Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECTION II: Motives to Virtue from Personal Happiness - The Elements of Moral Philosophy
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SECTION II: Motives to Virtue from Personal Happiness - David Fordyce, The Elements of Moral Philosophy 
The Elements of Moral Philosophy, in Three Books with a Brief Account of the Nature, Progress, and Origin of Philosophy, ed. Thomas Kennedy (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003).
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Motives to Virtue from Personal Happiness
Motives from personal HappinessWe have already considered our Obligations to the Practice of Virtue, arising from the Constitution of our Nature, by which we are led to approve a certain Order and Oeconomy of Affections, and a certain Course of Action correspondent to it.* —But besides this, there are several Motives, which strengthen and secure Virtue, though not themselves of a Moral kind. These are, its Tendency to personal Happiness, and the contrary Tendency of Vice. “Personal Happiness arises, either from the State of a Man’s own Mind, or from the State and Disposition of external Causes towards him.”
Happiness of Virtue from withinWe shall first examine the “Tendency of Virtue to Happiness with respect to the State of a Man’s own Mind.”—This is a Point of the utmost Consequence in Morals, because, unless we can convince ourselves, or shew to others, that, by doing our Duty, or fulfilling our Moral Obligations, we consult the greatest Satisfaction of our own Mind, or our highest Interest on the whole, it will raise strong and often unsurmountable Prejudices against the Practice of Virtue, especially whenever there arises any Appearance of Opposition between our Duty, and our Satisfaction or Interest. To Creatures so desirous of Happiness, and averse to Misery as we are, and often so oddly situated amidst contending Passions and Interests, it is necessary that Virtue appear not only an honourable, but a pleasing and beneficent Form. And in order to justify our Choice to ourselves, as well as before others, we must ourselves feel and be able to avow in the Face of the whole World, that her Ways are Ways of Pleasantness and her Paths the Paths of Peace. This will shew, beyond all Contradiction, that we not only approve, but can give a sufficient Reason for what we do.
Influence of Vice on the Temper of the MindLet any Man, in a cool Hour, when he is disengaged from Business, and undisturbed by Passion, as such cool Hours will sometimes happen, sit down, and seriously reflect with himself what State or Temper of Mind he would chuse to feel and indulge, in order to be easy and to enjoy himself. Would he chuse, for that purpose, to be in a constant Dissipation and Hurry of Thought; to be disturbed in the Exercise of his Reason; to have various, and often interfering Phantoms of Good playing before his Imagination, soliciting and distracting him by turns, now soothing him with amusing Hopes, then torturing him with anxious Fears; and to approve this Minute what he shall condemn the next? Would he chuse to have a strong and painful Sense of every petty Injury; quick Apprehensions of every impending Evil; incessant and insatiable Desires of Power, Wealth, Honour, Pleasure; an irreconcileable Antipathy against all Competitors and Rivals; insolent and tyrannical Dispositions to all below him; fawning, and at the same time envious, Dispositions to all above him; with dark Suspicions and Jealousies of every Mortal? Would he chuse neither to love nor be beloved of any, to have no Friend in whom to confide, or with whom to interchange his Sentiments or Designs; no Favourite, on whom to bestow his Kindness, or vent his Passions; in fine, to be conscious of no Merit with Mankind, no Esteem from any Creature, no good Affection to his Maker, no Concern for, or Hopes of his Approbation; but instead of all these, to hate, and know that he is hated, to contemn, and know that he is contemned by, all; by the Good, because he is so unlike; and by the Bad, because he is so like themselves; to hate or to dread the very Being that made him; and in short, to have his Breast the Seat of Pride and Passion, Petulance and Revenge, deep Melancholy, cool Malignity, and all the other Furies that ever possessed and tortured Mankind?—Would our calm Enquirer after Happiness pitch on such a State, and such a Temper of Mind, as the most likely means to put him in possession of his desired Ease and Self-enjoyment?
Influence of Virtue on the TemperOr would he rather chuse a serene and easy Flow of Thoughts; a Reason clear and composed; a Judgment unbiassed by Prejudice, and undistracted by Passion; a sober and well-governed Fancy, which presents the Images of Things true and unmixed with delusive and unnatural Charms, and therefore administers no improper or dangerous Fuel to the Passions, but leaves the Mind free to chuse or reject as becomes a reasonable creature; a sweet and sedate Temper, not easily ruffled by Hopes or Fears, prone neither to Suspicion nor Revenge, apt to view Men and Things in the fairest Lights, and to bend gently to the Humours of others rather than obstinately to contend with them? Would he chuse such Moderation and Continence of Mind, as neither to be ambitious of Power, fond of Honours, covetous of Wealth, nor a Slave to Pleasure; a Mind of course neither elated with Success, nor dejected with Disappointment; such a modest and noble Spirit as supports Power without Insolence, wears Honours without Pride, uses Wealth without Profusion or Parsimony; and rejoices more in giving than in receiving Pleasure; such Fortitude and Equanimity as rises above Misfortunes, or turns them into Blessings; such Integrity and Greatness of Mind, as neither flatters the Vices, nor triumphs over the Follies of Men; as equally spurns Servitude and Tyranny, and will neither engage in low Designs, nor abet them in others? Would he chuse, in fine, such Mildness and Benignity of Heart as takes part in all the Joys, and refuses none of the Sorrows of others; stands well-affected to all Mankind; is conscious of meriting the Esteem of all, and of being beloved by the best; a Mind which delights in doing good without any Shew, and yet arrogates nothing on that account; rejoices in loving and being beloved by its Maker, acts ever under his Eye, resigns itself to its Providence, and triumphs in his Approbation?—Which of these Dispositions would be his Choice, in order to be contented, serene and happy?—The former Temper is Vice, the latterVirtue. Where One prevails, there Misery prevails, and by the Generality is acknowledged to prevail. Where the other reigns, there Happiness reigns, and by the Confession of Mankind is acknowledged to reign. The Perfection of either Temper is Misery, or Happiness in Perfection.Therefore every Approach to either Extreme, is an Approach to Misery, or to Happiness; that is to say, every Degree of Vice or Virtue is accompanied with a proportionable Degree of Misery or Happiness.
An Objection from an imaginary Coalition of Virtue and ViceBut many are of opinion, and, by their Practice seem to avow the Opinion, that, by blending or softening the Extremes, and artfully reconciling Virtue with Vice, they bid fairer to strike a just Medium of Happiness, to pass more smoothly through Life, and to have more Resources in the present embarassed Scene. Honesty (they acknowledge) “is, in the main, the best Policy, but it is often too blunt and surly, and always too scrupulous, and therefore to temper and season it with a little discreet Craft in critical and well-chosen Conjunctures, will, they think, make it more palatable to others and more profitable to one’s self. Kind Affection is a good Thing in its own Place, and when it costs a Man nothing; but Charity begins at home; and one’s Regard for others must still look that way, and be subservient to the main Chance. Besides, why suffer unnecessary Disquiet on the Account of others? Our own Happiness is Charge enough to us; and if we are not to be happy till others are so too, it is a mere Utopian Dream ever to expect it. One would not chuse to do Ill for the sake of Ill, but when Necessity requires it, the lesser Good must submit to the greater, that is, to our own personal Good; for in it, by the first and fundamental Law of our Nature, we are most interested. By such a Conduct we shall have least Reason to accuse ourselves, be most easy within, and best secured against the Misfortunes and Assaults of others.”
The Temper and Condition of Half-honesty or KnaveryThis is the Language of great Partiality of Thought, as well as great Partiality of Heart.—But as it is one of the main Forts in which Selfishness and Knavery use to intrench themselves, it may be worth while to beat it down, to make way for the full Triumphs of their fair Adversary. That Man may neglect, or hurt their own Interest by an indiscreet Concern about that of others—that Honesty may sometimes degenerate into a blunt Surliness, or a peevish Scrupulosity—that important Occasions may demand the Sacrifice of a less public, to a greater private Good—that it were Folly to make one’s self miserable, because others are not so happy as one would wish, we do not deny. But is there not the justest reason to suspect, that the dishonest, or the half-honest and contracted turn of Mind here pleaded for, is the very reverse of that Temper which begets true Satisfaction and Self-enjoyment, and of that Character which entitles to Credit, Security, and Success? The Man who doubts and hesitates, whether he may not, in some Instances, play the Knave, cannot, in any Sense, be termed honest. And surely, he cannot approve himself for that Conduct, which, by an inviolable Law of his Nature, he is compelled to condemn; and if he cannot approve himself for his Conduct, he is deprived of one of the sweetest Feelings of the human Heart. But, suppose he could disguise the immoral Deed or Disposition under the fair Name of some Virtue, or the Mask at least of a necessary Self-regard, as is often done, to elude the awful Decision of Conscience, which when uninfluenced is always unerring; yet he must be conscious he cannot stand the Test of Judges less interested than himself; and must therefore be under constant Dread of Discovery, and consequently of public Censure, with all its mortifying Attendants. This Dread must be so much the greater, if he has had Companions or Tools of his Knavery, which generally it must have in order to supply its native Impotence and Deficiency. This then is to be insecure, obnoxious, and dependent, and that too on the worst Set of Men, on whom one can have no hold but by their Vices, which, like undisciplined wild Beasts, often turn upon their Masters. Such an insecure, obnoxious, dependent State, must necessarily be a State of Suspicion, Servitude and Fear, which instead of begetting Serenity and Self-enjoyment, are the Parents of Disquiet and Misery. Besides, the fluctuating perpetually between opposite Principles, the Violence done to a native Sense of Honesty, the Reluctance against the first Advances of young and blushing Knavery, the hot and cold Fits of alternate Virtue and Vice, the Suspense and Irresolution of a Mind distracted between interfering Passions, are the first painful Symptoms of that dreadful Disease which afterwards lays waste every thing goodly and ingenuous, and raises Agonies intolerable to the Patient, and quite inconceivable by others. Whether such an inconsistent Conduct, divided between Vice and Virtue, will serve the Views of Interest proposed by it, will be afterwards examined.
Temper and Condition of the good benevolent ManAs to the other Part of the Objection, let it be considered, that a Man of an enlarged benevolent Mind, who thinks, feels, and acts for others, is not subject to half the Disquietudes of the contracted selfish Soul;—finds a thousand Alleviations to soften his Disappointments, which the other wants;—and has a fair Chance for double his Enjoyments. His Desires are moderate, and his Wants few in comparison of the other’s, because they are measured by Nature, which has Limits, not by Fancy or Passion, which has none. He is cautious, without being distrustful or jealous; careful, but not anxious; busy, but not distracted. He tastes Pleasure, without being dissipated; bears Pain, without Dejection or Discontent; is raised to Power, without turning giddy; feels few of the Pains of Competition, and none of the Pains of Envy.
The Alleviations of his IllsThe principal Alleviations of his Calamities are these—that, though some of them may have been the Effect of his Imprudence, or Weakness, yet few of them are sharpened by a Sense of Guilt, and none of them by a Consciousness of Wickedness, which surely is their keenest Sting;—that they are common to him with the best of Men;—that they seldom or never attack him quite unprepared, but rather guarded with a Consciousness of his own Sincerity and Virtue, with a Faith and Trust in Providence, and a firm Resignation to its perfect Orders;—that they may be improved as Means of Correction, or Materials to give Scope and Stability to his Virtues;—and, to name no more, they are considerably lessened, and often sweetened to him by the general Sympathy of the Wise and Good.
His EnjoymentsHis Enjoyments are more numerous, or, if less numerous, yet more intense than those of bad Men; for he shares in the Joys of others by Rebound; and every Increase of general or particular Happiness is a real Addition to his own. It is true, his friendly Sympathy with others subjects him to some Pains which the hard-hearted Wretch does not feel; yet to give a loose to it is a kind of agreeable Discharge. It is such a Sorrow as he loves to indulge; a sort of pleasing Anguish, that sweetly melts the Mind, and terminates in a Self-approving Joy. Though the good Man may want Means to execute, or be disappointed in the Success of his benevolent Purposes, yet, as was formerly* observed, he is still conscious of good Affections, and that Consciousness is an Enjoyment of a more delightful Savour than the greatest Triumphs of successful Vice. If the Ambitious, Covetous, or Voluptuous are disappointed, their Passions recoil upon them with a Fury proportioned to their Opinion of the Value of what they pursue, and their Hope of Success; while they have nothing within to balance the Disappointment, unless it is an useful Fund of Pride, which however frequently turns mere Accidents into mortifying Affronts, and exalts Grief into Rage and Frenzy. Whereas the meek, humble, and benevolent Temper is its own immediate Reward, is satisfied from within, and as it magnifies greatly the Pleasure of Success, so it wonderfully alleviates, and in a manner annihilates, all Pain for the want of it.
From merited Esteem and SympathyAs the good Man is conscious of loving and wishing well to all Mankind, he must be sensible of his deserving the Esteem and Good-will of all; and this supposed Reciprocation of social Feelings, is, by the very Frame of our Nature, made a Source of very intense and enlivening Joys. By this Sympathy of Affections and Interests he feels himself intimately united with the Human Race; and being sensibly alive over the whole System, his Heart receives, and becomes responsive to every Touch given to any Part. So that, as an eminent Philosopher† finely expresses it, he gathers Contentment and Delight from the pleased and happy States of those around him, from Accounts and Relations of such Happinesses, from the very Countenances, Gestures, Voices and Sounds even of Creatures foreign to our kind, whose Signs of Joy and Contentment he can any way discern.
Do not interfere with other JoysNor do those generous Affections stop any other natural Source of Joy whatever, or deaden his Sense of any innocent Gratification. They rather keep the several Senses and Powers of Enjoyment open and disengaged, intense and uncorrupted by Riot or Abuse; as is evident to any one who considers the dissipated, unfeeling State of Men of Pleasure, Ambition, or Interest, and compares it with the serene and gentle State of a Mind at peace with itself, and friendly to all Mankind, unruffled by any violent Emotion, and sensible to every good-natured and alluring Joy. He who daily dwells with Temperance and Virtue, those everlasting Beauties and of the highest Order, cannot be insensible to the Charms of Society, or Friendship, the Attractions of virtuous Love, the Delights of Reading, or to any Beauty of a lower Species, the Unbendings of innocent Mirth, or whatever else sets the Soul at Ease, and gives him a Relish of his Being. By enjoying himself, he is in the best posture for enjoying every thing else. All is pure and well-ordered in such a Heart, and therefore whatever Pleasure is poured into it has an original Savour, not a single Drop is lost. For Virtue draws off all but the Dregs, and by mixing something of her own with the most ordinary Entertainments, refines them into exalted Enjoyments.
The Misery of Excess in the Private PassionsIt were easy, by going through the different Sets of Affections mentioned formerly,* to shew, that it is only by maintaining the Proportion settled there that the Mind arrives at true Repose and Satisfaction. If Fear exceeds that Proportion, it sinks into Melancholy and Dejection. If Anger passes just Bounds, it ferments into Rage and Revenge, or subsides into a sullen corroding Gloom, which embitters every Good, and renders one exquisitely sensible to every Ill. The Private Passions, the Love of Honour especially, whose Impulses are more generous as its Effects are more diffusive, are Instruments of private Pleasure; but if they are disproportioned to our Wants, or to the Value of their several Objects, or to the Balance of other Passions, equally necessary, and more amiable, they become Instruments of intense Pain and Misery. For, being now destitute of that Counter-poise which held them at a due pitch, they grow turbulent, peevish, and revengeful, the Cause of constant Restlessness and Torment, sometimes flying out into a wild delirious Joy, at other times settling into a deep splenetic Grief. The Concert between Reason and Passion is then broke: all is Dissonance and Distraction within. The Mind is out of Frame, and feels an Agony proportioned to the Violence of the reigning Passion.
In the Public AffectionsThe Case is much the same, or rather worse, when any of the particular kind Affections are out of their natural Order and Proportion; as happens in the case of effeminate Pity, exorbitant Love, parental Dotage, or any Party Passion, where the just Regards to Society are supplanted. The more social and disinterested the Passion is, it breaks out into the wilder Excesses, and makes the more dreadful Havock, both within and abroad, as is but too apparent in those Cases where a false Species of Religion, Honour, Zeal, or Party Rage has seized on the natural Enthusiasm of the Mind, and worked it up to Madness. It breaks through all Ties, Natural and Civil, counteracts the most sacred and solemn Obligations, silences every other Affection, whether Public or Private, and transforms the most gentle Natures into the most savage and inhuman. Such an exorbitant Passion is like the enormous Growth of a natural Member, which not only draws from the Nourishment of the rest, but threatens the Mortification of the whole Body, and in the mean time occasions intolerable Pain and Anguish. In fine, all the natural Affections, like the animal Spirits, or Humours of a strong Body, if restrained from their proper Play, turn furious or melancholic, and generally force their way by some violent Discharge, no less hurtful to the Patient than offensive to those with whom he is connected.
Happiness of well- proportion’d PassionsWhereas the Man who keeps the Balance of Affection even, is easy and serene in his Motions; mild and yet affectionate; uniform and consistent with himself; is not liable to disagreeable Collisions of Interests and Passions; gives always place to the most friendly and humane Affections, and never to Dispositions or Acts of Resentment, but on high Occasions, when the Security of the private, or Welfare of the public System, or the great Interests of Mankind necessarily require a noble Indignation; and even then he observes a just Measure in Wrath; and last of all he proportions every Passion to the Value of the Object he affects, or to the Importance of the End he pursues.
Sum of the ArgumentTo sum up this Part of the Argument, the honest and good Man has eminently the Advantage of the knavish and selfish Wretch in every respect. The Pleasures which the last enjoys flow chiefly from external Advantages and Gratifications; are superficial and transitory; dashed with long Intervals of Satiety, and frequent Returns of Remorse and Fear; dependent on favourable Accidents and Conjunctures; and subjected to the Humours of Men. But the good Man is satisfied from himself; his principal Possessions lie within, and therefore beyond the Reach of the Caprice of Men or Fortune; his Enjoyments are exquisite and permanent; accompanied with no inward Checks to damp them, and always with Ideas of Dignity and Self-Approbation; may be tasted at any time and in any Place.* The Gratifications of Vice are turbulent and unnatural, generally arising from the Relief of Passions in themselves intolerable, and issuing in tormenting Reflections; often irritated by Disappointment, always inflamed by Enjoyment; and yet ever cloyed with Repetition. The Pleasures of Virtue are calm and natural; flowing from the Exercise of kind Affections, or delightful Reflections in consequence of them; not only agreeable in the Prospect, but in the present Feeling; they never satiate, or lose their Relish; nay, rather the Admiration of Virtue grows stronger every Day; and not only is the Desire but the Enjoyment heightened by every new Gratification; and unlike to most others, it is increased, not diminished by Sympathy and Communication. In fine, the Satisfactions of Virtue may be purchased without a Bribe, and possessed in the humblest, as well as the most triumphant Fortune; they can bear the strictest Review, do not change with Circumstances, nor grow old with Time. Force cannot rob, nor Fraud cheat us of them; and, to crown all, instead of abating, they enhance every other Pleasure.
External Effects of VirtueBut the happy Consequences of Virtue are seen, not only in the Internal Enjoyments it affords a Man, but “in the favourable Disposition of External Causes towards him, to which it contributes.”
On the BodyAs Virtue gives the sober Possession of one’s self and the Command of one’s Passions, the Consequence must be Heart’s Ease, and a fine natural Flow of Spirits, which conduce more than any thing else to Health and long Life. Violent Passions, and the Excesses they occasion, gradually impair and wear down the Machine. But the calm placid State of a temperate Mind, and the healthful Exercises in which Virtue engages her faithful Votaries, preserve the natural Functions in full Vigour and Harmony, and exhilarate the Spirits, which are the chief Instruments of Action. We might add, what will appear perhaps too refined, that as Virtue is the sound Temperament and beautiful Complexion of the Soul, so it even diffuses sometimes a congenial Air of Beauty over the Body, lights up, and spreads out the Countenance into a certain Openness, Chearfulness and Dignity, those natural Irradiations of inward Worth, which Politeness, that Ape of Virtue, may imitate, but can never fully attain.—In fine, Temperance, which has been called sometimes the Mother, and at other times the Nurse of the Virtues, is beautifully described by an ingenious Author,* to be that Virtue without Pride, and Fortune without Envy, that gives Indolence of Body and Tranquillity of Mind; the best Guardian of Youth and Support of old Age, the Tutelar Goddess of Health, and universal Medicine of Life, that clears the Head, strengthens the Nerves, enlightens the Eyes, and comforts the Heart.
On one’s Fortune, Interest, &c.It may by some be thought odd to assert, that Virtue is no Enemy to a Man’s Fortune in the present State of Things.—But if, by Fortune, be meant a moderate or competent Share of Wealth, Power, or Credit, not overgrown Degrees of them, what should hinder the virtuous Man from obtaining that? He cannot cringe or fawn, it is true, but he can be civil and obliging as well as the Knave; and surely, his Civility is more alluring, because it has more Manliness and Grace in it than the mean Adulation of the other; he cannot cheat or undermine, but he may be cautious, provident, watchful of Occasions, and equally prompt with the Rogue in improving them; he scorns to prostitute himself as a Pandar to the Passions, or as a Tool to the Vices of Mankind, but he may have as sound an Understanding and as good Capacities for promoting their real Interests as the veriest Court-Slave; and then, he is more faithful and true to those who employ him. In the common Course of Business, he has the same Chances with the Knave of acquiring a Fortune, and rising in the World. He may have equal Abilities, equal Industry, equal Attention to Business; and in other respects he has greatly the Advantage of him. People love better to deal with him; they can trust him more; they know he will not impose on them, nor take Advantage of them, and can depend more on his Word than on the Oath or strongest Securities of others. Whereas what is commonly called Cunning, which is the Offspring of Ignorance, and constant Companion of Knavery, is not only a mean-spirited, but a very short-sighted Talent, and a fundamental obstacle in the Road of Business. It may procure indeed immediate and petty Gains, but it is attended with dreadful Abatements, which do more than over-balance them, both as it sinks a Man’s Credit when discovered, and cramps that Largeness of Mind, which extends to the remotest as well as the nearest Interest, and takes in the most durable, equally with the most transient Gains. It is therefore easy to see how much a Man’s Credit and Reputation, and consequently his Success, depend on his Honesty and Virtue. The truly good Man has no Character to personate, no Mask to wear; his Designs are transparent, and one Part of his Discourse and Conduct exactly tallies with another. Having no sordid Views to promote, no mean Passions to serve, but wishing well to every body, and doing all the Good he can, he is intrenched and guarded round by Innocence and Virtue; and, though he is not secured against Misfortunes, yet his Character and the Friends his Merit has procured him will frequently retrieve him. Whereas Tricking, as one well expresses it, is a sort of Disguise, by which a Man hides himself in one Place, and exposes himself in another. Besides, Falshood and Roguery are variable unsettled Things, and the Source of a Conduct both irresolute and inconsistent. They must often change hands, and be ever contriving new Expedients as Accidents vary; and one lame Measure must always limp on after another to support and back it. So that an inexhausted Fund of Craft is necessary to play the Knave to any purpose, and to maintain for any time a counterfeit Character. When he is once detected, his Credit is blown for ever; and, unless he is a great Master in Dissimulation, his artificial Conduct will ever render him obnoxious to Suspicion, which is ever sharp-sighted. Even the good Man is not secure against the Attacks of Calumny, but he is armed against its Sting. If he cannot silence, he will confute Detraction by obstinately persisting in being virtuous and doing good; in time almighty Truth will prevail, and he might extort Veneration from the Partial, as well as obtain a chearful Tribute from the Candid Judges of Merit. But should the Cloud, in which Malice or Envy may have involved his Virtue, never be entirely dissipated in his Life, yet Death, that Soother of Envy and the Malevolent Passions, will totally dispel any remaining Gloom, and display his Character in all its genuine and unstained Glory. For the Bed of Virtue is a Bed of Honour, and he who dies in it, cannot die unlamented by the Good, nor unreverenced by the Bad.
On one’s Peace and SecurityWith regard to Security and Peace with his Neighbours, it may be thought perhaps, that the Man of a quiet forgiving Temper, and a flowing Benevolence and Courtesy, is much exposed to Injury and Affronts from every proud or peevish Mortal, who has the Power or Will to do Mischief. If we suppose indeed, this Quietness and Gentleness of Nature accompanied with Cowardice or Pusillanimity, this may often be the Case; but in reality, the good Man is bold as a Lion, and so much the bolder for being the calmer. Such a Person will hardly be a But to Mankind. The ill-natured will be afraid to provoke him, and the good-natured will not incline to do it. Besides, true Virtue, which is conducted by Reason, and exerted gracefully and without Parade, is a most insinuating and commanding Thing; if it cannot disarm Malice and Resentment at once, it will wear them out by Degrees, and subdue them at length. How many have, by Favours and prudently yielding, triumphed over an Enemy who would have been enflamed into tenfold Rage by the fiercest Opposition! In fine, Goodness is the most universally popular Thing that can be. Though the Prejudices or Passions of Men may sometimes dress it up in the Disguise of Weakness, or deface it with unlovely Features, yet let the Mask be dropt, and the lovely Form appear as it is, the most prejudiced will respect, the unprejudiced admire and love it, and all will be afraid, or at least ashamed, to traduce or offend a Thing so innocent and so God-like.
On one’s FamilyTo conclude, the good Man may have some Enemies, but he will have more Friends, and having given so many Marks of private Friendship or public Virtue, he can hardly be destitute of a Patron to protect, or a Sanctuary to entertain him, or to entertain and protect his Children when he is gone. Tho’ he should have little else to leave them, he bequeaths them the fairest, and generally the most unenvied Inheritance of a good Name, which, like good Seed sown in the Field of Futurity, will often raise up unsolicited Friends, and yield a benevolent Harvest of unexpected Charities. But should the Fragrance of the Parent’s Virtue prove offensive to a perverse or envious Age, or even draw Persecution on the friendless Orphans, there is one in Heaven who will be more than a Father to them, and recompense their Parent’s Virtues by showering down Blessings on them. The Thoughts of leaving them in such good Hands sustain the honest Parent, and make him smile in the Agonies of Death; being secure that that almighty Friend, who has dispensed such a Profusion of Bounties to himself, cannot prove an unkind Guardian, or an unfaithful Trustee to his fatherless Offspring.—This leads to consider a sublime Motive, and noble Mould to Virtue, from whence it derives its firmest Support, and in which it receives its highest Finishing and Lustre.
[*] Vid. Book I. Sect. 1, 2, &c.
[*] See Book 2. §. 2.
[†] Vid. Shaftsb. Inq. into Virtue, Book 2. [Anthony Ashley Cooper, third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671–1713), published a corrected version of his An Inquiry Concerning Virtue, or Merit (1699) in 1711 as part of his Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times. A second revised edition appeared in 1714, after his death. In Book 2, section 2, part 1 (paragraph 176) of the Inquiry he observes, “So insinuating are these pleasures of sympathy, and so widely diffused through our whole lives, that there is hardly such a thing as satisfaction or contentment of which they make not an essential part.”]
[*] See Book 1. §. 1. 2.
[*] Vid. the late ingenious Dial. on Happiness by J. H. [James Harris (1709–80) of Salisbury was a nephew of Lord Shaftesbury, a member of Parliament, and an independent scholar best known for his Hermes: or, a Philosophical Inquiry Concerning Language and Universal Grammar (London, 1751). His essay on happiness was published as the third of Three Treatises (London, 1744). The first of the three treatises, “Concerning Art,” was dedicated to his uncle, Lord Shaftesbury. The second treatise addressed music, painting, and poetry.]
[*] See Temple’s Miscell. Part 1. Treat. 6. [Sir William Temple (1608–99) was an English diplomat and author. In the final essay of part one of his Miscellanea, 4th ed. (London, 1704–5), “An essay upon the cure of the gout by moxa,” he discusses the contribution of temperance to good health.]