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the same causes continue to operate, that the human ON DEATH.
race would become extinct in less than five hundred
years from the present time, and should now be rapidly BY L. M. LAWSON, M. D.
diminishing instead of increasing. Opposed to all this, Death is the cessation of life. This definition, how- however
, is the plain declaration of the Volume of Inever, explains nothing beyond what is evident to the spiration, which to most persons will be conclusive evisenses; and, as we attempt to unvail the process by dence. which vitality is severed from its earthly associations, Buffon estimates, that one-fourth part of the human We seek not to lay sacrilegious hands upon holy and race die before the end of five years; one-third before forbidden ground, but rather, to be the invited copyist | ten; one-half before thirty-five; two-thirds before fiftyin the great natural world.
two, and three-fourths before sixty-one. The mean Every species of organic matter, vegetable and ani- || period of the life of a child of three years is thirtymal, has a specific period of existence; in other words, three—of an adult of twenty-one nearly the same. peculiar laws sui generis in each instance govern and The age of sixty-six has equal chances with an infant. control the powers of life for a given period, when, He estimates the most fatal periods at appearance of through weakened energy, either by natural limitation the teeth, puberty, twenty-one, twenty-eight, forty-five, or accidental violence, vitality becoming inadequate to and sixty-one. sustain the failing system, death assumes control. Death from old age is with difficulty explained. We
We distinguish two primary modes of death, acci- may turn to the various mechanical powers and comdental and senile; the latter signifies death from ola binations to exhibit analogies illustrative of man's age, the former from accident. Contrary to what might decay—the action of wheel upon wheel, until by nabe presumed to follow the harmonious laws of nature, tural friction they cease to occupy their original space, few individuals die from natural or senile causes. In- and the failing power is followed by cessation of moferences drawn from the most accurate statistics exhibit tion, is a feeble and imperfect figure when applied to the solemn truth, that not more than one-tenth part of the decay of animal life. True, the human organizathe human family reach that period to which the uninter- tion is to a limited extent influenced by physical laws; rupted laws of vitality might extend.
but these are all modified and held in beautiful subordiIf permitted to progress to a natural termination, the nation by the vital principle, until that period arrives life of man would embrace about the Scripture period when Providence terminates life. of three-score and ten;" some, however, suppose that During adolescence, the vital principle maintains the many circumstances combine to justify the belief, that ascendency, and the system is increased and perfected, a much greater time was never extended to any nation. until physical organization is completed. From this True, say they, occasional individuals have greatly sur- period to about the fiftieth year, the mental and physipassed these limits. Thomas Parr, born in 1635, lived cal powers undergo many and important changes. Cuto the age of one hundred and fifty-two, and married riosity and activity of observation, so peculiar to youth, at the mature age of one hundred and twenty. St. begin to mellow down in the more sombre shades of Patrick lived to the age of one hundred and twenty- advancing years; and although the intellectual operatwo; Henry Jenkins, one hundred and sixty-nine; St. tions are prompt and energetic, and with an improved Mongah, one hundred and eighty-five. These, how-judgment subduing early passions, yet memory and ever, are individual peculiarities, and by no means illus-imagination begin to fail, and change the mental contrative of nationality.
stitution. The circulation during this period is reduced Dr. Parr advances the opinion that prior to the de- in force, but acquires regularity; and the development luge, one object of the Mosaic narrative was to preserve of animal heat is sensibly diminished. A desire and the genealogy of the children of Israel from Adam necessity for repose and sleep become manifest, and condown, and successions of families or dynasties may sequently the ability to sustain corporeal fatigue is have been represented as individuals. There has been greatly lessened. no apparent change in the constitution of the globe, When the meridian of life is passed, the beauty and certainly none adequate to effect so material an abridg. harmony of laws that regulate the period of growth ment of human life, and nothing to correspond with suffer a material change; the absorbing vessels gain the this change has been observed in inferior animals. ascendency, and the system wastes. A general, but
It is further argued, that if the term of man's exis-gradual, and almost imperceptible diminution of vital tence has been diminished, it has occurred through the energies, follows impaired nutrition; and, while the inagency of natural causes; indeed, these are supposed tellectual powers may glow with much fervor, the physto be numerous and potent, each directing an insidious ical frame is rapidly passing down the vale of time. but certain blow at the fated object, and achieving some-| After the fiftieth year has been passed, all these phething towards the given end. If five thousand years nomena are very remarkably augmented; and, while ago human life extended to seven hundred years, where the external and visible signs are accumulating, interas now it counts but seventy, there is of course but one-nal causes are operating to effect such changes. tenth part the period now there was then. Taking this It was remarked in an article on LIFE, that in the as the basis of the calculation it will be found, should Il lungs the blood undergoes important and vital changes,
capacitating it to sustain vitality; and that when this whether we recognize the intervention of ordinary disfunction was materially interrupted, the brain was im- ease, defective nutrition, effects of poisons, intense cold, mediately impressed by the morbid change, and delete- mental emotions, or mechanical violence, the result is rious effects, proportioned to the intensity of the cause, the same. The aid of the skillful physician consists in followed. In old age the action of the heart is en-remedying an attack of the vital organs, or in preventfeebled, and blood is not duly forced into the minute ing their invasion by remote disease. vessels; the consequence is, that the capillary system Apoplexy is the term applied to death of the brain. of the lungs, whose office is to transmit the circulating Destruction of the cerebral organ—the seat of sensafluids for exposure to the air, contract in diameter, and tion, motion, and volition-occasions universal death, exclude much that should be admitted. The brain is by annihilating respiration, and thereby the sensibility evidently that organ which immediately sustains the and contraction of the heart. vital powers, and whatever impairs its integrity, reduces The most vital part of the human system is a portion in the same ratio animal life. Then, the impure cur- of cerebral matter about half an inch square, intermerent of blood, which passes the lungs without due oxy- | diate between the brain and spinal marrow, denominagenization, poisons the brain and nervous system, and ted medulla oblongata, which is emphatically the “link rapidly reduces the energies of the entire body. Every that binds us to life.” The slightest injury of this part, function becomes impaired. The muscular power and mechanically or by apoplectic effusion, would at once contractibility become enfeebled, the superincumbent extinguish life. Pressure of other portions of the brain, weight is imperfectly supported, and the body yielding however, produces apoplectic stupor, but are less speedto the laws of gravitation bows to the earth, as if already ily fatal. seeking an assimilation with its native elements. The Cold-blooded animals possess great tenacity of life; external senses, particularly sight and hearing, are and if there is a separation of the head from the body, greatly blunted—observation and imagination become that part in which the medulla oblongata is left, will positively weak; but the retention of a good judgment retain sensation for the longest period. Thus, if the renders the circumscribed intellectual operations still head is cut off' so as to retain this vital part, it will evicomparatively perfect.
dence life longer than the body; but if it is left with The shadows of evening are now gathering around the latter, then will the head die first. These facts acthe path-way of the time-worn traveler. He beholds count for serpents retaining life after decapitation, and himself a scathed monument of decaying mortality. even being capable of inflicting a wound. The cool zephyrs that fan his whitened locks, are the In man consciousness does not exist, as some supsame balmy winds that met him in joyous youth. posed, in the head after separation from the body. In Yonder bright star that meets his dim vision, is the the case of a criminal reported by Professor Bischoff, same shining orb that threw its sparkling rays upon his the countenance was examined immediately after the young life; and the burning light of day, is the same separation of the head, when all the features were obluminary that shone on his juvenile sports. But 0! served to be tranquil without the slightest trace of pain how changed the scene! While these remain the same, or distortion. This criminal had confidently anticipahis own bright eye is dimmed-his cheeks are pale, and ted pardon, but upon the word “ pardon” being shouted deep furrows mark the sinking frame—the nerves and in his ear, not the slightest emotion was manifest. muscles, that bore him onward as the agile deer, respond Violent mental emotions, and electricity, instantly not to his tardy will, and the decrepid old man leans and permanently extinguish life, by producing cerebral upon a wooden staff for support! The contractile power || palsy. Narcotic poisons, as the woorara, opium, and of the heart becomes slow and feeble, the blood is others, act directly on the brain, and in large doses dethrown imperfectly to the extremities--its temperature, stroy life, unless speedily counteracted. and that of the entire body, is rapidly lowered—the The circulation of black blood in the brain is another warm blood of life cools as the stagnant pool—the vital | cause of death. This process, however, commences in spark, like the dying taper, glows an instant in the last | the lungs, and the brain suffers in consequence of the struggle, sinks and burns again, as though aroused by impure current sent to it from the pulmonary organs. renewed effort—the lungs expand not the heart ceases This condition has been termed asphyxia, or death comto beat—the brain is inanimate-and the man is dead! mencing in the respiratory system. This, however, is
It is thus in man that a separation of the physical not strictly true, because death does not occur in conand spiritual relations occurs, and in the lower animals, sequence of depriving the lungs of any thing essential the extinction of a more circumscribed association. to their existence; but by destroying respiration venous We next treat of accidental death.
blood is thrown to the brain, and there displays its noxThe immediate destructive process in accidental death ious powers. commences either at the lungs, the heart, or the brain. Asphyxia is witnessed in death by drowning, hangWhen one of these vital organs is at once invaded, ing, inhalation of poisonous gases, inflammation and death is sudden; but when disease attacks remote parts, congestion of the lungs. It is characterized in ordinathe case may be protracted and lingering, but ultimately ry cases by difficult respiration, violet color of the face, destroys life by interrupting respiration, circulation, or lips and nails, stupor, insensibility, cessation of the acinnervation. All men die by one of these modes, and I tion of the heart, and death. As a general rule, if
black blood has circulated in the brain for the space of the heart is comparatively tranquil. In all these instanfive minutes, recovery is impossible. But if in case of ces, we perceive that the action on the brain is the cause syncope an individual fall into water, he may remain of death. The conclusion, therefore, follows, that in much longer and yet recover, because circulation ceased articulo mortis all feeling is lost, and not the slightest first, and black blood did not circulate.
physical sensation can be ex nced. Excessive pain Syncope is death commencing at the heart. In this is often endured during the progress of disease; but instance the circulation is at once arrested, every part when that point has been attained, which is to loose of the system is deprived of that indispensable stimu-|| the Gordian knot, the brain has been so completely delus, and the consequence is, general and complete death. stroyed, as a necessary pre-requisite to produce death, Syncope, however, is not always necessarily fatal; in- | that no sensation can be appreciated. deed, in its milder forms, it is of common occurrence,
Thus ends life. After having struggled through the and as frequently only produces temporary inconve- pain and turmoil of the first existence, and endured the nience. In bleeding, for example, fainting often oc- pangs of a last conflict, the kind hand of Providence curs, yet death does not follow that simple operation. draws a narcotic mantle over the writhing body, an euFatal syncope, however, may follow great loss of blood, thanasia spreads a last sleep upon the sinking frame, violent pain, mental emotions, and certain impressions and all is still in Death. on the organs of sight and smell. The heart, erroneously supposed at former periods, and still referred to as the seat of the affections, is the great centre of
WOMAN'S REVENGE. circulation; and a suspension of that power is at once Some philosophers would give a sex to revenge, and followed by a cessation of all the vital functions, and appropriate it almost exclusively to the female mind. vitality itself.
But, like most other vices, it is of both genders; yet, Although death may commence at the lungs, heart because wounded vanity, or slighted love, are the two or brain, yet a close analysis of the subject exhibits the most powerful excitements to revenge, it is thought, fact, that the brain is intrinsically the organ upon which perhaps, to rage with more violence in the female heart. the destructive influences are finally spent. Thus in But as the causes of this passion are not confined to asphyxia, black blood poisons and paralyzes the cere- the women, so neither are its effects. History can probral organs; while in syncope the brain is deprived of duce many Syllas, to one Fulvia, or Christina. The all blood, which is instantly followed by complete loss fact perhaps is, that the human heart in both sexes, will of nervous power. Death, then, is the result of ex more readily pardon injuries than insults, particularly haustion, or suppression of nervous energy.
if they appear to arise, not from any wish in the offenWhen death has taken place in vital organs, those der to degrade us, but to aggrandize himself. Margaret of minor importance next catenate in the dying series, Lambrun assumed a man's habit, and came to England until the entire body is a lifeless mass. Vitality having from the other side of the Tweed, determined to assasleft the system, it is at once deprived of the preserving sinate Queen Elizabeth. She was urged to this from influences of organic forces, and is of necessity imme- the double malice of revenge, excited by the loss of her diately placed under the control of physical laws. mistress, Queen Mary, and that of her husband, who
The signs of death, it would seem, are terribly plain, died from grief at the death of his queen. In attemptyet they are not always certain. They are divided into | ing to get close to Elizabeth, she dropped one of her the deceptive, the probable, and the certain. The de- pistols; and on being seized, and brought before the ceptive are cessation of motion, absence of exhalation queen, she boldly avowed her motives, and added, that from the lungs, fixed eye, paleness and coldness. The she found herself necessitated, by experience, to prove probable include rigidity of the limbs, opacity and sink- the truth of that maxim, that neither force nor reason ing of the eye, and partial gangrene. The only certain can hinder a woman from revenge, when she is impelsign is absolute putrefaction.
led by love. The queen set an example that few kings With regard to the pain of death, or that which pre-would have followed, for she magnanimously forgave cedes it, no general positions can be assumed. When the criminal; and thus took the noblest mode of conthe brain is originally implicated, and death is produced vincing her, that there were some injuries that even a by apoplexy, all sensation being destroyed, it cannot | woman could forgive.—Lacon. possibly be connected with pain. In asphyxia, when brought on gradually by a combination of causes, the greatest amount of agony is inflicted which we are ca PLEASURE is to women what the sun is to the flower: pable of suffering—I say agony, because pain does not if moderately enjoyed, it beautifies, it refreshes, and it compass its horrors. No sensation can equal the terri-improves; if immoderately, it withers, etiolates, and ble struggle attending suffocation. True, sudden as- destroys. But the duties of domestic life, exercised as phyxia prevents continued suffering, but the pain is they must be in retirement, and calling forth all the equally intense, though less protracted.
sensibilities of the female, are perhaps as necessary to In syncope, painful sensations are experienced in the the full development of her charms, as the shade and first stage of the process; but an entire cessation of sen- the shower are to the rose, confirming its beauty, and sibility so speedily follows, that death commencing at increasing its fragrance.
THE CHARMS AND USES OF CHARITY.
THE CHARMS AND USES OF CHARITY. is brought into possession of divine life, (or a new life,)
through an internal and joyous emotion of the heart, On the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians; by Dr. Tholuck, of Halle. Translated from the German by Rev. A. Miller.
it cannot be otherwise than that such an one who has
thus been changed, should desire nothing but God; and Who has such an exalted mind, and such a happy as he has opened his treasures of grace to all creation, faculty, as to be able to tell us what charity is? If Ithat abundance and beauty might he distributed to all were to call her a dew, I would only have set forth her as much as they are prepared to receive, so also is the reviving influence; if I were to call her a star, I would heart of one who has become a child of God always only have represented her gracefulness; if I were to open to his fellow creatures around him, entertaining compare her with a storm, I would only have illustrated nothing but thoughts of kindness toward them, that her irresistible influence; if I were to call her a sun- from him might be distributed to his fellows of that beam, I would only have described her celestial beauty. which he has received. As the sun-beam passing If I were to say she was begotten in the inmost labora- through pure water will divide itself into seven colors, tory of the heart, when the aspiration from on high is so it is with charity in a pure heart, that she will divide united with the life-blood of the new man, the breath herself into more than seven-fold virtues; yea, much of the soul, I would still not have given the full idea, more, all virtues proceed from her. As Luther says, for I would merely have told what she was in herself, the command of charity is a short command extending and not what she is to others. If I were to compare far; a single commanú, embracing much; therefore it her with the prismatic colors, reflected by the drops of is said, “ Love is the fulfilling of the law.” So the pure water through which the sun-beams pass, even apostle also here shows a highly exalted and beautifully then I would not have given her true character; as she | variegated mirror, reflecting that Christian charity which is not so much an object of vision, as something that dwells in a pure and sanctified heart. may be tasted and enjoyed in the inmost chambers of “She suffereth long and is kind," extending to every the human heart.
one a degree of that long-suffering kindness of which Who is endowed with gift to tell what charity is? she is herself a subject. She also comes to the rebelShe is a flame which many waters cannot quench, and lions, not with the fiery language of the voice of one the floods cannot drown. Yes, she is a flame-a silent crying in the wilderness," proclaiming that the axe is light and pure, which first cleanses, enlightens, and laid at the root of the tree; but with the gracious zeal warms the heart in which she has taken up her abode, of the Savior, who came to seek and to save that which and then enwraps the hearts of others in her blaze; was lost. and the more she enkindles, warms, and enlightens “Charity envieth not”-inasmuch as our gracious others, the brighter she will burn in her own habita-benefactor does not envy us, but daily offers himself to tion. She possesses the wonderful power to open to us with all the treasures of his grace and glory. Also every creature a door by which a communion may be where it may appear that a bounteous Providence has kept up between man and his fellow. Yea, much too profusely lavished his favors upon those who never more-she opens a door through which the Creator offer up their thanks to their Benefactor, charity envieth may approach the creature-through which the ever-them not; but resolves rather to wait the hour when lasting God may enter and take up his abode.
they shall be brought to reflection. Take away charity! Alas, how solitary and lonely “She vaunteth not herself; is not puffed up”—wheredoes all creation appear! How mute and motionless, as our gracious Redeemer, notwithstanding he might with only some faint murmurings passing from sky to have assumed an exalted station among his sinful creaearth, and through all the ranks of being; for it is from tures, yet chose to dwell among us in the form of a her alone that inclinations to union from different parts servant, condescending to visit the poor and the needy. of existence proceed, and she is a living, breathing mel. Therefore, if her gifts are ever so exalted, yet she will ody in every creature. O who can describe the melody, | always delight to dwell with the lowly. when all creatures flow together in songs of charity! “She does not behave herself unseemly”-that is, Thus the apostle, when dwelling in his exalted strain she never forgets the obligations she is under to others, on charity, spake correctly when he represented a man where she can impart whatever of good she has in herhaving all knowledge and all faith, yet destitute of self; much more recognizing in others what they have charity, as a brass which only gives a hollow sound ; already received, and therefore that principle of couror at most only a tinkling cymbol, which has no life in tesy teaching us never to forget the honors that are due the sound. Provided therefore it were possible for one, to rank, and talent, and virtue. as the apostle says, without charity to have the gift of “She seeketh not her own"-as also her gracious prophecy, and to understand all mysteries, and to remove Author did not seek his own in this poor world, having mountains, and to bestow all his goods to feed the poor, inscribed on every act, “ It is more blessed to give than yet all such rare virtues would only be like the visage to receive." of a beautiful person, upon whom is seen the paleness “She is not easily provoked; thinketh no evil" - for of death without a soul.
notwithstanding all her sweetness is recompensed with Since, then, it is charity* alone through which man wrongs, her sweetness will not be changed into bitter* Here charity is put for faith, or the proposition is unscriptural. Iness, and she will only seek to reform the evil-doer;
and this as far as possible so as not to injure the sinner | raise an obstruction in the heart; and when there shall himself, but would much more rejoice to see her bitter-| be a free, intimate intercourse between heaven and est foes crowned with honors, and supplied with plenty, earth! if by the exhibition of such long-suffering kindness they may be led to repentance. “She rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the
Original. truth "— because she is herself so richly possessed of
INFANCY. that light which comes from above, and from which all truth and righteousness among men proceed, as in this
“Gaze on-'tis lovely! childhood's lip and cheek, light being received by others, spreading itself in all di
Mantling beneath its earnest brow of thought-rections she has an abiding joy; like the divine Savior
Gaze-yet what seest thou in these fair and meek ?" who rejoiced at the faith of the woman of Cana, and
HEMANS, the centurian of Capernaum: having a discernment so illuminated as to be able to distinguish between light Who thus can look upon the infant brow and darkness, yet in darkness discovering some rays of And not feel strong emotion stir within ? light, which are hid from an obscure vision.
If interest vast, in God's own cunning work “She beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth We ever feel--if in the babbling brook all things, endureth all things”—that is, inasmuch as And waving tree we read his wisdom deep; she only seeks the good of her neighbor, she is active How, when on this fair miniature of man, and efficient wherever her aid is required. In fine, Transfixed by quiet sleep, we fondly gaze, charity unites him that loves, and him that is loved; Can we feel aught but wonder, at the Power and is it not the fulfillment of that law which bids us That gave it thus, all glorious as it is, “do to others as we would they should do to us.” As Into our charge to fashion for the heavens? there is no marriage union, at least such as God has As gazing on its fair and peaceful brow, pronounced his blessing upon, where one would not do We forward look when he his part shall act for another what they would do for themselves, the two Upon the world's great stage—the babe a man. being one flesh;'so also is he whose sou! is filled with He in the smiles of fortune then may bask, love to God-in every man he beholds his own flesh, And by the wise may fondly be caressed, and therefore labors and does for others what he does Or from the great win well deserved applausefor himself.
He in that tiny hand the varying scale Charity is greater than faith and hope, says the apos Of empires yet may strongly, proudly hold; tle; for beyond the bounds where faith and hope can And his now feeble, wailing voice may give go, charity will remain. All the mysteries of the king Mandates which shall unsheath the vengeful sword dom of heaven are now only viewed as through a dark Of nations outraged by tyrannic power. ened glass; and all our knowledge is but in part, and And may this wee thing thus in coming years? of this we have no assurance but by faith. But the Then be it ours to wrap and cherish it, apostle speaks of a time when we shall know God even Till it can climb the rugged Alpine heights, as we are known of him, from face to face: then, as we
And stand among their everlasting snowssball know the origin and being of all things, faith
Upon the mounts of old Jerusalem, must come to an end. And again, as the sacred Scrip The hills of famed Judea trace its waytures have united faith with hope, as it fixes itself upon Or on the arid plains of Afric's waste, future objects, and especially on what we shall be our Or by the Ganges' darkly rolling flood, selves; so when all shall be present, and time itself Or o'er the islands of far southern seas, shall have passed away into eternity, hope with it must Its feet, obedient to God's will, may stray. also pass away. But charity, which is nothing else than the door through which God enters the heart of But look again—and think, as parents oft, man, and man becomes united with his fellow, never In serious, solemn hours, are wont to thinkpasseth away. This door in time was only a narrow What part he'll bear before the throne of God! gate, which even did not always stand open, but was What sorrows deep may gather round his soul frequently closed by some adverse winds; but it shall In the deep realms of darkness and despair! in eternity become a wide door, which shall stand open What seas of anguish may before him roll, day and night. No storm of wind shall close it, and Through which his course must lie to that long sleep, the soul shall have free course in her communion with From which the trump of God his dust shall wake! God and the saints. O, has charity already made us
Disease and death his certain lot. But O! so rich in this world, if it even has only been a faint Afflictions keen shall bring him to his God; brook which many a time, under the rays of a scorch Shall sanctify the soul from earthly dross; ing sun, would almost become evaporated ? How rich, And death, although his hand be icy cold, then, will she make us when the small brook shall have Unlock the golden doors of bliss, through which become a stream, yea, an ocean; when in a full tor The Lord's redeemed shall pass to endless rest. rent from God the stream shall flow, and sin no more