Page images
PDF
EPUB

It is pleasant to report that the they are derived, they are accepted with Society now numbers 88 members; and joy. It is believed that these tractafter paying all expenses, has during sermons are suitable for introducing the year been able to devote £10 principles of genuine truth into the towards the purchase of a piano. Its minds of such persons, who thus may meetings take place every Thursday be greatly benefited, in a spiritual way; evening, and a branch class has lately and even some of them be thus brought been formed, under the efficient presi. into an open profession of New Church dency of Mr I. Gunton, which assem principles. These tract-sermons are bles every Tuesday nightfor the small in size and cheap, costing only systematic study of the True Chris. twopence per dozen. The number now tian Religion.

reached is twenty-six. An advertise

ment on the wrapper of the present NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE.-The Society

number of this Magazine gives the here has been favoured by a visit from

titles and announces where these tracts the Rev. Dr. Bayley, who preached

are to be obtained. twice on Sunday, December 13. The attendance was excellent. The Ordination of Mr. W. Ray was carried out in

Marriages. the morning in lieu of the usual liturgical service. The confession of faith

October 17, at the New Jerusalem made by the candidate, and indeed the

Church, Bolton, by Mr. J. Deans, Mr. whole of the service, appeared to be

Adam Brooks to Miss Betsy Firth. deeply interesting to a numerous and

November 19, at the New Jerusalem respectable audience. Dr. Bayley

Church, Bolton, by the father of the delivered an excellent discourse, from

bridegroom, John Gee, eldest son of the John vi. 27, on the indispensable neces

Rev. W. Woodman, Kersley, to Emma, sity of the works of charity and the

younger daughter of the late Mr. John eternal blessings resulting. "About 35

Horrocks of Bolton. remained to receive the Holy Supper. Friends from Shields and other places were present. In the evening, the sermon was a beautiful exposition of On the 25th October, aged 22 years, Isaiah xxvi. 19. On the following at the residence of his father, Great Tuesday evening, our Rev. and esteemed Percy Street, London, Mr William friend delivered a lecture on “ Regen- Knibb Pulsford was removed into the eration, not Ritualism, the Way to the spiritual world. Connected from child. Kingdom of Heaven.” May these hood with the Argyle Square Society, labours of love be crowned with much he was known and beloved by a large success, and may the “ bread thus cast circle of friends, who rejoice to believe upon the waters be found after many that the excellences which won their days.” Our esteemed minister, the affection and esteem have fitted him for Rev. W. Ray, is commencing a course the higher usefulness and more perfect of Sunday Evening Lectures, of which blessings of our Father's heavenly king. we hope to report at some future time. dom.

Bath, on the 6th of November, Caro. TRACT SERMONS.—A new series of line Hart Baggs, the beloved wife of tracts is now being published in the Robert Baggs, after a short but severe form of sermons. They are written on illness, was removed from the natural New Church principles, but are with into the spiritual world, aged 36. She out the denominational name. They was a true believer in the doctrines of are intended for special adaptation to the Church, and the carrying them into persons who are strangers to the practice was her delight. heavenly doctrines, and are prevented Departed this life, November 17, Mr. from knowing them through a prejudice · George Grundy, aged 71, the oldest against the mere name of New Jeruas member of the New Church Society, lem, or of Swedenborg. It is well Bolton. A sincere receiver of the known that if New Church principles doctrines of the new Chureh - his are preached from pulpits of other declining years were cheered by the denominations, or put forth in any certainty of an immediate resurrection other way, if it be not stated whence in the Lord.

J. D.

Obituary.

[blocks in formation]

THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN BODY. In all ages scientific men have laboured, and in many cases with considerable justice, under the imputation, that to them the material and sensible phenomena of the universe were everything, and that all things not coming under this category were but lightly esteemed by them, or even altogether discredited. Upon no class has this stigma rested with greater weight than upon the anatomist. It appeared as if the study of man's corporeal frame led almost of necessity to scepticism or denial of his less tangible psychical endowments. A great deal of this, of course, was merely the result of vulgar prejudices, and of the feeling, so common amongst the uneducated and bigoted, that it is not possible for any man to hold any sincere and genuine religious beliefs, unless he will at the same time consent to subscribe to certain rigid theological dogmas. As was to be expected, the recent development of science has tended, for the time being, to intensify the feeling as to its materialistic tendencies, and certainly there exist some grounds for complaint. Under these circumstances it is a matter for congratulation to find a scientific man, so eminent in his own walk as was the late Professor Goodsir, of whose deep and ingrained religiosity there can be no question.

The story of Goodsir's life hardly concerns us here, and may be summed up in a very few words. The son of a country practitioner, he was born in the year 1814 at the little seaport of Anstruther on the coast of Fife. He was educated to the medical profession, and for four years he assisted his father in his practice. The bent of his mind towards scientific pursuits was, however, too strong to be resisted, and in 1841 he accepted the post of Conservator of the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh ; an appointment which he subsequently exchanged for a similar post at the University. In 1844 he was elected to fill the chair of Anatomy rendered vacant by the death of Monro tertius. The duties of this position he discharged until his death twenty years afterwards, his career being thus prematurely cut short by the incessant and unwearied labour which he bestowed upon his favourite pursuit. Of his status as a scientific man it is sufficient to say that he took rank as one of the first anatomists and zoologists of the present day.

In the two volumes before us* we have a collection of all the scientific writings which Goodsir left behind him, either unpublished, or scattered in various periodicals or in the transactions of learned societies. Amongst many valuable scientific memoirs we find a series of lectures on the “Dignity of the Human Body" which were delivered to the class of Anatomy in the year 1862, and are left to us in the form of propositions, which the editors have expanded, where practicable, by the help of notes taken at the time by one of the auditors. These lectures, along with a succeeding one on “Life and organization,” it is the object of the present article to review briefly, not so much with the intention of criticizing, as with the view of giving as far as possible an exposition of the more important principles laid down in them. It must be obvious, indeed, that criticism is idle, or even not altogether fair, in such a case as this, where the views to be criticized are left to us in the form of abstract propositions only, necessarily expressed dogmatically, and unsupported by the reasoning upon which they were primarily founded.

The object of the course of lectures on the “Dignity of the Human Body" was to institute a comparison between man and animals, considered zoologically and psychologically: and it will be at once seen that they differ from almost all other writings upon this subject, in the great stress which is laid upon the immaterial part of man's nature. In the value which he attached to this point, Goodsir was strikingly opposed to almost all who have preceded him; and the position which he took up will, we think, recommend itself to all who do not despise the study of questions involving points which cannot · * Anatomical Memoirs of John Goodsir, F.R.S., late Professor of Anatomy in the University of Edinburgh. Edited by William Turner, M.B., Professor of Anatomy in the University of Edinburgh. With a Biographical Notice by Henry Londsdale, M.D., formerly Lecturer on Anatomy. Edinburgh : A. & C. Black. 1868. 2 vols. 8vo.

be solved by science or history," and to the solution of which we can only arrive at an approximation. At any rate the views of a thinker so profound as Goodsir demand a careful consideration even at the hands of those who may be opposed to him, and we shall as far as possible give the ipsissima verba of the main propositions in the lectures in question.

The first lecture is occupied with the consideration of “the Nature of Animality,” and the following are the leading propositions which may be gathered from it. 1. “The conscious element of an animal is virtually the animal itself, for it is that failing which the body of the animal would have had no existence.” In other words ; “we must look for the specific characters of an animal not merely in its corporeal structure, but fundamentally in its instinctive consciousness and in the manifestations of that element."

2. “An animal is adapted to its geographical area by the endowments of its conscious principle, of which element the corporeal structure is the mere instrument."

3. “Every animal reacts upon the area which it inhabits, that reaction being, in fact, the final purpose for which the animal was created.”

4. “Th3 body of an animal, though complete or fully fitted to serve as the instrument of the animal's instinctive consciousness towards the fulfilment of the purpose of its creation, may, nevertheless, be incomplete as regards the type of animal structure on which it is formed. In technical language this is expressed by the proposition that animals as to their structure are teleologically complete, but are morphologically incomplete.

5. “There can be no question as to the existence in the animal of a principle allied to our own human consciousness,” and “it must be to this instinctive consciousness that we must look for the essential characters of animality.”

6. As to the distinguishing characters of the instinctive consciousness of animals, a branch of inquiry which constitutes comparative psychology, and which we can only investigate indirectly, the following conclusions may be arrived at. In the first place, animals agree with man in possessing a consciousness which is latent before birth, but which is awakened at the moment of birth by impressions made upon the surface of the body, these impressions producing sensations, by virtue of which the animal becomes conscious of the existence of objects external to itself. The young animal, however, differs from the

infant in the fact that “that it is able immediately and directly to determine the position and other relations of the objects it perceives, in relation to the surface of its own organism.” The grounds for this remarkable statement as to the difference between vision in the young animal and the infant are unfortunately not appended ; and it is merely stated, that the young animal is enabled to do this “ under the influence of a power, acting according to certain laws—a power to which we apply the collective term-Instinct.”

Further ; “in the brute consciousness is in relation to the objects perceived; the consciousness of self in the animal extends only to the not confounding of itself with those objects. In technical language, the animal can apprehend the object only, it cannot apprehend the subject." In other words, the animal is only conscious of the object which is perceived, but it is not conscious of the self which perceives. It follows from this, that in the animal “the sc-called intellectual processes resolve themselves into mere suggestive acts ;” and that “its so-called thoughts, or trains of thought, are merely individual acts of objective consciousness connected by the determining law of its instinct." These acts of consciousness may, of course, be immediate, the object itself being actually present, or they may be mediate, and depending upon the exercise of memory or imagination. It follows also, and for the same reason, that the animal is destitute of judgment, of will, and of conscience, and that it “invariably acts under the influence of sense (tuyn or oup).” To conclude this portion of our subject we have only to add Goodsir's definition of instinct, as “a collective term applied to those laws in virtue of which the psychical endowments of the animal are so adjusted in reference to its organism with its functions, and to all the necessary and contingent circumstances in its existence, as to enable them to work together harmoniously in the adaptation of means to ends, without self-consciousness."

The second lecture treats of the “ Essence of Humanity,” and by combining it with the lecture on life we may string together the following propositions as being the most important that it contains. 1. The distinguishing characteristics of man are to be found in the nature of his conscious principle, of which the corporeal part is merely the exponent.

2. “ Man has not been created for any area of a given geological, climatal, or phytological character,” but “it is evident that the extension of man over the globe has been provided for in the superiority of his psychical, and conseqnently of his corporeal endowments.”

« PreviousContinue »