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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 question, 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 on it. 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 the 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
is incapable of this: an elephant, should he hear the ten commandments repeated ever so many times, would know nothing of their nature; nor could he be made to comprehend the reasons on which they are founded: but every individual of the human race can. Yes, every man has a soul, which must live when the body, which is the tenement it occupies, is broken down, and crumbled into dust; yea, it shall live,
"When every fire,
How just then is the sentiment of the great Teacher, It shall profit a man nothing, if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul.
FATHER, you said, that you would tell me something that was very wonderful about the eye; will you do so now?
Yes, Frank, I will. Let us walk to the brow of the hill, and bid farewell to the fine prospect from it; in a day or two I intend to take you to the cottage in Hampshire. And as the sun is about to set, and the evening is very fine, we will sit down, and talk of the wonders which God has wrought.
I should like to know all about the eye, Father.
So you shall, Frank; but you must copy my drawings of the different parts of it; then, with the remarks I shall make, I think you will have a pretty good acquaintance with the subject.
How quickly the eye-lid moves, Father. It does; it is a natural curtain, which is drawn in an instant to exclude danger. It also wipes the eye, keeps it clean, and distributes all over it the moisture necessary for its welfare.
But the eye itself moves, Father.