• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Dedication
 Title Page
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 Life everywhere
 Life a great good
 How we are kept alive
 Heat needed for life
 The senses
 Sight
 Hearing
 The hand
 The mind
 Day and night
 The seasons
 Substances and objects
 Food and digestion
 Air and breathing (or respirat...
 Water and its ways
 Light
 Speech and language
 Vegetable life
 Mineral substances
 Books, and what they are to us
 Steam, and what it does for us
 Very long ago
 Beauty and the sense of it
 Family life and love
 The food of the mind
 The gift made worthy of the...
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: The gift of life, a book for the young : intended to present to their minds some of the beneficent puposes of God in life and creation
Title: The gift of life
CITATION PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026316/00001
 Material Information
Title: The gift of life a book for the young : intended to present to their minds some of the beneficent puposes of God in life and creation
Physical Description: vii, 160, 8 p. : ill. ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Wood, Sara
Whymper, Elijah, fl. 1848-1863 ( Engraver )
Groombridge and Sons ( Publisher )
R. Barrett and Sons ( Printer )
Publisher: Groombridge and Sons
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: R. Barrett and Sons
Publication Date: 1872
 Subjects
Subject: Christian life -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Glory of God -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Creation -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Physical sciences -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1872   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1872
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Sara Wood.
General Note: Date from inscription.
General Note: Illustrations engraved and signed by E. Whimper (Whymper).
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026316
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002239976
notis - ALJ0514
oclc - 58796178

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Dedication
        Dedication
        Front Matter
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Preface
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
    Life everywhere
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Life a great good
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
    How we are kept alive
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Heat needed for life
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    The senses
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    Sight
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Hearing
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    The hand
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
    The mind
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    Day and night
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    The seasons
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Substances and objects
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
    Food and digestion
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
    Air and breathing (or respiration)
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
    Water and its ways
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
    Light
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
    Speech and language
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
    Vegetable life
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
    Mineral substances
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
    Books, and what they are to us
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
    Steam, and what it does for us
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
    Very long ago
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
    Beauty and the sense of it
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
    Family life and love
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
    The food of the mind
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
    The gift made worthy of the giver
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
    Advertising
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text


































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THE GIFT OF LIFE



a Nooh for tet paungn:



INTENDED TO PRESENT TO THEIR MINDS SOME OF

THE BENEFICENT PURPOSES OF GOD IN

LIFE AND CREATION.




BY SARA WOOD,
AUTHOR OF "CHILDREN OF OTHER LANDS," ETC.



"In Him we live and move and have our being."-THE APOSTLE PAUL.
"The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all
his works."-H EREW PSALMIST.




LONDON:
GROOMBRIDGE & SONS, 5, PATERNOSTER ROW.


MDCCCLXXII.







































LONDON:

R. BARRETT AND SONS, PRINTERS,
MARK LANE.













PREFACE.



THIS little book is intended to assist Parents
and Teachers, in giving to their children a
conception of God, as the Giver of Life.
It seems to the writer that we should not limit
ourselves to presenting to the young, ideas only of
God in Heaven-afar off and away from them;
nor only as revealed to one people in distant times ;
but should also seek to represent Him as near
them here, and with them now, giving and sus-
taining life; bestowing all the wonderful powers
of his creatures; enriching their lives with all
that is useful, good, and beautiful; and filling
each day and hour with countless blessings and
joys.
It is not possible to give religious impressions
systematically, but we can give instruction in a







iv PREFACE.

connected form, through which they may be
produced; and the object of this little book will
have been attained, if the young who may be led
to study it, shall receive through its contents an
enduring sense of the lovingkindness and tender
mercy of God, as shown in our natures and
lives.
Since the more we know of such matters as are
treated of in the following pages, the better we
are able to perceive the good that is everywhere
purposed by God, it is hoped that further know-
ledge on each subject will be sought for in more
advanced books.




















CONTENTS.





CHAPTER I.

LIFE EVERYWHERE ... ...


CHAPTER II.
LIFE A GREAT GOOD ... ... ... ...


CHAPTER III.

HOW WE ARE KEPT ALIVE ... ...


CHAPTER IV.

HEAT NEEDED FOR LIFE .. ...


CHAPTER V.

THE SENSES ......


CHAPTER VI.

SIGHT


CHAPTER VII.

HEARING ...


CHAPTER VIII.

THE HAND ... ...


PAGE
1









.. ... 15




... ... 20




... ... 25




... ... 30




... ... 35




... ... 40








vi CONTENTS.

CHAPTER IX. PAGE
THE MIND ... ........... ... ... ... 46


CHAPTER X.
DAY AND NIGHT ... ... ... .. ... ... 52


CHAPTER XI.
THE SEASONS ..... ... ... ... ... ... ... 57


-CHAPTER XII.
SUBSTANCES AND OBJECTS ..... ... ... ... ... 64


CHAPTER XIII.
FOOD AND DIGESTION ... ... ... ... ... 69


CHAPTER XIV.
AIR AND RESPIRATION ........... ... ... 74





PART SECOND.


CHAPTER I.
WATER AND ITS WAYS ......... ... ... 79

CHAPTER II.
LIGHT .... ... ... ... .... ... ... 87


CHAPTER III.
SPEECH AND LANGUAGE .......... ... ... 94








CONTENTS. Vii

CHAPTER IV. PAGE
VEGETABLE LIFE ... ... ... ... ... ... 101


CHAPTER V.
MINERAL SUBSTANCES ... ... ... .. ... 109


CHAPTER VI.
BOOKS; AND WHAT THEY ARE TO US ... ...... 115


CHAPTER VII.
STEAM; AND WHAT IT DOES FOR US .. .. ... 121


CHAPTER VIII.
VERY LONG AGO ............ ......... 128


CHAPTER IX.
BEAUTY, AND THE SENSE OF IT ... ... ... ... 134


CHAPTER X.
FAMILY LIFE AND LOVE ... ... ... ... ... 141


CHAPTER XI.
THE FOOD OF THE MIND ... ...... ... ... 147


CHAPTER XII.
THE GIFT MADE WORTHY OF THE GIVER ... ...... 153





















THE


GIFT OF LIFE


CHAPTER I.

LIFE EVERYWHERE.

ALL life comes from God. The life
of trees and plants-the life of birds,
beasts, fishes, and insects--and the life of men,
women, and children. Men can carve figures which
have the forms of human beings, with every limb and
feature in right proportion, and which are life-like
in their attitudes; they can paint pictures of living
creatures and things which resemble them in form and
colour, and which represent actions and movements
like those of life ; they can make clever machines to do
work for them, which can move swiftly, carry heavy


Y.






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


burthens, lift heavy weights, spin, weave, and cut; but
they cannot give life to the work of their hands. God
alone is the giver of Life.
We know well what we mean when we say that a
thing has Life, or is Alive. Thus, if we compare
together a snail, a tuft of grass, and a stone, we know
that the snail feeds itself and has grown, and can move
about at will; that the grass has been nourished by
the moisture of the earth, and has also grown; but we
know that the stone has neither fed itself nor grown,
and that if left to itself it would remain for ever in the
same place : we say that it is life-less.
The life of plants and trees is called VEGETABLE LIFE ;
the life of birds, beasts, fishes, insects and reptiles is
called ANIMAL LIFE; the life of men, women, and
children is called HUMAN LIFE.*
I' Scarcely any portion of the
"' great globe on which we dwell is
without some kind of life. Its
S hills, valleys, and plains are
covered with countless kinds of
Grasses, mosses, plants, and
trees. Thick forests are spread
It.over large portions of the con-
5. tinents and islands, and clothe
\the sides of mountains. Vast
;' plains and chains of hills are
Carpeted with grass. Fruit-
bearing trees, flowering-plants
It is left to be taught in more advanced chapters that, in
accordance with physiological resemblances, human life must be
classed under the general term of animal life.






THE GIFT OF LIFE. 3

and shrubs, suited to the different soils and climates,
are found everywhere. Even rivers and streams
have their reeds and rushes and water-plants; and
the sea has its weeds, which,
when the tide is out, are found
covering the sands and grow-
ing on the rocks in thick clus-
ters. Scarcely a stone upon
the mountain side is without
some small moss or lichen upon
its surface. Very different are
all these forms of vegetable life
in their size and nature. In
the islands of the southern
seas, are pine trees which grow
to the height of 200 feet: others in California reach
the height of 230 feet-such as the Wellingtonia,
which is as high as many a church steeple. In the
countries of the tropics, palm trees grow to great
heights; and in India the Banyan sends down sup-






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--- -


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THE GIFT OF LIFE.


ports to its great branches which take root, and the
branches, thus supported and nourished, spread out
in every direction, sending down more and more thick
props, till a whole grove is formed by a single tree.
Such vegetable growth as this is a great contrast
to the small duckweed which floats upon the surface of
our ponds, or the tiny mosses which cling to stones.
Even the green scum which we see on the surface of
stagnant water is a form of vegetable growth, and so
is also the mould which comes on damp walls, on
cheese, and on sour paste. These latter are among
the lowest and simplest forms of vegetable life, while
the flower and fruit-bearing trees are the highest.
Equally full is the world with animal life. Millions
of quadrupeds of different forms and natures are found
in every country. Some that live in a savage state,












k ^ 'i I,1 '.. .. .. "- .




roaming over the desert and preying on other animals;
some that shelter themselves in thick forests, and






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


browse upon the foliage; while in the inhabited parts
of the earth, animals useful to man are protected by
him, and are to be seen grazing in every meadow and
on every hill.
Those parts of the globe which are covered with
water, are also full of animal life. The great oceans
and seas swarm with fishes of endless varieties of form


and size. Some inhabit only the deep waters, while
the shores of every country are covered with soft-bodied
animals protected by shells, like the whelk and oyster.


or others with jointed limbs, like the crab and lobster.
Every river, stream, and fresh-water lake has its in-






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


habitants; and even a drop of stagnant water from a
ditch or pond, when seen through a magnifying glass,
is found to be full of living creatures. It has lately
been discovered also that at the bottom of the deepest
oceans there is animal life in very minute and simple
forms, each creature a mere speck of life, and millions
of them taking up the space only of a single oyster,
and yet some of these very minute animals are found



I i Foraminifera-two species
t." x ~ highly magnified.



to be covered with delicate and beautiful shells. A
strange contrast do such forms of animal life present to
the great whales of the Polar seas, 100 feet long, or to
the elephant of the hot countries of the tropics, with
its thick and heavy body; or even to the horse and dog
which we know so well, with their sight and hearing
and quick intelligence.






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


The air which surrounds the globe is also full of life,
with all the endless variety of birds, from the great
eagles, which make their nests upon the highest rocks,
the tall ostriches which live in the desert, and stride
rather than fly, to the tiny humming bird, which can
bury its body in the cup of a flower as it sucks out
the honey ; while butterflies and insects, wonderfully









varied in their forms and habits and ways of life, are
found everywhere in endless profusion.
The manner in which the great world is filled with
human life is still more wonderful. Each portion of it,
whether hot or cold or temperate, has its races and tribes
of men, whose natures are accommodated to the climate
and character of the countries they inhabit. Thus, the
Esquimaux and Laplanders can live comfortably and
happily in the extreme cold of the North Pole, and the
Negro and Bushman live as comfortably, and happily,
in the burning heat of Africa. Each adapts his life to
what he finds about him, and has faculties or powers for
so doing; but all the different races of men have
much in common, and are like each other in what
makes them human beings, though their skins may be
black, white, or brown, and their speech and features
very unlike.






8 THE GIFT OF LIFE.

A great portion of the vegetable and animal life of
the world seems to be intended to help towards the
support, the comfort, and the perfection of human life;
and we see by the superior powers which the Creator
has given to men, that the highest and most perfect
kind of life is human life.




I:! '. -
:_- :,, '' ,


r ~L


r-






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


CHAPTER II.

LIFE A GREAT GOOD.

LIFE gives us so much to enjoy-so much comfort
and pleasure-that we all wish to keep alive. No one
wishes to die before he is old, and we grieve when
children and young persons die. We feel that we
should have liked them to continue in life, and
fulfil all the purposes for which they were created,
and enjoy all the blessings, and privileges, which life
can give. We know that though they might have
lived to feel sorrow and disappointment and pain, yet
that life would have been a good thing to them. We
are so sure, too, that all living creatures have enjoy-
ment in life, that we regret when even animals are
killed uselessly. As children run about, and dance,
and sing, and play, it is easy to see that they feel it
good to be alive; and if we watch the gambols of young
kittens, or of lambs in the field, or listen to the war-
bling of birds, and humming of insects, or observe
a butterfly fluttering from flower to flower, or the fish
in a stream darting here and there in the yielding
water, we are sure that they enjoy their lives and are
glad to be alive. It is, however, when we come to ob-
serve more closely the habits of all animals, that we
see how it has been intended that their life should give
them a pleasurable feeling, and how they all have a






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


desire to preserve it. Each creature seeks to avoid
danger, and death, and has powers that give it a
chance of doing so. A bird can spread its wings and
fly away, if you attempt to catch it. A snail, if you
touch it, can shrink into its shell. Most quadrupeds
have the power of swift running when they would avojd
being taken, like the hare; or have weapons of defence
in their horns, claws, or teeth; or have spines like twe
hedgehog and porcupine; or thick horny coverings















like the turtle and tortoise. Many insects are provided
with stings to use for the preservation of their lives.
Others have a wise forethought given them by nature,
which enables them to meet a coming danger-as the
bee, for instance, when it collects honey, and wax, from
flowers during the summer season for the preservation
of life during winter ; the wax being used for the forma-
tion of the cells in which the honey is stored. Some
means of defence or protection have been given to each
creature, and though many have been destined to be-






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


come the food of others, yet each seems to have at
least a chance of escaping. Even those wild animals
which are sought for by men in order to be used as
food, such as fishes and birds, can often by their
swiftness of motion escape from the nets spread for
them, or from the sportsman's gun, and live to the
natural end of their lives.
The Creator seems thus to have given to each crea-
ture a sense of the value of life. The most poor and
miserable of human beings look upon life as something
to be treasured and preserved, and we consider those
who put an end to their own lives as diseased in mind.
The human race could never have been preserved upon
the earth if it had not been for this desire to continue
alive, since men have fewer natural means of protection
than many animals. They have no natural clothing,
and no weapons of defence in their bodies, as have
many animals; but the powers of their minds supply
these wants, and even savages find out means of shel-
tering themselves from the cold of winter, and the
heat of the sun, and contrive for themselves clothing,
and weapons with which to kill animals for food, and
capture birds and fish. The strong desire to live,
which even such men feel, quickens their faculties, and
sharpens their wits, until they find out means for their
self-preservation, and also for the preservation of their
young. The love of life has been needed to keep the
world peopled with human beings, and has led to all
the improvement that has taken place among the races
of men in their manner of living.
Even the feeling of pain is a means by which we are
led to avoid danger to life. A child who puts his finger






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


in the flame of a candle, and feels the pain of burn-
ing, will ever after avoid fire. Pain in any part of the
body, which is diseased, warns usto try to set to rights
what is going on wrong; it is like a' signal of danger
showing that life is menaced. Even the affection
which parents feel towards their children also helps to
protect and preserve their tender lives. From the
first moment of its birth, an infant requires care and
attention, and constant watchfulness, or it would die.
Though a mother knows well that her child, if he grows
up to be a man, will meet with sorrows and trials, yet
still she feeds him carefully, and nurses him tenderly
when he is ill, and does all in her power to preserve him
in life and protect him. She knows that life is a privilege
and blessing, and that it will bring him pleasures and
enjoyments, and also duties, and that those duties may
become pleasures and sources of happiness to him.
Animals, that cannot think of this, have what we call
an instinct, which leads them to shelter, and nourish,










and protect their young. Thus a bird, which does not
require a nest for its own comfort, sets to work, and
with infinite pains and labour weaves one of twigs and
straw in which its young is to be nursed, or, like the






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


swallow, builds one up, little by little, of clay, which is
carefully placed under the shelter of the eaves of a roof.
Some insects seem to know that their offspring will
require a certain kind of food for the support of their
lives, and lay their eggs where they will get it, each
grub or caterpillar, when hatched, finding near at hand,







through the forethought of the parent fly, the food
which suits it. When human beings grow up, and
employ all their powers, and use their lives rightly,
they feel more and more the happiness which life can
give. They attain to a higher kind of happiness than
that of any animal. We may almost say that they have
more life-they see, hear, understand, and do so much
more than animals; and our greatest aim should be to
raise ourselves above that which we have in common
with animals; to make as much use as possible of our
powers of thinking and understanding; and while, in
order to live, we must nourish our bodies with food,
yet, in order to live a higher kind of life than animals,
we must seek to nourish our minds with knowledge;
and a wonderful distinction exists between men and all
animals in the fact that they can improve themselves.
There seems no limit to the power which men have of
gaining more and more knowledge, and of doing and
making things more and more cleverly; but animals
have no such power. What they are in our days they






14 THE GIFT OF LIFE.

were thousands of years ago, and will be thousands of
years from this time. Even those animals who seem
to do some things cleverly, like the bee making its
waxen cells, or the bird building its nest, never im-
prove, or do their work better one time than another.
We cannot, too, compare the happiness of any animal
with that of human beings. Ours is a much higher
kind of happiness, as ours is a higher kind of life.
Perhaps the greatest happiness felt by any living thing
is that of those grown-up human beings whose minds
are full of knowledge and whose hearts are full of love;
who can perceive the beauty that is everywhere in the
world, and who are constantly seeing and feeling that
everything is made good and beautiful by the love of
God.

: ..






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


CHAPTER III.

HOW WE ARE KEPT ALIVE.

NOT only do our lives come at first from God, but
we are made to go on living by His care. Our bodies
are so formed that we are kept alive from hour to hour,
from day to day, and from year to year. To live is, in
fact, to have that going on within our bodies which
makes us grow, which builds up and preserves our
bodies, and which continues us in life. Wonderful
contrivances are found in the construction of our bodies
to do all this. When we say that human beings,
animals and plants, differ from stones because they
grow and are nourished, we soon see that this difference
arises, in the first place, from their having parts which
perform certain actions or offices. These parts are
called organs, and, from having organs, human beings
animals, and plants, are called organic, while a stone
or piece of iron are said to be inorganic, which means
having no parts or organs. The organs on which life and
growth in human beings and animals most depend are the
stomach and lungs. In order to continue alive we must
take food into our stomach and air into our lungs.
Every breath of air that we draw in helps to nourish
and keep alive our bodies. Every mouthful of food that
we swallow helps to build up our bodies and continue
our lives. Food and air are to our bodies like the brick






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


and mortar that helps to build up a house. We want
air even more than food, for it would not kill us to go
without food for a day, but we should die if we went
without air for many minutes. The feeling of hunger
is the warning given us that our bodies require a supply
of food ; but as air is so constantly needed for us, we are
made to breathe without any thought about it. When
a child is born into the world, it begins, from the first
moment of its life, to take air into its lungs; it cannot
help doing so, for to live is to breathe, and air is often
called the breath of life. If the passages by which air
gets to the lungs are closed up by disease, death is sure
to follow; and if we were to stop up our mouths and
nostrils we should be suffocated and die. There is a
machine called an air-pump, by means of which the air in
a vessel of glass can be sucked out; and it can be shown
how necessary air is to animal life by putting a mouse
under this glass, when, by pumping away the air, the
little creature pants and gasps for a while, and then
dies. Thus it is with all animals. Even fish require
air; and if the air contained in water is not enough for
them they rise to the surface of the sea, river, or pond,
and take it in. The lungs of birds are constructed so
that they take in as much and no more air than they
want.
Air is also as much needed for plants as for human
beings and animals. From the moment that the plant
begins to spring up from the seed it begins to take in
the air and moisture, which help to build it up and
form its stem, leaves, and flower, &c. It has parts or
organs which perform the same offices for it as the
stomach and lungs of animals and human beings. Thus






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


we see that all which composes our food has required
air for its life and growth. The little plant which pro-
duces the corn of which our bread is made, and the
sheep whose flesh we eat, and the cow whose milk we
drink, require air to keep them alive as well as
ourselves.
Since air is so much needed for the life of all creatures
and plants, it is provided abundantly everywhere. It
fills up every space, and is all around us, in doors and
out of doors. It extends high up above the surface of
the earth-higher than the tops of the highest moun-
tains. It surrounds the great globe on which we dwell
like an outer covering wrapping it round, and the name
of atmosphere is given to it, which means round about
the sphere or globe. In proportion as it is near the
surface of the earth it is dense, or thick; while it be-
comes more rare and thin as it extends itself above the
earth. At the top of high mountains the air is too thin
or rare for human beings or animals to breathe com-
fortably, and sometimes it is too dense or thick in close
rooms for the lungs to take in easily. Health depends
very much, in both men, and animals, and plants, on
the air they take in being pure, and of the right kind;
and there can be no life where there is no air. If there
were any place where there was no air, we should be sure
that there no human being, animal or plant could live.
And as we are thus so abundantly supplied with the air
needful for our lives, so does the great world on which
we live bring forth in rich abundance all that is neces-
sary for our food. Our life is supported and our growth
depends on animal and vegetable life. Everything, in
fact, which we eat and use for food is composed of some-
o






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


thing which once had life itself, or has been part of
something which had life; and wherever human beings
are found upon the earth, there we may be sure is some
form of animal or vegetable life which can serve for
food. The infant is nourished at first from the breast
of its mother, but soon requires other food, and it is
necessary for the growth and strength of manhood that
the flesh of animals, and the roots, seeds, and fruits of
plants should be taken into the stomach in order to
produce the materials out of which our flesh, bones,
blood and muscles are formed. And the lovingkind-
ness of our great Creator is shown in the plentiful
supply which is provided of all such objects as we can
convert into food. Nothing, for instance, grows more
readily and can be produced in greater abundance than
all the different kinds of corn of which bread is made,
whether it is the wheat of which we use the tiny grains,
or the tall maize, with its thick cobs of seed, which in
more southern countries than ours is made into bread.
In some climates, like that of England, human beings
require many different kinds of food in order to be well
nourished and healthy ; but in some other parts of the
world life can be supported principally on one article of
food, as with the Hindoo or Chinaman, who can sub-
sist almost entirely on rice; or the South Sea Islander,
who wants little more than the fruit of the cocoa-nut
tree for the nourishment of his body ; or the Laplander,
who feeds almost entirely on the flesh and milk of the
reindeer. In all these cases human beings like best the
food thus provided for them, and the goodness of God
is still further shown by it being a pleasure to us to eat
and satisfy our hunger, and so nourish our bodies, and






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


a pleasure to us especially to eat of those things which
supply most nourishment.
















Thousands of years ago the hearts of men were filled
with grateful love as they perceived the tender mercy
of God in making the earth so rich in the abundance
of food provided for all living things. In the Psalms of
the Old Testament are many expressions of gratitude
towards the great Creator with respect to food, as when
it says: Oh Lord, how manifold are thy works in
wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of
thy riches. Thou gives (all creatures) their food
in due season. That thou givest them they gather.
Thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good."
And the grateful writer adds : I will sing praise to
my God while I have my.being."






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


CHAPTER IV.

HEAT NEEDED FOR LIFE.

EVEN food and air could not keep us alive if we had
not warmth in our bodies. Heat is very necessary to
life. We must keep up the natural heat of our bodies
or we should die. When people are exposed to such
severe cold that their whole bodies lose their natural
warmth, they die, and we say they are frozen to death.
Travellers lost on the snow-covered mountains-sailors
exposed to the cold on their wrecked vessels-and the
houseless wanderer in our streets, will die, because the
warmth has not been kept up in their bodies which is
needed for life. It is not enough that we get our food
from the products of the earth, and are supported also
by the air we breathe; but the heat which comes from
the distant sun is needed for our lives. The amount
of animal and vegetable life, too, in any country of the
world, is almost in proportion to the amount of heat
which comes to that part of the earth from the sun. In
the tropics, or that part of the world where the sun's
rays fall directly upon the land, and the sun at noon is
quite overhead, there is more luxuriant vegetable life
and quicker growth than with us. In these countries
there is no fall of the leaf, and no winter. The forests
are full of tall and stately palms, and large-leaved
plantains, and tree-ferns, with beneath a tangled jungle






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


of flowering plants and trailing vines, amongst which
myriads of brightly-plumaged birds, and chattering
apes and monkeys, buzzing insects and silently crawling
reptiles and snakes, find their food and shelter, while
they are the abode also of the large quadrupeds which
are beasts of prey, like the lion and tiger. In the


,j
,' r1











swamps of these hot regions, where there is ever a
steaming moisture in the air, thick beds of reeds, and
rushes, and water-plants, are the homes of thousands
of frogs and lizards and water-birds. In such countries
crops of corn and rice spring up, and come to maturity
and ripen in a few weeks ; while the dates, and cocoa-
nuts, and plantains, and bananas, on which the inhabi-
tants also depend for food, are to be gathered all
through the year. In the temperate portions of the
globe, where during winter both animals and vegetables
seem to lose some portion of their life, we see even as
plainly the effect of the sun's warmth each spring,
when, on the return of more sunshine, the buds swell






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


and unfold into leaves and flowers, and blossoms open
out, and the seeds which have lain in the earth during
the winter quicken into life, and growth begins. Very
far north, and near the pole, where the sun rises only
a little height above the horizon at noonday, and sends
upon the land but few of its rays, there is very little
life of either animals or vegetables. Few quadrupeds
andj birds are to be seen, and dark firs and pines are
almost the only trees, while in the place of green herbage
is only a brown moss beneath the snow, which the
reindeer makes his food, after shovelling off the snow
with his spade-like antlers. Quite at the North Pole
the extreme cold prevents the existence of any living
things, and all is still, and barren, and bare; and the
sea is but a mass of ice which never thaws.
It is not, however, only the heat of the sun on the
earth, or the warmth which we get from our fires of
coal and wood, with which we supply heat to our
bodies : nor is it this kind of heat which is alone
needed for life; for the air we breathe, and the food
which we eat, help to keep up at all times the heat
which our bodies require. We breathe in air and we
take in food to keep our bodies warm, as well as to
nourish them. We take air into our lungs, and we put
food into our stomachs, as we put coal on tlfe fire, in
order to keep up our heat. Air and food serve, in
fact, as fuel to keep burning the internal fire which is
our life. Some kinds of food help to give heat more
than others-such as bread, rice, &c.; some give more
nourishment to the body-such as meat. The clothing
we put on is not so much to give warmth to the body,
as to keep in what is there. When it is cold weather,






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


our warmth would pass into the cold air around us, if
we did not keep it in with warm clothing. Animals












-- --

have coverings given them by nature, such as furs,
feathers, and thick skins; all which help to keep in
their body's warmth.
One of the best ways, too, in which this life-warmth
is kept up and increased in our bodies is by motion:
by the activity of our limbs; by exercise, such as
running and walking, and especially by all kinds of
labour. The necessity for labour or work could never
have been inflicted on human beings as a punishment
or curse; for we see, on the contrary, that it is a good
thing for the body to be actively employed.
Heat, too, is needed, not only for the support of
human life, and for the first quickening into life of the
seed of vegetables, but it is needed also for the first
beginning of animal life. The eggs of all birds and
insects require heat to hatch them. The hen bird sits
on her eggs to give them the warmth of her body, and
takes care not to leave them long enough for them to






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


get cold, or the eggs would never be hatched into birds.
We put the eggs of the silkworm into the sun when
we want the young caterpillar to come forth. Almost
all other animals whose young come forth from eggs,
take care to deposit them where they will get the heat
of the sun.
We thus see that as the far distant sun ripens and
brings to maturity all the fruits and seeds which we
use for food, it is also its heat which quickens into life
and growth the germ in each seed and egg. Some
nations of the earth have felt so fully the blessings
which come to the world from the life-giving sun, that
they have made it the object of their worship. At
Madras, in India, the sect of people called Parsees may
be seen going forth in crowds in the early morning to
worship the rising sun, as it is seen coming up above
the distant horizon of the sea. We do not pay rever-
ence to the sun itself, but when we think of all the
blessings which come to us through the light and
warmth which it sends down to us, we give our grati-
tude to the great and beneficent Creator of the sun.






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


CHAPTER V.

THE SENSES.

MUCH of the pleasure that we have in life comes to
us from our senses : the sense of sight, the sense of
hearing, the sense of taste, smell, and touch. What
our senses bring to us in the way of thought and
feeling makes our life. The lifeless stone has no con-
sciousness of anything about it. The sun which shines
upon it, and the rain which beats upon it, give it no
sensations. Even the snail is full of feelings or sensa-
tions compared to it, and is conscious of cold and













warmth. It can see objects by means of its eyes,
placed at the top of its horns, and can taste the juicy
leaves which form its food. With ourselves, all that
we know, and all that we enjoy, comes to us through






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


our senses. We know, first of all, through our senses,
that other beings and things exist in the world besides
ourselves. They place us in connection with what is
outside and beyond our own bodies; for if we did not see
or hear or feel other objects we should not know that
anything but our own selves existed.
And besides this knowledge, let us think of all the
joys that come to us by means of these senses of ours.
How pleasant it is to behold again the light of day after
the dark night-to feel the warmth of the sun, and to
see everything bright with its rays. We like to hear
the voices of people, and the sound of music, and the
songs of birds. We enjoy nice food, and the taste of
sweet fruits, the smell of flowers, and the feeling of the
soft air as it is wafted upon us, and the touch of the
cool water as we wash and bathe. All these things
help to make up our lives, and render it a pleasure to
live; and yet they are so common that we forget some-
times how much our happiness depends upon them. If
we look backlein the evening upon any day that we have
passed-even a day that has brought us no unusual
happiness or joy-we may see how much we have had
in our power to be happy through all these abundantly-
supplied blessings. We live day after day with other
people-our relations and friends, and do not always
remember what a constant comfort and joy it is to see
the faces of those we know and love, and to hear them
speak, and to have them to listen to us when we tell
what we think, or feel, or want. The prisoner in his
lonely cell feels it a terrible punishment to have nothing
to see, or hear, and no one to speak to. He rejoices
to be allowed even a glimpse of the sky, or to see now






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


and then the face of his jailor. He counts the hours
and the minutes to the time when some one will come
to speak a few words to him.
If, too, we want more fully to understand the bless-
ings of sight and hearing, we need only observe those
who are blind or deaf. Life to them is a very different
thing to what it is to us who see and hear. What
would not a blind man give for one day of sight !-one
day in which he could look up to the sky, or see the
green fields, and leafy trees, or sparkling river or sea-
one day in which he could read a newspaper or a book,
and still more glad would he be to have one day in
which he could see the faces of his friends and rela-
tions. What would not the deaf man give to be able
to hear all at once the talk of people around him-the
sound of sweet music, or even the bustle and noises of
the streets There have been a few persons born into
the world without either the sense of sight or hearing,
and the only way in which it has been possible to give
thoughts to their minds has been through the sense of
touch, and it has been found that merely to feel the
hands of their fellow-creatures has given them plea-
sure, while it has been with the greatest trouble and
difficulty that by means of the sense of touch a little
knowledge has been given to their minds. How dif-
ferent is it with us, when, through the senses of sight
and hearing, knowledge comes pouring into our minds
at every moment !
We can see that our senses have been given to us by
our Creator, to put us in connection with the universe
around us, and to give us thought. An infant, when it
begins to notice objects, and to be conscious of sounds,





THE GIFT OF LIFE.


begins to have thoughts within its mind, though it has
no power to express them. Our minds depend upon
our senses for getting ideas, and the happiness, as well
as the usefulness of our lives, depends upon the way
in which we employ our senses. We can use them too
little, or we can waste them upon objects which bring
no thought to the mind worth having; and we can seek
to gratify one sense at the expense of others. How
little, for instance, do those understand the value of
their powers who would rather gratify the sense of
taste with nice food than exercise the sense of sight
upon a beautiful view, or a fine picture, or an interesting
book. The mere taste of food leaves no thought worth
keeping in the mind, while the picture, the view, or
the book may bring thoughts which remain impressed
on the mind for a whole lifetime, and give pleasure
every time they are remembered. Some people live in
the world without gaining half the pleasure and advan-
tage that they might have from their senses. They
have eyes, but they do not try to see and ob-
serve what is about them. They have ears, but they
do not listen, and seek to understand what they hear.
By constant exercise the senses can acquire great
quickness, and acuteness, and accuracy, and we are
never so certain of the nature of anything as when we
have used two or three of our senses in examining it.
Thus, if some one laid on the table before us a ball-
shaped object of a deep yellow colour, our eyes resting
on it might lead us to say it was an orange. But it
might be round, and of a deep yellow, and yet be only
a painted ball. If we take it in our hands, and feel its
surface, we think by the way it yields to pressure, and






THE GIFT OF LIFE. 29

the little roughnesses on its surface, that it is certainly
an orange, and we can see, too, where the stalk was
which held it on to the orange tree; and if we make
use of another sense and smell it we are pretty sure
that it is an orange; and then when at last we cut it
open and see the pulpy inside, and taste some of the
sweet juice, we cannot doubt at all about its nature-
our minds being made sure by the evidence or proof
given us by our senses of sight, touch, taste and smell,
that it is the fruit we call an orange. For our comfort
and convenience in every way, it is best to make good
use of all our senses, and our lives almost depend upon
their being exercised-while, by their being employed
in such a way as can bring pleasurable thoughts and
feelings to our minds, God has made them the sources
of the greatest happiness our lives can afford.






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


CHAPTER VI.

SIGHT.

NONE of the powers given us by God are more
valuable to us than the sense of sight. Nothing that we
possess is more precious to us than our eyes. They are
the most useful servants that our minds have at command.
They bring us light, or we should grope in darkness.
They show us the colours and forms of all the objects that
are around us. The eyes are called the organs of sight,
because they perform the office of seeing, and they are
in close connection with our minds, or with that within
us which thinks and knows. The way in which all the
organs of sense convey thoughts and feelings to the
mind is very difficult to understand. Perhaps no one
quite knows how it comes about; but it is certainly by
means of delicate little threads or fibres, called nerves,
which pass from the organs of sense (the eye, the ear,
the nose, &c.) to the mind; and very much as a
message is conveyed along the electric wires of the
telegraph is the sense of sight, hearing, smelling, &c.,
carried along the nerves to the mind. Our eyes are
placed most conveniently for bringing us plenty of
knowledge of what is about us. Their being placed in
the front of our heads enables us to see where we are
going and avoid any danger that might approach us.
They are set in hollow cavities or sockets in our heads,






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


and by means of elastic strings called muscles we can
move them about from side to side, or up and down,
in order to see what is round about us, and above and
below us. They have lids to cover them up carefully
when we sleep or do not want to see. These lids have
delicate fringes to protect them from dust, and to
shade them from too much light. The ball of the eye
is most wonderfully constructed for letting in the light
upon the nerve that is to give the sense of it to our
minds. A little picture of all the objects before us is
reflected on this nerve, where it is spread out like a
network at the back of the eyeball. As we stand and
look at a flower, the tiny picture of it made on this
spread-out nerve carries the thought or idea of the
flower instantly to the mind. If the flower is red, the
mind knows that it is red. If it is blue, the mind
knows that it is blue. If our eyes are turned upon a
jug on the table, we know in the same way all about
the colour, shape, and size of the jug, because of the
little picture reflected on the nerve at the back of the
eye. A blind man would have to feel the jug with his
hands in order to learn something of its shape and size,
but could never know anything about its colour or of





44


a the nerve which conveys the sense of sight to
the mind.





THE GIFT OF LIFE.


the pattern painted on it. Light enters the eye at the
black round spot in the centre, called the "pupil," and
has to pass through several transparent coatings, which
serve different purposes in helping to form the picture
of what we see, and in reducing large and distant
objects to a very small compass. We can judge, by
the size of the eye, how very small must be this picture
upon the eye-nerve, and how wonderful is the fact that
the sight is able to take in miles and miles of land or
sea, and hundreds of trees, and horses, and ships, &c.,
when we look out upon a distant, widespread view.
If the eye were quite still, we could only get a picture
of what was just before us; but by means of the
muscles of the eye we can turn it about in every direc-
tion, so as to take in all these objects so swiftly that it
seems to the mind as if we saw them all at the same
instant. Wonderful, too, is the power which the eye
has of sweeping over the widespread canopy of the
heavens, so as to take in not only every flitting cloud,
but the sun, moon, and stars, which are millions and
millions of miles away from us. Let us think, too, of
how rapidly and easily our eyes pass along the lines of
print in a book, taking in every letter of every word,
and giving as swiftly as a flash of lightning the meaning
of the words to the mind !
Animals-beasts, birds, fishes, and insects-have
eyes to help them to find their way about, to avoid
danger, and to enable them to procure their food. The
sight of some birds is very far-seeing and acute,
enabling them when soaring high in the air to dart
down on their prey; while the birds which live on
worms and insects can see them from a distance when






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


to our sight they would be invisible. Some insects-
such as the spider-have eyes all over their bodies, the
better to see their prey; others have them placed on
pivots, so that they can be turned about easily. The
snail with his eyes on the tips of his horns can draw
them into his head when any danger threatens them.
With all creatures the eye is a very delicate and sensi-
tive organ, and especially is it so with that of human
beings ; and besides the protection given to it in the
lid and the eyelash, it has been made so as to adjust
itself to the light, and to take in only what is wanted.
To do this, the pupil of the eye has the power of
contracting or becoming smaller, or expanding and
becoming larger. With a very strong light upon the
eye, the black spot in the middle becomes very small;
with little light, it becomes larger. Animals that have
to seek their prey at nights--such as cats and owls-
have eyes that can take in the faintest rays of light.
The wants of the body and the preservation of life
we can thus see depend very much on the sense of
sight, both with animals and human beings; but with
animals, sight can hardly be said to help them to think
and observe. If we only saw objects without thinking
about them, and if we looked at a thing without
observing, the sense of sight would do little for our
minds. It is to those who perceive the beauty of what
they see-who find out the uses of objects and the
parts of objects-who compare and notice likenesses,
and differences, and distinguish the meaning and fitness
of things, and then reflect on what they have seen
-it is to such persons that sight can furnish stores of






34 THE GIFT OF LIFE.

ideas and thoughts, which become the highest pleasures
of their lives.
So very greatly does our happiness and comfort in
life depend upon our sight, and so many are the
advantages that come to us through our eyes, that it
seems as if each morning when we open them to the
light of day, our first thoughts should be, '" Thanks
be to God for giving us the sense of sight !"






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


CHAPTER VII.

HEARING.

WE hear with the help of our ears, therefore they
are called the organs of hearing, though the parts out-
side our heads called the ears are but portions of the
organs of hearing. Like our eyes, our ears are very
useful assistants to our minds. They are constantly
bringing us knowledge, as well as pleasure. Pleasant
sounds help to make us happy, as well as pleasant
sights. Even a very young infant likes to hear the
voice of its mother or nurse, and as its mind grows a
child learns to distinguish noises, and to understand
the meaning of the different sounds made by people
when they speak; they get to understand language,
and then knowledge comes pouring into their minds.
Most wonderful is the delicacy of the sense of hearing,
bringing us faint or loud sounds, the sound of noises
near us, or at a distance, and helping us to understand
what is in the minds of others as they utter words.
As the sense of sight is carried to the mind by means
of nerves, so it is by means of these delicate mes-
sengers that thought comes to us through our ears.
All noises and sound arise from the air being dis-
turbed or troubled. When a stone is thrown into the
water it makes little waves or ripples, which spread
out in circles from the spot where it first struck the






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


water-and these circles go on spreading wider and
wider to a distance until the surface of the water
becomes still again. So it is with sound. Every kind
of noise that is made, whether by a musical instru-
ment, the human voice, or by objects striking against
one another, as a hammer in hammering, or a stick in
beating, or the clapping of hands, or the rushing of
water, all such movements cause little waves or vibra-
tions in the air, which spread in circles all around, and
these little vibrations in the air entering our ears, the
sense of sound is given to our minds.
The waves of sound are, however, not flat circles
like the little waves on the centre of a pond when
a pebble is thrown in, but are spherical, which means
round in every direction, like a sphere or ball; so
that we hear sounds above us like the thunder, and
sounds beneath us as the rumbling of carts in a street
when we are at the top of a house, and sounds which
come to us from every side of us. We thus see that
sound and noise must be first produced by the motion
of something. Where nothing moves all is quiet and
still. If we hear a noise in the house at night, we
conclude directly that something has moved. If we
are in a thick wood or forest in the still noonday, and
after perfect silence we suddenly hear a rustle of leaves,
we know directly that some creature has changed its
place and disturbed the foliage, or that a little breeze
has penetrated among it; or if we hear the report of
a gun, we know that a man must have fired one, per-
haps a mile off, and that the waves of disturbed air
have reached our ears.
The part of the ear inside the head on which






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


these small vibrations of air strike, which produce
sound, is called the drum of the ear. It is a sort
of membrane or skin like the parchment stretched
over the end of a drum. If the entrance to the ear
be stopped up so that the little wavelets cannot reach
this part, no sense of sound is conveyed to our
mind; and if it is injured in any way by disease, we
become deaf.
We are sure of air being necessary for the produc-
tion of sound, because it is found that when the air is
drawn away from under a glass vessel, by means of the
air-pump, a bell rang in the vessel gives out no sound.
Loud and deep sounds are produced by large and slow
vibrations of the air. Shrill, sharp and high-pitched
sounds are produced by small and quick vibrations.
When a substance or thing gives out sound readily we
call it sonorous, and some substances, such as metals,
are much more sonorous than others. Trumpets and
horns and the pipes of organs are thus made of metal.
The strings of musical instruments sound according to
their size and the tightness with which they are
stretched, and the fine and tightly-stretched strings
can give quicker vibrations to the air than the loosely-
stretched thick strings.
The sense of hearing is given to all the more perfect
kinds of animals, and all quadrupeds and birds have ears.
Many animals depend on their quickness of hearing to
escape danger, and in some the sense is very acute. A
dog pricks up his ears and rouses himself at the
slightest sound, especially if that sound be an unusual
one. He knows the voice of his master, and will obey
his call. IHe learns to know the name that has been






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


given to him, and to answer to it. We often depend
on the quickness of hearing in a dog for taking care of
our houses at night. A horse obeys all kinds of words
and cries from his driver, but can be trained to hear
without alarm the reports of guns firing and the loud
thunder of cannon in battle. The little chamois on
the mountain top will start into an attitude of watch-
fulness at the distant tread of the hunter on the soft













snow, and will bound away from where the sound
comes. There is good reason for thinking that insects
can hear sounds too fine and acute to be heard by our
ears, and the great elephant hears only noises which
are loud ones to us.
It would be impossible to tell of all the pleasures
and advantages that come to us through the sense of
hearing. The sound of music to most people is a
great pleasure. We are cheered and gladdened by
sweet and merry tones played by instruments, and by
songs sung by sweet voices. In the worship of God
people like to express their praises and thanksgivings
by means of solemn music; and many natural sounds,






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


such as the warbling of birds, and the noise of falling
waters, and the murmuring sounds of the sea waves,
give an agreeable sensation to our minds. The many
different sounds made by the human voice, giving
different meanings to the mind, is very wonderful, and
also the way in which we can vary the tone of our
voices so as to express our feelings. How different is
the feeling which arises in the mind when we hear the
sound of merry laughter or joking words, to hearing
the cries of pain, or the mournful tones of one who is
in sorrow When we attempt to express our thoughts
upon any grave or solemn subject, and when we speak
of God, the Author of our lives, we naturally speak
in slower and lower tones than when we talk of other
things; by which we see that different kinds of sounds
are intended to raise up different kinds of feelings, as
well as thoughts, in our minds. The lessons in this
little book are intended to help young people to become
conscious of all that renders their lives happy and plea-
sant, and to lead them to think of all that is GooD, and
feel grateful love to Him when they hear spoken the
great name of Gon.






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


CHAPTER VIII.

THE HAND.

AFTER the eye and ear, we have nothing that is more
useful to us than our hands. As the eye is the organ
of sight, the ear the organ of hearing, the nose the
organ of smell, and the tongue of speech, so is the hand,
or rather the fingers, the organ of touch. The whole
surface of our body has the sense of feeling-it can
readily perceive when another body comes in contact
with it. It can tell whether that body be hot or cold,
hard or soft, rough or smooth ; but if we want to know
more about it-if we want to know its nature, its tex-
ture, and the exact degree of its hardness or softness,
its cold or warmth, we must touch it with the tips of
our fingers; for there it is that the sense of touch is
most acute, and that the skin can but convey to our
minds the knowledge of the thing touched. The touch
of the fingers can sometimes correct the mistakes of
the eye. The surface of something may appear to the
eye to be smooth-we touch it, and find it rough;
another rough, and we feel it to be smooth. It requires
the touch of the fingers to find out many qualities in a
substance, and to make ourselves sure of its nature.
And here, also, it is by means of nerves beneath the
surface of the skin and connected with our minds that
we are able to learn so much through the touch. When





THE GIFT OF LIFE.


the skin of the fingers is fine and delicate the sense of
touch is very acute, and when-as in the hands of the
labourer, who uses his hands in rough work-the skin
has become thick and hard, then there is little sense of
touch in the finger ends.
But let us think of all that our hands enable us to do
in life, as well as to know. An infant only a few days
old will grasp a thing with its tiny little hand, and then
as it grows older learns to pull, and push, and pat, then
to pick up and hold, and lift up and pull down. Still
older, it is able to throw, and catch, and roll-to scatter,
and cut, and tie, and lastly to write and sew. Still
more wonderful is the endless variety of things that
men and women are able to do with their hands: the
houses, ships and churches that they build-the books
they write, the pictures they paint, the statues they
carve, and all the many conveniences for our daily life
which are made by the hand, besides the constant pre-
paration of food and clothing which is necessary for
the preservation of life. Even when machinery is used
for producing many of the substances and materials
and things which we want, there is always much done
by the hands of men and women, before they can be
used. Work that requires thought must always be
done by the hands, because of their power of readily
obeying the mind. The parts of a watch, for instance,
may be separately made by machinery; but the hands
of a man or woman must put them together, with great
care and nicety, each in its place, if the watch is to go
correctly and mark the time.
All the usefulness of the hand arises from its
flexibility in addition to its power of feeling, and this






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


comes from the number of joints and small bones
with which it is formed. When the bones of the hand
are laid bare we find that each finger is made up
of three separate little bones and three joints. Four
bones form the back of the hand, and a cluster of small
bones form the wrist. Altogether there are twenty-
eight bones in the hand, and these are bound together










by tendons and muscles in such a way as to allow of
all the movements that we give to it, and secure its
strength as well as easy motion. The different length
of each small bone of the fingers helps also towards
the usefulness of the hand. As we double up the hand
we can see how nicely the fingers close into the palm of
the hand, which they could not do if they were all the
same length, and we have only to injure the forefinger
or the thumb in order to find out how particularly use-
ful these two are to us in a variety of actions and
movements. Much of the flexibility of the hand-its
power of turning upon the wrist-depends on the move-
ment of the two bones which form the lower part of the
arm, between the wrist and the elbow. They are so
contrived, as that one is able to turn upon the other by
means of a rounded part at each end, fitting into a






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


hollow part in the other, and they enable the hand to
turn exactly half-round upon the wrist.










a Shoulder-bone.
b Arm-bone.
e Two bones which turn on each other to give motion to the hand.
d Muscle which gives motion to the arm.
Most wonderful is the facility and ease with which
the hand obeys the wishes or commands of the mind.
As we write quickly, the hand seems to move by itself;
but it is very certain that not a single letter in a single
word is formed without the guidance of the mind.
Even for such little movements as are made in sew-
ing, or playing on a musical instrument, the mind
must first dictate them, or nothing would be done,
although it often seems as if our hands went on by
themselves, while we were thinking of other things.
Some persons have more flexibility in their hands, and
more delicacy and sensitiveness of touch, than others.
A hand that is used only to dig with, or to wield a ham-
mer with, is a very different instrument to the hand of a
painter or sculptor, which can obey the mind so readily
in producing beautiful curves and delicate strokes,
which all put together make up the representation of
what his fancy has conceived. The hand of a surgeon,
too, is able by practice to perform the most delicate






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


and difficult operations with wonderful precision and
certainty; while the mind is carefully guiding it, so
that it cuts exactly the right part, and the right
depth.
We make our hands of great assistance to us in ex-
pressing our thoughts, and in serving instead of speech
-as when we beckon to some one at a distance, or
point to anything. We make them express our feel-
ings sometimes, as when we clap both hands together
in token of joy, or wring them in sorrow, or clasp
them in pain or surprise. We press the hands of per-
sons in our own to show our love or friendship, and
when we would express our reverence for God we
often fold our hands as we pray to Him, or thank Him
for our blessings.
As the greatest happiness and usefulness of our lives
depends on the exercise of our powers, so is it very
desirable that we should all make as much use as pos-
sible of our hands. Those who are ready and apt in
their employment are not only better able to help
themselves and provide for their own comfort, but are
always better able also to help others. The old Bible
proverb, which says, Whatever thy hand findeth to
do, do it with all thy might," is very good advice;
and all the thousands of useful and beautiful things
that are in the world come from the owners of the
hands that made them-doing with all their might,
with all the skill and care possible, that which their
hands could do. No animals have hands that can be
compared with those of human beings. With his
hands a monkey can just contrive to peel a nut, and
put it to his mouth to crack-or can swing himself to






THE GIFT OF LIFE. 45

the bough of a tree ; but the monkeys of these days do
no more with their hands than was done by monkeys
thousands and thousands of years ago. Even if their
hands were flexible enough, there would be wanting the
mind that must always direct the hand that is to do
any useful work. The great Creator of men, in giving
them minds ever capable of improving more and more
-of becoming more knowing and more skilful, and
growing more and more desirous of gaining for their
lives comforts and pleasures, useful things and beau-
tiful objects-gave them also, as means by which their
desires could be attained, these wonderful servants
to the mind which are so capable of carrying out all its
behests.






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


CHAPTER IX.

THE MIND.

WE have shown how the senses we possess of sight,
hearing, touch and taste, add to our life, and bring
ideas to our minds ; and we have spoken of our minds
as something distinct from our bodies; and now we
will endeavour to teach something more about these
minds of ours, though there are many things about
them too difficult for any one to understand or discover.
The youngest child, however, may understand that our
mind is that part of us which thinks and feels-which
thinks thoughts and feels feelings. It is our mind
which learns and knows, which feels sorry and glad,
which hopes and fears, which likes and dislikes, which
loves and hates. It is the mind which sets going all
the movable parts of our bodies. We wish to move
from the place we are in to another, and that wish acts
like an order given by the mind to the limbs to begin
walking. The wish or desire to have something which
is before us, comes into our minds, and the arm and
hand obey that wish, and we take hold of the thing
wanted. We desire to see a thing, and the mind
orders the eyes to move in the direction of it, so that
the picture of it may be formed in our eyes, which
causes us to see it. All the motions of our limbs are
performed by means of our muscles, which are like






TIE GIFT OF LIFE. 47

bandages attached to our bones, to pull them this way
and that, according as the mind desires them to move.
Where the bandage is thick, it is made of what we call
flesh, and is fastened to the bones by means of what
we call gristle. In other parts the motion of our
joints is accomplished by means of elastic strings called
tendons; and all these muscles and tendons attached
to our jointed limbs are under the control of our minds.
Nothing moves-neither joint, muscle, or tendon-
without first receiving a command from the mind.
This power of the mind is called the WILL; and with-
out it we should do nothing in the world, and be of no
use to one another, and no more able to help ourselves
than the lifeless inorganic stone. We will to do every
action of our lives, and to say every word that we
speak. When our will is not strong, we doubt and
hesitate, and do not act or speak ; but when it is strong
we act promptly, and speak without doubt or hesitation.
When the will of a man is very strong at all times it
is a good thing for himself and others, provided he be a
good man. It leads to his performing great and noble
actions, and to being of service to his fellow-creatures.
When the will is strong and the man is selfish and
wicked, it leads him to commit crimes, and to do harm
and cause sorrow to others. Another power of the
mind which is most useful to us, is that of memory-
the power of keeping in the mind all the knowledge
that comes to it through the senses, and all the expe-
rience that we gain as we go on living. We begin to
use our memories very soon, and the more we exercise
them when young, the more we know when we are old.
An old man of eighty can sometimes remember very






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


distinctly things which he heard and saw and learnt
when he was a very young child ; and a child when he
learns his letters or to count at three or four years old
has that knowledge stamped upon his mind for the
whole of his life.
But even the remembrance of what we have seen and
heard and learnt, and the recollection of all that has
happened to us, would be nothing if it were not for a
still higher and more valuable power of the mind, called
REASON. Our reason helps us to compare one thing
with another-to judge what we had best do-to dis-
tinguish right from wrong, and error from truth. It
enables us to turn to account what has been taught us
by our senses. It is the working of our mind by itself.
If we compare our mind to a large storehouse, into
which all manner of goods are brought to be treasured
up, then we may say that our reason is like the owner
of the storehouse, who sorts, and labels, and weighs,
and compares, and arranges all the various kinds of
goods, and gives them out for use when wanted.
Another very valuable power of our minds is that of
being able to fancy and invent, which power is called
the Imagination. We may describe it as a power by
which what we have learned can be turned into new
and beautiful forms. All the stories and poems that
give our minds so much pleasure are the production of
people's minds which have a great deal of this power,
and all the most beautiful pictures and pieces of
sculpture that are in the world have been produced by
those who have a great deal of imagination or fancy, in
addition to the skill of their hands.
But now it may be asked, Where is the mind that






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


does so much, and in what part of the body is it
situated? and in answer to this question we must own
that we cannot see the mind, but can only find out its
powers, yet we know well that all the powers of thought
depend upon a soft substance called the brain, which
fills a large part of the head. If the brain is injured,
the powers of the mind are affected and injured; and
if the brain becomes diseased, the mind can no longer
think clearly or judge rightly. When people become
insane it is because this soft substance called the
brain is out of order. Without the brain, life could not
go on for an instant; and so im-
portant is it to us, that it is most
carefully encased in the bony part
of the head called the skull, which
is so strong that only a most violent
blow or fall can crush it or break it.
Closely connected with the brain is
a soft pulpy substance which passes
down our spine or back-bone, and
is called the spinal marrow; and
branching out from this, and passing
through small holes in the spine, are
all the fine nerve-threads which give us the senses of
touch, sight, hearing, and tasting.
The nerves themselves are little hollow tubes filled
with the same kind of pulp as the spinal marrow, and
there are two sets of these nerves. Some which seem
as if they carried messages from the brain when we
want to move our limbs, are called nerves of motion.
Those which carry impressions to the brain, and make
us see, hear, and feel, &c., are called nerves of sensa-
E






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


tion. If we place our finger on a stone, it is because
our brain has sent a message to the muscles of our arm
and hand through some of the nerve-threads which run
out from the spine, and when we feel the stone to be
hard and cold, it is because some other nerve-threads
have brought to the brain the sensation of hardness
and coldness. In no part of the body are the nerves
so numerous and so sensitive as in the face, because
they are wanted there to take messages from the
organs of sense-the eye, ear, nose, and tongue-to
the brain. Spread out over the face like a delicate
network each little nerve-thread has its particular
office. Some to carry to the mind the sense of the
tiny pictures reflected on the back of the eye; some
to take to the mind (or the brain) the sense of the
vibrations in the air which have struck the drum of the
ear; others to give to the mind a knowledge of the
odorous particles which have been floated on the air
into the nose which cause the sense of smell; and
others to convey the taste of what has come in contact
with the nerves of the tongue and palate in eating
different substances, giving certain sensations to the
mind, as sugar of sweetness, salt of saltness, vinegar of
sourness, and so on.
And this is nearly all that can be told of the way in
which the mind within the body gains a knowledge of
what is without us, and it would seem as if it would be
impossible for us ever to know very much more about
all the wonderful powers and capacities of the human
mind. Many animals have brains, nerves, and organs
of sense somewhat resembling ours, and these help them
to live. The sheep sees the tufts of grass that he nibbles






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


for his food, the birds see the insects and worms that
they feed on, and other animals smell out their prey
and can hear themselves called to be fed; but their
senses do not bring them the lasting impressions which
those of human beings give to the mind, and they have
very little of the power of THOUGHT, which is the
greatest power and privilege of man. It is this which
raises man so much above animals. We can think,
remember, fancy, and reflect. We can admire what is
beautiful that our eyes see, and take delight in what we
hear. We can gain knowledge by reading, and listen-
ing to the instructions of others. We can get into our
minds some of the wisdom that was in the minds of the
very wise who have lived on earth-such wisdom as
must have been intended by God to come from Him
through the minds of some particularly good and holy
men to the minds of all human creatures. We can
think about ourselves-about the wonderful construc-
tion of our bodies, and about the still more wonderful
nature of our minds-and our minds are just able to
form thoughts or conceptions of God, and to perceive
that He must be of the same nature as our own minds,
only very much greater in power, very much more
knowing, very much wiser, greater and more good, than
any man could possibly be. It is quite impossible
for the human mind fully to feel and understand the
greatness of God.







THE GIFT OF LIFE.


CHAPTER X.

DAY AND NIGHT.

OUR lives are made up of days and nights--days of
light and nights of darkness; each night coming on
with the half light which we call twilight, and the
brightness of day coming on with what we call the
dawn. We all feel too well to need any reminding or
teaching the great blessing which the light of day is to
us. We cannot imagine our lives without it. We
pity those whose business it is to work down in mines,
where they are in darkness during the hours of day-
light, and we feel that any manner of life must be pre-
ferable. Light is so great a blessing, that we do not
always remember that darkness is also a blessing. We
need rest and sleep, after all the business and pleasure
of our days ; and it is good for our minds, and for the
right action of all our powers, that we should have these
times when darkness comes on, and sleep overtakes us,
and we see, and hear, and think no longer. With most
people rather more than one-third of their lives is passed
in sleep, so that a man who is thirty years old has passed
as much or more than ten years in sleep, because out of
each twenty-four hours he has slept as much or more than
eight hours. And this quantity of sleep must be good for
us, since it has been so ordered by the wise and benefi-
cent Creator of us and all things. And our having the






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


darkness, during which time we take the sleep, is
brought about by the very manner in which all things
have been created and ordered. The great globe on
which we live, and the far distant sun, have to do with
it in their relations to each other. Thousands of years
ago, people who saw the sun seem to rise up in the
east every morning, and sink down in the west every
evening, thought that it moved over us during the time
of our day, while the earth stood still. They made a
great many clever and correct observations on the sun,
moon and stars, and in the poems and other writings
which have come down to us from the Greeks and
Romans who lived thousands of years ago, there are
very many allusions to the heavenly bodies, all of which
show that they had no other idea but that the sun
travelled over the flat earth every day, and sank down
in the west, and then somehow came up again in the
east every morning. It was a very natural mistake for
them to make, because it seems as if this were the case;
and if we were to trust only to the sense of sight, we
should still go on saying that it must be so. The
senses, however, often deceive us, if we do not exercise
the thinking power of our minds. When riding along
a road in a carriage we seem to see the trees and objects
by the roadside moving in the contrary direction to
ourselves; but we think about it, and know that
it cannot be really so. This is exactly the mistake
made by the people in olden times, who observed the
apparent or seeming motion of the sun; and it was
long before the truth was found to be that it is the
earth itself which moves and not the sun.
By patient watching and by careful observations this






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


was discovered. It was found, too, that the earth on
which we live is not a flat surface, but a great ball
or sphere; and that the apparent motion of the sun
-its rising in the east and setting in the west-was
occasioned by the spinning round once in twenty-four
hours of this great ball-shaped world; and that this
turning being from west to east makes it seem as if
the sun travelled in the opposite direction. The
astronomer Copernicus, about 350 years ago, was the
first to discover this, and all the observations of all
the astronomers ever since his time, and all manner of
careful calculations, have helped to prove it true. The
discovery has made clear to us all about the changes
from day to night and from light to darkness which we
have.
When that part of the earth on which we live is
turned towards the sun, so that its light is poured
upon us, we call it day; when we are turned away
from the sun it is our night. When from the part of
the earth where we happen to be we first begin each
day to see the sun as we turn towards it, we call it the
dawn, or sun-rise; and then it seems as if the sun were
beginning to rise up in the east, while it is really our
part of the earth being turned eastward towards the
sun, and as we see more and more of it, it is as if the
sun rose higher and higher. When exactly under or
opposite to the sun we call it noon, or mid-day ; and
then as we go on turning we gradually lose sight of it
through the afternoon, and the sun seems to sink down,
until in the evening it is at last quite hid and has dis-
appeared, and darkness gradually creeps on. If we
are standing on a hill when we observe this, it seems







THE GIFT OF LIFE.


as if the sun in the west sank down between the land
and the sky ; and if we are looking over the sea at
sun-set, the bright, round sun seems to dip down into
the sea.






:-
__ __ .











It is as well for every young person to think of
this explanation of what really happens while ob-
serving sun-set or sun-rise. It is a ii-uth that the
earth moves and not the sun, and it is better to know
and understand what is true about such things, because
we are sure to gain a better understanding of how
wisely and mercifully all is ordered by God. We
go on saying the sun rises" and the sun sets "-
we talk of the path of the sun," and of its daily
course," and do not care to suit our words to the real
facts, excepting when we want to show by what a
beautiful and simple arrangement we get the change
from light to darkness and darkness to light. The
sun is a very much larger body than the earth, and it
is many millions of miles distant from us. As com-
pared to the size of an orange, which we will suppose






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


to represent the sun, our earth would not be larger
than a pea. We see, then, how much more fitly and
simply it is arranged that by the spinning round (or
revolving) of the small body, each part of its surface
receives light in turn, and all the inhabitants of the
earth gain the blessing of light and heat from the sun,
and the refreshing change of light to darkness. To
those who live in the parts of the earth where the sun's
rays fall directly upon them all the year round, this
change is a still greater boon than it is to us; the
cool nights of tropical countries enabling the people to
Sbear the great heat of the day, while they give the
earth time to cool.
And everywhere all living things and creatures seem
to require the change. When the sun is gone and
darkness comes on, almost all animals retire to their
lairs and nests, while some few choose this opportunity
to go in search of prey; flowers fold themselves up,
and the gentle dews fall, which are so refreshing
to all vegetable life in the hot season. Then, too,
when the brighter light of the sun is gone, we get
either the softer light of the moon, or are able to see
the countless stars which are scattered over the
heavens; and when we are told that these stars are
likewise suns, still more distant than the one which
gives light and heat to our globe, our minds can
scarcely conceive of the vastness of the universe and
the greatness of God. We feel like the Hebrew writer
of the Psalm, when he says, such knowledge is too
wonderful for me, it is high, I cannot attain to it."







THE GIFT OF LIFE.


CHAPTER XI.

THE SEASONS.

IN our last lesson we showed how the changes of
day and night were caused by the turning round of the
great ball-shaped world on which we live-one half
always in light and the other in shade; and now we
will show how another of its motions gives us other
changes. We have taught that the sun does not go
round the earth as it seems to do when we observe the
rising and setting of the sun; and we have also to
teach that what happens is just the reverse, and that
the earth goes round the sun. While it spins round,
making our days and nights, it is also travelling round
the sun, and this last movement is what makes our
year, and gives us the changes of spring, summer,
autumn and winter. We know that a year is composed
of 365 days, and this is because it takes the earth
that number of turnings round (or revolutions) before
it has performed the journey round the sun. We have
thus 365 days in the year and 365 nights, each day
and night being divided by us into twenty-four hours.
Everybody knows-even a young child, who has only
lived eight or nine years in the world, has perhaps
observed that our days all through the year are not of
the same length-but that in summer we have long
days of light and short nights of darkness, and that in






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


winter we have short days of light and long nights of
darkness, while they may also have observed that our
nights and days in spring and autumn are more nearly
equal.
Now as we divide the time the earth takes in
turning round once into twenty-four hours-(we do
this for the convenience of measuring our time, but
there is nothing in nature that marks out hours)-it
follows that, however long the day is, the night which
succeeds it must be as long as makes up the number
of hours to twenty-four. So when a day in summer is
sixteen hours long, then the night can be only eight
hours long; and when a day in winter is only eight
hours long, the night will be sixteen hours long, because
16 + 8 make 24. This is nearly the greatest difference
there ever is in the length of our days and nights in Eng-
land, and just twice a year in spring and autumn the
days and nights are each exactly twelve hours long.
After our shortest day in the middle of winter, the
days keep increasing in length till we come to the
longest day in summer, and after this day they keep
shortening till the shortest day in winter.
These changes in te length of day and night come
from the manner in which the light of the sun falls at
certain times, during the world's journey round it, on
particular parts of the earth's surface. At one time
in its journey the northern parts of the earth get the
sun's rays more fully upon them, and for a longer time
than at another. In another part of its course the
southern portions of the earth get most of the sun's
light and warmth. When the northern half of the
earth is turned towards the sun, so as to receive this







THE GIFT OF LIFE.


increase of light and warmth, it is our summer in
England; and when the earth is turned so that the
northern half of the globe gets less light and warmth,
it is our winter.* When it is winter with us, it is
summer in Australia, and when it is winter there, it
is our summer-time. Only just round the middle of
the earth it is hot all the year round, and the days and
nights do not alter much in length.
The way in which light and warmth are thus un-
equally spread over different parts of the earth causes
many of the differences which are to be found in the
races of men and women who inhabit the different
countries, and the way in which light and heat are
given to us in different degrees or quantities at dif-
ferent times of the year, makes our seasons, and all
the changes in our manner of life as we pass through
the year. In the parts of the world which we call the
Tropics, where the sun's rays always fall very directly
down upon the earth, the countries are very hot, the
islands of their sunny seas abounding in vegetation
to their very shores-and the ripe fruit hanging on
the trees the whole year round, while the inhabitants


The explanation of the changes of seasons is confined to
this statement, since it is impossible without some kind of
simple apparatus to make evident how the inclination of the
earth's axis to the plane of its orbit occasions the variations. A
teacher, however, can easily, with the help of a lamp or candle
and a small globe or ball, show how, by the inclination of the
axis of the earth, as it revolves on itself, and journeys round the
sun, it is now inclined towards the sun (as in our summer), and
now inclined from it (as in our winter), while the same amount
of light and heat is received at the equator all the year round.






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


are brown-skinned as the Asiatics, or quite black as
the Negroes of Africa. Scorching hot is it especially
in the vast sandy plains which we call deserts, where
there are only at great distances apart small patches of
verdure, like islands in the widespread glistening sea
of sand-the vegetation being caused by some spring
or pool of water. Such sandy deserts can be traversed
only by help of the camel and dromedary, whose














natures have been suited to the heat and drought. In
tropical countries the houses and buildings are con-
trived so as to keep out the heat, and the manner
of life among them is arranged so as to secure all
the shade and coolness possible. The foliage of the
trees, such as the large-leafed plantains and fanshaped
palms, seems intended to give shade and shelter
from the scorching sun, while the abundance of juicy
fruits supplies a never-failing means of refreshment to
the inhabitants, and the quickness with which crops
of rice and maize spring up saves them from hard
labour.






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


In what are called the temperate climates of the
earth, such as we have in England, the changes of
the seasons are, on the whole, however, much more
favourable to human life. Unoppressed for any long
period by excessive heat, men are able to bring to per-
fection many arts and manufactures, and the human
mind is generally more strong and vigorous. Almost
all the great discoveries and inventions which make
life more full of knowledge and pleasure and comfort
have been made by the inhabitants of temperate
climates. We do more, and think more, and go about
more, than if we were constantly oppressed by heat,
or obliged to spend half our time in keeping out the
cold.
Very great, too, are all the joys and advantages
which come to our lives from the changes in our
seasons. Each year we have to rejoice in the coming of
spring, when every heart feels quickened with pleasure
at the sight of returning verdure and the bursting into
leaf of trees and shrubs, and springing up of plants
and opening of flowers. Then, summer comes, with
still more flowers filling our gardens and scenting
the warm air, and fruits are ripe, which refresh us
with their mingling of sweet and acid tastes and
delicate flavours ; when the corn ripens in our fields,
promising us a future supply of bread, and birds and
insects are on the wing busy in the search for their
food, and the cows in the pastures and sheep on the
the hill-sides feed in quiet content through the long
sunny day, and every living thing seems to rejoice in
the bright skies and soft winds.
And as summer passes into autumn other pleasures






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


come upon us. The harvests of corn, wheat, barley, and
oats are gathered in. The fruits of the trees in our gar-
kens and orchards ripen, and the rosy apples, yellow pears,
and juicy plums find their way from the country to the
shops of towns and cities. In the south of England
comes the harvest of hops, which help to make our
beer; and in the warmer countries of Europe-such as
France, and Italy, and Spain-comes the vintage, when
the grapes are gathered and pressed, and wine is made.
The very change in the foliage of our trees in autumn,
when the life of the leaves begins to be spent, and the
greenness changes to yellow, and red, and brown,
making the country all beautiful to see, is a yearly
pleas re; while as the leaves fall to the ground we
know that they enrich the soil, and leave life in the
trees ready for the buds of the next year.
Which of us, too, when all these sights and pleasures
are over, does not look forward to many of the enjoy-
ments of our winters-when we value home so much,
and are drawn so much nearer to one another, and have
comforts which help us to bear the cold, and pleasures
which the very cold brings to many of us, provided for
us by others, or which we can bestow on others. And
if winter is trying to some of us, and makes us ill and
suffering, we know, as certainly as we know anything,
that spring will come again, and is nearer to us each
time that our earth spins round: each day after mid-
winter becoming longer, and each night shorter, and
more and more of the sun's warmth coming back
again to gladden our hearts and quicken all things
into life.
And all these changes, and a thousand more bless-







THE GIFT OF LIFE.


ings than we can number, come to us from the way in
which the earth obeys the laws of the Creator, which
cause it to spin round or revolve and journey onward
round the sun in a ceaseless, never-varying course-
the unceasing and unvarying course bringing us at the
same time all manner of changes which are good for
our bodies and our minds.







_-- .
C ,p -. .",, -| -- ::-


TROPICAL VEGETATION.






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


CHAPTER XII.

SUBSTANCES AND OBJECTS.

MUCH of the comfort and pleasure of our lives arise
from things which do not come as if direct from God,
but are made by human beings themselves-such as
houses to live in, and clothes to cover them; the
furniture in our houses, such as tables, chairs, and
beds; the books we read; the carriages we ride in;
the boats and ships that we go on the water in, and all
the useful articles that are sold in shops. All these
things do not come direct from God; but He has
given to men the powers by which they can make
them, and the materials by which they are made. All
the objects that surround us in life may be sorted into
two large divisions or classes-NATURAL OBJECTS and
ARTIFICIAL OBJECTS. An egg is a natural object, so is
an apple, a flower, a shell, a tree. Books, knives,
shoes, watches, are artificial objects made by men and
women by means of the powers and out of the materials
which God has given to them. Natural objects are so
called because they are found ready made by nature.
Artificial objects are so called because they are pro-
duced by the art of men. A material or substance can
also be natural or artificial-as, for instance, leather
is a natural substance, while paper is an artificial
substance. Wood is a natural substance, glass an arti-







THE GIFT OF LIFE.


ficial substance, and has to be made or manufactured
by art. Then again all the materials or substances out
of which things are made can be divided into three
great divisions-ANIMAL SUBSTANCES, VEGETABLE SUB-
STANCES, and MINERAL SUBSTANCES. An animal
substance has once been part of an animal, such as
bone, leather, wool, horn, &c. A vegetable substance
is something that has once been part of a tree or plant,
such as wood, cotton, straw, cork, &c. A mineral
substance is something that has been dug out of the
earth and formed part of its crust, such as iron, gold,
stone, marble, &c. Out of these three kinds of natural
substances every artificial object or material is made.
All the useful, convenient, and beautiful objects that
our eyes can rest on, men's hands, helped by their eyes,
and guided by their minds, have made. We take pos-
session of and apply to the satisfying of our desires and
wants all these substances and objects that we find in
nature, and we go on making more and more useful
things from year to year, and also go on discovering
useful substances in nature and turning them to
account, in order to increase the comfort and pleasure
of our lives.
Let us consider, for instance, how certain qualities
in certain substances have been first observed and then
turned to account by man to supply his wants. We are
told that the earliest inhabitants of England, when mere
savages, dwelt in caves, and clothed themselves in the
skins of wild beasts; but the day must have come when,
observing the flexibility of the boughs of certain trees
-the boughs of the oziers, perhaps, which grew in the
swamps-they conceived the idea of bending them and






TIE GIFT OF LIFE.


interlacing them so as to form wattles, which they
supported on upright branches of trees which would
not bend, and thus they obtained the covering of a
roof; while also noticing the tenacity and stickiness
of clay soil while wet, and its hardness and impervious-
ness to wet when dried in the sun, they plastered it
over their roofs to keep out the rain. It took centuries,
perhaps, before they improved upon this idea sufficiently
as to have walls to their houses of burnt clay bricks,
and tiles of burnt clay for their roofs.
Then again the day would come when the very early
inhabitants of Britain must have found that the stalks
of certain plants-the flax and hemp especially-and the
wool of sheep, could, owing to their flexibility, be first
twisted into threads and then woven together, so as
to make materials for clothing softer and warmer
and more agreeable to wear than the stiff and heavy
skins. By dint of observing how best to do this
-how wool could be combed out more and more finely,
and then twisted into finer and finer threads, and
woven into finer and finer cloth, and then how this
cloth could be dyed and dressed and rendered more and
more glossy and smooth-the manufacture of woollen
cloths arrived in the course of centuries to the perfec-
tion it has attained in our day, many of the methods
employed having been copied, perhaps, from the people
of Flanders, who, four or five centuries ago, also brought
to great perfection the making of cloth.
In the same way with the fibrous stalks of flax and
hemp. By industry and perseverance, as the years
rolled on, and as Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans
had by turns possession of England, the people must






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


have gone on gradually improving their methods of
beating out the fibrous stalks of the flax and hemp
plants, and spinning them into glossy threads, and then
bleaching them and weaving them, until they produced
the fine linen fabrics for which Scotland and Ireland are
now so famous-all this being at first done with the
fingers and hands, slowly and with patient labour, until
now it is all done so swiftly, and the fabrics produced
in such vast quantities by the help of machinery.
And so it has been with thousands of other natural
substances.
We can many of us remember how even in our own
childhood the substance called India-rubber, or Caout-
chouc, was used only in little pieces to rub out pencil
marks with, and we were told that it was the hardened
juice of a Tropical plant, which, after being dried, be-
came tough and elastic, and impervious to water. It
must have occurred to some ingenious person that this
latter quality (that of not allowing water to pass through
it) as well as its elasticity, would make it useful for
shoes and other articles of clothing, for tubing and
bandages, &c., and now we know how very many are
the purposes to which this substance is applied, so that
vast quantities of the dried juice of the Caoutchouc
tree, and other trees whose sap has the same qualities,
are imported into England to be manufactured into
useful articles.
And thus it has been with very many other substances
of still more importance to our lives. We have turned
to account all the animal and vegetable and mineral sub-
stances produced naturally in England, and we gather
around us from the most distant parts of the globe all







68 THE GIFT OF LIFE.

the productions of other countries, which are peculiar to
their soils and climates-some particular quality.in each
making them valuable to us. We adapt them to
certain uses on account of those qualities, in order to
promote the comfort or pleasure of our lives, and we
are ever employing our own powers of mind-are ever
learning and inventing, and improving, and making
discoveries-turning the qualities of natural objects to
new purposes, finding out hidden qualities in them,
and even discovering new substances and objects and
materials every year-all which keeps the minds of
men active and enquiring, and makes them busy and
industrious; and we cannot doubt that this has been
intended by the great Creator to come about, and that
while the beast is by nature clothed with his skin or
fur, and the bird with its feathers, and the food of each
placed within its reach, the wants of human beings
were left to be supplied by the exercise of their minds,
and the whole of Nature placed under their control.






TIE GIFT OF LIFE.


CHAPTER XIII.

FOOD AND DIGESTION.

IN one of the first lessons in this little book (Chapter
III.), we taught that our lives could only be kept up
and continued by means of eating food and breathing
air. Let us now see what becomes of the food we
eat, and how it helps to nourish our bodies, and why it
is that air is so necessary to the continuance of life.
Food merely put into our stomachs would do nothing
towards nourishing us, unless it underwent changes in
the body. It would no more help to keep us alive
than if put into a bag outside the body. In order to
help in the building up of the body, and the support
of life, part of it must be changed into blood, and the
process or means by which this is effected is called
digestion. If we eat substances which will not digest
and undergo this change, it is the same as if we took
no food at all-because they never become changed
into blood.
Let us now see what are these changes that food
undergoes during what we call digestion. The first
part of the operation, and the one we have most to
do with ourselves, is that which is called mastica-
tion or chewing, and for this we have teeth which
are exactly suited for the purpose. An infant is born
into the world without teeth because its food requires







THE GIFT OF LIFE.


no mastication, and when it begins to grow it is a
sign that more solid food is required for the nourish-
ment of its body. When all the teeth have pierced
through the gums and grown to their full size, they
are just what are wanted-those in front for biting,
and the back teeth for grinding and reducing to a soft
mass the food in our mouths, so as to enable it to pass
down the throat smoothly and easily. In order to do
this still better our mouths are supplied with saliva or
spittle, which mixes with the food as we chew it, and
the tongue helps us to toss it about, so as to bring it
to where the teeth can grind and mash it. As we chew
our food we taste it by means of little nerves in the
tongue and the roof of the mouth, and the nice taste
of what we eat brings the saliva into our mouths by
means of which it is softened.
When the mouthful is thus made into a fit state
for swallowing, it passes down a passage called the
gullet into the stomach, which is like an oblong bag
lying across the body. Here the food undergoes
more movement, and is tossed to and fro until it is
churned into a still finer pulp, while a liquid called
the gastric juice is mixed with it, which dissolves it
more completely. Passing downward out of the right
end of the stomach, the pulpy substance, made up of
all the animal and vegetable matters that we eat,
undergoes still further changes. It receives into it
the bile, a liquid which flows from the liver, and then
enters the long tube or passage called the intes-
tine. In grown-up people this tube or passage is as
much as thirty feet long ; but it is so bent and wound
about that it is packed into a comparatively small space






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


in the lowest part of the body, and forms what is gene-
rally called the bowels. It is during its passage through
part of this winding intestine that some of the digested
matter is taken up by numerous veins, and, becoming
blood, is conveyed to the heart, while such portions of
the digested mass as cannot be converted into blood are
passed on to be carried out of the body.
We have now to see what becomes of the blood after
being poured into the heart-reservoir, and we find that
it has yet another process to go through before it can
nourish the body, and we learn why the act of breathing
is so necessary to life. The blood which has been
brewed out of our food has to come in contact with the
air that we draw in to our lungs as we breathe, and this
it is which gives it its life-giving power. Air is made
up of two other airs or gases, oxygen and hydrogen.
Every time that we breathe we give some oxygen to
the blood, which comes in contact with it in the lungs,
and then, returning to the heart (to another part of it),
it is pumped out and sent through what are called the
arteries to every part of the body. All the substances
which make up our bodies are fed by it. It helps to
add matter to each part: to flesh, muscle, fat, skin,
and even our bones, and nails, and hair. If the body
were not so added to or fed by the arteries it would
waste away, and when the food and air do not give the
right qualities to the blood, we become thin and ill,
and have diseases, and perhaps die.
To understand thoroughly how all this comes about
it is necessary not only to see drawings of the different
parts of the inside of our bodies, but even to see the
inside of the bodies of some animals after they are






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


dead, for the insides of most quadrupeds and birds
are very like our own. The better we understand the
uses of each part, the more fully do we perceive how
"fearfully" as well as "wonderfully" we are made,
and with what fitness each organ, such as the heart,
the lungs, the liver, &c., is suited to perform the
action required, and the accuracy with which it works.
People who are ignorant of all this may shudder and
turn away with disgust at the sight of a dead body
laid open to view; but others, who have been taught
the uses of each part, and who understand how
they act in order to continue life, are more likely to
feel a thrill of grateful admiration at the sight, because
they have attained to a better and higher sense of the
greatness and goodness of the Giver of Life.
And before we finish our lesson-which after all can
only teach a very small part of the knowledge which has
been gained by those who carefully study the structure
of our bodies-after learning how and why food is so
necessary to us, let us remind ourselves what it is that
urges us to give our bodies a constant supply of it. We
never forget to do so, because directly food is needed
we begin to feel hunger. A little of this feeling, which
we all of us know so well, makes what is called our appe-
tite, and we enjoy our food all the more for having felt
it; but if it should happen that we cannot get food, or
that it is withheld from us, the sensation of hunger
becomes one of the most terrible and distressing sensa-
tions the body can have. And we see why the great
Creator has made it so. It was necessary that both
animals and human beings should be impelled by the
painful craving of hunger to seek for food, and each






THE GIFT OF LIFE. 73

animal finds it in nature, and near at hand; but human
beings have to use the faculties of their minds in order
to procure it. Hunger rouses them to exertion. It
makes men industrious. It leads them to find means
of procuring food, and urges them to invent and dis-
cover ways of increasing the quantity of it. This feeling
of hunger is, in fact, one of the most striking proofs
that we can possibly find of the good which arises out
of what, for a time, is a seeming evil, and it shows us
very plainly the far-seeing wisdom and benevolence with
which all that concerns our life has been designed and
arranged by God.






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


CHAPTER XIV.

AIR AND BREATHING (OR RESPIRATION).

WE have shown in the previous chapter how, besides
food, it is necessary that we should also take in air for
the due nourishment of our bodies, and so needed is it
for life that, at all times and seasons, and at every
moment of our lives, are we drawing it in, and were
we to leave off feeding ourselves in this way for one
quarter of an hour we should certainly die. It is well
for us that our thus taking in air or breathing is an
action that constantly goes on without our having to
attend to it ourselves, or think about it. Wherever we
are, and whatever we are doing, and however occupied
our thoughts may be, our breathing goes steadily on,
and the breathing of a new-born infant is quite as cer-
tainly and regularly done as that of a grown-up person.
It goes on mechanically, or like a machine, and without
the exercise of our will. We can hold our breath and
prevent the air entering our mouths or nostrils; but it
is so painful to do so for any length of time that we
soon let it enter again. Entering by our mouths and
nostrils, the air we breathe in, or inhale, passes down a
passage in the throat called the windpipe, and goes to
fill the lungs, which are on each side of the chest and
are not unlike two sponges, being full of small cells,
which contain the air.






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


In our last chapter we told how the blood came in
contact with the air in our lungs by means of small
veins, and these veins are in connection with the tiny
air-cells of the lungs. That part of the air which is
called oxygen is by this means mixed with the blood,
and as we breathe out, or exhale, another gas called car-
bonic acid gas, is given out and mixes with the air
outside our bodies. Now, carbonic acid gas is a very
unhealthy air to breathe, and this is why a number of
persons sitting in a room which is not well ventilated
make the air unwholesome by their breathing, and not
fit forpsupporting life. People who sit much in small
close rooms, and do not open the window or door to let
in fresh air, become pale and unhealthy and lose their
strength and vigour. We must have air to breathe
which has the right quantity of oxygen in it; and as the
proportion of oxygen to nitrogen (the other gas of
which air is composed) is only one-fifth, it follows that
we soon use up the oxygen in a room, unless the outer
air is allowed to come in. A dreadful story is told of
the captain of a ship being so ignorant of this fact that,
when at sea and a storm came on, he ordered all his
passengers to go down into a small cabin, and when
there closed the hatches, through which alone air could
be admitted to them. The storm raged on and pre-
vented the captain and the sailors from hearing the
cries of the passengers who, for want of air, were
suffocating; and when at last the cabin was opened it
was found that, out of 200 passengers, 72 were dead-
poisoned by the corrupted air.
Nothing is more important to us than this know-
ledge about the composition of air and the necessity






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


there is for letting pure air get to our lungs. Those
who have to work in close rooms or factories where
many people are breathing and spoiling the air, are
very often pale and unhealthy. The burning of candles
and gas also makes air unfit to be breathed; because
they burn up the oxygen of the air, and, in doing
so, give out carbonic acid gas. If we put a lighted
candle under a glass vessel, the candle will gradually
burn dimmer and dimmer until it has used up all the
oxygen, and then it will go out. The vessel will then
be found only to contain nitrogen and carbonic acid
gas.
All animals require oxygen to breathe as well as
ourselves. Through their gills, which serve the same
purpose as our lungs, fish breathe in the oxygen which
is in water, and some of them come to the surface of
the water they live in to get it from the atmosphere.
It will thus be seen that a vast quantity of oxygen is
constantly being taken from the air and used up by
human beings and animals, while we also burn up an
immense deal with our gas lamps and our fires. How,
then, is the loss of it supplied ? Simply by the fact
that all plants breathe out oxygen at the same time that
they use up the carbonic acid gas which animals and
human beings exhale. The leaves of plants act the
same part as the lungs of animals and human beings,
except that they take from the air that which the latter
do not want, and give them in exchange fresh oxygen.
Can any one learn all this for the first time without
being struck by the proof it gives of how wisely and
beneficently everything in nature has been arranged
and brought about? We see by it how animal life and






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


vegetable life are made to balance each other. The
vast forests and prairies, the meadows, the cornfields,
and gardens-all the plant-life of our great globe sub-
sists on the carbonic acid which is given out in the
breathing of men and animals. They absorb it from
the air, and it goes to form their substance, and they
give out in return the oxygen wanted for animal life.
Plants and animals thus depend on each other. But
even were the oxygen wanted for breathing not added
to the atmosphere in this way, it would not be possible
to exhaust all that is in the air surrounding the globe,
so vast is its quantity. The atmosphere extends as
much as forty-five miles in depth or thickness around
the great ball of the earth. It is like a soft trans-
parent coating surrounding it everywhere. It accom-
panies it as it rolls smoothly on around the sun. It is
transparent, and lets the light and the heat from the
sun pass through it. Only under certain circumstances
does it refract or bend out of their course the rays of
the sun, as when the sun is first seen by us in the
morning, or when we last see it in the evening, at
which times the air breaks up the light into lovely tints
of yellow, orange, and red.
The breathing in of pure fresh air is a great pleasure
to us all, and we get it best when out of doors away
from close rooms and crowded streets and buildings.
It enables our lungs to act freely; it sends the blood
from our hearts to every part of our bodies of the right
kind and quantity; it causes our livers to give out (or
secrete) properly the bile that helps to make blood.
All health and freedom from unpleasant feelings and
thoughts is secured in a great measure by plenty of






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


fresh air. Our brains require it, and our minds are
more vigorous and active when all the other organs of
the body are performing their parts rightly through the
admission of fresh and pure air to the lungs. Air is to
us all most truly the Breath of Life.










END OF PART I.















Vart SPlconhl.


CHAPTER I.

WATER AND ITS WAYS.

\; s "; HERE is nothing that shows
r to us more plainly the loving
Si purpose of God in adapting
Sour natures to the earth on
which we dwell, than the
manner in which water is
S supplied for the support of
"I.. After animal and vegetable food
: ,.1 ,;r, perhaps, nothing is more neces-
-!'\ ro our lives than water. That it is
needed for the health of our bodies we
know from the feeling of thirst, which can become quite
as terrible a sensation as extreme hunger. Shipwrecked
sailors, exposed in boats for days together before they
reach land, or cast on rocky islands where there are no
springs, and where the climate is such that rain only
falls at certain seasons of the year-they know only
too well the agony which may be suffered for want of







THE GIFT OF LIFE.


fresh water. Travellers in the burning sandy deserts
of Asia and Africa, whose store of water in the leather
bottles or skins which they carry with them is exhausted,
and with a burning sun overhead, will languish and
faint, and even die, if they cannot succeed in finding an
oasis, or little patch of fertile land, where there is a
spring in the midst, which causes the growth of trees
and plants. Failing to find such a spot, they will even
kill the camels, which are so precious to them, in order
to get the water remaining in their stomachs. Nearly
all creatures, and all plants, require water for the sup-
port of their lives. Human beings require it also for
the cleanliness of their bodies, and of all that surrounds
them, and that they use. It is necessary for health to
keep open the pores of the skin by washing, and it is
a pleasant as well as a healthy thing to bathe. We
require water for cooking our food, and for a thousand
manufactures and arts, and sadly should we suffer did
not the fertilising rain fall on our fields and gardens
when seeds have to germinate and the corn and plants
spring up which are needed for our support. And,
crowded as we live in our great towns, it helps to keep
away disease, and purifies the air, and carries away the
noxious substances which accumulate when heavy rain
falls and floods the streets.
And where does all rain, river, and spring water
come from? As we look at a globe, or map of the
whole world, we see that there is a much larger part
of its surface covered by water than by land, and we
all know that the sea is very deep. But the water
of the sea cannot be used to quench our thirst on
account of its saltness; the first thing a captain does






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


when he prepares for a voyage is to put fresh water
on board-and the shipwrecked sailor, though water
is around him on every side, knows that it would be
death to drink of it; nor can the water of the sea be
of any use in making the ground fertile, for it would
destroy the life of all vegetables except those con-












Pilota Plumosa, a very common sea-weed on our shores.
stituted particularly for living in it, such as sea-
weeds. And yet when we have to give the history of
all the water that is used by man, and that fertilises
the earth, we must begin by saying that it comes in
the first instance from the great briny ocean, which
covers so large a portion of our globe.
In telling all that we have to say about water, we
may, it is true, begin by saying that water, like air, is
composed of two gases, and that one of these is the
same oxygen gas on which, as we have seen, all animal
life depends : the other gas is called hydrogen, and of
this there is the largest proportion. Having told this,
it is rather the ways of water that we have to describe
-the different changes it undergoes, and the different
conditions or states in which it is found. On map-







THE GIFT OF LIFE.


globes, or charts of the whole world, we can see that
just where the line called the Equator divides the earth
into two halves (called hemispheres, or half spheres-
north and south) a large portion of the great Atlantic Sea
on one side of the globe, and of the great Pacific Ocean
on the other, is crossed by it; and it is just in those
parts of the globe which lie on each side of the equator
(called the Tropics) that the rays of the sun fall most
directly all the year round, so that it is constantly hot
there. Tropical countries are the hottest parts of the
earth, and the oceans at the tropics have the hot rays
of the sun constantly pouring down upon them. If we
put a saucer of water in the sunshine in summer it will
gradually diminish in quantity until it is quite dried up,
or, in other words, has all passed up into the air; and
if we put water on the fire we know that directly it
becomes hot, vapour or steam rises up from it, and that
if left there long enough it would all become turned
into vapour, or be evaporated. In like manner, the
hot sun upon the tropical seas causes a constant
uprising of vapour-a drawing up of watery particles
by the hot sun. This vapour is not salt-it leaves all
the salt particles behind it. It rises up invisibly, for
it is too finely dissolved by the heat to be seen in
the air. It rises up and up, till it reaches a part of the
atmosphere which is of its own weight. When the
sun is away at night, it gets cold and condenses-
the watery particles running closer together-and then
it becomes visible, and we call it cloud. The clouds
which we see high up above us are but masses of
floating vapour, and we know how easily they are
wafted by the wind, so that the cloud, or vapour, which






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


thus rises up from the seas of the tropics is carried by
currents of air, or wind, in every direction-north,
south, east, and west.
Let us fancy what happens with clouds that come up
from the tropics to colder parts of the globe. They
there collect together and become more heavy, and the
minute watery particles of vapour join together still
closer and become water, and the water-drops, becom-
ing too heavy for the air to support, fall upon the earth
in the form of rain. If we hold a cold plate over hot
water, the steam or vapour which rises from it will also,
as it cools, run into drops upon the surface of the plate.
This is what always happens when it rains, and sea water
is thus turned into rain water. The water which falls on
the land in rain is all that is wanted for vegetation;
and by its falling in such drops, and not in heavy
masses, the tender plants are not crushed and injured.
But all the water which falls on the earth and sinks
into the ground when the rain falls is not needed for
vegetable life alone; it is wanted for the life of animals
and human beings, and for them it is supplied in other
forms.
Much of the rain which falls sinks deep down into
the earth far beneath its surface, and much of it which
falls on high mountains is frozen into snow, and rests
on their tops, and forms glaciers, or beds of ice,
among them. That which sinks so deep into the earth
collects there, and, when filtered through gravel and
other mineral substances, becomes clear and sparkling
and agreeable to drink, and we call it spring water.
It is the water we have in wells and draw up in buckets,
or pump up with pumps.






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


Such collections of water, when in the centre of
hills and mountains, often make their way out at their
sides, and run down in streamlets, and the streamlets
join together, and form little rivulets and brooks; as
these too run down from higher to lower ground, they
meet and mingle their waters until there is a stream
wide enough and deep enough to be called a river.



71.~











Many great rivers also begin their course among
the high snow-covered mountains and glaciers of ice.
They come at first from the melting of the snow and
ice in summer. The heights from which they come,
and the numbers of other streams which unite with
them, make them soon quick-flowing, deep, and wide
streams. When, in their course, they get hemmed
in among hills or mountains, they spread out into
lakes; but where the land around a lake is lower
they escape and flow out, and continue their course to
the sea.
And now we have shown how the same water is







THE GIFT OF LIFE.


first salt sea-water, then cloud, and then rain-then
springs, and then the water of rivers and lakes. Think
of how all these different states of water are blessings
to human beings To how many purposes they serve.
How we want the rain to fertilise the land, and the spring
water to refresh us and quench our thirst. How we
build towns and cities on the flowing rivers, and use
them to bring up our merchandise from the sea; and,
lastly, how we go from land to land upon the surface
of the great oceans in our ships to fetch from other
countries the commodities we want, and to take to
them our own natural productions and our manufactures.















In all ages men have seen, in the blessing which water
is to them, a proof of the loving-kindness of God; and
the Hebrew poets who wrote the Psalms speak with
grateful praise of how God covereth the heavens with
clouds and prepareth rain for the earth; how He
" sendeth the springs into the valleys which run among
the hills," and "watereth the hills from his chambers,






86 THE GIFT OF LIFE.

and causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herbs
for the service of man." And, after recounting all
these, and many other blessings, one of the writers
ends with saying, How manifold are thy works,
O Lord! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the
earth is full of thy riches. Bless thou the Lord, 0
my soul."












S 'i i

Sea-weed. Delesseria Sanguinca.






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


CHAPTER II.

LIGHT.

THE light of day, as we have shown, oomes from the
sun. Though many millions of miles from us, the
sun sends down such a flood of light on to the world
that it prevents our seeing by day the light of the other
heavenly bodies ; and even if the sky be covered with
clouds and we cannot see the sun itself, its light still
reaches us more or less, penetrating the clouds as
through a veil. Light is necessary to both animal and
vegetable life as well as to human life. Few plants or
living creatures can be healthy in the dark. A plant
grown in the dark is sickly and pale coloured, if not
quite white. All colour depends on the light of the
sun; the green leaves of trees and grass-all the bright
hues of flowers and insects, the plumage of birds, the
soft colours reflected from pearls and mother-of-pearl,
and the rich hues and sparkling flashes of colour which
come from precious stones.
In describing the formation of the eye in a pre-
vious chapter, we showed how the light enters it at
the black spot in the centre called the pupil, and falling
on a nerve spread out at the back of the eye gives
us the sense of sight and brings pictures, as it were,
to the mind of all that surrounds us. The sun's
rays of light are also mixed up with rays of heat, so






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


that light and heat travel together from the far dis-
tant sun, and bring us life as well as beauty; for, as
we have seen, warmth is necessary to life. The sun's
rays also fall upon the moon as it travels round us
once in every month, and the soft moonlight is the light
ef the sun reflected to us from the surface of the moon.
That of the stars, which sparkle in the sky at night, are
supposed to be very distant suns like our own, sending
out their own light; while the stars we call planets,
which shine with a steadier and softer light and change
their places, are supposed to be worlds like ours, which
are also lighted up by the rays of our sun, and have
many of them moons revolving round them at the same
time that, like the earth, they move round it.
The nature of light is not yet clearly known, so that
we cannot teach what it is, but only point out what are
its effects. We know that a single ray or line of light
coming from the sun is made up of separate coloured rays
-red, blue, and yellow-and that these, lapping over
each other, or mingling together, make other colours,
as violet, orange, and green. When seen through the
drops of a chandelier, or a three-sided piece of glass
called a prism, the coloured rays are separated, and we
see all the colours of the rainbow. The rainbow itself
is caused by a distant shower of rain breaking up the
rays of the sun into all the different colours as it falls
on the drops of water, each one of which acts like the
glass prism. Light, as it falls upon different objects, is
reflected or sent back, and then enters our eyes. Some
substances reflect some rays, and absorb or take in
others. When a substance or object reflects all the
rays to our eyes, we call it white. When it absorbs






THE GIFT OF LIFE.


them all, we call it black. When only blue rays are
reflected, we see the thing or substance to be blue.
When red rays are reflected, we see it red, and the
thing which is yellow to us is that which has not taken
in or absorbed the yellow rays. Blue and yellow rays
mingled together and reflected make a thing seem
green. Red and blue rays produce violet; red and
yellow, orange. When the rays of the sun cannot pass
through an object, such as a post, a wall, or a house,
there is a shadow on the opposite side, because the rays
are stopped in their course and cannot fall on that part
of the ground. Darkness is only another name for the
absence of light, and not a thing in itself. When the
rays of light cannot pass through a substance or thing,
we call it opaque. When they freely pass through a
substance, such as water or glass, we call it transpa-
rent.*
Now this transparency of glass makes it a most
valuable substance to us and enables us to derive many
advantages and blessings from light which we should
otherwise not have. We can hardly imagine to our-
selves the time when there was no such substance. We
do not find it in nature, but have to make it. A story
is told that the first discovery of how to produce glass
arose from some sailors having made a fire of sea-weed
on the seashore of Syria, and that the burnt ashes
(which had become what we call potash or alkali) ming-
ling with the sand produced lumps of glass. Some such
origin of the discovery may well have occurred, and
men would not be long in turning to account the useful

From the Latin words for "through" and to appearr"




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