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280

HARMONY OF SCIENCE AND CHRISTIANITY.

tains; each, in the same manner, having one under her The Ne'reids were inferior goddesses of the sea.

From BALDWIN'S PANTHEON..

care.

LESSON 129.

Harmony of Science and Christianity. AFTER all the attacks of infidelity, and of theoretical philosophy, the religion of Christ, when contemplated through the medium of science, has had a complete and victorious triumph. It has been often objected to Christianity, that it is unfavourable to the progress of knowledge; that it discourages scientific enterprises ; that it is inimical to free inquiry, and has a tendency to keep the minds of men in blindness and thraldom. The history of Christianity, since the Reformation at least, demonstrates that the very reverse of what the objection states is the truth. Christian nations. have been, of all others, most remarkable for favouring the advancement of liberal knowledge. In those countries in, which religion has existed in its greatest purity, and has, enjoyed the most general prevalence, literature and science have been most extensively and successfully cultivated. It is also worthy of remark, that, ainong all the professions de nominated learned, the clerical profession may be considered: as having furnished as many, if not more authors of distinction than any other. And if we join to the clergy, those. lay authors who have been no less eminent as Christians than as scholars, the predominance of learning and talents on the side of religion will appear too great to admit of comparison. The discoveries made in mechanical and chemica: philosophy have served to elucidate and confirm various parts of the Christian Scriptures. Every sober and welldirected inquiry into the natural history of man, and of the globe we inhabit, has been found to corroborate the Mosaic history, and the reports of voyagers and travellers have served to illustrate the sacred records, and to confirm the faith of Christians. Never was there a period in which so much light and evidence in favour of revelation were drawn from the inquiries of philosophy as in the present era ; nor

THE INFLUENCE OF AN EARLY TASTE FOR READING. 281

was it ever rendered so apparent, that the information and the doctrines contained in the sacred volume perfectly harmonize with the most authentic discoveries, and the sounds est principles of science.

QUESTIONS.-1. For what have christian nations been remarkable? 2. What is said of the predominance of learning on the side of religion? 3. To what purpose have discoveries in philosophy been subervient? 4. What is the character of the present period ?

LESSON 130.

The Influence of an early Taste for Rcadiny. THERE is, perhaps, nothing that has a greater tendency to decide favourably or unfavourably respecting a man's future intellect than the question, Whether or not he be impressed with an early taste for reading.

Books are the depository of every thing that is most honourable to man. He that loves reading has every thing within his reach. He has but to desire, and he may possess himself of every species of wisdom to judge, and power to reform.

The chief point of difference between the man of talent and the man without, consists in the different ways in which their minds are employed during the same interval : they are obliged, we will suppose, to walk from Temple-bar to Hyde-park Corner : the dull man goes straight forward, he has so many furlongs to traverse ; he observes whether he meets any of his acquaintance; he inquires respecting their health and their family; he glances his eye, perhaps, at the shops as he passes;, he admires, perchance, the fashion of a buckle, and the metal of a tea-urn. If he experience, any flights of fancy, they are of a short extent; of the same nature as the flights of a forest bird clipped of his wings, and condemned to pass the rest of his life in a, farm-yard,

On the other hand, the man of talent gives full scope to his imagination. Unindebted to the suggestions of surrounding objects, his whole soul is employed, He enters into nice calculations ; he digests sagacious reasonings. In imagination he declaims, or describes, impressed with the deepest sympathy or elevated to the loftiest rarture. , He

282

THE MECHANICAL WONDERS OF A FEATHER.

makes a thousand new and admirable combinations. He passes through a thousand imaginary scenes, tries his courage, tasks his ingenuity, and thus becomes gradually prepared to meet almost any of the many-coloured events of human life. If he observes the passengers, he reads their countenances, conjectures their past history, and forms a superficial notion of their wisdom or folly, their virtue or vice, their satisfaction or misery. If he observes the scenes that occur, it is with the eye of an artist. Every object is capable of suggesting to him a volume of reflections.

The time of these two persons in one respect resembles ; it has brought them both to Hyde-park Corner. In every other respect how dissimilar!

Probably nothing has contributed so much to generate these opposite habits of mind, as an early taste for reading. Books gratify and excite our curiosity in innumerable ways. They force us to reflect; they present direct ideas of various kinds, and they suggest indirect ones. In a well-written book we are presented with the maturest reflections, or the happiest flights of a mind of uncommon excellence; and it is impossible that we can be much accustomed to such com, panions, without attaining some resemblance of them.

GODWIN,

LESSON 131.

The Mechanical Wonders of a Feather.
Lam'ina (plural laminæ,) thin plate, one coat laid over another,

Every single feather is a mechanical wonder, If we look at the quill, we find properties not easily brought together, strength and lightness. I know few things more-remarkable than the strength and lightness of the very, pen with which I am now writing. If we cast our eyes towards the upper part of the stem, we see a material made for the purpose, used in no other class of animals, and in no other part of birds ; tough, light, pliant, elastic. The pith, also, which feeds the feathers, is neither bone, flesh, membrane, nor tendon. But the most artificial part of a feather is the beard, or as it is sometimes called, the vane; which we usually

THE MECHANICAL WONDERS OF A FEATHER.

283

strip off from one side or both when we make a pen. The separate pieces of which this is composed are called threads, filaments, or rays. Now, the first thing which an attentive observer will remark is, how much stronger the beard of the feather shows itself to be when pressed in a direction per, pendicular to its plane, than when rubbed either up or down in the line of the stem; and he will soon discover, that the thread of which these beards are composed are flat, and placed with their flat sides towards each other; by which means, while they easily bend for the approaching of each other, as any one may perceive by drawing his finger ever so lightly upwards, they are much harder to bend out of their plane, which is the direction in which they have to encounter the impulse and pressure of the air, and in which their strength is wanted. It is also to be observed, that when two threads, separated by accident or force, are brought together again, they immediately reclasp. Draw your finger round the feather which is against the grain, and you break, probably, the junction of some of the contiguous threads; draw your finger up the feather, and you restore all things to their former state. It is no common mechanism by which this contrivance is effected! The threads or laminæ above mentỉoned are interlaced with one another; and the interlacing is performed by means of a vast number of fibres or teeth which the threads shoot forth on each side, and which hook and grapple together. Fifty of these fibres have been counted in one twentieth of an inch. They are crooked, but curved after a different manner : for those which proceed from the thread on the side towards the extremity of the feather are longer, more flexible, and bent downward ; whereas those which proceed from the side toward the beginning or quill-end of the feather, are shorter, firmer, and turned upward. When two laminæ, therefore, are pressed together, the crooked parts of the long fibres fall into the cavity made by the crooked parts of the others; just as the latch which is fastened to a door, enters into the cavity of the catch fixed to the door-post, and there hooking itself fastens the door!

DR. PALEY

284

ART OF MAKING PINS.

LESSON 132.

Art of Making Pins. Though pins are apparently simple, their manufacture is, however, not a little curious and complex. When the brass wire, of which the pins are formed, is first received at the manufactory, it is generally too thick for the purpose of being cut into pins. The first operation, therefore, is that of winding it off from one wheel to another witii great velocity, and causing it to pass between the two, through a circle in a piece of iron of smaller diameter. The wire being thus reduced to its proper dimensions, is straightened by drawing it between iron pins, fixed in a board in a zigzag manner, but so as to leave a straight line between them; afterwards it is cut in lengths of three or four yards, and then into smaller ones, every length being sufficient to make six pins. Each end of these is ground to a point, which was performed, when I viewed the manufactory, by boys, who sat each with two small grinding-stones before him, turned by a wheel. Taking up a handful, he applies the ends to the coarsest of the two stones, being careful at the same time to keep each piece moving round between his fingers so that the points may not become flat: he then gives them a smoother and sharper point by applying them to the other stone, and by that means a lad of twelve or fourteen years of age, is able to point about sixteen thousand pins in an hour. When the wire is thus pointed, a pin is taken off at each end, and this is repeated till it is cut into six pieces. The next operation is that of forming the heads, or, as they term it, headspinning, which is done by means of a spinning-wheel, one piece of wire being thus with astonishing rapidity wound round another, and the interior one being drawn out, leaves á hollow tube between the circumvolutions; it is then cut with shears, every two circumvolutions, or turns of the wire, forming one head; these are softened by throwing them into iron pans, and placing them in a furnace till they are redhot. As soon as they are cold, they are distributed to children, who sit with hammers and anvils before them, which they work with their feet, by means of a lathe, and taking up one of the lengths, they thrust the blunt ends into a

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