A more plausible theory is that the author is an honest thinker, a keen observer and critic of life, who sees that the world is full of miseries and unsolved problems, regards as futile the attempts of his time to demonstrate an ethically active future life, and, recognizing a divine author of all, holds that the only wise course for men is to abandon the attempt to get full satisfaction out of the struggle for pleasure, riches and wisdom, and to content themselves with making the best of what they have.
This motive, which is the one assumed throughout the Old Testament, is effective for the mass of men, and becomes ethically high when the advantage had in view is of an elevated moral character.
The superiority of the Christian faith both philosophically and ethically is set forth, the chief stress being laid on monachism, with which heathen philosophy has nothing to compare.
Before concluding this sketch of the development of English ethical thought from Hobbes to the thinkers of the 19th century, it will be well to notice briefly the views held by different moralists on the question of free-will, - so far, that is, as they have been put forward as ethically important.
It will be seen that these changes, however profoundly important, were, ethically considered, either negative or quite general, ralating to the tone and attitude of mind in which all duty should be done.
The book is absolutely monotheistic, and the character ascribed to the deity is ethically pure with the exception mentioned above.
The ethically dubious world of patent medicines was born.