Gospel: The Astronomer’s Lesson

Many years ago, two men sat on a bench engaged in lively conversation. The elder of the two was Mr. Martin. The young man was Van Breman, a student at the university in that town.

The student said, “It appears to me that the teaching of Christianity is at variance with the most simple rules of order and proportion. Can you really believe that the Creator has visited this small, insignificant world, and that He has actually chosen out this little ball, which swims among the gigantic heavenly bodies like a drop in the ocean, to manifest His kindness to its few inhabitants, and to show his royalty to a handful of beggars?”

Mr. Martin replied, “A famous astronomer had a conversation with a friend of mine who kept the tower in which the great telescope is housed. One bitterly cold and stony winter evening, my friend, Peter, was sitting in his little parlor with his open Bible. To his surprise, he heard a knock on his door, and opened it to find Dr. Blankenhagen, a famous astronomer, breathless from fatigue and shivering with the cold.

The doctor said, “I have an opportunity tonight that will not return for 200 years. A conjunction of stars will take place at 12:30, and I would regret it all my life if I missed it.”

“Peter, I often find you reading the Bible. How can you fill your life with the contents of one book? Only compare this small volume with the infinite book which I peruse. but you know nothing of the stars, Peter.”

Well, sir, my Bible tells me, ‘When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which Thou hast ordained; what is man that Thou art mindful of him? Thou hast made him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet.'”

“Why,” said the doctor, “your Bible puts the stars under man’s feet. If that were the case I would have no need to climb up all those steps.”

“It is true, sir, that man is below the stars. He has sinned against God, and has sunk into a bottomless pit of misery, but this Psalm is speaking of the Son of Man, God’s only Son. He is exalted far above the stars, having dominion over all the works of God’s hands. He is now sitting at His right hand, supreme over all the worlds that swim in immeasurable space.”

“Do you really believe that the Creator of these stars has lowered Himself to become a man, and choose this little globe for His dwelling place? Even our sun is a small thing compared to such a star as Sirius. Can you suppose that the great Prince of Heaven would pass by those magnificent worlds to take interest in such a paltry particle of the universe as this earth?”

Just than the clock struck midnight. Jumping from his chair, the doctor seized his lantern, and climbed the stairs to the top of the tower. Only a few minutes passed when Peter was again roused by a violent push at the door. The doctor in great agitation cried, “Quick, Peter, a small screw slipped from my cold fingers, and unless we find it, all will be lost!”

For a long time, the two men groped on the cold and frosty pavement. At last, it was found, and an hour later, the doctor exclaimed, “I have seen it all, it was most beautiful. My report will interest the astronomical world.”

“I am glad, sir,” said Peter, “for I feared you would miss this great event, but I am surprised that you made such an ado about a screw not worth one cent!”

“Don’t you see, you simple fellow, that everything depended on that little screw? Without it, all would have been lost!”

“Sir,” said Peter, “you have not hesitated to lower yourself to the dust of this frosty pavement for the sake of a thing so small. Why do you wonder that the great Creator should have humbled Himself to find and save His lost creatures, however insignificant and worthless? Can you not believe that the Son of God did not shun even the death of the cross to rescue fallen sinners, whom He loved?

The doctor was silent, but finally said, “Peter, you are better and wiser than I. Your Book teaches you higher things than the stars ever taught me!”

With this Mr. Martin’s tale was finished. The student rose, and said, “I thank you, Mr Martin. Peter was a better astronomer than the doctor.”

“God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise” (1 Cor 2:27).