Writings by George Burgess (1829-1905)
The desire for happiness is the strongest of all desires in the Nature of Universal mankind. Every other human desire is only exercised with the Hope of possessing this Supreme, and most divined condition of happiness.
Its pursuit is man’s noblest Work, and Duty. It is his only Work; for every voluntary act of man, even if it is a mistake, only occurs from a belief that he will be happier by doing the thing than he would be by leaving it undone.
Duty is Servant to Happiness. Happiness creates duty. Active duty cannot exist unless its motive be happiness. If a man acts without his own happiness, or that of his fellow beings, being his aim then his act cannot be a duty. And we thus see that this Universal desire for happiness precedes duty, and that the pursuit of true happiness, and active duty, cannot be separated. Duty ever being the willing servant of the Spirit Force which climbs the hills to the crowning Joys of all life, in all Worlds – Happiness.
As the desire for Happiness has ever been the Ruling Principle in the very Nature of all Mankind it would be fair and true to say that reasonable, or comfortable, happiness is possible.
But although this is possible to all who can live according to its Laws and processes, yet only few beings uniformly enjoy more than this medium share of the happiness of life. And we know of no being at all who was ever lived on this Earth who enjoyed complete and perfect happiness, because no man can live apart from the influences of others.
We therefore see that only a reasonable and comfortable measure of happiness can be uniformly enjoyed, even by those who are of the happiest nature and surrounded by the most favourite conditions. Individual happiness is possible when man lives a natural good and right life in all departments of his being.
His Bodily happiness springs from perfect bodily health, owned and preserved by himself living according to the natural laws, or instincts leading to and assuring health. And exactly, and only, in proportion to the health of man’s organic being will be his proportion of bodily pleasure or happiness.
Man’s Spiritual Happiness arise from the natural healthy and intelligent exercise of his mental, social, affectional, moral and Spiritual nature. These qualities, or Gifts, from a part of his complete and higher being, and their culture lifts him up higher and higher into the divine. And unless the Spiritual or divine nature in man be exercised so as to control his Bodily nature his happiness will be incomplete.
All the inferior Animal existence can enjoy simple bodily happiness. But man has a soaring divine spirit within him which will not rest, nor be happy, with anything below the good, the spiritual, the divine, godliness, and Heaven.
Individuals, Families, Societies, Communities and Nations will only be happy in exact proportions as they live according to the one same changeless Law, that is by individually and collectively living natural, good and right lives in all departments of their individuals, and associated existence. Therefore, every living being, and all the unnumbered millions of beings, of all nations and tongues, are happy exactly and only as they live righteous, and divine lives. Thus, we see the universal and eternal law, which governs happiness. It reaches all beings, and all peoples, and all Worlds. There is no Escape!!!
The present measure of happiness in the world of human beings is considered to be proportionally greater than in the earlier ages. Still, the discoveries of the sources, which increase permanent human happiness, have been made very slowly. And it is not easily proved that a general increase of happiness keeps pace with new discoveries, and civilisations.
It is certain however, that civilisation places before mankind many more, and new sources of happiness, while it also ever brought an equal number of new wants, and therefore many new Cares. Still, Civilisation is the natural out-growth, and true work of all progressive spirits, and if used wisely for the general good then its blessing is sure and is bound to bring a permanent increase of general happiness.
It will be seen that the central Root of Happiness must be within the being himself. All outward things are only helps. And all outer help have first to enter the inner being, and there be acted upon, and used, according to the Laws of Human Nature before they can aid in promoting human happiness. The Spirit-Individuality must be Supreme Ruler of all his aids and helps to Happiness. If he once submits to be ruled by his helpers he will soon sink down, and be unhappy, and lost.
These, and many other divine blessings, and helps, are all necessary for human happiness. But all men and women are first bound to receive their helps, within, and rule them, and wisely use them, and not abuse them, for every abused blessing brings a sure Curse.
All beings therefore, have to be the authors of their own happiness. The man who looks for anybody outside himself to make him happy never will e happy. Others can only help him, but he himself must earn, and bring Happiness and Heaven within his heart.
Of course, great multitudes of struggling Wives and Husbands, and others, are the helpless victims of surroundings, and conditions, which seem to cloud over all the bright and happy seasons of their existence, which their young and divine Fancies had so beautifully painted for themselves. In the fresh spring morning of their life they thought that as they, hand in hand, and heart in heart, journeyed along their smooth and winding way those hopes for sweet and happy seasons would be sure to come and meet them.
BUT OH! They have never come!!
THEY WILL NEVER COME!!!
But there are thousands of others, who are surrounded with all needful comforts, and conditions, and helps to happiness, and yet they are not happy. Their life habit is to dome down, even in the summer sunshine mornings, looking distressed about nothing. They are fretful before they eat, about nothing. They are irritable all the morning, about nothing. Save their own self-made unpleasant nature. And they quite expect to be cross and unhappy, “all the day long”.
Oh! – Why Godless beings of this type are ever seeking after their own unhappiness! And they find it!
But the Finer Types of men and women have no right to be unhappy, and they are not unhappy, even when Life’s Storms are beating down hard upon them, Certainly Not. As the sea gets rough, their Spirits get calm. Then their enemies rage, they grow more brave. When troubles send their heart, they fight the conqueror’s part.
It is easy to be brave, when there is no battle to fight. And it is easy for people to be happy, when there is nothing to make them unhappy. But the true and divine type of men and women who are going to make this world a very happy place to live in for us all. These rejoice in conquering difficulties. They move, but are not moved. They live noble and righteous lives, bodily and spiritually and therefore it is no wonder that the Spirit of their Living God, “worketh within them”, speaking into their ears, and their hearts, Words sweeter than music, saying “Happy shall thou be”, “and it shall be well with thee”.
Now, it must be a clear Truth to all intelligent and studious minds that Happiness is the natural condition of those who can live natural and righteous lives, in all departments of their bodily and spiritual Natures.
Real Happiness will not come, and continue, as a result of Emotions, wishes, hopes or any negative condition. Only an intelligent, positive Faith and earnest work, will secure it. Indolent, and doubting lives are unnatural, and their owners are ever complaining about other people making them unhappy.
But the Godley, and right living men and women with their Nerves and their hearts charged with living Fire helps themselves to happiness, and have enough to spare. Therefore they spread it out, as a feast, so that others may eat the bread of life, and be happy also.
Oh! - But their divine human beings do the very things, and live the very lives, which the living Personal God only has one reward for, and that one blessed reward is in the present World, unspeakable Happiness!! And in the wondrous World to come – unending HAPPINESS!!!
George Burgess, March 1900