Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

'creation is useless, much less could he suppose a viscus in the human body, fo large as this is, has no office of importance assigned to it.

Suppose then for a moment, we allow the spleen to do the office assigned to it by the moderns, viz. that it preduces fome change on the blood preparatory to the secretion of bile; what Auft do that office when the spleen is wanting : for as the animal lives and is well nourished afterwards, if that supposed change is absolutely necessary for the secretion of bile, either fome other viscus must do its' office ; or the bile, a fluid so reguifite for affimilating our food, could not be formed, and the animal for want of being duly nourished muft die.

• If we may reason from analogy, we should say, that it is contrary to the established laws of animal ceconomy, to suppose the use of one organ or gland, to be merely subfervient to another organ or gland, in preparing the blood, in order to render it fit for such organ or gland to do its office ; it would be afferting, that the liver which nature intended to fecrete bilè could only do it by the intervention of the spleen ; and yet if we allow that bile can be formed without the use of the fpleen, we admit that intervention to be by no means neces. fary., But to carry our analogy still farther, nature has given to the animal body certain glands, and has afligned to each peculiar offices, that is, she has endowed them with a property of separating from the blood divers fluids, as different from each other, as they are from the mass of blood from out of which they were originally separated.

• The lachrymal gland secretes the tears; the salivary glands, the saliva; the kidneys, urine; the testicles, femen, &c. &c. without the intervention of any auxiliary gland. If then a fluid so elaborated, and so different from any thing we find in the blood, as femen is, a fluid which has an office of no less dignity than to perpetuate the whole race of animals, can be formed from the blood by the vessels of the testis, without any preparatory change being produced on it; may we' not reasonably conclude, that the liver is capable of seçreting bile from the blood without any antecedent change beįng made on it by the spleen? For to say that the blood must be prepared by the spleen, before bile can be secreted from it by the liver, is to deny, that the liver, which is given to form bile, can do the office which nature has intended it to perform.

* But if we allow the fpleen to make the red part of the blood, we can readily account for the reason why the spleen may be cut out of an animal, and yet the animal survive, and kuffer - but little inconvenience, for though the office of the

spleen fpleen, is to form the red particles of the blood, yet it is not the only organ in the body capable of doing that office ; for we have already proved that the lymphatic vefsels do also form the veficular portion; the spleen therefore is not the only organ capable of doing it. But nature has given the spleen as an auxiliary to the lymphatic system, in order to the more commodiously, expeditiously, and completely forming the red part of the blood.

« If then the spleen be cut out, or its office obstructed by disease, nature has a resource, in exciting the lymphatic ver(els to form a larger quantity of red particles than they had ordinarily been accustomed to do, and these in proportion to the exigencies of the habit ; but here nature does not align a , new office to the lymphatic vefsels, but only excites them to exert in :: higher degree, a power of which they were before possessed ; and this notion is conformable to what we observe in other circumstances of animal economy; as when an animal is fat and well nourished, the stomach is much longer in performing its office, than it is when emaciated by long fasting, and its life is in danger from want of nourishment, or than it is when the body is wasting by disease, witness the surprising quantities of food the stomach will digest, in a short iime after a recovery from the small-pox, or a violent inflammatory fever ; under these circumstances, it is altonishing to observe how much nature will exert herself, and how foon food taken into the stomach will be digested, and applied to the purposes of the constitution : in like manner, most probably if the spleen be diseased or cut oat, nature is capable of making the lymphatic velfels exert themselves more powerfully in the execution of their office; or on the contrary, if the lymphatic system be diseafed, the spleen is excited to form a larger quantity of blood in order to make up the deficiency: thereby the life of the animal will be less frequently endangered from a partial disease.

? But how much foever the manner in which the red veficle is formed may be disputed, we think it cannot be denied, but that the office of the thymus and lymphatic glands is clearly proved to form the central particles found in the vesicles of the blood ; and though the operation of nature in forming the vesicular portion is more obscure, yet the probability of its being performed in the manner we have related will, we hope, be readily admitted.'

This doctrine, it must be acknowledged, is supported with great ingenuity, and rendered so plaufible as at least to bring in question the theory of preceding physiologists on the subject. As the experiments on which it is founded, however, are

nu

numerous, and some of them difficult to be made, it may not Be foon confirmed by the observation of other enquirers; but when that event shall take place, the names of Hewson and Falconar will be ranked amongst those of the most respe&able improvers of the science,

-Four Discourses translated from the Spanish of Feyjoo. 8vo. 35.

Becket. TH

HE design of these Discourses is to refute such opinions as

may be ranked under the name of vulgar errors ; by which term the author means any opinion that he looks upon as false, abstracted from, and without his determining upon the probability or improbability of it. The first of this class which he investigates, is the common maxim, vox populi vox Dei, or, the voice of the people is the voice of God. He produces various instances from history, to prove the falfhood of this assertion; concluding with pointing out two senses, in which only the maxim can be admitted to have any foundation in truth. • The first is, says he, taking for the voice of the people, the unanimous consent of all God's people, that is of the universal church, the which it is certain cannot err in maiters' of faith, not through any antecedent impossibility, which may be inferred from the nature of things, but by means of the interposition of the Holy Spirit, with which, according to the promise made by Christ, it will be constantly affifted. I faid all God's people, becaufe a large portion of the church may err, and in fact did err, in the great Western Schism, for the kings of France, Castile, Arragon and Scotland, acknowledged Clement the VIIth. for legitimate Pope, the rest of the Christian world adhered to Urban the Vith, but it is manifest that one of the two parties must be wrong,

which

may be considered as a conclusive proof, that even within the pale of the Christian church, not only one, but several nations collectively may err in effentials.

The second sense in which the maxim ought to be held true, is, by taking for the voice of the people, the universal concurrence of all mankind, it appearing morally impoflible, that all the nations of the world should agree in adopting any one error ; thus the consent of the whole earth in believing the existence of a God, is held by the learned, as a conclusive proof of this article.

The subject of the second Discourse is Virtue and Vice, where the author endeavours to expose the fallacy of the opi-, mion, that the former of these is marked with the character of

af.

asperity, and the other with that of being generally grateful to human sentiment. For this purpose he has recourse to such arguments as are furnished by realon and experience, towards evincing, that, independently of future rewards and punishments, the pursuit of criminal pleasures is attended with more inquietude than can be incurred by the practice of the moral and Christian virtues,

The third Discourse is employed on the confideration of exalted and humble Fortune, the mistaken notions of mankind concerning which the moralist correets, by juft and philofophical refieations, on the various conditions of human life. He contrasts the refpe&tive advantages and inconveniences attending poverty and riches, and concludes that, upon the whole, the latter is productive of greater unhappiness to him who possesses it than the former.

The laft of those Discourses treats of the most refined Policy. Here the author reprobates the pernicious do&rine of Machiavel, that in the application of temporal means, the appearance or femblance of virtue is useful, while virtue itself is always an obstacle to success. As a specimen of the author's reasoning on this subject, we shall present our readers with the following paffage from the Discourse.

• All that a person can reasonably desire, may be attained without deviating from the path of honour. A man of a clear head, accompanied with perspicuity and prudence, will always find a way to arrive at the goal of his pretenfions, without inclining the line of re&itude and honesty, towards the curve of deceit. Fidelity in friendship, and fincerity in behaviour, are so far from being prejudicial, that they afford great assistance; because with these endowments, he will gain the confidence and good will of such as can lend their hand to raise him, and of those, who may be useful as instruments in helping him forward. By being disinterefted and a lover of justice, you will acquire the esteem and affection of many, and the veneration of all men. To be open-hearted, and to communicate with confidence in all matters, except such as prudence di&ates to you to conceal, or fuch as are confided to you under the seal of secrecy, with respect to those with whom you have intercourse have a most powerful attraction. And although this behaviour may fometimes occasion disgust, to here and there a person of a different caft of mind, that disadvantage would be doubly compensated for, by the good opinion, his being impressed with noble and sincere fentiments, would create of him. The disgust passes away and the good opinion remains. In fact, these transparent souls, when discretion is combined with the purity of their dispositions, are those who ascend to the greatest heights, with the least fatigue.'

The

[ocr errors]

The obstacle in the way of an honest politician, is the difficulty of treating with men in power upon the principles of truth and candour. Flattery is a door that opens very wide for the introduction to favour, but as it is very low also, no man of a generous mind can enter in at it. I have heard all the world declare they abhorred flatterers, but I never saw any one who did not cherish them. This proceeds from every man rating his own talents at more than their true value, and because the language of a flatterer corresponds with his own opinion of himself, he does not look upon him as a flatterer, but as a man of abilities who forms right judgments of things; But allowing him to be so prudent, as even to undervalue, inStead of over-rate his own faculties, he might still lie open to the practices of a flatterer ; as for instance, the fattered perfon, might be induced to attribute the excessive high opinion the flatterer profefsed to entertain of bim, to the excess of his love and esteem for him, and all that is represented through the microscope of love, is greatly magnified in the imagi. nation, and in this case, although he does not credit the apo plause, he esteems the affection. By these means, flattery becomes a universal net, which catches and entangles filh of every kind.

“This method then, if managed with art, for there are fome flatterers who are fulsome, and surfeiting, is sufficiently effectual and secure to pra&ice with, but is at the same time most vile and pernicious, and therefore should never be made ale of, nor should the truth ever be deviated from. But truth is disgusting! no matter, prudence will find seasonings to make it palatable ; and although it be true, that by using these means, an honest man will be longer in ingratiating himself into the good opinion of a great person, than a sordid flatterer, still, he will in the end obtain a more solid and lasting estimation with him. The first thing to be observed by him, is never to give his opinion with asperity, nor ever to give it af all but at proper opportunities. The rigidity of undeceiving people with respect to their errors, should be softened by the gentleness of respect, and if reverence, and sweetness of manner, are used as vehicles to convey the propofition, they will cause it to be well received. It would be better still, to refrain intirely from doing what we have just mentioned, if you could with propriety be excused from speaking your setztiments. These qualities were celebrated by king Theodo, ricus, in a favourite of his; fub genii noftri luce intrepidus quidem ; sed reverentur adftabat. opportune tacitus, necessarie copiosus (Cafiodor. lib. 5. Epist. 3.) In cases that admit of waiting for favourable opportunities, be watchful and attentive

« AnteriorContinuar »