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they were made with a stamp upon wood or paper; and by which the very same things — the same thoughts and feelings, occur again?
There is, in fact, a more substantial philosophy in the purely mental operations of the human soul, than has been generally imagined. It may be illustrated even by material instruments. A celebrated violinist once took great pains to procure some pieces of the wood of an old violin which had been long played on, with which to mend his own. He assigned as the reason, that the very vibrations of the harmony of many years playing, had altered the quality and susceptibility of the wood. It was better than any new, or any old, which had not been submitted to this influence. It had probably acquired, by a succession of harmonious sounds being made so long to vibrate through it, some musical arrangement of the interiors of its fibrous particles. This is a piece of very fine, but very valuable and rational philosophy.
Now, just so it is with the human spirit, which has been played on for so many years, either discordantly or harmoniously. The effect must be lasting and permanent. It is just like bending an elastic rod : keep bending it, and it will stay bent.
Swedenborg has well said, that “all the cogitations of the mind are attended with variations of the form ; which variations, in the purer substances, are such as cannot be described. Thought can no more be given separate from a substantial form, than sight separate from its form, which is the eye; hearing from its, which is the ear; and taste from its, which is the tongue. Since, then, affections and thoughts are mere changes of the states of the forms of the mind, it follows that memory is nothing else than their permanent state, [or thoughts which are awakened by their permanent state,] for all changes and variations of state in organic substances are such, that, being once accustomed, they are permanent; thus the lungs are accustomed to produce various sounds in the trachea, and
to vary them in the glottis, to articulate them with the tongue, and to modify them in the mouth; and when these organic things are once accustomed, they (that is, the states and potencies of sound] are in them, and can be reproduced.”
Thus, then, we have the real philosophy of Memory. It is not that naked, metaphysical thing which it is supposed to be. Memory, in fact, is nothing but the permanent bent of the elastic rod, or the fixed arrangement of the particles of a musical instrument by constant playing. Memory, in other words, is that permanent state . that absolute form of the substance and motion of a man's mind, which has been acquired by constant habit, and by all the experience which he has undergone. It must be observed, however, that while all the motions of the mind, however faint and transient, leave their impression, it is only the more powerful, or long continued, which are generally made the subjects of memory.
And now, what is recollection ? or how is this operation of the mind performed ? It would seem that this effort that we make to recollect a thing, does really, by the power of the will, reach substantially, as by a current of fine spiritual fluid instantly excited, to those places in the soul where the impressions or forms are made, and thus awaken the same idea into life. And when, without effort, certain circumstances bring the matter afresh into the memory, it is by a similar process, by which a substantial connection is made between the present state and the former impressions. And frequently, other spirits who are with us, touch and excite for us those parts of the mind. Thus, either by voluntary or involuntary power, by ourselves or by other spiritual aid, the soul does really undergo a process of refinding, or refixing upon certain impressions or forms made within it, by which the past experience is made a present reality.
At all events, we know that the soul has this power, account for it as we may. And it is a fearful power
a tremendous power a power that may be used indefinitely, either for good
or evil, and by which the great eternal Providence proceeds with steady and unfaltering step, to fulfil its designs and execute its purposes. For it would appear that every thing that in any way ever gets into the mind, in some sense remains there, and nothing, by any possibility, can ever be entirely eradicated from it. At least, while man retains his present identity it cannot be. It may be forgotten for a time, but it can be recalled. And if one thing may, every thing may. Why is it that some things are remembered, and others forgotten? The facts or experiences of the mind are strung or connected together into an absolute and convoluted series, touching each other all the way, according as we have experienced, having made their marks or impressions on the soul. And it is only owing to this power of the mind, either by effort of the will, or by circumstances, or by excitation from another spirit, to run back in a more or less connected chain, and to fix again upon certain previous states and impressions, that some things are remembered and others forgotten. And if so, it only requires a sufficiency of the same power to run back in an unbroken chain, to recover all the experience which we have at any time been made the subject of. Thus, every thing that gets into the mind, remains there with a wonderful tenacity, and passes to eternity. Many things may be forgotten, but there is not, necessarily and philosophically, any such thing as absolute and eternal forgetfulness. It may not, in eternity, be found necessary, or it may not occur by any of the connections of spiritual laws and facts, that we should ever be re-awakened to the remembrance of every little thing we have done or said ; the memory of natural things is indeed, for the most part, quiescent in the spiritual world ; but every thing can be made to start into the conscious mind again. There is this in the soul. And occasionally, we are told, the soul is let into its past states of life, sometimes even as to natural things, for purposes of conviction and discipline.
It would seem, indeed, that such a power as the memory here
described, is a necessary provision for our human individuality. It is necessary for the preservation of our identity. It is this that gives the me feeling which we all have, or which distinguishes between the me and the not me.
How could we preserve our individuality unless we had this power of treasuring up our past experience? Suppose any large or considerable portion of our experience should be so entirely and absolutely forgotten, as to leave no trace or impress of it in the soul; how could we live, the conscious beings that we are? How could we transact business, or fulfil any of the purposes of life? Strike out of all memory the last ten years of my existence, and how could I fulfil the offices of life, or live in future as a whole, individual man? Sometimes such cases occur in disease, and we see the sad effects of them. The person is as a newborn child, having lost all his former experience, and is obliged to begin again with the very rudiments of knowledge. Now, if it is true in large portions of experience, it is true in small. The large experiences are made up of the small ones— the generals of the particulars. And if one solitary particular, ever so small, could be really annihilated from our being, the law would be broken which makes us what we are. And the same law which requires large portions of experience to be preserved in this way, requires every particular, and it will secure it by the power of an infallible existence. In fact, our whole responsibility, as moral and accountable beings, is involved in this power. If we could not remember our misdeeds or virtues, or if they were not so engraved upon our very spirits as to enable us to see them and be them, where would be the justice of our continuous punishment? But man in eternity sees himself, and is himself, by this wonderful power of shaping, impressing, moulding, and treasuring up in the soul; he will see, as we shall soon show, his whole past life; and there is a nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; nor hid, that shall not be known.” He will know by inspection and experience, graved and colored all over and through his soul, whether he is good
or evil, and how good or evil he is, though he may err in the value of the estimate, and he will go, by visible accompaniments, with the hosts of his own kindred, to his own place.
But we proceed to observe, in the next place, that the memory, like every other faculty and sense of man, is divided into two parts, internal and external ; like the sight, or the eye. The outward eye pertains to the body, and is comparatively dull. It sees only material things. But the inward, spiritual eye, is finer and more piercing. It sees spiritual things, and takes cognizance of a thousand particulars concerning the ends and causes of things, which the eye of the body fails to recognize. It is sometimes developed in certain abnormal phe
- in those instances where, from involuntary or artificial means, the senses of the body are laid aside or put to sleep, and the soul-powers spring, as it were, into new life and superhuman activity. Wonderful are these powers of the soul, and they help very much to illustrate the truths which pertain to the eternal world. No one will question, at this day, who has paid any sufficient attention to the subject, the sight of a spiritual eye, which is used independently of the outward organ, and can see to read the finest print through thick, black bandages, and pierce through solid walls of masonry, and at almost
into the secrets of a man's soul. If it be said that the outward organ is still necessary, though blindfolded, and that the whole phenomenon is only a preternatural quickening of the bodily sense, what shall be said of the thoughtreading ? and of a thousand other more marvellous phenomena pertaining to the spiritual world? But it is not our purpose to prove a spiritual sense here; we trust that we have passed that necessity; but only to illustrate, from certain well-known facts, the doubleness of man's whole nature. For, as there is an inner and an outer eye, so there is a double set of all the
a complete set of spiritual powers, which, in fact, are all that make the body any thing; for this outward eye would be worth nothing, were it not for the eye of the soul; and the