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Arise to thee: the children call, and I
SUNSHINE ENTOMBED.—Professor Roscoe.
Professor Roscoe is one of the ahle staff of Owen's College, Manchester. He is the author of various admirable scientific books.
George Stephenson and a friend were once looking at a train which was rushing along. The trains in those days were not so common as they are now, and George asked his friend what he thought propelled or drove the train along. His friend answered, "Probably the arm of some stalwart, north-country driver." "No," said George, "it is the heat and light of the sun which shone millions of years ago, which has been bottled up in the coal all this time, and is now driving that train." What did he mean? Can we get an idea whether that extraordinary statement is true—that it is really the heat and light of the sun which is driving the train? I want to try and make that plain to you. What is the coal that we put under the steam-engine? A pound of coal, if we could convert the whole of the heat which it is capable of producing into mechanical power, "would jump up two thousand miles high. Now, where did that coal come from? What has that coal been? These are questions which we all may ask ourselves. The coal really was at one time a living plant; the coal, or the constituents of the coal, composed a living plant that grew in the bright sunshine on the surface of this earth, not buried as it is now, below a thousand feet of rock, but living in and enjoying the bright sunshine, as the trees nowadays do when the sun shines here. Well, how did these coal plants grow? They grew, as all plants only can grow, by the sunshine. If we take away the sunshine, plants cannot flourish. You cannot grow plants in a cellar, because there is no sunshine. Put plants in a window, and see how they creep up to the light. That is because the light is absolutely necessary for their growth; they cannot grow without the sunlight. So our coal plants could not grow without the sunlight. Eemember it is the sunlight which enables it to take its food—namely, the carbon—from the air by decomposing the carbonic acid which the air contains. This it can only do by the help of the sunlight. Now, a certain definite amount of light and heat must shine upon the plant before it can gain one pound in weight, before one pound of the stem, or leaf, or branch of that plant can be formed. A certain definite amount of force, as light and heat, must shine upon the plant, and be used up in decomposing the carbonic acid of the air. What happens if we burn a plant? Why, that definite amount of force as light and heat comes out again, and we get absolutely the same amount of heat out of a piece of coal when burnt as was necessarily used up ages ago in order that that coal should be formed.
Composition.—Write out an explanation of the facts on botany and chemistry in this lesson, from the sections in the Public School Readers, on these sciences.
Luther's birthplace was Eisleben, in Saxony; he came into the world there on the 10th of November, 1483. It was an accident that gave this honour to Eisleben. His parents, poor mine-labourers in a village of that region, named Mohra, had gone to the Eisleben winter fair: in the tumult of this scene file Frau Luther was taken with travail, found refuge in some poor-house there, and the boy she bore was named Martin Luther.
Richter says of Luther's words: "His words are halfbattles." They may be called so. The essential quality of him was, that he could fight and conquer; that he was a right piece of human valour. No more valiant man, no mortal heart to be called braver, that one has record of, ever lived in that Teutonic kindred, whose character is valour. His defiance of the "devils " in Worms was not a mere boast, as the like might be if now spoken. It was a faith of Luther's that there were devils, spiritual denizens of the pit, continually besetting men. Many times in his writings this turns up; and a most small sneer has been grounded on it by some. In the room of the Wartburg, where he sat translating one of the Psalms, he was worn down with long labour, with sickness, abstinence from food: there rose before him some hideous, indefinable image, which he took for the evil one, to forbid his work. Luther started up with fiend-defiance, flung his inkstand at the spectre, and it disappeared! The spot still remains there, a curious monument of several things. Any apothecary's apprentice can now tell us what we are to think of this apparition in a scientific sense: but the man's heart that dare rise defiant, face to face, against Hell itself, can give no higher proof of fearlessness. The thing he will quail before exists not on this earth or under it.
Fearless enough! "The devil is aware," writes he on one occasion, "that this does not proceed out of fear in me. I have seen and defied innumerable devils. Duke George," of Leipzig, a great enemy of his, "Duke George is not equal to one devil, far short of a devil. If I had business at Leipzig, I would ride into Leipzig, though it rained Duke Georges for nine days running." What a reservoir of dukes to ride into! At the same time they err greatly who imagine that this man's courage was ferocity, mere coarse, disobedient obstinacy and savagery, as many do. Far from that. There may be an absence of fear which arises from the absence of thought or affection, from the presence of hatred and stupid fury. We do not value the courage of the tiger highly! With Luther it was far otherwise; no accusation could be more unjust than this of mere ferocious violence brought against him. A most gentle heart withal, full of pity and love, as indeed the truly valiant heart ever is. The tiger before a stronger foe flies. The tiger is not what we call valiant, only fierce and cruel. I know few things more touching than those soft breathings of affection, soft as a child's or a mother's, in this great wild heart of Luther. So honest, unadulterated with any cant; homely, rude in their utterance, pure as water welling from the rock. What, in fact, was all that down-pressed mood of despair and reprobation, which he suffered in his youth, but the outcome of pre-eminent thoughtful gentleness, affections so keen and fine? It is the course such men as the poor poet Cowper fall into. Luther, to a slight observer, might have seemed a timid, weak man; modesty, affectionate, shrinking tenderness the chief distinction of him. It is a noble valour which is roused in a heart like this, once stirred up into defiance, all kindled into a heavenly blaze.
Once he looks out from his solitary Patmos, the castle of Coburg, in the middle of the night. The great vault of Immensity, long flights of clouds sailing through it, dumb, gaunt, huge,—who supports all that ?" None ever saw the pillars of it, yet it is supported." God supports it, we must know that God is great, that God is good, and trust where we cannot see. Eeturning home from Leipzig once, he is struck by the beauty of the harvest fields. How it stands, that golden yellow corn, on its fair taper stem, its golden head bent, all rich and waving there,—the meek earth, at God's kind bidding, has produced it once again, the bread of man! In the garden at Wittenberg one evening at sunset, a little bird has perched for the night. "That little bird," says Luther, "above it are the stars and deep Heaven of worlds; yet it hag folded its little wings, gone trustfully to rest there as in its home: the Maker of it has given it too a home." Neither are mirthful turns wanting; there is a great, free, human heart in this man. The common speech of him has a rugged nobleness, idiomatic, expressive, genuine; gleams here and there with beautiful poetic tints. One feels him to be a great brotherman. His love of music, indeed, is not this, as it were, the summary of all these affections in him? Many a wild unutterability he spoke forth from him in the tones of his flute. The devils fled from his flute, he says. Death-defiance on the one hand, and such love of music on the other, I could call these the two opposite poles of a great soul: between these two all great things had room.
Notes.—Lutker.—See notes, page 119. months. He used to call it his Patmos.
EUleben.—A town of Prussian Saxony, Courper. William.—A famous English
in a hilly district, full of silver and poet. He was born at Berkhampstead,
copper mines. Population, 12,000. Michter. in 1781,and died at Dereham, in Norfolk,
—See page 109. Teutonic.—See page 9. 1800. His finest poem is "The Task."
Worms.—A city of Germany, on the Ooburg.—The Wartburg is in the Duchy
Rhine, 25miles from Mayence. Luther of Saxe Coburg-Gotha. Leipsic.—A
appeared before the Diet of the Empire, large city of Saxony. Population, 75,000.
held in it in 1521. Worms was burnt It nas a famous university, and is the
down by the French in 1689, by order of centre of the book trade in Germany.
Louis XIV. Till that time it was a city Luther was often there. Wittenberg.—
of 60,000 inhabitants, but it has, now, "The cradle of the Reformation." A
only about 10,000. The whole Palatinate town of Prussian Saxony, on the Elbe,
of the Rhine suffered a similar ruin and about 40 miles north of Leipsic. Luther
devastation from the French in that was a Professor in the University of the
year. The Wartburg. — A castle on a town, when, in 1517, he began the Refor
bcight, near Eisenach, in Thuringia. mation by opposing Tetzel and the Sale
Luther was taken to it for safety, after of Indulgences. He is buried, alongside
the Diet of Worms, in April, 1521, and of Melancthon, in the university church,
remained hidden securely in it for ten The district is flat and sandy.
VOLCANOS AND EARTHQUAKES.—Sir John Herschel.
For notice of Sir John Herschel, see "Fifth Reader, Puhlic School Series," page 264.
We see everywhere, and along every coast-line, the sea warring against the land, and everywhere overcoming it, wearing and eating it down, and battering it to pieces, grinding those pieces to powder, carrying that powder away, and spreading it out over its own bottom, by the continued effect of the tides and currents. Look at our chalk cliffs, which once, no doubt, extended across the Channel to the similar cliffs on the French coast. What do we see? Precipices cut down to the seabeach, constantly hammered by the waves and constantly crumbling, the beach itself made of the flints outstanding after the softer chalk has been ground down and washed away, themselves grinding one another under the same ceaseless discipline, first rounded into pebbles, then worn into sand, and then carried out farther and farther down the slope, to be replaced by fresh ones from the same source.