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"play the fool, and draw shame and misery up^m 'a "man's self?" If to break loose from the conduct of reason, and to want that restraint of examination and judgment, which keeps us from choosing or doing the worse, be liberty, true liberty, madmen and fools are the only freemen: but yet, I think, nobody would choose to be mad for the sake of such liberty, but he that is mad already. The constant desire of happiness, and the constraint it puts upon us to act for it, nobody, I think, accounts an abridgment of liberty, or at least an abridgment of liberty to be complained of. God Almighty himself is under the necessity of being happy; and the more any intelligent being is so, the nearer is its approach to infinite perfection and happiness. That in this state of ignorance we short-sighted creatures might not mistake true felicity, we are endowed with a power to suspend any particular desire, and keep it from determining the will, and engaging us in action. This is standing still, where we are not sufficiently assured of the way: examination is consulting a guide. The determination of the will upon inquiry is following the direction of that guide: and he that has a power to act or not to act, according as such determination directs, is a free agent; such determination abridges not that power wherein liberty consists. He that has his chains knocked off, and the prison doors set open to him, is perfectly at liberty, because he may either go or stay, as he best likes; though his preference be determined to stay, by the darkness of the night, or illness of the weather, or want of other lodging. He ceases not to be free, though the desire of some convenience to be had there absolutely determines his preference, and makes him stay in his prison. Thenecessi- §. 51. As therefore the highest perfectyofpursu- tjon 0f intellectual nature lies in a careful. Lng t5ae and constant pursuit of true and solid hapthefounda- piness, so the care of ourselves, that we tion of li- mistake not imaginary for real happiness, is berty. tne necessary foundation of our liberty. The stronger ties we have to an unalterable pursuit of happiness in general, which is our greatest good, and
which, as such, our desires always follow, the more are we free from any necessary determination of our will to any particular action, and from a necessary compliance with our desire, set upon any particular, and then appearing preferable good, till we have duly examined, whether it has a tendency to, or be inconsistent with our real happiness: and therefore till we are as much informed upon this inquiry, as the weight of the matter, and the nature of the case demands; we are, by the necessity of preferring and pursuing true happiness as our greatest good, obliged to suspend the satisfaction of our desires in particular cases.
§. 5S3. This is the hinge on which turns Thg n the liberty of intellectual beings, in their ofit/6*80" constant endeavours after and a steady prosecution of true felicity, that they can suspend this prosecution in particular cases, till they have looked^'; before them, and informed themselves whether that,-.' particular thing, which is then proposed or desired, lie in the way to their main end, and make a real part of that which is their greatest good: for the inclination/ ^ and tendency of their nature to happiness is an obligation and motive to them, to take care not to mistake or miss it; and so necessarily puts them upon caution, deliberation, and wariness, in the direction of their particular actions, which are the means to *obtain it. Whatever necessity determines to the pursuit of real bliss, the same necessity with the same force establishes , ,suspense, deliberation, and scrutiny of each successive desire, whether the satisfaction of it does not interfere with our true happiness, and mislead us from it, > This, as seems to me, is the great privilege of finite intellectual beings; and I desire it may be well considered, whether the great inlet and exercise of all the liberty men have, are capable of, or can be useful to them, and that whereon depends the turn of their actions, does not lie in this, that they can suspend their desires, and stop them from determining their wills to any action, till they have duly and fairly examined the good and evil of it, as far forth as the weight of the thing requires. This we are able to do, and when we
have done it, we have done our duty, and all that is in our power, and indeed all that needs. For since the will supposes knowledge to guide its choice, and all that we can do is to hold our wills undetermined, till we have examined the good and evil of what we desire. What follows after that, follows in a chain of conse-quences linked one to another, all depending on the last determination of the judgment; which, whether it shall be upon a hasty and precipitate view, or upon a due and mature examination, is in our power; experience showing us, that in most cases we are able to suspend the present satisfaction of any desire. Government §' ^ut ^ any extreme disturbance of our pas- (as sometimes it happens) possesses our sjonsthe whole mind, as when the pain of the rack, right im- an impetuous uneasiness, as of love, anger, provement r . , . °
ef liberty. or any other violent passion, running away with us, allows us not the liberty of thought, and we are not masters enough of our own minds to consider thoroughly and examine fairly; God, who knows our frailty, pities our weakness, and requires of us no more than we are able to do, and sees what was and what was not in our power, will judge as a kind and merciful father. But the forbearance of a too hasty compliance with our desires, the moderation and restraint of our passions, so that our understandings may be free to examine, and reason unbiassed give its judgment, being that whereon a right direction of our conduct to true happiness depends; it is in this we should employ our chief care and endeavours. In this we should take pains to suit the relish of our minds to the true intrinsic good or ill that is in things, and not permit an allowed or supposed possible great and weighty good to slip out of our thoughts, without leaving any relish, any desire of itself there, till, by a due consideration of its true worth, we have formed appetites in our minds suitable to it, and made ourselves uneasy in the want of it, or in the fear of losing it. And how much this is in every one's power, by making resolutions to himself, such as he may keep, is easy for every one to try. Nor let any one say he cannot govern his passions, nor hinder them from breaking out, and carrying him into action; for what he can do before a prince, or a great man, he can do alone, or in the presence of God, if he will.
§. 54. From what has been said, it is How men easy to give an account how it comes to cometopurpass, that though all men desire happiness, »ue different yet their wills carry them so contrarily, cour8e8, and consequently some of them to what is evil. And to this I say, that the various and contrary choices that men make in the world, do not argue that they do not all pursue good; but that the same thing is not good to every man alike. This variety of pursuits shows, that every one does not place his happiness in the same thing, or choose the same way to it. Were all the concerns of man terminated in this life, why one followed study and knowledge, and another hawking and hunting: why one chose luxury and debauchery, and another sobriety and riches; would not be, because every one of these did not aim at his own happiness, but because their happiness was placed in different things. And therefore it was a right answer of the physician to his patient that had sore eyes : If you have more pleasure in the taste of wine than in the use of your sight, wine is good for you; but if the pleasure of seeing be greater to you than that of drinking, wine is naught.
§.55. The mind has a different relish, as well as the palate; and you will as fruitlessly endeavour to delight all men with riches or glory (which yet some men place their happiness in) as you would to satisfy all men's hunger with cheese or lobsters; which, though very agreeable and delicious fare to some, are to others extremely nauseous and offensive: and many people would with reason prefer the griping of an hungry belly, to those dishes which are a feast to others. Hence it was, I think, that the philosophers of old did in vain enquire, whether summum bonum consisted in riches or bodily delights, or virtue, or contemplation. And they might have as reasonably disputed, whether the best relish were to be found in apples, plums, or nuts; and have divided themselves into sects upon it. For as pleasant tastes depend not on the things themselves, but their agreeableness to this or that particular palate, wherein there is great variety; so the greatest happiness consists in the having those things which produce the greatest pleasure, and in the absence of those which cause any disturbance, any pain. Now these, to different men, are very different things. If therefore men in this life only have hope, if in this life they can only enjoy, it is not strange nor unreasonable, that they should seek their happiness by avoiding all things that disease them here, and by pursuing all that delight them; wherein it will be no wonder to find variety and difference. For if there be no prospect beyond the grave, the inference is certainly right, "let "us eat and drink," let us enjoy what we delight in, "for to-morrow we shall die." This, I think, may serve to show us the reason, why, though all men's desires tend to happiness, yet they are not moved by the same object. Men may choose different things, and yet all choose right; supposing them only like a company of poor insects, whereof some are bees, delighted with flowers and their sweetness j others beetles, delighted with other kinds of viands,which having enjoyed for a season, they would cease to be, and exist no more for ever.
How men 56. These things duly weighed, will come to give us, as I think, a clear view into the choose ill. state of human liberty. Liberty, it is plain, consists in a power to do, or not to do; to do, or forbear doing, as we will. This cannot be denied. But this seeming to comprehend only the actions of a man consecutive to volition, it is farther inquired, "whe"ther he be at liberty to will, or no." And to this it has been answered, that in most cases a man is not at liberty to forbear the act of volition: he must exert an act of his will, whereby the action proposed is made to exist, or not to exist. But yet there is a case wherein a man is at liberty in respect of willing, and that is, the choosing of a remote good, as an end to be pursued. Here a man may suspect the act of his choice from being determined for or against the thing