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powers were of the highest order, and whose industry was as remarkable as their abilities, that more than six or eight hours in each day could not be employed effectively by the generality of young men for the purpose of mental improvement. If this howver be the case, and as a general position it probably is not very far from the truth, in vain does the ambitious student rob nature of that sleep which Providence has made necessary for the renovation of the exhausted powers of our mind, as well as of our body; and in vain also does he attempt to combine simultaneously the efforts of mental attention with bodily exercise, or to pursue his severer studies during the hour of meals: in both which cases, they, who adopt the custom, not only err in employing too continuous an application of the powers of the mind; but in impeding to a certain and often very inconvenient degree the process of natural respiration; and, consequently, of other functions of the body, particularly of digestion. How main a point ought it to be therefore with those who superintend the education of young persons, to avoid the application of too great a strain on the natural spring of the intellectual powers. It is questionable whether at any period of life the correspondence between the external world and the sensitive and intellectual faculties of man, is so rapid, so vivid, and so effectual, as during that space which is intermediate to infancy and adolescence: and this fact, if it be so, may be explained by that principle of our nature, on which depends the love of novelty; namely, that susceptibility of the nerves which makes them capable of being stimulated more vehemently by new, than by accustomed impressions: for certainly this principle is likely to be more exercised in proportion as we are nearer the period of infancy; since every impression is then either absolutely new, or has not yet rendered the nerves dull by too frequent a repetition of its application. Another happy instance of the harmony that exists between the nature of man and the external world, is the readiness and confidence with which at this early period of life the impressions of sense are received. Where all is new, and therefore equally matter of wonder, there is yet no room for doubt. Nature teaches the mind to receive every thing without distrust, and to rely implicitly on those inlets to knowledge, the impressions of sense, which are destined to be its only guides in the first years of life. Scepticism is not the tendency of childhood: and perhaps it is with reference to the o between the eye of faith and the eye of sense at this early period of life, that our Saviour pronounces a blessing upon those who receive the evidences of our religion with the simplicity of little children.
ON THE POWERS OF THE HUMAN HAND, CONSIDERED AS A CORPOREAL ORGAN.
At length however, having passed the preparatory discipline both of natural and of parental education, and having arrived at the maturity of his powers, man is fitted to exercise his empire over the external world.
But before we consider the character of the materials provided for the supply of his various wants, or for the exercise of his intellectual faculties, let us examine more closely than hitherto the condition of those corporeal organs, by the agency of which he is enabled to produce the results intended.
There can be no doubt that those organs are, if not exclusively, at least pre-eminently, the brain and the hand ; of the latter of which, not only are the uses of the several parts and of the whole made practically manifest every moment of our lives; but its antecedent capabilities are so open to the investigating eye of reason, as to afford one of the readiest subjects of physical demonstration. And although, with respect to the brain, we not only have no satisfactory evidence, but cannot even form a probable conjecture, of the use or mode of action of any particular part; yet we cannot doubt that it is the instrument by which our intellectual powers hold communion with external nature. I shall dedicate therefore this and the following chapter to the consideration of the general history of these organs. It would be an invasion of the province of others to give an anatomical description of the several constituent parts of the human hand: but in saying that its adaptation to the various purposes to which it is applicable is so open to the investigating eye of reason, as to afford one of the readiest subjects of physical demonstration, a tacit reference was made to that remarkable part of the writings of Galen, in which he expatiates upon the capabilities of this wonderful instrument: and that that extraordinary writer could hardly have selected a better subject, for the exercise of his powers in intellectual analysis, will be readily granted on a perusal of the following passages; provided they correctly represent the spirit of the original. In that portion of his works which bears this title, “On the Use of the various Parts of the Body,” after having defined what is to be understood by the term part, or member, as applied to an animal body, Galen proceeds in the following manner:* “But all these parts of the body were made for the use of the soul, that sentient and intelligent principle which animates the body, and of which the body is merely the organ; and on this account the component parts of animals differ according to the nature of this principle: for some animals are bold and fierce; others are timid and gentle: some are gregarious, and co-operate for their mutual sustenance and defence; others are solitary, and avoid the society of their fellows: but all have a form or body accommodated to their natural dispositions and habits. Thus the lion has powerful fangs and claws; the hare has swiftness of foot, but in other points is defenceless. And the fitness of this arrangement is obvious: for those weapons with which the lion is furnished are as appropriate to his nature, as they would be useless to the timid hare; whose safety, depending entirely on flight, requires that swiftness of foot for which she is so remarkable. But to man, the only animal that partakes of divine intelligence, the Creator has given, in lieu of every other natural weapon or organ of defence, that instrument, the hand; an instrument applicable to every art and occasion, as well of peace as of war. Man therefore wants not a hoof, or horn, or any other natural weapon; inasmuch as he is able with his hand to grasp a much more effective weapon, the sword or spear. Besides which, natural weapons can be employed only in close conflict; while some of the weapons employed by man, as javelins or arrows, are even more effectual at a distance. And, again, though man may be inferior to the lion in swiftness, yet by his dexterity and skill he breaks in to his use a still swifter animal, the horse; mounted on whose back he can escape from or pursue the lion, or attack him at every advantage. He is enabled moreover by means of this instrument to clothe himself with armour of various kinds, or to entrench himself within camps or fenced cities. Whereas were his hands encumbered with any natural armour, he would be unable to employ them for the fabrication of those instruments and means, which give him such a decided advantage over all the other animals of creation. “Nor have we yet enumerated the most important of those privileges which the hand imparts to man. With this he weaves the garment that protects him from the summer's heat, or winter's cold; with this he forms the various furniture of nets and snares, which give him dominion over the inhabitants as well of the water as of the air and earth: with his hand he constructs the lyre and lute, and the numerous instruments employed in the several arts of life; with the hand he erects altars and shrines to the immortal gods; and, lastly, by means of the same instrument he bequeaths to posterity, in writing, the intellectual treasures of his own divine imagination: and hence we, who are living at this day, are enabled to hold converse with Plato and Aristotle, and all the venerable sages of antiquity.” In reasoning on the utility of the hand, as characteristic of the human species, Galen thus expresses himself:* “Man being naturally destitute of corporeal weapons, as also of any instinctive art, has received a compensation, first in the gift of that peculiar instrument the hand, secondly in the gift of reason; by the employment of which two gifts he arms and protects his body in every mode, and adorns his mind with the knowledge of every art. For since, had he been furnished with any natural weapon, he would have possessed the use of this alone on all occasions; or had he been gifted with any instinctive art, he would never have attained to the exercise of other arts; hence he was created destitute of those insulated and individual means and arts, which characterize other animals; inasmuch as it is manifestly preferable to have the power of making use of various means and various arts. Rightly, therefore, has Aristotle defined the hand to be the instrument antecedent to, or productive of, all other instruments: and rightly might we, in imitation of Aristotle, define reason, as opposed to instinct, to be the art antecedent to, or productive of, all other arts. For as the hand, though itself no particular organ, is yet capable of being adapted to all other organs, and is consequently antecedent to them; so reason, though itself no particular art, is yet capable of comprehend