Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECTION V - A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations
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SECTION V - Johann Gottlieb Heineccius, A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations 
A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations, with Supplements and a Discourse by George Turnbull. Translated from the Latin by George Turnbull, edited with an Introduction by Thomas Albert and Peter Schröder (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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Every being is constituted capable of a particular happiness, by the particular affections belonging to its nature.In order to this, it is plain we must enquire what affections belong to our nature. For nothing can be more evident, than that without particular affections no object could give us more pleasure than another, or to speak more properly, nothing could give us pleasure or pain: And the happiness of any one particular nature can only be the happiness or good of that particular nature. The happiness of an insect, for example, can only make an insect happy: Another nature, that is, a nature consisting of other affections, will require other objects to make it happy; that is, objects adjusted to the gratification of its particular affections. These things are very evident: For tho’ after having experienced several particular pains and pleasures, we can form to ourselves a general idea of happiness, and a general idea of misery, which ideas will excite a general desire of happiness, yet there is no such thing in nature as general gratification to general desire of happiness. Every pleasure is a particular pleasure; a particular gratification to some particular affection. We may be properly said to desire happiness in general; but every gratification we meet with, is a gratification to some one particular appetite or affection in our nature. As our eyes are said to be so formed as to receive pleasure from colours; but yet it is always some particular colour or mixture of colours that gives us that pleasure we call pleasure arising from colours; so it is with regard to all other pleasures. We may class pleasures under different general names, and say very intelligibly, we would have pleasure of such a sort; but in order to have our longing satisfied, some particular object must be applied to satisfy it: Or we may say more generally, we would have pleasure without fixing so much as upon a general class of pleasures, as pleasures of sight, of hearing, of smell, &c. But still it must be some particular object, suited to some particular affection, or particular sense of pleasure in our nature, that satisfies us in this undetermined longing or restlessness of the mind. In fine, however much philosophers talk of a general desire of happiness, and of our being actuated by this desire, which is properly called self-love, in all our pursuits; yet it is particular objects, adjusted to certain particular affections in our nature, that constitute our happiness. And it is only by gratifying some one of these particular affections that we can have pleasure. Nor is it less evident that all our particular affections rest each in its object. “The very nature of affection (says an excellent writer)1 consists in tending towards, and resting on its objects as an end. We do indeed often in common language say, that things are loved, desired, esteemed, not for themselves, but for somewhat further, somewhat out of and beyond them; yet in these cases, whoever will attend, will see that these things are not in reality the objects of the affections, i.e. are not loved, desired, esteemed, but the somewhat further out of and beyond them. If we have no affections which rest in what are called their objects, then what is called affection, love, desire, hope, in human nature, is only an uneasiness in being at rest, an unquiet disposition to action, progress and pursuit, without end or meaning. But if there be any such thing as delight in the company of one person rather than of another, whether in the way of friendship, or mirth and entertainment, it is all one, if it be without respect to fortune, honour, or increasing our stores of knowledge, or any thing beyond the present time; here is an instance, of an affection absolutely resting in its object as its end, and being gratified in the same way as the appetite of hunger is satisfied with food. Yet nothing is more common than to hear it asked, what advantage a man hath in such a course, suppose of study, particular friendships, or in any other; nothing, I say is more common, than to hear such a question put, in a way which supposes no gain, advantage, or interest, but as a means to somewhat further: And if so, then there is no such thing at all as a real interest, gain or advantage. This is the same absurdity with respect to life, as an infinite series of effects without a cause is in speculation. The gain, advantage or interest consists in the delight itself arising from such a faculty’s having its object: Neither is there any such thing as happiness or enjoyment but what arises from hence. The pleasures of hope and of reflexion are not exceptions. The former being only this happiness anticipated, the latter the same happiness enjoyed over again after its time. Self-love, or a general desire of happiness, is inseparable from all sensible creatures, who can reflect upon themselves, and their own interest or happiness, so as to make that interest an object to their minds. But self-love does not constitute this or that to be our interest or good; but our interest or good being constituted by nature, and supposed, self-love only puts upon gaining, or making use of those objects which are by nature adapted to afford us satisfaction. Happiness or satisfaction consists only in the enjoyment of those objects, which are by nature suited to our several particular appetites, passions and affections. And there is therefore a distinction between the cool principle of self-love, or general desire of our own happiness, as one part of our nature, and one principle of action, and the particular affections towards particular objects as another part of our nature, and another principle of action, without which there could be absolutely no such thing at all as happiness or enjoyment of any kind whatsoever.” From all which it follows, 1. That it is absurd to speak of self-love as engrossing the whole of our nature, and making the sole principle of action. And, 2. That in order to know what we ought to pursue, or what happiness we are capable of, it is absolutely necessary to know our particular affections which constitute our capacities of enjoyment or happiness, and the objects adapted by nature to them.
But why we have insisted so long on this observation, will appear when we come to mention several of our particular affections and their objects.
[1 ] Joseph Butler, sermon XIII, “Upon the Love of God,” 259, in Butler, Fifteen Sermons Preached at the Rolls Chapel.