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But granting that Humility is a necessary Ornament in every valuable Character, the Question still remains unresolved. Is there not fome Particular, which should be the common Object of the Esteem of Mankind ? something of superior Worth to all others, for which we may more reasonably value our selves, and shall be more universally esteemed by all ? As we have a coinmon Nature, tho' it be diversified with different Endowments, there must be some common Point of Improvement, something that is the real and universal Foundation of Esteem among one another. Now if we consider what Part in our mixed and compounded Being is supreme, the Cultivation of that Parc must be the Point, from whence the first and principal Degree of Esteem and Honour rises. The Mind of Man in this Enquiry readily offers it self; it is incontestably, and ought to be,
the highest Power, and the Improvement of it ought to be our highest Concern. You may perhaps apprehend, that I am now going to recommend Books and Learning to you: No, I shall set you none of those Tasks. The Minds of the Learned are generally as unimproved in the Particular I am about to recommend 10 you, as other Men's
. Besides Learning cannot be fupposed as a common Mark for the Exercise and Esteem of Mankind, because it is within the Reach, or Power, but of few. The Mind, consider'd as Supreme in our Composition, is the Faculty by which we discern, according to the Evidence that lies before us, Right from Wrong, Good from Evil; by which we maké our Choice; by which we govern and direct our Affections and Actions. The maintaining and improving this Supremacy of the Mind, is the great Point the Ignorant aře as capable of,
as the Learned. 'The Discovery of many Truths, the Acquisition of much Knowledge is not the thing: This we may do without any Improvement of the Mind in the View before us. We may be Slaves to our Passions, we may choose and behave wrong in our Actions and Conduct, notwithstanding all our Knowledge. It is the bare Supremacy or Government of the Mind over its own Powers, the internal Use and Conduct of its own Faculties, that I am now to consider. Actions, outward Behaviour.follow of Course, and are wholly dependent on the former.
The least Observation of the Movements of our Nature will inform us, that our several Appetites, Passions, and Affections are vehemently stirred up with a kind of blind Force, independent of our Wills, by their several Objects: These are Springs and Principles of Action, designed to put us
into Motion; and the Mind has a Power, tho’not wholly of preventing them, yet of restraining, and directing, and suppressing them: This is its proper Business, a Government allorted to it. The Mind, which is habiqually exercised in this Way, is continually increasing its Power, and gaineth an almost absolute Dominion over these several Commotions : It disco. vers them instantly, observes their Degrees of Influence, and regulates them by a meer Act of Thought. On the other hand, the Mind, which is idle, and unconcerned in this work, is easily overborne; the Passions daily increase their Force, and weaken that Power which should direct them. Every Affection has something in it, that is plausible and pleasant; the Pleasure increases by Indulgence, at least for a Time, and the lazy Mind is satisfy'd with this single Enjoyment, neglects its Dominion, and grows re
gardless of its Consequences. When the Pleasure at last becomes a Pain, or Evil, it can only disapprove impotently, and lament childishly. It is in this manner we become Slaves to our Lufts and Passions, and vex and torment our Consciences, without any Relief from them: Nor is this all; where our Lufts govern, our outward Conduct must be directed by them, every thing must be done in Obedience to the Fool within. The Dif order never terminates at home in our own Breafts, but breaks out into Misconduct, makes us injurious to others, and brings Difficulties and Dangers on our felves, which at last we have neither Patience to bear, nor Power to extricate our felves from. Whilst the Mind engaged in Discipline and good Government maintains Peace and Order within, and dispenses nothing oucwardly, but what is decent, laudable and right. There