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Revolving upon its own axis, and describing an ample circuit through the boundless fields of space, is a planet of the solar system bearing upon its surface a population of nearly a thousand millions subject to sin, disease and death. This orb of the starry heavens shines with a glory similar to that of its kindred spheres. Viewed from them it is seen sparkling "like a diamond in the sky," and with the rest of the heavens declares the glory of God, and shews forth the handywork of Him that did create it.
This celestial orb, which is a world or system of itself, is styled "the earth." It is the habitation of races of animals which graze its fields, lurk in its forests, soar through its atmosphere and pass through the paths of its seas. At the head of all these is a creature like themselves, animal, sensual and mortal.
He is called "man." He has replenished the earth and subdued it, and filled it with his renown. His crimes, however, rather than his virtues, have illustrated and distinguished him with an unhappy pre-eminence above all other created things. His heart is evil, and, left to its uncontrolled impulses, he becomes licentious, merciless and more cruel than the fiercest beasts of prey.
Such is the being that claims the independent sovereignty of the globe. He has founded dominions, principalities and powers; he has built great cities and vaunted himself in the works of his hands, saying, "are not these by the might of my power and for the honour of my majesty?"
He repudiates all lordship over him and claims the inalienable and inherent right of self government, and of establishing whatever civil and ecclesiastical institutions are best suited to his sensuality and caprice. Hence, at successive periods, the earth has become the arena of fierce and pandemoniac conflicts; its tragedies have baptised its soil in blood, and the mingled cries of the oppressor and the victim, have ascended to the throne of the Most High.
Elpis Israel - introduction.