Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECTION IX - A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations
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SECTION IX - 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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The first particular law which appears to those who consider the nature and circumstances of mankind is the law of industry.The pleasures we are capable of, are gratifications to our particular affections, the principal of which have been named (§6); for hardly can any enjoyment we are susceptible of, be specified, which is not a gratification of one or other of these outward or inward faculties or senses of pleasure. Our pleasures may therefore be divided into two classes; the goods of the body, and the goods of the mind. For all our affections, all our senses of pleasure, either have some sensitive, or some intellectual and moral gratification for their objects. Gratification to our eyes, our ears, our touch, and our other organs of sense, are bodily gratifications. Gratifications to our discernment of truth, and our delight in it; to our taste of beauty and harmony and delight in it; to our public sense, or our delight in the happiness of others, &c. are gratifications to capacities, senses of pleasure, or affections, which, to distinguish them from those afforded by corporeal objects to our sensitive organs, may be called intellectual or moral, or goods of the mind. But however the goods or pleasures we are capable of be divided or classed, this is certain, with regard to them all, that they are made to be the purchase of our activity or industry to have them; they do not drop into the mouth (if we may so speak) of the sluggard; but we must exert ourselves to attain to them. As we cannot otherwise have the pleasures of sense, or the goods of the body; so no more can we, without industry and application, have the pleasures of knowledge, refined taste, benevolence, &c. And hence that antient observation concern-ing the government or frame of the world with respect to man; θεοι τἀγαθα τοὴς πονοις πολοῦνται. God or nature sells all to industry.3 This truth is so plain to daily experience, that we need not stay to prove it. But from this general law of nature arises a law to us, viz. the law of industry; or the necessity of our activity, application or industry, in order to attain to any goods. And if we will reflect a little upon our minds, we shall find, that as no goods can be attained by us, but by exerting ourselves actively to have them; so activity or exercise is necessary to our happiness in another sense, i.e. immediately, or in itself. The mind of man is made for exercise, exercise is its natural pleasure. It is of a restless temper, and must be employed. If it is not, it preys upon, and consumes itself. Nor is exercise less necessary to the health, soundness, vigour, and agreeable feeling of the body, than employment is to the strength, agility, soundness, and pleasant state of the mind. We need not insist long to prove this; for daily experience shews, that as it happens among mankind, that whilst some are by necessity confined to labour, others are provided with abundance of things by the industry and labour of others; so if, among the superior and easy sort, who are thus relieved from bodily drudgery, there be not something of fit and proper employment raised in the room of what is wanting in common labour; if, instead of an application to any sort of work, such as hath an useful end in society (as letters, sciences, arts, husbandry, public affairs, &c.) there be a thorough neglect of all study or employment, a settled idleness, supineness and inactivity; this does of necessity occasion a most uneasy, as well as disorderly state of mind; a total dissolution of its natural vigour, which ends in peevishness, discontent, and sickly nauseating at life, and all its enjoyments. So necessary is some employment to the mind, that to supply exercise to it, many strange amusements and unaccountable occupations for time, thought, and passion have been invented by those, whom fortune hath rescued from drudgery to their backs and bellies, but good education hath not directed into proper pursuits and employments, which are their only security against utter discontent with themselves, and every thing about them, amidst the greatest abundance. Such strange occupations are their sole relief. But they are such only as they are some exercise to the mind, and prevent that languishing, fretting and nauseating, which total supineness and ease produces. And how feeble a security they are against the misery, which employment more suited to a mind capable of higher pursuits would absolutely prevent, is plain from the many bitter, sickly, discontented moments the men of pleasure, as they are absurdly called, cannot, by all their amusements, escape, compared with the equable contentedness of an honest daily labourer, conscious of the usefulness of his toil; not to mention the sedate, uniform satisfaction and cheerfulness of one, who having qualified himself for it, divides (as Scipio is said to have done) his time between elegant studies and public services to his country. The mind of man must have exercise and employment. Exercise itself is agreeable, and it is absolutely necessary to relief from the greatest of uneasinesses. And no goods can be attained without application and industry. If one would preserve his health and relish for sensitive pleasures, he must exercise his body. And if he would have the pleasures of knowledge, of refined imagination and good taste, the pleasures of power and authority, or the pleasures of benevolence and doing good, he must be diligent in the culture of his moral powers, and be ever intent upon some truly useful pursuit. If these ends do not employ him, he must either find other pursuits for himself, or he will be exceedingly unhappy. But what other pursuits can one devise to himself besides those of which he can say any thing better, than that they employ his mind, and keep time from hanging upon his hands, as the phrase is, or, more properly speaking, murder it? Can he name any other besides those that bear any congruity to the more noble and distinguishing powers and affections of the human mind? or that he can depend upon for steady and uncloying satisfaction? any other that can be re-enjoyed by reflection? any other that will stand a cool and serious review and examination?
But that I may not be thought to proceed too fast in my conclusions, and to have determined concerning the comparative value of pursuits too hastily, all I desire to have concluded at present, is, that according to the constitution of the human mind, and in consequence of the natural state of things, no goods, no enjoyments can be procured by us without application and industry, and that we are made to be busied and employed for exercise, or to be engaged in some pursuit. The greatest abundance of outward things, tho’ it relieves from certain toils, to which the necessities of life subject others; yet it does not, it cannot make one happy, if, in the room of the pursuits from which it delivers him, he do not find out some other satisfactory pursuit or employment for himself. Under this necessity hath nature laid us; nay, properly speaking, this necessity constitutes our dignity above inactive, or merely passive creatures, as free agents. For it is implied in the very notion of agency. One cannot otherwise be an agent, than as he is made to procure his happiness to himself by the active application of his powers in the pursuit of goods within his reach, if laboured for according to the way nature hath fixed and chalked out for attaining to them. And as the pleasure of considering goods as one’s own acquisition, is a pleasure that a being must be so framed to have; so this is a very high satisfaction, and an excellent natural reward to industry. How insipid are the satisfactions in which this is not an ingredient, in comparison of those which one owes to his own skill, prudence and industry, and in which he therefore triumphs as his own purchase, his own conquest, the product of his own abilities and virtues! ’Tis only beings so framed as that they must work out their own happiness, who can be capable of self-approbation. And who doth not feel the difference with which one reflects on the goods which are not of his own procurance to himself, such as beauty and the advantages of birth, for instance, and those accomplishments which he can vindicate to himself as his own proper purchase? And where self-approbation can take place, there only can good desert, with regard to others, take place; or can there be any foundation for praise and esteem from others, without which, how dull and insipid would life be? This is the general voice of mankind.
Thus far then are we advanced in finding out the connexions or laws of nature with regard to our happiness. We are made to work out our own happiness by our industry; we are made for activity and exercise. But how ought our industry to be directed, in consequence of what hath been observed concerning the presidence which reason ought to have in our minds (§8)? Must not the objects of our industry be chosen by reason, and all our exercises directed by it, in order to our having the satisfaction of reflecting upon our exercise as conformable to reason; and that it may be agreeable to the connexions of nature relative to our happiness; and so prove neither vain nor hurtful but turn to good account, and not produce repentance and suf-fering for having mistaken our end, and misapplied our labour and diligence; but contentment with ourselves for having acted with prudence, by the direction of reason for an approveable end, and in the proper manner for attaining that end. This therefore is one characteristic of our proper happiness, that it consists in a course of industry to attain ends which reason approves, under the direction and guidance of reason, as to the use of means.
[3 ] “The Gods sell good things in exchange for toil”: Turnbull’s Greek appears not to be accurate, but this is probably a phrase attributed to Epicharmus by Xenophon in his Memorabilia 2.1.20. Xenophon, Memorabilia and Oeconomicus. We are very grateful to Dr. Antony Hatzistavrou for identifying the probable source of this quotation.
[4 ] “So if I’m to be impressed by you and not your heritage, offer me something personal, something I can inscribe in your record of achievement, apart from those titles which we gave and (continue to give) to those men to whom you owe everything” (Juvenal, Juvenal and Persius, Satire 8, lines 68–70).