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now so highly honoured, and which is so indispensable to the health and happiness of society. The simplicity of manners which prevailed, plainness of diet, temperance, and activity in rural occupations, were productive of a degree of health and vigour which are hardly known at present. How far the great age of man, until shortened by a divine decree, was the result of natural causes, we do not presume to say; but the progress of the healing art has marked, with a good degree of accuracy, in successive ages, the increase of luxury and excessive sensual indulgence.
“Had it not been,” Dr. Cheyne says, “ for the lewdness, luxury, and intemperate gratification of the passions and appetites which first ruined and spoiled the constitution of the fathers, whereby they could communicate only a diseased, crazy, and untunable carcass to their sons, there had never happened so much sickness, pain, and misery, so unhappy lives, and such wretched ends, as we now behold among men.”
The records of prisons and almshouses prove that physical vices are not only perpetuated in the offspring of the guilty parent, but they originate mental deformities. Three-fourths of the idiotic in a Massachusetts' Charity were found to be of parents, one or both of whom were drunken. From an exami. tion of juvenile delinquents at Parkhurst, by Mr. Kay Shuttleworth, it appeared that the majority were found deficient in physical organization. Mr. Coleridge says, that the history of a man for the months that precede his birth, would probably be far more interesting, and contain events of greater moment than all that follow it.
I. THE SACRED WRITINGS.
That these should furnish but little instruction on the subject of the present discussion, however important to so large a proportion of modern believers, is easily accounted for. This has fallen rather within the province of that science which has grown out of the changed circumstances of man, especially the great degeneracy in his habits of living. But while we discover in the Bible comparatively few of the elements of many modern theories concerning this union of the soul and body, and the moral results, yet they contain records of the experience and exercises of the religious, and of others, which afford many exemplifications of the fact. Such is supposed by some to have been the distressing affection of Saul, ascribed to an evil spirit from God, the successive paroxysms of which were allayed by the music of the son of Jesse. Stackhouse thinks, that it proceeded from deep depression of spirits, or black bile inflamed, and that he was rather hypochondriac than possessed. Agreeable to this bad complexion of body, was the natural temper of his mind.
Another example is quoted in the case of the Psalmist himself, when, in one of his sacred songs, his harp is tuned to strains of the deepest melancholy, and he mournfully sings: My soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? And then he adds, I said this is my infirmity; an expression which means, as understood by some, that he suspects the cause of his great depression to be physical, or to proceed from the state of the body.
Another illustration of this connection, and the influence of the material part over the spiritual, has been drawn from the language of the Saviour in his gentle rebuke of the lethargy of the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane. That they should have fallen asleep under such circumstances, appeared to themselves to admit of no apology, and they did not attempt it. But on being awaked by their Master, he kindly remarked, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. The delinquency was to be ascribed, not so much to the state of their heart, as to bodily fatigue; implying, as is commonly understood, a mild reproof, at the same time that it evinces the disposition of Christ to regard it as evidence more of natural infirmity than of guilt. The same injurious influence of the earthly part is recognized by the apostle Paul, in those numerous passages of his writings in which he so graphically describes the conflict between the flesh and the spirit: I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing. I delight in the law of God, after the inner man, but I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, bringing me, &c. In another place, he ascribes the inability of the law to justify, not to itself, but to a weakness through the flesh. We are aware that the term flesh here is used in a figurative sense, to signify the remainder of natural corruption which still adheres to the man, even after his moral 'state has become changed by regenerating grace. But the passages are none the less suited to our purpose, inasmuch as they imply that the organs of sense are made the instruments through which the corruption of our nature is developed, and its operation felt upon the spiritual man. In this connection, it may be observed, that the writings of the Fathers contain numerous quotations from the serious minded heathen, that show a striking coincidence with the opinions of Paul on the subject of depravity, and espe