“Flower in the crannied wall, I pluck you out of the crannies, And hold you here, root and all, in my hand, Little flower but if I could understand What you are, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is.” In the same way, we are familiar with light, sound, the power of steam and electricity and fire; and we know enough about them to use them for our own purposes; but we cannot ultimately explain them. They are wonders to any one who thinks. All such things we are familiar with in our daily life; but science has revealed other wonders to us, that require knowledge to appreciate. Science has revealed to us the infinitely great. The telescope has given us such a revelation of the size of the universe as takes away our breath. Science tells us that the tiny points of light in the night sky are millions of gigantic suns, rolling through illimitable space at unthinkable distances.
Some of these stars are hundreds of times bigger than our sun, which is only a small star, and some are so far from us that the light they give off takes thousands of years to reach us, though light travels at the inconceivable rate of 186,000 miles every second. The universe is so vast that to try to think of its awful spaces makes the brain reel. On the other hand, the scientist with his microscope has revealed to us the infinitely little. He shows us billions of highly organised living creatures, which we call germs, so small that our eyes can never see them. He tells us that every drop of water, every grain of dust, every bit of the air we breathe, every drop of the blood in our veins, is filled with millions of these tiny creatures. Many of them are beneficent, and even necessary for life; many are deadly, and bring disease and death. And further he tells us that there are things which even the most powerful microscope can never reveal; for all matter is made up of atoms, and every atom is a little universe in which revolve, as the planets revolve round the sun, electric charges called electrons.
In childhood we wondered at fairy-tales; but those fairy-tales were not nearly so wonderful as are the fairy-tales of Science: and the fairy-tales of Science are true.