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Lastly, we remark, the goodness of God may be demonstrated from the gift of two such organs to man, who but for them would have been a poor wretched prisoner of a cell that was part of himself, through whose walls he could neither see nor hear; but within which he must pine for a season till his body sunk into the deeper gloom of the grave.
4. The incomprehensibility of the Deity may be confidently argued from the works of his hands.
"He dwelleth in thick darkness," and what eye hath ever looked into "the secret place of his pavilion ?" We are filled with amazement when we try to think of him:
"Lost in the Godhead's deepest sea,
By the window of the eye the soul looks forth on the external world, and informs itself of whatever is important to be known by the doorway of the ear the spirit holds communion with the spirits of other men ; and, in fact, with whatever hath sound. But Solomon, in all the glory of his wisdom, could never have told me how little pictures formed on the back of the inner coat of the eye-ball should inform the immaterial man, the spiritual intelligence, of the colour, the size, the figure, and the position of things innumerable in heaven above, and in earth beneath. Newton may tell me that colour is not an absolute but an imaginary quality of bodies that it mainly depends upon the angle of incidence and reflection with which the ray that visits our eye fell on the body we contemplate: the metaphysical Reid may tell me that the position of bodies is apprehended simply by habit, and that it is rather the act of the mind than of the organ of vision: but to what do all these explanations amount? They only explain
some of the circumstances which belong to the formation of the image; what I want to know is, how that image is apprehended by the soul? by what sort of untold magic sign it is that the spirit is in momentary converse with the body? And this is a question which the wisdom of ages hath never resolved. Who is there that can tell me how the ideas of all spoken discourse are conveyed by the media of certain sounds which the ear takes in, and which sounds, strange to tell, though nothing more than imbodied air, communicate in some mysterious way with the intellect? and though no matter however curiously wrought, or exquisitely formed, can make any approach to spirit, God hath joined these together, and who may search out his wisdom? If the connection between images and ideas is remote, that between waves of air and thoughts is still more so. And there is no probability that the enigma shall ever be resolved in time. The Roman moralist somewhere says, "The hour shall arrive when the use and the - periods of comets shall be fully understood, and we shall be familiar with their course." Ages have passed away and we are nearly as ignorant on the subject as our forefathers were.
These observations might be made to bear with effect on the folly of incredulity in man, when the incomprehensibility of truth is the pretence for rejecting it: the mysteries of nature are as profound as the mysteries of revelation.
"These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,"
Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these heavens,
In these thy lowest works: yet these declare
Angels: for ye behold him, and with songs,
NUTRITION OF THE HUMAN BODY.
"I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made," Psalm cxxxix, 14.
THIS is one of the most beautiful of all the collection of poems commonly called the book of Psalms. Every word is full of meaning, and every verse, of beauty. There is a tone of solemnity peculiarly affecting throughout the whole composition; and the deep and tender feeling of devotion which it displays becomes more and more vivid. The writer begins with the reflection that God is acquainted with all our ways; being present every moment of our existence, he is privy to every working of our heart, and every wandering of our imagination; from his presence no one can retire, though he should escape to the remotest parts of the universe. Nor is this, continues the poet, a matter of wonder, for he is my Creator; he it was that formed me in the womb; and then he breaks forth into expressions of wonder and of praise,-"I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well."
It would occupy a large volume to go into the whole of this subject; some portions of which are unfit for public and popular discourse, and might and would
lead to intricate and long digressions. Enough to call forth our praise may be had by the consideration of the nourishment our bodies receive from food.
Few subjects are so curious, or, upon reflection, waken more wonder and awe than this is fitted to create. First, as to the matter of our nourishment, it is as various as can be conceived, comprehending the flesh of four-footed animals, fish, fowl, succulent and farinaceous vegetables. Of all these matters, each, before it can nourish our bodies, is deprived of animal or vegetable life; for all of it once lowed in the meadow, or bleated in the fold; flitted in the air, or swam in the stream; grew in the field, or was plucked from the tree: of all man partakes, and by them all he is sustained.
Among the civilized tribes of men this food must not only be deprived of life, but, with the exception of a few succulent vegetables, must be subjected to various processes of preparation for the table. In many cases this is a matter of taste, of habit, and of luxury in others, mastication and digestion are greatly assisted by subjecting food to heat. There are guardians to examine the fitness of the food, there is the finger to touch, the eye to scrutinize, the nose to smell, and the palate to
The food being prepared, a small portion, not too large for the mouth, is introduced into it; and when we consider how admirably the mouth is fitted for its peculiar offices we cannot but be lost in wonder. It is furnished with a doorway and gates, which may be thrown open or closed with pleasure, to admit the food and prevent its falling out: then at the circumference of the cavern, at the front in a semicircle, and all around it on each side are projections and elevations of bone, rising out of the jaws, and each fixed therein as a nail in a
board each of these projections is sheathed with enamel, a smooth, dense, glossy substance, altogether insensible, and capable of resisting ordinary violence.
Let us look more narrowly at the teeth, and we shall find they differ from each other in their figure and use; those of the semicircle in the front of the mouth terminate in sharp ridges of bone, and operate like knives to cut substances subjected to their action. At the extremity of these we have, on each side, above and below, a tooth with one powerful point, more resembling a screw, or an awl, than a knife; the remaining teeth are furnished each with several points on their upper surface, and as the jaws are not immediately nor immoveably opposite each other, the lower jaw only is capable of motion, and the upper being immoveable, we perceive the action of the teeth to be that of the grinders of a mill: the mouthful of bread, for instance, is cut by the first teeth; the crust is pierced by the second description of teeth; and the whole is reduced to a uniform mass, of the smallest particles, by the remaining teeth. But how comes it to pass that, when thus triturated, we are not choked by the small particles escaping into the windpipe? To prevent this, and to assist us to swallow the morsel, Providence has furnished the mouth with reservoirs of saliva. Each cheek has a gland, whose office it is to secrete the liquor; and there is a large gland of the same description under the tongue. Now it does so happen that the very same action of the muscles which brings the jaws into play and grinds the food compresses these glands, and forces thence a regular and adequate supply of saliva. This action of the muscles is necessary to the production of this effect: the channel communicating between the gland and the mouth is an oblique or slanting one; and hence it is