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5
The Forces of Nature.

electricity, and that another is magnetism. But the Bible says that it is the Spirit of God. Is there any contradiction here? Not necessarily so, I think.

But it is clear that neither electricity nor magnetism, in the forms commonly called by those names, do all the work of creation.

Supposing our hypothesis to be a correct one, that there is one Spirit or force which supplies the vis viva or motive power for all life, and growth, and movement, it is clear that this Spirit bears, in our ordinary language, different names according to the nature of its varying action upon matter. Thus, when it acts on steel-filings and collects them round a loadstone, we call it magnetism; when it acts upon vapour and collects it into thunderclouds, we call it electricity; when it acts upon planets and groups them around a sun, we call it gravitation; when it acts on mineral solutions and forms out of them crystals, we call it crystalline force; when it acts upon inorganic or decomposed substances and converts them into plants, we call it vegetable life; when it acts upon the food of animals and converts it into living flesh, we call it by various names, of which animal vitality is perhaps the one in most common use.

But all true scientific men acknowledge that these various words are mere names for a force, or for various forces, the essential nature of which they do not in the least understand. Faraday, for instance, has been heard to remark, "I can tell you something of the laws by which electricity acts; but what it is in itself I know no more than