« PredošláPokračovať »
Turisola-1!!!, 5.5, 95118 nol,
10mmobs to ARTICLE XII. ' ., THE CONSTITUTION OF MAN CONSIDERED IN RELATION
TO EXTERNAL OBJECTS. By George COMBE. 2d Edition. John i Anderson jun., Edinburgh; Longman & Co. and Simpkin & Marshall, ,
London; and Hodges & Smith, Dublin: 12mq Pp. 446.
IT was mentioned in our seventh volume, p. 655, that the late W. R. Henderson, "Esq., younger of Warriston and Eildon Hall, had bequeathed a considerable sum to certain trustees, 'to be applied in diffusing Phrenology, “ in whatever manner shall appear to them best suited to promote the ends in view: Declaring, that if I had' less confidence in my trustees, 'I would make it imperative on them to print and publish one or more editions of an Essay on the Constitution of Man, considered in relation to External Objects, by George Combe,'—in a cheap form, so as to be easily purchased by the more intelligent individuals of the poorer classes, and Mechanics’ Institutions, &c. ; but that I consider it better only to request their particular attention to this suggestion, and to leave them quite at liberty to act as circumstances may seem to them to render expedient; seeing that the state of the country, and things impossible to foresee, may make what would be of unquestionable advantage now, not advisable at some future period of time. But if my decease shall happen before any material change affecting this subject, I request them to act agreeably to my suggestion. And I think it proper here to declare, that I dispose of the residue of my property in the above manner, not from my being carried away by a transient fit of enthusiasm, but from a deliberate, calm, and deep-rooted conviction, that nothing whatever hitherto known can operate so powerfully to the improvement and happiness of mankind, as the knowledge and practical adoption of the principles disclosed by Phrenology, and particularly of those which are developed in the Essay on the Constitution of Man above mentioned.”
Mr Henderson died on 29th May 1832, and his trustees recently assigned a part of his funds for printing a cheap edition of Mr Čombe's work. Two thousand copies were accordingly published on 1st April last, at the price of two shillings and sixpence; all of which were sold in little more than a month. An edition on larger and finer paper was at the same time published at six shillings, but its price has now been reduced to four, in order to supply the continued demand. In this second edition many improvements and additions have been made; in particular, a long introductory chapter is prefixed, and two are added, one on the Relation beween Science and Scripture; and another on “ Punishment under the natural laws!" Having formerly given an account of the first edition of the work, we think it unnecessary to
enter into any analysis of its contents ou the present oceasion. Mr Combe, as the reader may remember, treats of the natural laws by which the inanimate creation, and the organic, moral, and intellectual constitution of wan, are regulated. One of the most striking and original points which he bas evolved, as the independent operation of these lawst-from which it happens, that however well some of them may be obeyed, yet, if others be neglected, the punishment of the neglect must inevitably be endured. This principle, we think, dispels many obscurities and difficulties which formerly appeared in the moral government of the world. The most virtuous crew of a ship are liable to be drowned if they neglect the physical laws according to wbich their ship may float in safety ; while persons the most depraved enjoy perfect security in a ship that is properly managed and strongly built. And, in like manner, if the organic lawsin other words, the laws of exercise, nutrition, sleep, cleanliness, and the like-be negiected, the individual is punished with bad health, though engaged in occupations purely benevolent and religious. The following cases, illustrative of this subject, appear to us full of instruction :
“A gentleman far advanced in years fell into a state of bodily weakness, which rendered the constant presence of an attendant necessary. A daughter, in whom Adhesiveness, Benevolence, and Veneration were largly developed, devoted herself to this service with the most ceaseless assiduity, i She was his companion for month after month, and year after year, happy in cheering the last days of her respected parent, and knowing nb. pleasure equal to that of solacing and comforting him. For months in succession she did not go abroad from the house; her duty became dearer to her the longer she discharged it; till at length her father became the sole object on earth of her feelings and her thoughts. The superficial observer would say that such conduct was admirable, and that she must have received a rich reward from Heaven for such becoming and virtuous devotion. But Providence rules by other laws, and 'never yields. Her enjoyment of mental happiness and vigour depended on the .condition of her brain, and her brain was subject to the organic laws. These laws demand, as an indispensable condition of health, exercise in the open air, and variety of employment, calculated to maintain all the faculties in activity. She neglected the first in her constant attendance in her father's chamber; and she overlooked the second in establishing bim as the exclusive object of her consideration. The result was, that she fell into bad health, accompanied by weakness of brain, extreme irritability and susceptibility of mind, excessive anxiety, hysteria, and even symptoms of insanity. Some judicious friends at last interfered, and by forcing her to leave for a time, although much
against her inclination, the object of her solicitude; rescued her from death, or confirmed mental derangement. If this case bad boen allowed to proceed uninterruptedly to its natural termination, many pious persons would have marvelled at the mysterious dispensations of Providence iiv afflieting so dutiful'a daughter'; whereas, when the principle of the divine igovernment is understood, the result appears neither wonderful nor perplexingen [1366 In the works of religious authors, inany erroneous views of divine dispensations may be found, traceable to ignorance of the natural laws. The Reverend Ebenezer Erskine, speaking of the state of his wife's mind, says. For a month or iwo the arrows of the Almighty were within her, the poison whereof did drink, up her spirits and the terrors of God did set themselves in arvay against her.” He called in the assistance of some neighbouring clergymen to join in prayers on her behalf, and she was induced to pray with them; but she still continued to charge herself with the unpardonable sin, and to conclude that she was a cast-away. Such feelings occurring in a woman of blameless life, clearly indicated diseased action in the organs of Cautious
• Before she fell into these depths, he continues, she told me that the Lord gave her such a discovery of the glory of Christ as darkened the whole création, and made all things appear as dung and dross in comparison of him. These expres sions indicate excessive excitement of the organs of Wonder and Veneration. She subsequently recovered her mental serenity; and her husband treats of the whole phenomena as purely menu tal and religious. He, however, afterwards incidentally mentions that she was subject to bad health, and that ' melancholy was a great ingredient in her disease. We now know that melancholy is a diseased affection of the organs of Cautiousness.
"" At the time when Mr Erskine lived and wrote, the phy: siology of the brain was unknown; the occurrences which he describes had a real existence; and he had been taught to attribute them to the agency of the divine spirit, or of the devil, according to their different characters. He is, therefore, not deserving of censure for the errors into which he unavoidably fell; but now when the facts which he describes, and analogous occurrences in our own day, can be traced to diseased action of the organs of the mind, we are authorized to view the providence of God in a different light. While it would be subversive of all religion to throw any doubt whatever on the reality and importance of religious feelings, sound in their character, and directed to proper objects, it is nearly equally injurious to the sacred cause, to mistake the excitement and depression of disease for the influence of the Holy Spirit, or the agency of the enemy of mankind.
" It is mentioned also in the Life of Mr Erskine, that his wife
bore several children to him wbile in precarious health, and that the situation of the manse, or parsonage house, was unwholesome. We are told, also, that in the year 1713, three of his children died ; that one died in 1720; and that in 1723 a fifth was on the brink of death, but recovered. * He treats of all these events, as severe trials, and sore afflictions, without having the least glimpse of their true causes and objects, or their relation to the natural laws.ow'71, '/';} vol bila bubr,
“ Again, Hannah More, in a letter to the Rev. John Newton, dated Cowslip's Green, 232 July, 1788, says "When I am in the great world, I consider myself as in an enemy's country, and as beset with snares, and this puts me upon my guard. * Fears and snares seem necessary to excite my circumspection ; for it is certain that my mind has more languor, and my faith less energy here, where I have no temptations from without, and where I live in the full and constant perusal of the most beautiful objects of inanimate nature, the lovely wonders of the munificence and bounty of God. Yet, in the midst of his blessings, I should be still more tempted to forget him, were it not for frequent nervous headaches and low fevers, which I find to be wonderfully wholesome for my moral health.'t
“ This passage contains several propositions ihat merit attention. First, according to the natural laws, the most beautiful objects of inanimate nature,' and the lovely wonders of the munificence and bounty of God,' are calculated to invigorate the moral, religious, and intellectual faculties, in all well constituted and rightly instructed minds; yet Hannah More's mind “had more languor, and her faith less energy,' amidst such objects, than when beset with snares.' Secondly, according both to the natural laws and to Scripture, · evil communications corrupt good manners;' but when in the great world, and in an enemy's country,' her faith was improved. And, thirdly, nervous headaches and low fevers' are the consequences of departures from the organic laws, and are intended to reclaim the sufferer to obedience that the pain may cease ; yet she found them wonderfully wholesome for her moral health,' and they prevented her from “forgetting God?!
“Only discase or errors in education could have produced such perverted experience in a woman so talented, so pious, and so excellent as Hannah More. Can we wonder that the profane should sneer, and that practical religion should slowly advance, when piety exhibits itself in such lamentable contradiction to the divine institutions ? And still more so, when, from proceeding on a false theory, it contradicts itsell? Hannah More, in ber Journal in 1794, says, "Confined this week with four days' headache an unprofitable timell thoughts wanderinglittle communion with God! I see by every fresh trial, that the time of sickniess is seldom the season for religious improvement. This great work should be done in health, or it will seldom be done well.? Vol. i. p. 418. This pássage is full of sound sense ; but it is in contradiction to her previous assertion, that's nervous headaches and low fevers were wonderfully wholesome for her moral health.' noflji of "07191 ,"rel terms
* Life and Diary of the Rev. Ebenezer Erskine, 1831, pp. 206, 301, 286, 290, 320.
+ Memoirs of H. More, Vol. ii. p. 110, 111.
« These examples, to which many more might be added, may sérve as illustrations of the proposition, That without a philosophy of human nature, even Feligious authors, when treating of sublunary events, cannot always preserve consistency either with reason or themselves; and hence that religion can never become thoroughly practical, nor put forth its full energies for human improvement, until it is wedded io philosophy. In proportion as men shall become acquainted with the natural laws, and apply them as tests to theological writings relative to this world, they will become convinced of the truth of this observation."
EDINBURGH.-On 30th March, Mr Combe concluded his course of Lectures on Phrenology, delivered during last winter to the Edinburgh Association for procuring Instruction in Useful and Entertaining Sciences. It appears from the Fifth Report of the Directors, read to a general meeting of subscribers on 23 March, that the number of tickets sold for this course was 224, and that 1114 visitors were admitted to single lectures, at 6d. each. On Monday 11th May, Mr Combe commenced a course of weekly lectures on Moral Philosophy founded on Phrenology, in Clyde Street Hall.
STIRLING.-We learn that a Phrenological Society was established here several months ago, and beg to be favoured with some account of its proceed. ings and success.
ARBROATH.-In consequence of an invitation from “The Arbroath So. ciety for the obtaining of Useful Knowledge,” two lectures on Phrenology were delivered there on 13th and 20th May, by our active friend Mr W. A. F. Browne of Montrose. The audience, we understand, amounted to about 600. Mr Browne restricted himself chiefly to the proofs that the brain is the organ of the mind, and to the general principles of Phrenology ; but we trust that he will speedily resume the subject at Arbroath, and pursue it into its details. We are glad to learn also that he is about to deliver, at Montrose, a course of six lectures, before the managers of the Lunatic Asylum under his superintendence, the medical men of the town, and such other individuals as may feel an interest in the subject,—upon Insanity generally, but confined more especially to the principles upon which the disease ought to be treated, and to a description of what asylums were, what they are, and what they ought to be. These lectures, of course, will be purely phrenological. Mr Browne's proposal to deliver them has been received in flattering manner; and as the subject is one respecting which the public at large stand greatly in need of being enlightened, we anticipate much good from the course.