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yet any person of ordinary ability may, if he choose, observe and reflect upon what he sees, and thus
Find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
I must not omit to tell you, that Sir Isaac Newton, like the other two great men of whom we have been speaking to-day, was an attentive student of the Bible. He brought the powers of his mind, especially those powers of mathematical calculation for which he was so distinguished, into exercise, in the study of that book; and devoted a large share of his time and attention, to the work of explaining some difficult passages in the prophetical parts of scripture, which baffle the investigation of ordinary minds. The grand and necessary truths of the Bible are indeed so plain and simple, that even a child may understand them; but then there are hard and mysterious portions also; and no doubt these have been given to teach us patience and humility, as well as to lead us to diligence aud study. It was a noble use which Newton made of his intellectual powers, when he employed them in the investigation of the revealed will of the eternal God.
But there are two more points which I wish you to notice and to remember in Newton's
character. The first is, his patience. You may suppose what long and persevering effort was needed to work out his own ideas, from their first suggestion to their final results,to trace back effects to their causes, and to see how one link was connected with another in the long train of scientific reasoning. All this required time, and was the result of steady fixedness of purpose. Sometimes this patience of Newton was tried by circumstances over which he had no control. And this reminds me of another trifling occurrence which I may mention, in his every day history,-one which was very different in its consequences, however, from that of the falling apple. It was an unpleasant occurrence, but it served to show Newton's patience, and his equanimity of temper, and so may not be without its use to those who hear of it.
Newton happened to have a dog named Diamond. This dog was a great favourite, and unfortunately he was allowed to have too free access to his master's study. Diamond indeed seems to have been as regardless of the philosopher's speculations, as the mouse had been in former days; and he occasioned much more annoyance by his freaks and fancies, than the little "miller" had done by devouring the One day, Newton was called from his study, and hastily went into the next room,
forgetting at the moment, that he had left Diamond in sole possession of the vacated apartment. On his return, he found to his great consternation, that the playful dog had, during his absence, thrown down a lighted candle upon some papers which contained a number of important calculations. They had taken fire, and thus were consumed the fruits of many years' labours. It was a trying moment even for a philosopher. But Newton was too wise, and of too gentle a temper, to be betrayed into any irritation or useless complaints, vexed as he was at the accident; and turning to the mischievous favourite, who could not be expected to feel much sympathy with his master in this disaster, he only said, "Oh Diamond, Diamond, thou little knowest what mischief thou hast done! "
The other point I wished you to notice in Newton's character, is his humility. And indeed we need not wonder to hear that this was a part of his character, for humility is the constant accompaniment of a truly great mind. It is the ignorant and foolish who are proud and conceited, and who think highly of themselves and of their acquirements; for they know so little, that they are not aware how much there is to be known, and how very small a distance they have advanced in the road of learning and science. But those who
have already gained a large share of knowledge, see that there is much more to be gained; and that after all their studies, and all their labours, they must be ignorant of very many things still. And so they learn to be humble, and to think little of themselves, and to feel their own ignorance, even while they are daily increasing in wisdom, and rising in the esteem of others. When Newton was praised and complimented for the great discoveries he had made, he remarked very beautifully, that he felt only like a child picking up pebbles on the sea-shore; and though he might have sometimes found a brighter shell, or a finer stone than his companions, yet the wide ocean of truth lay unknown and unexplored before him.
Newton lived to a great age, and died in the year 1727, full of honour and renown. And as we now take our leave of him, and close our chapter, may we not hope, that, without becoming philosophers or metaphysicians, we may yet have found something to imitate, as well as much to admire, in the characters of these three 66 great men," Bacon, Locke, and Newton?
XXXVI. A STRUGGLE IN THE NORTH.
There is mist on the mountain, and night on the vale,
The dirk and the target lie sordid with dust,
But the dark hours of night and of slumber are pass'd, The morn on our mountains is dawning at last; Glendaladale's peaks are illumin'd with rays,
And the streams of Glenfinnan leap bright in the blaze.
'Tis the summons of heroes for conquest or death, When the banners are blazing on mountain and heath; They call to the dirk, the claymore, the targe,
To the march and the muster, the line and the charge. W. SCOTT.
GEORGE I. was very joyfully received by the people of England; for as he had already acquired the reputation of being a wise and a just prince, and was also a man of experi