an apparatus. To put the system in a state of activity; to set it at work; a further pro

vision is necessary, viz. a communication with the brain by means of nerves. We know the existence of this communication, because we can see the communicating threads, and can

trace them to the brain; its necessity we also

[ocr errors]

know, because if the thread be cut, if the

communication be intercepted, the muscle becomes paralytic : but beyond this, we know little; the organization being too minute and subtile for our inspection, To what has been enumerated, as officiating in the single act of a man's raising his hand to his head, must be added likewise, all

that is necessary, and all that contributes to

the growth, nourishment, and sustentation of the limb, the repair of its waste, the preservation of its health: such as the circulation of the blood through every part of it; its lymphatics, exhalants, absorbents; its excretions and integuments. All these share in the result; join in the effect: and how all these, or any of them, come together without a designing, disposing intelligence, it is impossible to conceive, . s



CoNTEMPLATING an animal body in its

collective capacity, we cannot forget to notice, what a number of instruments are

brought together, and often within how small a compass. . It is a cluster of contrivances. In a canary bird, for instance, and in the single ounce of matter which composes his body (but which seems to be all employed), we have instruments for eating, for digesting, for nourishment, for breathing, for generation, for running, for flying, for seeing, for hearing, for smelling; each appropriate,_ each entirely different from all the rest. The human, or indeed the animal frame, considered as a mass or assemblage, exhibits in its composition three properties, which have long struck my mind as indubitable evidences not only of design, but of a great

deal of attention and accuracy in prosecut

ing the design. 1. The first is, the exact correspondency of

[merged small][ocr errors]

hand answering to the left, leg to leg, eye to eye, one side of the countenance to the other; and with a precision, to imitate which in any tolerable degree forms one of the difficulties of statuary, and requires, on the part of the artist, a constant attention to this property of his work, distinct from every other. It is the most difficult thing that can be to get a wig made even ; yet how seldom is the face awry! And what care is taken that it should not be so, the anatomy of its bones demonstrates. The upper part of the face is composed of thirteen bones, six on each side, answering each to each, and the thirteenth, without a fellow, in the middle; the lower part of the face is in like manner composed of six bones, three on each side respectively corresponding, and the lower jaw in the centre. In building an arch, could more be done in order to make the curve true, i. e. the parts equi-distant from the middle, alike in figure and position? The exact resemblance of the eyes, considering how compounded this organ is in its structure, how various and how delicate are the shades of colour with which its iris is tinged, how differently, as to effect upon appearance, the eye may be mounted in its socket, and how differently in different heads

eyes actually are set, is a property of animal bodies much to be admired. Of ten thousand eyes, I do not know that it would be possible to match one, except with its own fellow ; or to distribute them into suitable pairs by any other selection than that which obtains. This regularity of the animal struct re is

rendered more remarkable by the three following considerations.—First, the limbs, separately taken, have not this correlation of parts, but the contrary of it. A knife drawn down the chine, cuts the human body into two parts, externally equal and alike; you cannot draw a straight line which will divide a hand, a foot, the leg, the thigh, the cheek, the eye, the ear, into two parts equal and alike. Those parts which are placed upon the middle or partition line of the body, or which traverse that line, as the nose, the tongue, the lips, may be so divided, or, more properly speaking, are double organs; but . other parts cannot. This shows that the correspondency which we have been describing, does not arise by any necessity in the nature of the subject: for, if necessary, it would be universal; whereas it is observed only in the system or assemblage: it is not true of the separate parts; that is to say, it is found

where it conduces to beauty or utility; it is not found, where it would subsist at the expense of both. The two wings of a bird always correspond : the two sides of a feather frequently do not. In centipedes, millepedes, and that whole tribe of insects, no two legs on the same side are alike: yet there is the most exact parity between the legs opposite to one another. 2. The next circumstance to be remarked, is, that, whilst the cavities of the body are so configurated, as eaternally to exhibit the most exact correspondency of the opposite sides, the contents of these cavities have no such correspondency. A line drawn down the middle of the breast, divides the thorax into two sides exactly similar; yet these two sides enclose very different contents. The heart lies on the left side; a lobe of the lungs on the right; balancing each other, neither in size nor shape. The same thing holds of the abdomen. The liver lies on the right side, without any similar viscus opposed to it on the left. The spleen indeed is situated over against the liver; but agreeing with the liver neither in bulk nor form. There is no equipollency between these. The stomach is a vessel, both irregular in its shape, and oblique in its po

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »