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ural spirit of animals and even of vegetables, which differs from the other soul both in essence and in form. For from the confusion between them has sprung the doctrine of metempsychosis and innumerable conceits of heathens and heretics.
23. The human body requires renovation by aliment regularly once a day. Men in good health can scarce bear three days' fasting ; but training and custom even here have no little effect. To men out of health fasting is less injurious. And as exercise demands more nourishment, so likewise sleep to a certain extent sup
There are some few instances of men who, by some miracle of nature, have been found to live a considerable time without meat and drink.
24. Dead bodies, if not prevented by putrefaction, last a long time without much decay; but live bodies, as has been said, cannot, unless they receive alimentation, last more than three days. This shows that this rapid consumption is the work of the living spirit, which either repairs itself, or makes it necessary for the parts to repair themselves, or both. This is borne out also by that which was noted before, namely, that animals can go somewhat longer without aliment, if they sleep. Now sleep is nothing else than the retirement of the living spirit into itself.
25. Too continuous and copious an effusion of blood, such as sometimes takes place in hemorrhoids, sometimes in vomiting of blood from the opening or rus cure of the inner veins, and sometimes in wounds, auses speedy death ; for the blood of the veins supp'ies the blood of the arteries, which again supplies the spirit.
26. A man who feeds twice a day takes no small quantity of meat and drink into his body; much more indeed than he discharges by stool, urine, or sweat. No wonder, perhaps you will say, seeing the rest is turned into the juices and substance of the body. True ; but reflect for a moment that this accession of food takes place twice a day, and yet the body is not surcharged. And similarly, though the spirit is repaired, yet it grows not immoderate in quantity.
27. It is of no use to have aliment at hand, if it be in a remote degree ; but it should be of such a kind and so prepared and applied that the spirit can act upon it. The stick of a wax torch cannot continue the flame if wax be, wanting, neither can men feed on herbs alone. And this it is which occasions atrophy in old age, namely, that although there be flesh and blood, yet the spirit has become so scanty and thin, and the juices and the blood are so exhausted and obstinate, that they are not equal to alimentation.
28. Let us now sum up the things required for life, according to the common and ordinary course of nature. The spirit requires room for its motion in the ventricles of the brain and the nerves perpetually ; pulsation of the heart every third part of a moment; respiration every moment; food and sleep once in three days ; power of alimentation after the age of about eighty years; and if any of these wants are not supplied death ensues. Therefore there appear plainly to be three porches of death ; namely, destitution of the spirit, in the motion, refrigeration, and nourishment thereof.
1. It would be an error to suppose
that the living spirit, like flame, is perpetually generated and extinguished, and is of no sensible duration. For even flame does this not of its own nature, but because it lives among things hostile to it, since flame within flame is durable. But the living spirit lives among things that are friendly and obsequious. Therefore, whereas flame is a momentary and air a fixed substance, the living spirit partakes of the nature of both.
2. The present inquiry, as was observed at first, does not relate to the extinction of the spirit by the destruction of the organs through disease and violence; although this also terminates in the same three porches. And so much for the form of death.
29. There are two great precursors of death, the one sent from the head, the other from the heart, namely, convulsions and extreme labour of the pulse; for that deadly hiccough is itself a kind of convulsion. But this labouring of the pulse has a remarkable quickness, because on the point of death the heart trembles so violently that contraction and dilatation are almost confounded. But together with this quickness there is a feebleness and lowness, and often a great intermission in the pulse, the motion of the heart failing, and being no longer able to recover itself stoutly and regularly.
30. The immediate signs which precede death are, great restlessness and tossing of the body, fumbling of the hands, hard clutching and grasping, teeth firmly set, a hollow voice, trembling of the lower lip, pallor of the face, a confused memory, loss of speech, cold sweats, elongation of the body, raising up the white of the eyes, alteration of the whole countenance (as the nose becoming sharp, the eyes hollow, and the cheeks sinking in), contraction and rolling of the tongue, coldness of the extremities, in some a discharge of blood or seed, a shrill cry, thick breathing, falling of the lower jaw, and the like.
31. Death is succeeded by deprivation of all sense and motion as well of the heart and arteries as of the nerves and limbs, by inability of the body to support itself upright, by stiffness of the nerves and parts, by loss of all warmth, and soon after by putrefaction and stench.
32. Eels, serpents, and insects move a good while in all their parts after being cut in pieces ; so that countrymen imagine that the different parts are trying to unite again. Birds likewise flutter for a little after their heads are cut off; and the hearts of animals beat for a long time after being torn out. Indeed, I remember to have seen the heart of a man who had his bowels torn out (the punishment with us for high treason), which on being cast according to custom into the fire, leaped up at first about a foot and a half high, and then by degrees to a less height, for the space, as I remember, of seven or eight minutes. There is likewise an old and trustworthy tradition of an ox bellowing after his bowels were torn out. But there is a more certain report of a man, who having undergone this said punishment for high treason, when his heart had been torn out and was in the hands of the executioner, was heard to utter three or four words of prayer. This I say is more credible than the story
of the sacrificed ox; because the friends of such criminals usually give money to the executioner to do his office as quickly as possible, and so put thein sooner out of pain ; whereas in sacrifices I do not see why the priest should use any such despatch.
33. To recover persons from swoons and sudden fits (of whom many, without relief, would otherwise die), ,
) the following remedies are used ; namely, giving them waters distilled from wine (which are called hot and cordial waters), bending the body forward, close stopping of the mouth and nostrils, bending and twisting the fingers, tearing out the hair of the beard or head, rubbing of the parts, especially the face and extremities, a sudden sprinkling of cold water on the face, sudden and shrill noises, holding rose-water and vinegar to the nose in fainting fits; burning feathers or cloth in hysterics; but in apoplectic fits the best thing is a heated frying-pan. A close embrace of living bodies has likewise been of service to some.
34. There have been many instances of men who have been left for dead, laid out, and carried forth to burial ; nay, of some who have been actually buried; that have yet come to life again. In the case of those who have been buried, this has been ascertained, on opening the grave, from the wounded and bruised state of the head, by reason of the body striving and tossing in the coffin. The most recent and memorable instance thereof was the subtle schoolman Duns Scotus, who having been buried in the absence of his servant (who appears to have known the symptoms of these fits), was by him afterwards disinterred and found in this state. And a similar thing happened in our time to an actor buried at Cambridge. I remember to have heard of a gentleman who, being curious to know what the sensation of hanging was, hung himself by mounting on a stool and then dropping himself off, thinking of course that he would be able to regain the stool as soon as he liked ; but this he was unable to do, and he