Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

to the violated law out of which they grow-an inference of the utmost value and importance; for it teaches mankind at once the causes and the remedy, of every evil that exists, of every pain that man experiences; and at the same time, shows him just what it is that makes him happy, so that he may seek it yet again." And let every individual, by as much as he values his own happiness and dreads suffering, trace his every pain to its cause, and then remove that cause; and also trace up his pleasures to that fountain head from which they flow.

In addition to all this, man possesses that power of will, or self-government, which enables him to choose or to refuse the evil or the good-to obey these laws, or to violate them-to renler himself good or bad, happy or miserable! Now put together these self-evident truths-that man is constituted to be perfectly happy-that all happiness is the fixed and certain EFFECT of obedience to the laws of our being, and every pain, the legitimate, necessary consequence or operation of their infraction-that our Creator has kindly endowed man with capacity to understand, and ability to apply, these laws; and also with the power of choice, by which he is enabled to obey or to violate them, according to his own will and pleasure; and the inference is obvious and inevitable, that all our sungs are brought either by man upon his fellow man, or by individuals upon themselves.

Ari what is more, these observances and violations depend mainly on every individual for himself. True, the relations of children to their parents, by which they inherit disease, physical and mental, or are badly trained; and of man to man, by which individuals suffer somewhat on account of the s:.s of the mass, partially modify this result; yet, in the outline and great majority of cases, individuals for themselves, both sin and suffer, in their own person-on their own account. Our enjoyments and sufferings are mostly in our own keeping, an-1 within our own control; because they are the rewards and penalties mainly of our own doings.

Let us then apply ourselves diligently to the study of the laws of our nature; for, unless we know them, how can we obey or enjoy them, except we stumble upon them by

chance? or how escape suffering by avoiding their violation? Truly,

“The chiefest study of mankind is man,

Our greatest knowledge is ourselves to know.” By knowing them we can follow them, and thus be gathering in, continually, all those rich clusters, those endless varieties, of the sweetest pleasures which a wise and gracious God has adapted and prepared our nature to yield; and escape all those direful consequences of their infraction which flood our world with sorrow and sighing. That it is possible to escape suffering, has already been demonstrated. That it is infinitely more easy to obey law and be perfectly happy, than to sin and suffer, is equally evident. The difficulty consists in living as we do.

Hic labor: hoc opus est.* To live aright, and thereby to enjoy, is all down hill work, all plain sailing, all most delightful. To suppose that we must tug, and toil, and deny ourselves to live ariyht, is an errorwhose fathcı is bigotry, and whose mother is ignorance. To know how, is the one thing needful, the “ pearl of great price.” To obey these laws, men must know them. Ignorance is the parent of most of man's suffering. Men want knowledge. This is the first, the second, and the third instrument of reform. “Ignorance is the evil, knowledge the remedy ;” and is it not surprising, that they whose sole profession and occupation is to impart this knowledge, should themselves be so almost totally ignorant-should be often the greatest sinners and sufferers--the blind leading the blind, and both upon the wrong track? To impart this knowledge, to reveal this secret, is the object of this work, and if it succeed, it will indeed accomplish a great work.

Another preliminary remark. That same Goodness and Wisdom which devised and instituted this system of laws, rewards, and punishments, has also apportioned the pleasures of obedience and the pains of disobedience, to the importance of the several laws. Life is the greatest of all blessings, and therefore the violation of the laws of life, is visited with the

• This is the labor, this the toil.

severest of all penalties; their obedience, with the highest order of happiness, and in its greatest abundance. But, the laws that govern property or character being of a lower order, less pain accompanies their infraction, less pleasure, their obedi

ence.

What then, is the highest order of laws? From what source springs the most exalted pleasure and the most intense suffering that man can possibly experience? From the laws of mind. Who is the lord of Creation? Man. What is the greatest work of God within our knowledge? Ourselves What terrestrial being is susceptible of experiencing the greatest amount of enjoyment and of suffering? Mankind. What governed by the widest range and highest grade of laws, and most capable of obeying or violating them? The same being, man. And what part of man constitutes the highest department of his nature? Mind. Which is the king, which the subject, in his nature?-which that part for whose special service all others were created? Mind. From what fountain head, gushes forth every pleasure, every pain, that man experiences? From mind-mind only. The laws of mind, are then the highest order of laws within our knowledge; and their obedience is productive of the greatest amount, and of the purest, the most exalted, and the most condensed, of all enjoyment; while their violation plunges the suffering rebel in'o the deepest hell of misery imaginable or supportable! For what was man created? Mainly, or even merely, to eat, sleep, breathe, labor, glitter, and die? By no means; but to ti..nk and feel-to adore God, study his works, obey his laws, and be happy. What constitutes his identity and persality-his essence-himself? Is it his coat? Is it his bly, even? It is his intellectual and moral nature, in

..ch consists his entity, and for which he was created. This sman. All else is worthless. Cut from him limb after limb, and one portion of his body after another, until the whole is removed, but leave the mind entire, and his identity remains; but, let insanity derange that mind, or let death separate it from the body, and his personality is destroyed, though his bly remain entire. The lifeless body of a friend is not that friend; but our minds, our own powers of thought and feel

ing constitute our very essence; flesh and blood being our dwelling only

Hence, obtaining a knowledge of the laws of mind, and putting this knowledge in practice, constitute the highest objects that can possibly engage the attention of man. As pleasure constitutes the end of man's creation, that is the most important which most effectually promotes this end. A knowledge of mechanics, chemistry, navigation, astronomy, geography, natural philosophy, &c., are important in proportion to their capability of administering to human happiness--the end of creation—but no farther. This is the only true measure of virtue; and especially of that of knowledge. Grossly ignorant is he who knows not how to live so as to be happy, though his mind is stored with all the literary lore of past ages, together with all the learned trash of the present age. Most wise is he who knows himself, who understands and obeys these laws, be he ignorant of every thing else. And this is the main centre of man's ignorance. Many know how to read Greek, to predict eclipses, to make money, apply and regulate machinery, discuss politics, kill each other scientifically, and perpetrate a world of learned foolery ; but alas ! few know how to live, or even how to eat, or sit, or walk.

Man's almost utter ignorance of the laws of his nature is as deplorable as it is fatal to his happiness and productive of misery. Every thing else is studied, but this is neglected; yet this should be learned, even though all other kinds of knowledge be neglected.

These principles show in what education consists. If happiness be the end of all creation, education of course consists in knowing the conditions of happiness, and wisdom, in applying them—the former, in understanding the laws of our being, and the latter, in fulfilling them. Let it be remembered by all, especially by parents and teachers, that the one distinctive and only end of all education should be to expound these laws and enfore their obedience. Let parents, teachers, authors, lecturers, clergyinen, editors, politicians, physicians, and all public men or leaders further remember, that they stand at the fountain head of those streams of happiness and misery which tlood mankind; and also, that by teaching

these laws in regard to society, government, property, medicine, religion, morals, science, and especially physiology and phrenology, and inculcating their obedience, they aid in bringing out and ripening up to maturity all that is fair, and lovely, and happy, in our nature; but that, in omitting this single duty, and especially by leading the youthful or the public mind on in their violation, they help to swell that overflowing tide of sin and misery which is bearing on its dark waters all the sighs, groans, pains, diseases, and premature deaths that scourge mankind. Ah! little do public men re⚫a:ze the responsibility of their station, or consider that they give tone and direction to the public mind, and thereby further or retard the great object of man's creation!

Let us then enter upon the great inquiry, what are some of the most prolific causes of happiness and misery, that we may chose the former and escape the latter? In other words. what are some of the most important laws of our physical and mental nature, that we may obey them and enjoy their delie:ous fruits?

In answering this most important question, the author will take for his guide the lights of Physiology and Phrenology. The former embodies all the laws of man's physical nature-all the conditions of life and health, while Phrenology is the science of man, and especially of man's MIND; and the two together evolve all the elementary principles of his nature, thereby embodying all the laws of his being, all the conditions of his happiness, and all the causes of all his sufferings, as well as the origin of all the evils that afflict societyand all so plainly, that "he that runs may read." By developing fully and clearly the primitive or elementary nature and constitution of man, and that, too, in all its ramifications, it arraigns before the tribunal of that nature, every thing appertaining to man that can be named or conceived; approving w.atever harmonizes with it, but condemning whatever conEts therewith-thereby furnishing the only true test and touchstone by which to try every doctrine of the age; and deed, of all past, all coming time-every doctrine of meta

sies, every theory of society, every question of ethics, of ras, of logic, of equity, and even of religious creeds and

« AnteriorContinua »