« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
immutable, because they are implanted in the constitution of matter; they are inseparable from it, for where matter exists, these laws also are in force: these laws seem to be very few in number, when traced to their origin. Gravitation, and the mutual tendency of bodies to approach one another, depend upon the law of Attraction. The Planetary motion is regu. lated by the same law. It produces a disposition in bodies to come in contact, even when they are at a great distance from each other; but it does not seein to dispose matter to coalesce, and change its form. The utmost it can do is, to bring bodies into contact, and retain them so. The attractive property of bodies does not depend upon the tangible parts of these bodies. This may be easily proved to a certain extent: for, if a stick of sealing-wax, or glass, be rubbed with a dry woollen cloth, it will attract small pieces of paper held near it; some of these pieces will adhere to the surface of the wax for some time, while others will fly off instantly to some distance : if the point of a metallic body, a pair of scissars, for instance, be held near these pieces of paper, while adhering to the wax, it will draw them towards it; but, if the metallic body be allowed to touch one of these pieces, it will not attract that piece again ; the piece of paper will instantly fall down. In this experiment, it is evident, that it is not the substance of the wax that attracts the paper; for, Ist, the wax will not attract until it be first rubbed; 2ndly, the power of attraction is imparted to the paper, which could not be the case if the attractive property were in the constitution of the wax itself. Friction is absolutely necessary in this case before the attraction can take place, for warming the wax will not answer the purpose.
We consequently prove, by inference, that attraction here depends upon some substance, very minute, having a disposition to pass from one body into another, and that it cannot accomplish that end without carrying the body, in which it resides, along with it.
Many more instances might be brought forward to prove that attraction does not depend upon the tangible parts of bodies, or those parts which come under the evidence of our senses ; but that it depends upon some very minute substance, pervading these bodies, and endeavouring to escape from one body into another. This continual tendency to escape depends upon one body containing more of the attractive substance than another, when it has a continual tendency to form an equilibrium.
The other principal law which regulates matter is that of Affinity, or the mutual relation which subsists between different varieties of matter ; it is generally called chemical affinity.
inatter is generally supposed to be identical but there seems to me to be no resemblantee
There is not the least resemblance to ..ion between the atractive phenomena s
for between that of glass, wax, and SELESS
finity which is perceptible between derer: na si matter. Attraction des hes: su a sophy apt es. Det finns breda se snime enange
op and Doc 12:00 : tor mas: 5tela has: ra prr. grov or au alia... E... ## ruudies are
98,101. De neutralizes that diiu ide pro
wifi en trom erthyr a causes, Pr tron terpep natin sil Attraction ś mun substans. Mon Coules, as as
widends upon. lne nullarve: : UIT :
Bbm Je lumute par LA wher, ana. zugunications.
IlHer proois. In ., sne. ... Dear to be governea
as: ley are-eyer 3 !: ley are impiantet in lll 20 kiirer cause can
but these laws are differently modified in every individual body, whether animal or vegetable. As these laws are physical, bodies cannot resist their vital functions; their actions are not elective, as physical beings : provided air, nourishment, warmth, &c. be applied to them, they cannot resist living. These remarks apply equally to both animals and vegetables. If an animal put an end to his organic life, it is by moral, not physical, impulse. We have nothing to do at present with the moral propensities of Man and Animals; for we intend to speak of their organic life only.
The difference is so distinct between living and dead matter, as to render it unnecessary for me to define it. The first question that suggests itself to us is this,- What is the cause of this difference?
As long as a body lives, its identity is preserved, --it grows,it moves, either locally, or particularly,--it emits heat, &c.; but, as soon as death has taken place, these phenomena disappear,—the body decays, and becomes subject to the laws of inanimate matter. Is this principle of preservation, of growth, and of motion, a real being; or, is it only a power implanted in the constitution of bodies?
Power presupposes a body, of some kind, to exert that power;
for we can have no idea of power independent of body. To suppose that a power can exist, independent of body, is contrary to all experience; it is precisely the same as to suppose that an effect can take place without a cause : it would be, therefore, impossible for growth, nutrition, motion, &c. to go on, in bodies, without some real, substantial being to produce these effects ; we, consequently, conclude that lite cannot possibly be a mere power, but that it is an absolute entity, possessing form, occupying space, &c.
We have already shown that the phenomena of life must depend upon some real entity or substance : this substance must be one of two things; that is, it must be either the structure of the body itself, or else some minute, penetrating, subtle, and active substance, pervading the structure.
, in the first place, inquire, whether it may depend upon the structure or tangible parts of bodies. If life depend upon the structure, it must depend upon a particular state only of that structure,—for it cannot depend upon the structure in a state of death; life, consequently, cannot depend upon every state of the structure, because this structure exisis after death. bw, a state of the structure presupposes the existence of the
is evident, that the structure of bodies cannot ist as an organized structure, before the bodies are formed; ere can, consequently, be no life, if it depend upon the ructure. But, by what power is the body formed? Can the structure form itself into a living structure ? Such an idea is absurd. Before life can depend upon the structure, that structure must possess the power of forming itself,-a thing contrary to reason and experience.
At the earliest period of existence, the functions of life are performed. This is observable in the egg, and also in the seeds of vegetables; but there is no resemblance whatever between the egg and the chick which comes from it, nor between the seed and the vegetable. From this view of the subject, it necessarily follows, that if life depended upon a particular state of the structure, an egg would never change into a chick, nor a seed into a plant; for, the most they could do, would be only to live as an egg and a seed. There must, consequently, be some principle in action before the primitive atoms of the body can be put together. The action cannot proceed from the structure, because it requires action to form that structure.
Again, if life depended upon the structure of the body, there could be no reason why the body should die at all; for the structure of both animals and vegetables, is perfect for some time after death. Is it reasonable to suppose that the structure could form itself, preserve itself, nourish itself, and die before its texture is dissolved ? Such an opinion, although a very prevalent one, is, when narrowly examined, too absurd to be entertained for a moment.
As there must be some principle in action before the body can be formed ; and, as it is evident, that the structure, even when formed, could not give itself the power of motion, &c. it is reasonable to infer, that it is this first, active principle that gives motion, as well as form, to the structure : it not only gives motion, at first, to the body, but it also continues that motion ; for, it is evident that its continuation does not depend upon the organized structure, because the body dies before that structure is destroyed. It follows, from these remarks, that, as long as this principle exists in the body, that body manifests phenomena of life, but, as soon as it becomes extinct, the body also becomes inactive, and ceases to manifest vital phenomena.
It will be asked, what is meant by this principle ? and how is the existence of it proved? We have already stated, that every phenomenon must have its cause; that cause indicates power; and that power presupposes a body to exert it. It, therefore, follows, that, as there are phenomena of life, there must be life; and, as every physical cause consists of body, or entity, life must be an entity; and, also, as we have proved, that life cannot consist of the tangible parts or structure of bodies, it must be something pervading that structure. We prove the existence of the vital principle by the same rule, which we have laid down ; that is, by inference or induction. There are two ways of proving the existence of a thing; Ist, by the evidence of our senses; 2ndly, by the phenomena which the thing produces. The relation which the thing has with our senses is the best proof of its existence; but this is not always, although generally, identical with truth; for the senses are liable to err, either from their mode of application, or from disease: but this kind of proof is, in general, more to be relied on than in ferred proof. The degree of inferred proof is in proportion to its relation to our reason; the mode of obtaining it is this :—The existence of an effect is proved by its relation with our senses; if an effect exists, it must have a cause; that cause must be of some kind ; if it be of one kind, it cannot be of another; if it be not of one kind, it must be of another kind; its true kind must be according to its relation with our reason ; and the truth of reason depends upon experience. According to the same rule, that is, the rule of causation, we prove the existence of the vital principle by its phenomena ; and we prove its nature by the nature of these phenomena, as they relate to our senses. Caloric, or heat, is not tangible; but its existence is proved by its effects.
These effects are, expansion, emission of light, chemical decomposition, &c. When these phenomena all occur, in combination, in bodies, no one will deny the existence of beat in these bodies, because heat always produces these effects, in certain degrees; and no other substance, with which we are acquainted, will produce these effects, but heat. All agree, that there exists heat in such bodies, although they have never seen it It will be said, that we can prove its existence from its relation with our nerves, in producing pleasure, or pain, according to its degree ;-granted ; but what is that but proving its existence from its phenomena? Is the existence of the vital principle not proved in the same way, by the impulse which it gives to our bodies; by the manner in which it preserves these bodies from dissolution and decay; by its preserving their identity, and promoting their growth, nutrition, and reproduction?
We agree to call every thing with which we are acquainted, Matter ; but we find great diversities in bodies formed of matter; thus, electricity is very different from, wood,heat is very different from iron,--acids are different from alkalies.-oil is different from water,--spirits are different from oil, &c. ;-thus, we find matter in every form, and modification, we can imagine. Again, if we mix an acid and an alkali together, the product will be different from either; a mixture of oil and spirits is neither like oil nor spirits; a