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has a direct relation to the natural mind in its lowest degree, and, a fortiori, it follows that, that which in the body corresponds to the magnetic sphere in nature, whether we call it magnetism, or by whatever name we designate it, bears a stronger relation to that degree of the mind, and is, as it were, its living principle in the animal kingdom.
The question now comes, whether this principle can be acted upon by causes from without ; we well know that it can be acted upon by causes from within, since the vital energy of the mind or spirit is continually acting by influx upon the inmost structure of the body which is the fibrous system, and specifically upon the animal spirit which circulates in that system, and which is the proximate vital energy of the animal kingdom. It is our opinion, that as magnetism and electricity can act upon objects not positively charged like themselves, and as heat can communicate itself to all objects within its sphere, so as to make them equally warm as itself; so the corresponding power in the animal kingdom which we call animo-magnetism, can operate, by laws peculiar to its own mode of operation, on subjects not so positively charged as itself with the animo-magnetic energy. This we admit to be a power which, like all other powers placed in the hands of man, may be abused, but this is no reason why the power itself should be denied and rejected. Now, as the brain, by virtue of its fibres in every part of the body is, in a moment, sensible not only of every thing which occurs within the body, but also of every thing in the circumambient world which comes in contact with the body; and further, as the brain thus imbibes ethereal food; it follows, we think, legitimately and logically, (at least on the principles of Swedenborg's philosophy of the animal kingdom,) that where one brain is brought into direct relation with another, whose energies are concentrated by a powerful will, that brain will become sensible of an influence which may be called magnetic; and especially when by contact of the fingers of the mesmerizer with the terminations of the cerebral fibres in the skin, the influence will be communicated, felt, and imbibed. In this way, we think, some of those extraordinary cases of alleviation of pain, and even of cure, in acute nervous affections, such as tic doloureux, head ache, &c., and in muscular disorders, as rheumatism, &c., cases which are so often recorded in the annals of mesmerism, may be explained. For to whatever part the magnetic influence is directed, the fibres from the brain in that part, are immediately affected and modified; and as these fibres are the principles of all the unities in any given organ or part of the body, it follows that the entire organ, or the compound or aggregate of those unities will be modified and changed as to their states of sensation and action. For, as E.S. says, “any state or animus induced on the brains, is induced on the fibres, and hence on the viscera.” (A.K. vol. i. p. 139.) If, therefore, a nerve be affected, any state induced on the brains, is induced on the fibres which constitute that nerve, and which are its unities ;* and when we consider that a new energy is communicated to the nerve, it follows that a new state of sensation and of action is induced at the same time, and hence it is, we think, that either the alleviation or the removal of the pain may be accounted for.
But the most extraordinary class of phenomena in relation to animomagnetism, are those which are experienced in the so-called clairvoyant state. This is a state in which the magnetized person sees objects, and accurately describes them, although these objects had never been seen or heard of by the party before. The objects described are well known to the mesmerizer and to those who come into contact and relation with the mesmerized person. So many cases of this kind are recorded by persons of the greatest credit in Germany, France, America, and in this country, that no individual, except he be actuated by a most determined and hostile prejudice, can deny them.[
But how are these phenomena to be explained ? This is a question which we believe, has not yet received a satisfactory solution. That in these extraordinary cases there is a peculiar development and activity of mind in the mesmerized persons, such as is not enjoyed in ordinary states, is evident. Now, we learn from the writings of Swedenborg, that it is a law of the spiritual world, and consequently a law of mind, (for the spiritual world is the world of mind, and its laws are the laws of mind,) that when spirits come into association with each other, they enter into the possession and enjoyment of each other's ideas and delights, and that their mutual felieities consist in this communion of goods; there “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” This they derive from the Lord's divine love, the infinite delight of which is to communicate good and happiness to all. But that faculty, or region of the mind, in which our ideas and our mental treasures are preserved, is the memory; they consequently come into possession of each other's memory. We also learn, that when spirits have open communication with man, they come into the possession of all things in his memory; he, however, still living in the world, clothed with a material body, and not being in the enjoyment of the interior memory peculiar to spirits, can not enter into the possession of their memory; and this for reasons which the author has clearly explained. The memory is the ultimate faculty or plane of the mind, in which all the ideas and sensations we have acquired and experienced are preserved, ready to be called forth into use, whensoever occasion requires, in a manner analogous to that in which the uses of our limbs and organs in walking, dancing, speaking, singing, &c., acquired by instruction and exercise, are preserved in our muscles, cartilages, and bones, which are the ultimate planes of our bodies, and which, in like manner, can be called forth into activity as occasion requires. (See D.P. 279.) It is a law in the human economy, that in proportion as the external or bodily senses and sensations are quiescent, the internal or mental senses and sensations become more active and apparent; thus in sleep, when the bodily organs have, as it were, ceased to live, the mental faculties, especially the memory and the imagination, become, as in dreams, vividly active. And the reason is, because the mind, or spirit, is then more susceptible of the spiritual sphere and influence with which it is associated in the world of spirits. And even in our waking hours, when the mind is in profound abstract meditation, the bodily senses become almost insensible to external things and events. But at death, when the bodily senses have entirely ceased to exist, the mental senses enter upon the full possession and enjoyment of their intellectual and spiritual life, in a world far more accommodated to their activity than this. We learn from Swedenborg, (A.C. 5157, 5649.) that the natural principle of the mind is exterior and interior; by the exterior part it is in close connexion with the bodily senses, and is the seat of the memory; the interior part of this naturale exterius, or outer natural principle, is more immediately the seat of the imaginative faculty ; (A.C. 3020.) and the more interior degrees of this natural principle, are the seat of our rational and intellectual powers. Now, in the higher stages of the mesmeric sleep, the bodily senses are rendered quite insensible, so that even limbs can be amputated without any sense of pain being felt.*
* As to what is meant by unities, see Animal Kingdom Index, p. 650.
+ Amongst numerous publications respecting these cases, we refer the reader to an article in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, July 15, 1843, entitled “ Recent Demonstrations in Mesmerism.”
In these cases those extraordinary mental phenomena appear, which are peculiar to the clairvoyant state, and in which the mesmerized parties can describe objects and scenes which, in their ordinary states, they had never witnessed or heard of. Now, we think, that the law mentioned above, by which mind communicates with mind in the spiritual world, and by which spirits, when permitted, communicate with man, will explain how this case is. The person mesmerized, whose bodily senses are laid in profound sleep, has, by virtue of the peculiar cerebral action induced upon his own brains, the ultimate plane
• See the Zoist, and especially Chambers's Edinburgh Journal for January, 1843; and the Times newspaper for Sept, 2nd, 1844.
of his mind, which E.S. calls the "outer natural principle,” awakened to a peculiar activity, by which a communication is effected between the corresponding principle, or the memory of the mesmerizer and that of his patient; so that the latter can distinctly see and read, as in a book, the objects in the memory of the former; and likewise in the memory of all those who are brought into relation and contact with the mesmerized person. Thus, in respect to the wellauthenticated cases mentioned in the Edinburgh Journal, referred to above, the mesmerizer asked the patient to describe the furniture in a certain house at a distance, and to mention particular objects in certain rooms, and of which the mesmerizer well knew the patient could have no previous knowledge. Every thing, it is stated, was told and described without a mistake. Now all these things were in the memory of the mesmerizer, and the party mesmerized could, according to the law stated above and to the views we have taken of the subject, distinctly see and describe them; and this without the mesmerizer himself being aware of it, or the patient being able to explain how it was done. Nor ought this law of mind, in connexion with mind, to appear far-fetched and strange, when we consider, that sincere friends upon earth, when they meet together in company, are delighted to communicate to each other, without the slightest reserve, all their agreeable and pleasurable ideas and sensations. They lay open, as it were, their memories with the utmost frankness and delight, that they may mutually enter into the possession of each other's mental treasures and enjoyments. And indeed this is one of the laws of true friendship, and of that “flow of soul" which inspires confidence and love between man and man. How much more then must this be the case with pure mental associations amongst good spirits ;-"the spirits of just men made perfect" in the spiritual world!
We may here ask, to what good will all this tend ? It may be replied, that the Rev. C. H. Townshend, M.A., of Cambridge, has, by observing mesmeric facts and phenomena, come to the conclusion, that there is within the natural body, a spiritual body, the immediate organ of the soul, in which it continues to live after the death of the former. * For when the interior of the “outer natural principle” of the mind, mentioned above as the seat of our imaginative faculty, is acted upon or awakened, objects and phenomena may probably be seen in the world of spirits ; of which the German and French mesmerists have many cases to relate. We will conclude these remarks by shewing in an extract from
* See his work, referred to above. y.S. NO. 59.--VOL. V.
Swedenborg's Diary, how extremely dangerous it is to endeavour either by mesmerism, or by any other means, to open a communication with spirits, so as to pay the least attention to what they say as worthy of a moment's regard in leading us in the way of goodness and truth : the Lord alone, by means of his Word, can do this. Swedenborg in his works has often pointed out this danger, and has shewn to us the most efficient means by which we can avoid every species of fanaticism and religious delusion; but in the following extract he has been more particular as to this subject :
“ 1622. When spirits begin to speak with a man, he must take heed not to believe them in any thing, because almost every thing they say is forged by them, and is false. For if they were allowed to relate what the nature of heaven is, and what is the state of things in the heavens, they would tell so many lies, and, indeed, with asseveration, that the man would be astonished. Wherefore I have never been permitted to put any faith in those things which spirits have narrated. (1748, March 20.) They are desirous of forging (fingendi), and whenever any thing arises as a subject of conversation, they think they know it, and they advance opinions about it, one after another; in a different manner, entirely as though they knew it ; and if a man then gives ear to them, and believes them, they persist, and in various ways deceive and seduce bim; so that if they be permitted to speak concerning future things, or things unknown in the universal heaven, in short, concerning all things that man wishes to know, whilst they speak from themselves, they tell nothing but lies. Wherefore men must take heed not to believe them. Hence it is extremely dangerous for a man on this earth to converse with spirits, except he be in the true faith. They induce so strong a persuasion, that it is the Lord Himself who speaks and commands, that a man cannot do otherwise than believe and obey."
We should think that after these urgent cautions of Swedenborg, no person professing to believe in the doctrines of the New Church, and to adopt them as the guide of his life in the path of wisdom, can for a moment give credence to the sayings of spirits; still less adduce them, either in the pulpit or elsewhere, as illustrations and confirmations of Divine Truth.
The remarks we have here made on Mesmerism, are not intended to advance any thing positive on the subject, but merely to afford some materials for thinking respecting it.
ALLEGED TESTIMONY OF NAPOLEON AGAINST
UNITARIANISM. (Copied into the “Methodist Magazine” for July, 1842, from the New York Observer.)
The following remarks of Napoleon form part of a conversation which has recently been published in a French Journal, as having been related by his friend Count de Montholon :