IT is a conclusion of science, that the origin of those motions* which conduce to perfection are either from nature or from art; the first, as in the motion of the seminal juices in the parts of the several species, whereby they seek to arrive at the perfection of animal life; the second, as in the motion of timber guided by artificial implements, whereby it arrives at the perfection of the hewn plank.

Now nature is superior to art, for it is derived from the highest of sources, without the interven­tion of human judgment; whereas art proceeds solely from such intervention. Nature then is peda­gogue and preceptor to art; and as the perfection of things secondary lies in their resemblance to originals, the perfection of art must lie in its resem­blance to nature;* which resemblance it may attain by anticipating or postponing means, and arranging them generally in their appropriate course: so that that perfection which, under Providence, is effected by the agency of nature, may be accomplished by art under the guidance of human will; and this with a peculiar virtue belonging only to art. For example, if we subject birds’ eggs to a warmth cor­responding to that of a bird’s bosom, we obtain at once a brood so numerous as could rarely be at once obtained by way of incubation from the bird. From this it follows, that as the culture of morals, which by hypothesis is the object of this science, is a proceeding of art, we should invariably imitate nature in the conduct of it, so as to give precedence in culture to that which takes precedence in pro­duction.*

Now when we consider the succession of the powers, it is clear that the first engendered in the infant is the power of seeking for sustenance: for in a single hour from its birth it manifests an incli­nation to suck;* which it can only derive by instinct from the Almighty: according to the text, He gave every thing its nature, and instruction more­over to the minutest of beings. In course of this appetite, as his strength increases, crying* and the like becomes associated with its relief. Whereto, in the first instance, being engrossed by the generic feeling, he is unable to distinguish between things so similar as the person of his mother and of other people: afterwards, as the senses external and internal gather strength, and the mind becomes equal to retaining the image of the thing perceived, the shapes of objects reaching him by the channel of sense (and with them the severalty of his mother and other people) are sufficiently apprehended.

Next after the perfection of this power (in one stage of its perfection) the vindictive power makes its appearance, by which he is to repel whatever is injurious to him, and resist whatever molests or opposes him in his appetency after the objects of want and desire; or, if himself unequal to repelling them, he is to seek support and assistance by appealing and referring to others.

After the perfection of this power (in one stage of perfection) the reasonable mind, which is the power of discerning, developes itself; and the first mark of its development is the power of shame,* which is inferring a difference between good and bad — between decorous and disgraceful. This how­ever is a faculty that advances but gradually on the confines of perfection; for it is not till the appetent and vindictive powers have by these means brought the individual to his due perfection, that they exer­cise their functions for the preservation of the species. For example, when the original power productive of nourishment and growth has brought the individual near to the requisite perfection, he becomes possessed of another, by means of which he is to perpetuate his species; then it is that the seminal matter is engendered, with the lust for connexion and longing for children consequent upon it. The second power, again, when it has been set at rest, and raised above the safeguard of the indi­vidual, proceeds to avert from his family the authority of laws, judicatures, and fraternities; whereby the greatest of benefits result to the species. As to the third power, it is not till he is used to the con­templation of particulars that he begins to com­prehend universals,* or to figure things in their genera and species. Now it is not till it so generalizes, that the name of intellect can be properly applied to it, or that there is any approach to developement in the distinguishing perfections of the human race: then it is, in fact, that humaniza­tion may be said to commence; and to apply the name human to him in his previous state, were like calling datelings and grapelings, dates and grapes.* Perfection in this sense, depending on the regulation of the passionate nature, will properly commence with such artificial regulation; increasing as it approaches the true perfection, which is the highest of all degrees accessible to man, and has already (in the Introduction) been shown to be a designa­tion for the vice-regence of God upon earth.

By this rule then is the aspirant after perfection to regulate his rise. First, from culture of the appetent power, let him acquire the attribute of temperance; next, from culture of the vindictive power, courage; and lastly, after perfecting himself in these, from culture of the judgment, let him crown the whole with wisdom.* If then in the outset of his progress he chances to be trained to the course of wisdom, great is the advantage and momentous the gift; in gratitude for which his best exertions to preserve these qualities would be but a due return. But if he has been brought up contrariwise, he is not to despond, but persevere in his endeavour to apprehend and overtake it. Let him reflect, that except such as are aided by God, and whom the Almighty, by perfecting in conformation and elevating in intellect, according to the text, He found thee going astray, and gave thee guidance,* has exempted from the labours of attainment and the pursuits of ordinary life, no one is formed to excellence, or independent of labour in its acquirement;* although, doubtless, as they differ in capacity, men proportionally differ in the ease or difficulty with which it may be obtained.

In the same way then as persons desirous to attain the art of composition or carpentering must apply themselves to practice, in order to become composers or carpenters, must he who aspires after virtue betake himself, if he would obtain it, to such practices as are means of originating that attribute.* Now the art in question bears an exact resemblance to medicine: inasmuch as it is the object of the physician to maintain the equipoise of tempera­ment, as long as it will last, and to restore it when subverted; and the object of the metaphysician is to maintain the equipoise of disposition, as long as it will endure, and to regain it afterwards. Indeed, the science is strictly that of mental therapeutics, as has already been declared.* Hence Galen entitles his letter to Eesa (blessed be he!) “From the physician of bodies to the physician of souls.”* Like then as medicine has two departments, the maintenance of health and the expulsion of disease, this art has also its two divisions, one applying to the maintenance of virtue, and the other purporting to extinguish vice and recover virtue. In the outset then the student’s view is to be directed summarily to the fundamental condition of the powers in their pre-explained succession;* and if the condition of each of them agrees with the rule of equipoise, his only endeavour will be to maintain it. But if per­version has taken place, his business is to bring it back to the equipoise, and that pursuantly to their order in production. Then when the culture of the powers has been duly effected, he is to bestow his utmost attention to maintaining the principles of equity; making it in fact the menstruum of all his practices and fortunes, till he arrives at the limit of true perfection.