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to a thousand pounds a year; and the other sets off with a thousand, and dwindles down to an hundred, may, in the course of their time, have the receipt and spending of the same sum of money : yet their fatisfation, so far as fortune is concerned in it, will be very different: the series and sum total of their incomes being the same, it makes a wide difference at which end they begin.
IV. Happiness consists in Health.
By health I understand, as well freedom from bodily distempers, as that tranquillity, firmness, and alacrity of mind, which we call good fpirits; and which may properly enough be included in our notion of health, as depending commonly upon the same causes, and yielding to the same management, as our bodily constitution.
Health, in this sense, is the one thing need ful. Therefore no pains, expence, self-denial, or restraint, to which we subject ourselves for the sake of health, is too much. Whether it · require us to relinquish lucrative situations, to abstain from favourite indulgences, to control intemperate passions, or undergo tedious regimens ; whatever difficulties it lays us under, a D4
man, who pursues his happiness rationally and resolutely, will be content to submit to.
When we are in perfect health and spirits, we feel in ourselves a happiness independent of any particular outward gratification whatever, and of which we can give no account. This is an enjoyment which the Deity has annexed to life; and probably constitutes, in a great measure, the happiness of infants and brutes, especially of the lower and sedentary orders of animals, as of oysters, periwinkles, and the like; for which I have sometimes been at a loss to find out amusement.
The above account of human happiness will justify the two following conclusions, which, although found in most books of morality, have feldom, I think, been supported by any fufficient reasons :
First, that happiness is pretty equally distributed amongst the different orders of civil society.
SECONDLY, that vice has no advantage over virtue, even with respect to this world's hap
СНАР, CH A P. VII.
• VIR T U E.
TTIRTUE is, “ the doing good to mankind,
V “ in obedience to the will of God, and for the “ sake of everlasting happiness.”
According to which definition, “ the good of “ mankind” is the subject, the “ will of God" the rule, and “everlasting happiness” the motive of human virtue.
Virtue has been divided by some moralists into benevolence, prudence, fortitude, and temperance. Benevolence proposes good ends ; prudence suggests the best means of attaining them; fortitude ena-, bles us to encounter the difficulties, dangers, and discouragements, which stand in our way in the pursuit of these ends ; temperance repels and overcomes the passions that obstruct it. Benevolence, for instance, prompts us to undertake the cause of an oppressed orphan ; prudence suggests the best means of going about it; fortitude enables us to confront the danger, and bear up against
the loss, disgrace, or repulse, that may attend our undertaking; and temperance keeps under the love of money, of ease, or amusement, which might divert us from it.
Virtue is distinguished by others into two branches only, prudence and benevolence; prudence attentive to our own interest ; benevolence to that of our fellow creatures : both directed to the same end, the increase of happiness in nature; and taking equal concern in the future as in the present.
The four CARDINAL virtues are prudence, fora titude, temperance, and justice.
But the division of Virtue, to which we are now-a-days most accustomed, is into duties,
Towards God; as piety, reverence, resignation, gratitude, &c.
Towards other men (or relative duties); as justice, charity, fidelity, loyalty, &c.
"Towards ourselves; as chastity, fobriety, temperance, preservation of life, care of health, &c.
More of these distinctions have been proposed, which it is not worth while to set down.
I shall proceed to state a few observations, which relate to the general regulation of human
conduct; unconnected indeed with each other, but very worthy of attention; and which fall as properly under the title of this chapter as of any other.
I. Mankind act more from habit than reflection.
It is on few only and great occasions that men deliberate at all; on fewer still, that they institute any thing like a regular inquiry into the moral rectitude or depravity of what they are about to do; or wait for the result of it. We are for the most part determined at once; and by an impulse, which is the effect and energy of pre-established habits. And this constitution seems well adapted to the exigencies of human life, and to the imbecility of our moral principle. In the current occasions and rapid opportunities of life, there is ofttimes 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 error.
If we are in so great a degree passive under our habits, where, it is asked, is the exercise of virtue, the guilt of vice, or any use of moral and religious knowledge ? I answer, in the forming and contracting of these habits.