Sidor som bilder

exercises that supervision and inspection over every part which has been briefly described. To provide for this there is a most perfect gradation in the tissues of which the organs are composed, and of the minute organic forms of which these are constituted. Every organ, muscle, and nerve contains a threefold order. The aggregate or gross form is composed of fibres, and these again of fibrilæ; each enclosed in its own integument; and these, doubtless, of forms still more minute. In addition there are the magnetism, the nervous fluids, and other elements still more subtle, which link the grosser tissues of the body to the action of the brain, and through this to the soul. The vital action is thus from within, impinging on the least forms, and through them on the mass. Moreover, everything which comes from the hand of the Creator is alike in its least parts and in its greatest, having the same characteristics imprinted on it. Thus each fibre of the heart has the systolic and diastolic action impressed upon it; and the function of the organ is but the aggregate effort of each particular fibre. So the lungs ane composed of least lungs, and the brain of least brains, each severally and separately aiding in the office the concrete organ is destined to perform; in other words, the action of the organ in its entirety is but the sum total of the combined action of the parts of which it is composed. So with regard to the body itself; although it consists of various organs, it nevertheless bears in its least equally with its larger constituents the human stamp and impress.

The correctness of the view just detailed will appear more fully from reflecting on the voluntary actions. Our very senses admonish us that the power whereby the limb is moved reaches it by an internal way. And the thought which expresses itself in articulate sounds by means of the tongue, does not press on its surface like the steam within the cylinder upon the piston. We are conscious of this organ in particular being, when in exercise, moved by a force from within exciting the minute forms to action, and thus the mass. Thus there is a mani. fest difference between the results of human ingenuity and those of Divine wisdom. The creative operations of the creature are superficial. In the elaborations of art, whether in moulding a statue or painting a picture, the agency is directed to shaping the surface. It is the same when exercising the constructive faculties. In framing a piece of machinery, the details are moulded on the outside alone, and their surfaces brought together. The same law applies equally to man's application of motive power : its action is altogether on the superficies, If the forces of wind, or water, or steam are employed, the mode of their application is of the same character. Nor is the case changed when the motive power applied is a living organism. The horse is harnessed externally to the vehicle he is made to draw. Human appliance of motive power moves the mass, and the particles of which the mass is composed are only moved with it in the gross. The divine operations are from within. Even the plant grows from a central germ, and both plants and animals grow by development from within. The divine and human processes proceed from opposite points and take opposite courses. And it must be so. In the one case both the constructive operation and the motive force are drawn from one plane; the only elements by means of which man embodies his conceptions in a tangible shape, and the moving power he applies them, are supplied from one low platform of existence, and that the lowest. Being thus from the outside, they can only act superficially. In the divine workmanship, on the contrary, a degree of existence, both superior to and distinct from the material, is brought into requisition, whose forces, from the very nature of the case, enter into the purest and most subtle parts, and thence into the grosser. Nature is so graduated, that her minutest forms may receive the first impress of the agencies which lie above her, and communicate them to the general organized mass, of which they form the first initiaments. The substances of the body are thus graduated, whilst the more subtle nervous and other fluids circulate about the delicate contextures of these first organic forms, and are the first recipients of the soul's action, which is thence link by link simultaneously communicated to the more complex structure which forms the aggregate to be so acted upon.

But, in addition to the body serving as an instrument through which the soul acts in the natnral world, there are also mental uses in which its organs participate. This will doubtless be admitted as respects the brain, since every one feels that there the cogitations of the intellect hold their seat. It is also true of other organs, especially of the heart and lungs, and their relation to mental states. No one who reflects on his own experience can doubt that the heart sympathizes with the emotions. Every one is familiar with the extent to which its action is modified through the agency of the passions. Fear, anger, revenge, and hate on the one hand, and love and joy on the other, are as truly stamped on it, although perhaps not so perceptibly, as on the countenance. How the bosom of a mother glows with pleasure whilst fondling her infant! whilst friendship, and still more, the chaste sentiments experienced by two mutually animated by pure affection towards and confidence in each other, expand it with satisfaction. So obvious is this, that the heart has supplied language with its most forcible terms to express the state of the affections; and it would be difficult to supply terms of equal significance to "cordiality,” “bosom friendship," "heartfelt gratitude," " the heart's-strings," “ the heart of hearts,” “inmost heart," "hearty,” to express the emotions indicated by them. Every one knows how great is the shock which is produced on the heart by a sudden revulsion of feeling. Mental emotions have been known sufficiently violent even, in some cases, to rupture the organ and result in speedy death, and in others to produce a diseased action of the heart, which eventually terminated fatally. On the other hand, the state of the heart reacts on the mental operations. Cases of angina pectoris have come under the author's notice which, on excitement, have been attended with uncontrollable irritability, or with a morbid state of suspicion or jealousy; and this with persons possessing great intellectual and moral vigour. He has also known instances in which, on the removal of the physical derangement, by proper mental treatment the mind has regained its healthy tone.

It is not, however, to be inferred thence that the action of the mind is originated in the body, or that it is dependent on it, except as a reactive agent. The soul is no more affected by its conditions than a skilful musician by the state of the instrument he employs. The derangement of the latter may prevent the performer from discoursing sweet music by its means; nay, more than this, all its strings may be broken, and its framework fall to decay, without the musician being in any degree affected by it. So with the body. It is simply an instrument of the soul, and this is only so far influenced as relates to its action in the instrument itself. The materialist reasons as if the instrument made the player and gave him his skill. It would be just as reasonable to argue that the existence of an organist was dependent on that of the instrument on which he performs, as it is to contend that the existence of the soul is contingent on the life of the physical

1 Instances of this nature have come within the observation of the writer of these pages. A very distressing one was that of a young lady in perfect health whose mother, to whom she was deeply attached, was suddenly seized with apoplexy. So great was the shock produced by the event that her heart gave way under the strain, and she died three days afterwards. Another was that of a gentleman, whose kindness to a relative was returned by base ingratitude associated with dishonesty. The effect in this case was not immediate death, but the recoil so deranged the circulation as to induce dropsy, which in a few months brought him to the grave.

broket music by the latter mate of the itected by i

appendage, which merely serves as the agent by which its operations are performed in the sphere of Nature.

To return, however, from this digression, the remarks offered on the subject of the heart are equally applicable to the lungs, except that their functional action responds to the condition of the thoughts, as does that of the heart to the state of the affections. They not only sympathize with the nature of the thoughts, but are essential to their activity. When their action is suspended, thought and consciousness are arrested. When the course of our thoughts is free, the lungs freely expand. In deep and placid meditation respiration is equable and easy. When the thoughts are agitated it becomes hurried and broken. In mental suspense there is a simultaneous suspension in the breathing, and the first effort of relief is a long-drawn respiration. It has been found that it occupies double the length of time to make calculations at great elevations to what would be necessary if undertaken at the level of the sea—a result solely attributable to the difficulty arising from the lightness of the atmosphere at great altitudes of supplying the lungs with its wonted food ; a fact noted by some French savans, when making observations from the summit of Mont Blanc. Indeed the education of the breath is an essential element in the pursuit of every species of labour, whether physical or mental, from the rough forcible emission of the air from the lungs by the pavior, to the careful management of the breathing in operations, demanding great delicacy of manipulation.

But, as in the case of the heart, the breathing has supplied language with many of its most forcible terms whereby to express mental states and operations. In addition to such phrases as, “ to breathe freely,” “ to breathe out threatenings,” “ to breathe a vow," and many others similar; the terms “inspiration," "aspiration,” “spirit,” “inspirit,” “dispirit," “conspiracy,” “animate," “ inanimate,” and even the words “animadvert,” « magnanimous,” “pusillanimous," “unanimous,” etc., are derived from roots which in the language to which they belong signify the breath or the function of breathing; whilst “ventilation” and its derivatives have a similar origin, viz., “to fan with wind.”

These analogies might doubtless be extended much further, and also traced to other organs; but the theme itself would occupy a volume.1 Ere dismissing the subject, however, there is a feature connected with it too interesting and important to be passed by in silence—the divine use to which the foregoing analogies have been put in the pages of Inspiration. Every reader of the Sacred Volume must be familiar with the frequent spiritual application of the term heart; and although the Hebrew of the Bible does not supply a synonym for our word “lungs," it abounds in terms expressive of their function. Thus the Hebrew terms for “soul,” “spirit,” “life,” and “being," are derived from roots having relation to the act of breathing. The same remark also applies to the corresponding terms used in the Greek of the New Testament. The “Heart” is the Scripture analogy of the Will, as Spirit is of the Understanding. Numerous similar instances are found in Scripture, as, “Make to yourselves a new heart and a new spirit;" “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I give in the midst of you." A"clean heart” is a purified will, and a "right spirit” a renewed intellect. So also a new heart and a new spirit. To "love the Lord with the whole heart” is to love Him with the full purpose of the will, and “with the whole soul,” with the concentrated powers of the understanding ;? whilst the “mind” and “strength” relate to loving Him in our acts and life, where the voluntary and intellectual energies terminate. A “new heart," again, means a new will, and to “wash the heart," evidently refers to the cleansing of the will from its impurities. The will is the primum mobile of our spiritual being, as the heart is of our physical economy, and is so regarded in the Scriptures. Thus the will, in the callousness of its unregenerate state, is designated “a heart of stone," an organ as impervious to the action of the life of heavenly love as a muscle of adamant (for the heart is a pure muscle) would be to vital action; whilst the will, when renewed through the instrumentality of the new birth, which in reality is a new creation, is described as a heart of flesh—an organ instinct with life responsive to the higher vital agencies acting upon it. But the time would fail to instance the numerous examples which abound in Holy Writ; nor is it necessary, as they must be familiar to every devout student of its pages.

i For the development of the subject of these analogies, the reader is referred to the interesting work of Dr. Garth Wilkinson, The Human Body and its Con. nection with Man: Chapman & Hall.

1 That the term "Spirit,” as ased in the Sacred Writings, has a wide range of signification is quite true ; but that they range themselves under the same head might, the writer believes, be demonstrated. Thus the inspiration of the Spirit is an inbreathing of the divine influences, whose characteristics are indicated by the qualifications it receives, as the spirit of meekness, the humble spirit, the con. trite spirit, etc. The immortal part of man which is called a spirit is so de signated from receiving the first inbreathing of life.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »