Having set forth the object for which the Creator formed mind, we are
thus furnished with the means for deciding as to the _right mode of its
action_ in obtaining this object. We may discover the design of a most
curious machine, and perceive that, if it is _rightly regulated_, it
will secure that end; while, if it is worked wrong, it will break itself
to pieces, and destroy the very object which it was formed to secure.

The same may be seen to be as true of mind as it is of material
organization, and the question then is most pertinent, What is that mode
of mental action which will most perfectly secure the end for which mind
is made?

We have seen that the self-determining power of choice is the
distinctive attribute of mind, and that all the other powers are
dependent on this, and regulated by it. We have seen that the current of
the thoughts, and the nature and power of the desires and emotions, are
also controlled by the generic ruling purpose, or chief interest of the

This being so, then the only way in which mind can act to secure the
object for which it is made is _to choose that object for chief end or
ruling purpose, and actually carry out this choice in all subordinate

We will now present the evidence gained from experience, as well as what
we should infer from the known laws of mind, to show what the result
would be in _a system of minds_ where each mind should thus act.

Let us suppose, then, a commonwealth in which every mind is regulated by
a ruling purpose to _act right_, which actually controls every specific
volition. Each mind then would obey all those laws which will secure to
the whole community and to each individual the greatest possible amount
of happiness with the least possible evil.

To do this of necessity involves the idea that each mind must _know what
are all the laws of the system_; for no one can choose to obey laws
until laws are known.

Let the result on a single mind be first contemplated. In the first
place, all the trains of thought would be regulated by the _chief
desire_, which would be to make the most possible happiness with the
least possible evil. Of course, all those ideas that were most consonant
with this ruling passion would become vivid and distinct; and as these
ideas also would be connected with the _strongest emotions_, the two
chief causes that regulate association would combine to secure constant
thought and intellectual activity to promote the common welfare as the
chief object, while self would have only its true and proper estimation
and attention. There would be no need of effort to regulate thought and
emotion, for they would all flow naturally to the grand and right

Next suppose a commonwealth in which every mind had its intellect,
desires, and emotions, and all its specific volitions thus regulated by
the grand aim of making the most possible happiness, guarded, too, by
unerring judgment, so as to make no miscalculation; what would be the
state of things, so far as we can ascertain by past experience and by
reasoning from the known nature of things?

First, then, in reference to the susceptibilities of sensation. If all
should never touch any food but that which would expose to no danger or
excess; if they never encountered any needless hazard; if they exactly
balanced all the probabilities of good and evil, in every matter
relating to the pleasures of sense, and invariably chose that which
exposed to the _least_ danger; if every being around was anxiously
watchful in affording the results of observation, and in protecting
others from risk and exposure, it is probable that the amount of
sensitive enjoyment would be a thousand fold increased, while most of
the evils caused by improper food and drink, by needless exposure, by
negligence of danger, and by many other causes which now operate, would
cease. With the present constitution of body, which tends to decay, we
could not positively maintain that no suffering would be experienced,
but it is probable that the amount would be as a drop to the ocean
compared with what is now experienced.

Under such a constitution of things, we can perceive, also, that there
would be no suffering from the painful emotions; for where each was
striving to attain the _greatest_ amount of good to all, there could be
no competition, no jealousy, no envy, no pride, no ambition, no anger,
no hatred; for there would be no occasion for any of these discordant
emotions. Nor could remorse harass, or shame overwhelm; for no
wickedness would be perpetrated, and no occasion of reproach occur. Nor
could fear intrude, where every mind was conscious that its own
happiness was the constant care of every one around. Nor could painful
sympathy exist, where so little pain was known. Nor could the weariness
of inactivity be felt, where all were engaged in acting for one noble
and common object, in which every faculty could be employed. Nor could
the mind suffer the pangs of ungratified desire, while the gratification
of its chief desire was the aim and object of all. So that, if all minds
should act unitedly and habitually on this principle, there would be no
exposure, except to sensitive pain, and this danger would be exceedingly

In the mean time, every source of happiness would be full and
overflowing. All sensitive enjoyments that would not cause suffering,
nor interfere with the happiness of others, would be gained; admiration
and affection would be given and reciprocated; the powers of body and
mind would be actively employed in giving and acquiring happiness; the
pleasure resulting from the exercise of physical and moral power would
be enjoyed, and employed to promote the enjoyment of others; the peace
of conscious rectitude would dwell in every bosom; the consciousness of
being the cause of happiness to others would send joy to the heart,
while sympathy in the general happiness would pour in its unmeasured
tide. But this happiness could not be perfect except in a commonwealth
where _every_ individual was perfectly conformed to the laws of
rectitude. A single mind that violated a single law would send a jar
through the whole sphere of benevolent and sympathizing beings.

The next question is, How can mind be most successfully influenced to
right action? To answer this we must refer again to _experience_, and
inquire as to the methods which have been found most successful in
influencing the mind to right action.

The first thing which experience teaches is, that it is indispensable to
right mental action that there should be _a knowledge and belief of the
truth_. We must have _true conceptions_ of reality of things, and of the
right mode of promoting the greatest possible happiness, before we have
power to pursue this course.

But each mind, as it comes into existence, is a perfect blank in regard
to knowledge or experience of any kind. The only way to gain knowledge
is by experience and instruction. The knowledge secured by experience as
to the laws of a system so vast and complicated comes very slowly and
imperfectly. The chief reliance in the beginning of existence is on the
instructions of other minds. _Infallible teachers, and perfect faith or
belief in such teachers_, then, is the grand necessity of mind as it
begins existence.

The next thing which experience shows to be effective in securing the
right action of mind is the _formation of right habits_. For this, also,
the new-made being is entirely dependent on those to whom is given its
early training. It comes into life without any knowledge and without any
habits, a creature of mere impulses and instincts. Its very first want
is not only infallible teachers, but patient educators, who shall, by
constant care and effort, form its physical, intellectual, social, and
moral habits.

The next indispensable requisite to the right action of mind is the
existence of _a ruling generic purpose_ to obey all the laws of

It has already been shown how all the powers of the mind are regulated
and controlled by the leading purpose, and that it is impossible to
bring all the desires, emotions, and subordinate volitions into right
action except by the power of such a principle.

But experience has proved that such a generic purpose will not either be
originated or sustained except by the social influences of surrounding
minds through the principles of _love_, _gratitude_, _sympathy_, and

The power of these principles may be illustrated by supposing the case
of a mature mind already embarrassed with habits of self-indulgence and
selfishness. Let such a person be placed in the most endeared and
intimate communion with a being possessed of every possible attraction
which is delightful to the human mind. Let him feel that he is the
object of the most tender and devoted affection to such an exalted
friend, and, spite of his own faults and deficiencies, realize that his
own affection is desired and his communion sought. Let him, in all his
daily pursuits, be attended by the desired presence of the one in whom
his hopes centre and his affections repose; one in whom he sees every
possible exhibition of disinterestedness, tenderness, and love, not only
toward himself, but all other beings who come within the circle of such
benevolence. Let him discover that the practice of all that is excellent
and benevolent by himself is the object of unceasing desire to this
devoted friend. Let him discover that, to save him from the consequences
of some guilty act of selfishness, this friend had submitted to the most
painful sacrifices, and only asked as a return those efforts which were
necessary to overcome such pernicious habits. Let him feel that this
friend, though pained by his deficiencies, could forbear and forgive,
and continue his love in spite of them all. Let him know that his
attainment of perfect virtue was the object of intense desire, and was
watched with the most exulting joy by so good and so perfect a being,
and is it possible to conceive a stronger pressure of motive which could
be brought to act on a selfish mind? Would not every human being
exclaim, “Give me such a friend, and I should be selfish no more. His
presence and his love would be my strength in foiling every wrong desire
and in conquering every baneful habit.”

This illustration enables us to realize more clearly the power of love
and gratitude toward another mind, and the reflex influence of love of
sympathy and of example. Could the young mind be placed under the
training of such minds, and in circumstances where all the rules of
right and wrong were perfectly understood, it can be seen that _the
habits_ would early be formed aright, and that the difficulties against
which the mature mind has to struggle would be escaped.

Could we suppose a community of such elevated mature educators, with
young minds of various degrees of advancement under their training, it
can be seen that the social influences of all would produce a moral
atmosphere that would add great power to the individual influences. What
every body loves, honors, and admires, secures a moral force over young
minds almost invincible, even when it sustains false and wicked customs.
How much greater this power when it co-operates with the intellect, the
moral sense, and the will in leading to right action!

The result of all this is to show, as the result of reason and
experience, that it is indispensable to the perfectly right action of
mind to secure _infallible and perfect educators_.

Meantime, the degree in which any individual mind, or any community, has
or will approach to such perfection, depends entirely on the extent to
which such a character can be secured in those who are to train young
minds. The history of individual families and of large communities shows
that their advance, both in intellectual and moral development, has
exactly corresponded with the character of those who educated the young.