Page images

-How august,

How complicate, how wonderful, is man!
How passing wonder He who made him such !—
From different natures marvellously mixt ;-
Though sully'd and dishonour'd, still DIVINE!

"Come! all ye nations! bless the LORD,
To him your grateful homage pay:
Your voices raise with one accord,
JEHOVAH'S praises to display.

From clay our complex frames he moulds,
And succours us in time of need:
Like sheep when wandering from their folds,
He calls us back, and does us feed.

Then thro' the world let's shout his praise,

Ten thousand million tongues should join,
To heav'n their thankful incense raise,

And sound their MAKER's love divinc.

When rolling years have ceas'd their rounds,
Yet shall his goodness onward tend;
For his great mercy has no bounds,

His truth and love shall never end!"


So curious is the texture or form of the human body in every part, and withal so "fearfully and wonderfully made," that even atheists, after having carefully surveyed the frame of it, and viewed the fitness and usefulness of its various parts, and their several intentions, have been struck with wonder, and their souls kindled into devotion towards the all-wise Maker of such a beautiful frame. And so convinced was Galen of the excellency of this piece of divine workmanship, that he is said to have allowed Epicurus a hundred years to find out a more commodious shape, situation, or texture, for any one part of the human body! Indeed, no understanding can be so low and mean, no heart so stupid and insensible, as not plainly to see, that nothing but Infinite Wisdom could, in so wonderful a manner, have fashioned the body of man, and inspired into it a being of superior faculties, whereby He teacheth us more than the beasts of the field, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of the heaven.

-Thrice happy men,

And sons of men, whom God hath thus advanc'd;
Created in his image, here to dwell,
And worship him; and, in return to rule
O'er all his works.


We now proceed to consider THE CURIOSITIES OF THE HUMAN COUNTENANCE.-On this subject we shall derive corsiderable assistance from the same German philosopher tha was quoted in the last section. Indeed, we shall make a liberal use of Sturm's Reflections in our delineations of the Curiosities of the human frame.

The exterior of the human dy at once declares the superiority of man over all living creatures. His Face, directed towards the heavens, prepares us to expect that dignified expression which is so legibly inscribed upon his features; and from the countenance of man we may judge of his important destination, and high prerogatives. When the soul rests in andisturbed tranquillity, the features of the face are calm and composed; but when agitated by emotions, and tossed by contending passions, the countenance becomes a living picture, in which every sensation is depicted with equal force and delicacy. Each affection of the mind has its particular impression, and every change of countenance denotes some secret emotion of the heart. The Eye may, in particular, be regarded as the immediate organ of the soul; as a mirror, in which the wildest passions and the softest affections are reflected without disguise. Hence it may be called with propriety, the true interpreter of the soul, and organ of the understanding. The colour and motions of the eye contribute much to mark the character of the countenance. The human eyes are, in proportion, nearer to one another than those of any other living creatures; the space between the eyes of most of them being so great, as to prevent their seeing an object with both their eyes at the same time, unless it is placed at a great distance. Next to the eyes, the eye-brows tend to fix the character of the countenance. Their colour renders them particularly striking; they form the shade of the picture, which thus acquires greater force of colouring. The eye-lashes, when long and thick, give beauty and additional charins to the eye. They, at the same time, act as delicate curtains to catch any flying particles with which the atmosphere may be charged. The eye-brows are elevated, depressed, and contracted, by means of the muscles upon the forehead, which forms a very considerable part of the face, and adds much to its beauty when well formed: it should neither project much, nor be quite flat; neither very large, nor small; beautiful hair adds much to its appearance. The Nose is the most prominent, and least moveable part of the face; hence it adds more to the beauty than the expression of the countenance. The Mouth and Lips are, on the contrary, extremely susceptible of changes; and, if the eyes express the passions of the soul, the mouth seems more peculiarly to correspond with the emotions of the heart. The rosy bloom of the lips, and the ivory white of the teeth, complete the charms of the human face divine.

Another Curiosity on this subject is, the wonderful diversity of traits in the human countenance. It is an evident proof of the admirable wisdom of God, that though the bodies of men are so simi-ar to each other in their essential parts,

there is yet such a diversity in their exterior, that they can be readily distinguished without the liability of error Amongst the many millions of men existing in the universe. there are no two that are perfectly similar to each other Each one has some peculiarity pourtrayed in his countenance, or remarkable in his speech; and this diversity of counte nance is the more singular, because the parts which compose it are very few, and in each person are disposed according to the same plan. If all things had been produced by blind chance, the countenances of men might have resembled one another as nearly as balls cast in the same mould, or drops of water out of the same bucket: but as that is not the case, we must admire the infinite wisdom of the Creator, which, in thus diversifying the traits of the human countenance, has manifestly had in view the happiness of men; for if they resembled each other perfectly, they could not be distinguished from one another, to the utter confusion and detriment of society. We should never be certain of life, nor of the peaceable possession of our property; thieves and robbers would run little risk of detection, for they could neither be distinguished by the traits of their countenance, nor the sound of their voice. Adultery, and every crime that stains humanity, might be practised with impunity, since the guilty would rarely be discovered; and we should be continually exposed to the ma chinations of the villain, and the malignity of the coward: we could not shelter ourselves from the confusion of the mis take, nor from the treachery and fraud of the deceitful; all the efforts of justice would be useless, and commerce would be the prey of error and uncertainty: in short, the uniformity and perfect similarity of faces would deprive society of its most endearing charms, and destroy the pleasure and sweet gratification of individual friendship.

We may well exclaim with a celebrated writer,-

"What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form, and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god!"

The next subject is, THE CURIOUS FORMATION OF THE EYE.-The Eye infinitely surpasses all the works of man's industry. Its structure is one of the most wonderful things the human understanding can become acquainted with; the most skilful artist cannot devise any machine of this kind which is not infinitely inferior to the eye; whatever ability, industry, and attention he may devote to it, he will not be able to produce a work that does not abound with the imperfections incident to the works of men. It is true, we cannot perfectly become acquainted with all the art the Divine Wis

dom has displayed in the structure of this beautiful organ; but the little that we know suffices to convince us of the admirable intelligence, goodness, and power of the Creator. In the first place, how fine is the disposition of the exterior parts if the eye, how admirably it is defended! Placed in durable orbits of bone, at a certain depth in the skull, they cannot easily suffer any injury; the over-arching eye-brows contribute much to the beauty and preservation of this exquisite organ; and the eye-lids more immediately shelter it from the glare of light, and other things which might be prejudicial; inserted in these are the eye-lashes, which also much contribute to the above effect, and also prevent small particles o dust, and other substances, striking against the eye.* The internal structure is still more admirable. The globe of the eye is composed of tunics, humours, muscles, and vessels, the coats are the cornea, or exterior membrane, which is transparent anteriorly, and opake posteriorly; the charoid, which is extremely vascular; the uvea, with the iris, which being of various colours, gives the appearance of differently coloured eyes; and being perforated, with the power of contraction and dilatation, forms the pupil; and, lastly, the retina, being a fine expansion of the optic nerve, upon it the impressions of objects are made. The humours are the aqueous, lying in the forepart of the globe, immediately under the cornea; it is thin, liquid, and transparent; the crystalline, which lies next to the aqueous, behind the uvea, opposite to the pupil, it is the least of the humours, of great solidity, and on both sides convex; the vitreous, resembling the white of an egg, fills all the hind part of the cavity of the globe, and gives the spherical figure to the eye. The muscles of the eye are six, and by the excellence of their arrangement it is enabled to move in all directions. Vision is performed by the rays of light falling on the pellucid and convex cornea of the eye, by the density and convexity of which they are united into a focus, which passes the aqueous humours, and pupil of the eye, to be more condensed by the crystalline lens. The rays of light thus concentrated, penetrate the vitreous humour, and stimulate the retina upon which the images of objects, painted in an inverse direction, are represented to the mind through the medium of the optic


• Besides these, amongst the internal parts are enumerated,—the lachrymal gland, which secretes the tears; the lachrymal caruncle, a small fleshy substance at the inner angle of the eye; the puncta lachrymalia, two small openings on the nasal extremity of each eye-lash; the lachrymal duct, formed by the union of the ducts leading from the puncta lachrymalia., and conveying the tears into the nose; the lachrymal sac, a dilatation of the lachrymal canal.

-The visual orbs

Remark, how aptly station'd for their task;
Rais'd to th' imperial head's high citadel,
A wide extended prospect to command.
See the arch'd outworks of impending lids,
With hairs, as palisadoes fenc'd around
To ward annoyance from without.

Again :

Who form'd the curious organ of the eye,
And cloth'd it with its various tunicles,
Of texture exquisite; with crystal juice
Supply'd it, to transmit the rays of light;
Then plac'd it in its station eminent,
Well fenc'd and guarded, as a centinel
To watch abroad, and needful caution give?





The channel'd ear, with many a winding maze,
How artfully perplex'd, to catch the sound.
And from her repercussive caves augment!

Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
The ear more quick of apprehension makes;
Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
It pays the HEARING-double recompense.



Although the ear, with regard to beauty, yields to the eye, Its conformation is not less perfect, nor less worthy of the Creator. The position of the ear bespeaks much wisdom; for it is placed in the most convenient part of the body, near to the brain, the common seat of all the senses. The exterior form of the ear merits considerable attention; its substance is between the flexible softness of flesh, and the firmness or bone, which prevents the inconvenience that must arise from its being either entirely muscular or wholly formed of solid bone. It is therefore cartilaginous, possessing firmness, folds, and smoothness, so adapted as to reflect sound; for the chief use of the external part is to collect the vibrations of the air, and transmit them to the orifice of the ear. The internal structure of this organ is still more remarkable. Within the cavity of the ear is an opening, called the meatus auditorius, or auditory canal, the entrance to which is defended by small hairs, which prevent insects and small particles of extraneous matter penetrating into it; for which purpose there is also secreted a bitter ceruminous matter, called ear-wax. The auditory canal is terminated obliquely by a membrane, generally known by the name of drum, which instrument it in some degree resembles; for within the cavity of the auditory canal is a kind of bony ring, over which the membrana tym pani is stretched. In contact with this membrane, on the inner side is a small bone (malleus) against which it strikes

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »