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answered, that his work had been equivalent to five hundred dollars. As I came along, I said to myself, did he make ten suits of clothes, worth fifty dollars each, or a hundred hats, or did he work on a farm, or at the printing business, and for my life I could not tell what the man had been doing all last year. So that when I am told that heat is equivalent to motion, still I do not know what it is."
"The pain I now feel causes me to ask you to explain something else. An hour ago, while I was looking at one of the stones with which they were paving the street, I carelessly let it slip out of my hand, and it instantly went down to my foot with such force that I feel the pain even yet. Professor, do tell me what caused the stone to go with such violence against my foot."
"That," said the Professor, with a serious look, was caused by the force of gravity."
"And what is the force of gravity?" said the Indian.
"It is the attractive force which each particle of matter exerts on every other particle, and extends throughout the entire universe, keeping every planet and comet in its proper place, and influencing all material things."
"It is most wonderful!" exclaims his auditor. "Tell me what that attractive force is that is so mighty in its effects."
"You ask me," said the Professor, "what it is beyond the power of science to answer. The universal fact is perceived, but nothing more is, or can be known."
"Then," sorrowfully responds the savage, "all your great science tells me only such things as I can see for myself, but it does not explain what I am most anxious to know. When in my own country I felt the warm glow of the fire, and saw the brilliant light which the great sun cast over the world, I longed to know the cause of these things. Our prophets said that the Great Spirit, by his secret but mighty power that pervaded all space, caused the results daily exhibited. But your science does not tell me how any of these effects are produced. There must be a cause for all these appearances, and as your science shows none, I will go back to the ideas of my ignorant barbarism."
Such is, indeed, all human science! Whatever be the subject it takes hold of, before it moves far in one direction its course is arrested, and it fails to elucidate what it is most anxious to know. Like a fly in a glass jar, in whatever direction it may start, its progress is soon arrested. I will now present a second scene for consideration.
There was, last evening, a great gathering of the worms at a locality near us. By worms, I mean such as are found in the moist earth, usually called red worms. The meeting was the annual assemblage of their Association for the Advancement of Science, and the occasion derived unusual interest from its being known that some important questions, about which there had long been a difference of opinion, were to be discussed and settled.
The questions were whether certain Englishmen had built of iron a ship called the "Great Eastern," six hundred and eighty feet long. Secondly, whether the Emperor of Germany could bring together a million of armed men. And thirdly, whether the citizens of the United
States had constructed a railroad from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean, more than three thousand miles long. The fact known that these questions were to be discussed and settled, attracted an unusually large concourse of scientific worms.
There was an especial desire to hear the views of a certain venerable and distinguished philosopher, who had published a work on the universe, so learned and comprehensive that it was a common opinion that the portion of science which he did not know was, in fact, not worth knowing. He was especially noted for his extensive travels, it being asserted that he had traveled at least twenty times his own length, and therefore, as he was six inches long, he had probably traveled in his life not less than one hundred and twenty inches, or ten feet.
On this occasion he arose only after the debate had already taken a wide range, and his exposition of his views was so lucid, and at the same time so logical and accurate, that he carried conviction to the mind of every hearer. He declared that in all his extensive travels he had never seen a ship of any size whatever, and that the existence of one so prodigious as the Great Eastern, was not more probable than that of the gorgons and hydras, invented by the fertile imaginations of the Greeks.
As to the second question about a million of men, he did not believe there had ever been a single man in existence. The jarring of the earth over their heads sometimes, which the ignorant believed to be caused by the tread of a man above, was doubtless due to an earthquake, while the upturning of immense masses of earth at times, so detrimental to many worms, instead of being, as popularly supposed, the effect of a plow in the hands of a man, was rather to be attributed to some convulsion of nature, not yet understood, but which science. would, doubtless one of these days, be able to take hold of and explain. As to the third proposition, if there were no men, of course no railroad three thousand miles long had ever been built by them. After this most convincing and luminous address by the great philosopher, it was unanimously decided that the existence of man was as improbable as that of the genii of eastern romance; that all of the propositions should be rejected as absurdities, and that any one maintaining a different opinion would forfeit the respect of all scientific worms.
How much was this decision worth as an element in determining the truth of the three propositions discussed? I maintain that it ought to be considered as of quite as much value in that respect as are the teachings of science explained after the manner of the positive philosophers of the present day, in deciding the questions which I am about to present.
But it will, perhaps, be said that there is no analogy whatever between the cases, and that the worms could not have any data to rest their decision upon. This is admitted, but I merely affirm, that they might be able to make greater progress in the pursuit of the facts necessary in their case, than can the positivists through their systems in acquiring a knowledge even of the material universe.
The star Sirius is so near us that it is estimated that its rays of light reach the earth in twelve years. If one of these worms were able to
travel two inches in twenty-four hours, he might pass over a distance of more than fifty feet in a year, make one mile in a century, and in five hundred thousand years he would have passed over a distance of five thousand miles. This distance would carry him to Southampton, where I saw the Great Eastern, or even to Berlin, in Germany.
But if a man could travel towards Sirius at the rate of one thousand miles per day, a distance which no man has probably ever passed over in twenty-four hours, he would be traveling two hundred mil lions of years before he reached the star, or four hundred times longer than the period necessary, to enable the worm to complete his journey. With respect to the comparative length of their lives, the worm would be quite as likely to live one year as the man four hundred, such being the proportions between the length of their journeys.
It may be said, however, that such an obstacle as the Atlantic ocean would positively prevent the journey of the worm. This is admitted, but a still more formidable one bars the way of the man to the star. The worm might make a considerable progress in his journey, but no man has ever gotten ten miles from the earth, or probably ever can.
Herschell discovered stars two thousand times more distant than Sirius, and did not regard even this space as indicating the extent of the material universe. Even of a body comparatively so near us as the sun, the little we know of it, only seem to perplex us. For if as the spectrum analysis teaches us, the heat there is so great that iron, and other like substances, are kept in the condition of incandescent gasses, of what materials are the solid body of the sun composed, and of what substance and fashion are its inhabitants formed? For when we perceive that here upon the earth a single cubic inch of slate has contained more than forty millions of living animals, we hesitate to believe that a body more than twelve hundred thousand times larger than our whole globe, should be absolutely destitute of living beings.
The worm, too, might possibly by contact with a railroad bar, or by touching the side of a ship, learn something of it, but if this star be like our sun, as it is generally conceded, then no man could approach within a distance of several millions of miles of it without his body being converted into gasses by its heat.
It may be suggested that as man is furnished with organs of vision, he possesses a great advantage over the worm. But if man's vision gives him so imperfect a knowledge of the material world, how is it to be assumed that it can afford him any knowledge of spiritual existences? Is he not blind in this respect?
But it may be objected that if man's senses do not enable him to perceive spirits, what evidence have we that such exist. This question brings me to the third proposition in our progress.
If man's senses do not positively or directly perceive spirits, how can he know that such things are realities?
The maintenance of this affirmative proposition is more difficult than was the negation of the two preceding ones.
I believe it can be as fairly and as satisfactorily established as are other propositions regarded as certain in philosophical science.
For example, I have a settled belief, a thorough conviction that spiritual beings exist. This feeling seems to be a part of my nature, so that I cannot remember its origin. But if this belief were mine alone, it would be regarded as an illusion entitled to no more weight than the fancy of an insane person. A similar conviction, however, pervades the minds of the whole human race. The feeling is not confined to the men of my own country, nor even to those of what is called the civilized world. All barbarians, all savages, living either in the remotest continental localities, or the least frequented islands of the ocean possess the same conviction. The chief difference observed between the savage and the civilized man seems to be that the feeling in the former is, if not stronger, at least more controling than it is in the latter. This conviction of the existence of spiritual beings antedates all history, and seems to have influenced the conduct of mankind in every age.
It is idle to say that this is a mere fancy, for mental conditions are as real and their existence may be established by evidence us conclusive as are the material objects of which our senses directly take cognizance. For example, if a question were raised as to whether a music teacher could play a tune, or only make a noise on his violin, if he were to play a familiar air in this assembly, most persons here present would be able to swear with as much confidence that he had played a tune, as that he had held an instrument in his hand.
In other words, we are convinced that a tune faculty exists in the mind. In like manner we know that there are such things as love and anger, though our senses do not directly perceive them. But the faculty of spirituality, or the belief in the existence of spiritual beings, is not less strikingly manifested.
Superficial writers have said that the belief in the existence of spirits was prevalent, because it was early taught to children by nurses and others. A nurse in the fable threatens to throw a crying child to the wolf, but if all nurses habitually did this, is it believed that grown up men in countries where it was known that no wolves existed, would ever feel such terror as ghostly fear inspires? Nurses speak of these things because they feel them strongly, and they impress the minds of children because they are in harmony with their natures.
Though thousands should write of the vanity of love and the folly of anger, yet these feelings would continue to be recognized as a part of human nature. Education can no more easily eradicate a mental faculty, than it could produce one, which nature had not created. If the faculty of spirituality did not exist, man would no more have conceived the idea of spirits than if all mankind were destitute of organs of vision, could they ever have entertained the idea of color.
Spirituality being one of the most important elements of man's nature, like his other faculties, manifests itself in children. In after life these feelings continue in the courageous as well as the timid. The bravest soldiers and sailors constitute no exception. It proves nothing that these emotions are often suppressed. All men dread the pain which wounds produce, but this dread is so subdued that they march into battle by the hundred thousand.
There is another condition of the human mind to be considered in this connection, viz: that quality which obliges it to assign a cause for what it sees. The feeling, or faculty, of causality is one of the strongest intellectual conditions of the mind. If I should chance to meet on the wayside a farmer of ordinary intelligence, and our conversation should take a scientific turn, I might say to him that the absolutely certain or exact sciences, like mathematics, rested on axioms or self-evident propositions. If I should ask him whether it was not true that the whole was equal to all its parts, and that things that were equal to the same thing were not necessarily equal to each other, he would, after a moment's reflection, probably admit that these propositions must be true. "Then," I might say to him, "do you believe that stone made itself?" as I pointed to a water-worn lump of quartz in the road. He would instantly reply, "No, that stone never made itself." "Are you as sure about that as you are about the truth of the axioms?" "Yes, more so," would perhaps be the reply, "for I had to study a little about your axioms, but as to that stone I am just as sure it never made itself as I am that I see it."
Every human mind has a conviction that there was a cause for the material things it observes, and that the prime cause was some power of a nature different from the substances themselves. The conviction is universal that matter did not originate itself.
But the positive philosopher says you have no right to assume a cause, for you do not know what the cause is, nor have you positive evidence of its existence. I reply to him, "Then on your own principles you have no right to assume that there is an elastic medium. through which light is propagated, for you neither know what it is, nor do you perceive its existence." He answers, "Light is apparent, selfevident, and it is necessary to account for it that we assume the existence of a medium." "I admit this, but if it be necessary to assume the existence of an element pervading all space to account for color alone, how much greater is the necessity to assign a cause for the existence of the whole material creation, which all our senses alike concur in perceiving?"
There is another condition or habit of the mind to be considered in this connection, viz: the impression that when things have uniformly existed together, they will not be found separated. Though this conviction is not so palpable as the former one, yet it is of such force that men of science base certain laws of uniformity on it. Let us measure its strength by comparing it with such testimony as men rely on in courts of justice.
A certain scientific Professor (the same person who had the conversation with the Esquimaux Indian) went to the fish market and enquired for a fresh shad. "Here is one," says a man at his stall, "taken out of the water last night." A bystander exclaims, "Professor, do not believe this lying fishmonger, that shad never came out of the water at all, it grew on a tree in the Central Park; you may there see them in great numbers hanging by their tails on the oak trees, and when the wind blows they fall off, and this man fills his basket every morning.' The dealer retorts angrily, "That impudent fellow speaks falsely, Pro