A short introduction to moral philosophy, in three books; containing the elements of ethicks and the law of nature (2nd ed.).Duties toward ourselves.
AbstractAs powerful motives of private interest naturally excite us to our several Duties toward ourselves; to give them something venerable and laudable they must be ultimately referred either to the service of God, or some advantages to be procured to others. With this reference they become highly virtuous and honourable. The culture of our minds principally consists in forming just opinions about our duty; and in procuring a large store of valuable knowledge about the most important subjects: as indeed all branches of knowledge have some use, and contribute in some measure to happiness, either by the immediate pleasure, or by discovering more fully to us the divine perfections, or enabling us better to know and discharge our Duty; since the affections of the will naturally follow the judgments formed by the understanding. All therefor who have abilities and proper opportunities ought to apply themselves to improve their minds with an extensive knowledge of nature in the sciences; and 'tis the duty of all to acquire by diligent meditation and observation that common prudence which should constantly govern our lives. We ought therefor to make just estimates of all things which naturally raise our desires, consider thoroughly their importance to happiness, and find out wherein consists our supreme good; the discovery of which must also discover the true plan of life. We should therefore deeply impress this on our minds, that our chief good is placed in devout affections toward God, and good-will and beneficence toward mankind. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)