IT is a maxim of bodily medicine, that the mainte­nance of health may be effected by persevering in its auxiliary, and the removal of disease by resorting to its contrary; and the same principle is equally fundamental to therapeutics of the mind. Now the virtues, as we have seen, being four, and the vices eight, the latter are not to be termed contraries to the former in that phraseology whereby we say two things are opposite when they are in the extreme of separation from each other:* though in popular phraseology the term contrary may be applied to them.

The first requisite in pathology is to be acquainted with the genera of diseases; secondarily, with their causes and symptoms; and lastly, with their mode of remedy. Now the human powers being of three sorts, the power of reason, the power of anger, and the power of desire, and the evils to which they are severally liable arising either from original con­struction, or from failure of function, and proceed­ing either upon redundance beyond the limit of equipoise or paucity within it, it follows that the diseases of every power will be of three sorts: excess, deficiency, and perversion of state.

Excess in the power of reason may be either in the observative or the active division. In the first, such as application beyond measure; bigotry in dis­tinguishing; contentiousness, and groundless delay through hesitation; all which certain simpletons and self-styled philosophers, guiltless of the sweets of knowledge, term investigation; and by such means miss their hold of certainty. In the second, if applying to particulars, it is sleight; if to univer­sals, artfulness. Deficiency in the observative power is dulness and stupidity; in the active, clumsiness;* and, generally, all stopping short of the proper limit of attention, whether in science or practice. Per­version of the power — such as eagerness for knowledge not conducive to real perfection, as the art of wrangling, dialectics, and sophistry beyond what may be auxiliary to the attainment of certainty, or such as vaticination for money, juggling, &c.; where the end is not the attainment of realities.*

Excess in the power of anger — as violence of resentment, glutting of revenge, and the outblaze of passion beyond the mark of equipoise: Deficiency in it — as wittoldom, faint-heartedness: Perversion of power — as getting angry with a wrong object, things inanimate, brutes, children, or any one under our control, or with any thing other than what occasioned the angry feeling.

Excess in the acquisitive power — as greediness in eating and drinking; intemperate lust for connexion beyond the degree sanctioned by the understanding: Deficiency in it — forbearing to eat and drink in the requisite measure; neglecting to continue the race; which is also termed dulness of desire:* Perversion of state — as wanting to eat clay, or coal; pæd­erasty;* and generally, the exertion of desire in any form which goes beyond the rule of intellectual sanction.

These are the genera of diseases simple: the species belonging to them are numerous, and the diseases arising from their intermixture innumerable. Of these some may be termed deadly; as they lead to many chronic complaints, (such as per­plexity and ignorance; prevalence of anger and faint-heartedness; despondence, envy, unreasonable hope, love, levity, &c.;) which diseases being most universal of any in operation, their cure is of all the most desirable; and each, if it please God, will be detailed in its proper place.

But since between mind and body the bond is close and the connexion stringent, so that every quality engendered in either is introduced into the other, we ought to examine whether these corrupt dispositions do not originate in corporeal disease, (such as wrong temperament or wrong constitution;*) and if so, we must resort to the bodily physician for their removal: but if they originate in a prone­ness* to improper actions, it is the mental physician who must cure them. Like, then, as bodily cure consists either in diet or the use of medicine, and in extreme cases it is necessary to resort to poison* and chirurgic operation, such as cautery and ampu­tation, mental cure may also be said to proceed on a similar course. Culture of morals and removal of vice is to be prosecuted, in the first instance, by prayer and the practice of good deeds; which answers to diet in bodily treatment: secondly, by rebuke and reprehension of mind, in thought, word, and deed; which answers to medicine: thirdly, by encouraging provocatives to the opposite vice;* which resembles cure by poison: fourthly, by penance, restraint, harsh usage, and dint of wearisome discipline, to weaken the offending power, and reduce it to obedience; which responds to ampu­tation.*

This is the method of cure in its general aspect. In its particular aspect, a detail will be given of the cure of the principal diseases incident to each of the three powers; and for the others it may be inferred from these.

Diseases of the discerning power are many; but danger is only to be apprehended in three — per­plexity, ignorance simple, and ignorance compound: the first belonging to the class of excess, the second to the class of deficiency, and the third to the class of perverted state.

For the cure of perplexity, as it arises from the conflict of evidence on obscure subjects, so that the judgment is unable to determine upon either side, we are in the first place to call to mind this self-evident proposition, that there is no reconciling or removing of contraries; so that we may take it for granted universally, be the proposition what it may, that one of the two sides is in its own nature necessarily true, and the other false. Next let us investigate the premises applicable to the question, with reference to the rules of logic and the precision of scrutiny, till the true becomes dis­tinguishable from the false, and we determine upon one side or other.*

Cure of simple ignorance, which is want of knowledge without supposing ourselves possessed of it. In the outset this is not culpable; nay, is a con­dition of acquiring knowledge; for if we know, or if we suppose we know, it is impossible we should learn. But to remain in this situation is culpable, and condemned alike by the followers of faith and philosophy. Its cure is this: Let the patient reflect on the state of men and of other animals, till he is convinced that man’s superiority to them lies in his knowledge and discernment; and that the really ignorant man, who is graced by no such symbol, belongs to the class of irrational brutes; nay, is viler even than they. And so when he finds himself present in the assemblies of the learned and the eminent,* where attainment is tested like the speed of coursers in the race-ground, while they are displaying their pretensions to rank among those who wear the order of precedence, he must remain altogether deprived and denuded of the properties of speech. For many are the brutes, who, attempting an imitation of language, are unable to accomplish it: and here it would seem that those words which he utters in interlocution with others like him, are more analogous to the cries of animals than the speech of men. For did they belong to the class of human language, they must possess a currency among those who are the chiefest connoisseurs in the gems of the spirit. To apply the name man to such a person, were like calling grass wheat, or grapelings grapes.* If we reflect, that whereas animals, being urged by nature so to employ their powers and organs of body as to arrive at the limit of their specific perfection, do never deviate from the right way which that limit may be said to determine,* while a fool, on the contrary, in his recklessness of the distinctions between virtue and vice, employing his powers otherwise than nature dictates, is constantly deviating and departing from the course requisite to his mastery of that perfection which is proper to his kind; — on these grounds, I say, we shall perceive, that a fool is viler than a brute.* And if by the same rule we examine the character of inanimate substances, it will appear that he is even lower than this class; in that, by ill selection, he has degraded the human nature from that highest of the high, most excellent in conformation, to that lowest of the low, they are as brutes, nay, worse than brutes. Aristotle says, if a blind man and one with sight fall both into a pit, their sufferings are the same; but the blind man is excused and defended, because he lacks means of precaution, while he that sees is condemned and reproached with reason as guilty of a fault. There is a saying —

“In all the faults of men, there’s none so great
As the least lapse in him who might be perfect.”

Revelation, as well as reason, declares that no virtue is entire without knowledge. Hence the Prophet’s prayer, Further me, O Lord, in knowledge. And when asked by one of his wives by what men were distinguished among each other, he replied, “by understanding.” Again, he said to Aly the accepted, “Various are the virtues, O Aly, by which men are brought near to their Creator; but thou by thy intellect art created near; and standest before them by many degrees of approach.” It is one of his dicta — “Men are either learned or learning; the rest are blockheads.”* When asked by one of his companions, which was the best of practices, he answered, “knowledge.” The ques­tion was thrice repeated, and thrice the same answer returned. The inquirer observed, that his question concerned practice, and not knowledge. “Better a little practice with knowledge,” said the Prophet, “than ever so much practice without it.”

Cure of compound ignorance. Of this the essence is opinion not agreeable to fact; and it necessarily involves another opinion, namely, that we are already possessed of knowledge. So that besides not know­ing, we know not that we know not; and hence its designation of compound ignorance. In like man­ner, as of many chronic complaints and established maladies, no cure can be effected by physicians of the body; of this, no cure can be effected by physicians of the mind: for with a presupposal of knowledge in our own regard, the pursuit and acquirement of further knowledge is not to be looked for. It was accordingly declared by the holy Eesa, (peace be with him!) “the blind and the leprous I can cure, but I cannot cure the foolish.”* The approximate cure, and one from which in the main much benefit may be anticipated, is to engage the patient in the study of measures (geometry, computation, &c.); for in such pursuits the true and the false are separated by the clearest interval, and no room is left for the intrusions of fancy. From these the mind may discover the delight of certainty; and when, on returning to its own opinions, it finds in them no such sort of repose and gratification, it may discover their erroneous character, its ignorance may become simple, and a capacity for acquiring the virtues be obtained.*

Diseases of the resisting power are beyond the bounds of enumeration, but the worst are these three sorts — anger, faint-heartedness, fear: the first on the side of excess, the second on the side of deficiency, and the third analogous to perversion of state.