The Economy Of Pain -- By: Henry Hayman

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 045:179 (Jul 1888)
Article: The Economy Of Pain
Author: Henry Hayman


The Economy Of Pain

Rev. Henry Hayman

[Continued from page 31]

Proof Of The Corruption Of Mankind

From crowded cities.—As some distinguished modern authorities, to say nothing of earlier ones, impugn the belief in human corruption which enters so deeply into my present subject, it may be worth while to spend a few words upon it. I would, however, refer to the Duke of Argyll’s “Unity of Nature” (chap, 9, “On the Moral Character of Man”), for some most valuable remarks on the subject.1 It is, further, worth while noticing the fact that the ethical influence which human beings exert upon one another is

multiplied through the closeness of their contact in all the relations of life. They come into the closest contact in great cities. Further, where that ethical influence is greatest, the ethical tendency must be most pronounced for good or for evil; just as the denser your galaxy of stars, the more brilliant, the denser your cloud of smoke, the more opaque. Now which of these two best typifies the densely massed population of a great city? Take any thousand from a spot where the density is at a maximum, and, if good predominated in human nature, they must needs be more virtuous than an equal number where they are spread out over, say, ten square miles. But every test which human experience can apply shows the directly opposite result.2 Population at a maxi-

mum of density shows vice at a maximum of intensity. There may be here and there a virtue which closeness of proximity tends to nurture and stimulate; but taking human nature all round, it is the germs of vice in the humanity thus inspissated, which seem to find genial surroundings and for ever to flourish and abound. Crowded cities,3 in short, exhibit human nature in its concentrated essence. Varying in their degree of depravity known and recorded, which is probably only a fraction of that existing as a whole, they universally confirm one another in the verdict, that condensation of humanity means concentration of vice, alike in quantity and in quality. But extreme cases only exhibit more clearly tendencies which are universal. All human beings are constructed ultimately of the same primary moral elements variously mixed. Therefore the tendency which

comes out so strongly in every mass must pre-exist in every unit, and this is what is meant by the moral corruption of man...

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