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is) tne arrangement by which he is endowed with powers to acquire knowledge, but left to find it for himself, is both wise and benevolent.
15. It has been asked, “But is there no pleasure in science except that of discovery? Is there none in using the knowledge we have attained ? Is there no pleasure in playing at chess after we know the moves ?” In answer, I observe, that if we knew beforehand all the moves that our antagonist intended to make and all our own, which must be the case if we knew every thing by intuition, we could have no pleasure. The pleasure really consists in discovering the intentions of our antagonist, and in calculating the effects of our own play ; a certain degree of ignorance of both of which is indispensable to gratification. In like manner, it is agreeable first to discover the natural laws, and then to study the moves that we ought to make, in consequence of knowing them. So much, then, for the sources of human happiness.
16. In the second place, To reap enjoyment in the greatest quantity and to maintain it most permanently, the faculties must be gratified harmoniously: In others words, if, among the various powers, the supremacy belongs to the moral sentiments, then the aim of our habitual conduct must be the attainment of objects suited to gratify them. For example, in pursuing wealth or fame as the leading object of existence, full gratification is not afforded to Benevolence, Veneration, and Conscientiousness, and consequently complete satisfaction can not be enjoyed; whereas, by seeking knowledge, and dedicating life to the welfare of mankind, and obedience to God, in our several vocations, these faculties will be gratified, and wealth, fame, health, and other advantages, will flow in their train, so that the whole mind will rejoice, and its delight will remain permanent
17. Thirdly, To place human happiness on a secure basis,
15. In what does the pleasure of playing games of skill consist? How is the application of this pleasure made to the laws of nature
16. What gives man the most and longest happiness? What faculties should be gratified most? What faculties do you exercise most ?
17. What is necessary to make human happiness secure ?
the laws of external creation must themselves accord with the dictates of the moral sentiments, and intellect must be fitted to discover the nature and relations of both, and to direct the conduct in harmony with them.
18. Much has been written concerning the extent of human ignorance; but we should discriminate between absolute incapacity to know, and mere want of information, arising from not having used this capacity to its full extent. In regard to the first—our capacity to know—it appears probable, that in this world we shall never know the essence, beginning, or end of things, because these are points which we have no faculties calculated to discover.
19. But the same Creator who made the external world constituted our faculties; and if we have sufficient data for inferring it to be His intention that we shall enjoy existence here while preparing for the ulterior ends of our being--and if it be true that we can be happy here, only by becoming thoroughly conversant with those natural laws which are prearranged to contribute, when observed, to our enjoyment, and which, when violated, visit us with suffering—then we may safely conclude that our mental capacities are wisely adapted to the attainment of these objects, whenever we shall do our own duty in bringing them to their highest condition of perfection, and in applying them in the best manner.
20. Sir Isaac Newton observed that all bodies which refracted the rays of light were combustible, except one, the diamond, which he found to have this quality, but which he was not able by any powers he possessed to consume by burning. He did not conclude, however, from this, that the diamond was an exception to the uniformity of nature. He inferred, that as the same Creator had made the diamond and the refracting bodies which he was able to burn, and proceeded by uniform laws, the diamond also would, in all probability, be found to be combustible, and that the reason of its resisting his power was ignorance on his part of the proper way to produce its conflagration. A century afterward, chemists made the diamond blaze with as much vivacity as Sir Isaac Newton had done a waxcandle.
18. What should we discriminate between ? Is probable that, in this world, we shall know the essence, beginning, or end of things ?
19. How do we know that external nature and our capacities were intended for our happiness ?
20. What was the observation and conclusion of Sir Isaac Newton ? Has his conclusion in regard to the diamond since been verified ?
21. Let us proceed, then, on an analogous principle. If the intention of our Creator be, that we should enjoy existence while in this world, then He knew what was necessary to enable us to do so; and He will not be found to have failed in conferring on us powers fitted to accomplish His design, provided we do our duty in developing and applying them. The great motive to exertion is the conviction that increased knowledge will furnish us with increased means of happiness and well-doing, and with new proofs of benevolence and wisdom in the Great Architect of the Universe.
APPLICATION OF THE NATURAL LAWS TO THE PRACTICAL
ARRANGEMENTS OF LIFE.
1. If a system of living and occupation were to be framed for human beings, founded on the exposition of their nature which I have now given, it would be something like this.
First, So many hours a day should be dedicated by every individual in health to the exercise of his nervous and muscular systems, in labor calculated to give scope to their functions. The reward of obeying this requisite of his nature would be health, and a joyous animal existence; the punishment of neglect is disease, low spirits, and premature death.
21. Since the Creator has fitted us for happiness, what must we do in cooperating? What is a great motive to exertion in doing our duty ?
1. What should a part of the day be devoted to? What is the reward of exercise? What follows from inactivity ?
2. Secondly, So many hours a day should be spent in sedulous employment of the knowing and reflecting faculties; in studying the qualities of external objects and their relations ; also the nature of animated beings and their relations; with the view not of accumulating mere abstract and barren knowledge, but of enjoying the positive pleasure of mental activity, and of turning every discovery to account, as a means of increasing happiness or alleviating misery.
3. The leading object should always be, to find out the relationship of every object to our nature, organic, animal, moral, and intellectual, and to keep that relationship habitually in mind, so as to render our acquirements directly gratifying to our various faculties. The reward of this conduct would be an incalculable increase of pleasure, in the very act of acquiring a knowledge of the real properties of external objects, together with a great accession of power in reaping ulterior advantages and avoiding disagreeable affections.
4. Thirdly, So many hours a day ought to be devoted to the cultivation and gratification of our moral and religious sentiments; that is to say, in exercising these in harmony with intellect, and especially in acquiring the habit of admiring, loving, and yielding obedience to the Creator and His institutions. This last object is of vast importance. Intellect is barren of practical fiuit, however rich it may be in knowledge, until it is fired and prompted to act by moral sentiment.
5. In my view, knowledge by itself is comparatively worthless and impotent, compared with what it becomes when vivified by lofty emotions. It is not enough that intellect is informed; the moral faculties inust co-operate, in yielding obedience to the precepts which the intellect recognizes to be true. As creation is one great system, of which God is the author and preserver, we may fairly presume that there must be harmony among all its parts, and between it and its Creator.
2. What objects should be studied during a part of each day? What should be the view of this study ?
3. What should be the leading object in this study? What would be the reward of such investigation ?
4. What higher sentiments should be daily exercised ? How do the moral sentiments affect the intellect?
5. What is said of knowledge by itself? Why is not the cultivation of the intellect alone sufficient?
6. The human mind is a portion of creation, and its constitution must be included in this harmonious scheme. The grand object of the moral and intellectual faculties of man, therefore, ought to be the study of God and of His works. Before philosophy can rise to its highest dignity, and shed on the human race its richest benefits, it must become religious; that is to say, its principles and their consequences must be viewed as proceeding directly from the Divine Being, and as a revelation of His will to the faculties of man, for the guidance of his conduct.
7. Philosophy, while separated from the moral feelings, is felt by the people at large to be cold and barren. It may be calculated to interest individuals possessing high intellectual endowments ; but as in general the moral and religious sentiments greatly predominate in energy over the intellectual powers, it fails to interest the mass of mankind. On the other hand, before natural religion can appear in all its might and glory, it must become philosophical. Its foundations must be laid in the system of creation; its authority must be deduced from the principles of that system; and its applications must be enforced by a demonstration of the power of Providence operating in enforcing the execution of its dictates.
8. While reason and religion are at variance, both are obstructed in producing their full beneficial effects. God has placed harmony between them, and it is only human imperfection and ignorance that introduce discord. One way of cultivating the sentiments would be for men to meet and act together, on the fixed principles which I am now endeavoring
6. Why must the mind be in harmony with creation ? What is the great object of the moral and intellectual facultiesWhat is necessary to elevate philosophy ?
7. When is philosophy cold and fruitless? Why is not philosophy generally interesting? How should natural religion be viewed? Where must its foun. dations be laid ? From whence must its authority be deduced ? How must it be enforced ?
8. Do reason and religion agree? What has made them disagree? What is one way of cultivating the moral sentiments ?