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helpless infants to a little suck from the earth. Why CHAP. did they not as easily find out all other conveniencies for them ? But there is so much absurdity in the whole supposition, that Berigardus concludes, that mankind must come full grown out of the earth, and able to shift for themselves ; or else that some other animals must come out before them, to afford milk for them, as the wolf did to Romulus and Remus. Such miserable shifts must those run into, who will not allow a wise Providence to have brought mankind into the world.
But how came mankind, if they came into the world so by chance, to be so admirably provided in all parts of their bodies of such instruments of sense and motion, that look as like a design as any thing can possibly do? The bodies of men are not like mere lumps of dirt and water put together; for there is not the least part about them but is made up of such a wonderful mechanism, that there cannot be a discomposure in it, without a disorder in the whole. But, suppose the fleshly and bony parts could be made by the mixing and tempering several particles of matter together, yet what can be imagined as to the muscles, and nerves, and fibres, which are so conveniently dispersed over the body? The heart itself is found to be a very strong muscle, consisting of abundance of nerves, and all kind of fibres complicated within each other, and a strong tendon at the basis of it; by virtue whereof it is able to contract itself, and so makes the blood to pass into the arteries, which convey it to all parts of the body. Now let any one think with himself how it is possible for a mere lump of earth, made in such a form as the heart is, to have such a force and power to contract itself to such a degree as to send out so much blood continually, and to receive it in again by the relaxation of itself. How comes this motion to begin in such a piece
STILLINGFLEET, VOL. II.
BOOK of clay, made with a basis and a cone? How came the
- inward cavities to be formed, and kept so distinct from
rowly searched into it, have found that no other acLower de count can be given of it, but that the wise Creator that Corde,p.85. formed the heart doth both give and continue its mo
tion. And as to all the other muscles of the body, if
nerves meeting with the animal spirits, and fermenting CHAP. together, which being thrust into the carnous fibres swells and dilates them, so as to make them contract themselves; from whence, they say, local motion proceeds. But all these are but mere conjectures, and hardly answer to the most common appearances of muscular motion. And the mechanism of our own bodies, both as to sense and motion, baffles all the attempts of the most ingenious and subtle philosophers; who may easier teach us the way to talk about it, than to understand it. But there is one thing yet farther fit to be observed in this place concerning the muscles ; which is the different figure of them, according to the use they serve for; as the muscle called deltoides on the shoulder, the circular muscles, where their use is to open and shut: if such things do not argue contrivance and design, it is not easy to imagine what doth. What can those who follow Diodorus Siculus make of the whole system of nerves which are in the body of man? Did these come out of slime with the heat of the sun? How came the different rise of the nerves, some within and others without the brain? What reason is there in the bulk, and figure, and texture of that same substance, that it comes to be so divided, so as part of it to continue within the brain, and the other to be continued down to the lowest part of the back, by several distinct vertebræ? How came matter of itself to form such a passage down from the brain, and to secure it in such a manner; and to compact the several parts together so firmly as if they were but one bone, and yet so flexibly as to serve best for motion? What made the perforation for the spinal marrow to pass in the middle and on the sides, for the several nerves to go from thence to the several parts of the body? Whence came that ligament, which joins the vertebræ
BOOK of the back together, and covers the other membranes
of the spina dorsi? There is a wonderful curiosity observed by our greatest anatomists, in the order and placing of the nerves, the arteries, the veins, and the hollow places belonging to it; which they found by opening the vertebræ in embryos, and taking out the spinal marrow, and injecting liquors into the several vessels. And still the farther any have gone in these searches, the more reason they have seen to admire the wisdom of Providence : and so it hath been in other parts. Aristotle mentions a strange saying of Empedocles, That the reason why the backbone appears as if it were made up of several pieces, was that it was at first broken, and then put together; and ever since it hath so continued. But how came the vertebræ then to be so well fastened together, and to be so much more convenient for motion than an entire bone would have been ? Besides in an embryo, that which is properly the spina doth not then appear, as being inconvenient for its posture in the womb; which shews both the intention of Nature, and the design of Providence. How came the vertebræ to be in other animals as well as mankind ? And even Aristotle himself was therein mistaken; for he affirms, that a lion hath no
vertebræ in his neck-bone, but that it is all one contiSapient. nued bone. But Borrichius, in his anatomy of one, de
clares, that he found the several vertebræ in the neck plain and distinct. And the same learned person observes, that in a crocodile, which he dissected, he found in four feet length of the back, sixty vertebra, which were of a spongy nature, fit to receive nourishment; and from the different formation of some parts of them, he concludes it most probable that they grow so much longer than other animals. But Aristotle's mistakes, about the lion's having no vertebre in his neck, had
been discovered by Scaliger, and confirmed by several chap.
Prospicere ut possimus.