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winds were confined, as those of the witches and sorcerers of the north are supposed to be.
Our sailors, I am told, at this very day, I mean the vulgar sort of them, have a strange opinion of the devil's power and agency in stirring up winds, and that this is the reason they so seldom whistle on ship-board, esteeming that to be a mocking, and consequently an enraging of the devil. And it appears now, that even Zoroaster himself imagined there was an evil spirit called Vato, that could excite violent storms of winds. But notwithstanding all this, God is said to bring the winds out of his treașures; it is also written, that at his word the stormy wind ariseth; so that the devil was formerly endeavouring to ape the divine omnipotency, in this par, ticular as well as so many others. He is, indeed, called in scripture, the prince of the power of the air,* and it is wonderful to reflect how far and how wide, and how generally, he has propagated the false persuasion, that he and his instruments, witches and wizards, had it in their power to raise or abate, to change, to communicate, to sell and transfer, a wind.
GENT. MAG. 1763.
Dreams are one of the most extraordinary phenomena of the human frame; they are by some, perhaps, too little, by others too much, regarded : some are continually torturing them into meaning, and converting them into presages and predictions, whilst others utterly slight them as the capricious workings of a wanton fancy let loose from the restraints of reason and judgment. i There are persons, and those of no inconsiderable note in the republic of letters, who have maintained, that dreams are not the creatures of our own fancy, nor the effects of the operation of our own minds ; but the suggestions and infusions of spiritual beings which surround us. They say, that the soul camiot think or act without being conscious of its thinking and acting, and as all the various scenes and adventures which present themselves in sleep seem to us to be "external and not our own production, it is therefore impossible that it should: they urge further, that it is not at all likely the soul should take pleasure in tormenting itself, and yet in dreams we are often tossed, or pursued by mad bulls or wild beasts; we fall over precipices, sink in rivers, and are involved in a variety of distresses as exquisitely afflictive for the time they last as if they were real. To the first of these arguments it may be answered, , that every thought is not attended with consciousness; every one who has been absent, or in a reverie,
knows that we often think without reflecting that we do so; we fall into trains of thought, and eagerly pursue them a long time, without attending to the objects about us, or reflecting upon the operations of our minds; and if we are thus unconscious and unreflecting when we are awake, our unconsciousness in dreaming, when all sensation is suspended, ought, not to be wondered at, and can be no objection to the opinion, that dreams are the productions of our own minds. As to the other argument drawn from the improbability of our tormenting ourselves with frightful images it will have no weight with those who consider how apt our waking thoughts are to rove and wander, and that we are so far from hav
an absolute command over them, that, in spite of ourselves, they will often run out upon unpleasing, and even horrid and terrible subjects. .- 1
Dr. Cheyne, I think, somewhere gives us a less exceptionable rationale of dreaming: he contends, that all dreaming is imperfect and confused thinking, and that there are various degrees of it between sound sleep, and being broad awake; conscious regular thinking and not thinking at all, being the two extremes, and that in proportion as we incline to waking or to sound sleep, we dream more or less ; and our dreams are more wild, extravagant, and confused, or more rational and consistent. And indeed the Dr. seems to have truly explained the phenomenon in every respect, except in supposing the soul not to think or dream at all in sound sleep,
for I imagine that in sound sleep the memory and reflective powers of the soul are so locked up, or rather so clouded and impeded by the indisposition and relaxation of the bodily organs, that when we awake we cannot recollect the least traces of the images which the soul amuses herself with at that juncture. Although I cannot be of opinion, with the celebrated Des Cartes, that extension is the essence of matter, yet I cannot but agree with him, that thought, if not the essence, is at least essential to spirit, and that the soul always thinks, though she is not always conscious of, nor always reflects upon, her thoughts.
The soul and body being strictly united, mutually affect and act upon each other, and we find that the powers of the soul are more or less vigorous, in proportion as the humours of the body are healthy or morbid. A proper tone and vigour in the corporeal organs is therefore necessary for the perfect exer: tion and operation of the powers of the soul, but that particular disposition of the solids and fluids which inclines to sleep, impairs this tone, relaxes the whole corporeal system, and superinduces a certain cloudiness, indolence, and inactivity on the soul. The more this soporific disposition prevails, the more the soul is indisposed to thinking, and clogged and impeded in her operations: and as the exertion of the nobler faculties of the mind requires more vigorous efforts, so we find that these are the powers affected and suspended by sleep, judgment,
memory, reflection, and consciousness gradually ceasing, and the imagination alone being left awake; which active faculty being indeed the power of think
ing and forming ideas, is not to be overpowered or suspended, for the soul must always necessarily think, although she may be so disturbed or restrain ed by the impressions of matter as not to be always capable of arranging her thoughts, and reflecting and reasoning upon them. The state of the soul in sleep therefore seems to me not to be the weakest proof of her immortality and excellence. Sleep is justly observed to be the image of death, and this temporary death, we see, does not destroy the power of thinking; the soul indeed seems to be deprived of her nobler faculties, but that is only caused by the still subsisting union between her and the sleeping body, which clogs and renders her less active and powerful. But were the death rendered perfect and complete by the dissolution of this union, and the soul quite disencumbered, then we might expect that she would not only exert all her present faculties with inconceivable vigour, but perhaps find new powers to which she is now quite a stranger. Her nobler faculties are impeded by the indisposition of the bodily organs, and suspended by her union with them whilst they are in a dead and torpid state, and rise in perfection and vigour according as her material fetters less encumber and sit lighter upon her. * In the argument I have considered dreaming in general as the effect of the operation of our own