« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
age of Homer, regarded the Straits of Scylla, and the homes of the Læstrygonian cannibals. There was one province of the island where, Procopius had been told, the ground was covered with serpents, and the air was so poisonous no one could breathe it and live.
Now Britain is one vast garden from shore to shore. The primitive forests, with their thick undergrowth and impassable swamps, are gone, and in their place we see the tastefully planted parks. The ancient commons are now divided, by living bawthorn hedges, into cultivated fields. The wild, dank grasses are displaced by flowing golden grain. The land is studded with villages and cities, the hives of industry and the marts of commerce. The rude druidical Stonehenge is superseded by the gorgeous cathedral. The worship of Tecanus and Belenus has disappeared, and been supplanted by the worship of the living God. The rivers are now alive with steamers, the harbors are crowded with sea-going vessels, and the land is covered with a network of highways and railroads from shore to shore. These are not the doings of nature. These are the works of intelligent man, who has subdued, and tamed, and cultivated, nature !
Let any one look around the grand State of Michigan, remembering how it looked forty years ago in “simple nature, and see how it looks to-day under the hand of man. These fields of flowing grain and stately corn; these orchards with richly-ladened fruit trees; these gardens blushing with the vir. gin rose, the lily, and the violet; these tasteful homes, are a new face put on old nature; a face which nature never would have worn if man, with his skill and industry, his taste and his love of the beautiful, had not been here.
“The primitive world,” says Cousin, “is nothing more than material for the labor of man; and it is labor which has given to this matter the value which it possesses. The destiny of man (I mean in his relation with the world) is to assimilate nature as much as possible to himself, to plant in it, and in it make appear, unceasingly, the liberty and intelligence with which he is endowed. Industry, I repeat it with pleasure, is the triumph of man over nature, whose tendency was to encroach upon and destroy him, but which retreats before him, and is metamorphosed in his hands; this is truly nothing less
than the creation of a new world by man.
The face of nature, then, is plastic to the hand of man. He can mold it in accordance with his ideas; he can modify it to subserve his own ends.
III. The influence of mind on the physique of man.
The power of the mind over the body is confessedly great. It employs the body as its instrument, and the instrument becomes at length transfused, and spiritualized by the intelligence and liberty which it has served. Even the
the avenues which open to the external world, are very much under the control of the will. Voluntary attention may render them more acute and exquisite, on the one hand, or the mind may withdraw itself, as it were, from sensation, on the other hand, altering the conditions, and modifying the action of the nervous centers. Look at Socrates when a soldier in the camp before Potidæa. Amid the severities of mid-winter, when the ice and snow were upon the ground, he stands barefoot and lightly clad for twenty-four hours on the same spot, wrapt in meditation and insensible to all things around him! Archimedes was so absorbed in a geometrical problem that he was indifferent to the storming of Syracuse, and was first made aware of the fact when he received his death-wound. Newton, while engaged in his mathematical researches, often forgot to dine; and on one occasion sat on the edge of his bed a whole day, with one foot in his pantaloons, lost in profound meditation. Cadman was once, upon a journey, so lost in thought that he forgot both his way and his errand. He made no answer to the questions of his driver as to where he should
go, and when he came to himself at nightfall, he was surprised on finding his carriage at a stand directly under a gallows.
Think of the power which the imagination exerts over the body! Why, it has cured more cases of sickness than drugs ! The word Ananazipta, scrawled on parchment, has reduced the fever. Abracadabra, the name of a Syrian god, figured on an amulet, and worn around the neck, has cured the ague. An hexameter from the Iliad has allayed the agony of gout. The rheumatism has yielded to a verse of the Lamentations of Jeremiah. And the scrofula has fled at the touch of royalty.
* Lectures, vol. i, p. 17.
Wiseman, one of the fathers of surgery in England, says, in his remarks on scrofula, " that his Majesty Charles II. cured more people by his touch, in one year, than all the chirurgeons of London had done in an age. .”* During twelve years, ninetytwo thousand one hundred and seven persons flocked to Whitehall and Windsor, mostly at the instance of the “regular physicians,” and many of them were unquestionably cured. The same Wiseman affirms, “I myself have been a frequent eyewitness of many hundreds of cures performed by his Majesty alone.” A visit to the tomb of the Abbé de Paris, or a sight
. of the “ holy coat” at Treves, has enabled the lame to throw away their crutches and walk home. Perkins's “metallic tract
"cured every kind of disease. Their efficacy is vouched for by eight learned professors in four different universities, twentyone regular physicians, nineteen surgeons, thirty clergymen, and five thousand other people. Dr. Haygarth’s bits of painted wood, in imitation of the metallic tractors, did just as great wonders. So that, as Dr. Bostock affirms, “they had power to do every thing except to make a new limb grow when the old one had been amputated.” And in modern times a placebo, say a “ bread pill,” when called “mercurial,” has produced copions salivation, and when named an “anodyne,” has given refreshing sleep. In the hands of Dr. Jennings, of Oberlin, it carried Professor Finney through a severe attack of typhoid fever, and cured little children of croup. I will not dare to say what wonders are being now performed by the millionth part of a grain of aconite. But here in America, in this nineteenth century, we have heard intelligent and reliable persons tell how they were cured of dyspepsia by swallowing “live angle-worms,” and how others have been cured of epilepsy by the little triangular bones found in the head of the hog. We cannot for a moment doubt the reality of most of these cures. But instead of ascribing them to the various agencies above mentioned, we attribute them to the marvelous, almost miraculous, power of the mind upon the body of man.
Reflect, also, on the influence which the inental emotions exert on the body of man. How does fear blanch the cheek, and shame crimson it! How does courage nerve the arm, and panic cause the muscles to relax! Desire speaks through the
• See "Dunglison's Therapeutics,” etc., p. 68.
eye, joy illuminates the countenance, hope wreaths the brow with an ideal crown, and manliness of soul reveals itself in every attitude and movement of the body. Powerful emotion often kills the body at a stroke. Chilo, Diagoras, and Sophocles died of joy at the Grecian games. The news of defeat killed Philip the Fifth. The doorkeeper of Congress expired on hearing of the surrender of Cornwallis. And Largrave, the young Parisian, died when he heard that the musical prize for which he had competed had been awarded to another.
And do not overlook the power of ideas. How they do take hold upon the whole man and exert a perfect mastery! We need only to be reminded of Loyola, Peter the Hermit, Joan of Arc, Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther, to see the power of an idea to inspire a man with almost superhuman energy, and inaugurate a new era in human history. Ideas are the forces which move the moral world.
Mind also exerts a great influence in fashioning and developing the outward man. Ignorance, superstition, and vice will, in a few generations, deform the body, give dullness and stupidity to the countenance, listlessness to the eye, increase the facial angle, and finally lessen the volume of brain.* Intelligence, mental culture, refinement of taste, will reverse all this. They will give dignity to a man's gait, luster to his eye, expression to his countenance, symmetry to his features, and in a few generations the facial angle will be changed to 80°, the volume of the brain will be increased, and a more beautiful race will be the result.t Whoever has had the opportunity of contrasting the physical development of the population of Van Dieman's Land with the people of America will be convinced of this. The great mental and moral differences are seen on the face and physique of the people. The Grecian beauty was no doubt the effect of Grecian mental culture; and the sternness of the Roman physiognomy resulted from their military employments, and their study of the law. From childhood to age the outer man is molded and fashioned by the soul ; in some sense, the body is a creation of the mind.
• See Pritchard's “Races of Men," vol. ii, p. 349.
† "It appears to be conclusively proved that barbarism tends in a few generations to deteriorate the physical characters of even the highest races of mankind by increasing the facial angle, etc., while the reverse induces proportional physical improvements.”—CUVIER'S “ Animal Kingdom,” p. 41.
ART. III.-HOLY SCRIPTURE A DIVINE REVELATION.
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN, BY J. F. HURST, D. D., OF BREMEN,
At the time of the Imperial Diet of Augsburg, 1530, when evangelical truth appeared to be in the most imminent danger, Luther wrote to his troubled friend, Chancellor Brück, as follows: "I have latly seen a miracle. As I looked out of the window at the stars and God's whole heavenly dome, I nowhere saw any pillars on which the Master had placed such a dome. But the heavens fell not, and the dome still stands fast. Now there are some who seek such pillars, and would like very much to feel and grasp them; but because they cannot do it, they tremble and writhe, as if the heavens would certainly fall for no other reason than that they do not see or grasp the pillars; if, however, they could only grasp them, the heavens would still stand secure."* The meaning of this vigorous allegory is clear enough-that all God's works, and even the truths of the Gospel, like the heavenly dome, need no visible support, but are established within themselves, and by their existence and indestructible duration bear within themselves their own proof.
It has been considered a vital task of the Church in these our days to write apologetical works, to establish apologetical periodicals, and to institute courses of apologetical sermons; and these efforts have been followed by good results. But though they all, together with the conclusions which we here present, may have the character of carrying on the defense of an important doctrine, yet it must not be understood that evangelical truth can first acquire stability and certitude by such defense, and, in general, by the palpable supports of human reason. It stands of itself. Never once has faith in these truths needed such props. Faith is rather, according to the exact translation of Heb. xi, 1, the self-supporting foundation of invisible things; as it is not the growth of reason but of the living experience of a new creation of the whole soul—that direction of our life to God which we could not take by our
* Compare the whole letter in Walch's Quarto Edition of Luther's Works, XVI, p. 2140f.