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was always best pleased with his Father's company, and loved it more than any other.
It was in a visit to the cottage which Mr. Newmarch occupied in the summer, that a near relative put on paper, for the instruction of the rising generation, some of those important and useful things, of which Frank and his Father were accustomed to con
You said, Father, that you would tell me, what we are to understand by the word, Matter; will you do so now?
Yes, Frank; it is a very good opportunity. Matter, is a term which we use to describe every kind of substance. Learned men have written much on its varied and wonderful qualities
Will you tell me some of the principal of them, Father?
Certainly, Frank; I am glad that you make inquiries of this kind. You know, that I have often told you, that the way to become wise, is to ask about every thing which we do not understand.
The divisibility of matter, Frank, must necessarily strike every one, who reflects at all. When we walked through the copse the last evening, you was delighted with the fragrance of the honey suckles; that was a specimen, and a very sweet one too, of the divisibility of matter. All the particles of fragrance of which you were conscious, were actually divided from the flow
I never thought of this before, Father,
though I so much love flowers, and especially the sweet honeysuckle.
Perhaps not; yet you see, that it must be so, or you could not smell it. A pound of gold might be so extended as to cover a wire which would surround the globe.
This is wonderful: but how astonishing it is, Father, that those little insects, which you showed me the other day through the microscope, should each of them have distinct parts, the same as the larger animals. After looking at them, I learnt the pretty lines which you showed me; and when I see any little creature, I always think of them.
Repeat them, if you can; they afford a very interesting illustration of the divisibility of matter.
"See! each within its little bulk, contains,
A heart, which drives the torrent through its veins;
And nerves dispos'd for pleasure or for pain!
But, Father, cannot we divide matter till we destroy it?
No grind a grain or two of sand as much as you please, you do not destroy them; the particles of which they were composed, still exist: you have divided, but you cannot destroy them.
But when you burn a piece of wood, it is destroyed, is it not?
No still I must say, divided, but not destroyed. The several parts of which it was composed, are gone off into other forms, but they are not annihilated; that is, they do not cease to be. There is not a single particle of matter less or more now, than there was at the creation of the world.
Things then may be changed, Father, but they cannot be destroyed.
This is the truth, Frank. But a second quality of matter, is impenetrability; by which is meant, that every body fills a certain space equal to its bulk, and which no other body can fill.
Is this true, Father? When the tea cup appears empty, is it not so? Is it full of air? And when the tea is poured into it, does it displace the air, and fill up its room?
Yes; but still though the air be displaced from the tea cup, it occupies another space equal to its bulk. You are now by me; but if you run to yonder gate, you will displace the air near it; but still, both you and the air will occupy a space equal to your bulk, or size.
I understand you, Father. I see, that substance of every kind is substance; and, of course, it must, unless you could destroy it, have a place.
Extension, is a third quality of matter; by which we mean, that it exists in different figures and forms, which are long or broad, or of various shapes.
That, Father, is evident, from ourselves, and the trees, and rivers, and fields, and creatures, and the heavens, and the sun, and the moon, and every thing.
It is. As you understand this part of the subject also, I will mention a fourth quality of matter, its inertia,-or, the resistance which it makes to any change of state. A stone cannot put itself in motion; and if it. be put into motion, it is unable to stop itself.
But it is soon stopped.
It is; by the resistance of the air, or some other cause: it does not stop itself, and it did not put itself in motion; and indeed, it never could have done this. It is true, that matter does move; but it is equally true, that it is not by its own power; It is God who gives it motion.
A fifth quality of matter, is attraction. There are two kinds of attraction; the first is, the attraction of cohesion; without this, every thing around us would crumble into pieces. I will break this bough; there, I have destroyed the attraction of cohesion, which united it together, just in the place where I have broken it.