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THE CONSTITUTION OF NATURE. 11

rotate. From it, as a centre, waves would issue in all
directions, and a wader, as he approached the place of dis-
turbance, would be met by stronger. and stronger waves.
This gradual augmentation of the . impressions made upon
the wader’s body‘is exactly analogous to the augmentation
of light when we approach a luminous source. In theone
case, however, the coarse common nerves of the body suf-
fice 3 for the other we 'must have the finer optic nerve. But
suppose the water withdrawn; the action at a distance
would then cease, and, as far as the sense of touch is con-
cerned, the wader would be first rendered conscious of the
motion of the wheel by the actual blow of the paddles.
The transference of motion from the paddles to the water
is mechanically similar to the transference of molecular
motion from the heated body to the ether; and the propa-
gation of waves through the liquid is mechanically similar
to the propagation of light and radiant heat.

As far as our knowledge of space extends, we are to
conceiVe it as the holder of the luminiferous ether, through
which are interspersed, at enormous distances apart, the
ponderous nuclei of the stars. Associated. with the star
that most concerns us we have a group of dark planetary
masses revolving at various distances round it, each again
rotating on its own axis ; and, finally, associated with some
of these planets we have dark bodies of minor note—the
moons. Whether the other fixed stars have similar plane-
tary companions or not is to us a matter of pure conjecture,
which may or may not enter into our conception of the
universe. But, probably, every thoughtful person believes,
with regard to those distant suns, that there is in space
something besides Our system on which they shine.

Having thus obtained a general view of the present
condition of space, and of the bodies contained in it, we
may inquire whether things were so created at the begin-
ning. W'as space furnished at once, by the fiat of Omnipo-

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