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sake of the lower order of creation (Hear! Hear!). In adopting this line of action, the society did not content itself with merely negative results. It aimed not merely at the diversion of human sympathies out of channels in which they had too long flowed, but at their conversion into channels in which they were meant to find free and abundant outlet
“Man," he said, “is a finite being,-limited in his affections and his sympathies no less than in his physical and intellectual powers. For this reason his emotional energies need to be wisely concentrated upon their proper objects. Whatever affection is expended upon an improper object, is deducted from the whole limited store. It could not but detract from the amount expended upon that which was entitled to receive the whole. Just here is the function of this society. They had all heard of labor-saving machinery. This is an affection-saving machine. Its ultimate object is to enrich all human life, by diverting to human objects that sympathetic energy which it may succeed in diverting from objects lower than the human.
“I lay it down as a thesis sustained by every consideration based on the nature of things and confirmed by all experience, that every kind of special and extraordinary devotion to the welfare of the merely animal creation is attended with an indifference to human tics and duties. And I further maintain that this is a moral danger which is especially great at the present day through the tendencies at once of philanthropic and scientific thought.
"First of all, the philanthropic drift of our day exposes us to this danger. The leaders of our philanthropic movements have begun by accustoming their followers to dwell upon the merely physical aspects of human misery. They adopted the easier way of awakening sympathy by making the flesh creep and the blood curdle, so that a horror of suffering as such has arisen among us, such as bids fair to rob us of all regard for the higher aspects of human misery. This is true even of the best of them. The protest against war, from the pen of Dr. Chalmers, is perhaps the finest illustration of a whole literature of vicious and mischievous tendency. If that protest, with its parade of physical suffering, be accepted as well grounded, then it were better for a Christian people to groan for ages under a Moslem tyrant, enjoying no rights and no justice, with their daughters liable to be taken for the harem of the Pasha, and their sons to be dragged in infancy to a barrack, to be taught a false religion and the military arts by which their own kindred were oppressed—it were, I say, better to endure all this, and to spend whole centuries without calling their souls their own, rather than to strike a blow on the battle-field for their own liberation. In every bad human situation—be it oppression, or slavery, or beggary —there are two sorts of misery, the higher and the lower, the misery of the spirit and the misery of the body. The latter is that for which it is easier to awaken popular sympathy. The former is that which should be insisted upon as the greater and more terrible of the two.
"Out of this dwelling on the mere bodily misery has grown a horror of physical suffering which bids fair to unnerve the human race, and to rob it of much of the energy with which it has faced and subdued evils. This new horror calls itself humanity, which properly means the kindness due from man to man. But it has come to apply this word to the exaggerated tenderness it feels toward the brutes. It has lost all sense of any distinction in the matter, and very rightly, for in the only point in which it has any insight into human wants there is no difference. Being the objects of this new charity only on our animal side, we are, in its purview, on a level with them. Nay! not quite on a level! We are a little below them. This troublesome thing called character, this awkward possession of will and choice, makes us much less interesting and pliable objects of its benevolence. There is something in us which rather repels and embarrasses this that calls itself humanity and yet cannot understand the human. There is truth in the passionate outcry of the English poetess:
'Tis cold dark midnight, yet listen
To the patter of tiny feet !
Who whines in the bleak cold street ?
Shut out in the snow and sleet ?
Safe from the darkness and snow;
Find pity wherever they go-
Who are wandering to and fro.
Have weight for good or for ill ;
His presence, His word, His will ;-
And Dives neglects him still.
Yes, but worse than our neglect, oftentimes, is our help. Being addressed merely to those physical needs which alone we seem capable of understanding, it has too often the effect of injuring the higher nature while it helps the lower. Forgetting that man does not live by bread alone, we treat the poor as consisting of stomachs to be filled and backs to be warmed, without wasting a word or thought of sympathy on their poverty in all those social ties and affections which humanize life. "We help them as we might a hungry dog ; and they, finding this their valuation in the eyes of tlie strong and successful part of society, accept it too often as undeniable truth, and attune their lives to it. Nothing but right relations with the poor, as human beings, will ever put a stop to the great pauperizing forces which seem to threaten the ruin of even American society.
“Parallel with the philanthropic, works the scientific tendency of the age. That grand discovery which the old Greeks made, and which, as the wiser students of history say, led to the dissolution of Greek society,—the discovery that man is merely the cleverest of the animals, possessed of a superior degree of cunning and force, is the one which modern society is now learning anew
at the feet of its Haeckels and its Huxleys. What such fools as • Plato, Kant and Coleridge took for a spiritual nature in man, differ
ing toto cælo from the highest developments of merely animal existence, we are now learning to regard merely as a peculiar inheritance of physical experiences, with no especially ethical character. The old line between right and wrong, supposed to be eternal, because first divine and then human, vanishes into the limbo of forgotten hypotheses, with the discovery that the Universe has nothing higher than animal life in it. We are found to be akin to the beasts through the whole gamut of our existence, and to have been deceiving ourselves with fond fancies, when we supposed that
we had in us something of a higher kind than the dog's shrinking from the blows of his master. We are, indeed, only dogs who have learned to walk on our hind-feet and to put on airs. Our whole attempt to assert for ourselves a loftier position in the scale of being, and to claim kindred with the skies, is discovered to be a piece of fraud and imposture akin to that practiced by pretenders who pass themselves off as scions of some noble house in the old world, with the difference that no such nobility exists anywhere as we have been importing into our genealogy
This is about the outcome of the advanced thought, as it is called, of our quarter of the Nineteenth Century. It has hardly had time to give us full proof of its quality, and of its influence upon the general thought, through which it is percolating. But it is not hard to predict what it will result in. It will present to our view the whole mass of mere physical suffering, as the one evil which calls for reformatory effect in its removal. It will efface all distinctions in that suffering, except those of degree. It will elevate the torture inflicted upon the gorged mosquito by a vindictive slap, as equal in dignity with any which plagues the mosquito's victim, man. It will thus exhibit as the woe of the universe a huge mountain of indiscriminate pain, (most of it beyond all human ef'fort for relief,) while it will close men's eyes to the root evils of moral misery, for which they might else have toiled.
What a revolution this will involve, as regards the whole scheme of philanthropic reform, need hardly be said. The huge mass of sensitive misery in the world will diffuse and scatter the attention now concentrated on human minds, and by the law of finite energy will weaken its power at each single point.
We are not left without examples of the operation of such a theory upon the habits and character of mankind. The greatest of the purely Oriental creeds, Buddhism,—the only pre-Christian attempt at a universal and world-wide religion,-proclaimed the equal dignity and sacredness of all animated existence. It obliterated the line of distinction between man and other forms of sensitive life, with a thoroughness of which Haeckel might be envious. It taught the world that the meanest and most grovelling shape of animate being,—the worm in the dunghill or the carrion--might be the incarnation of some degraded king or saint, who in this form was expiating the demerits of a previous state of existence. In fact, it declared humanity to be no separate existence, but only a loftier and more comfortable stage of being, occupied for the present by persons whose next change might be either into the company of the gods, or into that of the hyænas. It organized mankind, so far as its influence extended, into a great society for the prevention of cruelty to animals. The veils which it hangs on the mouths of its devotees lest some insect should meet its death by inhalement, the fine strainer through which it passes every drop of drinking water, are the expression of a morbid “humanity," which would be the logical outcome of our own humanitarian theories. But equally with its care for all sentient life, grows its inhumanity to the highest and noblest forms of that life. It enacts for human beings the harshest and most miserable of existences. It enjoins the mortification of every living power, the extinction of every human desire, as the only path out of what it regards as the worst of all possible worlds. It finds salvation for man, not in restoration to the love of a Father in heaven, but in Nirvana, -the eradication of all desire, so that when the present stage of life ceases, there will be nothing left in us to stretch forth a hand and lay hold of any existence beyond this. It finds its great exemplar in Sakya Muni Buddha who, to save his selfish and miserable soul fled from the ties of friendship and kindred, to find a home amid the wild beats of the Indian Jungle. Such is the most “ humane" of all creeds, and the one for which our dabblers in the comparative history of religions cannot find words sufficient to express their admiration.
" Let it not be said that these are old and outlandish theories, which can have nothing to do with this age of the world, can exert no effect on its thought. The most popular of all philosophies at this present moment is one closely akin to Buddhism, if not essentially the same. Schopenhauer starts from substantially the same premise. Life, he tells us, is one under all forms of existence. It is but so many manifestations of the “ will to being," which is the root of the universe. Man and beast differ only in that the “will to being ” is in the former accompanied by the intelligence which enables us to appreciate its moral character. And that character is only evil, and that continually. Vices are the fundamental facts of existence. All moral systems must begin with them, as does Buddhism. Western moralists have