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reason; and as that can be contemplated in a two-fold aspect, either as a state, or as an exercise; as the possession of faculties, or the putting forth of their activities; we must pitch upon the most important, which is activity or energy, or as he also styles it, obedience to reason. Energy, therefore, according to reason, is characteristic of man. This is his business,

and he who pursues it best, is the best man. Human good, or the good of man as man, is consequently energy according to the best and most perfect virtue.

This is a brief outline of what I regard as one of the finest discussions in the whole compass of ancient philosophy.* The notion is predominant that happiness implies the perfection of our nature, and that perfection, not so much in the habits considered as so many states, but in the unimpeded exercise of the faculties themselves. being properly exerted is their good. Happiness, therefore, is not something imparted to the soul from without-it springs

*Nichom. Ethicks. Lib. i. c. 7.

The

from the soul itself it is the very glow of its life. It is to the mind what health is to the body-the regular and harmonious action of all the functions of the frame. It is not a gratification, not the pleasure which results from the correspondence between an object and a faculty-it is the very heat and fervour of spiritual life. All this is strikingly in accordance with the doctrine of Scripture. Happiness there, too, is represented as consisting in moral perfection, and moral perfection in virtuous energies. It is a well of water within the man, springing up to everlasting life. It is treated as an image of the blessedness of God; and when we remember the ceaseless activity of the Divine nature-my Father worketh hitherto and I work-there cannot be a more convincing proof that felicity consists in energies. To be happy is not to be torpid; it is not a state of indolent repose, nor of the passive reception of extraneous influences. It is to be like God, who never slumbers nor sleeps, who fainteth

not, neither is weary.

This is the great

thought of the Bible. The defect of Aristotle lies in this, that he has not explained how these virtuous energies are to be elicited and sustained in a course of unimpeded action. We cannot think without thinking something; we cannot love, we cannot praise, we cannot exercise any virtuous affection, without exercising it upon something. An abstraction wants life, and finite objects limit, condition, and obstruct our energies. Besides this, as we shall subsequently see, the fundamental principle of virtue is love, and love implies the existence of a person with whom we are united in intimate fellowship. Communion is indispensable to the energy of holiness, and that the energy may be unimpeded, the person with whom we are in union, must be worthy of the intensest affections of which we are susceptible. He must himself be the perfect good. Now, the Scriptures propose the fellowship of God as the consummation of felicity. We may concentrate upon Him all the faculties of our nature.

He can evoke their intensest activities-give them full scope, and never put a period to their flow. His favour is life, and His lovingkindness better than life. I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness. That man's chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever-that this and this only is happiness; that we enjoy as we glorify; that the very going forth of our energies upon Him, the ever-blessed, is itself blessedness-this is the doctrine which lies at the basis of the ethical system of the Gospel. It is a doctrine which philosophy never could have discovered, but which it pronounces to be just as soon as the terms are understood. We are so familiar with the statement of it, we have it so often on our lips, or hear it so often from the desk, that we do not enter into the depth of meaning it contains. In itself it is a grand thought a noble and exalted privilege. Fellowship with God! the real communion of our minds with His-what tongue can express it what heart adequately conceive it! and yet this honour have all the saints. It is

not a figure, not a flourish of rhetoric,-no dream of the mystic. It is a great fact; and in reflecting upon it, I have often been impressed with the words of a dying saint: "Preach it at my funeral, publish it at my burial, that the Lord converses familiarly with man." His secret is indeed with them that fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. How coarse and degrading, by the side of this doctrine, do those views of happiness appear, which make it consist in pleasure! which, instead of setting man upon the improvement of himself, the perfection of his nature, and the expansion of his energies in communion with God, sends him in quest of the beggarly elements of earth, which all are to perish in the using. There cannot be a greater obstruction to the pursuit of real happiness, than the love of pleasure. It relaxes and debilitates the mind-destroys the tone of the spirit-superinduces languor upon all the faculties; it is the grave of energy. Hence is that of Scripture; she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. If happiness

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