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not get this rare book will find a choice sample of its counsels in the fourth chapter of Dr. Archibald Alexander's “Thoughts on ReHigious Experience. From this interesting work, as well as from the “Discourse of Mr. Rogers in Trouble of Mind and the Disease of Melancholy,” we have received important aid.
The writer has been gratified with the favour shown to his imperfect treatise by the press, both secular and religious; and especially with testimonials, through private channels, that it has proved useful in ministering relief to some of that class for whom it was principally designed. That the same beneficent results may follow this enlarged edition is the sincere desire of the author, as it ought to be his paramount motive in preparing it for publication.
CONNECTION BETWEEN THE MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL PARTS IN MAX.
How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,
“I will praise Thee,” says David, “for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” How far the Psalmist understood the full import of his words, or was acquainted with the wonderful mechanism of man to which he alludes, we do not presume to know. It is enough to say, that the terms which he uses are most appropriate and descriptive, as has been abundantly proved by the researches of physiology. But curious and fearful as is the structure of the material part, there is displayed far more of the wisdom and greatness of God in the creation and endowments of the soul; and although we are accustomed to speak familiarly of both, as
if they were well understood, yet there is scarcely a term which we employ which is not rather a symbol of what we do not know, than an exponent of what we do. The mystery of the Trinity is not more inexplicable than is the connection that subsists between the body and the soul of man. The most that we know of either, is derived from the results which flow from such an union. As we infer the being and co-operation of the three persons in the Godhead, from the nature and the benefits of redemption, by which this triune existence is implied, so we become assured that we have a spirit as well as a body, from their acts or motions, which we feel. We know nothing of the substance of which either is composed, nor of the mode in which the two are linked together. The attempts of science to reach and explain these ultimate facts, have not amounted to even an approximation. Whatever has been written concerning the locality of the soul, the time of its entrance into the body, the mode by which it acts upon or governs it, and the avenue through which it
escapes at death, is but little more than
speculation and conjecture. Dr. Abercrombie says, “we talk about matter, and we talk about mind; we speculate concerning materiality and immateriality, until we argue ourselves into a kind of belief that we understand something of the subject. The truth is, that we understand nothing.” We really know but little more than a few facts in relation to both, which are dscoverable by their respective qualities and attributes; such as that the two are closely united; that what is called the nervous system is the medium of communication between them; so that they exert a strong reciprocal influence upon each other; that when the one is afflicted, it always has the sympathy of the other. They, therefore, have been employed more wisely, who, leaving the former as among the inscrutable things of God, have endeavoured to make a practical improvement of the latter. It is a subject that so intimately blends with all that conduces to the enjoyment and usefulness of life, as well as its continuance, that it is of the highest importance for all to understand it, and
to none is such knowledge more needful than to the official teachers of religion.
It is proposed at this time to offer a few thoughts on this interesting topic, more with a view to awaken the attention, and invite the pen of others, than to furnish all that is needed. Indeed, such a work as the exigency of the Church has long demanded, is not likely to be accomplished by “any one who is not furnished with a suitable education, theological and medical, profoundly and experimentally acquainted with the Scriptures, fond of research, and gifted with good powers of generalization and induction."
For those who wish to pursue the subject in its pathological bearings, or as one of the departments of physiology, there are numerous medical treatises, both domestic and foreign, which are easily accessible. What we have to offer in the following chapters is little more than the result of some observation, and the few years' experience of a pastor. It is intended to furnish, in a portable form and size, a tract for the benefit of Christians of an un