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years of

however imperfect may be the idea we are enabled to affix to the term spirit.

Hence arises the notion, which has been entertained ever since the birth of reflection and logical discourse in the world, and which in some faint and confused degree exists probably even among savages, that the body is the prison of the mind. It is in this sense that Waller, after completing fourscore

age, expresses himself in these affecting and interesting couplets.

When we for age could neither read nor write,
The subject made us able to indite.
The soul's dark cottage, battered and decayed,
Lets in new light by chinks that time hath made :
Stronger by weakness, wiser, men become,

As they draw near to their eternal home. Thus it is common with persons of elevated soul to talk of neglecting, overlooking, and taking small account of the body. It is in this spirit that the story is recorded of Anaxarchus, who, we are told, was ordered by Nicocreon, tyrant of Salamis, to be pounded in a mortar, and who, in contempt of his mortal sufferings, exclaimed, “Beat on, tyrant! thou dost but strike upon the case of Anaxarchus ; thou canst not touch the man himself." And it is in something of the same light that we must regard what is related of the North American savages. Beings, who scoff at their tortures, must have an idea of something that lies beyond the reach of their assailants.

It is just however to observe, that some of the

prey with

particulars here related, belong not less to the brute creation than to man. If men are imperfectly acquainted with their external figure and appearance, this may

well be conceived to be still more predicable of the inferior animals. It is true that all of them seem to be aware of the part in their structure, where lie their main strength and means of hostility. Thus the bull attacks with his horns, and the horse with his heels, the beast of his claws, the bird with his beak, and insects and other venomous creatures with their sting. We know not by what impulse they are prompted to the use of the various means which are so intimately connected with their preservation and welfare ; and we call it instinct. We may be certain it does not arise from a careful survey of their parts and members, and a methodised selection of the means which shall be found most effectual for the accomplishment of their ends. There is no premeditation ; and, without anatomical knowledge, or any distinct acquaintance with their image and likeness, they proceed straight to their purpose. Hence, even as men, they are more familiar with the figures and appearance of their fellows, their allies, or their enemies, than with their own.

Man is a creature of mingled substance. I am many times a day compelled to acknowledge what a low, mean and contemptible being I am. Philip of Macedon had no need to give it in charge to a page, to repair to him every morning, and repeat, “Remember, sir, you are a man.” A variety of circumstances occur to us, while we eat, and drink, and submit to the humiliating necessities of nature, that may

well inculcate into us this salutary lesson. The wonder rather is, that man, who has so many things to put him in mind to be humble and despise himself, should ever have been susceptible of pride and disdain. Nebuchadnezzar must indeed have been the most besotted of mortals, if it were necessary that he should be driven from among men, and made to eat grass like an ox, to convince him that he was not the equal of the power that made him.

But fortunately, as I have said, man is a “stranger at home.” Were it not for this, how incomprehensible would be

The ceremony that to great ones 'longs,
The monarch's crown, and the deputed sword,

The marshal's truncheon, and the judge's robe ! How ludicrous would be the long procession and the caparisoned horse, the gilded chariot and the flowing train, the colours flying, the drums beat. ing, and the sound of trumpets rending the air, which after all only introduce to us an ordinary inan, no otherwise perhaps distinguished from the vilest of the ragged spectators, than by the accident of his birth!

But what is of more importance in the temporary oblivion we are enabled to throw over the refuse of the body, it is thus we arrive at the majesty of man. That sublimity of conception which renders the poet, and the man of great literary and original endowments “in apprehension like a God," we could not have, if we were not privileged occasionally to cast away the slough and exuviæ of the body from incumbering and dishonouring us, even as Ulysses passed over his threshold, stripped of the rags that had obscured him, while Minerva enlarged his frame, and gave loftiness to his stature, added a youthful beauty and grace to his motions, and caused his eyes to flash with more than mortal fire. With what disdain, when I have been rapt in the loftiest moods of mind, do I look down upon my limbs, the house of clay that contains me, the gross flesh and blood of which my frame is composed, and wonder at a lodging, poorly fitted to entertain so divine a guest !

A still more important chapter in the history of the human mind has its origin in these considerations. Hence it is that unenlightened man, in almost all ages and countries, has been induced, independently of divine revelation, to regard death, the most awful event to which we are subject, as not being the termination of his existence. We see the body of our friend become insensible, and remain without motion, or any external indication of what we call life. We can shut it up in an apartment, and visit it from day to day. If we had perseverance enough, and could so far conquer the repugnance and humiliating feeling with which the experiment would be attended, we might follow step by step the



of decomposition and putrefaction, and observe by what degrees the “dust returned unto earth as it was.” But, in spite of this demonstration of the senses, man still believes that there is something in him that lives after death. The mind is so infinitely superior in character to this case of flesh that incloses it, that he cannot persuade himself that it and the body perish together.

There are two considerations, the force of which made man a religious animal. The first is, his proneness to ascribe hostility or benevolent intention to every thing of a memorable sort that occurs to him in the order of nature. The second is that of which I have just treated, the superior dignity of mind over body. This, we persuade ourselves, shall subsist uninjured by the mutations of our corporeal frame, and undestroyed by the wreck of the material universe.

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