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sive voluntary actions, whereof the greatest part of our lives is made up, and by which we are conducted through different courses to different ends : I shall endeavour to show, both from experience and the reason of the thing $. 34. When a man is perfectly content
This is the with the state he is in, which is, when he spring of is perfectly without any uneasiness, what action. industry, what action, what will is there left, but to continue in it? of this every man's observation will satisfy him. And thus we see our All-wise Maker, suitably to our constitution and frame, and knowing what it is that determines the will, has put into man the uneasiness of hunger and thirst, and other natural desires, that return at their seasons, to move and deterinine their wills, for the preservation of themselves, and the continuation of their species. For I think we may conclude, that if the bare contemplation of these good ends, to which we are carried by these several uneasinesses, had been sufficient to determine the will, and set us on work, we should have had none of these natural pains, and perhaps in this world little or no pain at all.
“ It is better to marry than to burn,” says St. Paul; where we may see what it is that chiefly drives men into the enjoyments of a conjugal life. A little burning felt pushes us more powerfully, than greater pleasures in prospect draw or allure.
$. 35. It seems so established and settled The greatest a maxim by the general consent of all man- positive kind, that good, the greater good, deter- good determines the will, that I do not at all wonder,
mines not the
will, but un. that when I first published my thoughts on easiness. this subject, I took it for granted ; and I imagine that by a great many I shall be thought more excusable, for having then done so, than that now I have ventured to recede from so received an opinion. But yet upon a stricter inquiry, I am forced to conclude, that good, the greater good, thongh apprehended and acknowledged to be so, does not determine the will, until our desire, raised proportionably to it, makes us yneasy in the want of it. Convince a man ever so that plenty las an advantage over poverty; make him see and own, that the handsome conveniencies of life are better than nasty penury : yet as long as be is content with the latter, and finds no uneasiness in it, he moves not ; his will never is determined to any action that shall bring him out of it. Let a man be ever so well persuaded of the advantages of virtue, that it is as necessary to a man who has any great aims in this world, or hopes in the next, as food to life: yet, till he hungers or thirsts after righteousness, till he feels an uneasiness in the want of it, bis will will not be de. termined to any action in pursuit of this confessed greater good; but any other uneasiness he feels in himself shall take place, and carry his will to other actions. On the other side, let a drunkard see that his health decays, his estate wastes; discredit and diseases, and the waot of all things, even of his beloved drink, attends him in the course he follows; yet the returns of uneasiness to miss bis companions, the habitual thirst after his cups, at the usual time, drives him to the tavern, though he has in his view the loss of health and plenty, and perhaps of the joys of another lite : the least of which is no inconsiderable good, but such as he confesses is far greater than the tickling of his palate with a glass of wine, or the idle chat of a soaking club. It is not want of viewing the greater good; for he sees and acknowledges it, and, in the intervals of his drinking hours, will take resolution to pursue the greater good; but when the uneasiness to miss his accustomed delight returns, the greater acknowledged good loses its hold, and the present uneasiness determines the will to the accustomed action : which thereby gets stronger footing to prevail against the next occasion, though lie at the same tiine makes secret promises to himself
, that he will do so no more; this is the last time he will act against the attainment of those greater goods. And thus he is from time to time in the state of that unhappy complainer, video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor: which sentence, allowed for true, and made good by constant experience, may this, and possibly no other way, be easily made intelligible.
the first step
§. 36. If we inquire into the reason of Because the what experience makes so evident in fact, , removal of and examine why it is uneasiness alone ope
uneasiness is rates on the will, and determines it in its
to happiness. choice; we shall find that we being capable but of one determination of the will to one action at once, the present uneasiness that we are under does naturally determine the will, in order to that happiness which we all aim at in all our actions; forasmuch as whilst we are under any uneasiness, we cannot apprehend ourselves happy, or in the way to it. Pain and uneasiness being, by every one, concluded and felt to be inconsistent with happiness, spoiling the relish even of those good things which we have; a little pain serving to mar all the pleasure we rejoiced in. And therefore that which of course determines the choice of our will to the next action, will always be the removing of pain, as long as we have any left, as the first and necessary step towards happiness. $. 37. Another reason why it is uneasi
Because un. ness alone determines the will, may be this ; casinessalone because that alone is present, and it is is present. against the nature of things, that what is absent should operate where it is not. It may be said, that absent good may by contemplation be brought home to the mind, and made present. The idea of it indeed may be in the mind, and viewed as present there; but nothing will be in the mind as a present good, able to counter-balance the removal of any uneasiness which we are under, till it raises our desire; and the uneasiness of that has the prevalency in determining the will. Till then, the idea in the mind of
whatever good, is there only, like other ideas, the obro i ject of bare knactive speculation, but operates not on
the will, nor sets us on work; the reason whereof I shall show by and by. How many are to be found, that have had lively representations set before their minds of the unspeakable joys of heaven, which they acknowledge both possible and probable too, who yet would be content to take up with their happiness here? And so the prevailing uneasinesses of their desires, let VOL. I.
loose after the enjoyments of this life, take their turns in the determining their wills; and all that while they take not one step, are not one jot inoved towards the good things of another life, considered as ever so great. Because all
§. 38. Were the will determined by the who allow views of good, as it appears in contemthe joys of plation greater or less to the understanding, heaven pos- which is the state of all absent good, and sible, pursue that which in the received opinion the will them not.
is supposed to move to, and to be moved by, I do not see how it could ever get loose from the infinite eternal joys of heaven, once proposed and considered as possible. For all absent good, by which alone, barely proposed, and coining in view, the will is. thought to be determined, and so to set us on action, being only possible, but not infallibly certain; it is unavoidable, that the infinitely greater possible good should regularly and constantly determine the will in all the successive actions it directs: and then we sliould keep constantly and steadily in our course towards heaven, without ever standing still, or directing our actions to any other end. The eternal condition of a future state infinitely outweighing the expectation of riches, or honour, or any other worldly pleasure which we can propose to ourselves, though we should grant these the more probable to be obtained : for nothing future is yet in possession, and so the expectation even of these may deceive us. If it were so, that the greater good in view determines the will, so great a good once proposed could not but seize the will, and hold it fast to the pursuit of this infinitely greatest good, without ever letting it go again ; for the will having a power over, and directing the thoughts as well as other actions, would, if it were so, hold the contemplation of the mind fixed to that good. But any great
This would be the state of the mind, and uneasiness is regular tendency of the will in all its denever neg- terminations, were it determiued by that lected. which is considered, and in view the greater good; but that it is not so, is visible in experience:
the infinitely greatest confessed good being often neglected, to satisfy the successive uneasiness of our desires pursuing trifles. But though the greatest allowed, even everlasting unspeakable good, which has sometimes moved and affected the mind, does not stedfastly hold the will, yet we see any very great and prevailing uneasiness, having once laid hold on the will, lets it not go; by which we may be convinced, what it is that determines the will. Thus any vehement pain of the body, the ungovernable passion of a man violently in love, or the impatient desire of revenge, keeps the will steady and intent; and the will, thus determined, never lets the understanding lay by the object, but all the thoughts of the mind and powers of the body are uninterruptedly employed that way, by the determination of the will, influenced by that topping uneasiness as long as it lasts; whereby it seems to me evident, that the will or power of setting us upon one action in preference to all other, is determined in us by uneasiness. And whether this be not so, I desire every one to observe in himself.
§. 39. I have hitherto chiefly instanced Desire acin the uneasiness of desire, as that which companies determines the will; because that is the all uneasi. chief and most sensible, and the will seldom orders any action, nor is there any voluntary action performed, without some desire accompanying it; which I think is the reason why the will and desire are so often confounded. But yet we are not to look upon the uneasiness which makes up, or at least accompanies most of the other passions, as wholly excluded in the case. Aversion, fear, anger, envy, shame, &c. have each their uneasiness too, and thereby influence the will. These passions are scarce any of them in life and practice simple and alone, and wholly unmixed with others : though usually in discourse and contemplation, that carries the name which operates strongest, and appears most in the present state of the mind : nay there is, I think, scarce any of the passions to be found without desire joined with it. I am sure, wherever there is uneasiness, there is desire ; for we constantly