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agitation of the mind, as a literary controversy, a | The pleasure of success is exquisite; so also is law-suit, a contested election, and, above all, gam- the anxiety of the pursuit, and the pain of disaping; the passion for which, in men of fortune and pointment;—and what is the worst part of the liberal minds, is only to be accounted for on this account, the pleasure is short-lived.
We soon principle.
cease to look back upon those whom we have left Thirdly: Neither does happiness consist in behind; new contests are engaged in; new pros. greatness, rank, or elevated station.
pects unfold themselves; a succession of struggles Were it true that all superiority afforded plea- is kept up, whilst there is a rival left within the sure, it would follow, that by how much we were compass of our views and profession; and when the greater, that is, the more persons we were there is none, the pleasure with the pursuit is at superior to, in the same proportion, so far as de- an end. pended upon this cause, we should be the happier; II. We have seen what happiness does not but so it is, that no superiority yields any satisfac- consist in. We are next to consider in what it tion, save that which we possess or obtain over does consist. those with whom we immediately compare our In the conduct of life, the great matter is, to selves. The shepherd perceives no pleasure in know beforehand, what will please us, and what his superiority over his dog; the farmer
, in his pleasure will hold out. So far as we know this, superiority over the shepherd; the lord, in his our choice will be justified by the event. And superiority over the farmer; nor the king, lastly, this knowledge is more scarce and difficult than in his superiority over the lord. Superiority, at first sight it may seem to be: for sometimes, where there is no competition, is seldom contem- pleasures, which are wonderfully alluring and plated; what most men are quite unconscious of. Hattering in the prospect, turn out in the possession
But if the same shepherd can run, fight, or extremely insipid; or do not hold out as we exwrestle better than the peasants of his village'; if pected: at other times, pleasures start up which the farmer can show better cattle, if he keep a never entered into our calculation; and which we better horse, or be supposed to have a longer purse, might have missed of by not foreseeing :-whence than any farmer in the hundred; if the lord have we have reason to believe, that we actually do miss more interest in an election, greater favour at of many pleasures from the same cause." I say, to court, a better house, or a larger estate than any know " beforehand;" for, after the experiment is nobleman in the country; if the king possess a tried, it is commonly impracticable to retreat or more extensive territory, a more powerful fleet or change; beside that shifting and changing is apt army, a more splendid establishment, more loyal to generate a habit of restlessness, which is desubjects, or more weight and authority in adjust-structive of the happiness of every condition. ing the affairs of nations, than any prince in By the reason of the original diversity of taste, Europe; in all these cases, the parties feel an capacity, and constitution, observable in the human actual satisfaction in their superiority.
species, and the still greater variety, which habit Now the conclusion that follows from hence is and fashion have introduced in these particulars, this; that the pleasures of ambition, which are it is impossible to propose any plan of happiness, supposed to be peculiar to high stations, are in which will succeed to all, or any method of life reality common to all conditions. The farrier which is universally eligible or practicable. who shoes a horse better, and who is in greater All that can be said is, that there remains a request for his skill, than any man within ten presumption in favour of those conditions of life, miles of him, possesses, for all that I can see, the in which men generally appear most cheerful and delight of distinction and of excelling, as truly and contented. For though the apparent happiness substantially as the statesman, the soldier, and the of mankind be not always a true measure of their scholar, who have filled Europe with the reputa- real happiness, it is the best measure we have. tion of their wisdom, their valour, or their know Taking this for my guide, I am inclined to be ledge.
lieve that happiness consists, No superiority appears to be of any account, but I. In the exercise of the social affections. superiority over a rival. This, it is manifest, may Those persons commonly possess good spirits, exist wherever rivalships do; and rivalships fall who have about them many objects of affection out amongst men of all ranks and degrees. The and endearment, as wife,children, kindred, friends. object of emulation, the dignity or magnitude of And to the want of these may be imputed the this object, makes no difference; as it is not what peevishness of monks, and of such as lead a moeither possesses that constitutes the pleasure, but nastic life. what one possesses more than the other.
Of the same nature with the indulgence of our Philosophy smiles at the contempt with which domestic affections, and equally refreshing to the the rich and great speak of the petty strifes and spirits, is the pleasure which results from acts of competitions of the poor; not reflecting that these bounty and beneficence, exercised either in giving strifes and competitions are just as reasonable as money, or imparting to those who want it, the their own, and the pleasure, which success affords, assistance of our skill and profession. the same.
Another main article of human happiness is, Our position is, that happiness does not consist II. The exercise of our faculties, either of body in greatness. And this position we make out by or mind, in the pursuit of some engaging end. showing, that even what are supposed to be pecu It seems to be true, that no plenitude of present liar advantages of greatness, the pleasures of am- gratifications can make the possessor happy for a bition and superiority, are in reality common to continuance, unless he have something in reserve, all conditions. But whether the pursuits of am -something to hope for, and look forward to. bition be ever wise, whether they contribute more This I conclude to be the case, from comparing to the happiness or misery of the pursuers, is a the alacrity and spirits of men who are engaged different question; and a question concerning in any pursuit which interests them, with the cewhich we may be allowed to entertain great doubt. Ijection and ennui of almost all, who are either
born to so much that they want nothing more, or or business before us, we are commonly happy, who have used up their satisfactions too soon, and whatever the object or business be; when the drained the sources of them.
mind is absent, and the thoughts are wandering It is this intolerable vacuity of mind, which to something else than what is passing in the carries the rich and great to the horse-course and place in which we are, we are often miserable. the gaming-table; and often engages them in III. Happiness depends upon the prudent concontests and pursuits, of which the success bears stitution of the habits. Do proportion to the solicitude and expense with The art in which the secret of human happiness stich it is sought. An election for a disputed in a great measure consists, is to set the habits in borough shall cost the parties twenty or thirty such a manner, that every change may be a change thousand pounds each, -o say nothing of the for the better.' The habits themselves are much aniity, humiliation, and fatigue, of the canvass; the same; for, whatever is made habitual, becomes ben, a seat in the house of commons, of exactly smooth, and easy, and nearly indifferent. The the same value, may be had for a tenth part of the return to an old habit is likewise easy, whatever mney, and with no trouble. I do not mention the habit be. Therefore the advantage is with this, to blame the rich and great (perhaps they those habits which allow of an indulgence in the cannot do better,) but in confirmation of what I deviation from them. The luxurious receive no bare advanced.
greater pleasures from their dainties, than the Hope, which thus appears to be of so much peasant does from his bread and cheese: but the importance to our happiness, is of two kinds;- peasant, whenever he goes abroad, finds a feast; where there is something to be done towards at- whereas the epicure must be well entertained, to taining the object of our hope, and where there is escape disgust. Those who spend every day at nothing to be done. The first alone is of any cards, and those who go every day to plough, value; the latter being apt to corrupt into impa- pass their time much alike: intent upon what tience, having no power but to sit still and wait, they are about, wanting nothing, regretting which soon grows tiresome.
nothing, they are both for the time in a state of The doctrine delivered under this head, may be ease: but then, whatever suspends the occupation reailily admitted; but how to provide ourselves of the card-player, distresses him; whereas to the with a succession of pleasurable engagements, is labourer, every interruption is a refreshment: and the difficulty. This requires two things : judg- this appears in the different effects that Sunday ment in the choice of ends adapted to our op- produces upon the two, which proves a day of portunities; and a command of imagination, so as recreation to the one, but a lamentable burthen to to be able, when the judgment has made choice of the other. The man who has learned to live an end, to transfer a pleasure to the means : alone, feels his spirits enlivened whenever he enafter which, the end may be forgotten as soon as ters into company, and takes his leave without we will
regret; another, who has long been accustomed Hence those pleasures are most valuable, not to a crowd, or continual successsion of company, which are most exquisite in the fruition, but which experiences in company no elevation of spirits, are most productive of engagement and activity in nor any greater satisfaction, than what the man the pursuit.
of a retired life finds in his chimney-corner. So A man who is in earnest in his endeavours far their conditions are equal; but let a change of after the happiness of a future state, has, in this place, fortune, or situation, separate the companion respect, an advantage over all the world: for, he from his circle, his visitors, his club, common-room, has constantly before his eyes an object of supreme or coffee-house; and the difference and advantage importance, productive of perpetual engagement in the choice and constitution of the two habits and activity, and of which the pursuit (which can will show itself. Solitude comes to the one, clothbe said of no pursuit besides) lasts him to his life's ed with melancholy; to the other, it brings liberty end. Yet even he must have many ends, besides and quiet. You will see the one fretful and restthe far end: but then they will conduct' to that, less, at a loss how to dispose of his time, till the be subordinate, and in some way or other capable hour come round when he may forget himself in of being referred to that, and derive their satisfac- bed; the other easy and satisfied, taking up his tion, or an addition of satisfaction, from that. book or his pipe, as soon as he finds himself alone;
Engagement is every thing: the more signifi- ready to admit any little amusement that casts cant, however, our engagements are, the better: up, or to turn his hands and attention to the first such as the planning of laws, institutions, manu- business that presents itself; or content, without factures, charities, improvements, public works; either, to sit still, and let his train of thought glide and the endeavouring, by our interest
, address, indolently through his brain, without much use, solicitations, and activity, to carry them into effect; perhaps, or pleasure, but without hankering after or, upon a smaller scale, the procuring of a main. any thing better, and without irritation. A reader, tenance and fortune for our families by a course who has inured himself to books of science and of industry and application to our callings, which argumentation, if a novel, a well-written pamforms and gives motion to the common occupations phlet, an article of news, a narrative of a curious of life ; training up a child; prosecuting a scheme voyage, or a journal of a traveller, fall in his way, for his future establishment; making ourselves sits down to the repast with relish; enjoys his masters of a language or a science; improving or entertainment while it lasts, and can return, when managing an estate; labouring after a piece of it is over, to his graver reading, without distaste. preferment; and, lastly, any engagement, which Another, with whom nothing will go down but is innocent, is better than none; as the writing of works
of humour and pleasantry, or whose curi: a book, the building of a house, the laying out of osity must be interested by perpetual novel:y, will a garden, the digging of a fish-pond, -even the consume a bookseller's window in half a forenoon; raising of a cucumber or a tulip.
during which time he is rather in search of diverWhilst our minds are taken up with the objects sion than diverted; and as books to his taste are
few, and short, and rapidly read over, the stock is Benevolence proposes good ends; prudence sugsoon exhausted, when he is left without resource gests the best means of attaining them; fortitude from his principal supply of harmless amuse- enables us to encounter the difficulties, dangers,
and discouragements, which stand in our way in So far as circumstances of fortune conduce to the pursuit of these ends; temperance repels and happiness, it is not the income which any man overcomes the passions that obstruct it. Benero possesses, but the increase of income, that affords lence, for instance, prompts us to undertake the the pleasure. Two persons, of whom one begins cause of an oppressed orphan; prudence suggests with a hundred, and advances his income to a the best means of going about it; fortitude enables thousand pounds a year, and the other sets of us to confront the danger, and bear up against the with a thousand and dwindles down to a hundred, loss, disgrace, or repulse, that may attend our may, in the course of their time, have the receipt undertaking; and temperance keeps under the and spending of the same sum of money : yet their love of money, of ease, or amusement, which might satisfaction, so far as fortune is concerned in it, divert us from it. will be very different; the series and sum total of Virtue is distinguished by others into two their incomes being the same, it makes a wide branches only, prudence and benevolence: prudifference at which end they begin.
dence, attention to our own interest; benevolence, IV. Happiness consists in health.
to that of our fellow-creatures: both directed to By health I understand, as well freedom from the same end, the increase of happiness in nature; bodily distempers, as that tranquillity, firmness, and taking equal concern in the future as in the and alacrity of mind, which we call good spirits; present. and which may properly enough be included in The four CARDINAL virtues are, prudence, for our notion of health, as depending commonly titude, temperance and justice. upon the same causes, and yielding to the same But the division of virtue, to which we are in management, as our bodily constitution.
modern times most accustomed, is into duties ;Health, in this sense, is the one thing needful. Towards God; as piety, reverence, resignation, Therefore no pains, expense, self-denial, or re- gratitude, &c. straint, to which we subject ourselves for the sake Towards other men (or relative duties;) as jusof health, is too much. Whether it require us tice, charity, fidelity, loyalty, &c. to relinquish lucrative situations, to abstain from Towards ourselves ; as chastity, sobriety, temfavourite indulgences, to control intemperate pas- perance, preservation of life, care of health, &c. sions, or undergo tedious regimens; whatever More of these distinctions have been proposed, difficulties it lays us under, a man, who pursues which it is not worth while to set down. his happiness rationally and resolutely, will be content to submit.
When we are in perfect health and spirits, we feel in ourselves a happiness indlependent of any I shall proceed to state a few observations, which particular outward gratification whatever, and of relate to the general regulation of human conduct; which we can give no account. This is an en- unconnected indeed with each other, but very joyment which the Deity has annexed to life; worthy of attention; and which fall as properly and it probably constitutes, in a great measure, under the title of this chapter as of any future the happiness of infants and brutes, especially of one. the lower and sedentary orders of animals, as of I. Mankind act more from habit than reflecoysters, periwinkles, and the like; for which I tion. have sometimes been at a loss to find out amuse It is on few only and great occasions that men
deliberate at all; on fewer still, that they institute The above account of human happiness will any thing like a regular inquiry into the moral justify the two following conclusions, which, al- rectitude or depravity of what they are about to though found in most books of morality, have do; or wait for the result of it. We are for the seldom, I think, been supported by any sufficient most part determined at once; and by an impulse,
which is the effect and energy of pre-established First, That happiness is pretty equally dis- habit. And this constitution seenis well adapted tributed amongst the different orders of civil to the exigences of human life, and to the imbesociety :
cility of our moral principle. In the current ocSECONDLY, That vice has no advantage over casions and rapid opportunities of life, there is virtue, even with respect to this world's happi- oftentimes little leisure for reflection; and were
there more, a man, who has to reason about his duty, when the temptation to transgress it is
upon him, is almost sure to reason himself into an CHAPTER VII.
If we are in so great a degree passive under our
habits; Where, it is asked, is the exercise of Virtue.
virtue, the guilt of vice, or any use of moral and VIRTUE is “the doing good to mankind, in religious knowledge? I answer, in the forming obedience to the will of God, and for the sake of and contracting of these habits. everlasting happiness.”
And hence results a rule of life of considerable According to which definition, "the good of importance, viz. that many things are to be done mankind” is the subject; the “will of God," the and abstained from, solely for the sake of habit. rule; and "everlasting happiness," the motive, of We will explain ourselves by an example or two: human virtue.
-A beggar, with the appearance of extreme disVirtue has been divided by some moralists into tress, asks our charity. If we come to argue the benevolence, prudence, fortitude, and temperance. / matter, whether the distress be real, whether it be
not brought upon himself, whether it be of public | advertency; of a prompt obedience to the judgsivantage to admit such application, whether it be ment occurring, or of yielding to the first impulse not to encourage idleness and vagrancy, whether of passion; of extending our views to the future, it may not invite impostors to our doors, whether or of resting upon the present; of apprehending, the money can be well spared, or might not be methodising, reasoning; of indolence and dilatoribetter applied; when these considerations are put ness; of vanity, self-conceit
, melancholy, partiality; together, it may appear very doubtful, whether we of fretfulness, suspicion, captiousness; censoriousought or ought not to give any thing. But when ness; of pride, ambition, covetousness; of overwe reflect, that the misery before our eyes excites reaching, intriguing, projecting; in a word, there our pity, whether we will or not ; that it is of the is not a quality or function, cither of body or mind, utmat consequence to us to cultivate this tender- which does not feel the influence of this great law Des of mind; that it is a quality, cherished by of animated nature. indulgence, and soon stifled by opposition; when II. The Christian religion hath not ascertained this, I say, is considered, a wise man will do that the precise quantity of virtue necessary to salvafor his own sake, which he would have hesitated tion. to do for the petitioner's; he will give way to his This has been made an objection to Christianity; compassion, rather than offer violence to a habit but without reason. For as all revelation, howof so much general use.
ever imparted originally, must be transmitted by A man of confirmed good habits, will act in the ordinary vehicle of language, it behoves those the same manner without any consideration at all. who make the objection, to show that any form of
This may serve for one instance; another is the words could be devised, that might express this following:-A man has been brought up from his quantity; or that it is possible to constitute a intancy with a dread of lying. An occasion pre- standard of moral attainments, accommodated to sents itself where, at the expense of a little vera- the almost infinite diversity which subsists in the aty, he may divert his company, set off his own capacities and opportunities of different men. wit with advantage, attract the notice and engage It seems most agreeable to our conceptions of the partiality of all about him. This is not a justice, and is consonant enough to the language stall temptation. And when he looks at the of scripture,* to suppose, that there are prepared other side of the question, he sees no mischief that for us rewards and punishments, of all possible can ensue from this liberty, no slander of any degrees, from the most exalted happiness down to man's reputation, no prejudice likely to arise to extreme misery; so that “our labour is never in any man's interest. Were there nothing further vain;" whatever advancement we make in virtue, to be considered, it would be difficult to show why we procure a proportionable accession of future a man under such circumstances might not in- happiness; as, on the other hand, every accumudulze bis humour. But when he reflects that his lation of vice is the "treasuring up so much wrath scruples about lying have hitherto preserved him against the day of wrath.” It has been said, that frer from this vice; that occasions like the present it can never be a just economy of Providence, to will return, where the inducement may be equally admit one part of mankind into heaven, and constrong, but the indulgence much less innocent; demn the other to hell; since there must be very that his scruples will wear away by a few trans- little to choose, between the worst man who is gressions, and leave him subject to one of the received into heaven, and the best who is excluded. Deanest and most pernicious of all bad habits,-a And how know we, it might be answered, but that bavit of lying, whenever it will serve his turn: there may be as little to choose in the conditions ? when all this, I say, is considered, a wise man will Without entering into a detail of Scripture forego the present, or a much greater pleasure, morality, which would anticipate our subject, the rather than lay the foundation of a character so following general positions may be advanced, I Vicious and contemptible.
think, with safety. From what has been said, may be explained 1. That a state of happiness is not to be expecte also the nature of habitual virtue. By the defi- ed by those who are conscious of no moral or sition of virtue, placed at the beginning of this religious rule: I mean those who cannot with chapter, it appears, that the good of mankind is truth say, that they have been prompted to one the subject, the will of God the rule, and everlast- j action, or withholden from one gratification, by irg happiness the motive and end, of all virtue. any regard to virtue or religion, either immediate Yet, in fact, a man shall perform many an act of or habitual. virtue without having either the good of mankind, There needs no other proof of this, than the the will of God, or everlasting happiness in his consideration, that a brute would be as proper an thought. How is this to be understood ? In the object of reward as such a man, and that, if the ene manner as that a man may be a very good case were so, the penal sanctions of religion could servant, without being conscious, at every turn, of a particular regard to his master's will, or of an *"He which soweth sparingly, shall reap also spar express attention to his master's interest: indeed, ingly; and he which soweth bountifully, shall reap also Four best old servants are of this sort : but then bountifully;" 2 Cor. ix. 6.—" And thai servant which Le must have served for a length of time under did according to his will, shail be beaten with many
knew his Lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither the actual direction of these motives, to bring it stripes ; but he that knew not, shall be beaten
with few to this: in which service, his merit and virtue stripes.” Luke xii. 47, 48.-—“ Whosoever shall give you consist.
a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong There are habits, not only of drinking, swear
to Christ; verily I say unto you, he shall noi lose his
reward;" to wit, intimating ihat there is in reserve a ing, and lying, and of some other things, which proportionable reward for even the smallest act of are commonly acknowledged to be habits, and virtue. Markix. 41.-See also the parable of the pounds, called so: but of every modification of action, Luke xix. 16, &c.; where he whose pound had gained sperch, and thought. Man is a bundle of habits. pound had gained five pounds, was placed over five
ten pounds, was placed over ten cities, and he whose 1* here are habits of industry, attention, vigilance, I cities.
have no place. For, whom would you punish, if | peared doubtful to a reasoner upon the subject, you make such a one as this happy ?-or rather whether he may lawfully destroy himself. He indeed, religion itself, both natural and revealed, can have no doubt, that it is lawful for him to let would cease to have either use or authority. it alone. Here therefore is a case, in which one
2. That a state of happiness is not to be ex- side is doubtful, and the other side safe. By pected by those, who reserve to themselves the virtue therefore of our rule, he is bound to pursue habitual practice of any one sin, or neglect of one the safe side, that is, to forbear from offering known duty.
violence to himself, whilst a doubt remains upon Because, no obedience can proceed upon proper his mind concerning the lawfulness of suicide. motives, which is not universal, that is, which is It is prudent, you allow, to take the safe side. not directed to every command of God alike, as But our observation means something more. We they all stand upon the same authority.
assert that the action concerning which we doubt, Because such an allowance would, in effect, whatever it may be in itself, or to another, would, amount to a toleration of every vice in the world in us, whilst this doubt remains upon our minds,
And because the strain of Scripture language be certainly sinful. The case is expressly so excludes any such hope. When our duties are adjudged by St. Paul, with whose authority we recited, they are put collectively, that is, as all and will for the present rest contented. “I know and every one of them required in the Christian cha- am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is racter. Add to your faith virtue, and to virtue nothing unclean of itself; but to him that esteemeth knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.temperance patience, and to patience godliness, Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to thing which he alloweth; and he that doubteth, brotherly kindness charity."** On the other hand, is damned (condemned) if he eat; for whatsoever when vices are enumerated, they are put disjunc- is not of faith (i. e. not done with a full persuasion tively, that is, as separately and severally exclud- of the lawfulness of it) is sin.”* ing the sinner from heaven. "Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor efleminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.”+
BOOK II. Those texts of Scripture, which seem to lean a contrary way, as that charity shall cover
MORAL OBLIGATIONS. she multitude of sins;"# that “he which converteth a sinner from the error of his way, shall hide a multitude of sins;'S cannot, think, for the reasons above mentioned, be ex
CHAPTER I. tended to sins deliberately, habitually, and ob- The question 'Why am I obliged to keep my stinately persisted in.
word ?' considered. 3. That a state of mere unprofitableness will not go unpunished.
Why am I obliged to keep my word ? This is expressly laid down by Christ, in the Because it is right, says one.- Because it is parable of the talents, which supersedes all further agreeable to the fitness of things, says another.reasoning upon the subject
. "Then he which Because it is conformable to reason and nature, had received one talent, came and said, Lord, I says a third.—Because it is conformable to truth, knew thee that thou art an austere man, reaping says a fourth. Because it promotes the public where thou hast not sown, and gathering where good, says a fifth.–Because it is required by the thou hast not strawed: and I was afraid, and hid will of God, concludes a sixth. thy talent in the earth; lo, there thou hast that is
Upon which different accounts, two things are thine. His lord answered and said unto him, observable :Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest,
First, that they all ultimately coincide. (or, knewest thou ?) that I reap where I sowed The fitness of things, means their fitness to not, and gather where I have not strawed; thou produce happiness: the nature of things, means oughtest therefore to have put my money to the that actual constitution of the world, by which exchangers, and then at my coming I should have some things, as such and such actions, for exreceived mine own with usury. Take therefore the ample, produce happiness, and others misery; talent from him, and give it unto him which hath reason is the principle by which we discover or ten talents; for unto every one that hath shall be judge of this constitution: truth is this judgment, given, and he shall have abundance; but from expressed or drawn out into propositions. So him that hath not, shall be taken away even that that it necessarily comes to pass, that what prowhich he hath: and cast ye the unprofitable ser
motes the public happiness, or happiness on the vant into outer darkness, there shall be weeping whole, is agreeable to the fitness of things, to and gnashing of teeth."li
nature, to reason, and to truth; and such (as will III. In every question of conduct, where one appear by and bye,) is the Divine character, that side is doubtful, and the other safe ; we are bound what promotes the general happiness, is required to take the safe side.
by the will of God, and what has all the above This is best explained by an instance; and I properties, must needs be right ; for, right means know of none more to our purpose than that of no more than conformity to the rule we go by, suicide. Suppose, for example's sake, that it ap- whatever that rule be.
And this is the reason that moralists, from * 2 Pet. j. 5, 6, 7.
+ 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. whatever different principles they set out, com1 1 Pet. iv. 8.
Ś James v. 20.
* Rom. xiv. 14, 22, 23.