The creation of luminous bodies. 

    1. AT the shows in the circus the spectator must join in the efforts of 
the athletes. This the laws of the show indicate, for they prescribe that all 
should have the head uncovered when present at the stadium. The object of 
this, in my opinion, is that each one there should not only be a spectator of 
the athletes, but be, in a certain measure, a true athlete himself.  Thus, 
to investigate the great and prodigious show of creation, to understand 
supreme and ineffable wisdom, you must bring personal light for the 
contemplation of the wonders which I spread before your eyes, and help me, 
according to your power, in this struggle, where you are not so much judges as 
fellow combatants,  for fear lest the truth might escape you, and lest my 
error might turn to your common prejudice. Why these words? It is because we 
propose to study the world as a whole, and to consider the universe not by 
the light of worldly wisdom, but by that with which 
God wills to enlighten His servant, when He speaks to him in person and 
without enigmas. It is because it is absolutely necessary that all lovers of 
great and grand shows should bring a mind well prepared to study them. If 
sometimes, on a bright night,  whilst gazing with watchful eyes on the 
inexpressible beauty of the stars, you have thought of the Creator of all 
things; if you have asked yourself who it is that has dotted heaven with such 
flowers, and why visible things are even more useful than beautiful; if 
sometimes, in the day, you have studied the marvels of light, if you have 
raised yourself by visible things to the invisible Being, then you are a well 
prepared auditor, and you can take your 

place in this august and blessed amphitheatre. Come in the same way that any 
one not knowing a town is taken by the hand and led through it; thus I am 
going to lead you, like strangers, through the mysterious marvels of this 
great city of the universe.  Our first country was in this great city, 
whence the murderous daemon whose enticements seduced man to slavery expelled 
us. There you will see man's first origin and his immediate  seizure by death, 
brought forth by sin, the first born of the evil spirit. You will know that 
you are formed of earth, but the work of God's hands; much weaker than the 
brute, but ordained to command beings without reason and soul; inferior as 
regards natural advantages, but, thanks to the privilege of reason, capable of 
raising yourself to heaven. If we are penetrated by these truths, we shall 
know ourselves, we shall know God, we shall adore our Creator, we shall serve 
our Master, we shall glorify our Father, we shall love our Sustainer, we shall 
bless our Benefactor, we shall not cease to honour the Prince  of present 
and future life, Who, by the riches that He showers upon us in this world, 
makes us believe in His promises and uses present good things to strengthen 
our expectation of the future. Truly, if such are the good things of time, 
what will be those of eternity? If such is the beauty of visible things, what 
shall we think of invisible 

things? If the grandeur of heaven exceeds the measure of human intelligence, 
what mind shall be able to trace the nature of the everlasting? If the sun, 
subject to corruption, is so beautiful, so grand. so rapid in its move-meat, 
so invariable in its course; if its grandeur is in such perfect harmony with 
and due proportion to the universe: if, by the beauty of its nature, it shines 
like a brilliant eye in the middle of creation; if finally, one cannot tire of 
contemplating it, what will be the beauty of the Sun of Righteousness?  If 
the blind man suffers from not seeing the material sun, what a deprivation is 
it for the sinner not to enjoy the true light l 

    2. "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to 
give light upon the earth, and to divide the day from the night."  Heaven 
and earth were the first; after them was created light; the day had been 
distinguished from the night, then had appeared the firmament and the dry 
element. The water had been gathered into the reservoir assigned to it, the 
earth displayed its productions, it had caused many kinds of herbs to 
germinate and it was adorned with all kinds of plants. However, the sun and 
the moon did not yet exist, in order that those who live in ignorance of God 
may not consider the sun as the origin and the father of light, or as the 
maker of all that grows out of the earth.  That is why there was a fourth 
day, and then God said: "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven." 

    When once you have learnt Who spoke, think immediately of the hearer. God 
said, "Let there be lights . . . and God made two great lights." Who spoke? 
and Who made? Do you not see a double person? Everywhere, in mystic language, 
history is sown with the dogmas of theology. 

    The motive follows which caused the lights to be created. It was to 
illuminate the earth. Already light was created; why therefore say that the 
sun was created to give light? And, first, do not laugh at the strangeness of 
this expression. We do not follow your nicety about words, and we trouble 
ourselves but little to give them a harmonious turn. Our writers do not amuse 

themselves by polishing their periods, and everywhere we prefer clearness of 
words to sonorous expressions. See then if by this expression "to light up," 
the sacred writer sufficiently made his thought understood. He has put "to 
give light"  instead of" illumination."  Now there is nothing here 
contradictory to what has been said of light. Then the actual nature of light 
was produced: now the sun's body is constructed to be a vehicle for that 
original light. A lamp is not fire. Fire has the property of illuminating, and 
we have invented the lamp to light us in darkness. In the same way, the 
luminous bodies have been fashioned as a vehicle for that pure, clear, and 
immaterial light. The Apostle speaks to us of certain lights which shine in 
the world  without being confounded with the true light of the world, the 
possession of which made the saints luminaries of the souls which they 
instructed and drew from the darkness of ignorance. This is why the Creator of 
all things, made the sun in addition to that glorious light, and placed it 
shining in the heavens. 

    3. And let no one suppose it to be a thing incredible that the brightness 
of the light is one thing, and the body which is its material vehicle is 
another. First, in all composite things, we distinguish substance susceptible 
of quality, and the quality which it receives. The nature of whiteness is one 
thing, another is that of the body which is whitened; thus the natures differ 
which we have just seen reunited by the power of the Creator. And do not tell 
me that it is impossible to separate them. Even I do not pretend to be able to 
separate light from the body of the sun; but I maintain that that which we 
separate in thought, may be separated in reality by the Creator of nature. You 
cannot, moreover, separate the brightness of fire from the virtue of burning 
which it possesses; but God, who wished to attract His servant by a wonderful 
sight, set a fire in the burning bush, which displayed all the brilliancy of 
flame while its devouring property was dormant. It is that which the Psalmist 
affirms in saying "The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire."  
Thus, in the requital which awaits us after this life, a mysterious voice 
seems to tell us that the double nature of fire will be divided; the just will 
enjoy its light, and the torment of its heat will be the torture of the 

In the revolutions of the moon we find a 
new proof of what we have advanced. When it stops and grows less it does not 
consume itself in all its body, but in the measure that it deposits or absorbs 
the light which surrounds it, it presents to us the image of its decrease or 
of its increase. If we wish an evident proof that the moon does not consume 
its body whet, at rest, we have only to open our eyes. If you look at it in a 
cloudless and clear sky, you observe, when it has taken the complete form of a 
 crescent, that the part, which is dark and not lighted up, describes a circle 
equal to that which the full moon forms. Thus the eye  can take in the whole 
circle, if it adds to the illuminated part this obscure and dark curve. And do 
not tell me that the light of the moon is borrowed, diminishing or increasing 
in proportion as it approaches or recedes from the sun. That is not now the 
object of our research; we only wish to prove that its body differs from the 
light which makes it shine. I wish you to have the same idea of the sun; 
except however that the one, after having once received light and having mixed 
it with its substance, does not lay it down again, whilst the other, turn by 
turn, putting off and reclothing itself again with light, proves by that which 
takes place in itself what we have said of the sun. 

    The sun and moon thus received the command to divide the day from the 
night. God had already separated light from darkness; then He placed their 
natures in opposition, so that they could not mingle, and that there could 
never be anything in common between darkness and light. You see what a shadow 
is during the day; that is precisely the nature of darkness during the night. 
If, at the appearance of a light, the shadow always falls on the opposite 
side; if in the morning it extends towards the setting sun; if in the evening 
it inclines towards the rising sun, and at mid-day turns towards the north; 
night retires into the regions opposed to the rays of the sun, since it is by 
nature only the shadow of the earth. Because, in the same way that, daring the 
day, shadow is produced by a body which intercepts the light, night comes 
naturally when the air which surrounds the earth is in shadow. And this is 
precisely what Scripture says, "God divided the light from the darkness." Thus 
darkness fled at the approach of light, the two being at their first creation 
divided by a natural antipathy. Now God commanded the sun to measure the day, 
and the moon, whenever she rounds her disc, to rule the night. For then these 
two luminaries are almost diametrically opposed; when the sun 
rises, the full moon disappears from the horizon, to re-appear in the east at 
the moment the sun sets. It matters little to our subject if in other phases 
the light of the moon does not correspond exactly with night. It is none the 
less true, that when at its perfection it makes the stars to turn pale and 
lightens up the earth with the splendour of its light, it reigns over the 
night, and in concert with the sun divides the duration of it in equal parts. 

    4. "And let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and 
years."  The signs which the luminaries give are necessary to human life. In 
fact what useful observations will long experience make us discover, if we ask 
without undue curiosity! What signs of rain, of drought, or of the rising of 
the wind, partial or general, violent or moderate Our Lord indicates to us one 
of the signs given by the sun when He says, "It will be foul weather to-day; 
for the sky is red and lowering."  In fact, when the sun rises through a 
fog, its rays are darkened, but the disc appears burning like a coal and of a 
bloody red colour. It is the thickness of the air which causes this 
appearance; as the rays of the sun do not disperse such amassed and condensed 
air, it cannot certainly be retained by the waves of vapour which exhale from 
the earth, and it will cause from superabundance of moisture a storm in the 
countries over which it accumulates. In the same way, when the moon is 
surrounded with moisture, or when the sun is encircled with what is called a 
halo, it is the sign of heavy rain or of a violent storm; again, in the same 
way, if mock suns accompany the sun in its course they foretell certain 
celestial phenomena. Finally, those straight lines, like the colours of the 
rainbow, which are seen on the clouds, announce rain, extraordinary tempests, 
or, in one word, a complete change in the weather. 

    Those who devote themselves to the observation of these bodies find signs 
in the different phases of the moon, as if the air, by which the earth is 
enveloped, were obliged to vary to correspond with its change of form. Towards 
the third day of the new  moon, if it is sharp and clear, it is a sign of  
fixed fine weather. If its horns appear thick and reddish it threatens us 
either with heavy  rain or with a gale from the South.  Who  does not know 
how useful  are these signs in 

life? Thanks to them, the sailor keeps back his vessel in the harbour, 
foreseeing the perils with which the winds threaten him, and the traveller 
beforehand takes shelter from harm, waiting until the weather has become 
fairer. Thanks to them, husbandmen, busy with sowing seed or cultivating 
plants, are able to know which seasons are favourable to their labours. 
Further, the Lord has announced to us that at the dissolution of the universe, 
signs will appear in the sun, in the moon and in the stars. The sun shall be 
turned into blood and the moon shall not give her light,  signs of the 
consummation of all things. 

    5. But those who overstep the borders,  making the words of Scripture 
their apology for the art of casting nativities, pretend that our lives depend 
upon the motion of the heavenly bodies, and that thus the Chaldaeans read in 
the planets that which will happen to us.  By these very simple words "let 
them be for signs," they understand neither the variations of the weather, nor 
the change of seasons; they only see in them, at the will of their 
imagination, the distribution of human destinies. What do they say in reality? 
When the planets cross in the signs of the Zodiac, certain figures formed by 
their meeting give birth to certain destinies, and others produce different 

    Perhaps for clearness sake it is not useless to enter into more detail 
about this vain science. I will say nothing of my own to refute them; I will 
use their words, bringing a remedy for the infected, and for others a 
preservative from falling. The inventors of astrology seeing that in the 
extent of time many signs escaped them, divided it and enclosed each part in 
narrow limits, as if in the least and shortest interval, in a moment, in the 
twinkling of an eye,  to speak with the Apostle, the greatest difference 
should be found between one birth and another. Such an one is born in this 
moment; he will be a prince over cities and will govern the people, 

in the fulness of riches and power. Another is born the instant after; he will 
be poor, miserable, and will wander daily from door to door begging his bread. 
Consequently they divide the Zodiac into twelve parts, and, as the sun takes 
thirty days to traverse each of the twelve divisions of this unerring circle, 
they divide them into thirty more. Each of them forms sixty new ones, and 
these last are again divided into sixty. Let us see then if, in determining 
the birth of an infant, it will be possible to observe this rigorous division 
of time. The child is born. The nurse ascertains the sex; then she awaits the 
wail which is a sign of its life. Until then how many moments have passed do 
you think? The nurse announces the birth of the child to the Chaldaean: how 
many minutes would you count before she opens her mouth, especially if he who 
records the hour is outside the women's apartments? And we know that he who 
consults the dial, ought, whether by day or by night, to mark the hour with 
the most precise exactitude. What a swarm of seconds passes during this time! 
For the planet of nativity ought to be found, not only in one of the twelve 
divisions of the Zodiac, and even in one of its first subdivisions, but again 
in one of the sixtieth parts which divide this last, and even, to arrive at 
the exact truth, in one of the sixtieth subdivisions that this contains in its 
turn. And to obtain such minute knowledge, so impossible to grasp from this 
moment, each planet must be questioned to find its position as regards the 
signs of the Zodiac and the figures that the planets form at the moment of the 
child's birth. Thus, if it is impossible to find exactly the hour of birth, 
and if the least change can upset all, then both those who give themselves up 
to this imaginary science and those who listen to them open-mouthed, as if 
they could learn from them the future, are supremely ridiculous. 

    6. But what effects are produced? Such an one will have curly hair and 
bright eyes, because he is born under the Ram; such is the appearance of a 
ram. He will have noble feelings; because the Ram is born to command. He will 
be liberal and fertile in resources, because this animal gets rid of its 
fleece without trouble, and nature immediately hastens to reclothe it. Another 
is born under the Bull: he will be enured to hardship and of a slavish 
character, because the bull bows under the yoke. Another is born under the 
Scorpion; like to this venomous reptile he will be a striker. He who is born 
under the Balance will be just, thanks to the justness of our balances. Is not 
this the height of folly? This Ram, from whence you draw the nativity of man, 
is the twelfth part of the heaven, and in entering into it the sun reaches the 
spring. The Balance and the Bull are likewise twelfth parts of the Zodiac. How 
can you see there the principal causes which influence the life of man? And 
why do you take animals to characterize the manners of men who enter this 
world? He who is born under the Ram will be liberal, not because this part of 
heaven gives this characteristic, but because such is the nature  of the 
beast. Why then should we frighten ourselves by the names of these stars and 
undertake to persuade ourselves with these bleatings? If heaven has different 
characteristics derived from these animals, it is then  itself subject to 
external influences since its causes depend on the brutes who graze in our 
fields. A ridiculous assertion; but how much more ridiculous the pretence of 
arriving at the influence on each other of things which have not the least 
connexion! This pretended science is a true spider's web; if a gnat or a fly, 
or some insect equally feeble falls into it it is held entangled; if a 
stronger animal approaches, it passes through without trouble, carrying the 
weak tissue away with it.  

    7. They do not, however, stop here; even our acts, where each one feels 
his will ruling, I mean, the practice of virtue or of vice, depend, according 
to them, on the influence of celestial bodies. It would be ridiculous 
seriously to refute such an error, but, as it holds a great many in its nets, 
perhaps it is better not to pass it over in silence. I would first ask them if 
the figures which the stars describe do not change a thousand times a day. In 
the perpetual motion of planets, some meet in a more rapid course, others make 
slower revolutions, and often in an hour we see them look at each other and 
then hide themselves. Now, at the hour of birth, it is very important whether 
one is looked upon by a beneficent star or by an evil one, to speak their 
language. Often then the astrologers do not seize the moment when a good star 
shows itself, and, on account of having let this fugitive moment escape, they 
enrol the newborn under the influence of a bad genius. I am compelled to use 
their own words. What madness! But, above all, what impiety! For the evil 
stars throw the blame of their wickedness upon Him Who trade them. If evil is 
inherent in their nature, the 

Creator is the author of evil. If they make it themselves, they are animals 
endowed with the power of choice, whose acts will be free and voluntary. Is it 
not the height of folly to tell these lies about beings without souls? Again, 
what a want of sense does it show to distribute good and evil without regard 
to personal merit; to say that a star is beneficent because it occupies a 
certain place; that it becomes evil, because it is viewed by another star; and 
that if it moves ever so little from this figure it loses its malign 

    But let us pass on. If, at every instant of duration, the stars vary their 
figures, then in these thousand changes, many times a day, there ought to be 
reproduced the configuration of royal births. Why then does not every day see 
the birth of a king? Why is there a succession on the throne from father to 
son? Without doubt there has never been a king who has taken measures to have 
his son born under the star of royalty. For what man possesses such a power? 
How then did Uzziah beget Jotham, Jotham Ahaz, Ahaz Hezekiah? And by what 
chance did the birth of none of them happen in an hour of slavery? If the 
origin of our virtues and of our vices is not in ourselves, but is the fatal 
consequence of our birth, it is useless for legislators to prescribe for us 
what we ought to do, and what we ought to avoid; it is useless for judges to 
honour virtue and to punish vice. The guilt is not in the robber, not in the 
assassin: it was willed for him; it was impossible for him to hold back his 
hand, urged to evil by inevitable necessity. Those who laboriously cultivate 
the arts are the maddest of men. The labourer will make an abundant harvest 
without sowing seed and without sharpening his sickle. Whether he wishes it or 
not, the merchant will make his fortune, and will be flooded with riches by 
fate. As for us Christians, we shall see our great hopes vanish, since from 
the moment that man does not act with freedom, there is neither reward for 
justice, nor punishment for sin. Under the reign of necessity and of fatality 
there is no place for merit, the first condition of all righteous judgment. 
But let us stop. You who are sound in yourselves have no need to hear more, 
and time does not allow us to make attacks without limit against these unhappy 

    8. Let its return to the words which follow. "Let them be for signs and 
for seasons and for days and years."  We have spoken about signs. By times, 
we understand the succession of seasons, winter, spring, summer and autumn, 
which we see follow each other in so regular a course, thanks to the 
regularity of the movement of the luminaries. It is winter when the sun 
sojourns in the south and produces in abundance the shades of night in our 
region. The air spread over the earth is chilly, and the damp exhalations, 
which gather over our heads, give rise to rains, to frosts, to innumerable 
flakes of snow. When, returning from the southern regions, the sun is in the 
middle of the heavens and divides day and night into equal parts, the more it 
sojourns above the earth the more it brings back a mild temperature to us. 
Then comes spring, which makes all the plants germinate, and gives to the 
greater part of the trees their new life, and, by successive generation, 
perpetuates all the land and water animals. From thence the sun, returning to 
the summer solstice, in the direction of the North, gives us the longest days. 
And, as it travels farther in the air, it burns that which is over our heads, 
dries up the earth, ripens the grains and hastens the maturity of the fruits 
of the trees. At the epoch of its greatest heat, the shadows which the sun 
makes at mid-day are short, because it shines from above, from the air over 
our heads. Thus the longest days are those when the shadows are shortest, in 
the same way that the shortest days are those when the shadows are longest. It 
is this which happens to all of us "Hetero-skii"   (shadowed-on-one-side) 
who inhabit the northern regions of the earth. But there are people who, two 
days in the year, are completely without shade at mid-day, because the sun, 
being perpendicularly over their heads, lights them so equally from all sides, 
that it could through a narrow opening shine at the bottom of a well. Thus 
there are some who call them "askii" (shadowless). For those who live beyond 
the land of spices  see their shadow now on one side, now on another, the 
only inhabitants of this land of which the shade falls at mid-day; thus they 
are given the name of "amphiskii,"  (shadowed-on-both- 

sides). All these phenomena happen whilst the sun is passing into northern 
regions: they give us an idea of the heat thrown on the air, by the rays of 
the sun and of the effects that they produce. Next we pass to autumn, which 
breaks up the excessive heat, lessening the warmth little by little, and by a 
moderate temperature brings us back without suffering to winter, to the time 
when the sun returns from the northern regions to the southern. It is thus 
that seasons, following the course of the sun, succeed each other to rule our 

    "Let them be for days"  says Scripture, not to produce them but to rule 
them; because day and night tire older than the creation of the luminaries and 
it is this that the psalm declares to us. "The sun to rule by day ... the moon 
and stars to rule by night."  How does the sun rule by day? Because carrying 
everywhere light with it, it is no sooner risen above the horizon than it 
drives away darkness and brings us day. Thus we might, without self deception, 
define day as air lighted by the sun, or as the space of time that the sun 
passes in our hemisphere. The functions of the sun and moon serve further to 
mark years. The moon, after having twelve times run her course, forms a year 
which sometimes needs an intercalary month to make it exactly agree with the 
seasons. Such was formerly the year of the Hebrews and of the early Greeks.  
As to the solar year, it is the time that the sun, having started from a 
certain sign, takes to return to it in its normal progress. 

    9. "And God made two great lights "  The word "great," if, for example 
we say it of the heaven of the earth or of the sea, may have an absolute 
sense; but ordinarily it has only a relative meaning, as a great horse, or a 
great ox. It is not that these animals are of an immoderate size, but that in 
comparison with their like they deserve the title of great. What idea shall we 
ourselves form here of greatness? Shall it be the idea that we have of it in 
the ant and in all the little  creatures of nature, which we call great in 
comparison with those like themselves, and to show their superiority over 
them? Or shall we predicate greatness of the luminaries, as of the natural 
greatness inherent in them? As for me, I think so. If the sun and moon are 
great, it is not in comparison with the smaller stars, but because they have 
such a circumference that the splendour which they diffuse lights up the 
heavens and the air, embracing at the same time earth and sea. In whatever 
part of heaven they may be, whether rising, or setting, or in mid heaven, they 
appear always the same in the eyes of men, a manifest proof of their 
prodigious size. For the whole extent of heaven cannot make them appear 
greater in one place and smaller in another. Objects which we see afar off 
appear dwarfed to our eyes, and in measure as they approach us we can form a 
juster idea of their size. But there is no one who can be nearer or more 
distant from the sun. All the inhabitants of the earth see it at the same 
distance. Indians and Britons see it of the same size. The people of the East 
do not see it decrease in magnitude when it sets; those of the West do  not 
find it smaller when it rises. If it is in the middle of the heavens it does 
not vary in either aspect. Do not be deceived by mere appearance, and because 
it looks a cubit's breadth, imagine it to be no bigger.  At a very great 
distance objects always lose size in our eyes; sight, not being able to clear 
the intermediary space, is as it were exhausted in the middle of its coarse, 
and only a small part of it reaches the visible object.  Our power of sight 
is small and makes all we see seem small, affecting what it sees by its own 
condition. Thus, then, if sight is mistaken its testimony is fallible. Recall 
your own impressions and you will find in yourself the proof of my words. If 
you bare ever from the top of a high mountain looked at a large and level 
plain, how big did the yokes of oxen appear to you? How big were the ploughmen 
themselves? Did they not look like ants?  If from the top of a commanding 
rock, looking over the wide sea, you cast your eyes over the vast extent how 
big did the greatest islands appear to 

you? How large did one of those barks of great tonnage, which unfurl their 
white sails to the blue sea, appear to you. Did it not look smaller than a 
dove? It is because sight, as I have just told you, loses itself in the air, 
becomes weak and cannot seize with exactness the object which it sees. And 
further: your sight shows you high mountains intersected by valleys as rounded 
and smooth, because it reaches only to the salient parts, and is not able, on 
account of its weakness, to penetrate into the valleys which separate them. It 
does not even preserve the form of objects, and thinks that all square towers 
are round. Thus all proves that at a great distance sight only presents to us 
obscure and confused objects. The luminary is then great, according to the 
witness of Scripture, and infinitely greater than it appears. 

    10. See again another evident proof of its greatness. Although the heaven 
may be full of stars without number, the light contributed by them all could 
not disperse the gloom of night. The sun alone, from the time that it appeared 
on the horizon, while it was still expected and had not yet risen completely 
above the earth, dispersed the darkness, outshone the stars, dissolved and 
diffused the air, which was hitherto thick and condensed over our heads, and 
produced thus the morning breeze and the dew which in fine weather streams 
over the earth. Could the earth with such a wide extent be lighted up entirely 
in one moment if an immense disc were not pouring forth its light over it? 
Recognise here the wisdom of the Artificer. See how He made the heat of the 
sun proportionate to this distance. Its heat is so regulated that it neither 
consumes the earth by excess, nor lets it grow cold and sterile by defect. 

    To all this the properties of the moon are near akin; she, too, has an 
immense body, whose splendour only yields to that of the sun. Our eyes, 
however, do not always see her in her full size. Now she presents a perfectly 
rounded disc, now when diminished and lessened she shows a deficiency on one 
side. When waxing she is shadowed on one side, and when she is waning another 
side is hidden. Now it is not without a secret reason of the divine Maker of 
the universe, that the moon appears from time to time under such different 
forms. It presents a striking example of our nature. Nothing is stable in man; 
here from nothingness he raises himself to perfection; there after having 
hasted to put forth his strength to attain his full greatness he suddenly is 
subject to gradual deterioration, and is destroyed by diminution. Thus, the 
sight of the moon, making us think of the rapid vicissitudes of human things, 
ought to teach us not to pride ourselves on the good things of this life, and 
not to glory in our power, not to be carried away by uncertain riches, to 
despise our flesh which is subject to change, and to take care of the soul, 
for its good is unmoved. If you cannot behold without sadness the moon losing 
its splendour by gradual and imperceptible decrease, how much more distressed 
should you be at the sight of a soul, who, after having possessed virtue, 
loses its beauty by neglect, and does not remain constant to its affections, 
but is agitated and constantly changes because its purposes are unstable. What 
Scripture says is very true,  "As for a fool he changeth as the moon."  

    I believe also that the variations of the moon do not take place without 
exerting great influence upon the organization of animals and of all living 
things. This is because bodies are differently disposed at its waxing and 
waning. When she wanes they lose their density and become void. When she waxes 
and is approaching her fulness they appear to fill themselves at the same time 
with her, thanks to an imperceptible moisture that she emits mixed with heat, 
which penetrates everywhere.  For proof, see how those who sleep under the 
moon feel abundant moisture filling their heads;  see how fresh meat is 
quickly turned under the action of the moon;  see the brain of animals, the 
moistest part of marine animals, the pith of trees. Evidently the moon must 
be, as Scripture says, of enormous size and power to make all nature thus 
participate in her changes. 

    11. On its variations depends also the condition of the air, as is proved 
by sudden dis- 

turbances which often come after the new moon, in the midst of a calm and of a 
stillness in the winds, to agitate the clouds and to hurl them against each 
other; as the flux and reflux in straits, and the ebb and flow of the ocean 
prove, so that those who live on its shores see it regularly following the 
revolutions of the moon. The waters of straits approach and retreat from one 
shore to the other during the different phases of the moon; but, when she is 
new, they have not an instant of rest, and move in perpetual swaying to and 
fro, until the moon, reappearing, regulates their reflux. As to the Western 
sea,  we see it in its ebb and flow now return into its bed, and now 
overflow, as the moon draws it back by her respiration and then, by her 
expiration, urges it to its own boundaries.  

    I have entered into these details, to show you the grandeur of the 
luminaries, and to make you see that, in the inspired words, there is not one 
idle syllable. And yet my sermon has scarcely touched on any important point; 
there are many other discoveries about the size and distance of the sun and 
moon to which any one who will make a serious study of their action and of 
their characteristics may arrive by the aid of reason. Let me then ingenuously 
make an avowal of my weakness, for fear that you should measure the mighty 
works of the Creator by my words. The little that I have said ought the rather 
to make you conjecture the marvels on which I have omitted to dwell. We must 
not then measure the moon with the eye, but with the reason. Reason, for the 
discovery  of truth, is much surer than the eye. 

    Everywhere ridiculous old women's tales, imagined in the delirium of 
drunkenness, have been circulated; such as that enchantmeats can remove the 
moon from its place and make it descend to the earth. How could a magician's 
charm shake that of which the Most High has laid the foundations? And if once 
torn out what place could hold it?  

    Do you wish from slight indications to have a proof of the moon's size? 
All the towns in the world, however distant from each other, equally receive 
the light from the moon in those streets that are turned towards its rising If 
she did not look on all face to face, those only would be entirely lighted up 
which were exactly opposite; as to those beyond the extremities of her disc, 
they would only receive diverted and oblique rays. It is this effect which the 
light of lamps produces in houses; if a lamp is surrounded by several persons, 
only the shadow of the person who is directly opposite to it is cast in a 
straight line, the others follow inclined lines on each side. In the same way, 
if the body of the moon were not of an immense and prodigious size she could 
not extend herself alike to all. In reality, when the moon rises in the 
equinoctial regions, all equally enjoy her light, both those who inhabit the 
icy zone, under the revolutions of the Bear, and those who dwell in the 
extreme south in the neighbourhood of the torrid zone. She gives us an idea of 
her size by appearing to be face to face with all people. Who then can deny 
the immensity of a body which divides itself equally over such a wide extent? 

    But enough on the greatness of the sun and moon. May He Who has given us 
intelligence to recognise in the smallest objects of creation the great  
wisdom of the Contriver make us find in great bodies a still higher idea of 
their Creator. However, compared with their Author, the sun and moon are but a 
fly and an ant. The whole universe cannot give us a right idea of the 
greatness of God; and it is only by signs, weak and slight in themselves, 
often by the help of the smallest insects and of the least plants, that we 
raise ourselves to Him. Content with these words let us offer our thanks, I to 
Him who has given me the ministry of the Word, you to Him who feeds you with 
spiritual food; Who, even at this moment, makes you find in my weak voice the 
strength of barley bread. May He feed you for ever, and in proportion to your 
faith grant you the manifestation of the Spirit  in Jesus Christ our Lord, 
to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.