I have been to-day in what is to me a kind of heaven below—the workshop of my much-loved friend, John A. Brashear, in Allegheny, Pa. He easily makes and measures things to one four-hundred-thousandth of an inch of accuracy. I put my hand for a few seconds on a great piece of glass three inches thick. The human heat raised a lump detectable by his measurements. We were testing a piece of glass half an inch thick; and five inches in diameter. I put my two thumbnails at the two sides as it rested on its bed, and could see at once that I had compressed the glass to a shorter diameter. We twisted it in so many ways that I said, “That is a piece of glass putty.” And yet it was the firmest texture possible to secure. Great lenses are so sensitive that one cannot go near them without throwing them discernibly out of shape. It were easy to show that there is no solid earth nor immovable mountains. I came away saying to my friend, “I am glad God lets you into so much of his finest thinking.” He is a mechanic, not a theologian. This foremost man in the world in his fine department was lately but a “greasy mechanic,” an engineer in a rolling mill.
But for elasticity and mobility nothing approaches the celestial ether. Its vibrations reach into millions of millions per second, and its wave-lengths for extreme red light are only .0000266 of an inch long, and for extreme violet still less—.0000167 of an inch.
It is easier molding hot iron than cold, mobile things than immobile. This world has been made elastic, ready to take new forms. New creations are easy, for man, even—much more so for God. Of angels, Milton says:
“Thousands at his bidding
And post o’er land and ocean without rest.”
No less is it true of atoms. In him all things live and move. Such intense activities could not be without an infinite God immanent in matter.
THE NEXT WORLD TO CONQUER
Man’s next realm of conquest is the celestial ether. It has higher powers, greater intensities, and quicker activities than any realm he has yet attempted.
When the emissory or corpuscular theory of light had to be abandoned a medium for light’s interplay between worlds had to be conceived. The existence of an all-pervasive medium called the luminiferous ether was launched as a theory. Its reality has been so far demonstrated that but very few doubters remain.
What facts of its conditions and powers can be known? It differs almost totally from our conceptions of matter. Of the eighteen necessary properties of matter perhaps only one, extension, can be predicated of it. It is unlimited, all-pervasive; even where worlds are non-attractive, does not accumulate about suns or other bodies; has no structure, chemical relations, nor inertia; is not heatable, and is not cognizable by any of our present senses. Does it not take us one step toward an apprehension of the revealed condition of spirit?