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The foundation position is, that “ All tangible bodies All bodies
have a contain a spirit enveloped with the grosser body. There
spirit. is no known body, in the upper parts of the earth, without its spirit, whether it be generated by the attenuating and concocting power of the celestial warmth, or otherwise ; for the pores of tangible bodies are not a vacuum, but either contain air, or the peculiar spirit of the substance; and this not a vis, an energy, or a fiction, but a real, subtile, and invisible, and, therefore, neglected body, circumscribed by place and dimension.” (a)
This doctrine is thus stated in the Excursion:
“ To every form of being is assigned
paves the brooks, the stationary rocks,
(a) “ The knowledge of man (hitherto) hath been determined by the view or sight; so that whatsoever is invisible, either in respect of the fineness of the body itself, or the smallness of the parts, or of the subtilty of the motion, is little inquired. The spirits, or pneumaticals, that are in all tangible bodies, are scarce known. Sometimes they take them for vacuum; whereas they are the most active of bodies. Sometimes they take them for air; from which they differ exceedingly, as much as wine from water, and as wood from earth. Sometimes they will have them to be natural heat, or a portion of the element of fire; whereas some of them are crude and cold. And sometimes they will have them to be the virtues and qualities of the tangible parts, which they see; whereas they are things by themselves, and then, when they come to plants and living creatures, they call
(b) Excursion, B. 9. See note (a), next page. VOL. XV.
As another specimen, the mode of explaining the condensation of spirit by flight may be selected.
The spirit, he says, is condensed by flight,-cold, appeasing, and quelling. The condensation by flight is when there is an antipathy between the spirit and the body upon which it acts; as, in opium, which is so exceedingly powerful in condensing the spirit, that a grain will tranquillize the nerves, and by a few grains they may be so compressed as to be irrecoverable. The touched spirit may retreat into its shell for a time or for ever; or it may, when fainting, be recalled, by the application of a stimulant, as surprise from a sudden impulse; a blow, or a glass of water thrown on the face; or the prick of a pin, or the action of mind on mind.
“ I am not sick, if Brutus have in hand
Any exploit worthy the name of honour.” As another specimen, his sentiments upon Death, the decomposition of compounds, may be selected.
In his doctrine of motion, he says, “ The political motion is that by which the parts of a body are restrained, from their own immediate appetites or tendencies to unite in such a state as may preserve the existence of the whole body. Thus, the spirit, which exists in all living bodies, keeps all the parts in due subjection; when it escapes, the body decomposes, or the similar parts unite
them souls. And such superficial speculations they have; like prospectives, that shew things inward, when they are but paintings."-Sylva, Exp. 98.
(a) Principio cælum, ac terras, camposq: liquentes,
Lucentemq: globum lunæ, Titaniaq: astra,
Mens agitat molem, et magno se corpore miscet.—Æneid. Plato's doctrine, respecting the “ Anima Mundi,” or soul of the world, pervading and vivifying all created things, see Berkeley's Sins, p. 133, and Mandeville on Hypochondriacism.
metals rust, Aluids turn sour; and, in animals, when the spirit which held the parts together escapes, all things are dissolved, and return to their own natures or principles : the oily parts to themselves, the aqueous to themselves, &c.
upon which necessarily ensues that odour, that unctuosity, that confusion of parts, observable in putrefaction.” So true is it, that in nature all is beauty; that, notwithstanding our partial views and distressing associations, the forms of death, misshapen as we suppose them, are but the tendencies to union, in similar natures.
The knowledge of this science Bacon considers of the Importutmost importance to our well being :—that the action of ance of the
. the spirit is the cause of consumption and dissolution ;is the agent which produces all bodily and mental effects; -influences the will in the production of all animal motions, as in the whale and the elephant;—and is the cause of all our cheerfulness or melancholy:--that the perfection of our being consists, in the proper portion of this spirit properly animated, or the proper portion of excitability properly excited ;—that its presence is life, its absence death.
This subject, deemed of such importance by Bacon, has been much neglected, and occasionally been supposed to be a mere creature of the imagination. (a)
(a) Shaw, in his edition of Bacon says, “ The whole of this inquiry still remains strangely neglected, to the great disadvantage of natural philosophy, which seems almost a dead thing without it.”
Dugald Stuart, in his dissertation, says, “ If on some occasions, he assumes the existence of animal spirits, as the medium of communication between soul and body, it must be remembered that this was then the universal belief of the learned; and that it was at a much later period not less confidently avowed by Locke. Nor ought it to be overlooked (I mention it to the credit of both authors), that in such instances the fact is commonly so stated, as to render it easy for the reader to detach it from the theory. As to the scholastic questions concerning the nature and essence of mind,—whether it be extended or unextended ? whether it have any relation to space or to time? or whether (as was contended by others)