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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 20


page 21


For an individual to obtain the greatest amount of happiness here upon earth the means of temperately satisfying all his physical, moral and spiritual desires must be provided by society, and placed within easy reach, and he must be trained not to run into excess and thus abuse God's good gifts, and sin against himself and suffer for his folly, or sin against his fellow beings by continuing to consume without rendering a just equivalent to society, and thus be the cause of suffering in others. The bountiful hand of omnipotence has made the earth to teem with all that is necessary to man's health and enjoyment if he will put forth his skill and energy to obtain it. The temperate use of this skill and energy tends to the greatest personal good in promoting the health and developing the mind, its intemperate use to which some are driven by the absurd usages of society, robs man's soul of its highest glories, and makes him a mere chattel. The disuse of skill and energy incidental to a luxurious life makes man a poor, helpless and dependent soulless thing. Temperance is the rational mean between repletion and want.

All our social, moral and physical evils result from a want of temperance, being either the result of repletion or want, there is therefore no such thing as absolute evil to be found anywhere in the gifts of God. In its nature evil is contingent, being either the abuse, or entire disuse of what is really good. Therefore, evil not being a natural pro duct but an abarretion of nature—when all have become natural, and rational, evil will cease, and, furthermore, we may justly infer that evil is not necessary to the production of good, nor is temptation necessary to prove virtue.

For virtue is a rational, temperate and faithful obedience to the laws of our nature, its opposite vice a disregard of, or acting contrary to those laws.