صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

In consistency with this opinion God may be supposed to render dreams subservient to good purposes, and by his good angels who as represented

“ With gentle dreams have calmed Portending good, and all his spirits composed To meek submission *."

And so far it

may

be said

u God is also in sleep, and dreams advise,
Which he hath sent propitious, some good
Presaging t."

Whenever dreams have a bad tendency we may be persuaded that they are not the suggestion of good spirits, or that they are not to be literally followed. There is some instruction in the story of Sabaco, one of the pastoral kings of Egypt I, who, when the tutelary deity of Thebes appeared to him in a dream, and ordered him to put to death all the priests of Egypt, very wisely judged that the gods were displeased at his being on the throne, since they advised him to commit an action so contrary to their ordinary will, and therefore retired into Æthiopia *.

* Paradise Lost, B. xii. 595, + Ibid. B. xii, L. 611-613.

Diodorus, L. ii. as cited by Montesquieu.

Herod. L. ï. C. 139.

CHAPTER XVIII.

ON THE IXFLUENCE OF THE BODY ON THE

MIND IN SLEEP.

“ The heavy body loaded by excess
The sympathetic mind will oft depress,
Weigh down the spirit of celestial birth,
And chain its glorious faculties to earth."

Horace. Sat. i. L. ii. Corpus onust.

ALTHOUGH it has appeared in the preceding chapters that dreams are to be regarded as the creation of the mind, it has been admitted that the feelings of the body often interfere in suggesting sepsations which affect the character of our thoughts, and are productive of reflectiops correspondent to the impressions excited.

Much of the composure and satisfaction of our dreams was attributed by the ancients to the sobriety of our bodies when committed to sleep, and no dreams that could be subservient to divination were supposed to arise from the fumes of indigestion. Socrates is represented by Plato to have remarked, that when the intelligent spirit of the mind languishes in a profound sleep, and the fiercer and more sénsual affections intoxicated, as it were, by immoderate food exult in ascendancy; the ideas that present themselves are devoid of reason, and full of incestuous and evil fancies; but when we take rest after wholesome and noderate food, that part of the mind in which there is reason and judgment being erect and capacious of good thoughts, and the body being neither distressed by want, nor loaded by satiety, the mind shines forth fresh and lively, and tranquil, and sure dreams arise *. On similar consideration dreams which obtain towards the morning, as not likely to be the suggestions of heavy sensations, were regarded as most clear and prophetic.

# Cicero de Divine

In a composed state of the body there is certainly a more even tenor in our dreams, which resemble the calm reflections of our waking thoughts in tranquillity; the same scenes are renewed, and the same particulars recur. Unusual dreams argue often not only a disturbed state of mind, but a body gross and abounding with humour; and hence it is that physicians, as did particularly Hippocrates, with some degree of truth deduce conclusions concerning the temperament of our body from the nature and cast of our dreams. It is notorious that persons drunk, or in fevers, contemplate horrid spectres in their sleep; those who are oppressed with bilious melancholy behold triste and cadaverous figures; those whose constitution is choleric dream of fire and slaughter; those who are phlegmatic, of water, and those who are sanguine, of merriment. Levinus Lemnius was, however, perhaps, too fanciful when he affirmed, that to dream of wallowing in filth and mud argued fetid and putrid humours; but to dream of odoriferous and fragrant flowers

« السابقةمتابعة »