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not probable that my going into the room was the cause of the person having a fit of apoplexy, although one succeeded the other; but, at the same time, my going into the room might be the cause of apoplexy, for I might give the person a blow on the head; or the idea of my presence might have such a relation with his brain, as to excite that organ into a fit of apoplexy. There would be here an affinity between cause and effect; and the first effect might act as a cause for a second effect, so suddenly, that my going out of the room would not restore the person to his senses. This is only a proof by synthesis, and it is not identical with truth; for I cannot be sure that my going into the room was the cause of the fit, because my going out of it did not relieve him. This is merely a proof by synthesis, which is only a probability. If I mix together a certain quantity of an acid, and of an alkali, and find that they form neutral salts, it is a proof, by synthesis, that the acid and alkali are the cause of the salts; and, if I can again reduce the salts to their primitive causes, I prove both by synthesis and analysis, that the acid and the alkali were the causes of the salts. If I find this to occur after repeated trials, I conclude that I am not deceived. This experiment may be reversed, by first proving by analysis, and then by synthesis. This rule will always stand good.

Our living in atmospheric air is only a possibility that air is the supporter of life; for it is not impossible that heat, or light, may be that supporter ; but, when we consider that the atmospheric air is universal, and that heat and light are not constant, it comes to a probability that it is the supporter of life, because every living being exists in it: but, if we find that the absence of atmospheric air invariably destroys life, we have an absolute proof that atmospheric air is the supporter of life. If any one denies this, he must disbelieve the evidence of his senses.

Without going any further to prove this point, I presume that every one will admit that air is a supporter of life. It is not my intention to enter into minutæ, by showing what portion of the atmosphere may constitute this property. It is sufficient to prove that this property exists in the constitution of the atmosphere.

The vital principle is preserved from exhaustion by its affinity with the vital elements of the atmosphere. It requires a continual supply of fresh elements. . This supply can be rendered only by air and food. It is chiefly derived from air, for food is intended more particularly for the renovation of the structure. The atmosphere contains a substance capable of being converted into life; which substance unites with the blood in the lungs, during its circulation. This effect is


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duced by the function of respiration. The vital elements are diffused by the blood, over every part of the body; and the vital principle, being active in these parts, converts it into a substance of its own nature. There is nothing uncommon in this process, as it has many analogies in nature. It is analogous to the action of fire on fuel, blood on chyle, acid on alkali; and, in fact, to all the phenomena in nature. It is governed by the laws of affinity, and attraction, in unison with the constant and undeviable process of causation. The vital elements, existing in the constitution of the atmosphere, are, doubtless, very differently modified from the vital principle, which is active in the body. It first undergoes a change by its union with the blood in the lungs of animals, and with the sap in the leaves of vegetables.

The atmosphere is a compound of many airs, and each of these produces its peculiar effect on the vital principle. That part of it, which we call oxygen, is the only one capable of supporting life. But oxygen and life are not identical. It evidently consists of, or contains the vital elements, and consequently, bears a relation with life, by their having some properties in common. Oxygen has also properties in common with electricity, and caloric. When the oxygen inspired is increased, the functions of life are accelerated, which indicates an increase of vital principle. But this is no more proof that oxygen is life, than that fuel is fire. An increase of fuel will produce an increase of caloric; and an increase of oxygen will produce an increase of life. There is causation here, but no identity.

The elements of the vital principle have an affinity for each other, and also for the tangible parts of bodies. They unite with tangible parts, as caloric, or the electric matter, unites with different substances. Life is differently modified in every part and tissue of the body. In bone, it forms bony matter; in muscles, it forms flesh; in the skin, it forms skin, &c. This is owing to that portion of life which resides in bone, having an affinity for such materials only as will form bone; and so on, in every other part and tissue throughout the body. According to this law, every part will always be preserved in the same state, unless the condition of the vital principle be changed. Physical man will never change into physical brute; nor physical brute into vegetable. As long as the life is the same, the body must be the same, inasmuch as the body is determined by its life.

From this view of the subject, it would appear that life and death are only comparative states. A body may possess much life, or little life, or none at all. Its life may become modified in its condition, from a modification in the condition of

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the atmosphere, food, &c. In this consists the curative relations of remedies. There cannot be many conditions of life compatible with health ; every other modification must constitute disease. The curative tendency of remedies is owing to their property of modifying life into a state compatible with health. A disease may be a disease of life, or a disease of structure; but even disease of structure must be, in some degree, governed by life; because disease is no disease, further than it relates to living body; for it has no relation with dead body. A disease of life may be either general, or partial; for the disease may have an affinity for that modification only of life which resides in a particular seat; or it may have an affinity for every modification of it. Disease of structure may be the same. Some diseases, as cancer, &c. have an affinity for every kind of structure; whereas others have an affinity for particular tissues only. Disease of life will naturally lead to disease of structure, and vice versa. These phenomena are governed by the immutable law of causation : the weaker cause must give way to the stronger one.

Disease must be a real entity, as well as life. Before life can become diseased, the disease must have a greater affinity for life, than life has for the structure. Before the structure can become diseased, the disease must have a more powerful affinity for the structure, than the structure has for life. From these remarks, it follows, that disease is a change in the condition of life, or a change in the condition of the structure; and this change is occasioned by the matter which constitutes the disease entering into union, either with life, or with the structure.

We have now arrived at the last point of discussion, that is, the extinction of the principle of life. Death is only a negation of life, and not a real substance of itself. Death may take place in two ways: first, either by a sudden conversion of the vital principle into another form; or, secondly, by its gradual diminution and decay. Before life can be converted into another form, instantaneously, the substance which enters into union with it must be as minute as life itself. Our experience proves only one substance capable of doing this, that is, the electric matter. Lightning kills instantaneously, without changing the form of the organized structure. I know of only one way of accounting for this phenomenon ; that is, that the electric matter is so minute as to pervade the body; and that its affinity is so powerful for life, as to convert life into another forn. Before this can be done, it requires a large quantity of the electric matter. A smaller quantity would only diminish the quantity of life; and as life is continually replenished by its union with the atmosphere, this deficiency would be soon made up. Bat, if all the vital principle be at once converted into another form, the power of replenishing is lost ; because there is no active life to convert the vital elements of the atmosphere into life. The electric matter will produce precisely the same effect on the life of vegetables; for these instantly wither, and fall into decay, after receiving its shock. In animals, in particular, there are sufficient indications after death to prove that lightning kills by converting life into another form. When death takes place gradually, the blood coagulates ; but, when the animal is killed by lightning, the blood remains fluid. The structure, also, instantly begins to dissolve. When the animal dies gradually, the structure does not run very rapidly into a state of putrefaction ; because some of the vital principle remains unexhausted, for many hours after apparent death; and this, according to its quantity, preserves the structure, for a longer or shorter time, from decay. On the contrary, when death is produced by lightning, life is entirely destroyed at once, so that the organized structure is left at liberty to become subject to the laws of chemistry. There are some poisons, such as that of the viper, for instance, which destroy life in a similar manner, but not so suddenly as the electric matter does, because its affinity for life is not so powerful as that of electricity. Any thing which has an affinity for life will, in some degree, change its condition. Its affinity with some things will tend to its replenishment; while its affinity with others, will tend to its destruction. This is the case with all substances throughout Nature. One thing leads to the destruction of another, whilst another thing leads to its preservation. What is destructive to one thing, is preservative to another; and what is preservative to one thing, is destructive to another. Disease is destructive to life, and life is destructive to disease, for a thing cannot alter the form of another without undergoing an alteration in its own form. Death is the height of disease, as it relates to body; for that disease is greatest which comes nearest to the destruction of life. Life is the principle which is preservative of the body, and the negation of this principle is death. This negation, as has been already observed, may take place either from the conversion, or exhaustion of life.

The exhaustion of the vital principle may take place from two causes: first, from an obstruction of the atmosphere into the body: secondly, from a want of power, in the vital principle, of converting the vital elements into life. The atmosphere may be prevented from entering the body in two ways: first, from a stoppage to its course, as in drowning, hanging, &c.; or, secondly, from a debility of the muscles of respiration. Natural death may be the effect of a decay of life; or the effect of weakness of the respiratory muscles.

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Life is only destined to last a certain time. It becomes gradually decayed, till, at last, there is not sufficient in the body to carry on the vital movements. But, even after the vital movements have ceased, there remains still some of the vital principle in the body, for some hours. This may be proved by the application of stimuli, which will excite a contraction of the muscles. The relation of the stimuli is with life, and not with the muscles themselves; for, after a certain time, the muscles will not contract, although apparently perfect.

To conclude this subject, it would appear, from the view which we have taken of it, that there is a principle inherent in every animal and vegetable; and that this principle is the cause of all the phenomena exbibited in animated beings.

It receives its supply from air and food, which it converts into life and structure. It is differently modified in every individual body, and in every part and tissue of that body. like all other things in Nature, destined to last for a certain time only; it then falls into decay. The tendency of every thing is to destruction, or a change of form; and life is subject to the same law. It preserves the entity, and identity of the body, during its existence in the body, and governs the physical movements of its different tissues. Being differently modified in every seat, it forms bones, muscles, vessels, nerves, brain, liver, heart, &c. in these seats, according to its peculiar modification. These tissues, again, in their turn, by their different functions, contribute towards the replenishment of life; so that the vital movements depend upon a circular chain of causes and effects, the existence and action of one part of the body depending upon the existence and action of other parts. When this arrangement of movements is destroyed, the vital principle becomes exhausted, and the body falls into decay and dissolution. It becomes an useless lump of matter, fit only to be consigned to the earth, to become nourishment again for some other animated beings, and to follow the same chain of causes and effects as it did before. All the phenomena of Nature are governed by different modifications of the same laws. They depend upon a chain of causation; one cause producing an effect, and this effect, again, becoming a cause for another effect. Beginning at the other end of the chain, we proceed, step by step, from effects to causes; and we find again that these causes are only the effects of prior causes, till, at last, all causes and effects are swallowed up in the great cause of causation.

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