Continent, inward, antecedent, next causes, and how the Body works on the Mind.

Continent, inward, antecedent, next causes, and how the Body works on the Mind.

As a purly hunter, I have hitherto beaten about the circuit of the forest of this microcosm, and followed only those outward adventitious causes. I will now break into the inner room, and rip up the antecedent immediate causes which are there to be found. For as the distraction of the mind, amongst other outward causes and perturbations, alters the temperature of the body, so the distraction and distemper of the body will cause a distemperature of the soul, and 'tis hard to decide which of these two do more harm to the other. Plato, Cyprian, and some others, as I have formerly said, lay the greatest fault upon the soul, excusing the body; others again accusing the body, excuse the soul, as a principal agent. Their reasons are, because "the manners do follow the temperature of the body," as Galen proves it in his book of that subject, Prosper Calenius de Atra bile, Jason Pratensis, c. de Mania. Lemnius, l.4. c.16. and many others. And that which Gualter hath commented, hom. in. epist. Johannis, is most true; concupiscence and original sin, inclinations, and bad humours, are radical in every one of us, causing these perturbations. affections, and several distempers offering many times violence unto the soul. "Every man is tempted by his own concupiscence" (James i. 14), the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, and rebelleth against the spirit, as our apostle teacheth us: that methinks the soul hath the better plea against the body, which so forcibly inclines us, that we cannot resist, Nec nos obniti contra, nec tendere tantum sufficimus. How the body being material, worketh upon the immaterial soul, by mediation of humours and spirits, which participate of both, and ill-disposed organs, Cornelius Agrippa hath discoursed, lib. 1. de occult. Philos. cap. 63, 64, 65. Levinus Lemnius, lib. 1. de occult. nat. mir. cap. 12. et 16. et 21. institut. ad opt. vit. Perkins, lib. 1. Cases of Cons. cap. 12. T. Bright, c. 10, 11, 12. "in his treatise of melancholy," for as anger, fear, sorrow, obtrectation, emulation, &c., si mentis intimos recessus occuparint, saith Lemnius, corpori quoque infesta sunt, et illi teterrimos morbos inferunt, cause grievous diseases in the body, so bodily diseases affect the soul by consent. Now the chiefest causes proceed from the heart, humours, spirits: as they are purer, or impurer, so is the mind, and equally suffers, as a lute out of tune, if one string or one organ be disteinpered, all the rest miscarry, corpus onustum hesternis vitiis, animum quoque prægravat una. The body is domicilium animæ, her house, abode, and stay; and as a torch gives a better light, a sweeter smell, according to the matter it is made of; so doth our soul perform all her actions, better or worse, as her organs are disposed; or as wine savours of the cask wherein it is kept; the soul receives a tincture from the body through which it works. We see this in old men, children, Europeans; Asians, hot and cold climes; sanguine are merry; melancholy, sad; phlegmatic, dull; by reason of abundance of those humours, and they cannot resist such passions which are inflicted by them. For in this infirmity of human nature, as Melancthon declares, the understanding is so tied to, and captivated by his inferior senses, that without their help he cannot exercise his functions, and the will being weakened, hath but a small power to restrain those outward parts, but suffers herself to be overruled by them; that I must needs conclude with Lemnius, spiritus et humores maximum nocumentum obtinent, spirits and humours do most harm in troubling the soul. How should a man choose but be choleric and angry, that hath his body so dogged with abundance of gross humours or melancholy, that is so inwardly disposed? That thence comes then this malady, madness, apoplexies, lethargies, &c., it may not he denied.

Now this body of ours is most part distempered by some precedent diseases, which molest his inward organs and instruments, and so per consequens cause melancholy, according to the consent of the most approved physicians. "This humour (as Avicenna, l. 3. Fen. 1. Tract. 4. c. 18. Arnoldus, breviar. l. 1. 18. Jacchinus, comment. in 9 Rhasis, c. 15. Montaltus, c. 10. Nicholas Piso, c. de Melan. &c., suppose) is begotten by the distemperature of some inward part, innate, or left after some inflammation, or else included in the blood after an ague, or some other malignant disease." This opinion of theirs concurs with that of Galen, l. 3. c. 6. de locis afect. Guianerius gives an instance in one so caused by a quartan ague, and Montanus, consil. 32. in a young man of twenty eight years of age, so distempered after a quartan, which had molested him five years together: Hildesheim, spicel. 2. de Mania, relates of a Dutch baron, grievously tormented with melancholy after a long ague: Galen, l. de atra bile, c. 4. puts the plague a cause. Botaldus in his book de lue vener. c. 2. the French pox for a cause, others phrensy, epilepsy, apoplexy, because those diseases do often degenerate into this. Of suppression of hemorrhoids, hæmorrhagia, or bleeding at the nose, menstruous retentions (although they deserve a larger explication, as being the sole cause of a proper kind of melancholy, in more ancient maids, nuns and widows, handled apart by Rodericus a Castro, and Mercatus, as I have elsewhere signified), or any other evacuation stopped, I have already spoken. Only this I will add, that this melancholy which shall be caused by such infirmities, deserves to be pitied of all men, and to be respected with a more tender compassion, according to Laurentius, as coming from a more inevitable cause.

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