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3. With respect to many persons, a great refinement of taste is attended with the same inconveniences as an addictedness to sensual pleasure; for it is apt to lead them into many expences, and make them despise plain honest industry ; whereby they are frequently brought into a state of poverty, surrounded with a thousand artificial wants, and without the means of gratifying them.

A taste for the pleasures of imagination ought, more particularly, to be indulged, and even encouraged, in younger life, in the interval between a state of mere animal nature, in a child, and the serious pursuits of manhood. It is also a means of relaxing the mind from too close an attention to serious business, through the whole of life, promoting innocent amusement, chearfulness, and good humour. Besides, a taste for natural, and also for artificial propriety, beauty, and sublimity, has a connection with a taste for moral propriety, moral beauty, and dignity ;E 2


and when properly cultivated, enables us to take more pleasure in the contemplation of the works, perfections, and providence of God. Here, indeed, it is, that a just taste for these refined pleasures finds its highest and most perfect gratification: for it is in these contemplations, that inftances of the most exquisite propriety, , beauty, and grandeur occur,

§ 3. Of self interest,

A regard to our greatest happiness was allowed before to be one of the proper rules of our conduct; but at the same time it was shewn to be only one of four; and in fact the proper end of it, or our greatest happiness as individuals, is most effectually gained, when it is not itself the immediate scope of our actions; that is, when we have not our interest directly in view, but when we are actuated by a disinterested regard to the good of others, to the commands of God, and to the dictates of conscience.

1. When

1. When we keep up a regard to ourfelves in our conduct, we can never ex-clude such a degree of anxiety, and jealousy of others, as will always inake us in some degree unhappy; and we find by experience, that no perfons have so true and unallayed enjoyments, as those who lose fight of themselves, and of all regard to their own happiness, in higher and greater pursuits.

2. Though it be true, that, when our interest is perfectly understood, it will be found to be best promoted by those actions which are dictated by a regard to the good of others, &c. it requires great comprehension of mind even to see this, and much more to act upon it; so that if the bulk of mankind were taught to purfue their own proper happiness, as the ultimate end of life, they would be led to do many things injurious to others, 'not being able to see how they could other'wise make the best provision for themselves.

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3. If

3. If we consult the unperverted dictates of our minds, we shall feel that there is a kind of meanness in a man's acting from a view to his own interest only; and if any person were known to have no higher motive for his conduct, though he should have so much comprehension of mind, as that this principle should never mislead him, and every particular action which he was led to by it should be, in itself, always right, he would not be allowed to have any moral worth, so as to command our esteem; and he would not at all engage our love. All we could say in his favour would be that he was a pruedent man, not that he was virtuous. Nay we should not allow that any man's conduct was even right, in the highest and most proper sense of the word, unless he was influenced by motives of a higher and purer nature ; namely, a regard to the will of God, to the good of others, or to the dictates of conscience.

It seems to follow from these considera. tions, that this principle, of a regard to our highest interest, holds a kind of middle rank between the vices and the virtues ; and that its principal use is to be a means of raising us above all the lower and vicious pursuits, to those that are higher, and properly speaking virtuous and praise worthy. From a regard to our true interest, or mere self love, we are first of all made sensible that we should injure ourfélves by making the gratification of our senses, or the pleasures of imagination, &c. our chief pursuit, and the great business and end of life, and we are convinced that it is our wisdom to pay a fupreme regard to the will of our maker, to em ploy ourselves in doing good to others, and, universally, to obey the dictates of our consciences; and this persuasion will lead us to do those things which we know to be agreeable to those higher principles, though we cannot immediately see them to be for our interest; and, by degrees, we shall get a habit of acting in the most E 4


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