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is obviously nothing more than the simple momentary feeling itself as it begins and ceases; and when there is a reference to former states of the mind, we discover on analysis only a remembrance, like all our other remembrances, and a feeling of common relation of the past and the present affection of the mind to one permanent subject. It is the belief of our continued identity which involves this particular feeling of relation of past and present feelings; and consciousness, in this sense of the term, is only a word expressive of that belief.

That the fragrance of a rose, the sound of a flute, and in general all the other objects of sense, might have excited precisely the same immediate sensations as at present, Dr. Reid admits, though the belief of our personal identity had not been impressed upon us; for he ascribes this belief to an instinctive principle only, and acknowledges, that there is nothing in our sensations themselves, from which any such inference could be drawn by reason. If, then, this instinctive belief of identity had not been, as at present, a natural law of human thought, operating irresistibly on the remembrance of our different feelings, we should have had no notion of self, of me, the sentient and thinking being, who exists at the present moment, and who existed before the present moment :-and what, then, would have been the consciousness, accompanying, and different from, our sensations, when they merely flashed along the mind and vanished? The most zealous defender of consciousness, as a separate intellectual power, must surely admit, that, in such circumstances, it would have been nothing more than sensation itself. It is the belief of our identity only, which gives us the notion of self, as the subject of various feelings, and it is the notion of self, as the subject of various former feelings, which leads us to regard the consciousness of the moment as different from the sensation of the moment; because it suggests to us those former feelings, which truly were different from it, or at least that subject mind, which unquestionably existed before the present sensation.

If it be said, that the faculty of consciousness is nothing more than this reference to the past, and consequent belief of identity, we may, in that case, very safely admit its existence; though the classification of it, as a peculiar intellectual power, would in that case be a most singular anomaly in arrangement, and would involve a very absurd, or at least a very awkward use of a To assert this signification of it, however, would be to admit every thing for which I have contended. But it certainly is not the sense, which has been attached to it by philosophers; and indeed, in this sense, consciousness, instead of having for its objects, as Dr. Reid says, all "our present pains, our pleasures, our hopes, our fears, our desires, our doubts, our thoughts of every kind; in a word, all the passions, and all the actions and operations of our own mind, while they are present," would be limited to the comparatively few, of which the consideration of our personal identity forms a part. In far the greater number of our feelings, as I have already said, the sensation dies away, almost in the moment,-not indeed, without being enjoyed or suffered, but without any reference to self, as the subject of various feelings, or remembrance of any prior state of mind, as distinct from the present. The belief of our identity is surely not the only belief that arises from an instinctive principle; and if its existence entitle us, in our systematical arrangements, to the possession of a new intellectual power, every other belief that arises instinctively from a principle of our constitution, must give us a similar title to enlarge the catalogue of our faculties. The never-failing and

instant faith, by which we expect, without the slightest doubt of the similarity of the future, that events will continue to follow each other, in the same order as at present, that bodies will fall to the ground, fire burn, food satisfy the craving of our appetite-that immediate intuitive principle of belief, on which all our foresight depends, and according to which we regulate our whole conduct in providing for the future, should certainly, in that case, be ascribed by us to some peculiar intellectual power, for which it would be easy to invent a name. It is not, by any inference of our reason, we believe, that the sound of a flute which preceded the fragrance of a rose, and the fragrance of a rose which followed the sound of a flute, excited sensations that were states of the same identical mind; for there is nothing, in either of the separate sensations, or in both together, from which such an inference can be drawn; and yet notwithstanding the impossibility of inferring it, we believe this, at least as strongly, as we believe any of the conclusions of our reasoning. In like manner, it is not by any inference of reason we believe, that fire will warm us to-morrow, as it has warmed us to-day; for there is nothing, in the fire of to-day, or in the sensation of warmth, considered as a mere sequence of it, from which the succession of a similar sensation to the fire of to-morrow can be inferred; yet we also rely on this future sequence, at least as strongly, as we believe any of the conclusions of our reasoning. In both cases the parallel is complete; and in both, the evidence of a particular intellectual faculty must consequently be alike, or in neither is there sufficient evidence of such a power.

There is, indeed, one other sense, in which we often talk of our consciousness of a feeling, and a sense, in which, it must be allowed, that the consciousness is not precisely the same as the feeling itself. This is, when we speak of a feeling, not actually existing at present, but past—as when we say, that we are conscious of having seen, or heard, or done something. Such a use of the term, however, is pardonable only in the privileged looseness and inaccuracy of familiar conversation; the consciousness, in this case, being precisely synonymous with remembrance or memory, and not a power different from the remembrance. The remembrance of the feeling, and the vivid feeling itself, indeed, are different. But the remembrance, and the consciousness of the remembrance, are the same as the consciousness of a sensation, and the sensation, are the same; and to be conscious that we have seen or spoken to any one, is only to remember that we have seen or spoken to him.

Much of this very confusion with respect to memory, however, I have no doubt, has been always involved in the assertion of consciousness as a peculiar and distinct power of the mind. When we think of feelings long past, it is impossible for us not to be aware that our mind is then truly retrospective; and memory seems to us sufficient to account for the whole. But when the retrospect is of very recent feelings of feelings, perhaps, that existed as distinct states of the mind, the very moment before our retrospect began, the short interval is forgotten, and we think that the primary feeling, and our consideration of the feeling, are strictly simultaneous. We have a sensation ;—we look instantly back on that sensation, such is consciousness, as distinguished from the feeling that is said to be its object. When it is any thing more than the sensation, thought, or emotion, of which we are said to be conscious, it is a brief and rapid retrospect. Its object is not a present feeling, but a past feeling, as truly as when we look back, not on the mo

ment immediately preceding, but on some distant event or emotion of our boyhood.

After thus distinguishing all that is truly present in consciousness, from common remembrance, I surely need not undertake, at any length, to distinguish it from that peculiar species of remembrance, which goes under the name of conscience; though their similar etymology may have a slight tendency to mislead. Conscience is our moral memory ;-it is the memory of the heart, if I may apply to it a phrase, which, in its original application, was much more happily employed, by one of the deaf and dumb pupils of the Abbé Sicard, who, on being asked what he understood by the word gratitude, wrote down immediately, " Gratitude is the memory of the heart."

The power of conscience does, indeed, what consciousness does not. It truly doubles all our feelings, when they have been such as virtue inspired; Hoc est vivere bis, vita posse priore frui ;" and it multiplies them in a much more fearful proportion, when they, have been of an opposite kind-arresting, as it were, every moment of guilt, which, of itself, would have passed away, as fugitive as our other moments, and suspending them for ever before our eyes, in fixed and terrifying reality. "Prima et maxima peccantium est pæna," says Seneca, "peccasse ; nec ullum scelus, licet illud fortuna exornet muneribus suis, licet tueatur ac vindicet, impunitum est; quoniam sceleris in scelere supplicium est."* "The first and the greatest punishment of guilt, is to have been guilty; nor can any crime, though fortune should adorn it with all her most lavish bounty, as if protecting and vindicating it, pass truly unpunished; because the punishment of the base or atrocious deed, is in the very baseness or atrocity of the deed itself." But this species of memory, which we denominate conscience, and, indeed, every species of memory, which must necessarily have for its object the past, is essentially different from the consciousness which we have been considering, that, in its very definition, is limited to present feelings, and of which, if we really had such an intellectual power, our moral conscience would, in Dr. Reid's sense of the term, be an object rather than a part.

Consciousness, then, I conclude, in its simplest acceptation, when it is understood as regarding the present only, is no distinct power of the mind, or name of a distinct class of feelings, but is only a general term for all our feelings, of whatever species these may be, sensations, thoughts, desires ;— in short, all those states or affections of mind, in which the phenomena of mind consist; and when it expresses more than this, it is only the remembrance of some former state of the mind, and a feeling of the relation of the past and the present as states of one sentient substance. The term is very conveniently used for the purpose of abbreviation, when we speak of the whole variety of our feelings, in the same manner as any other general term is used, to express briefly the multitude of individuals that agree in possessing some common property of which we speak ; when the enumeration of these, by description and name, would be as wearisome to the patience, as it would be oppressive to the memory. But still, when we speak of the evidence of consciousness, we mean nothing more than the evidence implied in the mere existence of our sensations, thoughts, desires, which is utterly impossible for us to believe to be and not to be; or, in other words, impossible for us to feel and not to feel at the same moment. This precise limitation of the term, I trust, you will keep constantly in mind in the course of our future speculations.

* Epist. 97.



In my last Lecture, gentlemen, I brought to a conclusion my remarks on the nature and objects of Physical Inquiry,—the clear understanding of which seemed to me essentially necessary before we could enter, with any prospect of success, on the physiological investigation of the Mind.

We then opened our eyes, as it were, on the great field of thought and passion, and on all the infinite variety of feelings, which, in assemblages more or less complex, and in colours more or less brilliant or obscure, it is every noment presenting to our internal glance. The very attempt to arrange these transient feelings as phenomena of the mind, however, implies evidently some consideration of the nature of that varied consciousness in which they consist, and of the identity of the permanent substance, as states of which we arrange them. My last Lecture, therefore, was devoted to this primary consideration of consciousness,-which we found reason to regard, not as any separate and peculiar faculty of the mind, of which our various feelings are, to use Dr. Reid's expression, objects, and which is, therefore, to be added, in every instance, to the separate pleasures, pains, perceptions, remembrances, passions, that constitute the momentary states of the mind,-but merely as a short general term, expressive of all these momentary states in reference to the permanent subject mind. The sensation of fragrance, for example, is the consciousness of one moment, as the remembrance of that sensation, or some other sensation, is, perhaps, the consciousness of the succeeding moment;-the mind, at every moment, existing in one precise state, which, as one state can be accurately denoted only by one precise name, or by names that are synonymous, not by names that are significant of total diversity.

All which we know, or can be supposed to know, of the mind, indeed, is a certain series of these states or feelings that have succeeded each other, more or less rapidly, since life began; the sensation, thought, emotion, of the moment being one of those states, and the supposed consciousness of the state being only the state itself, whatever it may be, in which the mind exists at that particular moment; since it would be manifestly absurd to suppose the same indivisible mind to exist at the very same moment in two separate states, one of sensation, and one of consciousness. It is not simply because we feel, but because we remember some prior feeling, and have formed a notion of the mind as the permanent subject of different feeling, that we conceive the proposition, "I am conscious of a sensation," to express more than the simple existence of the sensation itself; since it expresses, too, a reference of this to the same mind which had formerly been recognised as the subject of other feelings. There is a remembrance of some former feeling, and a reference of the present feeling to the same subject; and this mere remembrance, and the intuitive belief of identity which accompanies remembrance, are all that philosophers, by defective analyses, and a little confusion of lan

guage and thought, have asserted to be the result of a peculiar mental faculty, under the name of consciousness ;-though consciousness, in this sense, far from embracing all the varieties of feeling,-that, in the greater number of instances, begin and cease, without any accompanying thought of that permanent substance to which the transient feeling is referable, must be limited to the comparatively few, in which such a reference to self is made.

Consciousness, in short, whenever it is conceived to express more than the present feeling, or present momentary state of the mind, whatever that may be, which is said to be the object of consciousness, as if it were at once something different at every moment from the present state or feeling of the mind, and yet the very state in which the mind is at every moment supposed to exist,-is a retrospect of some past feeling, with that belief of a common relation of the past and present feeling to one subject mind, which is involved in the very notion, or rather constitutes the very notion, of personal identity, and all which distinguishes this rapid retrospect from any of the other retrospects, which we class as remembrances, and ascribe to memory as their source, is the mere briefness of the interval between the feeling that is remembered, and the reflective glance which seems to be immediately retrospective. A feeling of some kind has arisen, and we look instantly back upon that feeling; but a remembrance is surely still the same in nature, and arises from the same principle of the mental constitution, whether the interval which precedes it be that of a moment, or of many hours, or years.

I now then proceed, after these remarks on our consciousness as momentary, to a most important inquiry, which arises necessarily from the consideration of the successions of our momentary consciousness, and must be considered as involved in all our attempts to arrange them, the inquiry into the Identity of the mind, as truly one and permanent, amid all the variety of its fugitive affections.

In our examination of this very wonderful coincidence of sameness and diversity, I shall confine my remarks to the phenomena which are purely mental, omitting the objections drawn from the daily waste and daily aliment of our corporeal part, the whole force of which objection may be admitted, without any scruple, by those who contend for the identity only of the thinking principle; since the individuality of this would be as little destroyed, though every particle of the body were completely changed, as the individuality of the body itself would be destroyed, by a change of the mere garments that invest it. The manner in which the mind is united to a system of particles, which are in a perpetual state of flux, is, indeed, more than we can ever hope to be able to explain; though it is really not more inexplicable, than its union to such a system of particles would be, though they were to continue for ever unchanged.

I may remark, however, by the way, that though the constant state of flux of the corporeal particles furnishes no argument against the identity of the principle which feels and thinks, if feeling and thought be states of a substance, that is essentially distinct from these changing particles, the unity and identity of this principle, amid all the corpuscular changes,-if it can truly be proved to be identical,-furnish a very strong argument, in disproof of those systems which consider thought and feeling as the result of material organization. Indeed the attempts which have been seriously made by materialists to obviate this difficulty, involve, in every respect, as much absurdity, though certainly not so much pleasantry, at least so much intentional

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