Previous Index Next
Page 416
(previous) (Page 000416) (next)

“Who dares to name His name,
Or belief in Him proclaim,
Veiled in mystery as He is, the All-enfoldcr ?
Gleams across the mind His light,
Feels the lifted soul His might,
Dare it then deny His reign, the All-upholder? ”


One or two interpolations, excepted, the foregoing brief
article was written on an Alpine SIOpe in the summer of
1863. Seven years afterward I Was singularly interested
to learn, that nearly 300 years ago, in explaining the actions
and energies of the human body, Descartes employed
similar imagery and expressed similar views as far as the
knowledge of his time allowed. Professor Huxley, who
possesses a reading faculty which I can but envy, has pub-
lished in his “Lay Sermons ” the following remarkable
extracts from the “ Traité de l’Homme': ”

“In pr0portion as these Spirits” (the animal spirits) “ enter the cavi-
ties of the brain, they pass thence into the pores of its substance, and from
these pores into the nerves; where, according as they enter, or even
only tend to enter, more or less, into one than into another, they have
the power of altering the figure of the muscles into which the nerves are
inserted, and by this means of causing all the limbs to move. Thus, as
you may have seen in the grottoes and the fountains in royal gardens,
the force with which the water issues from its reservoir is sufficient to
move various machines, and even to make them play instruments, or
pronounce words, according to the different disposition of the pipes which
lead the water.

“ And, in truth, the nerves of the machine which I am describing may
very well be compared to the pipes of these water-works; its muscles
and its tendons to the other various engines and springs which seem to
moxie them ; its animal spirits to the water which impels them, of which
the heart is the fountain; while the cavities of the brain are the central
office. Moreover, respiration and other such actions as are natural and
usual in the body, and which depend on the course of the Spirits, are
like the movements of a clock, or of a mill, which may be kept up by the
ordinary flow of water.

Previous Index Next