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the 'plea which all the advocates for this lame system would offer in their own defence, were any one so injurious as to charge them with things done or said in their sleep. The same observation may be urged against that absurd, self-repugnant hypothesis of our having been in a pre-existent state: for whatsoever was done there, it can be nothing to us, who had never the least notice or conception of it.
To the difficulties so often objected, of this being a “new creation,” and making the same thing have “two beginnings of existence;"—We may observe, that it would indeed be an absurdity to suppose two beginnings of existence, if the identity of a substance, being, or man were inquired into; but when the inquiry is made into the artificial abstract idea of personality, invented for a particular end, to answer which consciousness only is required, beginning and end of existence are quite out of the question, being foreign to any consideration of the subject. It may be farther observed, that in fact we meet with something of the same kind every morning after a total interruption of thought (and I hope we may by this time in one sense be allowed to term it so) during sound sleep: nay, if we search the thing narrowly, and may in our turn enter into such minutie, thus much will be implied in the successive train of our ideas, even in each hour of the day; that same article of succession including some degree of distance between each of them, and consequently at every successive step there is a new production, which may with equal reason be styled an interruption of thought, or a new exertion of the thinking power.-But enough of these nugæ difficiles. Such changeable, frail creatures then are we through life; yet safe in the hand of that unchangeably just, wise, good, and all-powerful Being, who perfectly understands our frame, and will make due allowances for each defect or disorder incident to it; who at first created us out of nothing, and still preserves us through each shifting scene, be the revo
lutions in it never so frequent and rapid, and will at length most assuredly conduct us to immortality. Though in every respect we are here “ fleeing as it were a shadow, and never continuing in one stay," and at last suffer a short seeming pause * in our existence, which is in scripture termed the “sleep of death;" yet will he again raise us “out of the dust;": restore us to ourselves, and to our friends t; revive our consciousness of each past act or habit, that may prove of the least moral import; cause the “secrets of all hearts to be laid open," and either reward or punish every one according to his works done in the body.
Nor does it imply a plurality of persons in any man at any time given to charge him with various actions or omissions ; since he may become guilty of a plurality of crimes, as often as he is induced or enabled to reflect upon them, though these cannot be crowded into his mind altogether, any more than they could have been so committed. Nor therefore need all past actions become at once present to the mind; which is utterly inconsistent with our frame, as it now
*i, e. a pause in the opinion and sight of other sentient beings existing after our departure, but not a pause strictly so called to the person himself, in which there will be an unbroken thread of consciousness or continued personality ; time unperceived being no time, time absolute a fiction, and no idea intervening between the moments of his falling asleep and waking again, these will be to him coincident: which shows, that personality cannot have two beginnings of existence, though the substance in which it is found may be perpetually varied, and though sometimes a less number of facts rise up to his remembrance.
+ To one who has not seen and felt the unhappy effects of human prejudice and partial judgment in such cases, it might appear strange that so many wise and able, men should still continue iga norant of this, after all the fullest information given us in the following express declaration of that great and good apostle St. Paul: 1" I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." ì Thess. iv. 13, &c.
stands, and perhaps with that of every other created being; nor is there a necessity for any one idea being always actually in view, which is equally so; but only for a capacity of having such brought to mind again, together with a consciousness of their having been there before, (which distinguishes them from entirely new ones) or a possibility of recognizing them upon occasion, at least whenever we are to account for them, as has been frequently observed. So far as any such recognition reaches, such person is the same; when this faculty varies, that must vary also; and he become the same, or not, at different times and in divers respects, as observed likewise; at least his accountableness must vary in proportion, call this personality, or what you think fit. Nor does it properly lie in a power of causing a return of the same idea; but rather in the capacity of receiving it, of re-admitting the same consciousness concerning any past thought, action, or perception. Nor is it merely a present representation of any such act; but a representation of it as our own, which entitles us to it; one person may know or become conscious of the deeds of another, but this is not knowing that he himself was the author of those deeds, which is a contradiction; and to treat him as such upon that account only would be inverting all rules of right and wrong; and could not therefore be practised by either God or man, since no end could possibly be answered by such treatment, as observed above.
To dwell upon those surprising consequences that might attend the transferring the same consciousness to different beings, or giving the same being very different ones, is merely puzzling and perplexing the point, by introducing such confusions as never really existed, and would not alter the true state of the question, if they did.
Such fairy tales and Arabian transformations, possible or impossible, can only serve to amuse the fancy, without any solid imformation to the judgment. These flights of mere imagination Mr. Locke gene-rally avoids, though he was here tempted to indulge
a few such, in playing with the wild suppositions of his adversaries, [v. g. a change of souls between Socrates and the mayor of Queenborough, &c.] probably to enliven a dry subject, and render it more palatable to the bulk of his readers.
Nor are those cases of a disordered imagination in lunacy, or vapours, where persons are for a time beside themselves (as we usually term it) and may believe such chimerical alterations to befall them, any more to the
purpose. But it were endless to unravel all the futile sophisms and false suppositions, that have been introduced into the present question; I have endeavoured to obviate such as appeared most material, and account for them; and at the same time to inculcate a doctrine, which, though common enough, seemed not enough attended to; yet is fundamentally requisite to a right understanding of this intricate subject. And if that which is laid down above be a true state of the case, all the rest of our author's plan, [of placing personal identity in a continuation of thought *] will drop of course. I trust the reader will make allowance for some repetitions, which were left to render things as plain as possible, and prevent future subterfuges of the like kind; and if the substance of these few hasty observations on the first part of this ingenious writer's essay prove in the least degree satisfactory to himself, or have a tendency to enlarge general knowledge, and guard against popular errors, I must rely upon his candour for. excusing the man
* Which disposition, could it be made out, would never answer the intent of society, or help to direct us in our duty, the two grand objects which first gave birth to personality; i; e.to a very partial confined consideration of that complex idea, substance, or being, called man.
ner in which they are thrown out; and shall take the
A friend, well acquainted with the subject of the foregoing sheets, having communicated to me some observations concerning the use of the word Person, which came too late to be inserted in their proper place, I must take the liberty of annering them, though they occasion some more redundancies and repetitions, in order to throw as much light as is possible on this very obscure and long controverted question.
As Mr. Locke's definition of the term person, (chap. xxvii. $ 9) may possibly create some difficulty, it will be proper to examine into the sense which should be put upon this word, whenever we inquire after the identity of
may perhaps at once lead us to a just conception of the whole. In the aforementioned section Mr. Locke says, that person stands for “a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, &c. whereas I should imagine the expression would have been more just, had he said that the word person stands for an attribute, or quality, or character of a thinking intelligent being; in the same sense as Tully uses it, Orat. pro Syll. 5 3. • “Hanc mihi tu si, propter res meas gestas, imponis in omni vitâ meâ personam, Torquate, vehementer erras.
Me natura misericordem, patria seven