S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
The outward stars, with their systems of planets, must necessarily have descended towards the middlemost system of the universe, whither all would be most strongly attracted from all parts of a finite space.
Magnificence is likewise a source of the sublime. A great profusion of things which are splendid or valuable in themselves, is magnificent. The starry heaven, though it occurs so very frequently to our view, never fails to excite an idea of grandeur. This cannot be owing to the stars themselves, separately considered. The number is certainly the cause. The apparent disorder augments the grandeur, for the appearance of care is highly contrary to our ideas of magnificence. Besides, the stars lie in such apparent confusion as makes it impossible on ordinary occasions to reckon them. This gives them the advantage of a sort of infinity.
Look up, and behold the eternal fields of light that lie round about the throne of God. Had no star ever appeared in the heavens, to man there would have been no heavens, and he would have laid himself down to his last sleep in a spirit of anguish, as upon a gloomy earth vaulted over by a material arch,solid and impervious.
A star is beautiful; it affords pleasure, not from what it is to do, or to give, but simply by being what it is. It befits the heavens; it has congruity with the mighty space in which it dwells. It has repose: no force disturbs its eternal peace. It has freedom: no obstruction lies between it and infinity.
She raised her eyes to the bright stars, looking down so mildly from the wide worlds of air; and, gazing on them, found new stars burst upon her view; and more beyond, and more beyond again, until the whole great expanse sparkled with shining spheres, rising higher and higher in immeasurable space, eternal in their numbers as in their changeless and incorruptible existence. She bent over the calm river, and saw them shining in the same majestic order as when the dove beheld them gleaming through the swollen waters, upon the mountain-tops down far below, and dead mankind a million fathoms deep.