If we ponder over the reason of our strivings and aims, we shall find that all are working towards one end—happiness. Happiness has been, and is generally considered to be beyond the reach of man. So strong a hold has this idea obtained upon the minds of men that theologians have postulated the existence of a future state where it will be attained, and where all shall reap the reward of their belief as an antidote to the miseries of this world. Persecution has long held men in bondage, but is it not possible to be happy now? and if so, what are the conditions which are conducive to unbroken felicity?
There are two great causes of unhappiness—ignorance, and willful disobedience to law. There are also two great causes of happiness—knowledge, and unquestioning obedience to law. The moral law is supreme, and only by seeking can we discover its operation in our life, and to discover and obey it is to find happiness. Nature makes no allowance for ignorance or willful disobedience; the penalty is sure whatever may be the intellectual development of the individual.
If I were to briefly state how happiness is to be attained, I should simply say, "by living in harmony with law."
It is a strong argument for upright conduct that the deepest bliss inheres in the higher nature, so that to live self-governed and pure is a perpetual enjoyment. Living thus we shall have no need to cry out that our friends desert us in the hour of need, should such come, for all our relations with men will be the outcome of unselfishness, and in considering others before ourselves, we cannot suffer at their hands.
Thus the place to be happy is here, the time to be happy is Now. Why should we look forward to some future state for the adjustment of evils which can be remedied in this? Let us put our house in order for the guest—happiness. We shall not have to send out a long invitation, but shall find her waiting at the door of our heart. We have only to open it and bid her enter.