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VITALIT Y. 413

reversals of these processes of reduction. We eat the vege-
table, and we breathe the oxygen of the air, and in our
bodies the oxygen which had been lzfted from the carbon
and hydrogen by the action of the sun again falls toward
them, producing animal heat and deveIOping animal forms.
Through the most complicated phenomena of vitality this
law runs : the vegetable is produced while a weight rises,
the animal is produced while a weight falls. But the ques-
tion is not exhausted here. The water employed in our
first illustration generates all the motion displayed .in its
descent, but the form of the motion depends on the charac-
ter of the machinery interposed in the path of the water.
In a similar way the primary action of the sun’s rays is
qualified by the atoms and molecules among which their
energy is distributed. Molecular forces determine the form
which the solar energy will assume. In the separation of
the carbon and oxygen this energy may be so conditioned
as to result in one case in the formation of a cabbage, and
in another case in the formation of an oak. So also as
regards the reunion of the carbon and the oxygen, the mo-
lecular machinery through which the combining energy
act-s may, in one case, weave the texture of a frog, while
in another it may weave the texture of a man.

The matter of the animal body is that of inorganic N a-
ture. There is no substance in the animal tissues which is
not primarily derived from the rocks, the water, and the
air. Are the forces of organic matter, then, different in
kind from those of inorganic matter ? The philosophy of
the present day negatives the question. It is the. com-
pounding in the organic world of forces belonging equally
to the inorganic that constitutes the mystery and the mir-
acleof vitality. Every portion of every animal body may
be reduced to purely inorganic matter. A perfect reversal
of this process of reduction would carry us from the inor-
ganic to the organic; and such a reversal is at least con-

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