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structive of our Health or of our Understanding, we sin against our own Body and Soul.
Hitherto the Business of Self-Denial is clear and distinct enough.
But, 2dly, let us bring Man into Society; let us introduce him into such a World as we are now conversant in ; a World crouded with Business; full of various Interests, Pleasures and Competitions: Here we see a Mulcitude of new Relations arise ; other Affections and Passions expand themselves, and the Business of Happiness grows intricate and confus d.
It appears to the first View, that Man is fo form’d for Society, that he must
reap many Advantages from it, if it be but tolerably well ordered. Society does not only furnish us with the Means of gratifying those Affections, which are purely social, and must necessarily lie dormant in Solitude; such as, Compassion and Bene
volence; The Desire of communicating our Sentiments; of instructing, pleasing, and excelling one another ; but it also yields us Opportunities of raising and improving those Pleasures which we assigned to Man in his supposed Solitude : Society, I say, yields us becter Opportunities of gratifying our sensual Appetites, of preserving our Being, and enlarging our contemplative Pleasures. But it is at the same time too apparent, that there is no Society so well regulated, but that it throws in our way innumerable Temptations to insnare us in our Pursuits of Happiness
. We are exposed to infinite Mistakes and Dangers in our social State; So many Affections and Passions as here display themselves cannot be governed, without continual Caution and good Judgment. 'Tis a Matter of great Difficulty and Niceness to gratify each in its proper Place and Subordination, and to hold an equal Balance betwixt them. In
In a Society where by far the greatest Part of the Members acted rightly, or pursued the true Measures of Happiness, these Difficulties would yanish; there would be no room for the Exercise of Self-Denial, all would be Invitation and Pleasure : and should any wrong Behaviour accidentally arise, the Evil of it would be so immediately perceived and sensibly fele, chat there could be no Motive to persist in it. But where the Majority are engaged in false Measures of Happiness; where there are innumerable kinds of wrong Behaviour blended together; and each of these is strenuously maintained to be the right; and perhaps almost all unite in rejecting that which is really so: Where the natural Order of things thus discomposed and inverted; 'Tis here that the Duty of Self-Denial becomes most necessary and most difficult.
In a Concert of Musick skilfully perform’d, all is Agreement.; and each Hand contributes to and improves the Harmony of the whole; and the least Discord is immediately perceived and regulated. But where every Instrument is untun’d, and every Hand plays a separate Part, and every Ear regards only its own Performance, what could a judicious Artist do in such Compuny? how could he behive in the grating Din, che harh Confusion?
As far as the Membeis of Society have the same common Nature, so far must they have the same common Happiness ; and of consequence must use the same Means, and enter into the same Measures in the Pursuit of it; and hence a common Regard to the Happiness of each other must necessarily arise. Should every one seek his own Pleasure, without any concern for the Good of others, nothing
could ensue but the utmot Violence and Confusion; and the Happiness of every one would be immediately destroy’d. Every Member of Society must therefore, in the Pursuit of his own, conform himself to those Rules which are most promotive of the Happiness of the whole. Our Interest and Reason combine to suggest to us this Rule, That we love our Neighbours as ourselves; that we do unto all Men, as we would they should do unto us. This is the very Band of Society. . Every Action which contradicts this Rule is a Publick Violence; what the whole Society are bound to correct. It appears then that the most effectual way to preserve our own Being, and advance our Happiness, is to do it with an equal Regard to other Men's; that Publick and Private Good, Charity and a true Selfishness, are but one and the same thing.