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11. The slater, in using a ladder, assists himself by the reflective powers; but, in walking along the ridge of a house, or standing on a chimney, he takes no aid from these faculties; he trusts to the mere instinctive power of equilibrium, in which he is inferior to the lower animals, and, in so doing, clearly violates the law of his nature that requires him to use reflection where instinct is deficient.
12. Causality and Constructiveness could invent and provide means by which, if he slipped from a roof or chimney, his fall might be arrested. A small chain, for instance, attached by one end to a girdle round his body, and having the other end fastened by a hook and eye to the roof, might leave him at liberty to move, and might break his fall in case he slipped. How frequently, too, do these accidents happen after disturbance of the mental faculties and corporeal functions by intoxication!
13. The objection will probably occur, that in the gross condition in which the mental powers exist, the great body of mankind are incapable of exerting habitually that degree of moral and intellectual energy which is indispensable to observance of the natural laws; and that, therefore, they are in point of fact less fortunate than the lower animals.
14. I admit that, at present, this representation is to a considerable extent just; but nowhere do I perceive the human mind instructed, and its powers exercised, in a degree at all approaching to their limits. Let any person recollect how much greater capacity for enjoyment and security from danger he has experienced at a particular time, when his whole mind was filled with, and excited by, some mighty interest, not only allied to, but founded in, morality and intellect, than in that languid condition which accompanies the absence of elevated and ennobling emotions; and he may form some idea of what man will become capable of, when his powers shall have been cultivated to the extent of their capacity.
11. What is said of the clater ?
13. Have men generally moral principle and intellect enough to observe the natural laws? How do the ignorant compare with the lower animals in this respect ?
14. Has the mind been cultivated as far as it will permit? Have we greater intellectual energies at different times ? What may be inferred from this ?
15. At the present moment, no class of society is systematically instructed in the constitution of the mind and body, in the relations of these to external objects, in the nature of these objects, in the natural supremacy of the moral sentiments, in the principle of that activity of the faculties is the true source of pleasure, and that the higher the powers the more intense the delight; and, if such views be to the mind what light is to the eyes, air to the lungs, and food to the stomach, there is no wonder that a mass of inert mentality, if I may use such a word, should every where exist around us, and that numberless evils should spring from its continuance in this condition.
16. If active moral and intellectual faculties are the natural fountains of enjoyment, and the external world is created with reference to this state, it is as obvious that misery must result from animal supremacy and intellectual torpidity, as that flame, which is constituted to burn only when supplied with oxygen, must inevitably become extinct when exposed to carbonic
17. Finally, if the arrangement by which man is left to discover and obey the laws of his own nature, and of the physical world, be more conducive to activity than intuitive knowledge, the calamities now contemplated appear to be instituted to force him to his duty; and his duty, when understood, will constitute his delight.
18. While, therefore, we lament the fate of individual victims to the law of gravitation, we can not condemn that law itself. If it were suspended, to save men from the effects of negligence, not only would the proud creations of human skill totter
15. In what is the instruction of every class deficient? Why is there eo much dormant and inactive mind in society ?
16. What are the natural sources of enjoyment? What are the causes of misery?
17. What are the uses of calamities? What follows from doing our duty ?
18. What would follow from a suspension of the law of gravitation? How would this affect our enjoyments and our faculties ?
to their base, and the human body rise from the earth and hang midway in the air, but our highest enjoyments would be terminated, and our faculties become positively useless, by being deprived of their field of exertion.
19. Causality, for instance, teaches that the same cause will always, cæteris paribus, produce similar effects; and if the physical laws were suspended or varied so as to accommodate themselves to man's negligence or folly, it is obvious that this faculty would be without an object, and that no definite course of action could be entered upon with confidence in the result. If, then, this view of the constitution of nature were kept steadily in mind, the occurrence of one accident of this kind would stimulate reflection to discover means of avoiding others.
20. Similar illustrations and commentaries might be given in regard to the other physical laws to which man is subject; but the object of the present essay being merely to evolve principles, I confine myself to gravitation, as the most obvious and best understood.
21. I do not mean to say, that, by the mere exercise of intellect, man may absolutely guarantee himself against all accidents; but only that the more ignorant and careless he is, the more will he suffer; and the more intelligent and vigilant, the less ; and that I can perceive no limits to this rule. The law of most civilized countries recognizes this principle, and subjects owners of ships, coaches, and other vehicles, in reparation of damage arising from gross infringements of the physical laws. It is unquestionable that the enforcement of this liability has given increased security to travelers in no trifling degree.
19. What does Causality teach? What would be the etfect of accommodating the physical laws to man's ignorance? What should this teach us ?
20. What is the object of the present essay ?
21. Will the enlightened intellect always save man from accidents ? When does man suffer most? When least?
EVILS THAT BEFALL MANKIND FROM INFRINGEMENT OF THE
1. It is a very common error to imagine that the feelings of the mind are communicated to it through the medium of the intellect; and, in particular, that if no indelicate objects reach the eyes, or expressions penetrate the ears, perfect purity will necessarily reign within the soul; and carrying this mistake into practice, they are prone to object to all discussion of the subjects treated of under the “Organic Laws,” in works designed for general use.
2. But their principle of reasoning is fallacious, and the result has been highly detrimental to society. The feelings have existence and activity distinct from the intellect ; they spur it on to obtain their own gratification; and it may become either their guide or their slave, according as it is, or is not, enlightened concerning their constitution and objects, and the laws of nature to which they are subjected.
3. An organized being is one which derives its existence from a previously existing organized being, which subsists on food, grows, attains maturity, decays, and dies. Whatever the ultimate object of the Creator, in constituting organized beings, may be, it will scarcely be denied that part of His design is, that they should enjoy their existence here; and, if so, the object of every part of their structure ought to be found conducing to this end.
4. To render an organized being perfect in its kind, the first law that must be observed is, that the germ from which it springs shall be complete in all its parts, and sound in its whole constitution; the second is, that the moment it is ushered into life, and as long as it continues to live, it shall be supplied with food, light, air, and every other aliment necessary for its support; and the third law is, that it shall duly exercise its functions.
1. What is a common error in regard to the feelings of the mind ?
2. What is said of the feelings? What influence have the feelings upon the intellect?
3. What is an organized being? What is a design of the Creator in consti. tuting organized beings here?
4. What is necessary to render an organized being perfect? What is the first law of an organized being? What is the second law of an organized being ? What is the third
5. When all these laws are obeyed, the being should enjoy pleasure from its organized frame, if its Creator is benevolent ; and its constitution should be so adapted to its circumstances, as to admit of obedience to them, if its Creator is wise and powerful. Is there, then, no such phenomenon on earth as a human being existing in full possession of organic vigor, from birth till advanced age, when the organized system is fairly worn out ? Numberless examples of this kind have occurred, and they show to demonstration that the corporeal frame of man is so constituted as to admit the possibility of his enjoying health and vigor during the whole period of a long life.
6. It is mentioned in the Life of Captain Cook, that “one circumstance peculiarly worthy of notice is the perfect and uninterrupted health of the inhabitants of New Zealand. In all the visits made to their towns, where old and young, men and women, crowded about our voyagers, they never observed a single person who appeared to have any bodily complaint; nor among the numbers that were seen naked, was once perceived the slightest eruption upon the skin, or the least. mark which indicated that such an eruption had formerly existed.
7. “ Another proof of the health of these people is the facility with which the wounds they at any time receive are healed. In the man who had been shot with the musket ball through the fleshy part of his arm, the wound seemed to be so well digested, and in so fair a way of being perfectly healed, that if
Can health and vigor be
5. What is the result of obedience to these laws ? enjoyed during the whole of life ?
6. What is said of the New Zealanders ? 7. What is said of their wounded flesh