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section vi: Some general Conclusions concerning the best Management of our Desires. With some Principles necessary to Happiness. - Francis Hutcheson, An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense 
An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense, ed. Aaron Garrett (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).
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Some general Conclusions concerning the best Management of our Desires. With some Principles necessary to Happiness.
[165/167] We see therefore, upon comparing the several kinds of Pleasures and Pains, both as to Intention and Duration, that “the whole Sum of Interest lies upon the Side of Virtue, Publick‐spirit, and Honour. That to forfeit these Pleasures in whole, or in part, for any other Enjoyment, is the most foolish Bargain; and on the contrary, to secure them with the Sacrifice of all others, is the truest Gain.”
Constant Discipline necessary.There is one general Observation to be premised, which appears of the greatest Necessity for the just Management of all our Desires; viz. that we should, as much as possible, in all Affairs of Importance to our selves or others, prevent the Violence of their confused Sensation, and stop their Propensities from breaking out into Action, till we have fully examined the real Moment of the Object, either of our Desires  or Aversions. The only way to affect this is, “a constant Attention of Mind, an habitual Discipline over our selves, and a fixed Resolution to stop all Action, before a calm Examination of every Circumstance attending it; more particularly, the real Values of external Objects, and the moral Qualities or Tempers of rational Agents, about whom our Affections may be employed.” This Power we may obtain over our selves, by a frequent Consideration of the great Calamities, and pernicious Actions, to which even the best of our Passions may lead us, when we are rashly hurried into Action by their Violence, and by the confused Sensations, and fantastick Associations of Ideas which attend them: Thus we may raise an habitual Suspicion and Dreadof every violent Passion, which, recurring along with them continually, may in some measure counter‐ballance their Propensities and confused Sensations. This Discipline of our Passions is in general necessary. The unkindor destructive Affections, our Anger, Hatred, or Aversion to rational Agents, seem to need it most; but there is also a great Necessity for it, even about the tender and benign Affections, lest we should be hurried into universal and absolute Evil, by the Appearance of particular Good: And consequently it must be of the highest Importance to all, to strengthen as much  as possible, by frequent Meditation and Reflection, the calm  Desires either private or publick, rather than the particular Passions, and to make the calm universal Benevolence superior to them.
Resignation of sensual Pleasures.That the necessary Resignation of other Pleasures may be the more easy, we must frequently suggest to our selves these Considerations abovementioned. “External Pleasures are short and transitory, leave no agreeable Reflection, and are no manner of Advantage to us when they are past; we are no better than if we had wanted them altogether.”
In like manner, “past Pains give us no unpleasant Reflection, nor are we the worse for having endured them. If they are violent, our Existence will probably be short; if not, they are tolerable, or allow long Intervals of Ease.” Let us join to these a stoical Consideration; “that external Pains give us a noble Opportunity of moral Pleasures in Fortitude, and Submission to the Order of the whole, if we bear them resolutely; but if we fret under them, we do not alleviate the Suffering, but rather increase it by Discontent or Sullenness.” When external Pains must be endured voluntarily to avoid moral Evil, we must, as much as possible, present to our selves  “the moral Species itself,  with the publick Goodto ensue, the Honour and Approbation to be expected from all good Men, the Deity, and our own Hearts, if we continue firm; and on the contrary, the Remorse, Shame and Apprehension of future Punishments, if we yield to this Temptation.”
How necessary it is to break off the vain Associations of moral Ideas, from the Objects of external Senses, will also easily appear. This may be done, by considering how trifling the Services are which are done to our Friends or Acquaintances, by splendid Entertainments, at an Expense, which, otherways employed, might have been to them of considerable Importance. Men who are at ease, and of as irregular Imaginations as our selves, may admire and praise our Magnificence; but those who need more durable Services, will never think themselves much obliged. We cannot expect any Gratitude for what was done only to please our own Vanity: The Indigent easily see this, and justly consider upon the whole how much they have profited.
If the Wealth of the Luxurious fails, he is the Object of Contempt: No body pities him nor honours him: his personal Dignity was placed by himself in his Table,  Equipage and Furniture; his Admirers placed  it also in the same: When these are gone all is lost.
There is no Enjoyment of external Pleasure, which has more imposed upon Men of late, by some confused Species of Morality, than Gallantry. The sensible Pleasure alone must, by all Men who have the least Reflection, be esteemed at a very low rate: But the Desires of this kind, as they were by Nature intended to found the most constant uninterrupted Friendship, and to introduce the most venerable and lovely Relations, by Marriages and Families, arise in our Hearts, attended with some of the sweetest Affections, with a disinterested Love and Tenderness, with a most gentle and obliging Deportment, with something great and heroick in our Temper. The Wretch who rises no higher in this Passion than the mean sensual Gratification, is abhorred by every one: But these sublimer Sensations and Passions do often so fill the Imaginations of the Amorous, that they are unawares led into  the  most contemptible and cruel Conduct which can be imagined. When for some trifling transitory Sensations, which they might have innocently enjoyed along with the highest moral Pleasures in Marriage, they expose the very Person they love and admire to the deepest Infamy and Sorrow, to the Contempt of the World, to perpetual Confusion, Remorse, and Anguish; or, to what is worse, an Insensibility of all Honour or Shame, Virtue or Vice, Good or Evil, to be the Scorn and Aversion of the World; and all this coloured over with the gay Notions of Pleasantry, Genteelness, Politeness, Courage, high Enjoyment of Life.
Would Men allow themselves a little Time to reflect on the whole Effect of such capricious Pursuits, the Anguish and Distraction of Mind which these Sallies of Pleasure give to Husbands, Fathers, Brothers; would they consider how they themselves would resent such Treatment of a Wife, a Child, a Sister; how much deeper such Distresses are, than those trifling Losses or Damages, for which we think it just to bring the Authors of them to the Gallows; sure none but a thorow Villain could either practice or approve the one more than the other.
[171/173] A wise Man in his Oeconomy, must do much even in Complaisance to the Follies of others, as well as his own Conveniency, to support that general good Opinion which must be maintained by those who would be publickly useful. His Expences must be some way suited to his Fortune, to avoid the Imputation of Avarice. If indeed what is saved in private Expences, be employed in generous Offices, there is little danger of this Charge. Such a Medium may be kept as to be above Censure, and yet below any Affectation of Honour or Distinction in these matters. If one corrects his own Imagination in these things, he will be in no danger of doing any thing pernicious to please others. He is still in a State fit to judge of the real Importance of every thing which occurs to him, and will gratify the false Relish of others, no farther than it is consistent with, and subservient to some nobler Views.
Conduct necessary about the Pleasures of Imagination.II. To make the Pleasures of Imagination a constant Source of Delight, as they seem intended in the Frame of our Nature, with no hazard of Pain, it is necessary to keep the Sense free from foreign Ideas of Property, and the Desire of Distinction, as much as possible. If this can be done, we may receive Pleasure from every Work of Nature or Art around us. We enjoy  not only the whole of Nature, but the united Labours of all about us. To prevent the Idea of Property, let us consider “how little the Proprietor enjoys more than the Spectator: Wherein is he the better or the happier?” The Poet, or the Connoisseur, who judges nicely of the Perfection of the Works of Art, or the Beauties of Nature, has generally a higher Taste than the Possessor. The magnificent Palace, the grand Apartments, the Vistas, the Fountains, the Urns, the Statues, the Grottos and Arbours, are exposed either in their own Nature, or by the Inclination of the Proprietor, to the Enjoyment of others. The Pleasure of the Proprietor depends upon the Admiration of others, he robs himself of his chief Enjoyment if he excludes Spectators: Nay, may not a Taste for Nature be acquired, giving greater Delight than the Observation of Art?
Must an artful Grove, an Imitation of a Wilderness, or the more confined Forms or  Ever‐greens, please more than the real Forest,  with the Trees of God? Shall a Statue give more Pleasure than the human Face Divine?
Where the Humour of Distinction is not corrected, our Equals become our Adversaries: The Grandeur of another is our Misery, and makes our Enjoyments insipid. There is only one way of making this Humour tolerable, but this way is almost inconsistent with the Inclination itself, viz. “continually to haunt with our Inferiors, and compare our selves with them.” But if inconstant Fortune, or their own Merit do raise any of them to equal us, our Pleasure is lost, or we must sink ourselves to those who are still Inferior, and abandon the Society of every Person whose Art or Merit raises him. How poor a Thought is this!
The Pursuits of the Learnedhave often as much Folly in them as any others, when Studies are not valued according to their Use in Life, or the real Pleasures they contain, but for the Difficulty and Obscurity, and consequently the Rarity and Distinction. Nay, an abuse may be made of the most noble and manly Studies, even of Morals, Politicks, and Religion itself, if our Admiration and Desire terminate upon the Knowledge itself, and not upon  the Possession of  the Dispositions and Affections inculcated in these Studies. If these Studies be only matter of Amusement and Speculation, instead of leading us into a constant Discipline over our selves, to correct our Hearts, and to guide our Actions, we are not much better employed, than if we had been studying some useless Relations of Numbers, or Calculations of Chances.
There is not indeed any part of Knowledge which can be called entirely useless. The most abstracted Parts of Mathematicks, and the Knowledge of mythological History, or antient Allegories, have their own Pleasures not inferior to the more gay Entertainments of Painting, Musick, or Architecture; and it is for the Advantage of Mankind that some are found, who have a Taste for these Studies. The only Fault lies, in letting any of those inferior Tastes engross the whole Man to the Exclusion of the nobler Pursuits of Virtue and Humanity.
Concerning all these Pleasures of the Imagination, let us consider also “how little support they can give Men under any of the Calamities of Life,” such as the Treachery or Baseness of a Friend, a Wife, a Child, or the perplexing Intricacies  of our common Affairs, or the Apprehension of Death.
Ideas of Divinity arise from the internal Senses.III. Under this Head of our Internal Sense, we must observe one natural Effect of it, that it leads us into Apprehensions of aDeity. Grandeur, Beauty, Order, Harmony, wherever they occur, raise an Opinion of a Mind, of Design, and Wisdom. Every thing great, regular, or proportioned, excites Veneration, either toward itself, if we imagine it animated, if not animated, toward some apprehended Cause. No Determination of our Mind is more natural than this, no Effect more universal. One has better Reason to deny the Inclination between the Sexes to be natural, than a Disposition in Mankind to Religion.
We cannot open our Eyes, without discerning Grandeur and Beauty every where. Whoever receives these Ideas, feels an inward Veneration arise. We may fall into a Thousand vain Reasonings: foolish limited Notions of Divinity may be formed, as attached to the particular Places or  Objects, which strike us in the most lively  manner. Custom, Prejudice of Sense or Education, may confirm some foolish Opinion about the Nature or Cause of these Appearances: But wherever a superior Mind, a governing Intention or Design is imagined, there Religion begins in its most simple Form, and an inward Devotion arises. Our Nature is as much determined to this, as to any other Perception or Affection. How we manage these Ideas and Affections, is indeed of the greatest Importance to our Happiness or Misery.
The Apprehension of an universal Mind with Power and Knowledge, is indeed an agreeable Object of Contemplation. But we must form our Ideas of all intelligent Natures, with some Resemblance or Analogy to our selves: We must also conceive something correspondent to our Affections in the Divinity, with some moral Apprehensions of the Actions and Tempers of his Creatures. The Order of Nature will suggest many Confirmations of this. We must conclude some Worship acceptable, and some Expressions of Gratitude as our Duty. The Conceptions of the Deity must be various, according to the different Degrees of Attention and Reasoning in the Observers, and their own Tempers and Affections. Imagining the divine Mind, as cruel,  wrathful, or capricious, must be a perpetual Source of Dread and Horror; and will be apt to raise a Resemblance of Temper in the Worshipper, with its attendant Misery. A contrary  Idea of the Divinty, as good, and kind, delighting in universal Happiness, and ordering all Events of the Universe to this End, as it is the most delightful Contemplation, so it fills the good Mind with a constant Security and Hope, amidst either publick Disorders, or private Calamities.
To find out which of these two Representations of the Deity is the true one, we must consult the Universe, the Effect of his Power, and the Scene of his Actions. After what has been observed by so many ingenious Authors, both Ancient and Modern, one cannot be at a loss which Opinion to chuse. We may only on this occasion consider the Evidences of divine Goodness appearing in the Structure of our own Nature, and in the Order of our Passions and Senses.
Evidences of the Goodness of God in the Frame of our Senses and Affections.It was observed above, how admirably our Affections are contrived for good in the whole. Many of them indeed do not pursue the private Goodof the Agent; nay, many of them, in various Cases, seem to tend to his detriment, by concerning him violently in the Fortunes of others, in their  Adversity, as well as their Prosperity. But they all aim at good, either private or publick: and by them each particular Agent is  made, in a great measure, subservient to the good of the whole. Mankind are thus insensibly link’d together, and make one great System, by an invisible Union. He who voluntarily continues in this Union, and delights in employing his Power for his Kind, makes himself happy: He who does not continue this Union freely, but affects to break it, makes himself wretched; nor yet can he break the Bonds of Nature. His publick Sense, his Love of Honour, and the very Necessities of his Nature, will continue to make him depend upon his System, and engage him to serve it, whether he inclines to it or not. Thus we are formed with a View to a general good End; and may in our own Nature discern a universal Mind watchful for the whole.
The same is observable in the Order of our external Senses. The simple Productions of Nature, which are useful to any Species of Animals, are also grateful to them; and the pernicious or useless Objects are made disagreeable. Our external Sensations are no doubt often painful, when our Bodies are in a dangerous State; when they want supplies of Nourishment; when any thing external would be injurious to them. But if it appears, “that the general Laws  are wisely constituted, and that it is necessary to the Good of a System of  such Agents, to be under the Influence of general Laws, upon which there is occasion for Prudence and Activity;” the particular Pains occasioned by a necessary Law of Sensation, can be no Objection against the Goodness of the Author.
Now that there is no room for complaint, that “our external Sense of Pain is made too acute,” must appear from the Multitudes we daily see so careless of preserving the Blessing of Health, of which many are so prodigal as to lavish it away, and expose themselves to external Pains for very trifling Reasons. Can we then repine at the friendly Admonitions of Nature, joined with some Austerity, when we see that they are scarce sufficient to restrain us from Ruin? The same may be said of the Pains of other kinds. Shame and Remorse are never to be called too severe, while so many are not sufficiently restrained by them. Our Compassion and friendly Sense of Sorrow, what are they else but the Alarms and Exhortations of a kind impartial Father, to engage his Children to relieve a distressed Brother? Our Anger itself is a necessary Piece of Management, by which every pernicious Attempt is made dangerous to its Author.
[180/182] Would we allow room to our Invention, to conceive what sort of Mechanism, what Constitutions of Senses or Affections a malicious powerful Being might have formed, we should soon see how few Evidences there are for any such Apprehension concerning the Author of this World. Our Mechanism, as far as we have ever yet discovered, is wholly contrived for good. No cruel Device, no Art or Contrivance to produce evil: No such Mark or Scope seems ever to be aimed at. How easy had it been to have contrived some necessary Engines of Misery without any use; some Member of no other service but to be matter of Torment; Senses incapable of bearing the surrounding Objects without Pain; Eyes pained with the Light; a Palate offended with the Fruits of the Earth; a Skin as tender as the Coats of the Eye, and yet some more furious Pain forcing us to bear these Torments? Human Society might have been made as uneasy as the Company of Enemies, and yet a perpetual more violent Motive of Fear might have forc’d us to bear it. Malice, Rancour, Distrust, might have been our natural Temper. Our Honour and Self‐Approbation might have depended upon Injuries; and the Torments of others been made our Delight, which yet we could not have enjoyed thro’  perpetual Fear. Many such Contrivances we  may easily conceive, whereby an evil Mindcould have gratified his Malice by our Misery. But how unlike are they all to the Intention or Design of the Mechanism of this World?
Our Passions no doubt are often matter of Uneasiness to our selves, and sometimes occasion Misery to others, when any one is indulged into a Degree of Strength beyond its Proportion. But which of them could we have wanted, without greater Misery in the whole? They are by Nature ballanced against each other, like the Antagonist Muscles of the Body; either of which separately would have occasioned Distortion and irregular Motion, yet jointly they form a Machine, most accurately subservient to the Necessities, Convenience, and Happiness of a rational System. We have a Power of Reason and Reflection, by which we may see what Course of Action will naturally tend to procure us the most valuable Gratifications of all our Desires, and prevent any intolerable or unnecessary Pains, or provide some support under them. We have Wisdom sufficient to form Ideas of Rights, Laws, Constitutions; so as to preserve large Societies in Peace and Prosperity, and promote a general Goodamidst all the private Interests.
[182/184] If from the present Order of Nature, in which Goodappears far superior to Evil, we have just Presumptions to conclude the Deity to be benevolent, it is not conceivable “that any Being, who desires the Happiness of others, should not desire a greater Degree of Happiness to them rather than a less; and that consequently the whole Series of Events is the best possible, and contains in the whole the greatest possible absolute Good:” especially since we have no Presumption of any private Interest, which an universalMind can have in view, in opposition to the greatest Good of the whole. Nor are the particular Evils occurring to our Observation, any just Objection against the perfect Goodness of the universal Providence to us, who cannot know how far these Evils may be necessarily connected with the Means of the greatest possible absolute Good.
The Conduct of our publick Sense andAffections.IV. In managing our publick Sense of the State of others, we must beware of one common Mistake, viz. “apprehending every Person to be miserable in those Circumstances, which we imagine would make our selves miserable.” We may easily find, that the lower Rank of Mankind, whose only Revenue is their bodily Labour, enjoy as much Chearfulness, Contentment, [183/185] Health, Gaiety, in their own way, as any in the highest Station of Life. Both their Minds and Bodies are soon fitted to their State. The Farmer and Labourer, when they enjoy the bare Necessaries of Life, are easy. They have often more correct Imaginations, thro’ Necessity and Experience, than others can acquire by Philosophy. This Thought is indeed a poor Excuse for a base selfish Oppressor, who, imagining Poverty a great Misery, bears hard upon those in a low Station of Life, and deprives them of their natural Conveniences, or even of bare Necessaries. But this Consideration may support a compassionate Heart, too deeply touched with apprehended Miseries, of which the Sufferers are themselves insensible.
The Pains of this Sense are not easily removed. They are not allayed by the Distinction of Pains into real and imaginary. Much less will it remove them, to consider how much of human Misery is owing to their own Folly and Vice. Folly and Vice are themselves the most pityable Evils. It is of more consequence to consider, what Evidences there are “that the Vice and Misery in the World are smaller than we sometimes in our melancholy Hours imagine.” There are no doubt many furious  Starts of Passion, in which  Malice may seem to have place in our Constitution; but how seldom, and how short, in comparison of Years spent in fixed kind Pursuits of the Good of a Family, a Party, a Country? How great a Part of human Actions flow directly from Humanity and kind Affection? How many censurable Actions are owing to the same Spring, only chargeable on Inadvertence, or an Attachment to too narrow a System? How few owing to any thing worse than selfish Passions above their Proportion?
Here Men are apt to let their Imaginations run out upon all the Robberies, Piracies, Murders, Perjuries, Frauds, Massacres, Assassinations, they have ever either heard of, or read in History; thence concluding all Mankind to be very wicked: as if a Court of Justice were the proper Place of making an Estimate of the Morals of Mankind, or an Hospital of the Healthfulness of a Climate. Ought they not to consider, that the Number of honest Citizens and Farmers far surpasses that of all sorts of Criminals in any State; and that the innocent or kind Actions of even Criminals themselves, surpass their Crimes in Numbers? That ’tis the Rarity of Crimes, in comparison of innocent or good Actions,  which engages our Attention to them, and makes them be recorded in History; while incomparably more honest, generous,  domestick Actions are overlooked, only because they are so common; as one great Danger, or one Month’s Sickness, shall become a frequently repeated Story, during a long Life of Health and Safety.
The Pains of the external Senses are pretty frequent, but how short in comparison of the long Tracts of Health, Ease and Pleasure? How rare is the Instance of a Life, with one tenth spent in violent Pain? How few want absolute Necessaries; nay, have not something to spend on Gaiety and Ornament? The Pleasures of Beauty are exposed to all in some measure. These kinds of Beauty which require Property to the full Enjoyment of them, are not ardently desired by many. The Good of every kind in the Universe, is plainly superior to the Evil. How few would accept of Annihilation, rather than Continuance in Life in the middle State of Age, Health and Fortune? Or what separated Spirit, who had considered human Life, would not, rather than perish, take the hazard of it again, by returning into a Body in the State of Infancy?
[186 ] These Thoughts plainly shew a Prevalence of Good in the World. But still our publick Sense finds much matter of compassionate Sorrow among Men. The Many are in a tolerable good State; but who can be unconcerned for the distressed Few? They are few in comparison of the whole, and yet a great Multitude.
What Parent would be much concerned at the Pains of breeding of Teeth, were they sure they would be short, and end well? Or at the Pain of a Medicine, or an Incision, which was necessary for the Cure, and would certainly accomplish it? Is there then no Parent in Nature, no Physician who sees what is necessary for the Whole, and for the good of each Individual in the whole of his Existence, as far as is consistent with the general Good? Can we expect, in this our Childhoodof Existence, to understand all the Contrivance and Art of this Parent and Physician of Nature? May not  some harsh Discipline be necessary to Good? May not many natural Evils be necessary to prevent future moral Evils, and to correct the Tempers of the Agents, nay to introduce moral Good? Is not Suffering and Distress requisite, before there can be room for generous Compassion, Succour, and Liberality? Can there be Forgiveness, Returns of good for evil,  unless there be some moral Evil? Must the Whole want the eternally delightful Consciousness of such Actions and Dispositions, to prevent a few transient Sensations of Pain, or natural Evil? May there not be some unseen Necessity for the greatest universal Good, that* there should be an Order of Beings no more perfect than we are, subject to Error and wrong Affections sometimes? May not all the present Disorders which attend this State of prevalent Order, be rectified by the directing Providence in a future Part of our Existence? This Belief of a Deity, a Providence, and a future State, are the only sure Supports to a good Mind. Let us then acquire and strengthen our Love and Concern for this Whole, and acquiesce in what the governing Mind, who presides in it, is ordering in the wisest Manner, tho not yet fully known to us, for its most universal Good.
The Necessity of believing a future State. A future State, firmly believed, makes the greatest Difficulties on this Subject to vanish. No particular finite Evils can be looked upon as intolerable, which lead to Good, infinite in Duration. Nor can we complain of the Conditions of Birth, if the present Evils of Life have  even a probable hazard of everlasting Happiness to compensate them; much more if it be placed in our power certainly to obtain it. Never could the boldest Epicurean bring the lightest Appearance of Argument against the Possibility of such a State, nor was there ever any thing tolerable advanced against its Probability. We have no Records of any Nation which did not entertain this Opinion. Men of Reflection in all Ages, have found at least probable Arguments for it; and the Vulgar have been prone to believe it, without any other Argument than their natural Notions of Justice in the Administration of the World. Present Hope is present Good: and this very Hope has enlivened human Life, and given ease to generous Minds, under Anxieties about the publick Good.
This Opinion was interwoven with all Religions; and as it in many instances overballanced the Motives to Vice, so it removed Objections against Providence. The  good Influence of this Opinion, however it might not justify any Frauds, yet probably did more good than what might overballance many Evils flowing from even very corrupt Religions. How agreeable then must it be to every good Man, that this Opinion, were there even no more to be done, should be confirmed beyond question or doubt, by a well attested divine  Revelation, for the perpetual Security of the virtuous, and for the constant Support of the kind and compassionate? How gladly must every honest Heart receive it; and rejoice that even those who have neither Leisure nor Capacity for deep Reflection, should be thus convinced of it?
The Conduct of the unkind Affections.As to the Management of those Passions which seem opposite to the Happiness of others, such as Anger, Jealousy, Envy, Hatred; it is very necessary to represent to our selves continually, the most favourable Conceptions of others, and to force our Minds to examine the real Springs of the resented Actions. We may almost universally find, that “no Man acts from pure Malice; that the Injurious only intended some Interest of his own, without any ultimate Desire of our Misery; that he is more to be pitied for his own mean selfish Temper, for the want of true Goodness, and its attendant Happiness, than to be hated for his Conduct, which is really more pernicious to himself  than to others.* Our Lenity, Forgiveness, and Indulgence to the Weakness of others, will be constant Matter of delightful Consciousness, and Self‐Approbation;  and will be as probably effectual in most cases, to obtain Reparation of Wrongs, from an hearty Remorse, and thorow Amendment of the Temper of the Injurious, as any Methods of Violence.” Could we raise our Goodness even to an higher Pitch, and consider “the Injurious as our Fellow-Members in this great intellectual Body, whose Interest and Happiness it becomes us to promote, as much as we can consistently with that of others, and not to despise, scorn, or cut them off, because of every Weakness, Deformity, or lighter Disorder;” we might bring our selves to that divine Conduct, of even returning good for evil.
In like manner, our Emulation, Jealousy, or Envy, might be restrained in a great measure, by a constant Resolution of bearing always in our Minds the*lovely Side of every Character:† “The compleatly Evil are as rare as the perfectly Virtuous: There is something amiable almost in every one.” Could we enure our selves  constantly to dwell on these things, we might often bear patiently the Success of a Rival, nay, sometimes even rejoice in it, be more happy our  selves, and turn him into a real Friend. We should often find those Phantoms of Vice and Corruption which torment the Jealous, vanishing before the bright Warmth of a thorow good Temper, resolved to search for every thing lovely and good, and averse to think any evil.
Conduct of the moral Sense, and Sense of Honour.V. In governing our moral Sense, and Desires of Virtue, nothing is more necessary than to study the Nature and Tendency of human Actions; and to extend our views to the whole Species, or to all sensitive Natures, as far as they can be affected by our Conduct. Our moral Sense thus regulated, and constantly followed in our Actions, may be the most constant Source of the most stable Pleasure. The same Conduct is always the most probable Means of obtaining the Pleasures of Honour. If there be a Distinction between Truth and Falshood, Truth must be stronger than Falshood: It must be more probable that Truth will generally prevail; that the real good Tendency of our Actions, and the Wisdom of our Intentions will be known; and Misrepresentations or partial Views will vanish. Our Desire of Honour is not confined to our present State. The Prospect of future Glory is a strong Motive  of Action. And thus the Time, in which our Character may have the hazard of obtaining Justice, has no other Limits  than those of the Existence of rational Natures. Whereas, partial Notions of Virtue, and partial Conduct, have no other Foundation for Self‐Approbation, than our Ignorance, Error, or Inadvertence; nor for Honour, than the like Ignorance, Error, or Inadvertence of others.
That we may not be engaged into any thing contrary to the publick Good, or to the true Schemes of Virtue, by the Desire of false Honour, or Fear of false Shame, it is of great use to examine the real Dignity of those we converse with, and to confine our Intimacies to the truly virtuous and wise. From such we can expect no Honour, but according to our sincere Pursuit of the publick Good; nor need we ever fear any Shame in such a Course. But above all, did we frequently, and in the most lively manner, present to ourselves that great, and wise, and good Mind, which presides over the Universe, sees every Action, and knows the true Character and Disposition of every Heart, approving nothing but sincere Goodness and Integrity; did we consider that the time will come, when we shall be as conscious of his Presence, as we are of our own Existence; as sensible of his Approbation or  Condemnation, as we are of the Testimony of our own Hearts; when we shall be engaged in a Society of Spirits, stripped of these Prejudices  and false Notions which so often attend us in Flesh and Blood, how should we despise that Honour which is from Men, when opposite to the truest Honour from God himself?
The Desires of Wealth and Power.VI. Concerning the Desires of Wealth and Power, besides what was suggested above to allay their Violence, from considering the small Addition commonly made to the Happiness of the Possessor, by the greatest Degrees of them, and the Uncertainty of their Continuance; if we have obtained any share of them, let us examine their true Use, and what is the best Enjoyment of them.
What moral Pleasures, what Delights of Humanity, what Gratitude from Persons obliged, what Honour, may a wise Man of a generous Temper purchase with them? How foolish is the Conduct of heaping up Wealth for Posterity, when smaller Degrees might make them equally happy! when great Prospects of this kind are the strongest Temptations to them, to indulge Sloth, Luxury,  Debauchery, Insolence, Pride, and Contempt of their Fellow‐Creatures;  and to banish some noble Dispositions, Humility, Compassion, Industry, Hardiness of Temper and Courage, the Offspring of the sober rigid Dame Poverty. How often does the Example, and almost direct Instruction of Parents, lead Posterity into the basest Views of Life!
How powerfully might the Example of a wisely generous Father, at once teach his Offspring the true Value of Wealth or Power, and prevent their Neglect of them, or foolish throwing them away, and yet inspire them with a generous Temper, capable of the just Use of them!
Support against Death.Death is one Object of our Aversion, which yet we cannot avoid. It can scarcely be said, that “the Desire of Life is as strong as the Sum of all selfish Desires.” It may be so with those who enure themselves to no Pleasures but those of the external Senses.  But how often do we see  Death endured, not only from Love of Virtue, or publick Affections, in Heroes and Martyrs, but even from Love of Honour in lower Characters! Many Aversions are stronger than that to Death. Fear of bodily Pain, fear of Dishonour, which are selfish Aversions, do often surpass our Aversion to Death, as well as publick Affections to Countries or Friends. It is of the greatest Consequence to the Enjoyment of Life, to know its true Value; to strip Death of its borrowed Ideas of Terror; to consider it barely as the Cessation of both the Pains and Pleasures we now feel, coming frequently upon us with no more Pain than that of Swooning, with a noble Hazard, or rather a certain Prospect of superior Happiness to every good Mind. Death in this view must appear an inconsiderable Evil, in comparison of Vice, Self‐Abhorrence, real Dishonour, the Slavery of one’s Country, the Misery of a Friend.
The tender Regards to a Family and Offspring, are often the strongest Bands to restrain a generous Mind from submitting to Death. What shall be the Fate of a Wife, a Child, a Friend, or a Brother, when we are gone, are the frequent Subjects of grievous Anxiety. The Fortunes of such Persons often depend much upon us; and when  they do not, yet we are more anxious  about their State when we shall be absent.
Next to the Belief of a good Providence, nothing can support Men more under such Anxieties, than considering how often the Orphan acquires a Vigor of Mind, Sagacity and Industry, superior to those who are enfeebled by the constant Care and Services of others. A wise Man would desire to be provided with Friends against such an Exigency; Persons of such Goodness, as would joyfully accept the Legacy of a Child, or indigent Friendcommitted to their Protection.
Support against Death.If Death were an entire Endof the Person, so that no Thought or Sense should remain, all Goodmust cease at Death, but no Evil commence. The Loss of Goodis Evil to us now, but will be no Evil to a Being which has lost all Sense of Evil. Were this the Case, the Consolation against Death would only be this, frequently to look upon Life and all its Enjoyments as granted to us only for a short Term; to employ this uncertain Time as much as we can in the Enjoyment  of the noblest Pleasures;  and to prevent Surprize at our Removal, by laying our Account for it.
But if we exist, and think after Death, and retain our Senses of Good and Evil, no Consolation against Death can be suggested to a wicked Man; but for the virtuous, there are the best Grounds of Hope and Joy. If the Administration of the whole be good, we may be sure “that Order and Happiness will in the whole prevail: Nor will Misery be inflicted any farther than is necessary for some prepollent Good.” Now there is no Presumption, that the absolute Misery of any virtuous Person can be necessary to any good End: Such Persons therefore are the most likely to enjoy a State of perfect Happiness.
What is the natural State of Men.VII. To conclude: Let us consider that common Character, which when ascribed to any State, Quality, Disposition, or Action, engages our Favour and Approbation of it, viz. its being natural. We have many Suspicions about Tempers or Dispositions formed by Art, but are some way prepossessed in favour of what is natural: We imagine it must be advantageous and delightful to be in a natural State, and to live according to Nature. “This very Presumption in favour of what is natural, is a plain Indication that  the Order of Nature is good, and that Men are some [198 ] way convinced of it. Let us enquire then what is meant by it.”
If by natural we mean “that which we enjoy or do, when we first begin to exist, or to think,” it is impossible to know what State, Temper, or Actions, are natural. Our natural State in this Sense differs little from that of a Plant, except in some accidental Sensations of Hunger, or of Ease, when we are well nourished.
Some elaborate Treatises of great Philosophers about innate Ideas, or Principles practical or speculative, amount to no more than this, “That in the Beginning of our Existence we have no Ideas or Judgments;” they might have added too, no Sight, Taste, Smell, Hearing, Desire, Volition. Such Dissertations are just as useful for understanding human Nature, as it would be in explaining the animal Oeconomy, to prove that the Faetus is animated before it has Teeth, Nails, Hair, or before it can eat, drink, digest, or breathe: Or in a natural History of Vegetables, to prove that Trees begin to grow before they have Branches, Leaves, Flower, Fruit, or Seed: And consequently that all these things were adventitious, or the Effect of Art.
 But if we call “that State, those Dispositions and Actions, natural, to  which we are inclined by some part of our Constitution, antecedently to any Volition of our own; or which flow from some Principles in our Nature, not brought upon us by our own Art, or that of others;” then it may appear, from what was said above, that “a State of Good‐will, Humanity, Compassion, mutual Aid, propagating and supporting Offspring, Love of a Community or Country, Devotion, or Love and Gratitude to some governing Mind, is our natural State,” to which we are naturally inclined, and do actually arrive, as universally, and with as much uniformity, as we do to a certain Stature and Shape.
If by natural we understand “the highest Perfection of the Kind, to which any Nature may be improved by cultivating its natural Dispositions or Powers;” as few arrive at this in the Growth of their Bodies, so few obtain it in their Minds. But we may see what this Perfection is, to which our natural Dispositions tend, when we improve them to the utmost, as far as they are consistent with each other, making the weaker or meaner yield to the more excellent and stronger. Our several Senses and Affections, publick and private, with our Powers  of Reason and Reflection, shew this to be the Perfection of our Kind, viz. “to know,  love, and reverence the great Author of all things; to form the most extensive Ideas of our own true Interests, and those of all other Natures, rational or sensitive; to abstain from all Injury; to pursue regularly and impartially the most universal absolute Good, as far as we can; to enjoy constant Self‐Approbation, and Honour from wise Men; with Trust in divineProvidence,Hope of everlasting Happiness, and a full Satisfaction and Assurance of Mind, that the whole Series of Events is directed by an unerring Wisdom, for the greatest universal Happiness of the whole.”
To assert that “Men have generally arrived to the Perfection of their Kindin this Life,” is contrary to Experience. But on the other hand, to suppose “no Order at all in the Constitution of our Nature, or no prevalent Evidences of good Order,” is yet more contrary to Experience, and would lead to a Denial of Providence in the most important Affair which can occur to our Observation. We actually see such Degrees of good Order, of social Affection, of Virtue and Honour, as make the Generality of Mankind continue in a tolerable, nay, an agreeable State. However, in some  Tempers we see the selfish Passions by Habits grown too strong;  in others we may observe Humanity, Compassion, and Good‐nature sometimes raised by Habits, as we say, to an Excess.
Were we to strike a Medium of the several Passions and Affections, as they appear in the whole Species of Mankind, to conclude thence what has been the natural Ballance previously to any Change made by Custom or Habit, which we see casts the Ballance to either side, we should perhaps find the Medium of the publick Affections not very far from a sufficient Counter‐ballance to the Medium of the Selfish; and consequently the Overballance on either side in particular Characters, is not to be looked upon as the original Constitution, but as the accidental Effect of Custom, Habits, or Associations of Ideas, or other preternatural Causes: So that an universal increasing of the Strength of either, might in the whole be of little advantage. The raising universally the publick Affections, the Desires of Virtue and Honour, would make the Hero of Cervantes, pining with Hunger and Poverty, no rare Character. The universal increasing of Selfishness, unless we had more accurate Understandings to discern our nicest Interests, would fill the World with universal Rapine and War. The Consequences of  either universally abating, or increasing the Desires between the Sexes, the Love of Offspring, or the several  Tastes and Fancies in other Pleasures, would perhaps be found more pernicious to the whole, than the present Constitution. What seems most truly wanting in our Nature, is greater Knowledge, Attention and Consideration: had we a greater Perfection this way, and were evil Habits, and foolish Associations of Ideas prevented, our Passions would appear in better order.
But while we feel in ourselves so much publick Affection in the various Relations of Life, and observe the like in others; while we find every one desiring indeed his own Happiness, but capable of discerning, by a little Attention, that not only his external Conveniency, or worldly Interest, but even the most immediate and lively Sensations of Delight, of which his Nature is susceptible, immediately flow from a Publick Spirit, a generous, human, compassionate Temper, and a suitable Deportment; while we observe so many Thousands enjoying a tolerable State of Ease and Safety, for each one whose Condition is made intolerable, even during our present Corruption: How can any one look upon this World as under the Direction of an evil Nature, or even question a perfectly goodProvidence? How clearly does the  Order of our Nature point out to us our true Happiness and Perfection, and lead us to it as naturally as the several Powers of  the Earth, the Sun, and Air, bring Plants to their Growth, and the Perfection of their Kinds? We indeed are directed to it by our Understanding and Affections, as it becomes rational and active Natures; and they by mechanick Laws. We may see, that “Attention to the most universal Interest of all sensitive Natures, is the Perfection of each individual of Mankind:” That they should thus be like well‐tuned Instruments, affected with every Stroke or Touch upon any one. Nay, how much of this do we actually see in the World? What generous Sympathy, Compassion, and Congratulation with each other? Does not even the flourishing State of the inanimate Parts of Nature, fill us with joy? Is not thus our Nature admonished, exhorted and commanded to cultivate universal Goodness and Love, by a Voice heard thro’ all the Earth, and Words sounding to the Ends of the World?
Illustrations uponthe Moral Sense
[205/207] The Differences of Actions from which some are constituted morally Good, and others morally Evil, have always been accounted a very important Subject of Inquiry: And therefore, every Attempt to free this Subject from the usual Causes of Error and Dispute, the Confusion of ambiguous Words, must be excusable.
Definitions.In the following Discourse, Happiness denotes pleasant Sensation of any kind, or a continued State of such Sensations; and Misery denotes the contrary Sensations.
Such Actions as tend to procure Happiness to the Agent, are called privately useful: and such Actions as procure Misery to the Agent, privately hurtful.
 Actions procuring Happiness to others may be called publickly useful, and the contrary Actions publickly hurtful. Some Actions may be both publickly and privately useful, and others both publickly and privately hurtful.
These different natural Tendencies of Actions are universally acknowledged; and in proportion to our Reflection upon human Affairs, we shall enlarge our Knowledge of these Differences.
Two Questions about Morality.When these natural Differences are known, it remains to be inquired into: 1st, “What Quality in any Action determines our Election of it rather than the contrary?” Or, if the Mind determines itself, “What Motives or Desires excite to an Action, rather than the contrary, or rather than to the Omission?” 2dly, “What Quality determines our Approbation of one Action, rather than of the contrary Action?”
The Words Election and Approbation seem to denote simple Ideas known by Consciousness; which can only be explained by synonimous Words, or by concomitant or consequent Circumstances. Election is purposing to do an Action rather than its contrary, or than being inactive. Approbation of our own Action denotes, or is attended with a Pleasure in the Contemplation of it, and in Reflection upon the Affections which inclined us to it. Approbation of the Action of another is pleasant, and is attended with Love toward the Agent.*
The Qualities moving to Election, or exciting to Action, are different from those moving to Approbation: We often do Actions which we do not approve, and approve Actions which we omit: We often desire that an Agent had omitted an Action which we approve; and wish he would do an Action which we condemn. Approbation is employed about the Actions of others, where there is no room for our Election.
Now in our Search into the Qualities exciting either our Election or Approbation, let us consider the several Notions advanced of moral Good and Evil in both these Respects; and what Senses, Instincts, or Affections,  must be necessarily supposed to account for our Approbation or Election.
The Epicurean Opinion.There are two Opinions on this Subject entirely opposite: The one that of the old Epicureans, as it is beautifully explained in the first Book of Cicero, De [208 ] finibus; which is revived by Mr. Hobbes, and followed by many better Writers: “That all the Desires of the human Mind, nay of all thinking Natures, are reducible to Self‐Love, or Desire of private Happiness: That from this Desire all Actions of any Agent do flow.”40 Our Christian Moralists introduce other sorts of Happiness to be desired, but still “ ’tis the Prospect of private Happiness, which, with some of them, is the sole Motive of Election.41 And that, in like manner, what determines any Agent to approve his own Action, is its Tendency to his private Happiness in the whole, tho it may bring present Pain along with it: That the Approbation of the Action of another, is from an Opinion of its Tendency to the Happiness of the Approver, either immediately or more remotely: That each Agent may discover it to be the surest way to promote his private Happiness, to do publickly useful Actions, and to abstain from those which are publickly hurtful:  That the neglecting to observe this, and doing publickly hurtful Actions, does mischief to the whole of Mankind, by hurting any one part; that every one has some little damage by this Action: Such an inadvertent Person might possibly be pernicious to any one, were he in his Neighbourhood; and the very Example  of such Actions may extend over the whole World, and produce some pernicious Effects upon any Observer. That therefore every one may look upon such Actions as hurtful to himself, and in this view does disapprove them, and hates the Agent. In the like manner, a publickly useful Action may diffuse some small Advantage to every Observer, whence he may approve it, and love the Agent.”
Does not answer the Appearances.This Scheme can never account for the principal Actions of human Life:* Such as the Offices of Friendship, Gratitude, natural Affection, Generosity, publick Spirit, Compassion. Men are conscious of no such Intentions or acute Reflections in these Actions. Ingenious speculative Men, in their straining to support an Hypothesis, may contrive a thousand subtle selfish Motives, which a kind generous Heart never dreamed of. In like manner, this Scheme can never account for  the sudden Approbation, and violent Sense of something amiable in Actions done in distant Ages and Nations, while the Approver has perhaps never thought of these distant Tendencies to his Happiness. Nor will it better account for our want of Approbation  toward publickly useful Actions done casually, or only with Intention of private Happiness to the Agent. And then, in these Actions reputed generous, if the Agent’s Motive was only a view to his own Pleasure, how come we to approve them more than his enriching himself, or his gratifying his own Taste with good Food? The whole Species may receive a like Advantage from both, and the Observer an equal Share.
Were our Approbation of Actions done in distant Ages and Nations, occasioned by this Thought, that such an Action done toward our selves would be useful to us, why don’t we approve and love in like manner any Man who finds a Treasure, or indulges himself in any exquisite Sensation, since these Advantages or Pleasures might be conferred on our selves; and tend more to our Happiness than any Actions in distant Ages?
The Sanctions of Laws may make any Agent chuse the Action required, under the Conception of useful to himself, and lead  him into an Opinion of private Advantage in it, and of detriment in the contrary Actions; but what should determine any Person to approve the Actions of others, because of a Conformity to a  Law, if Approbation in any Person were only an Opinion of private Advantage?
The opposite Opinion does plainly.The other Opinion is this, “That we have not only Self‐Love, but benevolent Affections also toward others, in various Degrees, making us desire their Happiness as an ultimate End, without any view to private Happiness: That we have a moral Sense or Determination of our Mind, to approve every kind Affection either in our selves or others, and all publickly useful Actions which we imagined do flow from such Affection, without our having a view to our private Happiness, in our Approbation of these Actions.”
These two Opinions seem both intelligible, each consistent with itself. The former seems not to represent human Nature as it is; the other seems to do it.
Schemes seemingly different from both.There have been many ways of speaking introduced, which seem to signify something different from both the former Opinions. Such as these, that “Morality of Actions consists in Conformity to Reason, or Difformity  from it:” That “Virtue is acting according to the absolute Fitness and Unfitness of Things, or agreeably to the  Natures or Relations of Things,” and many others in different Authors. To examine these is the Design of the following Sections; and to explain more fully how the Moral Sense alledged to be in Mankind, must be presupposed even in these Schemes.
[33.]Horace, Satires, II.2, 102–7. “Is there nothing better to spend your surplus on? Why are any undeserving men in want while you are rich? Why are the ancient temples of the Gods ruined? Why, wicked man, don’t you dole out something from that great heap for the fatherland? Surely things will only go right for you. Oh what a great laugh your enemies will have someday.” This is the satire from which Shaftesbury takes the epigram for Sensus Communis, “hac urget Lupus, hac Canis” [“On the one side a wolf attacks, on the other a dog”] (Shaftesbury, Characteristicks, I:37).
[34.]Horace, Epistles, I.10.19–24. “Is the grass poorer in fragrance or beauty than Libyan mosaics? Is the water purer which in city‐streets struggles to burst its leaden pipes than that which dances and purls adown the sloping brooks? Why amid your varied columns you are nursing trees, and you praise the mansion which looks out on distant fields. You may drive out Nature with a pitchfork, yet she will ever hurry back.” H. R. Fairclough, trans., Horace: Satires, Epistles, and Ars Poetica (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978). Shaftesbury quotes line 24 in “Miscellaneous Reflections,” IV.2 (Characteristicks, III:132).
[35.]Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, II.48–53. This passage is part of the famous “Proem” to Book II, the locus classicus of the sort of Epicureanism that Hutcheson sought to undermine: “If truly the fears of men, and the cares which follow them, neither shrink at the sound of arms, nor fierce weapons; and boldly hover among kings and rulers of the world, neither revere the glitter of gold, nor the brilliant splendor of a purple robe, why then do we doubt that all this is reason alone?”
[36.]John Milton, Paradise Lost, 146–51. This is from Belial’s speech, as Satan and the fallen angels debate a plan to recover heaven. Belial uses this as a pretext not to attack heaven, lest by angering God the fallen angels would cease to exist.
[*]See the Archbishop of Dublin, de Origine Mali.
[*]See this Point handled with great Judgment, in Plato’s Gorgias.
[*]Epictet. Enchir.Cap. 65.
[37.]Persius, Satires, III. 69–71, “Are shiny new coins more useful? How much should be spent on our country and our near and dear?”
[38.]Juvenal, Satires, 14, “It is believed that there are no happy paupers” (120–121); “When you tell a youth that it is stupid to give a present to a friend, or to help a poor relative, you teach him to rob and cheat” (235–37); “Therefore the fire, whose sparks you tended, you will now see blaze far and wide and seize everything it meets” (244–45).
[39.]Horace, Epodes, I.19–22, “just as the mother bird while guarding unfledged chicks/fears most the serpent’s glide/when she has left the nest, although her presence/could not be any help to them,” West, trans., Horace.
[*]See Treat. II. Sect. 2. Parag. ult.
[40. ]See, particularly, Cicero, De Finibus, 23b.
[41.]This is perhaps a reference to John Clarke, as Hutcheson would stop short of calling Pufendorf or Locke Epicureans, even though they share a similar theory of motivation.
[*]See Treat. III. Sect. 1.