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will; since that which is future will certainly come to
of ... F. 64. The cause of our: judgingramiss, this.
when we compare our present pleasure or
. pain with 'future, seems to me to be the weak and narrow constitution of qur minds. · We cannot well enjoy twở pleasures at 'opce, much less any pleasure almost; whilst pain possesses us. * The present pleasure, if it be not very languid; and almost none át all, fills our narrow' souls, and so takes up the whole mind, that it scarce leaves any thought of things ab
sent: or if among our pleasures, there are some which are not strong enough to exclude the consideration of things at a distance; yet we have. so great an abhorrence of pain, that a little of it extinguishes all our pleasures: a little bitter mingled in our cup, leaves no relish of the sweet. Hence it comes, that at any rate we desire to be rid of the present evil, which we are apt to think nothing absent can equal; because, under the present pain, we find not ourselves capable of any the least degree of happiness Men's daily complaints are a loud proof of this: the pain that any one actually feels is still of all other the worst; and it is with anguish they cry out, “ Any rather than this: nothing “ can be so intolerable as what I now suffer:" . And therefore our whole endeavours and thoughts are intent to get rid of the present evil before all things, as the first necessary condition to our happiness, lot whạt will follow. Nothing as we passionately think, can exceed, or almost equal, the uneasiness that sits so heavy upon us. And because the abstinence from a present pleasure that offers itself, is a pain, nay oftentimes a very great one, the desire being inflamed by a near and tempting object; it is no wonder that that operates after the same manner pain does, and lessens in our thoughts what is future; and so forces, as it were, blindfold into its embraces.
§. 65. Add to this, that absent good, or, which is the same thing, future pleasure, especially if of a sort we are unacquainted with, seldom is able to counterbalance any uneasiness, either of pain or desire, which is present. For its greatness being no more than what shall be really tasted when enjoyed, men are apt enough to lesser that, to make it give place to any present desire; and conclude with themselves, that when it comes to trial, it may possibly not answer the report, or opinion, that generally passes of it; they having often found, that not only what others have magnified, but even what they themselves have enjoyed with great pleasure and delight at one time, has proved insipid or nauseous at another; and therefore they see nothing in it for which they should forego a present enjoyment. S 4
But that this is a false way of judging, when applied to
1. When we judge that so much evil does not really depend on them, as in truth there does.
2. When we judge, that though the consequence be of that moment, yet it is not of that certainty, but that it may otherwise fall out, or else by some means be avoided, as by industry, address, change, repentance, &c. That these are wrong ways of judging, were easy to show in every particular, if I would examine them at large singly: but I shall only mention this in general, viz. that it is a very wrong and irrational way of proceeding, to venture a greater good for a less, upon uncertain guesses, and before a due examination be made proportionable to the weightiness of the matter, and the concernment it is to us not to mistake. This, I think, every one must confess, especially if he considers the usual causes of this wrong judgment, whereof these following are some. Causes of
. 67. I. Ignorance: he that judges withthis.
out informing himself to the utmost that he
is capable, cannot acquit himself of judging amiss,
II. Inadverteney: when a man overlooks even that which he docs know. This is an affected and present ignorance, which misleads our judgments as much as the other. Judging is, as it were, balancing an account, and determining on which side the odds lię
If therefore either side be huddled up in haste, and lekin several of the sums, that should have gone into the
reckoping, be overlooked and left out, this precipiat tancy causes as wrong a judgment, as if it were a per
tancy causes as wrong which most En eo fect ignorance. That which most commonly causes
this, is the prevalency of some present pleasure or pain, mache heightened by our feeble passionate nature, most strongly
wrought on by what is present. To check this precipitancy, our understanding and reason was given us, if we will make a right use of it, to search and see, and then judge thereupon. Without liberty, the under
standing would be to no purpose; and without under2a26
standing, liberty (if it could be) would signify nothing. If a man sees what would do him good or harm, what would make him happy or miserable, without being able to move himself one step towards or from it, what is he the better for seeing? And he that is at liberty to ramble in perfect darkness, what is his liberty better, than if he were driven up and down as a bubble by the force of the wind ? The being acted by a blind im
pulse from without, or from within, is little odds. weit**
The first, therefore, and great use of liberty, is to hin-
though of great influence.
past doubt; but, as has been already ob- ment of what
in be us
ther; nor is the will determined to any action, in pura suit of any other known or apparent good. For since we find, that we cannot enjoy all sorts of good, but one excludes another; we do not fix our desires on every apparent greater good, unless it be judged to be necessary to our happiness; if we think we can be happy without it, it moves us not. This is another occasion to men of judging wrong, when they take not that to be necessary to their happiness, which really is so. This mistake misleads us both in the choice of the good we aim at, and very often in the means to it, when it is a remote good. But which way ever it be, either by placing it where really it is not, or by'neglecting the means as not necessary to it; when a man misses his great end happiness, he will acknowledge he judged not right. That which contributes to this mistake, is the real or supposed unpleasantness of the actions, which are the way to this end; it seeming so preposterous a thing to men, to make themselves , unhappy in order to happiness,' that they do not easily bring themselves to it.
. 5. 69. The last inquiry, therefore, conchange the · cerning this matter is, “ whether it be in ág rceable. “a man's power: to change the pleasantness or disa. “ness and unpleasantness that accompanies greeableness
“any sort of action ?" And as to that, it is
( ons sort of antinnAnd as to
. plain, in many cases he can. Men may and should correct their palates, and give relish to what either has, or they suppose has none. The relish of the mind is as various as that of the body, and like that too may be altered; and it is a unistake to think, that men cannot change the displeasingness or inditterency that is in actions into pleasure and desire, if they will do but what is in their power. A due consideration will do it in some cases; and practice, application, and custom in most. Bread or tobacco may be neglected, where they are shown to be uscful to health, because of an indifferency or disrelish to them; reason and consideration at first recommend, and begin their trial, and use finds, or custom makes them pleasant. That this is so in virtue too, is very certain. Actions