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act; and that to act, in fuch fituations, with diligence, integrity, and good will to mankind, is the part he requires of us.
Whoever thus habitually thinks or conceives of himself, is poffeffed of religion, virtue, and happinefs. This no one can procure for another. It is left by the Almighty for every one only to procure it for himself. Aurelius accordingly procured it for himself, but could not for his fon. With this unhappy perfon, notions imbibed among the meaner domestics of the palace precluded the inftructions of the father and of the friend.
If happiness were an attainment of the mind, to be acquired as a science or an art is learnt from a master, the teacher might justly be confidered as the vicegerent of God; and no place could contain the numbers that would flock to his fchool. But, in this the Almighty has delegated his power to every perfon only respecting himself: But he has provided a discipline, in the result of which, perhaps, even the moft depraved may, in the end, become willing to avail themselves of the trust which the Author of their nature has repofed in them. When error, and folly, and profligacy, drained to the bottom of the cup, fhall have led the mind to nauseate the draught, better thoughts may arife, and man, thoroughly apprised of what is evil, may become willing to remove it, and intentionally work himself into habits of what he conceives. to be good.
Such may be, refpecting the most refractory fubjects, the effect of a moral government, which actually operates in the nature of things, and in a manner of which we have formerly endeavoured to remark fome particulars. Reafon and knowledge may haften its effects; and for this purpose our feeble endeavours
to erect the fabric of fcience, that they who refort to it may pro- PART. II. ceed on a just knowledge of their place and destination in the CHAP. II. fyftem of nature.
The happy, without incurring either dejection or pride, from events whether profperous or adverfe, rely chiefly on what is of abfolute value, health of body and foundness of mind; and may reckon, as their highest privilege, the power to preserve, in all the varieties of fortune, a difpofition, candid, fearlefs, temperate, and just. Even among the gifts of fortune, they can obferve and enjoy matters of abfolute value, in respect to which there is no poffible ground of interference or competition: Such are the bleffings which nature has equally provided for all men: The water of the fountain, or of the running stream; the light of the fun; and the vital air of the atmosphere; existence itself, in fhort, or admiffion to behold this magnificent fcene of the univerfe;-compared to which, any or all the comparative fuperiorities of one man to another disappear, and are as nothing. Society itself is felt, by the happy, as a common bleffing to all its members; and, like the air they breathe, equally neceffary to the rich, who would avail themselves of the labour and skill of others, as it is to the poor, who would obtain the reward of their labour.
CHA P. II.
OF THE FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF MORALITY, ITS IMMEDI-
Of the Law, or first Principle of Eftimation in the Character of
By separately examining the nature of good and evil, under the PART II. titles of pleasure and pain, of beauty and deformity, of excellence and CHAP. II. defect, virtue and vice, of happiness and mifery; we have endea- SECT. I. voured to arrive at fome general conception of what is best for mankind.
These articles we have found to differ chiefly in words, but in matter and substance to be nearly the fame. The fame qualities of wisdom, goodness, temperance, and fortitude, which conftitute the excellence of human nature, are constituents also of its beauty and its happiness. The oppofite qualities of folly, malice, debauchery, and corvardice, which conftitute its defect, conftitute alfo its deformity, or turpitude, and its mifery.
The different appellations in queftion have a reference to different afpects, under which the subject may be confidered. Beauty and deformity have a reference to the qualities of good and evil, in refpect to their first appearances or afpect. Excellence and defect, virtue and vice, have a reference to their reality in the character. Happiness and mifery have a reference to the ftate of enjoyment or fuffering, which they constitute in the mind.
If we should endeavour to concentrate this defcription, or reduce this enumeration of qualities, to fome one general principle the most likely to unite the whole, we fhould be limited in our choice, probably, to one or other of the qualities first mentioned, in the estimate of characters; that is, either to wisdom, or goodness.
The other two qualities, whether of temperance or fortitude, confidered apart, are lefs likely to fecure the whole. Temperance, confidered as mere abftinence from improper gratifications, without any pofitive direction of the mind to a better purpofe; or confidered as reftraint from evil, without the formation of a difpofition pofitively good, would conftitute a very imperfect model of excellence or felicity.