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When I broke the China cup, sometime ago, Father, then I destroyed the attraction of cohesion.
Yes; and when we saw the plumbers melting their lead at the new house yester day, they destroyed the cohesion of the particles of metal by fire.
But, Father, can you tell me how this is? Yes; heat expands every object, and thus it separates the particles of the hardest metals from each other, and melts them: it is thus, that water, when it boils, expands, and flies away in steam.
Then, Father, when we say, that any thing is hard or soft, do we mean, that the attraction of cohesion is greater in the hard than in the soft substance?
Certainly. Every object you behold, illustrates the doctrine of the attraction of cohesion. This is also the case with the attraction of gravitation; by which we understand, the tendency of all bodies to each other. This we constantly witness, as things are always falling to the ground.
Do you know, Father, how rapidly any body falls to the ground;
Yes; sixteen feet in the first second of time; three times sixteen in the next second; five times this distance in the third. second; seven times in the fourth; and so on regularly, till the body reaches the earth,
When I drop my marbles, do they fall to the ground by the attraction of gravitation?
Yes; and this is the reason why things stand firmly on the earth in every part of the globe. There are people you know in the islands of the great Southern Ocean, and animals, and rivers, and other things, the same as there are here; and though they are opposite to us, yet on account of the attraction of gravitation, they are as secure as ourselves.
That is, because every thing naturally falls, or gravitates to the earth.
Certainly and this gravity acts on bodies, in proportion to the bulk of matter which they contain. Thus a ten times greater force operates on a weight of ten pounds, than on a weight of one; so, all bodies which fall from an equal height, fall with the same swiftness.
How, Father, with the same swiftness!
Yes, if there should be nothing to intercept either of them.
But the top of this sea-weed, which does not weigh an ounce, and a pound weight, could not come to the ground at the same moment, Father, could they?
No; because the sea-weed presents a broader surface to the air; and so it meets with more resistance than the pound weight.
But would they fall at the same instant if there were no air?
Yes: I will show you, some day, how a feather and a sovereign fall to the bottom of the receiver, from which I have pumped out all the air. Indeed, if there were two weights, one of five pounds, and the other of ten, could you not draw the one of ten pounds to you, in the same time as the weight of five?
Yes, if I were to exert in reference to the ten pound weight twice the force.
This, Frank, is what the earth actually does.
But what is it that makes the earth attract other bodies, Father?
You have asked me, Frank, a hard question; I cannot tell you: no one can tell you. It is a remark of Dr. Price, that every well informed man knows, that the simple ques. tion, Why does water run down the hill? is one which cannot be fully answered.
This subject of matter, Father, is very wonderful.
It is. You have however but just entered We have said nothing about the variety of aspects under which it is presented to us; and nothing about its perpetual and astonishing changes. The large sledge hammer of the smith, and the anvil on which it strikes, are matter; so likewise is the sparkling diamond, and the delicate feathers on the wing of a butterfly. The refinement of which it is capable, is most surprising;
for the air we breathe, and me in the rays of the sun, which daily fall on our eyes, are matter. The subject, Frank, is without bounds. There is one remark, however, which is important, and which I much wish you to recollect; it is, that no change, or arrangement, or refinement of matter, can give intellect and thought.There is no more mind, or thought, in the air, the heat, or the light, than in lead, or iron, or stones. If you add motion, however swift, to matter, it does not produce thought. A cannon ball does not think, though it moves at the rate of four hundred miles in an hour. No accumulation of matter can give thought; a mountain, though it may be very high, and of immense size, does not think. There is no reasoning faculty in the Alps, or the Pyrenees, or in the great globe itself. The human frame too, is material; but there is a "spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty hath given him understanding." God "breath. ed into him the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
Do you suppose Father, that man has a soul, because he thinks? Do not other an
imals also think?
They do not reason like man, Frank; of this we are certain; though the subject is not without its difficulties. There are, how
ever, some broad lines of difference, between the highest of the creatures and man. "The sparrow," says Dr. Johnson, "that was hatched last spring, makes her first nest the ensuing season, of the same materials, and with the same art, as in any following year: and the hen conducts and shelters her first brood of chickens, with all the prudence which she ever attains."
"Surely," adds the same excellent writer, "he who contemplates a ship and a bird's nest, will not be long without finding out, that the idea of the one was impressed at once, and continued through all the progressive descents of the species, without variation or improvement; and that the other is the result of experiments; has grown, by accumulated observation, from less to greater excellence, and exhibits the collective knowledge of different ages and various professions."
It is a fine thing to be able to think, and especially to think well upon a subject, Father.
It is, Frank; it is this, though his body is mortal, which renders him like an angel.
But what, Father, is the leading difference between man and the inferior animals?
Man can discern between right and wrong; he is therefore the subject of God's moral government; the highest order of animals