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when the passions operate to excess in dreams, the mind is affected with a sense of conscious guilt, the influence of which throws a gloom over the waking thoughts; and Plato was of opinion that the mind might be so subjected to the influence of reason, as not even in sleep to be carried away by any vicious desires.
The mind appears to entertain some idea of the length of time that the body has slept, though probably this is from a consideration of circumstances when it awakes, since its estimate does not seem to depend upon the succession of images which it has contemplated; and if sleep is extended to any unusual length of time, no accurate idea of the time elapsed is preserved, as a person who had slept for a week is known to have fancied that he had slept only one night.
NATURE AND EFFICIENT CAUSE OF
The mind enjoys this prerogative and honourable distinction, that it can perform many things by its own powers; but the body can effect nothing but by the impulse and suggestion of the mind.-Levinus Lemmius di Occult. Nut. Mirac. L. i. C. 12. Hoc tamen prærogativa, fc.
As dreams usually obtain when the senses are closed against external objects, they must be considered as the work of the mind, sketches of the fancy, deriving its materials and objects from experience. It is the pre-eminent glory of the mind that it can thus subsist, as it were, in a separate state, independently of the body, which in none of its regular functions, is removed from the superintendance and control of the mind.
It is true, that whatever ideas the mind may enjoy are originally acquired through the senses before they become stupid in forgetfulness, all of them being formed from the observation of earthly circumstances, and not appearing to be innate.
The images, however combined in extravagant pictures, and in whatever manner acquired, are composed of the representations of real objects, and are called up at pleasure by the mind, and if we should admit what Mr. Formey *, after Wolfius, has asserted, that every dream originates in some sensation, yet the independent energies of the mind are sufficiently displayed in the preservation of the successive phantoms, and in the continuance of reflection long after the sensation is excited. The scenes which pass in review before us in sleep are sometimes composed of images which are produced imniediately by corporeal impressions, not sufficiently strong to destroy the enchantment of sleep. Beattie speaks of a gentleman in the army, whose imagination was so easily affected in sleep by impressions made on the external senses, that his companions could suggest any thing to it by whispering gently in his ear; and that they once made him go through the whole procedure of a duel till he was wakened by report of a pistol.
* Essai en Mem. de l'Academ, de Berlin. Tom. ii. p. 16.
Dreams are, however, more often produced by sensation or motion of the brain, excited when we were awake, and continued, agreeably to the opinion of Aristotle, after the removal of the object. Although the powers of the mind are not limited to the contemplation of the image first introduced, but range in the wide scope
of their observation to the view of every particular with which they are acquainted, and call up in the concatenation of their reflections, often extending to the most remote and forgotten images long since committed to
Hence it is that we are so little able to trace any affinity between the subjects of our dreams and the sensations of recent
impression. The links which connect the successive ideas of the mind, either waking or sleeping, being in general so imperceptibly fine, as to be traced with difficulty.
Allowing then that dreams are sometimes prompted by immediate or recent sensations, they must in general be considered as the creation of the mind, existing, as it were, in an abstracted state, though still capable of being easily summoned to attention to the body. The sympathy and reciprocal influence which subsist between them are never destroyed, and the mutual interchange of feeling is quickly communicated. There is perhaps never a total insensibility; the moment when vigilance sinks into oblivious indifference can never be accurately marked; no one, at least, hath ever yet noted the moment which precedes sleep. The connexion between mind and body is renewed on the slightest alarm, and unusual impressions are instantly conveyed from one to the other. The hungry body suggests to the sleeping mind