Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

Isaac Newton, Scientist and Christian part 2

A Character story about perseverence.

Isaac was nervous as he and his mother neared Grantham, England. He had been there before, but never to stay long. Now, at 11 years old, he would be living with a strange family, attending a strange school. The year was 1654.

When they arrived at the drug store, Isaac was introduced to his new family. "This is Ralf Clark, the druggist, Mrs. Clark, and this is Catherine."

"How do you do," responded the bright-eyed 9 year old girl. "May I show you to your room?"

Isaac said nothing but followed Catherine to the room in the attic. "Will there be room for my models?" he asked as they climbed the stairs.

"Oh, yes. Lots of room. You'll see," she answered. Indeed, the room was freshly cleaned and had plenty of shelves. He also noticed a large dresser and writing desk with a burning candle for light. Isaac began to unpack his models. "What beautiful toys," said the brown haired, brown eyed girl.

"They are not toys, they are models," Isaac corrected.

"You seem quite good with tools. Do you think you could repair my toys? I have no brothers or sisters and it gets quite lonely playing by myself all the time." When Isaac easily fixed her toys, he could see in her eyes that he had made a real friend in this new place.

That night, after the house was quiet, Isaac began to look around the attic. Besides the mice, he found a number of old books. One was entitled Mathematicall Magick by John Wilkins, another Mysteryes of Nature and Art by John Bate. He resolved then and there to ask permission the very next morning to read them.

He awoke to the smell of hot oats and freshly baked bread. "Good morning," Mrs. Clark greeted as he entered. "What do you usually have for breakfast?"

"Hot bread and butter, and tea made from orange peels boiled in water and sweetened with sugar. Grandmother says that orange peels drive off sickness in the winter cold."

"I've heard that," Ralf Clark answered. "I'll have to add that to my list of remedies."

"Will you show me around your drug store when we finish breakfast?" Isaac asked eagerly.

Isaac was fascinated by the color and smell of all the 'stuff' in the jars- oil of amiseeds, alum water, purple foxglove, belladonna and balsam, sulfur, cinnabar, quicksilver and rock crystals. "What do they each do? How do you know how to mix them? How could-"

"Enough questions," Ralf laughed. "There will be time for all that. Right now it is time for school. My brother teaches mathematics at Kings School. He will take you and introduce you to the headmaster, Henry Stokes."

When he arrived, the headmaster's son showed him around. "Important classes are in the morning," he explained. "First we have logic, then Latin and Bible, then ancient history and arithmetic. Once or twice a week old Barley comes in for art lessons."

But after some months, it was obvious that Isaac was not a good student. "He has a wonderful memory," Dr. Clark told his brother. "He can recite strings of Bible verses like he is reading them. But he is often alone dreaming, like in another world. Most of the other students just leave him alone."

But one day Isaac got into a fight with a bully who ridiculed him because of his small size. Afterward he felt terrible that he had gotten so angry. That night he told Catherine, "I'll show the others I can do more than fight. I'm going to be the top student at Kings School." Isaac worked hard to keep that promise. But his favorite class remained the Bible class.

One day when he was about 12, Isaac sat down under a tree and read to Catherine a poem he had written.

A secret art my soul requires to try,
If prayers can give me, what the wars deny.
Three crowns distingish'd here in order do
Present their objects to my knowing view.
Earth's crown, thus at my feet, I can disdain,
Which heavy is, and, at the best, but vain.
But now a crown of thorns I gladly greet,
Sharp is this crown, but not so sharp as sweet.
A crown of glory that I yonder see
Is full of bliss and of eternity.

"It-it's beautiful," she said. "How do you manage to spend so much time reading the Bible and writing poetry and still stay at the top of your class?"

"If I work too much on something outside of school, like my models, then I put them aside and study hard for a while until I'm at the top again. Let me show you my scale model of the new Gunnerby Road windmill." They took it outdoors and Catherine squealed with glee as the wind turned the stone and ground some grain. Then they took it inside, caught a mouse, and harnessed it to turn the wheel.

"It works just like the wind," she said with a smile, "except the miller eats all the grain."

That night Isaac took Catherine outside to show her another new invention. "I made these lanterns of crinkled paper and put a candle inside. When I attach it to a kite, it will look just like a comet at night." But when they launched the kite, the people in the village screamed with terror, for they thought the sight of a comet meant bad things were going to happen. "I can't understand why people are frightened of a comet," Isaac commented to Catherine as they walked back to the house. "God uses simple rules to run His kingdom. This is true of comets as well."

When Isaac was 13 he learned that his stepfather, Barnabas Smith, had died leaving Isaac his entire 300 book library. "What will mother do now?" he asked.

"She and the children will return to Woolsthorpe Manor I imagine," Ralf Clark told him. "When all is settled, then she will need you to help her take care of the farm."

Soon after Isaac turned 15 the day came to say good-bye to Kings School and to the Clarks and return to the farm. "Do come to visit us whenever you are in town," they all said.

"I will," he replied with a smile. But he found it much more difficult to say good-bye to Catherine. She had tears in her eyes as well.