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SCIENTIFIC USE OF THE IMAGINATION. 151

the question. ' Such arguments are absolutely valueless.
Without committing myself in the. leaSt to De la Rive’s
notion, without offering any objection here to the doctrine
of spontaneous generation, without expressing any adhe-
rence to the germ theory of disease, I would simply draw
attention to the fact that in the atmosphere we have parti-
cles which defy both the microscope and the balance, which
do not darken the air, and which exist, nevertheless, in
multitudes sufficient to reduce to insignificance the Israel-
itish hyperbole regarding the sands upon the sea-shore.
The varying judgments of men on these and other ques-
tions may perhaps be, to some extent, accounted for by
that doctrine of relativity which plays so important a part
in philosophy. This doctrine affirms that the impressions
made upon us by any circumstance, or combination of cir-
cumstances, depend upon our previous state. Two travellers
upon the same peak, the one having ascended to it from
the plain, the other having descended to it from a higher
elevation, will be differently affected by the scene around
them. To the one Nature is expanding, to the other it is
contracting, and feelings are sure to differ which have two
such different antecedent states. In our scientific judg-
ments the law of relativity may also play an important part.
To two men, one educated in the school of the senses, who
has mainly occupied himself with observation, and the other
educated in the school of imagination as well, and exercised
in the conceptions of atoms and molecules, to which we
have so frequently referred, a bit of matter, say mfith of
of an inch in diameter, will present itself differently. The
one descends to it from his molar heights, the other climbs
to it from his molecular low-lands. To the one it appears
small, to the other large. So also as regards the apprecia-
tion of the most minute forms of life revealed by the'micro-
scope. To one of these men they naturally appear conter-
minous with the ultimate particles of matter, and he readily

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