Imatges de pÓgina
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the forbidden fruit, cause all this? But that event affects every member of the human family ALIKE; so that, as far as its influences are concerned, every one could be as happy in this world as any one ever has been, or ever will be. The believers of that doctrine, also believe in a millennium "when all shall know the Lord" and be perfectly happy; and yet they will bear precisely the same relation to Eve that we do, and that the most miserable and sinful of mankind do.

Hear Nature's answer. "All enjoyment, all suffering, is CAUSED." The sentient world, no less than the physical, is governed by fixed LAWS. In order to reduce utter chaos to a world of order and certainty, the wise and beneficent Creator of the Universe has instituted a system of causes and effects. He has done more. ALL is cause and effect. Every thing that is, or occurs, is caused. All causes produce their own appropriate effects, and those only, and all effects are the legitimate, necessary products of their respective causes. Nothing can be, occur, or exist, without being governed, in every conceivable point of view, by the laws of cause and effect. These laws reign supreme. From them, there is no appeal, and to them there is no exception. Without them, we could rely upon nothing, could accomplish nothing. But for them, every thing would happen, and dark, doleful uncertainty would reign supreme; now, all things are caused, so that we can effect any desired eud by applying its appropriate means. Nor do any results crowd themselves upon us unbidden. Every thing that we are, that we enjoy, that we suffer, that we think, or feel, or do, is caused; and not only caused, but is the necessary product of its own legitimate cause, and of that only. And like causes, always produce like consequences, and no others. Under the same circumstances, nothing else could possibly occur. All change, all variation, is precluded. All uncertainty and doubt are banished. By knowing or applying given causes, we can predict and effect consequences with unerring certainty.

Nor are these laws without sanction. They are not powerless, harmless, passive nonentities; but they are clothed with authority; and that authority is the pleasure flowing from their obedience, and the pain consequent upon their infrac

ton. In fact, happiness is but the legitimate effect-the one and only effect-of their obedience; and pain, of their violation. Without these consequences of pleasure and pain, law would be powerless, and therefore useless. To secure happiness and to prevent suffering, is the one specific object, and the legitimate operation, of every law of our being; and in order to effect this most desirable result, their wise and benevolent Author has made happiness the necessary and the invatable consequence of their obedience, and misery the certain product of their infraction. Of what use or value this arrangement of law, except to promote happiness?—just seen to be the great end of all creation.

If their action had been productive of pleasure only, half their present sanction would be wanting; but now, not only do the pleasures they bestow, sweetly allure and entice us on in the paths of their obedience, but the direful penalties consequent on their infraction, drive us, even compel us, and with a power greater than any other means possibly could do, to comply with their mandates. Pain is certainly painful; and prasure is indeed delightful. Man has a constitutional love of happiness, an attraction for it; but unhappiness is poison to his nature, abhorrent to him, so that he instinctively avoids it. This is an arrangement lying back in the very nature of things, in which as already seen, man's nature is based, and to which this arrangement of law is adapted. Without happiness, our nature wd be valueless. Without pain, it must be without happiDess. If there were no pain to warn us that we were violating the laws of our being, we should ignorantly and unconsciously, destroy ourselves a thousand times over, if that were possib.e. Thus, if I experienced no pain in violating the physical laws, becoming engaged in conversation, I might lean or sit

on a hot stove, and burn myself to a crisp; or unconscious of the cold, freeze to death, and in countless ways mutilate and destroy myself. And so of mind, if it could experience Do pain. Law without a penalty attached to its violation, is tut mockery-a rope of sand-and the more certain and fearful this penalty, the more valuable the law. Man is capacitated to suffer, and pain is the most powerful enforcer of obedi ence to law, and consequently, promoter of happiness, that

even a God could invent. And this two-fold contrivance of rewards and punishments, the former to entice, the latter to enforce, obedience to law, so wise, so perfectly calculated every way, to secure man's highest good, could have been prompted only by Infinite Benevolence, and arranged only by Infinite Wisdom.

Be it remembered, then, by every member of the human family, that "affliction cometh not forth of the dust;" nor doth pleasure spring up out of the ground. Be it remembered, that every pain we feel is caused-is the legitimate, the necessary, the inevitable consequence of the infraction of some law of our being; and that every pleasure we experience, flows naturally and necessarily from law obeyed. Be it remembered, that there is no possibility of obeying or violating any law whatever without producing these results. No pain was ever sent by God-no blessing was ever bestowed, except in obedience to unalterable law! And be it further remembered, that, in just that proportion in which we obey the mental and physical laws, in just that proportion shall we necessarily be happy; and in exact proportion as we suffer, in that proportion have we broken them, or sinned. Our enjoyments and sufferings are the thermometers of our righteousness and sinfulness. Those who suffer most, have sinned most, and those who are the most happy are the most holy-happy or miserable because they are holy or sinful, and in exact proportion—as exact as the God of heaven can mete them out. And let it also be remembered, as a necessary consequence, that by avoiding all violation of law, we shall escape all suffering of every kind; and that, by obeying all the laws of our nature, we shall become perfectly happy-as happy as it is possible for our nature to become or to endure; and full, to overflowing, with unminlged enjoyment, unalloyed bliss!

Nor are these laws a sealed book to man. They do not lie hidden in labyrinthian mazes, ready to spring upon him like a snake in the grass, or a tiger from his lair. Such a supposition charges God foolishly, is derogatory to man, and would render those laws comparatively useless. No. They are open, plain, and lighted up by the full blaze of the noon-day sun. Nor need they ever be mistaken. No mist, no uncer

tainty, envelopes any of them. If even brutes understand the laws of their being sufficiently to apply them so as to enjoy life, surely man, with all his powers of reason and observation, and all his keenness of sensation, is able, not merely to discern, as in a glass darkly, but to read clearly and fully, every law of his being, every condition of enjoyment, every occasion of suffering.

To this capability of understanding these Laws, God has kindly superadded the power of applying them. Not only can man see them, but he can reach them-can apply means to ends, and thereby produce almost any result he desires. At least, he is capable of augmenting his own happiness, as well as that of his fellow-men; and also of causing an inconceivable amount of suffering, both to himself, and to those around him.

Again:-Every law awards and executes itself. To obey any law, is to enjoy the blessings secured by that law. To transgress it, is to incur its penalties. In the very act of obedience, consists its pleasure; and in and with the transgression, consists the penalty. No escape, no evasion of either, can possibly occur, through God's vast domain. Obedience and happiness are inseparably linked together; and sin and suffering go hand in hand throughout the universe. Neither can ever be separated from its mate.

And what is more, all enjoyment flows in the direct line of the obedience, and all suffering bears a close analogy to that a which causes it. The pleasure is like the obedience, and the suffering partakes of the same cast and character with the transgression. Thus :-In and by transgressing the laws of Appetite, we experience pain, and pain too, growing out of the transgression, and in the direct line of that transgression; namely, it deranges the stomach, corrupts the blood, and produces pain in that department of our nature and in its dependencies, by deranging all the results of eating, and supplanting this whole class of pleasures by analogous pains. So, the violation of the law of Amativeness, occasions the transgressor pain in the social department, and all its ramifications; diminishing, in proportion to the transgression, his domestic pleasures, and all those dependant thereon, and pro

portionally inducing domestic misery. Though the libertine, and those who trifle with the social relations, may reap pleasure from whatever other laws they obey, yet they never need expect to enjoy domestic happiness; for their transgression incapacitates them therefor. Whosoever violates the law that governs Acquisitiveness by hoarding up immense wealth, or by obtaining money dishonestly-by fraud, by gambling, by murder, &c.-will surely suffer in the matter of money, and on account of it. Ill-gotten gain poisons all who touch it. Did a gambler, or a robber, ever enjoy the money thus gotten? The very fact that he obtained it unjustly, renders it a curse to him, and to all who inherit it. Those who make money very easily, say by speculation, or by great profits, that is, who obtain possession of money without actually earning it, do not, and can not, enjoy it. "Easy come, easy go," applies to them. Making it so easily and rapidly, they spend it freely and for unnecessary and injurious gratifications, by which their health is injured, their morals are depraved, and their offspring generally ruined. Take care how you make money too easily, however legally, and by means used however generally. "Honesty is policy." Those who earn their money by the sweat of their brow, besides enjoying even the making of it, know whence it comes, use it frugally, and are never surfeited with luxuries. To make money honestly, that is, not to cheat for it, nor to speculate for it, nor even to trade for it, but to earn it, is the only way to enjoy it.* In like manner, every law of our nature, not only both punishes its own infraction and rewards its own obedience, but also, exactly in the footsteps of both.

Hence, then, it can not be difficult to trace all the ills of mankind-public and private, mental and physical, collective and individual-directly and certainly to their causes; that is,

*Hence laborers-farmers, and those who work for what they have— are the most happy beings on earth-the most healthy, talented, and virtuous: but those who live by their wits are generally sickly, luxurious, sinful, and miserable. So, also, the rich are generally miserable. Their riches make them so, because they violate the law of nature, in the very act of amassing great wealth. 'Wo unto the rich," saith the law of

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man's nature.

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