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which a man may fairly sell all that incidents, its blending of history and he has to make his own, but it is in philosophy, poems and letters, rereality a hid treasure so long as it is garded merely as a human producunused. Oftentimes it is brought tion it ought not surely to be so long down from its hiding place to have unused that when your minister asks some domestic event—birth, mar- for it he may literally shake off its riage, or death-registered on its dust as a testimony against you. blank leaves, and there is a kind of Then, I must add, that sheer fancy that the fragrance of its worth Laziness is another clasp. You come steals out and encircles the persons home weary at night. A yawn greets whose " exits” or whose " entrances" the rustle of its opening leaves. are recorded on its pages. It, then, Then the next night you venture to takes the first rank among the family say you will dispense with it for once memorandum books, it is true, but -you are so tired. By degrees you as the oracles of God it is unem- come to regard its use as quite an ployed and neglected. It might exceptional thing. And thus its have been penned in an unknown sweet uncomplaining voice is silenced, tongue, it might contain naught but and its gently flowing streams of life blank leaves, for the clasp of neg- are frost-bound, or evaporated, or lect closes it so securely that it be- left untasted and unsought. It is comes a candle put under a dense like a harp of divinest workmanship, bushel, and not a single ray steals but you are too fatigued to pass your out to give light to them that are in fingers across its strings night and the house.
morning and make the opening hours Then again the clasp of Pre-occu- sacred with its harmony, and the pation too commonly shuts up the night quiet and happy with its Book of Life. Other reading de- peaceful lullaby mands our time, too much of it to Yet one more clasp of a different
a leave us able to read God's book. kind—the clasp of Superstition. Yes: The newspaper must of course be I mean just that; for though we conned over, and the magazine must think ourselves emancipated from also be dipped into-if, however, it witchcraft and holy water, we are be the blue covered monthly you and not yet quite purged from the old I know, dear reader, and especially leaven. When a man hoists his in this number of it, we shall not be Bible high and dry on a cupboard sanctioned in putting aside the Bible shelf among the patent medicines, I by its pages-the book of travel think he plainly shows how he remust be duly honoured, and the last gards it by the company he would tale followed breathlessly through its have it keep. It is to be brought purposes
and devious windings, down in case of sickness, and work and its last chapter of bliss-for- "charms and conjurations and mighty everybody eagerly devoured. But magic. The Book can wait till a more con- Moreover, superstition may tinge venient season.
There is no clasp our use of the Bibe when we do read to the novel, but Scripture is a sealed it. Some men rush through a few volume.
verses at a fixed hour, half underOf the wrongness of this we are standing them and half thinking of all agreed; but some may not feel something else, and fancy that they as I do its utter want of taste. For have been done good to because it
. never book had such varied and in
was the Bible they read. teresting contents as this has. It is food could be so good that merely to a little library in itself, and with show it the mouth would be enough its graphic narratives, its life-like to nourish the frame. We have read sketches of character, its marvellous recently of Newman Hall's prayer
As if any
on the top of Snowdon which was, Are we not to look at it very dif under God, the means of converting ferently, as a book to be read and a score of Welshmen who did not understood if it is to be of true serunderstand a word of it. But what vice to us; as a chart for our voyage was the influence employed by the to be studied; as a lamp for our Holy Spirit ? The language of the journey, to be ready for all the dark emotions is common to all nations, places; as the face of a Divine and would be readily understood. The Father instinct with love and blesssublimity of the sunrise would im- ing to be patiently and adoringly press all alike. But more than that- beheld ? these men knew the truth familiarly, Other“ clasps” there are,
but our and the special influence did but musing must end here, and as we stir up to activity what had been close this paper let us unclasp our already apprehended by the mind. Bibles and gratefully read those Only so much of the truth as we words which declare that The understand will benefit us. Only so Holy Scriptures are able to make much of a book as we receive will wise unto salvation through faith instruct us. Only the seed that falls which is in Christ Jesus, and are into the soft deep and unchoked soil profitable for doctrine, for reproof, bears any true yield of corn. Το for correction, for instruction in treat Holy Writ in a superstitious righteousness, that the man of God way is just to make it a charm, a may be perfect, throughly furnished relic, and its verses like so many unto all good works.” strings of beads to be counted over.
RELIGION AND SCIENCE; OR, THE LIFE OF GEORGE
WILSON, THE CHEMIST.
BY REV. W. R. STEVENSON, M.A. Much has been said in our time con- (little more than eleven years ago) cerning the supposed opposition be- Professor of Technology in the Univertween Religion and Science. That the sity of Edinburgh, and Director of the opposition is only “supposed" must be Industrial Museum of Scotland. Of evident to every intelligent Christian. the life of this Christian philosopher, For science, if it, be real science, is as we may well call him, we propose based on facts; and Christianity, if it first to give a very brief outline sketch, be real Christianity, is also based on and then to add a few illustrative facts: and one set of facts cannot con- details. tradict another. We may not be able Dr. George Wilson was born in to harmonize them, but there is One Edinburgh in the year 1818. His who sees their perfect agreement. parents were members of a Baptist
In the present paper we wish to church in that city; not wealthy, but exhibit the harmony between Religion able to give their children a good and Science as illustrated in the life of middle-class education. The mother, one who was an earnest believer in as is usual with the mothers of eminent both; a man of eminent scientific at- men, was a very superior woman, and taininents, honoured as such by some her influence did much to mould the of the most distinguished philosophers character and determine the career of of our age; and at the same time a her sons; of whom another, besides the most devout and humble follower of
now speak of, became disthe Lord Jesus Christ. We speak of tinguished in the walks of literature Dr. George Wilson, the chemist-a and science, and indeed is now a Proman of sparkling wit and genial elo- fessor in the University of Toronto. quence, a popular scientific writer and George Wilson was one of twins; and lecturer, and at the time of his death there is a pleasant story told of the
mother, how it was her nightly custom when her two boys were in their cot, asleep as she supposed, to go and look at them, and then say over them Jacob's prayer, "The God who fed me all my life long unto this day, the angel that redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads!" So fascinating was this to George, that in maturer years he has related how he used to lie awake watching for it, and pretending to be asleep, that he might enjoy it to the full.
Leaving school in the year 1832, Wilson chose medicine as his profession, and became an apprentice in the laboratory of the Edinburgh Infirmary. His hours of work were long; not until nine in the evening was he left free to his own pursuits. Yet even in these circumstances did his passion science impel him to the diligent private study of mathematics and natural philosophy.
Presently we find him attending classes in the Edinburgh University, and taking his degree as surgeon. In due time, also, he honourably passed the examinations needful for the degree of M.D. However, he does not appear to have studied medicine with a view to ordinary practice, but rather as an avenue to the further study of chemistry, which had ever been his favourite branch of science. By and by he removed to London, and was assistant to Professor Graham, of University College, having as a fellow-worker in the same laboratory the then comparatively unknown but now world-famous Dr. Livingstone.
In 1840 he became Chemical Lecturer in Edinburgh, and for the next fifteen years had a popular and successful career in that capacity, maintaining himself by fees from his classes. In 1855 Government determined on founding an Industrial Museum for Scotland, and with the unanimous approbation of the scientific public, Wilson was appointed the first Director. Shortly afterwards, also, it was decided to establish in connection with the University of Edinburgh a Professorship of "Technology"-a word which expresses the application of science to the useful arts; and to this new chair George Wilson received the appointment. To the formation of the museum and the duties of his new professorship his energies were
directed; but scarcely had the first difficulties been overcome when his health, which for years had been very feeble, utterly gave way, and after a few days' illness he died, aged only forty-one, on Nov. 22, 1859.
And now let us cite a few additional facts illustrative of the special character and position of George Wilson both as a scientific man and as a Christian. With regard, then, to the former point it may be remarked that, although not himself a great discoverer or inventor, the amount and range of his information as to what had been ascertained concerning the secrets of nature was something marvellous; and his ability to expound in a clear and popular form what with others would have been dry and uninteresting, has perhaps never been surpassed. Hence year after year the Edinburgh public never tired of his lectures; and his contributions to the Edinburgh, the North British, and British Quarterly Reviews were held to be among the most interesting and valuable those publications contained. The writer well remembers the interest with which he read an article in this last mentioned review on the "Chemistry of the Stars," long before he knew who was the gifted author.
The text-book on Chemistry, published by the Messrs. Chambers, was written by Dr. Wilson. It has had a very large circulation, and notwithstanding the progress that has since been made in this branch of science, is still an admirable book for young students. It is a fact of painful interest connected with this work, that it was composed in the midst of great bodily anguish. Dr. Wilson had been unable to hold the pen for months, but he dictated its pages to his sister whilst pacing his room with lips compressed, showing the agony which could scarcely be endured.
Some of Wilson's most original researches were connected with the subject of colour-blindness. It is a fact now pretty well known that some people have a defect in vision as it regards certain_colours-particularly the colour red. Dr. Wilson ascertained that about two or three in every hundred are thus affected; and thinking it not unlikely that railway accidents might happen through a guard or engine-driver subject to this defect making a mistake as to signals, he
urged upon railway companies the importance of testing their servants upon this point.
Besides writing many papers for philosophical societies and associations, Dr. Wilson also published Lives of Cavendish, the great chemist, and of Dr. John Reid, a medical professor at St. Andrews. But perhaps his best known work is a little book entitled, "The Five Gateways of Knowledge." This is a charming exposition of the scientific facts connected with the five senses. It was first delivered as a lecture for the benefit of a Sunday school, and afterwards expanded into a book. One short paragraph may be quoted as a specimen, both of the work in question, and of Wilson's style of writing in some other of his publications.
He is speaking of the sense of touch, and more especially of the human hand. "When I think," says he, "of all that man's and woman's hand has wrought from the day when Eve put forth her erring hand to pluck the fruit of the forbidden tree, to that dark hour when the pierced hands of the Saviour of the world were nailed to the predicted tree of shame, and of all that human hands have done of good or evil since,-I lift up my hand and gaze upon it with wonder and awe.
an instrument for good it is! What an instrument for evil! And all the day long it is never idle. There is no instrument which it cannot wield, and it should never, in working hours, be without one. We unwisely restrict the term handicraftsman or handworker to the more laborious callings; but it belongs to all honest men and women, and it is a title which each should covet. For the queen's hand there is the sceptre, and for the soldier's hand the sword; for the carpenter's hand the saw, and for the smith's hand the hammer; for the farmer's hand the plough; for the miner's hand the spade; for the sailor's hand the oar; for the painter's hand the brush; for the sculptor's hand the chisel; for the poet's hand the pen; and for the woman's hand the needle. If none of these or the like will fit us, the felon's chain should be round our wrist, and our hand on the prisoner's crank. But for each willing man and woman there is a tool they may learn to handle; for all there is the command
'Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might!"
Such was Dr. Wilson's manner when addressing not specially his scientific brethren, but the general public. Let us now, however, proceed to speak of him as a son of God and a servant of Jesus.
As would be naturally expected from one possessing such a mother, and trained in such a home, Wilson grew up amiable, moral, and shewing much sympathy with divine and spiritual things. Indeed some of his friends declared that they had never known him to be other than a Christian. But up to the age of twenty-two his spiritual state was very similar to that of some young people who will probably read this paper-upright and perfectly honourable in conduct, interested in the truths of religion, a regular attendant on public worship, but yet not an avowed disciple, and indeed not thoroughly hearty and earnest in the service of the Lord Jesus. But about the time we have mentioned, George Wilson, whose health had previously been good, began to be a great bodily sufferer. Over fatigue in a walking excursion, combined probably with something inherited in his constitution, brought on a disease in the bones of the foot. For two years various remedies were tried, such as rest and change of air, but at length it became evident that either the foot must be amputated, or he must sink under the constant pain it occasioned him. This fact being communicated to him by the surgeons, he at once consented to the operation, but asked for one week in which to prepare. That week was a solemn and yet blessed crisis in his spiritual history. It is true that during the previous two years he had been led to think more earnestly than heretofore of the great purposes of existence, and had been brought by disappointment and anxiety to look more frequently to God for comfort and strength. Thus about this time writing to his brother, he says, "I have lain awake alone and in darkness, suffering sore agony for hours, often thinking that the slightest aggravation must make my condition unbearable, and finding my only consolation in murmuring to myself the words, 'patience,' courage,' and 'submission.' My religious faith is feeble because my light
is dim and my knowledge scanty, but day, performed his toilet with more I pray for more, and I have felt assured than ordinary care.
The ruse was of answers to prayer already." But, successful, the truth being only reas we have said, that week of prepara- vealed to them by the irrepressible tion for an agonizing operation appears cries of agony from the sufferer. It to have been the crisis in his spiritual should be observed that the operation life. Having himself a knowledge of was an unusual one, having at that medicine and surgery, he knew the time been performed only once before, danger of his case. He was aware and from its nature was more painful that it was only too possible that his and protracted than ordinary amputaprostrate system might sink under the tion. “During it,” says he, “in spite effort to endure. Thus was he brought of the pain it occasioned, my senses face to face with death, and was led to were preternaturally acute, and I ask himself with profound earnestness watched all that the surgeons did with the question, Am I ready for the a fascinated intensity. Of the agony it change?"
occasioned I will say nothing. SufferLet the reader imagine the case to ing so great as I underwent cannot be be his own. Which of us would not expressed in words, and thus fortube impelled under such circumstances nately cannot be recalled. The parto be very faithful and thorough in the ticular pangs are now forgotten; but work of self-examination ? We should the black whirlwind of emotion, the feel that mere suppositions and hopes horror of great darkness, and the sense prompted by indolence were not enough of desèrtion by God and man borderto rest upon at a time when not impro- ing close upon despair, which swept bably only a week separated us from through my mind and overwhelmed the close of our earthly life, and when my heart, I can never forget, however with every returning evening, and gladly I would do so." with every striking of the clock the reading this, and remembering the season of delay was becoming shorter multitude of surgical operations that and shorter. Thus was it with George are taking place daily in our hospitals, Wilson. In the prospect of possible does not almost involuntary exclaim, death and certain suffering, he was led “ Thank God for the discovery of to cast himself upon Christ, and to chloroform !" True, a few accidents make such a consecration of himself to have occurred through its use, but Him as he had never done before. how small in number compared with
We may remark that those were the many instances in which it has days prior to the discovery of chloro- proved a comfort and blessing. form and otber anæsthetics. It may However, it is with the spiritual both illustrate the bravery and un- effect of this great trial upon Wilson's selfishness of him who is the subject of mind that we
concerned. our present sketch, and at the same Unhappily it is not every one that time help to make us thankful to that affliction benefits. As he himself reBeing who is the source of all wise marked on one occasion :-" The furthoughts and happy inventions, if we nace of affliction puffs away some men give pretty much in Wilson's own in black smoke, and hardens others words a brief account of the suffering into useless slags, whilst it melts a few he endured on this occasion.
into clear glass. But as we have He had concealed from his relatives already intimated, the effect in this what was at hand, partly from a desire case was good, and good only. to spare them grief, and partly from a Having become a decided Christian, fear that his resolution might be shaken Dr. Wilson felt it to be his next duty by witnessing their distress. A small to unite himself fully with the professTestament was his constant companion, ing church of Jesus. He was already and every available moment up to the a member of the congregation of the coming of the surgeons was devoted to well-known Independent minister, the its perusal. On the morning of the Rev. Dr. Alexa
and decided upon operation, with "a trembling hope in offering himself as a candidate for full Christ” in his heart, he rose from sleep; Christian fellowship. But Dr. Wilson's and in order to disarm the apprehen- own convictions were in favour of the sions of those beside him who knew immersion of believers. Before joining that the surgeons were to come that this independent church, therefore, he