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But that this is a false way of judging, when applied to the happiness of another life, they must confess; unless they will say, “ God cannot make those happy he de"signs to be so.” For that being intended for a state. of happiness, it must certainly be agreeable to every one's wish and desire : could we suppose their relishes as different there as they are here, yet the manna in heaven will suit every one's palate. Thus much of the wrong judgment we make of present and future pleasure and pain, when they are compared together, and so the absent considered as future. In consider 5. 66. II. As to things good or bad in ing conse- their consequences, and by the aptness
is in them to procure us good or evil in the actions.
future, we judge amiss several ways. 1. When we judge that so much evil does not really depend on them, as in truth there does.
2. When we judge, that though the consequence be of that moment, yet it is not of that certainty, but that it may otherwise fall out, or else by some means be avoided, as by industry, address, change, repentance, &c. That these are wrong ways of judging, were easy to show in every particular, if I would examine them at large singly: but I shall only mention this in general, viz. that it is a very wrong and irrational way of proceeding, to venture a greater good for a less, upon uncertain guesses, and before a due examination be made proportionable to the weightiness of the matter, and the concernment it is to us not to mistake. This, I think, every one must confess, especially if he considers the usual causes of this wrong judgment, whereof these following are some. Causes of
9. 67. I. Ignorance: he that judges withthis. our informing himself to the utmost that he
is capable, cannot acquit himself of judging amiss.
II. Inadvertency: when a man overlooks even that which he docs know. This is an affected and present ignorance, which misleads our judgments as much as the other. Judging is, as it were, balancing an account, and determining on which side the odds lię,
. If therefore either side be huddled up in haste, and
several of the sums, that should have gone into the . reckoning, be overlooked and left out, this precipi- tancy causes as wrong a judgment, as if it were a per
fect ignorance. That which most commonly causes
this, is the prevalency of some present pleasure or pain, * heightened by our feeble passionate nature, most strongly
wrought on by what is present. To check this preci-
to our happi.
ther; nor is the will determined to any action, in pursuit of any other known or apparent good. For since we find, that we cannot enjoy all sorts of good, but . one excludes another; we do not fix our desires on every apparent greater good, unless it be judged to be necessary to our happiness; if we think we can be happy see without it, it moves us not. This is another occasion to men of judging wrong, when they take not that to be necessary to their happiness, which really is so. This mistake misleads us both in the choice of the good we aim at, and very often in the means to it, tem when it is a remote good. But which way ever it be, either by placing it where really it is not, or by'neglecting the means as not necessary to it; when a man misses his great end happiness, he will acknowledge he judged not right. That which contributes to this mistake, is the real or supposed unpleasantness of the actions, which are the way to this end; it seeming so preposterous a thing to men, to make themselves , unhappy in order to happiness, ' that they do not easily else: bring themselves to it.
V. 69. The last inquiry, therefore, conchange the cerning this matter is, " whether it be in ágreeable. “a man's power: to change the pleasantness or disas
“ness and unpleasantness that accompanies greeableness in things.
any sort of action ?” And as to that, it is
plain, in many cases he can. Men may and should correct their palates, and give relish to what either has, or they suppose has none. The relish of the mind is as various as that of the body, and like that too may be altered; and it is a inistake to think, that men cannot change the displeasingness or indifferency that is in actions into pleasure and desire, if they will do but what is in their power. A due consideration will do it in some cases; and practice, application, and custom in most. Bread or tobacco may be neglected, where they are shown to be useful to health, because of an indifferency or disrelish to them; reason and consideration at first recommend, and begin their trial, and use finds, or custom makes them pleasant. That this is so in virtue too, is very certain." Actions
arė pleasing or displeasing, either in theinselves, or considered as a means to a greater and more desirable end. The eating of a well-seasoned dish, suited to a man's palate, may move the mind by the delight itself that accompanies the cating, without reference to any other end : to which the consideration of the pleasure there is in health and strength (to which that meat is subservient) may add a new gusto, able to make us
swallow an ill-relished potion. In the latter of these, e any action is rendered more or less pleasing, only by the al contemplation of the end, and the being more or less Po persuaded of its tendency to' it; or necessary connexion
with it: but the pleasure of the action.itself is best acquired or increased by use and practice. Trials often reconcile us to that, which at a distance we looked on with aversion ; and by repetitions wear us into a liking of what possibly, in the first essay, displeased' us. Habits have powerful charīns, and put so strong attractions of easiness ånd pleasure into what we accustom Ourselves to, that we cannot forbear to do, or at least be in the omission of actions, which habitual praetice has suited, and thereby recommends to us. Though this be very visible, and every one's experience show's him he can do so ; yet it is a part in the conduct of men towards their happiness, neglected to rà degree, that it will be possibly entertained as a paradox, if it be said, that men can make things or actions more or less pleasing to themselves; and theréliy remedy' that, to which one may justly impute a great deal of their wandering. Fashion and the common opinion having settled wrong notions, anů education and customi ill
. håbits, the just values of things are misplaced, and the palates of men corrupted. Pains should be taken to rectify these; and contrary habits change our pleasures, and give a relish to that which is necessary or conducive to our happiness. This every one must confess he can do; and when happiness is lost, and misery overtakes him, he will confess he did amiss in neglecting it, and condemn himself for it: and I ask every one, whether he Lias niet often done so ?
them und be
Preference of §. 70. I shall not now enlarge any farther vice to virtue on the wrong judgments and neglect of a manifest
what is in their power, whereby men miswrong judg.
lead themselves. This would make a vo
lume, and is not my business. But whatever falsc notions, or shameful neglect of what is in their power, may put men out of their way to happiness, and distract them, as we see, into so different coursçs of life, this yet is certain, that morality, established upon its true foundations, cannot but determine the choice in any one that will but consider : and he that will not be so far a rational creature as to reflect seriously upon infinite happiness and misery, must needs condemnn himself as not making that use of his understanding he should. The rewards and punishments of another life, which the Almighty has established as the enforcements of his law, are of weight enough to determine the choice, against whatever pleasure or pain this life can show, when the eternal state is considered but in its bare possibility, which no-body can make any doubt of. He that will allow exquisite and endless happiness to be but the possible consequence of a good life here, and the contrary state the possible reward of a bad one; must own himself to judge very much amiss if he does not conclude, that a virtuous life, with the certain expectation of everlasting bliss, which may come, is to be preferred to a vicious one, with the fear of that dreadful state of misery, which it is very possible nay overtake the guilty; or at best the terrible uncertain hope of annihilation. This is evidently so, though the virtuous life here had nothing but pain, and the vicious continual pleasure: which yet is, for the most part, quite otherwise, and wicked men have not much the odds to brag of, even in their present possession; nay, all things rightly considered, have, I think, even the worst part here. But when infinite happiness is put into one scale against intinite misery in the other ; if the worst that comes to the pious man, if he mistakes, be the best that the wicked can attain to, if he be in the right, who can without madness run the venture? Who in his wits would choose to come within