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ment in which we fall into a deep sleep, and that in which we awake out of it uniformly seem to touch each other? In such cases we have not the smallest or most dim perception of the progress of time, or of any thoughts that passed through our minds in the interval. Now, surely, upon the soundest principles of philosophy we have reason to conclude, that we could not spend so large a portion of our time in thinking without having some consciousness of it. Mr. Locke alludes to the case of a young man who lived to the age of twenty-five, or twenty-six years, without having experienced what it was to dream, and was then only made acquainted with that operation of the mind by a fever from which he was then newly recovered. Now, is it to be conceived that this young man could have spent one third of his time in thinking, which is the period usually devoted to sleep, without having been conscious of it in any single instance?
From consciousness we derive our proof that at any given time we are thinking or have ever thought; and were we destitute of this consciousness, we could never have sufficient evidence to convince us that we think.
Now in instances of sound sleep, of swooning, of a deliquium of suspended animation by drowning, we want this consciousness, and, of course, all evidence that we were thinking: how, then, are we to be convinced that we were still engaged in thought? When all those indications, by which a state of thought is discovered to ourselves or others, have ceased to be exhibited, what ground have we for concluding that we still continue to think? Look at a man wrapt in profound sleep. Do we discern in his appearance any of the signs or symptoms that denote a state of thinking? In that singular and extraordinary condition of being, making so near an approach to death, all the functions of body and mind, except those which are indispensable to life, appear for a time suspended. The eye is closed,
the respiration is difficult, the whole countenance fallen and changed, voluntary motion is discontinued, the spirit that once actuated and enlivened the features and all the organs of the body seems to have retreated to its citadel to enjoy a season of repose. There is not one indication that a single thought passes through the mind; the sleeper seems to be a different being from the man, and when he is suddenly aroused from sleep, he seems to have arisen to new life and perception, and unless he has been disturbed by dreams, to have commenced his existence anew. Could the phenomena presented to our view in any way more strongly indicate the total suspension of thought? It is incumbent upon those who deny that the soul ever ceases to think, to prove that proposition by satisfactory arguments. As all the appearances of nature are so decidedly unfavourable to their doctrine, the burthen of proof in this case lies upon them. Scarcely is there a man in the world, who, if left to the unbiassed suggestions of his own mind and is untutored in the dogmas and language of the schools, would not decide that in sleep we cease to think. It is the wisdom of science to pay great respect in such cases to the unadulterated sentiments and original impressions of nature.
In the next place, those operations of the mind, or modes of thinking which are the most familiar, constant, and invariable, cease in sleep, and this furnishes us with an additional proof that all other acts are intermitted also. We know that in sleep, both internal and external perceptions cease. The senses are all sealed, and no longer convey their notices to the mind's presence chamber. The body may be moved from place to place, the nose regaled with effluvia, and the ear assailed by the loudest noises, and yet no perceptions are occasioned in the mind. Do not these circumstances show that the spirit within has for a time resigned its commission, and along with the body is enjoying the sweets of repose? Is it to be credited that the soul has the power of exercising a part of its functions whilst the rest are allowed to remain dormant; to reason, conceive, remember, imagine, while in her perceptions she is torpid? But it may be asked, does not this take place in dreams? Are not the powers of memory and imagination frequently employed in them to exhibit the past and paint scenes that appear to be present, while our other faculties are locked up in sleep? The case of dreams, instead of impugning the truth of our doctrine, tends to its support and confirmation. For it is worthy of our observation that as soon as we pass from sound sleep to that singular and anomalous condition of existence, called dreaming, in which it appears that our powers of reason, memory and imagination, are very imperfectly exercised, our perceptive powers also are immediately rendered more sensitive or excitable. We are much more easily awakened from a state of dreaming than of sound sleep. From what can this arise but from the circumstance, that our perceptive faculties are partially excited along with the other faculties of the mind, and perhaps in an equal degree with them?.
But again, it may be said, does not the phenomenon of dreaming itself, show that the soul is always thinking, and that our dreams are nothing more than those sleeping thoughts, which because of their importance make a deeper impression, and are retained by the memory? I think that we shall readily be convinced that this theory is not well founded if we will attend to the following considerations.
We are all conscious of the transition from a state of sound sleep to that of dreaming, and that the latter is not the natural but disordered state of the mind during rest. If we are always thinking and recollect only important malters, how happens it that we dream less in sound health than in sickness? Do crudities and indigestion produce in the mind more interesting trains of thought than a healthful performance of the functions of the body? Are men in perfect health, less likely to have important conceptions in
sleep, than the nervous, the delicate, and distempered? It is evident, therefore, that dreaming is a state, or condition of being, sui generis, distinct from all others, and not merely a more recollected and interested attention paid to the ideas that are perpetually passing through the mind in sleep.
Another reason which induces me to believe that the soul does not always think, is, that a total suspension of thought, as well as bodily action, would seem to be necessary to that repose and refreshment which nature evidently intends us to enjoy in sleep. Even that incoherent and imperfect kind of thinking, which takes place in dreams, interrupts that kind repose which we derive from tired nature's sweet restorer, and after a night of dreams we awake in the morning much less refreshed than usual. It seems to be the attribute of Him only who never slumbers nor sleeps, always to have a succession of ideas passing through his mind, or rather at every instant to have all ideas and all knowledge immediately present to his view.
Another argument in favour of our doctrine, may be derived from a consideration of the causes that usually occasion sleep, and the efforts we involuntarily make use of to retard or accelerate its approach.
Animals that think least are the most inclined to drowsi. ness. Savages and slaves, who have the fewest ideas, spend a large portion of their time in dozing. When they are incapable of employing their minds in interesting reflections so as to keep their eyes open, is it to be believed, that they fall asleep and close them, that they may learn to think? In the case of all of us, when we become drowsy, are we not conscious of a gradual approximation towards a total suspension of thought, so that when the nod is produced we feel almost sure that we ceased to think? When we have spent the evening in company excited by lively conversation and a great variety of objects, which have successively engaged our attention, upon our return to our chamber, we often find it difficult to compose ourselves to rest. What can occasion this difficulty but the rapid flow of thoughts which it is not in our power readily to check? And when we set ourselves to work to endeavour to promote sleepiness, do we not strive to banish those thoughts that intrude themselves, and engage, and agitate us, and turn our attention to others less calculated to excite us? Sometimes when we have been much interested in reading a book, or pursuing a subject of inquiry, the mind becomes so occupied and engrossed by it that sleep is driven from our pillow; and the only way in which we can recall it, is to drive those meditations which were awakened, from our minds. In all such instances, in order to induce sleep, we have to make an exertion to cease to think.
The last consideration which I shall suggest as leading to the conclusion, that the soul does not always think, is, that it would be inconsistent with the usual simplicity and frugality of nature, to suppose that she enables us to exercise a power so habitually to no useful purpose. If the intellectu. al machine within us is kept in operation during sleep, it is certainly labour greatly misapplied and lost. No one ever yet was sensible of any advantages which accrued to him from any thoughts that occurred during sleep, When were ever any plans of usefulness at such times projected, which had never occurred to the mind before, or any discoveries in science made? “Such a useless operation, as that of our thinking always during sleep cannot be the product of the allwise Author of nature, whose ways in many instances, indeed, are past finding out, but are known to be invariably characterised by one peculiar circumstance, that he does nothing in vain.
Upon the whole it may be asked, how can we conceive that the soul should ever be without thought, whose great and distinguishing property is to think? Is it not as easy to