10 Pages

CHAP. VIII. Of the Use of the Fibres and Nerves, and the Manner and Causes of Sensation, and of Muscular Motion

II. In the JirJl place, I take it for granted, that the intelligent Principle is o f a very different, if not quite contrary, Nature from this organical Machin which contains it; and has fcarce any thing in common to them, but as they are Subftances. It is well known to Phyjicians what wonderful Effe&s, the fajjionsy excited by lucky or unlucky Accidcnts, (which are juftly reckon’d Intelleffual or Spiritual Operations) have on the Pulfe, Circulation, Perfpiration, and Secre­ tions, and the other Animal Fundions, in Nervous Cafes cfpecially, even to the reiloreing from Death, and deftroying Life, as innumerable Inftances demonftrate. I have felt a Pulfe languiihing, interrupting, and juft dying away, render'd ftrong, full, and free by a joyful Surprize, and on the con­ trary. * Dr. Bryan Robinfons Reafoning is


conclufivc, and yet I fhall give one Inflance, of which Im yfclf (with many others) was an Eye-witncfs, more coercive, where an Effort o f the Mind reflor’d to Life once and again (to all Appearances) extinCt Ani.- mal Functions. Now if the Principle o f both Parts o f the Compound were one, or i f the Whole had but a material or organical Principle, or i f there were only an external Spring of Motion and AClion, the Functions dying, expircing,and going down, the Whole would always die and extinguifh. But furely no different or independent Internal Princi­ ple, could reftore, invigorate and aCtuate the dead or juft dying material and animal Func-r tions, as in this lafl Cafe *. I have for­ merly fuggeited, that the bed: Similitude I can form of the Nature and ACtions o f this (Principle upon the Organs of its Machin, is that of a skilful Mujic’tan playing on a welltun’d Inllrument. So long as the Inilrument is in due Order, fo long is the Mufick pcrfeCt and compleat in its Kind. As it weakens or breaks, the Harmony is fpoil’d or Hop’d. Some of the Parts of this Inilrument being more delicate than others, are fooner difbrder’d or broken. The great and principal ones, which prefideover and aCtuate the leifer, are Strong and Durable, and require a greater

F 3 Force

Force and Violence to diiorder them ; but when once they are worn out, fpoil’d, and ruin’d, the leflcr and dependent ones are in­ volv’d in their Fate, and the Muficiau muft neceifarily lhift his Place and Scene. It is the Nature o f all material Organs to decay and be worn out by Time. The Divifibility of Matter, the Friftion of the Parts upon one another, and the Aftion o f the Bodies that furround them, make this inevitable; but Accidents, Violence, and Mifmanagement will quicken and forward their Ruin.