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whom the slightest bodily sensation, cises of penitence. He will find that is unusual, will make pale with that a fear of the consequences of alarm, will often be found calm and sin will most usually occupy a resolute when disease has fixed up. prominent place among the causes on some organ and prostrated him of his sorrow. This, it is true, will upon the bed of sickness. He who not destroy the genuineness of reforeboded want and poverty, when pentance, provided he mourn also cheated of a few pence in a bar- on account of the hateful nature of gain, or deprived of some article sin. But it will render it more of furniture, through the careless. difficult to determine what are the ness of a servant, will, not unlikely, grounds of his penitence : for fear view unagitated the flames crumb- is a passion that usually excites too ling down his habitation. He who much tumult in the soul, to permit scarcely dare suffer a week to pass, other grounds of action to be very without plying his family with distinctly visible. Hence will the emetics or cathartics, to keep away nervous invalid find peculiar diffiapprehended disease, may be seen culty in determining whether his watching around the sick and dying sorrow for sin is like that of Judas, bed of a wife, or a child, with a col. or that of l'eter. lected coolness and Christian forti- This same timidity and the attude.
tendant melancholy will also deeply Apply now these peculiarities to affect his Christian fortitude. No religious experience. The first virtue suffers more than this from of them will dispose a man to look these prostrating maladies. And intently upon some minute and un- yet, as we have already remarked, favourable circumstances in his you will often see the nervous man character, or conduct ; and to neg- breasting himself with firmness to lect an impartial and comprehen- the attacks of real tangible evils; sive view of his life. The second, but when they exist only in anticiin connection with a melancholy pation, then it is that his heart temperament, will fill him with seems to have no power to withdireful forebodings of future and stand them. And the reason seems eternal wrath.
to be, that the combination of fear It is chiefly this timidity and its and an excited imagination exhibits peculiarities that produce that in these coming evils as more dreadful decision and irresolution so com- than any he actually suffers. He mon in the character of the nervous sees a dark cloud banging over the invalid. He dare not decide, lest future, and how terrible may be the
tremendous consequences thunderbolt when it bursts, he canshould ensue, that would furnish not tell. His quickened sensibiliground for long and unavailing re- ties have opened his eyes wide uppentance. And so long as he halts on danger : but they have also between two opinions, whether in weakened his power of withstandhis worldly or spiritual concerns, he ing them; and we know of no reswill remain, not only the most pect in which the strength of dismiserable, but likewise the most ease appears more manifest than in inefficient of men. For religious this. The unfortunate man seems exercises are then alone happy, like the trembling aspen to be shawhen they are
connected with ken by every breath, and crushed prompt religious action. And how into the dust like a bruised reed, can a man act, who is undecided unable to rise from his ruins. and irresolute.
Philosophy may teach him lessons The timidity of the dyspeptic will of firmness, and religion bid him also give a peculiarity to his exer- trust in the overruling providence
of God, and wait calmly the event ; something of those same peculiaribut alas ! how feeble is even reli- ties will appear in his religious gious principle in a soul that seems character. That religious princiborne away by an excited sensibil- ple does not altogether eradicate, ity, an overpowering fear, and a but only control, and direct into a gloomy fancy!
new channel, these natural peculiWe have long since come to the arities of mind, or disposition, is conclusion, that much which gains evident from the striking characterthe admiration of the world as ster- istic diversities we perceive in the ling Christian fortitude, would history of holy men of old, which prove, if brought to the trial, to be the Bible exhibits to us : the dinothing more than strength of versity, for instance, so remakable nerves : and that much which is among the twelve apostles-the inimputed to weakness of Christian flexible straight-forward firmness principle, is but the inevitable re- and energy of Paul; the impetuosity sult of nervous maladies. For we and rashness of Peter ; and the have often seen persons thus oppo- mildness and amiableness of John. site in their characters, change pla- We would apply this principle to ces with each other, as dyspepsia the case under consideration.laid his grasp upon the one, and let That same disposition which leads the other go free. We have hence a man to distrust his abilities for learnt to moderate our admiration any particular worldly station, or of the virtue of the man of appar- pursuit, will make him suspicious ent fortitude, and rather to con- in regard to his preparation for gratulate him upon his strength of heaven. And if he fears to trust nerves ; while we are more dispo- to the providence of God in the sed than formerly to pity, rather course of nature, for giving success than blame, the trembling timidity to his ordinary business, that same and weakness which a delicate sen- distrust will prevent him from apsibility often exhibits.
plying to himself the promises of Faith is a virtue whose essence God to the humble and the peniis confidence. But confidence, tent. He may have a firm belief that calm and unshaken trust, is, we had every word of the divine record is almost said, a stranger to the really true, and yet not believe at all that nervous invalid’s bosom. Anxiety, he has a right to appropriate any doubt, and distrust, in regard to ev. thing to himself, but the threatery thing future, seem to have ta- nings and terrors of the Bible. ken its place. He has lost in a
He has lost in a And such a want of faith every one great measure his confidence in knows to be a characteristic mark himself, and is often defeated in his of Christians of this description. personal efforts from this cause We do not mean that they never exalone. He will not believe that ercise faith : but that it is to them his plans of lawful business will one of the most difficult of all virtues. succeed, simply because he fears There is another very unhappy they will not. And hence his ef- effect which this timidity and its at. forts will sometimes be so palsied tendant imbecility of mind produce. by his fears as to make his predic. The man may have been not only tions prove true.
a most rational Christian, but a The principle we have kept in firm philosopher : yet when subduview in all our remarks, is, that ed by nervous maladies, and in whenever we perceive certain pe- those seasons when there is a feculiarities of mind, or of disposition, verish excitement of every sense, running through all a man's con- when as a physician expresses it, duct, in relation to worldly affairs, “he is all soul within, and all nerve without,” he will find him. 'inspiring influence of hope ; and self prone to a degree of supersti. in regard to spiritual things, how tion. His religion and philosophy can we expect the case to be much may both remonstrate against inter- better? He may have seasons preting unfavourable dreams, or when the hope that maketh not natural appearances, or remarkable ashamed will break through all the events, as prognostics of misfor damps and darkness of his heart, tune, sickness, or death : yet when and open for him a vista to heaven: his imagination has been highly but the sweet light soon dies away, excited by such occurrences, he and the dark clouds of fear and de. will find it very difficult to di- spondency settle again upon his vest himself of a secret suspicion, soul. He has little of the calmor fear, that he may have been thus ness, little of the elevation, and forewarned of impending calami- none of the assurance of hope. ties. At least he will find it diffi- And how deadening an influence cult to rid himself of the impression this settled gloom and anxiety must such scenes have made upon his produce upon the Christian chargloomy fancy. They will haunt acter, it needs no argument to show. him from day to day and produce Such a man may indeed obey the unhappiness, if they do not triumph divine commands : but how will he over his reason. And if the ner
seem like a “ slave beneath the vous person is not very much en- throne." lightened, and is inclined to super- There is one more important efstitious fears by education, he will fect of nervous disorders, which we probably be overpowered by the have not particularly noticed. They phantoms of imagination, and render a man fickle, peevish, and may coine at length to believe irritable. We are not aware that that he is favoured, or rather rend- he is peculiarly liable to change his ered miserable, by visions and im- views of the great principles of acmediate revelations. For on ex- tion, or the general aim of his conamination it will be found, that in duct: but his fickleness appears most instances of this kind a disor- most in minor things. We have dered state of the nerves preceded already made some remarks in rethe fanaticism.
gard to the disposition of the dysIf the remarks made in this essay peptic to change his physicians and be generally admitted, the reader his remedies, and attempted to will hardly need to have his atten- show that so much fault did not tion formally called to the effect of attach to him as is generally supnervous maladies upon the passion posed. And so in regard to many of hope. The nervous invalid is other things, we think there may too gloomy to hope, he is too tim- be sufficient grounds for the chanid to hope, for any happiness that ges he is prone to make. You will is future. We do not mean that find him, for instance, disposed frethis passion is totally quenched in quently to change his business, or his bosom-for how then would situation. And he may be induced life be tolerable—but his melan- to this from the well known fact, choly fears have so neutralized it, that such changes usually operate that its influence, as a moving spring most favourably upon nervous malof action, is almost unperceived. adies. For who would not be wilEven in regard to worldly affairs, ling to make almost any pecuniary such a man goes forward in per- sacrifices, if he can thereby gain forming the routine of his business, even a temporary relief from the or profession, more from necessity leaden lethargy and morbid sensiand a sense of duty, than from the bility, which, in succession, renew
their incessant onsets upon the ner: strongest part of his character, has vous patient. What though the become the weakest. He, whom world charge him with fickleness, no storm of passion and insult could and misrepresent his motives? once move, now perceives a counMuch easier is it to bear this ter tumult rising in his bosom, and what is it not easier to bear, than ere he is aware, bursting upon his the unceasing pressure of feeble adversury in retaliation. The same health?
irritability produces a fretfulness The fickleness of nervous inva- towards his servants, his companlids, however, often exhibits itself ions, and even his friends. But if in forms not so easy to justify. the man be a Christian, this peevThey sometimes find the most un- ishness and irritability of temper reasonable and unaccountable pre- will fill him, in the moments of rejudices rising in their minds against tirement, with the deepest alarm their neighbours or friends. These and anguish. He cannot but perfeelings seem sometimes to rise to ceive that his disposition in these real enmity: yet only let the nerv- respects is becoming decidedly ous attack pass by, and with it will
He once could exercise depart every unkind feeling to- patience without any great effort. wards others; and their attach- But now he finds himself prone to ment will be stronger than ever. murmur at the chastisements of This strange prejudice or hostility Providence, and unable to bear will sometimes be felt towards a with a Christian spirit the perverse, man's dearest friend ; the dyspep- ness, or even the weakness and tic himself not knowing wherefore, failings of his brethren. True, the except that it vanishes altogether physician may tell him that all this when a paroxysm of his disorder fickleness, fretfulness, and irritahas disappeared. Indeed, this bility, may result from nervous seems to be a real, though not a weakness. But they are also preconstant symptom of the disease ; cisely what would result from an yet we dare not hazard the asser- impenitent heart waxing worse and tion that it is not sinful. Certain
To which of these causes ly it may be in a great measure re- shall he impute the effect in his sisted.
own case? If this be not a diffiThe peevishness and irritability cult question to decide, we know of temper to which nervous per- of none in the whole history of cassons are liable can hardly have been uistry. unobserved by any one conversant We are unwilling to close this eswith them : and it ere long be- say without appending a few recomes powerfully manifest to them- marks which are suggested by the selves. The man of phlegmatic subject. temperament when in health, in The statements we have made whom it was scarcely a virtue to lead to the conclusion, that there be patient and not easily provoked, are many peculiar difficulties and and who therefore never placed a trials in the religious experience guard on this side of his character, of the nervous invalid ; and that it after struggling for some years with is no easy matter for him to decide these disorders, finds himself most whether he be a real child of God unexpectedly betrayed into a hasty or not. To some, we doubt not, resentment of injuries. And ere such a conclusion may seem danlong he finds that he needs daily gerous and unwarranted by the watchfulness and prayer to secure word of God. That word calls uphimself against this temptation on all, without exception, to try What he formerly supposed the themselves, to prove themselves,
whether they be in the faith ; and is sufficient, we think, to render our it not presumption to endeavour to conjecture probable. “In the day exculpate any from obedience to of my trouble I sought the Lord : this command ? And will not such my sore ran in the night and ceased an effort give a resting place to not : my soul refused to be comthe self-deceived hypocrite ; and forted : I remembered God and lull multitudes into a fatal delu- was troubled : I complained and sion !
my spirit was overwhelmed. SeWe readily admit that the Bible lah. Thou holdest mine eyes weepcontains no express allusion to the ing : I am so troubled that I cancase under consideration, as an ex- not speak : I have considered the cepted one, in the command of Je- days of old, the years of ancient hovah. We much doubt whether times. I call to remembrance my many, if any, of the writers of the sins in the night : 1 communed Bible had any personal knowledge with mine own heart and my spirit of nervous complaints. For they made diligent search. Will the seem to have been but little known Lord cast off forever ? and will in former times. God reserved he be favourable no more ? Is his them in that phial of his wrath mercy clean gone forever ? doth which he pours upon modern na- his promise fail forevermore tions for their abuse of the blessings Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? of civilized life. Among savage hath he in anger shut up his tender tribes they are entirely unknown : mercies? Selah. And I said this and almost so, among those classes is my infirmity.” of men whose pursuits are active We have often, likewise, been and abroad. Of this description, impressed with the idea, that Paul were nearly all the individuals of had the nervous invalid in his eye, whom Scripture gives an account. when, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, We do indeed read of one, whom he declares it to have been one obPaul exhorts, “ drink no longer wa- ject of Christ in taking part in flesh ter, but use a little wine for thy and blood, that he might" deliver stomach's sake, and thine often in them, who through fear of death, firmities.” If however, Dr. Trotter were all their life time subject to is correct, when he says, “ from bondage.” the experience which I have had, But we are wandering from the in some thousands of these cases, point under consideration. The under all the variety in which they proper solution of the difficulty we usually appear, I freely give it as have suggested, is, to say that the my opinion, that the only means of Bible gives us only general rules, cure, lie in a total abstinence from without mentioning, except in some every species of spirit or fermented few cases, the modifications they liquor ; from every thing that bears will need in peculiar circumstanany analogy to them, such as tea, When, therefore, it directs coffee, opium, and all other narco- believers to make their calling and tics, &c.” we should be disposed election sure, and to prove themto infer that dyspepsia was not the selves whether they be in the malady with which Timothy was faith, it does not mean that there afflicted. But, if we do not mis- can be "no
in which it take, we discover some marks of would be quite difficult, or even nervous despondency in the book impossible, to obey the command. of Psalms; and if these disorders We have not stated, however, that existed any where among the Jews, any such impossibility exists in the we should expect to find them a- case of the nervous invalid. mid the luxury and sloth of an east- say only, that such is the influence ern court. A single extract from of disorder upon his mind and the seventy-seventh Psalm will be heart, as greatly to obscure the