Moses Smith.

A new and extensive analytical examination of the elements of mental science: containing evidences of difference, distinguishing between elements of mind which lie at the foundation of mental action, and elements of mind which lie at the foundation of moral action online

. (page 1 of 29)
Online LibraryMoses SmithA new and extensive analytical examination of the elements of mental science: containing evidences of difference, distinguishing between elements of mind which lie at the foundation of mental action, and elements of mind which lie at the foundation of moral action → online text (page 1 of 29)
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W. H. Ivie




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tmtnts ai Mental Sthntt:






"Know thyself."






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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855,


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
District of Ohio.



The design of laying this work before the pub-
lic, is to present the Philosophy of Mind in as
clear a light as possible — adapting the sentiments
and arguments to the demands of the present age,
and freed from many embarrassments hitherto con-
nected with the examination of the elements of
mind. It is most ardently desired, that the true
principles constituting the science should be cor-
rectly defined, and that the entire work be auxil-
iary to the investigation and knowledge of truth.
Yet the best efforts are of humble pretensions and
partial claims. We could not aspire to solicit
recommendations favoring the circulation of these
volumes, unless they can exist in the judgment
and by the decisions of the student and the phi-
losopher, who carefully and understandingly exam-
ine each page and sentence of the work.

The Author.

i 905112


The advantages of this work are only partially
expressed in the following order :

1. An Introduction, designed as preparatory to
the science intended to be taught, commencing with
man, an existent — a compound being; his primi-
tive, present, and future state.

2. Psychology, established from the nature, har-
mony, and distinct qualities of elements only adapted
to an immaterial existence.

3. Anthropology, established from the nature and
distinct qualities of elements, which are only adapted
to the existence of matter.

4. The speculations of materialists examined and
refuted, which closes abstract examinations of ele-
ments belonging to physical science.

5. This work is divided into two volumes. The
jSrst volume embraces the examination of elements
of mind which lie at the foundation of mental ac-
tion. The second volume embraces the examination
of elements of mind which lie at the foundation of
moral action.

6. Reasons naturally arise as to the necessity of
such a distinction in tracing each faculty, either ab-
stractly or in its combined relationship with other

7. Elements which have not hitherto been ac-
knowledged as having any important place in the

1* 5


philosophy of mind, have been inserted in this work,
with reasons why they should be acknowledged.

8. Some of the primary faculties of the mind hav-
ing ever been left in great obscurity, are defined,
with a brief defense in favor of their position and

9. The value of this work has been increased by
the correct opinions and sound arguments of all the
principal philosophers W'ho have written upon men-
tal science ; but we have avoided referring to their
various speculative opinions foreign to the true ex-
amination of the elements of mind.

10. A design of this work is to present each item
distinctly, and with few words. The subjects and
items are all numbered in the chaptei-s and sections.
Immediate reference can be had, from the Index, to
any part or item of the work.

11. When any element appears to have a mental
and moral position, or influence in the mind, it will
be so defined.

12. As far as ability and labor could go, the effort
has been to adapt this work to the science as it is,
and not to adapt the science to the work.

13. A decided advantage is, that the student is
under no obligations to receive the contents of this
work, in whole or in part; yet the objector should
be willing to render an equivalent, or give better
reasons against the arguments used, than can be
given in favor of them.



1. Man exists. Of non-existences we can have no
satisfactory knowledge, and to define them would be
utterly impossible. But man is a definite existent,
occupying a point in unbounded space. The cer-
tainty of his being is neither imaginary nor ideal ;
but he is a certain entity, possessing a real place as
truly as he does a relative position in the range and
limitless extent of existences. He vies in reality
and importance with all finite elements and beings
around him, and the idea of his entity transcends
all possibility of doubt. 2. He either exists or has
no existence. If he has no existence, all arguments
about that which is incapable of occupying any
point in space, or of having being, either in entity
or nonentity, must necessarily pause in perpetual
silence. But it is impossible to conceive of nonen-
tity as tangible, and having form, size, weight, and
action, or that entity could be, in nature and essence,
non-existence. Therefore, all existences may be de-
nominated truths, or facts. 3. These/ac^ or truths^
may be made known to us by demonstration, or be
received as self-evident realities. The former will
produce a result worthy of full confidence, when



correctly deduced from true premises. The latter
may be regarded as an axiom of knowledge, being
independent of either proof or disproof. Then the
certainty of our existence is not a matter of either
conjecture or of doubt, but of knowledge. 4. The
reasondbleness of our existence is found in the limit-
less goodness of God. He is the antecedent power or
cause of our being. It is impossible for us to con-
ceive that any imperfect or unhappy designs were
originally intended by him, but that the created
should glorify the creator, and be happy in his un-
ending favor. A being perfectly holy and happy
could not create shame, misery, and death as an ob-
ject of pleasure to exist in the midst of his absolute
perfections ; if so, we can not understand the perfect
purity, will, action, and infinite glory of Deity, by
whose creative power man is, and holds so high a
position in the range of the intellectual universe.
But it is reasonable for him to live to enjoy God,
and to perpetuate that blissful communion by love,
service, and obedience.

1. He exists^ moving ^A'Ci\ freedom over the earth;
has been called the noblest work of God, and lord
of this world. He has been styled a compendium
of creation, standing midway the kingdom of nature
and that of immortal spirits. He studies to know
every thing below himself — the earth, compounded
of its various qualities, and all appertaining to it.
He desires and labors to comprehend all unexplored
laws connected with zoology, vegetation, and crys-


tallization. Looking abroad upon yonder heavens,
he traces the rolling orbs of the vast universe—*
watches tempest and calm, rain and drouth, heat
and cold, seed-time and harvest. Why, then, should
he not go still higher, and study to know himself?
2. His faculties of mind are inalienable, and have
power of motion. He is rationally constituted a
being who feels, reflects, thinks, judges, contrives,
wills, and acts. He has power to command ideas
and communicate them to others b}^ articulated
sounds or speech, by the art of writing, or by sig-
nonical representations of thought. 3. As a point
or dot uix)n canvas, ever moving uniformly in size
and direction, forms a continued and unending line,
so is the existence of man ; though disconnected with
the infinity of the past, yet his being will extend on
through the interminable future, incapable of lim-

1. His being is indestructible^ and can never be
discontinued by annihilation. The very nature and
action of all the elements of mind are averse to any
thing like a return to non-existence, or to any idea
that we shall ever cease to be. We can have no
concej5tion that »n all-wise Being could or would
create us for the purpose of causing our non-exist-
ence. This conclusion can be sustained by the inde-
structibility of matter. 2. Matter may be decom-
posed, the elements united or consolidated, may
have the laws of affinity and power of adhesion sus-
pended or destroyed; but we have no evidence of


any possible cmniJiilation of properties. Actual ex-
periments will show that the existence of elements
or atoms of matter can not be rendered inane by
any refining or destroying process. The elements
of a block of wood having been burned with fire,
still exist; the fire has only separated the compound
into its natural primary elements, and no property
has been annihilated. JS'o evidence has ever been
found that any projDcrty of either the body or of the
soul can or will ever cease to be. If this be true,
and we acknowledge that both matter and mind are
now real existences, we are forced to the conclusion
that those existences will continue to exist in some
way forever.

1. The existence of man has been divided into
periods^ or states^ arising from important changes.
(1.) His primitive state was one of innocence and
happiness, and to have been perpetuated by love,
service, and obedience. He was constituted with a
holy nature, and capable of ever acting from pure
motives. The understanding, affections, and will
were obedient to, and in harmony with, the perfect
law of God. The injunction requiring this law to
be kept inviolate, was not the law itself, and a sub-
ordinate or contingent law would have been imper-
fect, and, therefore, could not exist. Hence, the
injunction, suspended upon conditions, could not be
properly a law, till it was signed and sealed as such
by the voluntary act of our federal head. (2.) His
fallen state is a departure from the primitive one.


The change was caused by a perverted act of voli-
tion. The object of his creation was to be, to have
enjoyment, and to act in glorifying his Creator.
"Without action in rendering obedience and praise,
the design of his existence would have been de-
stroyed. If action is indispensable in glorifying the
Creator, then he must act, and he can not act unless
he has self-power to act. For if compelled to glo-
rify God, it follows that it is the compulsatory power,
or law, which acts, that renders service or glory,
while man was and is wholly passive. If such a
power or law is operative, and is the source of all
glory to the Creator, it had that power to as great a
degree without as well as with the existence of man.
Hence, there could not have been any object in view
in our creation ; and if there was no design to be
met, we have never had being, and never can exist,
for all the acts of Deity exist in infinite wisdom.
But if man was the actor, he must have had power
to act ; and if he had power to act, that power was
within himself, and was self-power, or volition. The
law of God and volition in man are not one and the
same thing. The latter can act without the former,
otherwise the object of our creation would have been
wholly destroyed by law; then our existence would
have been impossible. (3.) ^^probationary state we
understand man's recovery, through a Savior, from
the fall. This has been called a gracious state, in
which life and immortality have been brought to
light through the Gospel of peace. (4.) His futnire
state is that in which the soul, and, finally, the body,
shall have an inseparable reunion and an intermina-
ble duration of life.


1. Man is comjpounded of spirit and matter; these
■united constitute but the oie being. The ties of
affection connecting the two natures seem to be so
arranged, that when severed bj death the soul sus-
tains no perceptible loss, either of faculties or of
true knowledge. The body without the soul is life-
less clay. Therefore, it is incapable of containing
any powder of action or item of knowledge. If the
soul is possessed of powers and knowledge before
death, it has them after death, unless death has anni-
hilating power, wdiich is contrary to all evidence,
and must be absurd, 2. The spirit contains the ani-
mating _principle, or is the principle of life. The
science of psychology can not be untrue; for the
soul is indispensable to life and a knowledge of self.
3. The soul of man is the intelligent part of his
being. Reason, judgment, and knowledge can not
be matter, nor a result of material elements. 4. It
is an i^nmaterial or spiritual existence, as a w^hole,
one and indivisible. It can not be inert, neither is
it ponderous, or capable of annihilation. 5. It is
immortal — limitless in duration. Its faculties are
very numerous, vivid in action, and powerful in con-
ception and demonstrations.


1. Matter is distinct from mind. Anthropology

can furnish no material element which, in quality or

essence, can be called mind in whole or in part.

Matter is divisible, tangible, and ponderous — pos-


sessing density and extension, with gradations and
dissimilar organic properties. 2. Matter is said to
be inanimate when insensible and inactive within
itself. Inert elements act only from impinging
causes, and in conformity to the law or force oi
gravitation, but tbey can not possess any self power
of action. 3. It is animate when it possesses sensi-
tive motion or action within itself. But the anima-
ting principle is not matter; for then all matter would
be sensitive, and have action and life. Sensitive
action belongs to that which has life ; but matter
may have motion or action without having sensation
or life. Otherwise the vast globe might be an ani-
mal or a being of life, by reason of its diurnal mo-
tion and orbicular flight. But matter has no power
of self-action.

1. Mind is not matter. It is an internal and
intellectual power. From the esseptial nature of its
being, such an intellectual power, when in action, is
knowledge. Mind must either act itself, or act from
impinging causes. The natural tendency of matter
is to inactivity, and its nature is to be and remain
at rest. If gcioved by any external caus^, rest is
restored so soon as the impinging agent is. wholly
removed. Having no action within itself, it is im-
possible for it either to act or cause action. 2. But
the mind acts independent of remote, contingent, or
intermingling causes. It has power to understand,
conceive, judge, reason, and feel. These principles
can not apply to or constitute insensible and inert



matter. 3. The term mind is applied to a combina-
tion of faculties, or an internal power, which feels,
thinks, reasons, and wills. It is known to us by
these faculties, and they are made known to us by
our consciousness, the affirmations of which we can
not doubt. 4. The essence of mind has been referred
to something back of these faculties, or forming a
still deeper foundation of their being. "We can have
no clear conception or certain knowledge of such
occult qualities. To advance in search of such ele-
ments would only plunge us into darkness and
doubt. All such speculations would be uncertain,
from our ignorance of the subject; therefore, it is
useless to try to decide upon uncertainties, and such
a process would add nothing to true science. 5.
Imagine that we remove consecutively all the facul-
ties of the mind, and it would be very difficult to
conceive of some remaining something called es-
sence. And if we could, how could we analyze it,
further than to call it the power or influence which
affinitates, in common, all the functions constituting
the soul ? This is stated to start the mind to think-
ing, but to dwell on it would not be profitable.
Though this subject has been the origin of many
speculative arguments, and in a way that it is not
capable of, words can not define it or make it known
to us. It exists in facts or truths wholly the objects
of consciousness.

1. Knowledge^ the result of reasoning^ is not so
clear, strong, and unerring as that arising from


intuition. The latter is the only primary source of
receiving facts as facts, without either proof or dis-
proof. In argumentation an appeal to conscious-
ness may be the last acknowledged resort, but it is
the most conclusive and certain. Finite objects of
the external world, which strike the sense, can never
vie with this internal influence or power, nor be the
anterior cause of its existence. 2. We feel intui-
tively a power within entirely distinct from all prop-
erties of materiality. This combination of elements
or internal power, which feels, thinks, reasons, and
wills, can not be questioned or doubted. Yet we
have real knowledge of such elements only by con-
sciousness. Matter combines properties which are
solid, ponderous, extended, and divisible. They are
known to us as such by our senses. 3. If ih^ power
constituting the faculties of mind, or of blending
them together in action, be matter, how could it act
within itself in recalling the past, and in contempla-
ting the future — the events and occurrences of the
one, and the objects and the hopes of the other?
And how could it act in examining the nature and
properties of tangible existences, and the design, as
evidenced in the symmetry and harmony naturally
adapting them to ^l^e purposes and ends of their
being? Could it send out pioneer thoughts through
unexplored creation and interminable duration?
How could it examine the properties and laws of
existences, and reason from nature up to nature's
God? 4. If the principle within us which thinks
and acts is matter^ we are plunged into total dark-
ness, and are entirely ignorant as to the power of
perception or knowledge of the existence of any


fact; for that which thinks is known to ns only by
thinking. Matter is known by solidity, weight, and
extension. The former is known by properties en-
tirely different from the latter. Matter contains no
principle by which we love, hate, fear, triumph,
rejoice, sorrow, and suffer remorse or despair.

1. Matter is not mind. The substances compos-
ipg the material universe are severally ponderous,
divisible, and possessing density and extension; also
existing in liquids or air form. The principles of
these existences are known as principles of matter
and not of mind. All properties of matter are nat-
urally inert. There are no elements or atoms be-
longing to the science of physics which can have
action within themselves, or self-action. All action
or motion produced in them by operative causes,
tends to inertness or rest at the suspension of the
power of those causes. 2. All material elements
tend naturally to rest. And rest, or that which is
at rest by natural tendency or law, can not originate
action, neither can it pervade with action either rest
or a series of entities at rest. But mind at rest has
power to act within itself, and to cause action in
insensible bodies by voluntarily causing them to be
impinged while at rest, and by accelerating or by
counteracting their inertia. 3. Matter presents a
^phenomena distinct from mind. Its properties, or
combination of substances, possesses solidity and
divisibility. Our knowledge of their existence and
qualities is gained by observatiooi and the test of


the senses. 4. The essence of matter is difficult
to define. That properties exist is clearly demon-
strable; but to go back of these in search of
some occult principle or essence of being, would be
attended with difficulty, and add confusion to true
analysis* Yet the mind should be tested to its
utmost power in trying to trace properties back to
essence, or in discriminating between them by dis-
tinguishing their inhesive affinity in the union of
compounds, which, if dissevered and all the clus-
tering properties removed, there is something re-
maining as unknown or imaginary, to which the
term essence may be applied. But we can have no
satisfactory knowledge of any thing in physics ante-
rior to, or, more correctly, primary than properties.

1. If the ideas of materialists be true, that there
is nothing but matter in the vast universe; and that
at farthest, the soul of man is only the result of a
particular organization of matter in the body, we
have no reasons favoring the knowledge of any ex-
istence. 2. For inert properties can have no knowl-
edge of their own existence, nor of external existen-
ces. But we can not conceive of an immensity of
space filled with nothing. Nonentity can have no
perception or knowledge of non-existence, neither
can it have knowledge of entity. There can be no
knowledge without existences ; and if there be enti-
ties, and they exist as insensible and inert matter,
they can not have knowledge of any existence.
Then there must be an existence capable of thinking



and knowing, and something capable of being tbe
object of thought and knowledge. 3. If all bodies
consist of unextended atoms, moved only by some
law or influence of attraction or resistance, how
could w^e account for the existence and action of
that law or laws? If law can not think, reason, and
act within and of itself, it is clear that there can be
no power to think and act contained in inanimate
and inert atoms of matter. 4. The non-existence of
matter is more reasonable than that nothing exists
but matter; for if nothing exists but matter, we
have seen that there could be no knowledge of any
reality; and if nothing could be apprehended or
known, then if there could be existences, all knowl-
edge of them would be lost in non-existence. Our
knowledge of the existence of mind is as extensive,
and more to be relied on, than is our knowledge of -
the existence of matter.

1. If the soul is matter, it \i2i.^ power to tliinlc and
act. And as matter is matter, it follows that all
matter has power to think and act, which is absurd.
If some definite portion possesses this power, the dif-
ference is the result of the different modifications,
magnitude, figure, or motion of some parts of matter
in respect to other parts, or to the mass, or the power
of thinking and acting must be given to some sys-
tems of it and rejected from others. What irregu-
larity in the regular, onward course of nature could
have being and power to make this difference, when
no such power can naturally exist in the particles


themselves? Surely no one will contend for such a
position. 2. If all matter is cogitative^ it is contrary
to all experience and knowledge we have of its
nature. And if so, our senses and faculties are
formed only to deceive us. A rock possesses no
sign or evidence of either cogitation or of sense.
The head is the great battery of thought, and there
all the ministers of sensation make their appeal;
but if all matter be cogitative, the feet would contain
proportionably as much thought and understanding
as the head, and there would be as much in the
mountain rock as in either. Matter is not self-oper-
ative but inert, and is no more than a substance
extended and impenetrable to other matter. 3. Ma-
terialism, in more recent and modified forms ^ main-
tains that mind is a result of organization, or a
function of the brain ; that the physical and mental
faculties coinhering the same primary substances,
grow, mature, decay, and cease together. If the
brain is only the organ of the mind, it can not be
the mind itself. It may form the center in which
exists that influence on which depends sensation and
motion. This organ is delicately connected, to a
limited extent, with the mind's states and develop-
ments. Chemical analysis will show that all nerv-
ous matter in the entire system possesses precisely
the same properties as that of the brain. Then if
mind be matter, or the result of that kind of matter,
it would be located all through the system ; and if
we could live we could have knowledge, to a propor-
tionable extent, as well without the head as with it,
in some instances, or as well without it as without a
hand or a foot. 4. The various diseases of the



brain often modify, impair, or destroy the manifesta-

Online LibraryMoses SmithA new and extensive analytical examination of the elements of mental science: containing evidences of difference, distinguishing between elements of mind which lie at the foundation of mental action, and elements of mind which lie at the foundation of moral action → online text (page 1 of 29)