Page images

understanding. The latter are immediately produced by the action of the material organs upon the spirit, and under our present constitution and present circumstances, are capable of being produced in this way only. Were our constitution changed or were the media by which we are surrounded altered, then the same phenomena might be exbibited under other and different conditions ; but in our present state, their manifestation is inseparably connected with the body. The former, on the contrary, are not the immediate or necessary result of the action of the brain, but arise in the mind by virtue of its own inherent endowments, when the ideas awakened by that action are contemplated. Such are the axioms of arithmetic and geometry. Such are the first principles in morals and metaphysics. These iruths are directly apprehended, while the conceptions to which they relate are awakened through the organization. This secondary character which belongs to the entire class of intuitive or rational perceptions, and by which they are removed from all bodily connections, and carried back wholly into the spirit, appears to be what with the philosophers above referred to, has led to the conclusion however unjustifiable, that they spring from a source beyond and above the individual in whom they are manifested.

Of the same secondary character are the various desires, sentiments, and feelings of which we are susceptible. They are not the immediate result of the action of the brain upon the spirit, but spring up in the mind from the contemplation of ideas of a nature fitted to produce them. The ideas are awakened by the action of the brain, but the desires and feelings by the ideas. The modern phrenological doctrines which refer the intellectual and moral sentiments to certain parts of the cerebrum as the immediate instruments of their manitestation, are no less at variance with the true exposition of the mental phenomena as revealed in consciousness, than they are inconsistent with all just views in regard to the structure and functions of that organ; and we venture further to express the belief that could all the sources of error necessarily attendant upon their application to the determining of character be excluded, their failure to bear this last practical test of their soundness would be found equally signal.

We have thus far considered only the elementary powers of the mind. Its more complex operations and processes however, such as analysis, synthesis, ratiocination, and generalization will require but a brief notice in connection with our subject. Indeed, they will be found upon examination to be made up of the simple acts and states which have already passed under review. They all necessarily involve conception. This runs through them and constitutes the chief 1849.]

Objections considered.


and essential ingredient in their composition. Without this, they would be impossible. In fact, each one of the processes consists in the development of conceptions under the guidance of either the intuitions or the sentiments. Analysis is the separate and independent production of ideas which having entered the mind simultaneously, ordinarily present themselves in a combined, or more strictly speaking, associated state. Synthesis is the simultaneous production of ideas which having entered the mind at different times and under different circumstances, ordinarily present themselves in a disconnected state. When the ideas thus brought together are associated according to their philosophical relations, it is said to be an exercise of the understanding or the reason ; and when in accordance with their poetical relations, of the imagination or the fancy. In the same way, ratiocination is the spontaneous or voluntary development of a train of ideas in the order of their logical connections, accompanied at each step by the perception of these connections ; and so of the other mental operations. They all consist in the production of ideas connected with one another by certain definite relations, the intuitive apprehension of which furnishes the guide to their development. They are therefore dependent upon the action of the cerebrum, inasmuch as this is necessary to the awakening of conceptions. But they also involve the exercise of other and higher powers which are wholly independent of the cerebrum--which belong exclusively to the spirit, and which would continue the same although its connection with the body should be dissolved. Such are the various intuitions which enter essentially into these processes, and in fact determine their character. They together make up the human intelligence, and are of a nature so superior to the mere outward perceptions, dependent upon the organization, that as we have already said, they have been supposed to have their origin in the Divine mind. Indeed, the former class of powers are alınost as highly developed in many of the lower animals as in man. It is the want of the latter that chiefly constitutes their inferiority, and must forever restrict them to the humble place they occupy in the scale of created intelligences.

Before dismissing our subject, it may be proper briefly to advert to one or two consequences which would seem to follow from the fore. going exposition of the mental phenomena, and which by many may be regarded as an insuperable objection to the views presented. If the mind be awakened to action only by the presence of ideas, and if these are evolved under our present constitution through the instrumentality of the brain, then it follows, it may be said, that the spirit on its separation from the body must pass into a state of profound and unconscious repose. Having now neither perceptions nor conceptions, there will be nothing to awaken its sensibilities or call forth its powers. That such a conclusion follows legitimately fron, the premises, provided we suppose the spirit on laying aside its connection with the body, not to assume any new connections or enter into any new relations, we think must be admitted. Indeed the same thing might be inferred from the loss of consciousness which takes place whenever the action of the brain is temporarily suspended, as in paralysis or syncope. During the continuance of these, so far as we can judge from appearances and from the subsequent recollections of the individual, there is a total cessation of all thought and feeling. The mind is apparently in a state of unconsciousness, as profound as that from which it was awakened by the first impressions made upon it through the organization.

But if the spirit be destined to survive the body, all analogy would lead us to expect that other instrumentalities will be provided, for enabling it to carry on its own processes, as well as for putting it in communication with surrounding existences. It is not necessary that these instrumentalities should be like those at present made use of, organic. In its new state of being, the spirit for aught we know, may be bathed on every side by a subtle essence or medium, which shall disclose to it surrounding existences, in the same manner as light reveals their external forms to the eye. Whoever will compare our capacity for knowledge with our present means of acquiring it, cannot fail to be struck with the great disparity between them. A child may learn in a single day what it has taken a whole life-time to discover. The information imparted by the senses is extremely limited. They at best make known only the outward phenomena. Of the essence and properties they tell us nothing. These must be sought by long and laborious processes of experiment and induction; and even after we suppose ourselves to have arrived at them, as the method pursued was not direct but merely inferential, further investigation may show that we were in error. Were a new sense to be granted to us, by which we might look into the interior of bodies and see their component atoms, might observe the different ways in which those atoms act upon one another, and how that action gives rise to the innumerable changes which are everywhere occurring, with such a faculty a single glance around us would give a deeper insight into the real nature and actual constitution of things, than has been gained by the combined researches of philosophers during a period of six thousand years.

Nor is the mode in which the spirit holds intercourse with other spirits in the present state, at all so simple or perfect as might be conceived. Instead of direct communion with them, or the rapid inter

The Memory not destroyed at Death.

557 change of thought and feeling, through the medium of some intervening agent, recourse must be had to a complicated system of means, involving numerous actions and reactions, for conveying the simplest idea. In the first place, the idea must be expressed. In order to this, couriers are despatched along the nerves leading to the vocal organs, and these are called into action in such a manner as to form the particular sounds which represent it. These sounds breaking upon the surrounding air, are borne upon its waves to the ear of the person addressed, which entering they traverse its successive compartmentsundergoing in each certain important modifications—until they at length reach its termination in the auditory nerve. Here an entire change takes place in the character of the action. Froin a mere mechanical impulse or vibration, it is converted into an agency or influence of a far more subtle nature, which is transmitted along this nerve and which on arriving at its interior extremity, where it is in relation with the spirit, appears in the form of a sensation. Finally, by virtue of an association established between them, this sensation introduces the idea which it was the object of the entire process to communicate. That such a mode of intercourse, however well adapted to our present condition as physical and organic beings, will be retained by the spirit after it has laid aside its material connections, no one can for a moment imagine. What other more direct and simple mode will be substituted for this, it is impossible to say; although the wide diffusion of certain ethereal media and the important ends which they subserve in the general economy of nature, would suggest the probability that these may in some way be subsidiary to that more perfect communion which we suppose spirit to hold with spirit.

It may be further said, by way of objection to the foregoing views, that if, as supposed, the ideas of memory are awakened through the organization, on the dissolution of that, the faculty itself must be destroyed and the whole previous existence of the individual become thenceforward an entire blank. That such is not a necessary consequence of what has been said, will be obvious we think, on a moment's reflection. In whatever manner our former ideas may be reproduced, whether by the instrumentalities at present employed for that purpose, or by others equally adapted to the same end, as long as the power of recognizing them continues—a power which resides in the spirit itself, and is wholly independent of the organization—so long the faculty of memory must remain. Indeed, should our means of recalling the past in another state be more perfect than they are at present—which is at least supposable—then this faculty may not only continue unimpaired, but be greatly improved, so that it shall disclose to us in

the retrospect of existence vistas, of which we have now no conception.

From the rapid view which we have thus taken of the several classes of the mental phenomena, it appears that there is no evidence of their being dependent upon the organization, in any such manner as to render that necessary to their development. Nor is there in any of them, evidence of an actual dependence under our present constitution, at all different in kind from that which is manifested in the simplest cases of ordinary perception. The ideas originally awakened through impressions made upon the senses are subsequently reproduced by the spontaneous action of the interior or cerebral portions of the same organs. The intuitions of the reason, as in their first appearance, so in their subsequent manifestations, are wholly independent of the brain. They arise in the mind by virtue of its own endowments, whenever the ideas to which they relate are presented to it. There is nothing therefore, in the connection between the spirit and the body, so far as we are able to trace it, to afford ground for the belief, that the dissolution of the latter will be attended with the destruction of the former, or even with a diminution of its powers; but on the contrary, it is entirely supposable, and the law of progress so visibly inscribed, not only on our own nature, but upon every part of the Creator's works, would lead us to expect, that these powers will be greatly enlarged, by its introduction to new and higher relations fitted to call forth energies which are now dormant.



We have translated and we herewith present to our readers the Chronological Tables on Biblical History, inserted by Winer as an Appendix to the third edition of his Biblisches Realwörterbuch, Leipzig, 1848. It is a convenient summary of the results of the latest investigations of archaeologists and commentators in relation to this subject. Many points, it is well known, are in dispute. Some of them never can be settled, for want of adequate data. It may be well, however, to present the conclusions, (in some instances conjectures) of a scholar so industrious and able as Winer. The mark * indicates the death of the person with whose name it is connected.-E.

« PreviousContinue »