Menticulture - Anger Is A Kind Of Insanity, And Worry Kills
( Originally Published 1901 )
WESTWOOD WRIGHT CASE, D.D.
It is extremely unfair to review a book without having first read it, or at least with-out having scanned it; yet this is sometimes done. As to the two roots of all the evil passions indicated by the author of Menticulture," I am free to say that I think his classifications defective and inadequate.
That anger and worry are two prolific sources of disease and evil cannot be denied. Anger is a species of insanity, and worry kills more people than work; but, as I am accustomed to look at the matter, sin is in the will, error lies in the judgment, moral purpose in the conscience, and feeling in the blood or temperament. Conscience is net an infallible guide, for the reason that conscience is not given to us to be a guide. Conscience says, " Do right." It is that voice back of all other voices in the human soul that demands righteousness; but conscience does not determine what is righteous. For all light we must go to the judgment or perceptive faculties. No person needs to be told that he ought to do right, for con-science in every human being makes one uniform command, and that demand may be expressed in the words, " Do right."
When conscience and judgment and will are in harmony, then there is peace and happiness in the life. When conscience says " Do right," and judgment says " This thing is right," but the will refuses to do that righteous thing which conscience urges him to do, then there is civil war in the breast of man, and every sort of evil passion may grow and thrive amid the conflicting forces. For convenience we may classify the faculties of the human soul into intellectual powers, moral sentiments, and the domestic or animal propensities. Without a fair development of each of these three departments of human nature, the man is a monstrosity. Wanting in intellect and moral sentiment, he may be the basest of animals.
Without a fair intellect and a good development of the domestic faculties, he may easily be the wildest fanatic. Without the development of the moral sentiments and the domestic propensities, he may be intellectual, but heartless and cold a very devil; for what is Satan but intellect without conscience and love?
There are no propensities in the constitution of man which need be destroyed. Every faculty in human nature has its high office to perform in the purpose of our Maker. It is not the possession of faculties or propensities that causes mischief and misery, but it is the perversion of these faculties. If only the harmonious balance of the faculties be maintained, every propensity and every faculty in the constitution of man will do its part faithfully, producing the most happy and beautiful results, just as every part of the most intricate machinery, when in order, performs its own part, and helps bring out the perfect pattern or result designated.
The great apostle St. Paul was a psychologist of the highest rank, perhaps not naturally, but certainly so under divine inspiration. He gave us the highest and clearest utterances concerning the constitution of the human soul. He says: " I keep my body under; " that is to say, in modern nomenclature, " I keep my animal propensities subordinated to my moral sentiments." When the animal propensities control the human life, not only do we see anger and worry, but we see selfishness, the source of all evil, sitting upon the throne and reigning without a rival; then every propensity, unbalanced and unrestrained, may run riot, and if the temperament be choleric or sanguine, the fiery steed, with loose rein, leaps and plunges into vice and crime of all descriptions.
If I were compelled to express in a single word the source of all evil in the human constitution, that word would be "selfishness," which is equivalent to " depravity," which in its manifestation often appears to be pure " cussedness." As to the remedy for human ills, I know of but one, and that is the transforming power of the grace of God, through the gospel of His Son, by which a spiritual resurrection is produced, which enthrones God in the soul, subjecting everything else in man to His divine and lessed sway. This is the wisdom from above, concerning which the wise man has said: Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."