77. Is the energy of the soul, and the accomplishment of man, promoted by the perfection of the body?
Yes; the more perfect the body is the more perfect is the soul, and the more man is capable of promoting his own happiness, and that of his fellow-creatures.
78. Can the mind know the nature and structure of the body without instruction and labour?
No; the mind must for many years, during the whole period of infancy, study to acquire a thorough knowledge of the use of the body, composed of so many parts.
(Observation. All voluntary actions of the body are caused by about 440 muscles, which the mind puts in motion by means of a still greater number of nerves; the mind, therefore, during infancy, when we are full of life and vigour, and that the body is alert, must endeavour to learn the use of these 440 muscles, so as judiciously to call forth, as occasion may require, the various motions and energies of the body.)
79. Are those motions or actions of any use to the body?
Yes; its perfection is thereby promoted, and the whole body filled with life and vigour.
80. Of what use are those sensations and ideas to the child which its soul conceives through the senses?
They are the foundation of its understanding; for the more the mind has seen, heard, and felt, and the more distinct its sensations are, the more sensible will man become.
81. What particular purpose is answered by children living together?
They learn to know, to understand, and to love each other, and so lay a foundation for unanimity, mutual fondness, and the happiness of their lives.
82. But if children live in society merry and happy together, can that have any influence upon them when they arrive at a state of maturity?
Yes; it contributes very much to make man spend his life, according to his destination, in virtue and happiness.
83. By what means are those wise designs of Nature promoted?
By activity, and gentle, though constant exercise both of the mind and body of children.
84. Is such exercise compatible with the nature of children?
Yes; children are full of vigour and activity, sense and feeling; they are joyful and merry, and desire to associate with other children.
(Observation. From the twelfth to the eighteenth year the supple body should be invigorated by exercise and plays; the intuitive mind, by instruction and reflection, may lay up a store of knowledge, and man, whose infancy was passed in joy and happiness, learn to become virtuous in his youth; and he will become so if he has experienced the vicissitudes of fortune, her smiles and frowns, and shared his joys with others; if he firmly believes that all the descendants of Adam have an equal right to enjoy pleasures, and are equally obnoxious to pain; and that an all-wise good God created every thing good, and mankind, with a view of making them happy.)