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existence, but make that existence happy; if in general they cannot be exercised without affording enjoyment as well as life, then there is not only design, but good design: then it is evident that the Creator not only meant to give existence but to make that existence a blessing. With all the animal functions then this is the case. They all minister to enjoyment, while they sustain the mysterious principle of life. There is not a single exception. There is not one animal function, the common and natural exercise of which is painful: there is not one whose natural exercise is not productive of pleasure.” Whence could this possibly happen, but from the goodness of the Creator 2 He who is infinite in power might have so constituted an animal, as to make the exercise of every function which is necessary to its existence productive of exquisite suffering; and had his nature been malignant, and his design in creation been to gratify a malignant disposition, he would certainly have done so. Constituted as animals at present are, it is necessary to the continuance of their life that they should eat. The act of eating might have been made productive of exquisite misery, and the animal have been infallibly impelled to it, by making the pain of hunger still greater than that of eating. Here then, was an opportunity of diffusing over the whole animal creation, a source of continual torment. But instead of this, the act is made pleasurable, and thus becomes the source of continual gratification. How can this be accounted for, but upon the supposition that he who had the diffusion of both equally in his power, and who chose to diffuse happiness rather than misery, is good 2 Constituted as animals at present are, and placed amidst such objects as those which surround them, it was necessary that they should have the senses of sight and of touch. Now the eye might have been so constructed, as to receive from every object the same kind of impression as is felt when it is cast upon any thing that is monstrous. The sense of touch might have been so formed, as to impart upon the contact of every object, a sensation similar to that which is felt when the surface of the body is pierced with thorns; and as the body must always be in contact with some external object, this torment might have been experienced during every moment of existence. Why then is not this the case ? Why, on the contrary, do we continually receive the most exquisite gratification from all our senses? It can be resolved into nothing but the pure benignity of the Creator.
* Indeed the very application of the term natural, is a decisive proof of the goodness of the Deity. When the functions of an animal are so exercised as to aford it vigour, ease and enjoyment, we say it is in a natural state. G
This annexation of pleasure to the exercise of animal functions, when that pleasure is not at all necessary to animal existence, is a decisive proof of the goodness of the Deity; for it is to produce happiness without doing any thing else: it is to rest in it as an ultimate object; it is to do this in proportion as happiness prevails beyond what is necessary to life; that is, in proportion as it prevails at all. But to produce happiness for its own sake, to rest in it as an ultimate object, is of the very essence of benevolence, and pure and perfect benevolence can do no more. Neither can such a provision for enjoyment possibly arise from any thing but benevolence; for an evil nature must necessarily be incapable of it. In proportion then as happiness is diffused over the creation of God, is the plenitude of the proof that he is good.
The force of this reasoning will appear to increase in proportion as the faculties of an animal are exalted, because the extension of the capacity of enjoyment affords a greater opportunity for the display of that goodness which provides for its full and constant supply. Thus man, endowed with higher faculties than those which characterize mere animal existence, is capable of higher happiness. To him, in addition to the pleasures of sense, for the enjoyment of which he is fitted by the constitution of his
nature, no less than other animals are afforded
the nobler gratifications which arise from the exercise of his intellectual faculties. These faculties are given him as the means of improving his condition. Continual exertion is indispensable to their development; and so admirably is the structure of society adapted to their nature, that no one can exist in it without exerting them. Either to procure the means of comfortable subsistence in the rank in which he is placed, or, to raise himself to a higher station, or to obtain that measure of knowledge and that degree of general cultivation which the progress of society has rendered indispensable to his condition, every one finds himself compelled to the continual exertion of his faculties. By the operation of the same causes, arts are cultivated, manufactures flourish, commerce is extended, science facilitates the movements of the vast and complicated machine which is set in motion, and literature unfolds the treasures which reward the culture of its ample regions. To society the advantage of this constant activity is incalculable, and it is of inestimable utility to the individual. In these pursuits his highest powers are called forth and invigorated, and his purest and noblest pleasures experienced. Yet the intellectual faculties are never exerted for the sake of the pleasure they afford. Pleasure is the unthought of, but the invariable consequence of their exercise. Distinction, fame, wealth, are the objects for which they are exerted; pleasure is the unsought, the incidental, yet the almost constant result of their exertion. This pleasure, therefore, is as purely a gift of the Creator as that which arises from the gratification of the senses, and proves as decisively his benevolence: it is pleasure gratuitously added to the exercise of faculties which might be as perfectly exerted without it as with it; it affords a beautiful example of pleasure rested in as an ultimate object. This pleasure, which is connected with the exercise of a cultivated understanding, is of constant occurrence; it is pure and unalloyed; it increases with the improvement of art and the knowledge of nature, and has no other limit than the perfection of the one and the boundary of the other. He whose preceptions are refined by cultivation is as if he were endowed with new senses, and he walks continually forth into a world of being and of beauty to which other men are strangers. Every thing is to him the minister of improvement or of gratification. The sun, the earth, the ocean, the mountain's towering height, the green and golden vale stretching far out below “its maritle gay,”