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In the ninth chapter, our author treats of the office and qualifications of the ministers of the gospel, and the proper conduct of the people towards them. In entering upon this subject, he points out the reasons why the christian ministry, which is, in itself, adapted to promote the greatest and most sublime purpose that rational beings can have in their view, has been treated, especially in these modern times, with so much contempt and scorn. He observes, that the whole tribe of the gay and voluptuous, the vain and luxurious, the giddy and unthinking, would not have made so formidable a party, against the credit and influence of the ministers of Christ, if too many, who have assum'd that character, had not furnish'd weapons against their own cause, and increas'd the strength of the enemy by their imprudent and irregular conduct; their insatiate thirft after riches; their fierce contentions for preheminence and greatness; their unlimited pride, and defire of dominion over the faith of their fellow christians; their indolence, and self-gratification; their expressing a much warmer, and more intense zeal for their own peculiar emoluments and powers, for the external constitution of churches, and for human rites and ceremonies, than for the plain essential truths and precepts of the gospel ; their animofities among themselves; their oppressions of scrupulous consciences ; their supplanting, and rigidly censuring one another for involuntary errors, about points of very remote and inconsiderable use; their confining christianity, and the communion of saints to those of their own sentiments and spirit ; and their endeavouring to raise, establish, or extend their popularity, by infusing unjust prejudices against the characters and labours of others.
As all the branches of duty which belong to christian ministers in general, may be reduced under one part, or other, of the following exhortation of St. Peter, viz. the elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder. -Feed the flock of God, which is among you ; taking the oversight thereof not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock; the doctor gives a minute description of the nature and design of the ministerial office, with respect to all the several branches, into which St. Peter has divided it, following the order prescribed in the exhortation.
After this he proceeds to shew, that it is incumbent upon the people to behave in a respectful manner towards their N 3
minifiers, and treat th:m at all times with due mis pand honour; to allow them a proper fupport; o attend on the ministration of the word, as well as on the other public services of religion ; to allow their mirifters to declare every thing, which they think to be an important truth, cr duty if the gospel, how much foever it may differ from received and established sentiments and forms ; to put the most candid constructions on their publick discourses, and on every part of their behaviour ; and to engage them as little as pollible in private quarrels and disputes, either as principals, evidences, or judges ; left they prejudice them in the elteem of one or other of the contending parties, and thereby lessen their influence upon the whole.
(To be concluded in our next.)
ART. XXII. An Eloy on the vital and other involuntary mo
tions of Animals. By Robert Whytt, M D. Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and Professor of Medicine
in the University of Edinburgh, &c. 8vo, 5s. Wilson. WE are furnished with a proof, in this learned and
moft ingenious performance, of the confiderable success that may attend an investigation of the abstrusest phyfiological subjects, from a happy combination of genius and industry in the investigator : when his rational powers are fufficiently strong and masculine, to emancipate themselves from all hypothetical pre-occupation, and dispose him to illustrate the secret operations of nature, rather from the manifeft light of fact and experiment, than from any vague and dazzling irradiations of his own fancy. The former method, cur author observes, in his fort preface, " To have been the reason of the stability of the theories of Newton, and some few of the more happy philosophers, where the fimplicity and uniformity of the facts ferve as causes for explaining innumerable effects; while, as he very justiy remarks, in the hypothetical method of philosophizing, causes ar: ulually assigned, whose existence cannot be proved, and a e belides frequently more intricate and complex than the very effects they were intended to explain.'
The introduction, after dividing animal motion into fpontaneous, involuntary, and mixed, which last, tho' subject to the power of the will, is not ordinarily directed by it (as in the case of some of the sphincter muscles) assorts, That tho* we may be unacquainted with the intimate itructure of the
nerves, or of that substance within them, by whose intervention the mind seems enabled to act upon the muscles, yet we have no room to doubt of certain motions being effected by the immediate energy of the mind; experience continually convincing us it is owing to the will, tho certain conditions in the body are requisite to its exertion. But how the alternate contractions and relaxations of involuntary motion are effected, while the muscles of spontaneous motion are contracted only in consequence of volition, being a physical difficulty long debated, and yet undetermined, the discussion and determination of it is the professed purpose of this Essay, which took its rise from the author's early dissatisfaction with the received theories of respiration and the motion of the heart.' In endeavouring then to account for all vital and involuntary motion, he seems to have set out with a very judicious attention to that grand fimplicity and uniformity of nature, which, by a few general laws applied to particular bodies, produces a variety of operations; as he very reasonably supposes an animal body a fyftem regulated much in the same manner
. And in fact, an attentive, unprejudiced and adequate reader must discover, thro' the author's whole method and train of thinking on this subject, that his happy outset has been fo regulated and pursued throughout the progress of the work, as to disfipate much of that. perplexity, with which some writers had even increased the natural abstruseness of the subject : so that we may justly apply to him, as a physical writer, the distinguishing characteristic, which Horace gives of a good poetical genius.
Non fumum ex fulgere, fed ex fumo dare lucem
Cogitat, ut speciofa dehinc miracula Jumat. Our medical and physiological readers, who have not perused the treatise at length, we dare say, will readily admit our giving a clear and general idea of it, in an orderly compendious abstract.
Dr. Whytt then, in his section of principles necesary to be premised, first affirms, That a certain influence proceeding from the brain, lodged in the nerves, and thence conveyed into the muscles, is either the immediate cause of their contraction; or, at least, recefiary to it.' After a fufficient proof of this physical truth he desires, • That if, in compliance with custom, he shall at any time give this influence the name of animal or vital spirits, it may be understood to be without any view of ascertaining its peculiar nature and manner of acting.' Upon this occafion we may
refer our readers back to our late account and abstract of Dr. Flemyng on the nature of the nervous fluid, where he has made an ingenious and laudable attempt towards demonftrating the principles and crafis of it. This Dr. Wbytt declines, as unnecessary to his purpose, and premises.
" While the nervous power is immediately necessary to muscular motion, the arterial blood seems to act only in a secondary or more remote manner. After demonstrating this from the different effects of ligatures on the nerves and arteries, made by Langrijb and Swencke, he concludes, « That, while the life and nourishment of the muscles is effected by the motion of their arterial blood, their own motion and sensation proceeds from the nerves alone.' 3.
That the muscles of live animals are constantly erideavouring to shorten, or contract themselves. Hence such as have antagonists are always in a state of tension, and the folitary muscles, as sphincters, and those, whose antagonists are destroyed or weakened, are always contracted, except when this natural contraction is overcome by some superior power.'
4. This natural contraction of the muscles is owing, partly to their veflels being diftended with fluids, which feparate and stretch their smallest fibres; and, in a great meaiure, to the influence of the nerves, which is perpetually, tho' gently, acting upon them : to which last the constant conItriction of the sphincters, and the tension of the antagonisted muscles, is chiefly to be ascribed.' This he demonftrates from the consequence of a paralytic sphincter, and the constant contraction of those muscles, whose antagonists are deprived of the nervous power.
5. “ The natural contraction of the muscles, from the equable action of the nervous influence, is very gentle, and not attended with any remarkable hardness or tenfion of them.'
6. That when the nervous influence is determined more potently into the muscles, their contractions are stronger, and may be termed violent: and that either the will, or a fiimulus, may effect such extraordinary determination.'
7. The seventh principle is little more than an affirmation of the former, as it afcribes the voluntary contraction of a mulce to the power of the will over the nervous fluid.
8. • Afinulus of any kind applied to the bare muscles of living animals contracts them." After proving this from many plain facts, he deduces,
9. That the degree of contraction is in proportion to thut of irritation;' but adds,
«That an irritated muscle does not remain contracted during the continued application of the stimulus, but is alternately contacted and relaxed. After sufficiently illustrating this principle from facts, he oblerves however,
That the orbicular muscle of the uvea, and a few others, are exceptions to it.' The reasons for which he gives us p. 261, in the following words. . The orbicular muscle of the unea, and the muscles of the malleus and stapes, remain equally contracted, while the same degree of light and found is applied to the eye and ear, because their contraction does not hinder these causes from acting uniformly and equably upon the retina and auditory nerve; but no sooner is more or less light applied to the eye, or a stronger or weaker found to the ear, than these muscles are more contracted, or somewhat relaxed.' We recur to the section of principles, which observes,
II. - That the alternate motions of irritated muscles continue some time after the removal of the stimulus, but become more flow and languid.'
12. • Their motions from stimulation are wholly involuntary.'
13. The power of fimuli, in contracting the muscles of living animals, is greater than any effort of the will.' The doctor illustrates this by the following cafe. aged 25, who, from a palsy of twelve years continuance, had lost all power of motion in his left arm, after trying other remedies in vain, at last had recourse to electricity; by every shock of which the muscles of this arm were made to contract; and the member itself, which was very much withered, after having been electrified for some weeks, bee. came sensibly plumper.'
The 14th principle is little more than a re-capitulation of, or re-trospection to, some of the former, which had diftinctly mentioned the different kinds of muscular contraction; as, the natural, which is very gentle, and chiefly resulting from the equable influence of the nerves ; the voluntary, which is stronger, and may be rendered more intense or remiss, and of more or less duration at pleasure; and the involuntary, which is strong, suddenly attended with a relaxation, and owing to the force of a stimulus. The 15th proposes the sphincters, and the muscles, deftitute of antagonists, as examples of the first. The 16th represents the muscles which have antagonists, and are kept in equilibrio till the will interposes, as instances of the second. The 37th observes the contraction of the heart is not only involuntary, as
6 A man