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with the property of thought, or to infuse into him a portion of immaterial fire ;-on all these points Consciousness gives us no information. A great deal of popular delusion, indeed, has been kept alive on this point, by the fact being overlooked, that we are not conscious of the operations of the brain. Men in general, because they are sensible only of thought and feeling, and not of the movements of any material organ performing these acts of the mind, imagine that it is necessarily an immaterial substance, which is thinking and feeling within them; but they are equally unconscious of the contraction and relaxation of the muscles, and they might as well imagine that their arms and legs are moved, not by material organs, but by the direct impulse of spirit, as entertain the supposition in question. In short, the truly pbilosophical conclusion is, that, by means of consciousness, we are unable to discover of what substance the thinking principle is composed.
Does observation, then, throw a stronger and steadier light upon this long agitated question ? The mental organs, while in health, and in the natural state in which their functions are most perfectly performed, are completely hid from inspection. No eye can penetrate the integuments of the head, the tables of the skull, the dura mater, and the pia mater, to obtain a view of the operations performed in the brain, while the thoughts run high, and the sentiments swell with emotion; and when external injury or disease removes these coverings, the mind does not disport in all the vigour of its healthy action. Besides, even when all these external obstacles to inspection are removed, still it is only the surface of the convolutions which is perceived, and the soul may be enthroned in the long fibres which extend from the surface to the medulla oblongata, or thought may be elaborated there, and still evade detection. It will be said, however, that death will solve the question, and allow the whole secrets of the soul to be disclosed; but, alas ! when the pulse has ceased to beat, and the lungs no longer play, the braiv presents
nothing to our contemplation, but an inert mass, of a soft and fibrous texture, in which no thought can be discerned, and no sentiment perceived, and in which also no spirit or immaterial substance can be traced; so that from inspecting it even imagination receives no food for conjecture, as to the presence or absence of an immaterial guest while life and health yet animated its folds.
Observation, therefore, reveals as little in regard to the substance of the mind, as does reflection on consciousness; and as no other modes of arriving at certain knowledge are open to man, the solution of the question appears to be placed completely beyond his reach. In short, to use an observation of Dr SPURZHEIM, Nature has given man faculties fitted to observe phenomena as they at present exist, and the relations subsisting betweeu them; but has denied to him powers fitted to discover, as a matter of direct perception, either the beginning, or the end, or the essence, of any thing under the sun; we may amuse our imagination with conjectures, but will never arrive at truth, when we stray into these interdicted regions.
The solution of this question, therefore, is not only unimportant, but it is impossible; and this leads me to observe, that no idea can be more erroneous than that which supposes the dignity and future destiny of man as an immortal being, to depend, of necessity, on the substance of which he is made.
Let us allow to the materialist, for the sake of argument, that the brain is the mind, and that medullary matter thinks,- What then? If, in fact, it does so, it must be the best possible substance for thinking, just because the CreaTOR selected it for the purpose, and endowed it with this property. In this argument, the religious constantly forget that the same OMNIPOTENT hand made the brain that created the mind and the universe itself, and that, in the dedication of every cerebral convolution to its objects, be they thinking or any other process, the Divine Wisdom is as certainly exercised, as in impressing motion on the planets,
or infusing light and heat into the sun. If, therefore, de facto, God has made the brain to think, we may rest assured that it is exquisitely and perfectly adapted for this purpose, and that His objects in creating man will not be defeated, on account of His having chosen a wrong substance, out of which to constitute the thinking principle. But what are His objects in creating man? This brings us to the jet of the question at once. Mr LAWRENCE, it is said, founds no moral doctrine on his opinions regarding the cssence of the mind; but other materialists, who make these opinions the foundation of atheism, wish us to believe that the best evidence of the Divine intention in creating the human soul, is to be found by discovering the substance of which it is made; and they insinuate, that, if it be constituted of a very refined and dignified material, the conclusion necessarily follows, that it is intended for magnificent destinies, while, if it be composed of a rude and vulgar stuff, it must be intended only to crawl on this filthy world. Here, however, sense and logic equally fail them: for no principle in philosophy is more certain than that we cannot infer from a knowledge of the mere substance of any thing for what ends it is fitted. Exhibit to a human being every variety of imaginable essence, and if you allow bim to know no more of its properties than he can discover from examining its constituent parts, he will be utterly incapable of telling whether it is calculated to endure for a day, or last to eternity The materialist, therefore, is not entitled, even from the supposed admission that medullary matter thinks, to conclude that the human being is not immortal and responsible. The true way of discovering for what end man has been created, is to look to the qualities with which he has been endowed, trusting that the substance of which he is composed is perfectly suited to the objects of his creation. Now, when we inquire into his qualities, we find the thinking principle in him to differ, not only in degree, but in kind, from that of the lower animals. The lat. ter have no faculty of justice, to indicate to them that the
unrestrained manifestation of Destructiveness or Acquisitiveness is wrong; they have no sentiment of Veneration to prompt them to seek a God whom they may adore; they have no faculty of Hope, pointing out futurity as an object of ceaseless anxiety and contemplation, and leading them to desire a life beyond the grave; and, indeed, the convolutions of the brain, which in man form the organs of these sentiments, appear not to exist in the lower animals. Those organs also, which in man serve to manifest the faculties of Reflection, are, in the lower animals, eminently deficient, and their understanding, in exact correspondence with this fact, is so limited as to be satisfied with little knowledge, and to be insensible to the comprehensive design and glories of creation. Man, then, being endowed with qualities which are denied to the lower creatures, we are entitled, by a legitimate exercise of reflection, the subject being beyond the region of the external senses, to conclude, on principles truly philosophic, that he is designed for another and a higher destiny than is to be allotted to them, whatever be the essence of his mind.
III. ON THE EFFECTS OF INJURIES OF THE BRAIN
ON THE MANIFESTATIONS OF THE MIND.
(By Dr A. COMBE.)
Of all the arguments advanced for the subversion of Phrenology, no one has been more frequently or more confidently urged, than that which rests on the alleged fact of the brain having, in various instances, been wounded or destroyed in whole or in part, without in any degree impeding the usual operations of mind. When narrowly examined, however, this objection proves to be at variance with the views of those who maintain it, and completely demonstrative of their ignorance of the principles of the science against which it is directed. “ The system of GALL
and SPURZHEIM,” it is said, “ however ingenious or amusing in theory it may be, is annihilated by the commonest reference to fact. Experience has shewn us, that a man may live in the full enjoyment of his intellectual faculties, although a part of his brain is destroyed by disease. Portions of the brain, various in situation and size, have been found to have been entirely disorganized, yet no single power of the mind was impaired, even to the very day of the patient's death. It would be difficult to find any one portion of the brain, that has not, in some case or another, been deranged in its structure, without injury to the mind. Certainly, of the parts specified by Gall and SPURZHEIM, every one has, in its turn, been found wanting, without any deficiency in that intellectual faculty which they would represent it either to produce or sustain *.” Such are the ipsissima verba of a learned and respectable, though prejudiced opponent; and although others might be quoted, who go still farther than he does, I am ready to admit, that, if the statements here recorded were as clearly substantiated as they were sweepingly made, neither the system
philosophy which we advocate, nor any other which acknowledges the necessity of the intervention of a material instrument for the manifestation of the mind, could possibly survive for a day.
At first sight, the foregoing objection appears to be highly plausible and relevant; and coming as it generally does, directly or indirectly, from the members of the medical profession, who, naturally enough, are supposed to be best qualified to judge, it is received by many with implicit confidence, and thus operates upon them with all the force of truth; and, in fact, to those who are alike ignorant of Anatomy and of Phrenology, and who, therefore, have no means of forming an accurate estimate of its force, it does present a very formidable aspect. As, however, to those who are acquainted with both these sciences, and who are consequently better qualified to judge correctly, the very
· Rennel on Scepticism, p. 100.