« PreviousContinue »
superfluous; all situated most conveniently for use, ornament, and mutual assistance ; displaying the wisdom and goodness of our almighty Maker. His erect form sheweth he was made for the contemplation of high and noble objects, and to look for happiness somewhere else than from the earth ; besides, this elegant structure of the body, with the majesty of the countenance, serve to overawe the brutal creation.
If we consider the senses, how wonderful are they, and how conveniently situated! As watchmen used not to be placed in a low or obscure situation, but on the walls or towers of the capital, to give timely information of danger to the monarch and inhabitants that lodged within; so the noblest senses are not stationed low in the body, but wisely in the head, said by some to be the capital of the soul, so that they may give timely intelligence of hurt to that rational monarch. How astonishing are the properties of the eye! displaying the wisdom and power (which, indeed, all the other senses do) of our almighty Maker, as by it things are descried
at a great distance, and the colour and form · thereof, that moment it beholds them, communicated to the soul. By it we can find our way amidst the pathless ocean ; distinguish faces, however much alike; view the curiosities of machinery ; take up the stateliness, elegancy, and ornaments of architecture, and even canvass the celestial bodies themselves.
Without the sense of vision, to us the rainbow would display its variegated colours in vain, the delight of the landscape be lost, and the exquisite tinges of the tulip, with all the retinue of flowers, be exhibited to no purpose. The sense of hearing, too, how surprising it is! as by it sounds are distinguished, and the pleasure of harmony communicated to the mind. Nor is that of smelling less wonderful, whereby agreeable odours are received with pleasure, and the contrary with reluctance; and by which we are led to take food, and frequent places, which are most conducive to our health. Likewise that of the palate; how nicely does it distinguish betwixt that which is agreeable and disagreeable to the appetite; receiving the things of the
former with complacency, and those of the latter with dislike. Nor is that of feeling less astonishing, the sense of which is diffused over the whole body, as that which is of absolute necessity for the comfortable existence of the animal part. And how strange is it, that, no sooner an object is felt by the hand, or any other part of the body, than an idea thereof is conceived by the mind.
Three of these centinels, or out-posts, that are more absolutely necessary for the preservation of the body, are sheltered from the injuries of the weather, or attacks of enemies, in little chambers as it were, or watchhouses.
Thus the eye, upon the approach of any danger, quickly shuts its two-leaved gates. And though the hearing and smelling have their ports continually open, yet are they not less secured, being stationed a good way back; whereas, if these intelligencers were posted entirely on the outside of the head or face, the slightest injuries might deprive us
of their service, (an argument of infinite wisdom and care.)
Now, if it were not for the senses, how could the soul be charmed with the beauties of nature, receive agreeable sensations from the power of melody, delight in the fragrance of the field, relish food, or find comfort in life? These senses, in part, are indeed common to the brutal creation, but there is one faculty which man alone possesseth, which setteth him far superior to all the creatures below; and that is the power of speech, whereby he can address the Divine Being, and converse with men, which is called in Scripture, “ the glory of man,” Ps. xiv. 9.--xxx. 12..--lvii. 8.---cviii. 1. What a pity is it, then, that this faculty, with which God hath so highly distinguished man above all the other creatures on earth, should be used in blaspheming and dishonouring Him, and in idle and trifling conversation !
In the head, likewise, is the brain, the fountain of the animal spirits, the principle of all sense and motion, and said to be the
palace-royal of the soul : not to speak of the numerous nerves, which from it are distributed throughout the whole human system, how wonderfully is it preserved and kept from disorder by a very thin membrane of a golden colour, called the Pious Mother! which straitly embraces it, and keeps it from quashing; round which is another more loose, but tougher and stronger : next is the skull, which is hard as a bone, and of remarkable tenacity, covered with skin and hair ; thus defended, it cannot easily be injured. And as for the heart, the principle of all animal life and action, called, by some, the Sun of the little world, being that where the vital frame is constantly kept up ; how carefully is it deposited in the centre of the trunk of the body! transversely in the cavity of the breast, inclosed in its own membrane, called Pericardium, which contains a transparent liquor that facilitates its motion and prevents friction.
..This was doubtless that blood and water, contained about the heart, which followed the spear of that vile miscreant who pierced