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Natural and Spiritual Instincts.

Natural and Spiritual Instincts.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE

BY FRANCIS PIGOU, M.A., F.R.G.S..


ST. MATTHEW v. 6.

" Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst
after righteousness : for they shall be filled ."

BY FRANCIS PIGOU, M.A., F.R.G.S..


ST. MATTHEW v. 6.

" Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst
after righteousness : for they shall be filled ."

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 26, 2014
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07/26/2014

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ATURAL AD SPIRITUAL ISTICTS. BY FRACIS PIGOU, M.A., F.R.G.S.. ST. MATTHEW v. 6. " Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall be filled ." HUGER and Thirst. The two strongest, most powerful Instincts, which belong 1 to, and are inseparably connected with our present physical constitution. " Two mighty impulses, bene ficent and terrible, sources in the system of exquisite pleasure and of exquisite pain, motives to strenuous endeavours, servants to our highest aims J ; " it is thus that in a recent work on physiology, these two instincts are described. In some degree, to some extent, we are all of us familiar with these sensations. o one of 1 Lewes, " Physiology of Common Life." 224 ATURAL AD us, perhaps, save under very exceptional circum stances, has any idea of that Hunger which borders on and precedes starvation, or of Thirst, when it is nothing less than the most exquisite torture. Our experience of these sensations is in their more agreeable form as the gentle stimulus of appetite ; but between this and that Hunger, which, prolonged beyond endurance, becomes a devouring flame; subjugating the humanity in man ; impelling men to devour one another greedily; fatal to life; between the
 
mere desire and that intense Thirst which we are told effectually tames the most fierce and refractory of the brute creation, of which the histories of shipwrecks paint such fearful pic tures, the agonies of which were felt in their most appalling form in the celebrated impri sonment in the Black Hole at Calcutta; of Thirst, such as this, w^e are happily ignorant, and between it and desire there are infinite gradations. We shall, however, enter more fully into the meaning and force of this passage of the Sermon on the Mount, which we have heard read this morning, if we bear in mind the important part Hunger and Thirst play in the animal economy, and if we consider how necessary these two SPIRITUAL ISTICTS. 225 instincts are, not only to our own personal well- being, but even to the world at large. For it is not too much to say that Hunger is the very fire of life, underlying all impulses to labour, exciting the human race to all nobler activities by its most imperious demands. Look where we may, it is the motive power which sets the vast array of human machinery in action. Waste and repair are the alternating, fluctuating conditions of the human organism. Life is sus tained or exhausted in proportion as one or other of these conditions predominates. Physiologists assert from accurate observation that we are momentarily yielding up particles of our bodies to destruction ; that we cannot wink the eye, nor raise the hand, without the loss of some particle of matter ; that every thought, which with light ning speed traverses the convolutions of the brain,
 
is at the cost of its tissue. It is calculated that the human body loses daily by waste one twenty- fourth of its own weight. This daily flux :m<l waste must be supplied with equal regularity and constancy, else we should quickly die. The Creator has endowed us with these two Instincts which prompt and impel us to satisfy the cravings of our nature. The felt want must be supplied, and He furnishes us with Instincts 226 ATURAL AD which incite us to the necessary effort to supply the want. Food, then, is to our bodies what fuel is to the furnace. Humbling as the thought and fact may be, yet so it is, that it is this neces sity of food which impels men to all that labour, physical or mental, which is at all times irk some. It is Hunger that forces us to replenish the empty furnace and set in motion the fervid wheels of life. It is almost a self-evident truth that were food abundant, easily procured, always near at hand, civilization \vould be, if not im possible, yet greatly hindered and retarded. In the islands of the Asiatic Archipelago, where the sago grows wild, where the plantation yields upwards of one hundred times as much food as wheat in the same area; where the islander needs but to hew down the tree which at once supplies his daily meal, little or no advance is made from year to year in moral or intel lectual qualities, in any of the refinements of existence. We know that all wheat-producing countries are the most advanced in civilization, because more labour is required in the produc tion of wheat. The Hindoo, subsisting chiefly on rice, will not bear favourable comparison with the European in moral or intellectual

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