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possessed the rare moral and intellectual endowment of an enlightened public spirit. For, such a spirit, whether in the form of patriotism, or that of philanthropy, implies not merely benevolent feelings stronger than, in fact, we commonly meet with, but also powers of abstraction beyond what the mass of mankind can possess. As it is, many of the most important objects are accomplished by unconscious co-operation; and that, with a certainty, completeness, and regularity, which probably the most diligent benevolence under the guidance of the greatest human wisdom, could never have attained.
For instance, let any one propose to himself the problem of supplying with daily provisions the inhabitants of such a city as London—that'province covered with houses.' Let any one consider this problem in all its bearings, reflecting on the enormous and fluctuating number of persons to be fed,—the immense quantity of the provisions to be furnished, and the variety of the supply (not, as for an army or garrison, comparatively uniform)—the importance of a convenient distribution of them, and the necessity of husbanding them discreetly, lest a deficient supply, even for a single day, should produce distress, or a redundancy produce, from the perishable nature of many of them, a corresponding waste; and then let him reflect on the anxious toil which such a task would impose on a Board of the most experienced and intelligent commissaries; who, after all, would be able to discharge their office but very inadequately. Yet this object is accomplished far better than it could be by any effort of human wisdom, through the agency of men who think each of nothing beyond his own immediate interest—who are merely occupied in gaining a fair livelihood; and, with this end in view, without any comprehensive wisdom, or any need of it, they co-operate, unknowingly, in conducting a system which, we may safely say, no human wisdom directed to that end could have conducted so well—the system by which this enormous population is fed from day to day—and combine unconsciously to employ the wisest means for effecting an object, the vastness of which it would bewilder them even to contemplate.
I have said, 'no human wisdom;' for wisdom there surely is in this adaptation of the means to the result actually produced. And admirable as are the marks of contrivance and design in
the anatomical structure of the human body, and in the instincts of the brute-creation, I know not whether it does not even still more excite our admiration of the beneficent wisdom of Providence, to contemplate, not corporeal particles, but rational, free agents, co-operating in systems no less manifestly indicating design, yet no design of theirs; and though acted on, not by gravitation and impulse, like inert matter, but by motives addressed to the will, yet advancing as regularly, and as effectually, the accomplishment of an object they never contemplated, as if they were the mere passive wheels of a machine. If one may, without presumption, speak of a more or less in reference to the works of Infinite Wisdom, I would say, that the branch of Natural Theology with which we are now concerned, presents to the reflective mind views even more striking than any other. The heavens do indeed 'declare the glory of God;' and the human body is 'fearfully and wonderfully made -' but Man, considered not merely as an organized Being, but as a rational agent, and as a member of society, is perhaps the most wonderfully contrived, and to us the most interesting, specimen of divine Wisdom that we have any knowledge of. IloXXa ra Buva, K ovSiv avBpwirov Btivortpbv n(\u.
Now, it seems to me that, to this proof, that it is the design of Almighty Providence that mankind should advance in civilization, may be added one drawn from the fact that, in proportion as the religion of the Bible is embraced, and men become subjects to the revealed law of God, civilization progresses.
'And here I would remark, that I do not profess to explain why, in so many particular instances, causes have been permitted to operate, more or less, towards the frustration of this general design, and the retardation, or even reversal, of the course of improvement. The difficulty, in fact, is one which belongs, not to this alone, but to every branch of Natural Theology. In every part of the universe we see marks of wise and benevolent design; and yet we see, in many instances, apparent frustrations of this design; we see the productiveness of the earth interrupted by unfavourable seasons—the structure of the animalframe enfeebled, and its functions impaired, by disease—and vast multitudes of living Beings exposed, from various causes, to suffering, and to premature destruction. In the moral and political world, wars, and civil dissension—tyrannical governments, unwise laws, and all evils of this class, correspond to the inundations—the droughts—the tornados, and the earthquakes, of the natural world. We cannot give a satisfactory account of either;—we cannot, in short, explain the great difficulty, which, in proportion as we reflect attentively, we shall more and more perceive to be the only difficulty in theology, the existence of evil in the Universe.
Yet how many, in almost every past age (and so it will be, I suppose, in all future ages), have shown a tendency towards such presumption as that of our first parents, in seeking to pass the limits appointed for the human faculties, and to 'be as Gods, KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL.'
'But two things we can accomplish; which are very important, and which are probably all that our present faculties and extent of knowledge can attain to. One is, to perceive clearly that the difficulty in question is of no unequal pressure, but bears equally heavy on Deism and on Christianity, and on the various different interpretations of the christian scheme; and consequently can furnish no valid objection to any one scheme of religion in particular. Even atheism does not lessen our difficulty; it only alters the character of it. For as the believer in a God is at a loss to account for the existence of evil, the believer in no God is equally unable to account for the existence of good; or indeed of anything at all that bears marks of design.
'Another point which is attainable is, to perceive, amidst all the admixture of evil, and all the seeming disorder of conflicting agencies, a general tendency nevertheless towards the accomplishment of wise and beneficent designs.
'As in contemplating an ebbing tide, we are sometimes in doubt, on a short inspection, whether the sea is really receding, because, from time to time, a wave will dash further up the shore than those which had preceded it, but, if we continue our observation long enough, we see plainly that the boundary of the land is on the whole advancing; so here, by extending our view over many Countries and through several Ages, we may distinctly perceive the tendencies which would have escaped a more confined research.'
ESSAY XXX. OF REGIMEN OF HEALTH.
THERE is a wisdom in this beyond the rules of physic: a man's own observation, what he finds good of,1 and what he finds hurt of, is the best physic to preserve health; but it is a safer conclusion to say, 'This agreeth not well with me, therefore I will not continue it/ than this, 'I find no offenceJ of this, therefore I may use it:' for strength of nature in youth passeth over many excesses which are owing a man till his age. Discern of the coming on of years, and think not to do the same things still; for age will not be defied. Beware of sudden change in any great point of diet, and if necessity enforce it, fit the rest to it; for it is a secret, both in nature and state, that it is safer to change many things than one. Examine thy customs of diet, sleep, exercise, apparel, and the like, and try, in anything thou shalt judge hurtful, to discontinue it by little and little; but so as * if thou dost find any inconvenience by the change, thou come back to it again; for it is hard to distinguish that which is generally held good and wholesome, from that which is good particularly, and fit for thine own body. To be free-minded and cheerfully disposed at hours of meat4 and sleep, and of exercise, is one of the best precepts of long lasting. As for the passions and studies of the mind, avoid envy, anxious fears, anger, fretting inwards, subtle and knotty inquisitions, joys and exhilarations in excess, sadness not communicated. Entertain hopes, mirth rather than joy, variety of delights rather than surfeit of them; wonder and admiration, and therefore novelties; studies that fill the mind with splendid and illustrious objects, as histories, fables, and contemplations of nature. If you fly physic in health altogether, it will be too strange for your body when you shall need it; if you make it too familiar, it will work no extraordinary effect when sickness cometh. I commend1 rather some diet for certain seasons, than frequent use of physic, except it be grown into a custom; for those diets alter the body more, and trouble it less. Despise no new accident in your body, but ask opinion of it. In sickness, respect3 health principally, and in health, action; for those that put their bodies to endure in health, may in most sicknesses which are not very sharp, be cured only with diet and tendering. Celsus could never have spoken it as a physician, had he not been a wise man withal, when he giveth it for one of the great precepts of health and lasting, that a man do vary and interchange contraries, but with an inclination to the more benign extreme; use fasting and full eating, but rather full eating; watching and sleep, but rather sleep; sitting and exercise, but rather exercise, and the like; so shall nature be cherished and yet taught masteries. Physicians are some of them so pleasing and conformable to the humour of the patient, as3 they press not the true cure of the disease; and some others are so regular in proceeding according to art for the disease, as they respect not sufficiently the condition of the patient. Take one of a middle temper, or, if it may not be found in one man, combine two of either1 sort; and forget not to call as well the best acquainted with your body, as the best reputed of for his faculty.
1 Of. From. See page 270.
3 Offence. Hurt; damage. (Now seldom applied to physical injury.) 'The pains of the touch are greater than the offences of other senses.'—Bacon.'To do offence and scath in Christendom.'—Shakespere.
* As. That. See page 23.
* Meat. Food; meals.
'As he sat at his meat, the music played sweet.'—Old Ballad.
It is remarkable that Bacon should have said nothing in this
Essay, of early and late hours; though it is a generally received
opinion that early hours are conducive to longevity. There is
a proverb that
'Early to bed, and early to rise,
1 Commend. To recommend. 'I commend unto you Phoebe, our sister.'— Romans xvi. I.
2 Respect. Save regard to. 'In judgment seats, not man's qualities, but causes only ought to be respected.'—Ktlllevoorth.
3 As. That. See page 23.
* Either. Each. 'On either side of the river.'—Sev. xxii. 2.