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cially the prejudicial influence of the body. Cicero's remark is familiar to many—that men are brought into life by nature, as a stepmother, with a frail and infirm body, with a soul prone to divers lusts. And what but this doctrine of physical influence is perverted and caricatured in that motley mixture of Christianity and Persian philosophy contained in the system of the Manicheans of the third century of the Christian era, concerning the two principles of good and evil—the former of which is represented as the creator of the soul of man, and the latter of his body.
II. THE TESTIMONY OF SCIENCE.
If what the Scriptures contain on this subject amounts only to hints or implications, rather than positive declarations, our light is abundant when we come to the testimony of science. The connection and influence of which we speak, have been proved and illustrated with great clearness by those who have examined the structure of the human system, its capacities and functions, organic, intellectual, and moral. They have not failed to see how much the state of the mind and moral feelings has to do with the induction, the persistence, and final issue of many maladies. This connection is as fully implied in the abuses of this truth, as it is taught in its legitimate uses.
Thus it has been made to furnish the basis of materialism under the milder, and, as understood and taught by many, the innocent forms of cranioscopy, craniology, phrenology, &c., as well as of that grosser system of Lawrence, which makes the soul of man a mere chymical combination, which contends that it is not a spiritual substance, distinct from his body, but that the principle within him which thinks, is material; and that reasoning and reflection are functions of organized matter; which gravely tells him that he grows like a vegetable, or accretes like a crystal; or is attracted and repulsed like a particle of iron exposed to magnetic influence: That his brain secretes thought, as his liver secretes bile; that believing and disbelieving are acts of the soul, as is tasting of the body, and one is as destitute of any moral character as the other; and therefore, that it is as absurd to suppose a man
blamable for being an atheist, as for being afflicted with an attack of the gout. That organized differs from inorganized matter, merely by the addition of certain properties, such as sensibility and irritability, which are called vital. The masses of matter which constitute the several parts of the animal frame are endowed according to the respective functions or purposes which they are to execute, and life is the general result of their exercise. Upon this hypothesis, the human frame is nothing more than “a barrel-organ, possessing a systematic arrangement of parts, played upon by peculiar powers, and executing particular pieces or purposes. Life is the music produced by the general assemblage, or result of the harmonious action. As long as either the vital or mechanical instrument is wound up by a regular supply of food, or of the winch, so long the music will continue; but both are worn out by their own action; and when the machine will no longer work, the life has the same close as the music;
redit in nihilum, quod fuit ante nihil. That, back to nothing goes, which nothing was before.
That such sentiments as these are as directly at variance with sound science as they are with revealed religion, it is gratuitous to assert. In admitting, as we have done, that this inexplicable union of the body and soul may involve many truths which have not yet been discovered, we do not concede that it warrants any such atheistic corollaries as this. It would be easy to show, that although commended by names of some notoriety, yet such a materialism is “a logical absurdity, and a total misconception of the first principles of philosophical inquiry.” But as it is our purpose in this disquisition to keep within the province of Christian casuistry, we think it better, in passing, rather to hint at than quote, as freely as we might, the illustrations of the present head, which are furnished by physiology. Yet all may safely be granted to the influence of the flesh upon the spirit,
, which truth requires, without affording the smallest ground for those shocking conclusions.
The great vital organs of the human system, , such as the brain, stomach, liver, &c., may
seem to act as mechanically as the hand, the ear, or the tongue, yet the health of the mind is much affected by the healthful state of this apparatus of the body. Notice, first,
THE BRAIN. We know and admit, that the operations of the intellect are closely allied to that soft whitish mass, or viscus, lodged beneath the arched bone of the head, which is called the brain. Thus a blow which depresses a portion of the skull upon the brain, will cause a derangement or suspension of the mind's operations until such pressure is removed. A man at the battle of Waterloo had a small portion of his skull-bone beat in upon the brain, to the depth of half an inch. This caused volition and sensation to cease, and he was nearly in a lifeless state. So soon as the depressed portion of bone was raised from the brain, the man immediately arose, dressed himself, became perfectly rational, and recovered rapidly.
It has been discovered that whatever produces mental excitement, increases the flow of blood to the head, and thus augments the size and power of the brain; just as exertion of the