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stones; and then conducted to the vault,- dark and chilly, where they must finally rest their heads. The Egyptians, at their splendid feasts, introduced a skeleton to preside at the table. What a transition, with regard to the monarch, from the palace to the grave, — from the gay circles of courtiers, from balls and levees, from beauty and fashion, to the dark and lonely sepulchre ! And there, as Horace remarks, they lie unknown throughout a long and dreary night — " Ignotique longâ nocte.” Shirley strikingly describes the transitory nature of earthly grandeur:
“ The glories of our birth and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
Death lays his icy hand on kings.”
What, then, is the inference? - That happiness does not exist; or, as Ovid says,
“ Dicique beatus Ante obitum nemo supremaque funera debet ? ”
By no means. For happiness is frequently enjoyed; and every man may possess it, even in this life, who is favoured with a few simple advantages. It is not dependent on great possessions; for many a man has voluntarily become poor, and found it productive of more happiness than could be gained from wealth and luxury. Many are hid in obscurity; and yet they are favoured with the cheering rays of contentment. Many are ignorant; and ignorance is sometimes bliss. But, in ordinary cases, a tolerably good portion of health; a moderate income; a cultivated mind, and well-regulated passions ;- these are the constituents of earthly enjoyment. The failures to which I have alluded have arisen from ignorance and imprudence; from a pursuit of some particular good, to the exclusion of more necessary possessions; from a misconception of the nature and sources of happiness. I shall therefore endeavour to lay open the various springs of human action; to examine their peculiarities; to describe their various modes of operation; to show how certain pursuits may contribute to human improvement and enjoyment, and others to disappointment, degradation, and misery; to furnish some rules for the regulation and maintenance of the health ; for the acquirement and employment of property; for the cultivation and engagement of the mind; for the control of the passions ; for the good order and welfare of society: to supply some hints for avoiding injurious habits, follies, and inconsistencies; and to show, even with regard to praiseworthy engagements, how far a man may go and be right; and how he may go farther and be wrong.
THE NATURE OF THE HUMAN BODY.
The human body is worthy of our attention in a philosophical point of view; because it contains evidences of the profoundest wisdom and contrivance. The knowledge of our corporeal frame is also essential to our welfare, because we may thereby avoid injury, and remove many ailments that 6 flesh is heir to."
It is said of Albertus Magnus, that he employed thirty years in attempting to form a human being; and he laboured on the various parts, under different aspects and constellations, that the whole might be complete ; but, after all his toil and expenditure of skill, he produced a substance without sense or motion, and as much unlike a human being, as the idols of the Brahmins, or of the South Sea Islanders, are dissimilar to the gods they are intended to represent.
The human body is an inexhaustible source of wonder.- A piece of living mechanism, composed of bones, cartilages, tendons, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and vessels of various kinds; with the heart working in the centre; the lungs purifying the blood; the arteries taking this vital fluid to the remotest parts, and the veins bringing it back; the mouth receiving food; the cesophagus conducting it to the stomach; the stomach dissolving, and conveying it to the next laboratory for the second digestion, when it passes by the lacteals into the circulation. And this curious structure is capable of various movements. The eye is most curiously contrived for receiving the semblance of external objects, whether distant or near, varying regularly from closeness and distinctness, to distance and obscurity; the ear, for collecting a variety of sounds — harsh and mellifluous, discordant and harmonious; while it clearly distinguishes the one sort from the other; the sense of smelling, for all kinds of odours, pleasant and unpleasant, as a guide to wholesome nutriment, and a preventive of harm; the taste, for the qualities of substances which pass over the palate; the feeling, for impressions from innumerable objects - of hardness and softness, roughness and smoothness, bluntness and sharpness. This human mechanism is gifted with
powers of sensation, neither too acute nor too dull; for an extra acuteness in one sense would diminish the action of the other senses, and occasion more pain than pleasure. If the ear, for instance, received every sound with ten times its usual power, it would occasion a continual uneasiness.
There is a surprising variety among human beings; and yet there is a beautiful harmony. Every eye varies a little from every other; and yet the impressions of form and colour, of extension and distance, are exceedingly similar. The countenances of all men are marked with peculiarities, and yet the generic character is preserved. The height and the bulk of human beings vary, and yet a certain standard regulates both. Why is not a man as large as an elephant? What prevents him from continually growing, or why does he not remain a few inches in length? What prevents him from living to the age of Methuselah ? Or what enables him to live a single day ? Considerations of this kind show us very distinctly that there must be a wise and powerful Principle, who
rules, sustains, and governs all;" who brings harmony out of discord, and the welfare of mankind out of what would otherwise occasion confusion and disadvantage. The eminent Galen was an atheist; but an examination of the human body, in its structure and singular operations, convinced him that there must be a
66 Great First Cause."
The senses, communicate impressions to the mind; and the mental faculty, in return, affords that energy which is necessary for their office. When the mind purposes to receive information through the organs of feeling, it erects the papillæ of the fingers, that the acuteness of the touch may be increased. Sometimes the intellect will operate so powerfully on one sense, and give it such a capability of acting, as to take the place of some other sense which may be defective or absent. And thus the blind man may not only distinguish colours, but he may (by the sense of feeling) trace out the impressions of large printing type, and read the contents of a book !