The great power of vegetable life was shown under circumstances that seemed the least favorable in the following experiment:
In the Agricultural College at Amherst, Mass., a squash of the yellow Chili variety was put in harness in 1874 to see how much it would lift by its power of growth.
[Illustration: Yellow Chili Squash in Harness.]
It was not an oak or mahogany tree, but a soft, pulpy, squashy squash that one could poke his finger into, nourished through a soft, succulent vine that one could mash between finger and thumb. A good idea of the harness is given by the illustration. The squash was confined in an open harness of iron and wood, and the amount lifted was indicated by weights on the lever over the top. There were, including seventy nodal roots, more than eighty thousand feet of roots and rootlets. These roots increased one thousand feet in twenty-four hours. They were afforded every advantage by being grown in a hot bed. On August 21 it lifted sixty pounds. By September 30 it lifted a ton. On October 24 it carried over two tons. The squash grew gnarled like an oak, and its substance was almost as compact as mahogany. Its inner cavity was very small, but it perfectly elaborated its seeds, as usual.
The lever to indicate the weight had to be changed for stronger ones from time to time. More weights were sought. They scurried through the town and got an anvil and pieces of railroad iron and hung them at varying distances, as shown in the cut. By the 31st of October it was carrying a weight of five thousand pounds. Then owing to defects of the new contrivance the rind was broken through without showing what might have been done under better conditions. Every particle of the squash had to be added and find itself elbow room under this enormous pressure. But life will assert itself.
[Illustration: Squash in Cage.]
No wonder that the Lord, seeking some form of speech to represent his power in human souls, says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” The tremendous life of infinite strength surges up through the vine and out into all branches that are really vitally attached. No wonder that much fruit is expected, and that one who knew most of this imparted power said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Reprinted from _The Study_.
Will God indeed dwell upon the earth? asked Solomon. Will God indeed work with man on the earth? asks the pushing, working spirit of to-day. Has man a right to expect a special lending of the infinite power to help out his human endeavors? Does God put special forces to open some doors, close others, influence some men to come to his help, hinder others, bring to bear influences benign, restrain those malign, and invigorate a man’s own powers so that his arm has the strength of ten, because his heart is pure enough for God to work in it and through it? If this is so, in what fields, under what conditions, to what extent, and in accordance with what laws may we expect aid?