taught astrology [astronomy] and other sciences at Heliopolis, affirmed that the Babylonians attributed the invention of the same to Enoch; and that the Grecians attribute the invention to Atlas, the same with Enoch." Macinus, Abulfaragius, and other Arab writers say that Enoch was called Edris, the sage, the illustrious, and that he was skilled in astronomy and other sciences. Baleus tells us that he was famous for prophecy, and is reported as having written books on divine matters. The Jews call him the Great Scribe, and say that he wrote books on sacred wisdom, especially on astronomy. That he did record certain prophecies is attested by the Epistle of Jude, which gives a quotation from him.

What Adam knew, Seth would thus also know, and so would Enoch. And living contemporaneously together for more than two, three, or five ordinary lifetimes, there was the sublimest opportunity for them to observe, construct, and mature just such a system as astronomy presents, inwoven as it is with all the great facts, features, and hopes embraced in the promised redemption by the Seed of the woman. In fact, it was the one great and only opportunity in the history of our race for such an accomplishment.

"Going back, then, to that period of the world to which we must needs go for the origin of astronomy and the first fixing of its great foundation-elements, we find there the men duly capacitated for the work, duly supplied with motive and opportunity to do it...They were the first great prophets of the world, the original recipients of the revelation of God's purposes of redemption through the promised Seed of the woman, and as such were under bonds to make known the facts, explain their import, and use every means of recording and transmitting to all men the knowledge of them. They lived nearly a thousand years, and so had ample time for observation, study, and thorough elaboration to bring the work to finished perfection before being required to leave it. And over them were the virgin stars, only waiting to be named and grouped...Nor can I see why a single shade of doubt should linger in our minds that these verily were the men who drew these celestial hieroglyphics, named and grouped the stars, laid out the Zodiacs and their signs, and made the heavens a picturegallery for all the world, the first and greatest that ever was made, that there mankind might gaze and read the wondrous story of the promised Redeemer, the redemption, and the redeemed.

And this, and this only, will account for the sacred reverence in which all the ancient peoples held these starry emblems, and even fell to worshipping them and ascribing to them all sorts of divine and prophetic virtues. If put there by inspired prophets, and explained by them as the symbols of the divinest things of God's revelation and promises, then can we understand why they were so much made of in the sacred mysteries, why they were so seriously consulted as horoscopes, and why the early nations lapsed into the idolatry of worshipping them as gods. They are of holiest origin, and relate to the dearest hopes and anticipations of man; therefore have they been so prized in all the ages, and therefore the Perverter of all good set himself to turn them to evil, for which he could have found neither hold nor leverage had not some great and commanding sacredness gone before to seat them in the esteem of men."

"It was also the common and accepted doctrine of antiquity that the constellations were divine in origin and sacred in character. They are woven in with all the old ethnic religions. Much as heathenism has perverted them to false worship, it has ever held to the belief that they are from God—manifestations of the one supreme and eternal Deity. Even Pluche agrees that all heathenism is "nothing but the religion of the patriarchs corrupted by extravagant additions, transforming the signs, or the symbolic men and animals, into so many gods, with which their imagination peopled the heaven." But this assumes and implies that these signs in the hands of the patriarchs themselves were connected with their religion; and their religion being divine, so must these signs connected with it have been."

"And what if the key to the showings was afterward lost, and men only misread and perverted what was so sublimely recorded? The same has occurred again and again with the scriptural records; and why should the apostasies in the one case argue differently from what they do in the other? The failures and sins of men do not unmake the truth of God, neither do their misuses and perversions of His gifts disprove their divine source or good intent. The turning of Israel's calling and sacred institutes into a hypocritical, murderous, and depraved Pharisaism, which killed the Son of God and slew His holy Apostles, did not unmake the divine legation of Moses nor the heavenly inspiration of the holy prophets who spent their lives building Israel into a kingdom for the Lord. The perversion of Christianity into an imperial popedom, an Antichrist, and a tyrannous persecution of the saints of God by His own alleged vicegerent did not prove Jesus of Nazareth an impostor nor the testimony of His Apostles undivine or untrue. And if men in like manner have perverted these primeval records in the stars, and turned the showings of promised salvation into an instrument of damning superstition, and twisted a divine astronomy into a devilish astrology, and developed a bloody paganism out of a primitive evangelism, what is it else than the depravity of man and the trick of the great Deceiver belying God, but by no means discrediting or unmaking the divinity, the mercifulness, or the gracious ampleness of good intent in the sublime original?

Volney insists, and with good reason, that everywhere in antiquity there was a cherished tradition of an expected Conqueror of the Serpent, who was to come as a divine person, born of a woman; and that this tradition is most clearly reflected in the constellations and in all the heathen mythologies throughout the world. Dupuis has collected numerous ancient authorities, abundantly proving that in all nations this tradition, with singular particularity of details, always prevailed; that this divine Person, born of a woman, was to be a great sufferer in His conflict with the Serpent, but would triumph gloriously at the last; and that this tradition is represented and recorded in the constellations.

"What shall we say, then, to these things?" Was primeval man a gorilla, a troglodyte, a brutish savage, a wild man without knowledge? The Zodiac and the constellations as arranged upon the ancient sphere furnish the foundations of all astronomy. No man since they were made has been able to improve upon them. All subsequent touches of them have been bungles and absurdities. They stand to-day securely planted among the profoundest stabilities contained in human science. And yet the evidences are that they have come down to us from that selfsame primeval man. Then primeval man knew the visible starry heavens as well as any other man since. Then primeval man could draw maps, and make pictures, and write books, and teach wisdom, and transmit thought and intelligence, just as successfully as the remoter progeny sprung from his blood. Then the doctrine that modern man is a mere evolution from savageism, the result of a selfmoved activity to become, his makership his own, his intelligence a mere self-efflorescence, is a lie.

The weight of the showing is, that primeval man was the truest model and representative of man, and that all human progress since, though upward in some things, has been in the main an unceasing deterioration.

When contemplated as connected, the constellations form four magnificent groups of significant and consistent meaning. That group which spreads over the darkening skies of autumn may be thus explained as presenting the types of prophecy. Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer or holder, whose foot is on the enemy, whose head is united to the head of another human figure (sometimes called Hercules) above, represented kneeling on one knee, as from the predicted wound in the heel. The crown which is yet to be worn is before him, the altar of sacrifice beneath his feet; one foot is on the head of the scorpion, the other held up as wounded; the two eagles, the falling and the ascending, follow him; and above is the swan, the bird of passage, who goes away to return again. Here then we behold the conflict with the serpent-enemy, the wound received, the suffering, the wrestling of Him who was to come, at His first coming, who at His second is to return in triumph.

In the clear nights of winter the brilliant group that fills the sky is yet more magnificent, even as it should be, representing the second coming in glory, without sin unto salvation, of Him who had been slain. The group that thus embodies its wordless prophecy, has for its centre Orion, the splendid, who cometh swiftly as the light, as his name imports; the enemy being under one foot, the other raised as if from the wounded heel. With him are his attendant stars, Sirius, the coming of the prince, the brightest of the starry host; below, Procyon, the Redeemer; above, the two stars of Gemini called Castor and Pollux, the archer and the judge united, one bearing a dart to signify he shall come forth, and the other a branch, the earliest symbol of Him who should come: the bright star of Taurus, Aldebaran, the ruler or the ruling; the Pleiades, centre of our system, on one side; Cancer, the multitude of the purchased flock, on the other; Argo, the company of Him who cometh, below, each showing the multitudes of His people; and there too are the stars of Aries, the ram, the Lamb as it had been slain, whose foot is on His bounden enemy, shown in the Leviathan or sea-monster, Cetus, towards the west.

The balmy evenings of spring are illuminated by Leo, the victorious Lion of the tribe of Judah, with his foot on the head of the finally subdued serpent-enemy, on whom abides the cup of wrath and the devouring bird of prey. Then also shine the stars of Virgo, the seed-bearing woman, with Spica, the seed, almost rivaling Sirius in brilliancy; the Northern Crown above, the Centaur, the king who cometh, below, under whose feet was visible in the early ages of mankind the splendid Southern Cross, remembered in tradition after it had disappeared from view.

At each and every season, but especially in summer twilight, turn to the north, and it is occupied with another group equally significant and expressive. The crowned King, whose branch or sceptre touches the throned woman, who in one hand also holds a branch, as a token of her union with the king her liberator, and with her other hand sets free the tresses of her hair; the Greater Bear, or sheepfold, with the sheep as coming forth and following their shepherd and their king, he who is their keeper, as expressed in the name of the bright star Arcturus, in Bootes. The javelin in the hand of this figure equally denotes that He who cometh shall be sent forth, and that He shall be pierced. Bootes also holds a branch, denoting that this, as the other branch-bearing figures, is a representation of Him so often called in the prophets "the Branch."

Persons who are learning to distinguish the stars are generally told that those forming the curve, so strangely called the tail of the Bear, always point to and seem to follow Arcturus, and that two in the square or body of the same constellation, called the pointers, in their rotation still always point to the immutable polar star, round which they revolve. The polar star thus seems to belong peculiarly to that group of which the Great Bear, or sheepfold, forms the most remarkable portion. This star is called by the Greeks Cynosure, meaning, in the Oriental dialects, the established, the centre of the constellations. This star is still called by the Arabs the kid, the sacrificial emblem of Him "by whom all things consist." The whole constellation is called Kochab, the waiting on Him who cometh, in His sacrificial character, while His kingly dignity is expressed in Bootes, whose hand is extended as to the Northern Crown. The polar constellation Draco again shows forth the serpent-enemy, whose head is under the foot of the kneeling Hercules below. Auriga, the shepherd, holding in his bosom Capella, the she-goat, and followed by the kids typifying His people, touches the foot of Perseus, the breaker of the bonds of Andromeda, the chained woman, representing the Church. Perseus holds in his hand a head, called of Medusa, a word signifying the trodden under foot. This head is surrounded by serpents, and was named by the ancient Hebrews the head of Satan, and Al One, the subdued (Aben Ezra): by the Arabs it is called Al Ghoul, the evil spirit. This constellation is remarkable less for its splendour than for its significance: Algol, the chief star in the head of Medusa, being changeable, the most visibly so of any in the heavens, and consequently an expressive emblem of the adversary, the fallen, who kept not his first estate. This group may be seen in summer nights, while the three birds, the exalted and the falling eagles, and the swan, form a large triangle overhead.

It is to be remarked that one foot of the figure of the promised deliverer mostly contains in the foot, as in Hercules, Ophiuchus, Orion, Auriga, Aquarius, Cepheus, a peculiarly bright star, generally with a name meaning bruised; and it is drawn up as if wounded. By the foot also, as has been already shown, the emblems are most frequently connected, so evidently calling to mind the prediction, "Thou shalt bruise his heel." A tradition of this primeval prophecy was preserved by the Greeks in the stories of Hercules and Orion, and in that of the lameness of Vulcan (son of Juno without a father) and of Erichthonius, one name of Auriga; another, Heniochus, being wounded in the heel. It is also remarkable that those groups of stars which comprise changeable ones have been chosen to represent the enemy, as Medusa's head and Cetus. Those which contain nebulae, or multitudinous groups of stars visible to the unassisted eye, were also chosen to represent the Church, or congregated multitudes of the redeemed, as Cancer and Andromeda."

"This triple coincidence of the name, the emblem, and the prophecy, did it occur but once, might be regarded as a possible chance; but when every emblem is found to be used as a type in corresponding prophecies, and to contain names sometimes more appropriate to the prophecy than to the emblem, and sometimes equally applicable to both, how can we fail to admit the proof of design from the evidence of adaptation?

"The names, emblems, and prophecies are known to have existed before the event to which they refer; and fables were even then connected with them so similar in import to those prophecies, as might leave it dubious whether the constellation or the prophecy originated the fable. Those sceptics who would try to account for the prophecy from the constellation, have not attempted to show why certain stars should, from the beginning of the world's history, have been called by the names of objects to which their groups have no sort of resemblance; and why the woman, the seed, and the serpent should thus have been selected for commemoration, unless the prophecy, as all tradition indicates and Scripture declares, had preceded the application of these names and emblems, which so remarkably express it, to those vaguely dispersed and irregularly assembled brilliant points in the heavens, with which they have no sort of analogy, but with which tradition so uniformly connects them."

Then we have the term "Mazzaroth," Job 38:32, and "Mazzaloth," 2 Kings 23:5. The former in both versions is referred to the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac, while the latter is rendered "planets," and in margin, the twelve signs or constellations.

"And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me." (Gen. 37: 9)

"Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion..." (Amos 5: 8)

"Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?" (Job 38: 31, 32)

"They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera." (Judges 5: 20)

Enoch's Testimony

"I blessed the Lord of glory, who had made those great and splendid signs, that they might display the magnificence of his works to angels and to the souls of men; and that these might glorify all his works and operations; might see the effect of his power; might glorify the great labor of his hands; and bless him forever." (Enoch 35:3)

The Glory Of God ( Psalm 19)

One of the sublimest of the Psalms, which celebrates the twofold world of Nature and Revelation, begins with the ever-memorable assertion, "The heavens declare the glory of God." What the heavens are thus said to declare certainly includes more than the celestial bodies naturally tell concerning their Creator. Their showing forth of His "handi work," His wisdom and power, is the subject of a separate and distinct part of the grand sentence.

The chief "glory of God" cannot be learncd from Nature alone, simply as Nature. The moral attributes of Deity, and His manifestations in moral government, are pre-eminently His glory. In the sending, incarnation, person, revelations, offices, and achievements of Jesus Christ, above all, has God shown forth His glory. We are told in so many words that Christ is "the image and glory of God;" nay, "the brightness—the very outbeaming—of His glory." The glory of God is "in the face of Jesus Christ." There can therefore be no full and right declaring of "the glory of God" which does not reach and embrace Christ, and the story of redemption through Him. But the starry worlds, simply as such, do not and cannot declare or show forth Christ as the Redeemer, or the glory of God in Him. If they do it at all, they must do it as "signs," arbitrarily used for that purpose. Yet the Psalmist affirms that these heavens do " declare the glory of God." Are we not therefore to infer that the story of Christ and redemption is somehow expressed by the stars? David may or may not have so understood it, but the Holy Ghost, speaking through him, knew the implication of the words, which, in such a case, must not be stinted, but acccepted in the fullest sense they will bear. And as it is certain that God meant and ordained a use of the heavenly bodies in which they should "be for signs" and as we are here assured that what they have been arranged to signify is "the glory of God" there would seem to be ample scriptural warrant for believing that, by special divine order and appointment, the illustration of God's moral government, particularly as embraced in the story of sin, and redemption by Jesus Christ, is to be found in the stars, according to some primordial and sacred system of astronomy."

Wrote Bullinger:

"For more than two thousand five hundred years the world was without a written revelation from God. The question is, Did God leave Himself without a witness? The question is answered very positively by the written Word that He did not. In Romans 1:19 it is declared that, "that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." But how was God known? How were His "invisible things," i.e., His plans, His purposes, and His counsels, known since the creation of the world? We are told by the Holy Spirit in Romans 10:18. Having stated in v. 17 that "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word (the thing spoken, sayings) of God," He asks, "But I say, Have they not heard? Yes, verily." And we may ask, How have they heard? The answer follows--"Their sound went into all the earth and their words (their teaching, message, instruction) unto the ends of the world." What words? What instruction? Whose message? Whose teaching? There is only one answer, and that is, THE HEAVENS! This is settled by the fact that the passage is quoted from Psalm 19, [one] part of which is occupied with the Revelation of God written in the Heavens, and the part with the Revelation of God written in the Word.

This is the simple explanation of this beautiful Psalm. This is why its two subjects are brought together. It has often perplexed many why there should be that abrupt departure in verse 7--"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul." The fact is, there is nothing abrupt in it, and it is no departure. It is simply the transition to the second of the two great Revelations which are thus placed in juxtaposition. The first is the Revelation of the Creator, El, in His works, while the second is the Revelation of the Covenant Jehovah in His Word. And it is noteworthy that while in the first half of the Psalm, El is named only once, in the latter half Jehovah is named seven times, the last being threefold (Jehovah, Rock, and Redeemer), concluding the Psalm.

Wrote Seiss:

"Thus, by way of the Bible itself, we reach the idea of The Gospel In The Stars, which it is my purpose, with the help of God, to identify, illustrate, and prove."

"From the most sacred and authoritative of records we thus find the original of all legends and myths of the Serpent and his Destroyer, of the conflict with the Dragon, and the ultimate slaying of him by that mighty One to be born of woman; who would have to toil and suffer indeed, but would not give over till His victory should be complete. In that one pregnant text we identify the Serpent and the Cross—the Prince of Evil and the Prince of Peace—the Dragon-Deceiver and the suffering Redeemer—the deadly malignity of the one and the self-sacrificing beneficence of the other—an irreconcilable feud between them, with a promised crushing out of the Destroyer by the wounded Saviour. In other words, we thus, from the very beginning of human history, come upon and identify the one great master-theme of both Testaments, the chief substance of all prophecy and promise, and the sum of all evangelic preaching, faith, and hope, from the foundation of the world. And what I propose to show in this series of Lectures is, that this very story, in all its length and breadth, stands written upon the stars, put there in the original framing of astronomy as an everlasting witness of God's gracious purposes toward our race, and that the heavens do verily declare the highest glory of God."

The Garnishing of the Heavens

Job 26: 13: "By His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens; His hand hath formed the crooked Serpent."

The Gospel story, as written on the stars, like much of the sacred Scriptures, is pictorial. The record is accompanied with important explanatory materials, but the chief substance is given in pictures.

The Constellations

Every atlas of the heavens is filled up with figures and outlines of men, women, animals, monsters, and other objects, each including a certain set of stars. These stars, as thus designated and embraced, constitute so many separate clusters or groups called the Constellations, and these asterisms or constellations cover all the principal stars visible to the naked eye.

In the primeval astronomy the number of these figures or star-groups was forty-eight. In imitation of them, dozens more have been added, mostly by modern philosophers. Among these additions are the Sextant, the Giraffe, the Fox and Goose, the Horned Horse, the Fly. the Greyhounds, the Lynx, the Bird of Paradise, Noah's Dove, the Clock, the Sculptor's Workshop, the Painter's Easel, the AirPump, Sobieski's Shield, the Brandenburg Sceptre, and such like; which may serve to designate the groups of inferior stars to which they have been assigned, but which are otherwise totally meaningless, and utterly unworthy of the associations into which they have been thrust. Having no connection whatever with the primitive constellations, except as poor and impertinent imitations, they must of course be thrown out and cast quite aside from the inquiry now in hand. They are no part of the original writing upon the stars, as proposed for our present reading.

The primary and chief series of the old forty-eight constellations is formed on the line which the Sun seems to mark in the progress of the year, called the Ecliptic. That line is really the path of the earth around the Sun, in the course of which the Sun seems to move thirty degrees every month, and at the end of the twelfth month appears again where it started at the beginning of the first month.

The moon and planets follow apparently much the same path, and are always seen within eight or nine degrees of the line of the Sun's course. We thus have a Nature-indicated belt, about sixteen degrees wide, extending around the entire circuit of the heavens, half the year north and half the year south of the equator of the earth extended into the sky.

Whilst the sun is thus making its annual course from west to east through the centre of this belt or zone, the moon makes twelve complete revolutions around the earth, suggesting the division of this belt into twelve parts, or sections, of thirty degrees each; for twelve times thirty degrees complete the circle. We thus note twelve equal steps or stages in the Sun's path as it makes its annual circuit through the heavens. And this belt or zone, with these twelve moons or months for its steps or stages, is called the Zodiac, from the primitive root zoad, a walk, way, or going by steps, like Jacob's ladder.

So, again, each of these steps, stages, or sections includes a certain number of fixed stars, making up a group or constellation, which has its own particular figure, picture, or "sign" to designate it, and after which it is called. Hence the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac, which are given in all the regular almanacs, and to which people have generally had much regard in timing their industries and undertakings. These signs are:

I. Virgo, the Virgin : the figure of a young woman lying prostrate, with an ear of wheat in one hand and a branch in the other.

II. Libra, the Scales: the figure of a pair of balances, with one end of the beam up and the other down, as in the act of weighing. In some of the old planispheres a hand, or a woman, appears holding the scales.

III. Scorpio, the Scorpion: the figure of a gigantic, noxious, and deadly insect, with its tail and sting uplifted in anger, as if striking.

IV. Sagittarius, the Bowman: the figure of a horse with the body, arms, and head of a man—a centaur—with a drawn bow and arrow pointed at the Scorpion.

V. Capricornus, the Goat: the figure of a goat sinking down as in death, with the hinder part of its body terminating in the vigorous tail of a fish.

VI. Aquarius, the Waterman: the figure of a man with a large urn, the contents of which he is in the act of pouring out in a great stream from the sky.

VII. Pisces, the Fishes: the figures of two large fishes in the act of swimming, one to the northward, the other with the ecliptic.

VIII. Aries, the Ram, by some nations called the Lamb: the figure of a strong sheep, with powerful curved horns, lying down in easy composure, and looking out in conscious strength over the field around it.

IX. Taurus, the Bull: the figure of the shoulders, neck, head, horns, and front feet of a powerful bull, in the attitude of rushing and pushing forward with great energy.

X. Gemini, the Twins, or a man and woman sometimes called Adam and Eve: usually, two human figures closely united, and seated together in endeared affection. In some of the older representations the figure of this constellation consists of two goats, or kids.

XI. Cancer, the Crab: the figure of a crab, in the act of taking and holding on with its strong pincer claws. In Egyptian astronomy the scarabaeus beetle, grasping and holding on to the ball in which its eggs are deposited, takes the place of the crab.

XII. Leo, the Lion: the figure of a great rampant lion, leaping forth to rend, with his feet over the writhing body of Hydra, the Serpent, which is in the act of fleeing.

These twelve cardinal signs cover a large part of the visible heavens, and extend entirely around the earth, making and marking the Solar Zodiac.

Aries. The Ram, or Lamb, coming Forth
Taurus. The Bull, coming to Rule
Gemini. The Twins, the United
Cancer. The Crab or Scarabaeus, holding the Possession
Leo. The Lion, the Separating
Virgo. The Woman, bearing the Branch
Libra. The Scales, the Redeeming
Scorpio. The Scorpion, the Conflict
Sagittarius. The Archer, the Going Forth
Capricornus. The Goat, the Atonement Slain
Aquarius. The Water-bearer, the Pouring Forth
Pisces. The Fishes, the Multitudes Upheld


By Woman borne, the Branch, the seed;
The Balance shows redemption's need;
The Scorpion wounds He must endure;
The Archer tells His coming sure;
The Goat, His death in sacrifice;
The Water, that He shall arise;
The Fish, His Church in union bound;
The Lamb, once slain, but now enthroned;
The Bull the victory shall gain;
The Twins, Divine and human reign;
The Crab His sure possession tells;
His foes then Judah's Lion quells.

The Constellations Divine. In these several markings, groupings, and designations of the heavenly hosts we have all the most conspicuous elements and notations of the primeval astronomy. And these pre-eminently are what the text refers to as the garnish of the heavens, of which "the crooked," or rather "fleeing, Serpent" is here named as a specific part.

There are but three things with which to identify this "fleeing Serpent." It has been justly said, "It is not likely that this inspired writer should in an instant descend from the garnishing of the heavens to the formation of a reptile." The discourse is of the starry heavens, and "the Serpent" must necessarily pertain to the heavens. Barnes says: "There can be no doubt that Job refers here to the constellations," and that "the sense in the passage is, that the greatness and glory of God are seen by forming the beautiful and glorious constellations that adorn the sky." But if the reference is to a sky-serpent, it must be either the Zodiac itself, often painted on the ancient spheres in the form of a serpent bent into a circle, with its tail in its mouth, or to Draco, or to Hydra, which is the longest figure in the sky, stretching through an entire night, and trailing along as if in flight from the point of the Scales, beneath the Virgin and the Lion, to the point where the feet of the Crab and the Lion press down its snaky head. All things duly considered, I take it as referring to Hydra, just as Leviathan (in Job 41 : i) refers to Cetus, the Sea-monster. The Dragon does not so well answer to the description of "the fleeing Serpent" nor yet the sphere in the figure of a serpent. Hydra is in every respect "the fleeing Serpent" as distinguished from all other astronomic serpents. It does nothing but flee. It flees from the triumphing Lion, with the Bowl of Wrath on it and the bird of doom tearing it, whilst the holders of the precious possession trample its head beneath their feet. But, in either case, there is here a distinct recognition of the constellations and their figures, and the same noted as the particular garnishing of the heavens to which we are referred to see and read the transcendent glory of Jehovah.

Very significant also is this word "garnished," here employed by our translators. Its main sense is that of ornament, decoration, something added for embellishment; but it has the further meaning of summons and warning. And by these adornings God hath summoned the heavens and filled them with proclamations and warnings of His great purposes. Perhaps it would be hard to find another word to fit so truly to the facts or to the original for which it stands. It falls in precisely with the whole idea of the celestial luminaries being used "for signs," of the Gospel being written in the stars, and of the adornment and beaming of the heavens with this brightness of all sacred brightnesses.

But more remarkable and important is the positive testimony here given to the divine origin of these embellishments and significant frescoes. All interpreters agree that the text refers to the heavenly constellations. This is made the more certain by the designation of the Serpent in the second part of the parallelism. That "fleeing Serpent" must mean either Draco, the Zodiac, or Hydra. And the affirmation is clear and pointed that the thing referred to is divine in its formation. Of the Almighty and His wisdom and power Job is speaking; and of that Almighty it is declared, "By His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens," and "His hand formed the fleeing Serpent." If the frescoing of the sky with the constellations is meant, then He caused it to be done "by His Spirit"—by impulse and inspiration from His own almightiness. If the Zodiac is meant, then His own hand bent and formed it. And if the constellation of the Dragon, or Hydra, is meant, then He himself is the Author of it, and, by implication, the Author of the whole system of the constellations of which Draco, or Hydra, is a part. We may wonder and stand amazed and confounded at the assertion; but here, from the Book of God, is the unalterable voucher for it, that these astronomic figures, in their original integrity and meaning, are from God, and as truly inspired as the Bible itself. And many are the facts which combine to prove that such is verily the truth."

The Star of Bethlehem - The Visit Of The Magi

Matt. 2:2: " We have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him."

For a thousand years and more Christendom has been inquiring and wondering, Who were "the wise men from the East" that came to Jerusalem asking about a new-born Jewish Prince? How came they to know about Him? What were those starry indications to which they referred as having induced them to make such costly and laborious search for Him? What were the sources of illumination by which they were thus brought to honor and worship Him?"

"As to the starry leading spoken of, some think it was a meteor or a comet. Others think it was the bright light which shone upon the shepherds when the angel made known to them Christ's birth, assuming that to men afar off that remarkable light may have been mistaken for a star. Some think it was some unidentified supernatural light in the sky which appeared to certain devout men in some remote region, and which they could no better describe than to liken it to a star. Some think it was a true star among the stars, brought into being, or at least brought into view, for the particular purpose of giving token of the Saviour's nativity, and then made to disappear, never more to be seen. Some think there was no real external manifestation at all, that no star was ever seen by any one, and that the whole thing was only a vision vouchsafed to these men alone.

Of later years it is more generally supposed to have been a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn, such as did actually occur about that time, and which may have entered somewhat into the case, although the conjunctions referred to were not close enough to create the appearance of a single star, and were not in any respect what could with propriety be called Christ's Star. Admitting all that Jewish rabbis as well as the Gentile astrologists and prognosticators have claimed for such conjunctions, there still would be a great lack to account adequately for the very definite and powerful convictions respecting Christ's birth which these men showed, and for their reference to an individual star, which they described as the star of the new-born Prince they were seeking. True, Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus, and others testify that there was at that time a widespread expectation of some great and triumphing Prince to arise in the East; but said expectation was so indefinite, and was actually applied in directions so unaccordant with the true Messiah and His predicted character, that it cannot be taken as at all up to what was in the mind of these Magi and implied in their inquiry. They expected to find a divine and worshipful being, by birth a Jewish Prince, and by character and right entitled to the homage of all the children of men. They had no question or doubt upon the subject. They knew that a great and wonderful personage was born. They knew and believed that He was worthy of the sacred worship of all men, and that it was their holiest interest and duty to come and greet Him with their best gifts, acknowledgments, and adoration. This was more than the prevailing expectation anywhere showed.

Whence, then, came this clear and definite knowledge on the subject, exceeding even that of the sacred scribes and priests of Judea itself, with all the records and foreshowings of Moses and the prophets before them? The prophecy of Balaam touching the Star that was to arise out of Jacob may have had some remote connection with it, but it will scarcely begin to account for the clear, undoubting, and living faith touching the newborn Saviour which glowed in the hearts of these wise men. Prophecies of Daniel and influences of the Jewish teachings in general may also have floated down among these people from the great Captivity times; but, at the best, it would still not account for what we see exhibited in these Magi. A special revelation to them alone, without any further record of it on earth, would be so unlike what we know of God's methods and purposes in the giving of His revelations that it is unwarranted to suppose it.

How, then, did these Magi come to know so much about Christ as an adorable King and Saviour? How came they to such full conviction that His birth had occurred in Judea? The true answer is: By the signs and constellations of the primeval astronomy, and the legends connected with them, interpreted as we have been contemplating them in these Lectures.

It is an astronomic fact, independent of all hypotheses, that at the precise hour of midnight, at the winter solstice, or the last week of December, in the period in which Christ was born, the sign of Virgo, everywhere and always regarded as the sign of the virgin mother from whom the divine-human Redeemer-King was to be born, was just rising on the eastern horizon.

It is a further astronomical fact, independent of all hypotheses, that at the spring equinox of the same period, just nine months earlier, this sign of the Virgin at midnight was on the meridian, with the line running precisely across her bosom.

It is a further independent astronomical fact that at the same date, at midnight, the stars of the little constellation of Coma, the special sign of the infant Seed of the woman, the Desire of nations, was likewise, along with the Virgin, directly on the meridian.

A Primeval Tradition. It is also a matter of record, among both Gentile and Jewish peoples, that the patriarch Seth, in whose day these heavenly signs were arranged and completed, gave out a prophecy in connection with them, that in the period in which the great promised One should be born there would appear a very bright star in the heavens. This was perhaps the very prophecy traditional among the ancient Magi and Parsis, that there should come a heavenly Child to command the homage and obedience of mankind, the sign of whose birth would be the appearance of a new and peculiar star in the sign of Virgo. Likewise, the Jews also have always held and taught that Messiah's advent would be heralded by a new and peculiar star. Hence the great impostor who gave himself out as their Messiah called himself Barcokheba, "the Son of the Star."

Now, it is a matter of record that a new and peculiar star did make its appearance in the first Decan of Virgo in the period immediately preceding Christ's birth, and that it was so bright as to be visible even in the daytime. Ignatius says it "sparkled brilliantly above all stars." The same continued in the sky during the whole period of Christ's lifetime, and for a time thereafter. Hipparchus, about one hundred and twenty-five years before Christ, observed it as a new star, and was led by it to draw up his catalogue of the stars. Ptolemy, about one hundred and fifty years after Christ, refers to it as having been observed by Hipparchus, but as having become so faint as hardly to be any longer distinguishable. The Chinese records also make mention of this new bright star at a time corresponding to the period of our Saviour's birth. Since the time of Ptolemy we have no record of any observation of it. This star was in Coma, the sign of the Infant accompanying Virgo, and it marked the very head of that Infant. It was on the meridian at midnight at the spring equinox, just nine months before Christ was born, as again three months thereafter. Its brightness would necessarily arrest the attention of observers of the heavens, and awaken special interest in Coma and the Virgin-born Infant which that constellation signified both in figure and name. Believers in the sacred meaning of these signs, especially in connection with the traditional prophecy of the new star, which seems also to have been in Balaam's mind, could not help but be convinced from these showings that the coming of the Desired One was surely approaching. It was a sort of midnight cry, "Behold, He cometh!" The star itself would thus also be just what these Magi called the star by which they were led—namely, Christ's Star, emphatically "His star;" for it was a star of His particular constellation as the Desire of nations, and the peculiar star of His infancy, as it marked the Infant's head, and was at the time by far the brightest in the constellation, as well as in all the heavens around.

And as the star in the head of the Virgin born Infant was at the time shining with a peculiar brilliancy new to it and brighter than all other fixed stars in the firmament, those who took the conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn as indicating the near birth of a lordly and illustrious operator in human affairs could by no means help themselves from the conclusion that here was the astronomic showing of the pending birth of a triply-illustrious One, who could be none other than that divine-human Seed of the woman everywhere set forth in the constellations, and promised and hoped for among all nations from the foundations of the world. These wise men would thus know, and be assured beyond all doubt or misgiving, that the particular time had come in which the worshipful One they were seeking was to make His advent. Such portentous conjunctions, along with the new star in Coma, and the Virgin herself on the meridian at the same time, would seal the whole matter. The signs were full, definite, and complete.

The Following Of The Star - It was in December, at the winter solstice, then the twenty-fifth day of the month, that Christ was born. It was most likely in the following March, about the time of the spring equinox, at the first anniversary of the angel's annunciation to Mary, that these wise men reached Jerusalem...The record plainly implies that these men were following the star they spoke of as Christ's Star. The following of the star in Coma, so emphatically the star of the infant Seed of the woman, could be no other following than the going to the place at which it would be thus vertical over them at that hour. We cannot conceive of any other sort of following of a fixed star. And it was at Jerusalem, and only there or close on that particular line of latitude at that particular time of the year, that this star was vertical at exact midnight. This would also allow the required time for their journey after the third conjunction.

The further item in the narrative, to the effect that "the star went before them till it came and stood over where the young child was," is explainable in the same way. The short distance of some six miles between Jerusalem and Bethlehem would make so little difference in the observation of a vertical star that it would be impossible to note it without special astronomical appliances. Hence, when these followers of the star came to Jerusalem, they had gone as near to the spot they were searching for as their natural observation could serve to bring them. Accordingly, the record implies that there they somehow lost the benefit of the star's leading, so that they applied to Herod for further information. Their light from the observance of the stars being in this way exhausted, they would naturally betake themselves to the reigning sovereign there to learn the specific locality in which this sublime Prince was born, being assured by their starry guidance that it must needs be somewhere in that immediate vicinity. And having obtained answer that Bethlehem, was the exact place indicated by sacred prophecy, they set out for Bethlehem.

But on their way to Bethlehem, by some means or other, to their great joy, their star began to serve them again the same as it did before. How this came about is explained by a well-preserved and beautiful old tradition which we have no reason to discredit.

Though Bethlehem is only about six miles from Jerusalem, it is said that these distinguished visitors stopped on the way, and tarried by the side of a deep well. What they halted for in so short a journey it would be hard to tell, except it was to take another midnight observation of their star. For this purpose the well, with its perpendicular walls, would serve them the same as a fixed observatory. It was by means of such a well, and the reflection of the sun in it, at Syene in Egypt, that the line of the tropic was determined, and the extent of its declination in the time that had elapsed since that well was dug. So these wise men, by looking down the well, and observing the reflection of their bright star in the still water at the bottom, could find with great accuracy whether it was exactly vertical over them, or in what respect, if any, it was not. And so the tradition is, that they looked into the well and saw their star, and perceived that it "stood over"—was exactly vertical at—not Jerusalem, but Bethlehem, "where the young child was." Making it designate the house is not in the record.

Junction Of Prophecy And Astronomy - The result of the acquisition of this new light by means of their own star-guide tradition and the Scriptures both describe. They both say that when they saw the star and realized its relation to Bethlehem, "they rejoiced with exceeding great joy" And well they might, for it was a conjunction like that of Jupiter and Saturn themselves—the perfect conjunction and coincidence of the primeval astronomy and the revelations given by Israel's prophets touching the great Messiah. These men, indeed, had not yet reached the object of their search, but they were now doubly sure of finding and seeing the illustrious Virgin-born Saviour of the world, of whom the heavens and all sacred story had been telling and prophesying from remotest antiquity, and in whom they felt more interest than in all the earth besides. It was the Eureka ! Eureka ! of Gentile faith and hope on the threshold of embracing the adorable infant Seed of the woman, of whose glorious advent they had now no longer the least shadow of a doubt. Nor need we be surprised if it should turn out that this was the very well of Bethlehem of which David had such fond remembrance, and from which he so longed to drink.

And when we come to consider who these "wise men" were, whence they came, and what their character, position, relations, and main occupations, our explanation of the case is doubly strengthened.

Who The Magi Were - There has been about as much uncertainty, debate, and diversity of opinion touching the identity of these people as about the star of which they spake. It would be a waste of time to describe the wide-ranging imaginings upon the subject. We only need to know the solid facts in the case.

It is settled by Matthew's narrative that these people on their mission of homage to the infant Christ were Magi, and that they came from a country far eastward from Palestine. Whether from due east is not in volved in the statement. According to all the elements of the showing, and by the general consent of the Church in all ages, they were Gentiles — the first-fruits unto Christ from the Gentile world. All classic writers, from Herodotus down to Ammianus, agree in pointing to Media as their home-country— the country of the illustrious Cyrus, who is noted in sacred prophecy and was announced by inspiration as God's anointed for the deliverance of Israel from Babylon long before he was born.

The Magi are specially named in the list of the Median tribes, just as Matthew names them. Anciently they were mostly a pastoral people greatly occupied with religion, astronomy, and other sacred sciences. They were the great teachers of kings and people in the divine wisdom. They were a priestly or sacerdotal tribe, after the style of Levi among the tribes of Israel. It was their hereditary privilege to provide their country with priests and religious instructors. They were the ministers and prophets of their day. Their religion was the noblest and the least corrupted of all the ancient world. They lived mostly in towns without walls, observing their own laws and trusting to God alone for protection. It was from among them that Zoroaster sprung, if indeed such a man ever lived, and that Confucius, more remotely perhaps, obtained his better knowledge. It was from among them that Cyrus selected his priests for Persia. They believed in one God, original Creator, supreme in omniscience and goodness, unrivalled in splendor, and dwelling in light eternal. They believed in a great and powerful spirit of evil in constant antagonism to God, the spoiler of the divine works and the author of all mischief. The history of the world to them was the history of the conflict of the good originating with God and the evil originating with the Devil. All men they considered active in this conflict on the one side or the other. They held that God by His prophets gave a revelation and a law by which men might know their duty, fashion their hopes, and direct their conduct, and which it was their business to preserve and expound. They possessed both the Solar and Lunar Zodiacs, and claimed that they were given of God to teach man wisdom, forecast the future, and give hope to the good. According to the showings of the constellations, they looked for a time when a Son of the eternal Lawgiver would be born, who should be a great Saviour and Deliverer, by whom the spirit of evil and the powers of hell would be destroyed, the dead raised up to life again, and a kingdom of everlasting life and happiness established over all the earth.

So I find it written in the best accounts of them and in those fragments of their sacred books which are still preserved and of late years published in our tongue.

And, as before Abraham's time and outside of his chosen family-line, there were men like Job and his friends, like Melchisedec, king of Salem, like Jethro, priest of Midian and fatherin-law of Moses, like Balaam before his fall— men of faith in the traditional revelations that came forth out of the ark—men whom the Spirit of God and saving wisdom had not entirely abandoned—so in the time of Christ's birth there were some noble spirits among the descendants of these ancient Magi who still eagerly clung to the hope of the sure fulfilment of the primeval promise, and hence continued to observe the heavens, and to consult what they considered the inspired lore of the skies, that they might not miss the signs and tokens noted in the hereditary prophecies of their caste as presages of the advent of the great Virgin-born Son of the eternal Sovereign.

And to men of such descent, culture, faith, hope, office, and pursuits, what more would be necessary than just the starry indications which I have named to thrill their souls with profoundest enthusiasm, fan the smouldering embers of their hereditary knowledge into a flame of intensest animation, and create just such an expedition to greet the new-born divine King, as that described in connection with the text ? Had we been in their place, with their beliefs, feelings, and anticipations, with such signs and indications upon the face of the sky, where we and our fathers were taught to read the sacred foreshowings of what was to come to pass, I feel sure that we would have been moved, rejoiced, thrilled, and impelled just as they were.

And why, then, should we not accept the Conclusion that so it was? There is not a particle of evidence on earth that this was not the true state of the case as respects the Magi. All the conditions and known facts and presumable likelihoods point in this one direction. Everything in the record thus explains to the full as it will not explain in any other way known to men. And the whole result in this view takes on that dignity, importance, and far-reaching instructiveness which best befit its place in the New Testament. It is a view which silences and sweeps away the unworthy suspicions, perplexities, and cavils which have so long hung about it in the minds and estimates of many, clearing it up into def inite and comprehensible shape, and vindicating the action of the Church in putting it forward as the subject of a special festival, the opening theme of a prominent season in her calendar, and the keynote of the earthly Epiphany of the sublime Redeemer of the world.

The Sum
Of The Whole. Here, then, is a magnificent instance, 'accredited by the Holy Ghost, which stands as an everlasting testimony to the fact of a primeval revelation to all men, to the existence of a record of that revelation in the primeval astronomy, and to the preservation of the same in sufficient incorruptness to inform those who clung to it of the time and place of the nativity of the long-promised Seed of the woman, and to move them to go and greet Him in His cradle with their devoutest homage and adoration. Surely, this ought to be enough to put the matter beyond dispute, and to settle for ever that there is such a thing as The Gospel In The Stars—even that very Gospel of God which holds forth Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Seed of the woman, the divine-human Son of the Virgin, who was to come, to suffer, and to toil and die for the deliverance of man from darkness, sin, death, and the power of the Devil, to bruise the head of the Serpent, to destroy the works and dominion of the great Enemy, and to bring in everlasting redemption to our fallen race. It was to Jesus of Nazareth, even in His cradle, that the primeval astronomy conducted these remote Gentile believers; and to that same Jesus, amid vivid and glowing illustrations of the truth respecting His nature, person, mission and work, past, present, ind future, the primeval astronomy is still capable of conducting even Christians themselves.

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