16. In carrying ourselves back only a few millions of centuries beyond this present epoch, our Earth did not exist. Our solar system had not yet commenced the evolutions of planetary life; and yet splendid suns illuminated the ether. Already inhabited planets gave life and existence to a multitude of beings who have preceded us in our earthly career. Opulent productions of an unknown nature, and marvelous heavenly phenomena, had developed, under the gaze of others eyes, pictures of boundless creation, and even more. Already some splendors, which had caused the hearts of other mortals, at one time, then to palpitate with the thought of infinite power, were effaced; and we poor little beings who come after an eternity of life has passed, we believe ourselves contemporaneous with creation!
Yet again let us comprehend nature better. Let us know that eternity is both before and behind us, that space is the theater of an unimaginable succession and simultaneity of creations. The nebula we scarcely distinguish in the far-distant heavens are agglomerations of suns in process of formation; others are milky ways of inhabited worlds; others the seat of catastrophe and decay. Let us know that even as we are placed in the midst of an infinitude of worlds, even as we are in a double infinitude of anterior and ulterior durations, that universal creation is not for us alone, and that we must not consider this, our little globe, as an isolated formation.