Sonnets, 25 ? ?As when with downcast eyes we muse and brood, And ebb into a former life, or seem To lapse far back in some confused dream To states of mystical similitude: If one but speaks or hems or stirs his chair, Ever the wonder waxeth more and more, So that we say ?All this hath been before, All this hath been, I know not when or where.? So, friend, when first I looked upon your face, Our thought gave answer each to each, so true ? Opposed mirrors each reflecting each ? That though I knew not in what time or place, Methought that I had often met with you, And either lived in either?s heart and speech.? Robert Browning, La Saisiaz, and Christina: ?Ages past the soul existed; Here an age ?tis resting merely And hence fleets again for ages.? Rossetti, House of Life: ?I have been here before, But when or how I cannot tell; I know the grass beyond the door, The sweet, keen smell, The sighing sound, the lights along the shore. You have been mine before, How long ago I may not know; But just when, at that swallow?s soar, Your neck turned so, Some veil did fall ? I knew it all of yore?; quoted in Colegrove, Memory, 103- 106, who holds the phenomenon due to false induction and interpretation.
Briggs, School, College and Character, 95 ? ?Some of us remember the days when we were on earth for time first time;? ? which reminds us of the boy who remembered sitting in a corner before he was born amid crying for fear he would be a girl. A mere notable illustration is that found in the Life of Sir Walter Scott, by Lockhart, his son-in-law, 8:274 ? ?Yesterday, at dinner time, I was strangely haunted by what I would call the sense of pre-existence, viz., a confused idea that nothing that passed was said for the first time ? that the same topics had been discussed and the same persons had started the same opinions on them. It is true there might have been some ground for recollections, considering that three at least of the company were old friends and had kept much company together But the sensation was so strong as to resemble what is called a mirage in the desert, or a calenture on board of ship, when lakes are seen in the desert and sylvan landscapes in the sea. It was very distressing yesterday and brought to mind the fancies of Bishop Berkeley about an ideal world. There was a vile sense of want of reality in all I did and said? I drank several glasses of wine, but these only aggravated the disorder. I did not find the in vino veritas of the philosophers.?
To the theory of pre-existence we urge the following objections:
(a) It is not only wholly without support from Scripture, but it directly contradicts the Mosaic account of man?s creation in the image of God, and Paul?s description of all evil and death in the human race as the result of Adam?s sin.
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