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Enchiridion Ethicum

An Account of Virtue or Dr henry More’s Abridgement of Morals put into English

By Edward Southwell

De secunda editione ad lectorem praefatio

Preface to the Reader on the Second Edition


Enchridion Ethicum: More’s Enchridion Ethicum, first published in 1666 and subsequently republished in several new editions, is the principal work of Cambridge Platonist ethics. Modelled upon Descartes’ On the Passions of the Soul, of which it provides a detailed philosophical critique in its outline of an alternative moral psychology, More’s hugely successful ethical handbook draws upon a plethora of ancient sources which the author quotes at length both in the original Greek tongue and his own Latin translation, providing in-depth comments. Among the chief texts of reference are Aristotle’s Nicomachean and Eudemian Ethics and his late antique commentators, notably Andronicus of Rhodes, as well as a range of well-known and more elusive Hellenistic Stoic and Neo-Pythagorean sources, notably Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and Epictetus’ Handbook as well as pseudo-epigraphic writings by Neopythagoreans of the early imperial age. While deeply indebted to Platonism or Pythagorism and Stoicism throughout, More’s is a deeply original Platonist vision of the soul’s happiness or good life and its moral duties. Despite its humanist outlook, the ethical system delineated in the Handbook is a distinctly early modern account of the first principles of autonomous and universalist moral agency and a set of values and obligations established in rationalist axiomatic reasoning. It hinges upon what More calls the soul’s intuitive “boniform faculty” which, in turn, serves as the basis of discursive “right reason”. Besides More’s several attempts at a definition of the soul’s highest epistemic power, i.e. its boniform faculty, his principal ethical work revolves around two landmark doctrines of Cambridge Platonism at large, namely ethical objectivism and libertarian freedom. Both are inextricably connected to the soul’s “right reason” of which the “boniform faculty” acts as a yardstick both in theoretical reflection and practical action.

The Boniform Faculty: At the centre of More’s Handbook is the defining doctrine of his practical and theoretical philosophy alike, i.e. the soul’s boniform faculty by which it grasps God and his first attribute, namely his all-encompassing universal goodness, in intuitive awareness. The soul’s indubitable first insight into God’s goodness serves as the unshakeable foundation both of the truth claims of theoretical knowledge and of the practical maxims of a good and virtuous life. The soul’s vision of God is twofold. It intuits God both as the transcendent first principle from which all reality proceeds and as its immanent form by which it is preserved in being. More expresses his ancient metaphysics of Platonic love in the vocabulary of the early modern Cartesian physics of the world as a “mass” of atoms engaged in motion:

“Hence we are instructed how to set God before our eyes; to love him above all; to adhere to him as the supremest Good; to consider him as the Perfection of all Reason, of all Beauty, of all Love; how all was made by his Power , and that all is upheld by his Providence. Hence also is the Soul taught how to affect and admire the Creation, and all the parts of it; as they share in that Divine Perfection and Beneficence, which is dispersed through the whole Mass: So that if any of these parts appears defective or discomposed, the soul compassionates and brings help, as it is able, to restore every thing to that state of felicity which God and nature intended for it” (II 9,16).

The God of the soul’s mystical vision is Plato’s “form of the good” which is the chief object of its “boniform faculty”. It is linked explicitly to Platonist metaphysics: “It is the most elevated and most divine faculty of the soul and seems to supply the same place in it as the essential good of the Platonicks is said to in the Deity” (I 2,7). Enabling the soul “to distinguish not only what is simply and absolutely the best, but to relish it, and to have pleasure in that alone” (I 2,5), the boniform faculty instils in the soul an irresistible “intellectual love” (II 9,16) for God’s supreme goodness. As such, the boniform faculty, paradoxically, is both intellection and passion. For one thing, God’s universal and disinterested goodness which the highest of the soul’s faculties discloses to it is a practical truth grasped in rational intuition. For another, the soul, on understanding this most sublime of truths, cannot but take delight in its singular beauty and sublimity and embrace it:

“Also that all Moral Good, properly so called, is Intellectual and Divine. Intellectual, as the Truth and Essence of it is defined and comprehended by the Intellect and Divine, as the Savour and Complacency thereof, is most effectually tasted through that high Faculty, by which we are lifted up and cleave unto God, (that Almighty One, who is the most pure and absolute Good, and who never wills any thing but what is transcendently the Best.)” (I 5,1).

Likewise, the soul’s boniform vision is at once an effort of human free will and a gift of divine grace. While engaged in the highest form of active reasoning, the soul finds its every theoretical cognition and its every practical act to be passively informed by the principle of God’s universal goodness of which its reason is an imperfect image. In its passivity, the soul’s boniform vision resembles perception: “For all intellection”, More concurs with Descartes, “is a kind of passion insofar as it is perception, as Descartes rightly points out” (II 9,17). At the same time, it is the soul itself which rouses itself to reasoning in contemplating and embracing the divine principle of universal goodness in the autonomy of “intellectual love”: “However, just as this perception occurring in intellection is not that of the body, but that of the soul which rouses itself to this act, so does this love originate not in the body, but in the soul itself or in God who stirs and rouses it into this most divine ἐνέργεια himself” (II 9,17; my translation). The ἐνέργεια of intellectual insight and moral action by which a moral agent, of her own volition, effects the ”realization of the image” in assimilating herself to the divine fullness inherent to her very being is both God’s and her own.

Right Reason: The boniform vision is the first principle of all discursive “right reason”, both practical and theoretical, viewed by More as “a sort of copy or transcript of that reason or law eternal which is registered in the divine mind” (I 3,5). In metaphysics and science, the boniform faculty provides the soul with a first original intuition of the comprehensive unity of all reality proceeding from and returning to God’s fullness or the “open Champain” or the “Plain of Truth” (πέδιον τῆς ἀληθείας) of Plato’s Phaedrus upon which the soul exercises its reasoning powers. The soul’s vision is “the first Rise of successful Reason” (Preface Generall, viii), and it continues to serve as the “measure” (I 3,11; II 9,18) or yardstick of all of its subsequent practical and theoretical reasoning: “Therefore, I say, this most simple and Divine Sense and feeling in the boniform faculty of the soul is that rule or boundary whereby reason examines and approves itself” (I 3,5). In ethics and politics, the boniform faculty is the source of the first general imperative “to restore every thing to the state of Felicity, which God and Nature seem to have intended for it” (II 9,15). The soul is called upon to help each and every fellow creature to join it in embracing the fullness of divine perfection contemplated in its own original boniform vision: “In short, it turns all its Faculties to make good Men happy; and all its Care and Discipline is to make bad Men good” (ibid.). The theoretical and practical dimension of the boniform faculty are inextricably intertwined. The “plain of truth” contemplated is the perfect intelligible archetype of all of reality of which the imperfect empirical image necessarily falls short. To the soul’s original theoretical vision of the whole, therefore, corresponds the practical imperative that each and every living being be aided in its innate striving for the highest degree of participation in the Divine of which it is capable by its specific nature. The one original boniform imperative of universal restitution and perfection is subsequently expressed in the many moral maxims and rules of “right reason” of which it continues to serve as the “measure” throughout. Not only do the ethical “noemata” or axioms laid out in More’s Enchiridion Ethicum express the One of the soul’s vision, applying it to all areas of the soul’s practical life, but they can also be reduced to its original principle or “measure”:

“And altho this Idea be but single and alone, yet from thence arise all the Shapes and Modes of Virtue and of Well-doing: and ‘tis into this again, that all of them may, by a due and unerring Analysis, be resolv’d. For as all Numbers arise from Unity, and by Unites are all measur’d: so we affirm, that by this Intellectual Love, as from a Principle the most pure and most abstracted of all others, all the Modes and Kinds of Justice, Fortitude, and even or Temperance it self, are to be measur’d” (II 9,16).

In close analogy to the transcendent One and Good and the Intellect as the sum-total of thought and being proceeding from it, More envisages the boniform vision of God’s all-embracing creative goodness as the simple first principle of a complete system of rational moral maxims which throughout mirror its source. Thus, practical right reason shares with its ineffable first principle the universality of perspective by which it transcends the agent’s self-interest, guiding her every thought and action towards “what is simply good and better”: “For this is the true Character of every intellectual Faculty (as was noted before) that it cannot stoop, and as it were cringe to particular Cases; but speaks boldly and definitively what is true and good unto all. And hence ‘tis plain, that whatever is intellectually and truly moral is also divine and partakes of God” (II 9,15). Like its boniform archetype, the natural law, identified by More with the one right reason “common both to God and men” on his Stoic principles of strict univocity, is eternal and immutable: “The truth is, all Men do agree, that the supreme Law is Right reason. And this Reason, being also a Divine Thing, is therefore immutable, always constant and like to itself” (II 4,6).

Libertarian Freedom: The boniform imperative “to restore every thing to that state of felicity which God and nature intended for it”, spelled out in the moral noemata of right reason, provides a priori proof that the soul must be endowed with free will. More goes to some length to stress that the soul would be ignorant of its free will without its boniform faculty. If it were not for its vision of a perfect intelligible reality, which it is called upon to help realize in its every moral action, the soul might instead erroneously consider its inferior animal life its only mode of existence:

“AND here I do as freely confess, that were there no other Life or Law in us, than to relish and pursue what were most for our particular Pleasure, and not that which is the most simple and most absolute Good (which assuredly is some Divine Thing, and by Nature congruous and consonant to that Eternal Wisdom, which has fram’d and does preserve the Universe) it would be hard to prove, that we had any Free-Will; or that our Will was not necessarily determin’d to some one thing, which, in all Deliberations, appear’d to us for the best” (II 2,13).

More’s doctrine of libertarian freedom conceives of free volition as the soul’s inborn endeavour to achieved the infinite perfection intuited in its original boniform vision. It is not a freedom of arbitrary indifference, which is anathema to the Cambridge Platonists in theology and theory of action alike, but a capacity to “mount aloft” and “shake off, or gradually destroy those ill Desires” (III 1,5) by which the soul is prevented from effecting a realization of the divine image in action and reflection. Like virtue, it is, hence, defined as a “Power or Energy” (ibid.) which an agent may or may not exercise to keep in check and eventually overcome her animal life altogether. Neither is this concept incompatible with God’s divine foreknowledge by which the soul’s volition is not predetermined in any way nor does is it annulled by an alleged necessity to follow the greater of two goods.

The Preface to the 2nd edition: More added a substantive preface to the second edition of his Enchiridion Ethicum of 1669. Not only did he comment on some minor changes in the chapter division and the Latin translations of the Greek works quoted, but, more importantly, he chose to provide an account of his attitude towards Cartesianism at that time. Like several of More’s later texts, notably his scholia, the preface is a succinct philosophical essay in its own right in which the author, once again taking issue with Descartes’ system, outlines his mature ontology. Descartes is charged with two tenets deemed conducive to atheism, namely the identification of indefinite extension with matter and the purely mechanistic explanation of the cosmos, including animal life. As to the former tenet, Descartes is right in attributing necessity to an indefinite extension which the mind cannot disimagine in careful introspection. However, instead of erroneously identifying it with matter, this extension is God or the first incorporeal substance which is omnipresent as infinite space. As to the latter doctrine, it is prone to deny divine agency in the production of living organisms. Instead, there is no phenomenon whatsoever that can be explained on purely mechanistic grounds. To buttress his final position vis-à-vis Cartesian mechanism, More invokes the principle of parsimony:

“Indeed, as far as I am concerned, I hold the view that not only those most intricate phenomena cannot be explained on purely mechanical principles, but that, in fact, none can. It is true that an excessive love and zeal for Descartes made me concede to him in that letter that there were a few golden chains held together by a purely mechanical link. Now, however, moved not by a changeable and inconstant mind, but by compelling arguments, I have changed my view and revoked my gift. I do not doubt that everyone who has a mind free of all prejudice would rather prefer to acknowledge one single and uniform principle everywhere than one diverse and different in kind in one place and another in the next. And therefore, since I was certain that some phenomena had their origin in a more divine principle than one pure mechanical, I brought myself to believe that all the others likewise proceeded from the same source” (praef. 2nd ed. 16).

The passage cited is of extraordinary significance to More’s intellectual development. It explains the final volte-face in his cosmology which he is careful to justify on the basis of his mature epistemology of the soul’s boniform vision and his ontology of God’s infinite spatial extension. Not surprisingly given his stress on final causation, the scholia appended to the preface contain detailed exegeses of Aristotle whom he cites at great length in support of his cosmology of universal final causation. The good as the chief cause of every living being is shown to be a corollary of the indubitable boniform vision of God’s goodness und universal self-communication in creation and salvation.

Text Selection and the 1690 Translation: As well as providing a first English translation of More’s preface to the second edition of his Enchiridion Ethicum and the scholia appended to it in the second tome of the three-volume Opera Omnia of 1675–1679, the following selection of excerpts is meant to highlight the principal tenets of Morean and Cambridge Platonist ethics, including the epistemology of an intuitive vision of divine goodness, the system of objective and universal obligation and the theory of libertarian agency. To this end, the passages selected include all of More’s major expositions of the “boniform faculty” and of “right reason”, including his long treatise on natural law, as well as his long definition and defence of libertarian freedom. The final chapter reproduced is the eschatological vision put forward at the end of the Handbook. Throughout, the English text transcribed is that of the early modern translation by the later politician and diplomat Edward Southwell published in 1690 and republished with several minor corrections in 1701. While it may be an exaggeration to say, as did Anthony Wood, that “it is done so well and the style is so masculine and noble, that I know not as yet any book written in better English” (Lamprecht, “Bibliographical Note”), Southwell’s translation entitled An Account of Virtue or Dr. Henry More’s Abridgment of Morals is an extraordinary literary attainment. It is even more impressing considering that its author was a mere 19 years old at the time of its composition. Southwell’s is a vivid and vibrant early modern English prose which frequently lives up to or even surpasses More’s equally passionate eulogy of divine goodness and perfectible human freedom. However, Southwell’s translation throughout fails to do justice to More’s technical vocabulary, which proves particularly detrimental in the case of the author’s carefully-written expositions of the core concepts of Cambridge Platonist ethics and epistemology. Worse, Southwell can be seen to have tampered with More’s text on numerous occasions, deliberately deleting the author’s reference to the Origenist notion of the pre-existence of souls or rephrasing his theological intellectualism in the voluntarist terms loathed by the Cambridge Platonists. In keeping with the project’s general policy, the text reproduced in the following selection is that of Southwell’s early modern translation. However, it has throughout been compared to More’s original Latin. Major divergences and omissions have been noted and commented on in the copious notes added to the text transcribed. Thus, while making available a major early modern translation of one of the most successful and influential works of the Cambridge Platonists, the following selection is meant to provide the reader with a reliable account of More’s own ethical system.

De secunda editione ad lectorem praefatio

Preface to the Reader on the Second Edition

1. My dear reader, lest you might expect more from me in the second edition than I have in fact done, I think it meet to tell you in a few words what I have done in it.

2. Firstly, I have neither enlarged nor expanded this new edition of our Enchiridion by any new sentences or explanations of concepts, even though you will find more chapters in Book I here than in the first edition. Instead, I have divided chapter four into two and chapter seven into five parts to offer the reader more opportunity for respite and reflection, adding titles or arguments to each single chapter so as to facilitate substantially the understanding of the things taught.

3. Secondly, I have translated all the Greek phrases into Latin. However, I did not translate them in a dry and lacklustre style or, as others might call it, with such faithfulness that there was always one word matching one word. Rather, I translated concepts freely or frequently paraphrased them, while always remaining faithful to the sense and modest and restrained in expression. I believed this method of translation fitted our intent much better, since it was not our intention to win the favour of teachers and literary critics through linguistic niceties. Rather, we sought to speak in such a way throughout that we could as far as possible enkindle with our words in the minds of men the love for truth and virtue. Moreover, lest they should prove an offence to the eye of those ignorant of Greek, we have carefully removed the Greek texts almost everywhere in the Enchiridion, deleting them altogether at the end of the work and being content with the translations alone.

4. Thirdly and finally, even though we have not added anything new to the second edition of this treatise, we have nevertheless thought it fit that our Letter to V.C. should be added to it as quite an appropriate appendix to the chapter “On Piety” in Book II. Such is this Letter of ours that it not only serves as an introduction that may facilitate the understanding of Cartesian philosophy, but also as a sufficiently strong safeguard and protection against all those of its tenets that might prove harmful to the incautious.

In fact, it is mainly two conclusions in that philosophy which pose a major threat to piety. The first one is “that the matter itself of which the world consists cannot not exist, being extended indefinitely in every direction.” For that indefinite extension which we cannot in any way expel from our minds as inexistent must, according to Descartes’ view, necessarily be corporeal. Whilst we have only critically touched on this view in this present work, we have given a comprehensive and sound refutation in our first and second letters to Descartes.

5. And there is certainly one single argument in particular, one which we have already put forward,[1] namely that from the motion of the earth, which makes it perfectly clear to everyone not either mentally retarded or obsessed by great prejudices that this necessary existence does not belong to the extended matter of the world, but to some other immaterial extension. In fact, there is in all philosophy, including even mathematics, no other speculation of which I am as capable due both to my character and my knowledge as the one which I am about to expound now. All the philosophers of a better stamp agree that the body of this earth in its annual orbit describes an elliptical orbit, its distance from the sun being everywhere that of certain semi-diameters. However, every form must be described within some extension and it cannot be described in some worldly matter that is external to it like, say, the vortex in which the earth moves, since it does not move through the parts of the vortex, but is carried around with the vortex itself at a certain distance from the sun. Hence, it clearly follows that there is some more inward extension within which that whole vortex in which this elliptical orbit is described by the body of the earth is situated. Moreover, this more inward extension is immobile and the whole vortex moves within it. And that extension, finally, is the one to which alone that necessary existence belongs, since it is something that neither our mind nor our imagination can in any way eliminate or remove from the totality of all things. Rather, we hit on it, even against our will, wherever we direct our mind.

6. Moreover, it follows that, if we want to listen to Descartes who never grows tired of inculcating on us the principle that “there is no property of nothing”, that this immobile and necessary extension is also some essence or substance. It cannot be corporeal, since it everywhere penetrates body or matter. Hence, it only remains that it is incorporeal or spirit or, if you prefer, the amplitude of some immense spirit. * However, necessary existence can belong to no other thing but to God. Therefore, this immense amplitude whose necessary existence we grasp can be no other than the divine extension itself in which we live, move and subsist.

7. If this is so, we shall by a certain right and absolutely incontestable method, reach both Aristotle’s “first unmoved mover” which the latter calls τὸ πρῶτον κινοῦν ἀκίνητον[2] and Anaxagoras’ νοῦς ἀμιγής, i.e. “unmixed mind”.[3] For it is obviously clear from this that the first origin of all physical motions is immobile, and that the divine numen is unmixed with matter, not only insofar as it is mind, but also insofar as it is a certain power moving the whole of worldly matter. For that immense unmoved extension is not pulled around with the countless vortices of matter, as it moves in circles, and therefore God does not (* as it happens in particular animals) coalesce with the body of the world in such a way that he is pulled away with its motion, but he is only close to it, imprinting with a kind of higher and more sublime magic the requisite motions and forms upon the particles of matter.

8. And I, for one, certainly grant that this is true, since I am such by nature that I cannot conceive anything to have real existence that lacks all amplitude. Nor do I mean to squander any time on the subtlety of those who seek to conclude from the definition of substance as “a being existing by itself” that there can be substances which are neither extended and spread out nor without any relationship or connection with any extended thing whatsoever, because there is no mention of it whatsoever in the definition of substance. Indeed, the confidence of these people clearly results from their ignorance of dialectics and metaphysics. If, however, we reflect upon this matter with sufficient care so as to understand those most universal abstract principles belonging to all things treated in dialectics or metaphysics, we shall eventually discover that a certain amplitude belongs to every being, insofar as it is a being. Nor should this seem more surprising than the fact that matter belongs to all things. If this were not the case, that cause which is called matter could not be treated by the dialecticians.

9. Let me, therefore, briefly explain this matter. According to our understanding, everything that comes to be arises from four causes, namely the efficient, the material, the formal and final cause. However, whereas the efficient and final causes are related to a thing only in an external fashion, matter and form constitute its very essence. Likewise, just as that which is constituted is called “effect” in respect of its efficient cause and “determined” in respect of its final cause, it could rightly, albeit slightly inelegantly, be said to be “essentialized” or “have an essence” in respect of its matter and form which two contain its whole essence. Hence, a being, insofar as it is a being, contains some matter in itself. However, what else should that matter be, I pray you, but the amplitude in its most general mode, since there is nothing else that displays itself to our mind in such a way? Hence, logical or metaphysical matter presents some general amplitude to our thought. However, the form brings about the distinction or difference of this amplitude, indicating in what way one amplitude is distinguished from another. And these are those two incomplex principles[4] of being, insofar as it is being, rather than “essence” and “existence”, as some suppose in their ignorance.

10. Nor am I impressed by the objection of certain people who have the habit of reasoning at this point that it would follow from this that there is absolutely nothing in the nature of things that cannot in reality be discerped into parts. Indeed, I am quite certain that this view has resulted from nothing but pure prejudice, because we frequently observe extended things being torn or cut apart in our daily lives. And it is certainly because we estimate the solidity of each essence in relation to the power with which it affects our external senses that we imagine that empty expansion in which the ethereal vortices revolve. Otherwise, even on Descartes’s view, that immobile amplitude in which all things necessarily move could be grasped as a certain real essence whose possible discerpibility, nevertheless, would clearly contradict all the powers of the human soul. Hence, it is manifest that “indiscerpibility” and “amplitude” can very well coexist in one and the same subject.

11. However, if someone were to deny with some confidence that this was possible in created things, this person would indeed be rightly judged guilty of offending divine omnipotence, since he would not attribute everything to divine power that can be attributed to it without involving a contradiction. What then? * Cannot God create one substance in his own likeness which is perfectly simple by itself? Indeed, that substance which is one not through anything else, but by itself is truly simple and not composed or made up of physically distinct parts. As such, it can neither be discerped into any parts by anybody nor physically divided.

And I do not want to waste any time on the utterances of those who keep exclaiming at this point that these substances could at least be divided by God so that, unless we concede this, we shall ourselves be accused of offending divine omnipotence. It is true that if God has created something that is one immediately and by itself, he can also annihilate it. However, it is contradictory that he should be able divide that same thing because it is one by its very being, i.e. by itself, not through anything else by which the amplitude of its essence is glued together and, as it were, made a compound of many things, rather than one simple thing alone. And the parts cohere with one another in the same way and with the same necessity with which the essential properties cohere with the subject. While the former can be extinguished with the latter, it cannot be really divided or separated from it. There can be no other explanation for this than the fact that the subject is such immediately and by itself according to that very idea according to which God created it.

12. Hence, “amplitude” or “extension” is coextensive with the essence of each thing itself. It is true, moreover, that we cannot in any way expel from our minds a certain idea of an extension which is indefinite in every direction and which always presents itself to our mind’s eyes as necessarily existing. However, it does not immediately follow from this that it is an idea of a corporeal matter to which, therefore, necessary existence belongs. Rather, it represents to us in a more obscure way the idea of divine omnipresence to which, as we know, necessary existence belongs. It is certainly very clever and delightful to infer that something extended can also move, be discerped into parts and cannot penetrate any other extended thing, or insist in general that there is in every idea a certain first essential attribute from which all the others can be deduced with necessity. Still, it is a conclusion devoid of all reasonable force and coherence. And it seems to me that those who philosophize in this way have fallen into such unwholesome gaps or, even worse, dead ends because they are ignorant of the first sources of logic. They also deliberately exclude the experience of things from philosophical speculation.

13. However, we ourselves who know that all things were created by the best and greatest God know for certain that the * rational ideas of all things proceed from such a benign and wise principle and must, therefore, be derived from their “ends” in respect of which they are also called “good”. Indeed, I thought it fit to point out briefly that a thing, taken as an ordered whole and in contradistinction to all other things, is called “one” essence. It is primarily called “true” according to its form and, finally, “good” according to its “end”. These distinguished tenets of metaphysics or dialectics clearly establish that the inseparable attributes of things are not derived from one principal and essential attribute in them according to some dry mathematical certainty and necessity so that, once we posit it, the others would necessarily follow by virtue of that attribute alone with the latter, hence, being that essential source from which all the others immediately flow. Instead, a thing’s essence itself, created that way by God, is the immediate source of all its essential and inseparable attributes. A distinct notion of the latter cannot in any way be taken from a thing’s “essence” itself, but solely from its “end”, as it is conceived in the divine mind, to which all the attributes aspire which we find to be inseparably intrinsic to a subject.

Indeed, there is no single thing except for that “end” by which a thing becomes good from which the notions of its attributes can be deduced, to which the latter can be ultimately reduced or by which they can be measured. Hence, Aristotle somewhere calls this principle ἡ ἄνω ἀρχή, and he does so quite rightly, since he so evidently seems to touch, smell and inhale the flower of divinity itself which the Platonists term τἀγαθόν. However, I have digressed further in this first conclusion that I had originally intended to.

14. The second opinion which smacks of some impiety is the following: all phenomena of the world, including even plants and animal bodies and organisms, can arise from purely mechanical principles, namely from locomotion and matter alone. Moreover, the necessary causes and reasons of all of them can be deduced from these sources. I have certainly repeatedly criticized this ill-conceived view in several places in this letter itself. However, there is only single instance, namely that on the formation and motion of grooved particles, in which I undertook to give a more thorough refutation here. Nor must you be surprised that I am content with one single argument in a matter of such importance, even though there are so many others. After all, I had in my other writings dealt with the matter in so clear and limpid demonstrations that I deemed it superfluous to devote too much labour to this same subject once again. The demonstrations to which I refer are those given in my books Against the Atheists and On the Immortality of the Soul. Among them is that taken from that celebrated experiment of a large weight attached to the sucker of an air-pump and being carried upwards by it, ascending, as if spontaneously, once the air is removed.[5] Another is that of the descent of heavy objects.[6] And you may finally add the ascent of a wooden plate from the bottom of a vessel filled with water and suspended in almost complete balance.[7] All these phenomena might be extremely simple ones. Still, not only do they defy every attempt at a purely mechanical explanation, but they are indeed in most obvious contradiction to the common laws of mechanics. We have provided most compelling proof regarding the former two in the aforementioned treatises and regarding the latter one in other places.

15. Thus, the mechanical philosophy, so much-belaboured in our times, is subject to egregious hallucinations about phenomena that are neither complex nor sophisticated in any way, but easily comprehensible and perfectly clear to our mind. Could there, then, be a hope more ill-conceived or a promise more insane, I pray you, than that somebody can find the purely mechanical causes of all phenomena of the world, even those contrived by the greatest and most intricate art and craft? This strikes me as not dissimilar to the impudence and temerity of that man who, even though he had destroyed a two-bench boat in the harbour, boasted that he could steer the ship of the Argonauts in the Black Sea, as Lucius Crassus, according to Cicero, argues wisely and soundly in his own case.

16. Indeed, as far as I am concerned, I hold the view that not only those most intricate phenomena cannot be explained on purely mechanical principles, but that, in fact, none can. It is true that an excessive love and zeal for Descartes made me concede to him in that letter that there were a few golden chains held together by a purely mechanical link. Now, however, moved not by a changeable and inconstant mind, but by compelling arguments, I have changed my view and revoked my gift. I do not doubt that everyone who has a mind free of all prejudice would rather prefer to acknowledge one single and uniform principle everywhere than one diverse and different in kind in one place and another in the next. And therefore, since I was certain that some phenomena had their origin in a more divine principle than one pure mechanical, I brought myself to believe that all the others likewise proceeded from the same source. Furthermore, the σύμφυσις or coalescence of physical monads into particles clearly appears to be a thing entirely inexplicable in any mechanical fashion. Lastly, even if the first rudiments of the world should have come into existence through such swirling and smoothing as Descartes imagines it, there would in fact be such a mass of the most subtle element * that it would flood back even above the orbit of Saturn. And I think it suffices briefly to have mentioned these arguments in this way here. It is, after all, not the place here to dwell upon them any longer, but only to note them in passing.

17. Moreover, since I am not prepared to admit any purely mechanical phenomenon anywhere in the word, it follows necessarily that I very gladly subscribe to the view that the enquiry into final causes should also be introduced into natural philosophy. Indeed, I thought that so fitting for a philosopher that I should much rather attribute the fact that Descartes removed them from this philosophy to some honest cunning of his than to his ignorance of so sound a truth. If I have erred in this matter, this should certainly rather be attributed to my kindness than some despicable penchant for servile dishonesty. However, I, for one, certainly deem the careful enquiry into final causes to be the most enjoyable part of natural philosophy. It is also, I should like to add, the most useful one both for other things and, above all, true piety and religion. No other gift given to humanity by the immortal God is more excellent, more agreeable and more pleasant or, finally, more perfect.

18. Let us assume, therefore, that somebody, moved either by some blind fate or by his own arrogance, were to boast that he could deduce all phenomena in the world from purely mechanical causes, i.e., that he could – in one fell swoop, as it were – take away from the nature of things all those most excellent and sound arguments for the existence of God (even though in reality it is impossible that anyone should give purely mechanical explanations for even the most simple phenomenon). Would that person not make himself a risible spectacle for all others? Would he not yield himself up to the ridicule or even the utter contempt of gods and men? This, surely, is that man who creates worlds in a mechanical fashion, but cannot even explain the descent of a stone on purely mechanical grounds. This is that man who destroys a two-bench boat in the harbour, but nevertheless imagines being able to steer the Argo. This is that astonishing smatterer who rather chooses to arrogate to himself the knowledge about the creation of worlds than allow anyone to gain sound knowledge about God from the phenomena of the created world.

19. However, what shall we do while this ditty is being sung, i.e., we who are such pathetic, base, submissive, fearsome and, finally, such stupid and entirely superstitious admirers of that great creator; whose religion consists in believing impiously that all things can come to be in a mechanical fashion, only because that man has said that they can (although this very belief is hardly less harmful to piety than if they could in reality); who would rather servilely admire another man’s genius than religiously praise the inscrutable wisdom of God which shines forth from his works? What, I say, shall we do? Or rather, what shall I do who (in that letter as well everywhere in my writings) used to bestow such exuberant and enthusiastic praise upon an architect of quite that sort, i.e. upon the famous Descartes?

20. Indeed, do you not ask me in particular what I shall do? I shall tell you for sure. If we had not already reached the end of this preface of ours, I should once again sing the praise of that brilliant man here. Nor can I even in the difficult situation in which I find myself now forbear to declare very briefly how elegant a writer he is in my view. In fact, he is so sharp and to the point and, most importantly, so clear and distinct that once I had acquired from him the capacity for distinct thought about corporeal things, I foresaw in due time that it could not work this way. Instead, this excellent teacher of mine who had taught me how to think had himself been subject to the greatest error in that very matter with which, for all that, he seemed to me to be in love the most. In other words, it was not long before I clearly grasped that, contrary to what he says, not all phenomena can be deduced from purely mechanical causes.

21. Indeed, my mind jumped with joy at that, since I realized that that very philosophy, i.e. the mechanical philosophy, which of all others seemed to me to pose the gravest threat to religion, provided me with much further assurance of the matters of religion. And as to all the lavish praise which I bestowed upon Cartesian philosophy, I did so because I wanted others to be able to share the same experience that I myself had had and to wield the same weapons, taken from the same armoury, to smash and shatter the confidence of all mechanical philosophers. And I here dare to proclaim that no-one can have a complete and thorough understanding of that philosophy without also seeing clearly that not all phenomena of the universe can be reduced to purely mechanical principles.

22. That in fact none can I realized only rather later on account of my excessive love and zeal for Descartes. And I beseech all those who intend to philosophize in earnest: cast off all admiration for persons and all party zeal! Instead, spare no effort in striving for that moral prudence of which we have given such an accurate description in this Enchiridion.[8] We shall then have a pure und untainted mind, one freed of all prejudice and gathered and taken back into the divine mind, united with it in closest union and most perfect subjection. Embraced by it, as it were, we shall always be guided by it through the influx of its powers. For all human reason that God does not inform and govern by his divine breath is paralyzed, as it were, and displaced. And something holier and more divine than reason must assist it and carry the torch before it unless we want reason perpetually to lead us into those narrow lanes and mazes from which we are either compelled to escape in shame or exhaust our strength in eternal errors.

23. Now you finally understand, my dear reader, how useful and expedient it was to add this Letter to V.C. to this Enchiridion Ethicum and how foolish it would have been to miss this opportunity of explaining my intent in writing it and, likewise, of laying open my more correct thoughts about those same things about which I originally wrote in it. Indeed, it is true that I still think very highly of Descartes, and to this day praise his genius both for having found the probable immediate corporeal causes of things and for having with such elegance incorporated into his own philosophy that old Pythagorean system of the universe, for which I put him above Aristotle himself. However, as regards the fact that he wants to ban final causes from natural philosophy, I, conversely, put Aristotle above him, * since the latter time and again insists quite adamantly upon the ends of things in natural philosophy. In fact, I completely reject Descartes’ categorical assertion that all the world’s phenomena can be explained on the basis of mechanical causes alone, because it seems to smack of some impiety and, as I know full well, is opposed to the sound truth.


On pref. II, sect. VI: “However, necessary existence can belong to no other thing but God”, etc. By this inviolable link this immense amplitude and the divine essence are connected, because necessary existence belongs to an absolutely perfect being ᾗ αὐτό, as such, or according to its specific differentia.

Sect. 7: “As it happens in particular animals”. I do not want this to be understood in such a way as though God and the world, taken together, were some large animal, although, besides some Platonists and Marcus Aurelius, Aristotle himself, in his Metaphysics, likewise makes God a kind of animal: φαμὲν δὴ τὸν θεὸν εἶναι ζῷον ἀΐδιον ἄριστον, ὥστε ζωὴ καὶ αἰὼν συνεχὴς καὶ ἀΐδιος ὑπάρχει τῷ θεῷ: τοῦτο γὰρ ὁ θεός. [9] It is even a bit more absurd, however, to make up an animal without a soul and a body. We must look, therefore, whether he does not make the heaven itself God’s body in the following words from his On the Heavens: Ἕκαστόν ἐστιν, ὧν ἐστιν ἔργον, ἕνεκα τοῦ ἔργου. Θεοῦ δ´ ἐνέργεια ἀθανασία· τοῦτο δ´ ἐστὶ ζωὴ ἀΐδιος. ὥστ´ ἀνάγκη τῷ θεῷ κίνησιν ἀΐδιον ὑπάρχειν. Ἐπεὶ δ´ ὁ οὐρανὸς τοιοῦτος (σῶμα γάρ τι θεῖον), διὰ τοῦτο ἔχει τὸ ἐγκύκλιον σῶμα, ὃ φύσει κινεῖται κύκλῳ ἀεί.[10] However, in his On the World, we learn about the highest heaven that God’s power reaches to the lower spheres and even the earth itself, while God himself ἐπὶ τῆς ἀνωτάτω χώρας ἱδρῦσθαι.[11] I, for one, think we should neither make God an animal nor place him in the highest heaven so that he sits there καθαρὸς ἐν καθαρῷ χώρῳ.[12] Instead, I believe that the holiness and sublimity rather consist in the fact that he does not move worldly matter without intermediate and secondary causes, but by means of the so-called spirit of nature, as I have proved in great detail in the Enchiridium metaphysicum.

“With some higher and more sublime magic”, etc. By “magic” I understand a certain power of life or vital motion, insofar as it is opposed to mechanical and corporeal motion in which one body is sometimes pushed and driven forward by another. However, of such a kind is the vital or magical motion proceeding from the spirit of nature to worldly matter. Hence, it is not surprising at all that it is called ὁ μέγας γόης by Plotinus.[13] However, that magic by which the spirit of nature both is acted on and itself acts on the matter is rather crass and vast, even though it does not unite itself to matter in such a fashion when moving it that it could not at the same time free itself of it. In this regard, it comes closer to Anaxagoras’ νοῦς ἀμιγής,[14] being a transcription of the latter, as it were, that contains the laws of the world vitally, albeit not intellectually. Thus, unmixed with matter and not subject to locomotion itself, it matter from one place to another by vital motion, both uniting itself with and freeing itself from matter, as it is required. οὑτω γὰρ μόνως κινοίη ἀκίνητος ὢν καὶ κρατοίη ἀμιγὴς ὤν, says Anaxagoras about the divine mind of which the spirit of nature is nothing but the ectype and shadow, insofar as it contains the laws of the universe in a certain vital or plastic fashion.[15] However, a magic more sublime and more exalted, however, attaches to pure divinity, whose flower and highest point is called τ´ἀγαθόν among the Platonists. The latter is the metaphysical τὸ πρῶτον κινοῦν ἀκίνητον, just as the spirit of nature is the physical one. Aristotle himself, too, seems to point to this in his Metaphysics: Ἔστι τι ὃ οὐ κινούμενον κινεῖ, ἀΐδιον καὶ οὐσία καὶ ἐνέργεια οὖσα.[16] And a little later: Ἀρχὴ γὰρ ἡ νόησις. Νοῦς γὰρ ὑπὸ τοῦ νοητοῦ κινεῖται. Νοητὸν γὰρ ἡ ἑτέρα συστοιχία καθ' αὑτήν· καὶ ταύτης ἡ οὐσία πρώτη, καὶ ταύτης ἡ ἁπλῶς καὶ κατ' ἐνέργειαν. Ἔστι γὰρ τὸ ἓν καὶ τὸ ἁπλοῦν οὐ τὸ αὐτό· τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἓν μέτρον σημαίνει, τὸ δὲ ἁπλοῦν πὼς ἔχον αὐτό. Ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ τὸ καλὸν καὶ τὸ δι' αὐτὸ αἱρετὸν, ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ συστοιχίᾳ, καὶ ἔστιν ἄριστον ἀεὶ ἢ ἀνάλογον, τὸ πρῶτον. [17] What else should this be but a somewhat obscure hint at what the Platonists are wont to call τὸ ἕν and τ´ἀγαθόν, the supreme goodness of the divine numen? He calls the latter the στρατηγός or highest army leader in ch. 10,[18] where he also introduces Anaxagoras who posits as the first mover: Ἀναξαγόρας δὲ ὡς κινοῦν τὸ ἀγαθὸν ἀρχήν: ὁ γὰρ νοῦς κινεῖ. ἀλλὰ κινεῖ ἕνεκά τινος, ὥστε ἕτερον.[19] According to Aristotle, therefore, the τ´ἀγαθόν or τὸ ἕν is the first mover in an absolute sense or the principal τὸ πρῶτον κινοῦν ἀκίνητον, since it moves the divine intellect as the highest army leader. Not only is it the τὸ ἀπλοῦν, even though it is such indeed, being the most simple thing in itself, but also τὸ ἕν, because it is the τὸ μέτρον, the measure which gives measure to all things and according to which all things are ordered. Πρὸς γὰρ ἓν ἅπαντα συντέτακται.[20] These are the very words of Aristotle himself who has revealed himself as a splendid pupil of Plato in these places. Meanwhile, it is sufficiently clear from what has been said how sublime and exalted this divine magic is.

Sect. 11: “Cannot God create one substance in his own likeness”, etc. The force of this argument cannot be evaded in any way. Since God is a being one by itself and perfectly simple and aware of his own idea, it is every bit as much in accordance with his omnipotence that he creates a simple creature in the likeness of his own simplicity as that he creates a wise and just one in the likeness of his own wisdom and justice. However, we doubt these matters whenever we do not have recourse to the idea of God, but our crass and corporeal imaginings.

Sect. 13: “Rational ideas of all things proceed from such a benign and wise principle and must, therefore, be derived from their ‘ends’ in respect of which they are also called ‘good’”, etc. No-one can express this more clearly than Aristotle himself does rather succinctly in The Generation of Animals I 1: ὄ τε γὰρ λόγος καὶ τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα ὡς τέλος, ταὐτόν[21] and more fully in II 1: Βελτίων γὰρ καὶ θεοτέρα τὴν φύσιν ἐστιν ἡ αἰτία ἡ κινοῦσα πρῶτον, ᾗ ὁ λόγος ὑπάρχει καὶ τὸ εἶδος τῆς ὕλης. [22] However, that which first moves is the aim and end of the whole ἀποτέλεσμα,[23] as it is conceived in a certain intellectual principle, that is to say, God’s intellect, as can be seen very well from what he says earlier in the same chapter: Ὡς γὰρ διὰ τὸ βέλτιον καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν τὴν ἕνεκά τινος ἄνωθεν ἀπὸ τοῦ παντὸς ἔχει τὴν ἀρχήν. [24] And a little later: τὸ γὰρ καλὸν καὶ τὸ θεῖον, αἴτιον ἀεὶ κατὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ φύσιν, τοῦ βελτίονος ἐν τοῖς ἐνδεχομένοις. [25] This accords nicely with what he says towards the end of the chapter: Ἡ γὰρ τέχνη, ἀρχὴ καὶ τὸ εἶδος τοῦ γινομένου, ἀλλ´ ἐν ἑτέρῳ, ἡ γὰρ τῆς φύσεως κίνησις ἐν αὐτῳ, ἀφ´ ἑτέρας οὖσα φύσεως τῆς ἐχούσης τὸ εἶδος ἐνεργείᾳ. [26] This should be best referred to the divine nature which possesses the ideas of all natural things in intellectual actuality. By contrast, the spirit of nature possesses them only in vital potentiality, although the latter is awakened as matter is prepared accordingly. This is that Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy of the generation of natural things. In comparison to it, the modern phantasies of the mechanical philosophers, reeking of nothing but stupid and putrid atheism, strike me as completely vile.

Sect. 16: “That it would flood back even above the orbit of Saturn.” No, much further! For since the triangular gaps occupy much less space than half the space occupied by the globules, it will follow that the sun will occupy about a fourth of the vortex and its semidiameter will be much bigger than the semidiameter of the vortex (cf. Enchiridium metaphysicum, ch. 16).

Sect. 23: “Since the latter time and again insists quite adamantly upon the ends of things in natural philosophy” etc. He does so most expressly in Parts of Animals I 1: Μᾶλλον δ´ἐστὶ τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα καὶ τὸ καλὸν ἐν τοῖς τῆς φύσεως ἔργοις ἤ ἐν τοῖς τῆς τέχνης.[27] And towards the end of the chapter he actually defines nature as acting for a certain aim: Πανταχοῦ δὲ λέγομεν τόδε τοῦδε ἕνεκα, ὅπου ἂν φαίνηται τέλος τι πρὸς ὃ ἡ κίνησις περαίνει μηδενὸς ἐμποδίζοντος. Ὥστε εἶναι φανερὸν ὅτι ἔστι τι τοιοῦτον, ὃ δὴ καὶ καλοῦμεν φύσιν.[28] And a little later: ὥσπερ γὰρ, ἐπεὶ δεῖ σχίζειν τῷ πελέκει, ἀνάγκη σκληρὸν εἶναι· εἰ γὰρ σκληρόν χαλκοῦν ἢ σιδηροῦν, οὕτως καὶ ἐπεὶ τὸ σῶμα ὄργανον (ἕνεκά τινος γὰρ ἕκαστον τῶν μορίων, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὸ ὅλον) ἀνάγκη ἄρα τοιονδὶ εἶναι· καὶ ἐκ τοιωνδί, εἰ ἐκεῖνο ἔσται.[29] In these words, he clearly acknowledges that nature acts as those it acted according to plans and purposes, and he rejoices greatly in the fact that he can cite Empedocles in support of his view: Ἀναγκάζεται γὰρ, says he, τῆν οὐσίαν καὶ τῆν φύσιν φάναι τὸν λόγον, i.e. “he does not define a bone as two or elements or as the compound of all of them”, ἀλλὰ λόγον τῆς μίξεως αὐτοῦ.[30] Lastly, in the Progression of Animals, he posits as one of the chief principle of his investigation ὅτι ἡ φύσις οὐδὲν ποιεῖ ματήν· ἀλλ' ἀεί ἐκ τῶν ἐνδεχομένων τῇ οὐσίᾳ περί ἕκαστον γένος ζώου τὸ ἄριστον. Διόπερ εἰ βέλτιον ὡδί, οὕτως καὶ ἔχει κατὰ φύσιν. [31] These are those celebrated and divine words of Aristotle by which he bore testimony to the fact that the phenomena of nature owe their origin not to the fortuitous and tumultuous collisions of particles of matter, as the Epicureans dreamt back then and as some modern mechanical philosophers dream to this very day, but that their origin must traced back to some higher and more divine principle. And I hope that have provided abundant and sound evidence in my Enchiridium Metaphysicum that it is not without reason that I follow Aristotle in holding this view.

[Book I]


What Ethics or Morals are

ETHICKS are defined[32] to be the Art of Living well and happily.

I. We understand in this place, by Art, a methodical Knowledge of such Precepts as are consentaneous one to another. And therefore, since Ethicks are that Art we design to treat of, our Precepts must all partake thereof, and all conduce thereunto;[33] for else they would not be consentaneous. So that you are not to expect Precepts how to dispute, but how to live, and how to be happy.[34]

The Reason why in the Definition above we call it,[35] The Art of Living both and well and happily, is, because a Man may live well, and yet not altogether so happily; which two differing kinds of Life the Pythagoreans did rightly distinguish; for by their Doctrin, it is one thing to be perfect according to Nature, another according to life.

II. NOW such men, are by nature perfect who are adorned with Virtue. For by the Definition of those Philosophers, Virtue is the top and perfection of every Nature. They term these men good only, and not happy or blest.[36] But such men are said to be perfect according to life, who are not only good, but also happy. For they define happiness to be the Perfection of human Life; and they define human life to be a Collection or Chronicle of human Actions.[37] Wherefore, seeing the Event and Success[38] of such Actions depend on Fortune, no man can, without the Benefits of Fortune,[39] enjoy a perfect State. The wise Hippodamus Thurius observed,[40] That it was Virtue and Fortune together that made Actions perfect; Virtue as to the Practice,[41] and Fortune[42] as to the Success.

III. THE Definition of Felicity given by Archytas, is consonant to what we have said,[43] namely, That it was the practice of Virtue[44] joyned with good Fortune. And last of all, Euthephemus hath well[45] illustrated the matter in this threefold Similitude: Just as a General (saith he) overcomes by Valour and good Success;[46] and as the Pilot gains his Port[47] by true steering, and a favourable Gale; and as the Eye beholds by the Power of Vision, and Help of Light: so is our Life then best, when accompanied with Virtue and good Fortune.[48] We might add unto all, the Authority of Aristotle himself, who requires external Goods to the completing of Happiness. Now altho the good Things of Fortune, which we here recommend, cannot absolutely be said to be within our Power; yet we presume to say, that forasmuch as the Precepts, laid down by Ethics, do admirably steer a man to their acquisition (as in due place it will appear) we must conclude, that such Externals are by good title referrable to Ethicks.[49] For altho they are sometimes missed of, and not always attained; yet this is only as it happens with Physicians and Pilots; who, tho they often miscarry, yet no man infers from thence, but that there are such Art in the World, as Physick and Navigation too.[50]


Of the Parts of Ethics, and of Happiness

I. ETHICKS are divided into two Parts, The Knowledge of Happiness, and the Acquisition of it. The Knowledge contains the Doctrine of its Nature, and of such things as the Nature of Happiness does, in some sort, either comprehend, or else refer unto.[51] Whence in this Part we shall principally treat of the Virtues, and of the Passions; and in the last Part add somewhat about the external Supports of life.[52]

II. * HAPPINESS is that pleasure * which the mind takes in from a sense of Virtue, and a Conscience of Well-doing; and of conforming in all things to the Rules of both.[53] Wherefore we say, that external Comforts,[54] or some moderate proportion of them, do much conduce to the making happiness complete.[55] Here we call Happiness a Pleasure of the Mind[56] rather than an Operation of it, since all men allow it to be the best and greatest of human Fruitions.[57] But as that cannot be the greatest[58] which is subservient to another, so the Operation of the mind cannot be said to be its greatest good, since it is but in order to Pleasure. And it is upon this Account, as Aristotle observes, that we often heighten and raise[59] our Operations (Ethic. Eud. lib. 1. cap. 7); not that we are pleased with the Operation it self, but because we expect a pleasure from it, which we highly value, and which we look upon as an effect thereof.[60]

III. FURTHERMORE, to come closer to the Mark, this Pleasure by which we define Happiness, is here considered as the Flower and Master-piece of that very Operation,[61] in the ways of Virtue, which makes up the Excellency of Life.[62] For, in every Action we go about, it is Pleasure that makes the Operation complete; it is as the Soul of the Work which cannot be wanting.[63] And so Aristotle says, That it gives Perfection to all our Works, and even to Life it self[64] (Eth. Nic. lib. 10. c. 4).

It[65] is plain, that each Creature hath its own particular Pleasure, which is construed to be its supreme Happiness.[66] Whence we may infer, That human Happiness does also consist in human Pleasure; but such, I mean, as ariseth from the Sense of Virtue.

IV. NEXT[67] we say, that all sorts of Men, not the Fools only, but the Philosophers have placed Happiness in Pleasure. Aristotle hath noted in the following Words: That all People accounted Happiness to be a Pleasure, and desired to live therein, or at least not without it (Magn. Moral. l. 2 c. 7).[68] And again elsewhere he says: That no man can rationally think, but he that is truly happy lives very pleasantly (Eud. l 7 c. 5).[69] And again in his Rhetorick: That Happiness is that way of Life which is mostly pleasant[70] with Security (Rhet. l. 1. c. 14). So even our own Divines are wont to describe the Celestial Happiness, by an uninterrupted Joy.

V. In the fifth place it appears, by Aristotle’s own Definition of Pleasure, that Happiness is of the same Affinity.[71] For he defines Pleasure to be, A Restitution of every Creature from a state imperfect,[72] or preternatural, unto its own proper Nature (Magn. Moral. l. 2, c. 7). Now a true[73] Feeling and Possession of Virtue, is also the conversion or bringing a man about,[74] from what is contrary to his Nature, to that which is conformable to it. For tho all Depravity be, according to Trismegistus, inbred, and connatural to Brutes, yet in Reality the same is quite contrary to Human Nature. For (as the Emperor Marcus Aurelius observes) to act according to Nature or according to Reason, is in a rational Creature the same thing (Marcus Imperator, lib. 7. cap. 11). Wherefore all pravity is repugnant to human Nature. But that Virtue is natural to human Nature, and born as a Twin therewith,[75] is manifest, as well because Man’s Soul is a rational Being,[76] as because Righteousness or perfect Virtue (as we are told by Divine Revelation[77]) is immortal; and that it was Sin only that brought Death into the World. For since the State of Innocence[78] was to have been eternal, this plainly shews, that such a state was most perfect and most natural. And therefore that Restitution unto such a State must be most intrinsick and peculiar Pleasure.

5. LASTLY, it must be agreed, that the Desires[79] of the Soul fly not to their Object, as it is intelligible, but as it is good or congruous, or grateful, or least tending to these ends; and to filling the mind with all the Joys and Pleasure it can comprehend.[80] Hence it is plain, that supreme Happiness is not barely[81] to be placed in the Intellect; but * her[82] proper Seat must be called the Boniform Faculty of the Soul (Vide in this Book, L. 3. c. 9 § 14, 15, 16): namely, a Faculty of that divine Composition, and supernatural Texture, as enables us to distinguish not only what is simply and absolutely the best, but to relish it, and to have pleasure in that alone. Which Faculty much resembles that part of Will which moves towards that which we judge to be absolutely the best,[83] when, as it were with an unquenchable thirst and affection it is hurried on towards so pleasing an Object; and being in possession of it, is swallowed up in satisfaction that cannot be exprest.[84]

VI. HE therefore who acts according to this Faculty, conforms to the best and divinest thing that is in us. And this, as Aristotle notes, is necessary unto Happiness. For whether (saith he) it be the very mind of man, or something else that, according to Nature, seems to govern and preside within us,[85] as having knowledge of what is most Lovely and Divine;[86] or whether it be God himself that immediately operates;[87] or else those Gifts which we derive from above:[88] this is plain, that such inward Working and Conformity to Virtue’s Law, is that which denominates true Happiness[89] (Ethic. Nicom. lib. 10 cap. 7). Here the Philosopher seems doubtful whether it be the Intellect, or any other Faculty (which yet bears Impression[90] of things lovely and divine) in whose Operation true Happiness does consist. Yet afterwards he takes part with the Intellect, and placeth Happiness in Contemplation.[91] But we presume to say, this can be no moral Happiness; since it would be confined to a few speculative Men and Philosophers,[92] and so shut out the Bulk of Mankind, who could never be partakers thereof.

VII. WHEREFORE, we think, Happiness should be seated rather in that Boniform Faculty we have spoke of; since it is the most elevated and most divine Faculty of the Soul, and seems to supply the same place in it, as the essential Good[93] of the Platonicks, is said to do in the Deity. As also because the Study and Improvement of it is common to all men.[94] For it is not above the Talent of the meanest, to love God, and his Neighbour very heartily.[95] And, if this be done with Prudence and Purity of Life, it is the Completion of this Happiness, and the very natural Fruit of this exalted Faculty.

And let no man think meanly thereof, since we are free to aver, that nothing of greater Benediction can betides us, either in the present, or in the future life, than such a testimony of the Divine Love.[96] * But we shall elsewhere speak more freely thereof.

VIII. WE do therefore mention our Definition of Happiness,[97] the pleasure which the mind enjoys from a sense of Virtue (Nicom. lib. 10 c. 6); because there are some kinds of allowable pleasure,[98] such as Aristotle calls pure and generous, and laughs at those who think otherwise. For such (says he) as will not allow that any Pleasure can be honest, are like those Companions, who, not comprehending what Nectar is, do fansie that the Gods drink Wine; inasmuch as they themselves know nothing better (Magn. Moral. lib. 2 c.7).

IX. NOW I affirm this pleasure to arise from a Sense of Virtue; and it is[99] erroneous to think the Fruit of Virtue should consist in such imaginary knowledge as is gotten by bare Definitions of Virtue: for this amounts to no more, than if a man would pretend to know the Nature of Fire from the bare Picture of Fire, which can afford no Heat.[100] All kind of Vital Goods (as I may take the liberty to call them) are by our Life and Senses to be judged of, and enjoyed.[101] And Virtue is in it self an inward life, not an outward shape, or to be discovered by the Eye.[102] According to that memorable Saying of Plotinus: If you ever were the thing it self, you may then be said to have seen it (Vide in this Book, L. 2. c. 2. § 5 etc. 3. § 1). But being once transformed into this life of Virtue, then indeed you behold the Beauties, and taste the Pleasures thereof;[103] then you grow enamoured, and your Soul is taken up with Joys that cannot be uttered.[104] However till you shall attain this State, and while this Blessed Disposition of the Soul[105] is not as yet awakened in you, ‘tis fit you credit those who are in the Fruition of it. Nor can that Saying of Aristotle be ever more opportunely urged than in this Case, That Learners must believe. For should you venture to make judgment of the Pleasure that is in Virtue, being as yet void of all Experience,[106] it were to be feared, you would prosecute it so faintly, as never to obtain it, but be left to[107] expiate your incredulity in this Life, by a too lasting[108] punishment in the other.

X. AS to the preceding Words that are annexed to the Definition of Happiness: Namely, That it was made perfect by external Comforts:[109] How could this otherwise be?[110] For since Happiness consists in that Pleasure, which good men take in the Sense of Virtue, and a Conscience of Well-doing; [111] no man can possess this Happiness, if any pain be so intense upon him, as to distract the Mind, and extinguish all present Sense of Pleasure. Whence it plainly follows, that we must not lie under acute Diseases, or want the Food that is needful. For the want of a Sufficiency for Nature;[112] or a State of Captivity; or any Degree of Vassalage; are able to depress, as well as distract, the Mind by Cares and Anxiety. They hinder Happiness from being in its Perfection, nor can Heroical Virtue produce so full a Crop.[113]

Haud facilè emergunt, quorum virtutibus obstat

Res angusta domi ____ ____ ____[114]

XI. WHEREFORE (as Aristotle saith) while we are Men, and carry about us the Frailties we are born to, we shall ever be wanting of external Prosperity[115] (Magn. Moral. lib. 2. cap. 8). For complete Happiness cannot be without those two Ingredients, which the Pythagoreans termed Praise and Comfort;[116] meaning Praise that results from Virtue, and Comfort from good Fortune. This we sufficiently noted before to be the Pythagoreans Doctrine.[117] And Aristotle, in his great Morals, strikes again upon the same Note; affirming, That without external Comforts,[118] it was impossible to be happy (Magn. Moral. lib. 2 cap. 8).

XII. HOWEVER he inclines much to a Mediocrity herein, and quotes Solon for it: That a Man may do all things that are fit for him, out of a moderate Estate. For as to Excess of Wealth, it rather choaks up the Way to Virtue, than mends the Path. Archytas compares Wealth unto Wine, and to Light; saying, that one blinded the Eyes, and the other turned the Brains, of very good Men, when they were in excess. Whence Aristotle, when he interprets the Answer of Anaxagoras, does not make his happy Man to be either a Potentate, or a Man of overgrown Riches;[119] But the Man that was full of Innocence, free from Pain, and who had some share of Divine Contemplation. This was his happy Man.[120]


Of Virtue in general: and of Right Reason.

I. VIRTUE is an intellectual Power of the Soul, by which it over-rules the animal Impressions or bodily Passions; so as in every Action it easily pursues what is absolutely and simply the best.

Here it seems fit, in the Definition, to call Virtue rather a Power than a Habit.[121] First, because the word Virtue implies as much, and signifies the same thing as Fortitude.[122] And next because an Habit is not essential to Virtue. For if a Man had this intellectual Power born in him, he would doubtless be virtuous, tho it came not to him in the way of repeated Actions, such as constitute a Habit. For it is not the external Causes, but the internal,[123] which make the essence of a thing. Besides it is this Idea of Virtue which elevates and inclines the mind to love her, and tread in her ways, and which argues Virtue to be quick and vigorous heat,[124] by which the mind is easily and irresistibly moved to do things which are good and honorable. So that we esteem this very notion of Virtue able to rowze up men from Sloth and Lethargy,[125] and make those ashamed, who on a few moderate Performances think to set up for Men of Virtue.

II. WE term this a Power intellectual, not only because of its situation,[126] which is in the intellectual part of the Soul (* and not in the animal part of it, where that Power resides which governs the Members) but also because it is always excited by some Principle which is intellectual or rational. By animal Impressions we understand every motion of the Body, which being obtruded with any sort of Violence on the Soul, brings danger of Sin and Error, if not carefully watched.

Therefore all such Delusions and Imaginations, as strongly[127] assault the Mind, may fitly be referred to this Head. By Actions, I mean all Motions made by the Soul upon deliberation, which is to say, all such as may properly be termed human Actions; whether they be such as the School-men call Elicitae or Imperatae: that is, whether they do immediately proceed from the Soul it self; or whether they are occasioned from any outward Impressions made upon the Soul. Under which Heads we may rightly comprehend the accepting or refusing any Philosophical Opinion, whether Physical or Metaphysical. And so of any thing else.

III. AS to the Pursuit of the Soul, we spake of, this was to set off, and more openly express the intellectual Power:[128] for if it had not that force to pursue,[129] it would not be Virtue, but only a Disposition towards it. So Theages the Pythagorean hath it: That Reason doth not beget in us a Continency and Forbearance, but by putting a forcible Restraint upon Lust and Anger. And that when the Passions do overcome, and put the same forcible restraint upon Reason, she then gives place to Incontinency and a softness of mind which receives all Impressions;[130] when as bare Dispositions without such a forcible restraint, can only produce imperfect Virtues, and imperfect Vices.[131]

Wherefore the Philosopher makes these interchangeable Conflicts, and Dispositions of the Soul, to be but Virtues half perfect, as also the Vices but half inveterate.[132]

And whereas we say, the Soul pursues what was absolutely and simply the best, this was to manifest that famous distinction of a twofold Good; one General, which was absolutely good, or absolutely better. The other Particular, and which in respect of some single Inclination of any particular person, was good or better: that is to say, either grateful, or more grateful.[133] But what we hold to be the absolute Good, or better thing, is that which proves grateful, or more grateful, to the Boniform Faculty of the Soul, which we have already pronounced to be a Thing Divine.[134]

IV. ARISTOTLE seems to me, in his Ethicks to Nicomachus, to point at this very Faculty, saying, That what is best, in whatever Subject it be, is not apparent, but to a good Man (Moral. Nicom. l. 6 c. 13). By which he means, that men do discover that which is best in every Subject (I mean really and simply best) not as they are knowing, but as they are Good. So that methinks he had spoken more correctly had he styled this Faculty, The very Eye of the Soul, than to call it that sort of Natural Industry, which seems too much bordering upon Craft. But forasmuch as no man can feel the Motives and Dictates of this Divine Faculty, but one who hath attained to it by diligent application,[135] we must have recourse to some middle Principle to serve as Mercury did of old, and be an Interpreter between God and Man. And for this we shall constitute that which we call Right Reason.[136] Wherefore that certainly is absolutely and simply the best, which according to the Circumstances of the Case in question,[137] comes up closest to Right Reason, or is rather consentaneous with it.[138]

V. FOR Right Reason, which is in Man, is a sort of Copy or Transcript of that Reason or Law eternal which is registred in the Mind Divine. However this Law is not by Nature made otherwise known unto us, than as ‘tis communicated * and reflected on our Minds by the same Right Reason, and so shines forth.[139] But by how much it shines forth, by so much doth it oblige the Conscience, * even as a Law Divine inscribed in our Hearts. To this very Sense the Pythagoreans pronounced of Virtue: Tha[140] it was the Habit of doing what ought to be done.[141] They did not barely intend,[142] The doing what was equal, and in a Mean, or doing what needed neither Addition nor Substraction, as being already what it ought to be: But the doing that which was obligatory, and of Duty, and according to a Law which was immutable. And so also did Epictetus famously pronounce, What ever appears to be best, let that be your inviolable Law.

VI. THE heighth of Virtue is this, constantly to pursue that which to Right Reason seems best. For indeed she her self is even absolutely and simply that best, not only as she[143] is so consonant to Divine Reason, which does nothing partially for the sake of this or that particular:[144] but as she generously dictates, like to a common Parent, such Laws as tend, in their own Nature, to the Happiness of all Mankind. Hence Aristotle calls God, the Law eternal, as regarding every way with equal Benignity (De Mundo, cap. 6). So also, as well among the Pythagoreans as the Stoicks, it was held, That to follow God, or to follow Nature, was just the same thing as to follow Right Reason. For this alone is that which constitutes our Nature, and distinguishes a Man from a Beast.

VII. YET after all, as Aristotle himself is fain often to confess, tho it be easie to agree this Best to be that which to Right Reason is consonant; yet what this Right Reason is, or what is the measure of it, seems a most difficult matter truly to resolve. The Philosopher having (in his great Morals [Magn. Moral. lib. 2. c. 10]) brought in one who demands, what Right Reason was, and where to be found? The Answer is but darkly thus, That unless a Man have within himself a Sense of things of his Nature, there is nothing to be done. It was indeed the Answer which a Physician gave to one who asked him, how he should distinguish, which was the paleness that argued a man to be ill of an Ague. But the same Philosopher presently subjoins, That it was the like Case, as to make a Judgment of the Passions; * namely, That by some Sense and Feeling of them, the Conjecture was to be made. So that in short the final Judgment upon this matter, is all referred to inward Sense, which I confess, I should rather have called, The Boniform Faculty of the Soul. However, as Aristotle somewhere notes, of Men who by a sort of Violence, and without Reason, are hurried on to good,[145] I must own, that whoever is so affected, differs but little from them who are inspired. And certainly this Principle which I call the Boniform Faculty, is the most divine thing within us, but hath nothing in it that savours of Fanaticism.[146]

VIII. THE Philosopher, in another place, defines Right Reason thus, That such Reason was right, as was conformable to Prudence (Moral. Eudem. l. 5 c. 13). Now whereas[147] Prudence it self is nothing but that natural Sagacity, or well cultivated[148] Diligence of the Mind; which he elsewhere calls, The very Eye of the Soul: This only brings back the same answer as before; resolving[149] right Reason rather into an inward Sense, or an inward Faculty of Divination; than into any certain and distinct Principles, by which a Man might judge of that which in every thing were the best.

IX. HOWEVER, the same Philosopher is at last, towards the end of his Eudemicks, very clear and very apposite in this Matter (Moral. Eudem. l. 7. c. 15). For when he brings the same question on the stage, the Resolution is as follows, ‘That we are in this, as in other Occasions, to regulate our Lives by the Dictates of our internal Regent; that we must aspire to such habits, as may enable us to imitate the high Character of such a Regent, and to conform thereto in all things. Which amounts to this, that our Consciences must be kept pure and immaculate. For he adds, That as human Nature does consist of two parts, the one to command, the other to obey: so by institution in all Governments, the inferiors are tyed to be subject to the Rulers. That also this Government is of a double sort. For just as Physick requires one thing, and Health another, and that the first is but in order to the latter; even so it fares in contemplating the Ways of God. He, as the high and supreme Governor, first sends his Edicts forth; but the end and designation of them is to beget prudence in the heart of Man: and then the work of prudence is to distinguish what in human affairs is best. Now as to God, he already is all-sufficient, and wants nothing; wherefore we may infer, that whatever choice, or whatever acquisition of natural Gifts we have, which may most contribute to annex the Soul to God by contemplation; this surely is the best, and this the noblest Measure for all our Deliberations. As on the other side, whatever is so deficient, or so redundant as to interrupt our Contemplation of God, or of the Homage we owe him, this of all things is the vilest.[150]

This was the Answer given, which, for Truth and Divinity, savours not so much of the Philosopher, as of an Oracle.[151]

X. YET let us add what he writes, to the same effect, unto Nicomachus. He says, That as to the Gods, their whole Being was a continued Series of Happiness; but as to Man, that he had nothing of it farther, than as he held resemblance with his Divine Original (Lib. 10. c. 8).[152] Now he should have remembered, that the Divine Life was not a matter of Sapience only, but was principally to consist in Love, Benignity, and in Beneficence or Well-doing. For these are the Fruits of that Celestial Particle of the Soul, which we term the Boniform;[153] and by which, above any other Accessions,[154] we are made most like unto Almighty God.

XI. PYTHAGORAS, according to what Elian said of him, made a happy Conjunction of these two things, saying, The Gods had been bountiful to Mortals in two eminent Blessings, namely, to speak the truth, and, to act righteously; for that both of these bore resemblance unto the Works of the immortal Gods (Var. Hist. l. 12. c. 50). Which is to say, that the Perfection of Divine Life[155] is made up of Truth and Well-doing. Wherefore, if men will abide by the Judgment of Aristotle or Pythagoras, or others of the most celebrated, they must own that the Measure of Right Reason is to imitate the Divine Wisdom, and the Divine Goodness, with all our Might.[156] To which also we may refer, and so expound, that saying of Theages the Pythagorean: That the source, cause and measure of human Felicity, does consist in the knowledge of such things as are most excellent, and most divine.


Certain Axioms or intellectual Principles into which almost all the Reasons of Morality[157] may be reduced

I. BUT since there is a Race of Men in the World, who are quite seared up as to God, and all that is Divine;[158] who allow no such thing as Superiority in the Faculties,[159] but assert Obedience to that Passion in particular, which shall happen to usurp above the rest, and make it the top of human Felicity[160] to fullfill the desires thereof. To such as these, who would injuriously pass for men, which they are not;[161] we must proceed by other steps than what are already set down.[162] For we must not talk of our Boniform Faculty, as the measure of Right Reason, and flowing from the Divine part of the Soul, but meetly insist with them upon what refers to the Intellect:[163] since, as Aristotle notes, some things are intelligible, tho men know not the reason why (Moral. Eudem. lib. 5. c. 8).

II. FROM this Magazine therefore let us draw forth a stock of such Principles as being immediately and irresistibly[164] true, need no proof; such, I mean, as all Moral Reason may in a sort have reference unto; even as all Mathematical Demonstrations are found in some first undeniable Axioms.[165] And because these Principles arise out of that Faculty, which the Greeks call Νοῦς, [166] that signifies the Mind or intellect; and that the Words Noema and Noemata derive therefrom, and properly signifie Rules intellectual: we do not therefore improperly stile the Rules that hereafter follow, Moral Noema’s. But, lest any should fansie them to be morose and unpracticable, I must here affirm, they propose nothing for good, which at the same time is not grateful also, and attended with delight.[167]


Good is that which is grateful, pleasant, and congruous to any Being, which hath Life and Perception,[168] or that contributes in any degree to the preservation of it.


But, on the other side, whatever is ungrateful, unpleasant, or any ways incongruous to any being which hath Life and Perception,[169] is evil. And if it finally tend to the destruction of being, it is the worst of evils.

As for example sake, if any thing should not only offend your Eyes or Ears, but bring also blindness and deafness upon you; this were the worst that could happen. But if the sight and hearing were but only impaired thereby, this were but an inferior Evil. And the Reason holds the same in the other Faculties.


Among the several kinds or degrees of sensible Beings[170] which are in the world, some are better and more excellent than others.


One Good may excel another in Quality, or Duration, or in both.

This is self-evident: yet it may be illustrated from this absurdity, that otherwise one Life would not be better, nor one sort of Happiness greater than another: so as Gods, Angels, Men, Horses, and the vilest Worm, would be happy alike; which none but a mad man can fancy. And as to duration there is no scruple thereof.[171]


What is good is to be chosen; what is evil to be avoided, but the more excellent Good is preferable to the less excellent: and less Evil is to be born, that we may avoid a greater.


In things of which we have no experience,[172] we must believe those who profess themselves to have experience. Provided always that there be no suspicion of fraud or worldly contrivance,[173] but that there be a Conformity between their Professions and their Lives.


‘Tis more eligible to want a Good, which for weight and duration is very great, than to bear an Evil of the same proportion.[174] And by how much any Evil shall in weight and duration exceed the Good, by so much the more willingly can we be without such Good.


That which must certainly come to pass, ought to be reputed as present; inasmuch as the future will one day come upon us.[175] And herein some proportion of Reason holds in things future, which are very probable.[176]


Good things, which excel less, are distinguished[177] by Weight and Duration, from those things which excel more.


A present Good is to be rejected or moderated,[178] if there be a future Good of infinite more value, as to weight and duration to be but probably expected: and much more therefore if such expectation be certain.


A present Evil is to be born, if there be a probable future Evil infinitely more dangerous, as to weight and duration, to be avoided thereby: and this is much more strongly incumbent, if the future evil be certain.


A mind which is free from prejudices that attend passion,[179] judges more uprightly[180] than a mind which by such passions, or any other corporeal Impressions is solicited[181] or disturbed. For even as a cloudy Sky, and turbulent Sea will neither transmit or reflect any Light; so a disturbed mind admits no Reason, tho it come never so plain and clear.

Boethius[182] sets this forth in very elegant Verse,[183] which thus begins,

Nubibus atris Fundere possunt

Condita nullum Sydera Lumen, etc.

The Stars, tho of themselves so bright,

When hid in Clouds can give no light.[184]

III. AND these are those Rules or Noemata, which almost suffice to engender in the Soul that Prudence, Temperance, and Fortitude which regard the Duties we owe our selves.[185] Those which follow regard we owe unto others; as to God, to Man, and to Virtue it self. And therefore they are the Rules and Principles[186] of Sincerity, Justice, Gratitude, Mercy and Piety. For I account Piety among the Moral Virtues, inasmuch as God may by the Light of Nature be known.


We must pursue the greatest and most perfect Good with the greatest zeal, and lesser Goods with a zeal proportionably less.[187] Nor must we subordinate greater Goods to less, but less to greater.[188]


The Good, which in any case in question, you would have another man do unto you; the same you are bound in the like case, to do unto him; So far forth as it may be done without prejudice[189] to a Third.


The Evil you would not have done to your self, you must abstain from doing the same to another, as far as may be done without prejudice[190] to a Third.


Return good for good, and not evil for good.


‘Tis good[191] for a man to have wherewithal to live well and happily.


If it be good for one man to have wherewithal to be happy; it evidently[192] follows, ‘tis twice as good for two men to be happy, thrice for three, a thousand times for a thousand; and so of the rest.


‘Tis better that one man be disabled[193] from living voluptuously, than that another should live in want and calamity.


‘Tis good to obey the Magistrate in things indifferent, even where there is no penalty to disobey.[194]


‘Tis better to obey God than Men, or even[195] our own Appetites.


‘Tis good and just to give every man what is his due, as also the use and possession thereof without any trouble.


However ‘tis manifest, that a man may so behave himself, as that what was his own by acquisition or donation, may of right cease to be his own.

IV. THESE and such like Sayings may justly be called Moral Axioms or Noemas: for they are so clear and evident of themselves, that, if men consider impartially,[196] they need no manner of Deduction or Argument, but are agreed to as soon as heard.[197] And thus we are prepared, as with so many Touchstones, to let the inquisitive know what Right Reason is. For in short, it is that which by certain and necessary Consequences, is at length resolved into some intellectual Principle which is immediately true.

And if any ask after Examples in this kind, that are suited to Morality, they may have recourse to such as are above recited.


To shew which are the Faculties whereby we do find and understand what is simply, and its own nature good.

I. IT is now manifest,[198] there is something which is simply and absolutely good, which in all human Actions is to be sought for. That it’s Nature, Essence, and Truth are to be judged of by Right Reason; But that the relish and delectation thereof, is to be taken in by[199] the Boniform Faculty. Also that all Moral Good, properly so called, is Intellectual and Divine: Intellectual, as the Truth and Essence of it is defined and comprehended by the Intellect: and Divine, as the Savour and Complacency thereof, is most effectually tasted through that high Faculty, by which we are lifted up and cleave unto God, (that Almighty One, who is the most pure and absolute Good, and who never wills any thing but what is transcendently the Best.)[200] So that for a man thus to know, and thus to ascend,[201] is not only the highest Wisdom, but the highest Felicity. And it is by this Gradation toward things divine, or by this Flower and Perfection of the Soul, that we attain to a sort of Coalition what is perfectly the Best.[202] So it was said of old;

Objectum quoddam est quod mentis flore prehendas.

II. NOW as to those men who shall either rashly or advisedly[203] reject the Truth of our Noema’s, ‘tis easie to guess by this disrelish, what are the Faculties they consult. Nay, it is plain they set up for the animal Appetite; and openly declare, that what pleases them most, is only the best. But tho we may here venture to call this a poor brutal delusion,[204] yet these things are most properly referred unto, in the Chapter of Temperance.

III. IN the mean time, for what relates even to Justice, the Sentiments of those Gentlemen are nothing better. They will not allow for the chiefest Good that which is absolutely and in its own nature just; but that which to themselves looks well, without any regard to their Neighbors.[205] And if you enquire into the state of this Good they so indulge, and so pursue,[206] they make it no secret to tell you plainly, it is what affords best entertainment to their Senses. Alas, how deplorable is it, that man should ever value himself upon such an affinity with the Beast! Nay, in human shape to become the very Beast![207] Whereas he has Title to think higher of himself, and to be one and the same with what is most eminent within him; or what in Dignity stands next thereto: which is doubtless his Intellect and Right Reason.[208]

IV. FOR as in Numeration the Sum Total is accounted from the last Unite,[209] so is it in other matters; the last and most perfect essential difference makes a Thing to be what it is, and doth distinguish it from all Things else. Wherefore, if any man shall make his sole good to be that, which to himself is grateful, as insisting wholly on the delectation of his animal Appetite, he plainly publishes himself for a Brute. But if he means and intends such grateful thing, as to the Intellect, or Right Reason, or to the Boniform Faculty, is suitable: This indeed (as Plotinus saith) is the Object of a perfect Man, I mean of an intellectual Man, and for such may pronounce him.[210]

V. FOR this is the plain Character of the intellectual Life, that as in the search of Truth, it is not inquired what may seem true to any one Body of Men, tho ever [211] so numerous, much less to any man in particular, but what is simply and absolutely the Truth: so neither doth it set up that for good,[212] which to any one man, or to any number of men, appears for such; but that which really and absolutely is so; and which, in like Circumstances every intellectual Creature is bound to elect,[213] be the animal Nature never so averse. Now as it happens in specious Arithmetick,[214] that every signal Operation stands afterwards for a Theorem or Conclusion: so in Morals let such preference and election, as we have mentioned, stand for an eternal President, to guide our actions in all like cases, when circumstances are the same. And let us acquiesce therein, and acknowledge the Truth thereof, tho it prove never so ungrateful to our Appetites, and seem quite contrary to our external sense. [215]

VI. WHEREFORE as it is an Error in the Intellect, to resign it self so far to the Imagination, or to the Sense, as but to waver in the pursuit of Truth: So doubtless is it an error in the Will, to be so captivated, as to resign it self to the animal Appetite, and to forsake what is absolutely good.[216] For if the Will may want at some seasons that relish of good which it ought to have; this is merely the Will’s neglect, in not exciting that divine Faculty, by which we not only know what is best, but are elevated, and even ravished when we enjoy it. For it is plain, that when we open our Eyes, such are the Charms of this Joy, that a man would rather venture a thousand deaths, than by any base prevarication to hazard his portion in a state of which, which is so desirable and so divine.[217]

VII. WHEREFORE as it is now plain, that something there is, which of its own nature, and incontestably is true: so is there somewhat which of its own nature is simply good. Also that as the former is comprehended by the Intellect, so the sweetness and delight of the latter is relished by the Boniform Faculty. Wherefore as to those who pronounce every thing good, so far as at any it can be grateful, and so establish it for the standard of human Actions; this is Madness it self, inasmuch as hereby they rank the Wise, the Fools, and the Mad-men, all in the same state. Nay, perhaps they herein prefer the Fools and Mad men before the Wise; since these are the most likely to persist against all Sense and Reason, and to stick by that which is grateful, let it be never so destructive, vile or ridiculous.[218]

VIII. SOME there are, I confess, who speak a little more cautiously in this Matter, and would have the man they call wise, have Self-preservation still[219] in his eye, how inordinate soever they allow him in all the rest.[220] By which they shew, that if their Fool or Mad-man can but here be shot-free; they little consider of Immortality, or the Fruits of solid Wisdom.[221] However it is plain to every man of Sense,[222] that a bare self-preservation is not a desirable thing; for such may be the Scorns and Scourges of this Life, that none but a stupid Creature would in such Circumstances desire to live.[223]

But lastly, if according to them, Life and Conservation be so valuable,[224] it must also follow, that the more durable these are, they are so much the better, and that the most durable is best of all. Furthermore, if such self-conservation of one man be really good, it is doubly so to preserve two men, and thrice as much to save three, and so forward (Noema 18.). Whence by the Light of Nature, it is manifest, that every intellectual Creature stands bound to provide, both in present and in future, for his own, and his Neighbors Preservation, so far forth as in him lies, and as it may consist without prejudice[225] to a third. This is what certainly fulfils not only a great part of Justice, but Temperance and indeed of every other Virtue.


The Use and Interpretation of Love and Hatred; which are in the Second Classis

I. AMONG the Sorts or Species[226] of Love, there is principally to be considered; not only Devotion and Complacency, but what the Greeks call Storge (which is that strong Intercourse of Filial Parental Sympathy, that is founded in the Bowels of Nature.)[227] So likewise, in the sorts of Hatred, there is to be observed Horror and Antipathy.

By Devotion we are taught, as by a loud Exhortation of Nature, to believe that there is something which ought to be more dear to us than our selves,[228] and for which we should not scruple to lay down our Lives.[229] The Use therefore of this Passion refers chiefly to Polity and Religion; neither of which can be without Virtue. So that for the true Use of this Passion we are accountable to[230] our Prince, our Country, and to our Religion: That is to say, unto God and true Virtue. Whence it follows, that those, who place the highest Wisdom in Self-preservation,[231] and as preferable at all times to all other things, do sin[232] against the Light of Nature.

II. By Complacency, and by Horror, we are admonished, that there are some things Beautiful, and some Deformed; much contrary to the sordid Opinion of those, who laugh at all Distinctions. Nay, their Raillery extends to the place of this Indifferency, even in Vice and Virtue:[233] Whereas[234] Virtue, for the most part, is but a mere Symmetry of the Passions, in reference to their Degrees and Objects. Just as Beauty it self is made up from a due proportion in the external Parts; and then animated by a Decorum in the Motion and Direction of the whole.[235] Which, in a manner, is the same thing that Tully noted in the Fourth Book of his Tusculane Questions [Book IV]. For as in the Body, (says he) there is a certain apt Figuration of the Members, with a sweetness of Color. All which we call Beauty; so in the Mind, an equability and constancy in our Opinions and Judgments, joyned[236] to such a firmity and settledness in them, as we make to be the consequence of, or even the substance of Virtue,[237] this also is declared beautiful.

Wherefore this Natural Complacency, and Natural Horror, ought to spur us on to the Love of Virtue, and an Aversation to Vice: For one is the most charming, as the othe[238] the most deformed thing in the World.

III. BUT the more peculiar Intent of that Complacency, which is commonly called Love, refers[239] to the Propagation of Children. Which Passion, if it be more importunate than the rest, it shews the Care and Anxiety of Nature to preserve and continue the Race of Mankind. And Nature is herein so solicitous, so artificial, and useth such clandestine Feats of Negromancy and Prevarication, as if she would rather pass for an Inchantress, or even a Mountebank, than want sufficient Allurements to that end.[240] But forasmuch as the Intention of this Ardor is made so conspicuous (as before) we are thereby admonished how far to restrain it, and with what Circumspection to put all due Boundaries thereunto.[241]

IV. WHEREFORE as this Love has reference to Propagation; so Storge, or Natural Tenderness,[242] referreth chiefly to Children that are begot. And if more of the Storge appear in Parents, than what is reciprocal;[243] it shews, this Passion is implanted by Nature, as others, to a greater Degree, or a less, suitable to the Use or Want there may be thereof. For there is greater Utility and Need of the Parents Affection towards their Children, than of the Childrens towards the Parent; for these excel the other in good Counsel and other Aids:[244] and it more rarely happens that Parents stand in need of their Children, than Children of their Parents. From hence also we may take Instruction how to govern and attemperate this Passion; so as neither by excess of Indulgence to hurt the Living, or by unprofitable Lamentations to over-bewail the Dead.

V. IN the last place, Antipathy (which is a sort of Hatred, tho from Causes more occult) is thus far of Use, that we are, by some private Sentinel, admonished to stand off, where Nature has planted between us and any other, an unaccountable Dissention. But if this happen to be exercised against a good Man, we are then to suspect our selves,[245] and the Evil lies at our own Door. In which Case, we are to contend, if possible, to make him our Friend, as venturing or losing nothing by it, unless some defect or infirmity of our own.


The Interpretation and Use of Joy and Grief, which constitute the Fourth Classis.

I. THE Passions of this Rank[246] are first, Derision, Commiseration, Envy, Congratulation; Next, Satisfaction, Repentance, Remorse of Conscience; as also, Favor, Gratitude, Indignation, Anger: Thirdly, Glory, and Shame: Lastly, Loathing, Desire, and Mirth.

II. THE Use of Derision is chiefly applied to the Correction of smaller Faults in the ill Manners and Absurdities of human Life.[247]

From this Fountain sprung up Satyrical Poetry, even as from the Effects of Love and Courage, came the Epic and the Tragic. Nor does Satyr so much pursue Vice it self, as it does the Circumstances thereof, which are the most ridiculous.

Derision is compounded of Joy and Hatred; and if the Evil, which is the Object of it, happen on asudden, it produces Laughter. But the Object of Laughter, as Aristotle somewhere observes, must be such a kind of Evil as is not deadly, or destructive.[248] And therefore this may frequently happen where there is no intention of Hatred:[249] For it may fall out to be only a Congratulation, or sort of Gladness, that the Evil was not great;[250] and that it also was quickly, as well as dexterously overcome.

III. IN such Cases the Object of Derision does good;[251] and in some measure even where the Evil is not overcome. That is to say, where the thing cannot be put into the same state again, and provided that the damage be not very considerable; For a light Evil may pass for a Good. For seeing there is such frailty and mutability in matter, and such a propensity thereby to great aund[252] unfortunate mutations: Laughter seems but as the Voice of Nature, congratulating with it self, that Evils which might have been so heavy, have by the Providence of God, proved to be but light and tolerable Inconveniences. So this being judged a Deliverance, it cannot but end in Mirth. However as to some sad Objects; as to those of Fools and mad Folks; if there be any Man that can please himself with their Absurdities and Ravings, ‘tis to be doubted, (and it draws Jealousie on him) he has not reverence enough for a sound Mind. For else such a Spectacle should disquiet him no less, than if he saw the Carcasse of any dead Man miserably rent in pieces before him.

IV. COMMISERATION is made up of Love and Sorrow.[253] The Use hereof is in succoring the distressed, and defending him that has right. For to take away the Life of an innocent Man, is so monstrous a Crime, as tears the very Bowels of Nature, and forces sighs from the Breasts of Men.

Envy is compounded of Sorrow and Hatred. And the Use thereof refers chiefly to a right Distribution of Rewards and of Honors. For this Passion is not that ill Vice, which all Men so justly reprove; but an excellent Disposition of the Mind given by God. And Aristotle calls it[254] Nemesis, on the account of a Just Distribution to every Man.[255] And in his Rhetorick he says, As ‘tis the proper Office of a good Man to compassionate those who suffer unjustly; so is he to envy, and to disdain such as prosper without a cause. He adds, Whatever exceeds Merit, is unjust; whence Indignation, in this behalf, is even attributed to the Gods. But this, and that Envy which speak of, is but the same Passion. So that from these two of Commiseration and Envy, we are admonished, as by the Voice of Nature, that there is a just and an unjust, a right and a wrong; and that the first is to be taken, and the other left.[256]

V. CONGRATULATION is composed of Love and Joy. And it may serve as a Spure unto common Beneficence. For to him, who is frequent in this Virtue,[257] there is due from all Men a Congratulation of his Prosperity.

Satisfaction, or Self-contendedness, as also Repentance, and Remorse of Conscience, do all plainly contribute to the preserving a good Conscience. They also manifestly shew, that there is a difference between the Works of good and evil Doers,[258] and that Men are endowed with Free Will. For this Satisfaction and Acquiescing, is tantamount to a joyful Applause, or Acclamation of the Soul, from a Conscience of Well-Doing. And certainly such Passion would be altogether vain, and misplaced, if there were not really a right way and a wrong. Tho we must confess, that most Men are most grossly mistaken about the Object of this Passion; and in valuing themselves upon those very Works, for which in Justice they deserve to be defamed.

VI. OF this Madness there is not a greater instance than what Des Cartes (De Pass. Anim. Part. 3. Art. 119) himself lays in our view, of certain superstitious Hypocrites, who, because they go often to Church, repeat many Prayers, shave their Heads, abstain from some Meats, give Alms, and the like; take themselves to be so very perfect, that whatever is suggested to them by their Passion, sounds like the Voice of Heaven.[259] So that if this Passion suggest the betraying of Towns, killing of Princes, and rooting out whole Nations; they think they have Call enough for it, and even Ground sufficient for such Executions and such Passions, if other Men but differ from them in Matters of mere Opinion.[260]

VII. NOW for what relates to Repentance. If it were so, that all things are done by Necessity, then all Grief upon inward conviction of Sin, would look as ridiculous, as if a Clown[261] should repent that he was not born Noble; or if a Woman should be afflicted that she was not born a Man. The same Reason holds as to Remorse of Conscience, which plainly shews, that, if we err in our Election,[262] ‘tis our own fault, and that is was in our power to have chosen better.

Favor also, and Indignation, signifie almost the same: For these Passions grow up in us, as we regard the Actions of Men, some doing right, and some doing wrong.

VIII. BUT Gratitude seems to be natural or essential[263] part of commutative Justice; even as Commiseration, Envy, Favor and Indignation, may be reputed the natural parts of distributive Justice: But Anger may take place in this Rank above the rest. For Revenge is a high part of that Justice, which calls for Chastisement: and Aristotle says, that the Pythagoreans did chiefly place this in Retaliation. For Anger contributes as much towards Fortitude, as either Boldness or Animosity. And it was the saying of Theages, That Anger, and covetuous Desire, were so intended for the service of the Soul,[264] as if the first were to be it’s Guard, and a sort of Sentinel to the Body; the other a fit Caterer or Steward for things that were of use. He also compares this latter to a Providore, and the other to a Soldier. For that Anger is a Passion compos’d of Hatred, of Cupidity, and of Self-love; and so is directly opposite to Gratitude, just as Indignation unto Favor. And Des Cartes observes, that Anger exceeds the other three; as the Desire of Repelling what is noxious, and the taking Revenge, is more vehement upon us than any other thing.

IX. NOR ought we to dread this Passion the more, because it is mixed with Hatred: For all the Passions which belong to the Irascible Faculty[265] of the Soul are very useful and necessary; seeing it doth more concern us to resist Evil, than to enjoy unnecessary Good. Wherefore he who disposeth himself to obey the Motions of the concupiscible part of his Mind,[266] out of a specious pretence of Peace and of a charitable sweetness which we owe to others, let him have a care, lest at the same time he betrays not the Piety which he owes to God, to his Country, and to the rest of Mankind.[267] For he who altogether lays aside this Irascibility, is either false or effeminate,[268] and can never deserve the Character of being what Theages calls An able Guard, and a faithful Champion Virtue.

As to Glory, and Modesty, or Shame, they are things of excellent use: For the first spurs on to high Attempts, and the latter so deters us from what is vile, that it may pass as it were for a Cittadel or Bulwark to Virtue. Glory is made up of Joy, and Self-estimation;[269] Modesty, or Shame, of Sorrow, and Self-love, yet also mixed with Self-distrust: so as this Passion does not belong either to the best or worst sort of Men. For whoever is conscious that he does, with a generous Free-Will, devote himself to laudable things,[270] knows also that he deserves not for so doing to fall into Contempt: And therefore if the Revilers shoot at him, he has Fortitude of Mind to scorn at them again.[271] But[272], on the other side, when wicked Men grow shameless, and become scandal-proof, then are they perfectly dangerous:[273] For Tully observed, That to bear Ignominy without sorrow, was even to arrogate a Commission to do evil (Tusculan. Quaest. L. 4).[274]

XI. WHEREFORE these two Passions of Shame and Glory are easily understood: For both of them make out, that we must rather abide by the common Opinion of others, than by our own. And this contributes not a little, as well to good Manners, as to our civil Obedience:[275] For we are instructed by this Instinct of Nature, that no particular Man is to violate the Laws,[276] or oppose his single Judgment to the publick.[277] Aristotle says, in his Rhetorick; That Law is the publick Sense, and Opinion of the whole People, and made for instruction in all Cases and Events (Rhetor. l. 1. cap. 1). And Cicero,[278] speaking also of Modesty, appeals to that very Shame, which some Pleasures[279] are naturally attended withal: Which, plainly detecting their Vileness, shews that they should be rejected and contemned by Men, who are born to nobler things.[280]

XII. BUT seeing we are still thus governed by these two Instincts of Shame and Glory; and yet behold the whole Bulk of the World, how they magnifie that which is debauched and vile: we may from thence presume a time will come, in which Mankind shall live to better purposes, that is, more regularly and correct.[281] However as things now go, let us contend, that neither Shame on the one hand, or popular Fame on the other, seduce or drive us from what is substantially just:[282] For this would utterly subvert the Intention of those Gifts.[283] And therefore in all Actions, let your Appeal be to the Judgement-Seat of a good Conscience; and if we are but well attested from thence, let the Sparks of the World railly on, and the whole Crowd reproach us: For, in such case, ‘tis perfect Heroism to despise them both.[284] Furthermore let those take Shame upon them that deserve it; not the Well doers, nor such as are even content to suffer for doing well.[285] For Virtue (as Tully saith) and even Philosophy her self, must be contented with a few Judges. The Mobile[286] was ever spiteful and invidious to both, and therefore both have industriously declin’d all Appeals unto them[287] (Tusculan. Quaest. L.2. Tusculan. Quaest. l.4). Let us therefore, as he advises us, despise all the Follies of Men, and place the force of living well, in the strength and greatness of our Minds, and in the Contempt[288] of this World: and in a word let us believe it to consist in Truth and Virtue, notwithstanding the vain and mistaken Opinions of a great part of Mankind.

XIII. LASTLY, as to what concerns Loathing, Mirth, and Desire. The Benefit of Loathing has Reference unto Temperance; for we usually loath that which we take in excess: And we take notice how much a repeated Use of all corporeal things, turns into loathing at last. Hence we may be admonished to raise up our Minds to things intellectual, and[289] to place our thoughts upon God.

As for Mirth, the Use thereof refers to Patience: For we ought to suffer Hardships the more willingly, as they will at length be compensated with greater Joy. So Aeneas cheared up his Friends in Distress,[290]

Durate, & vosmet rebus servate secundis.

- Bear up, and patiently endure,

In time our better Fate will bring the Cure.[291]

XIV. DESIRE is compounded of Sorrow, Love, Despairir,[292] and Cupidity. The Use and Benefit hereof is, to give an edge to our Diligence, in preserving what we have,[293] since the loss thereof would turn to our Vexation. The Force of this Passion is chiefly felt in the loss of Friends; the Death of those who excel in Beauty, or in the Talents of the Mind,[294] or who have eminently serv’d in their Generation.[295] So Horace,

Quis desiderio sit Pudor aut Modus

Tam chari Capitis? Praecipe lugubres

Cantus, Melpomene, cui liquidam Pater

Vocem cum Cithara dedit.

_____ Sound out, Melpomene,

And tune thy doleful Melody.

Come, let our Sorrows boundless be,

‘Twere shame to think of Modesty,

When we must weep, great Man, for thee.

XV. IT was this Passion that, working upon mournful and tender Minds, instructed them in the ways of Funeral-Pomp; and by Songs of Lamentation, Elegies, and Orations,[296] to pepetuate[297] the Memory of the Dead. Nay, it brought things to that pitch of Madness at last (worse than Mortality it self) that Temples, Altars, and even Prayers, were consecrated to the Dead: As if those, who but just now ceas’d to be Men, were presently transform’d into Gods. Thus have they branded, by vile Superstition and Idolatry, our mortal State; which was the utmost Abuse this Passion was cable of, or could be imployd unto.


That all Passions (properly so call’d) are in themselves Good; and that, from a right Interpretation of them, ‘tis manifest, there is something Good and Bad in its own Nature: And lastly, to shew what such Nature or Essence of Good and Bad can be.[298]

I. IT appears by what has been said, that not only the Passions we have spoken of, but all the rest of them, which are properly so call’d, are Good.[299] Also that inward Propensity, and strong Inclinations, are not things of Deliberation and Choice; But, as Theages says)[300] the very Stroaks and Prints of Nature, where Vertue is implanted in us by a sort of Impulse or Enthusiasm.[301] And Aristotle notes,[302] That the way of Enthusiasm is to be hurried on to action,[303] without any motives of Reason (Magn. Moral. Lib. 2. cap.8). Wherefore seeing such Propensities are antecedent to all Choice or Deliberation, ‘tis manifest they are from Nature and from God; and that therefore whatever they dictate as Good and Just,[304] is really Good and Just: and we are bound to embrace and prosecute the same, not only towards our selves, but towards others; I mean as far as may consist without any injury to a third.

II. FOR this Law of Nature, which bears sway in the animal Region, is a sort of confused Muttering, or Whisper of a Divine Law (L. 1. C. 6. § 6,8.): but indeed the Voice of it is more clear and audible in the intellectual State. And whereas in that inferior Region, the Case is often so uncertain, and so undecided, as to resemble what the Civilians[305] call Casus omissus;[306] therefore we are obliged frequently to appeal to the Tribunal of Reason, and to consult about Time, Place, and Proportion, and such other Circumstances as our Actions are subjected unto. For Reason has this prehemence,[307] that it does not only more distinctly judge, but more abstractedly, than what the Animal Light, or any Law of the Passions, can pretend to. ‘Tis more distinct, as it can penetrate and examine into the Original and Circumstances of Things; whereas Passion is only a blind and determinate Impulse, to do so or so, without knowing any Motive for it.[308] Also ‘tis more abstracted, and by Nature separate: For Reason does not dictate what may be Good for this or that particular Person, but what simply is good or better; and what in such and such Circumstances ought to be more or less preferable.[309]

III. FOR this is thetrue[310] Character of every intellectual Faculty (as was noted before) that it cannot stoop, and as it were cringe, to particular Cases; but speaks boldly and definitively what is true and good unto all.[311] And hence ‘tis plain, that whatever is Intellectual and truly Moral, is also Divine, and partakes of God.[312] And this made Aristotle style the Divinity, A Law that look’d round, and had the same uniform Aspect towards every side.

IV. HOW unadvised therefore have some been to say, every thing was lawful, that Passion did persuade; and to style this a sort of Divine and Intellectual Document, and, while taken abstractedly, and in the general, to contend for it, as a very principal Rule of human Actions:[313] whereas none, but such as are mere Slaves unto Passion, can ever think at this Rate. This has been hatched under the Wings of Appetite, not of Reason:[314] For to establish such a Doctrine of human Actions, as must subvert all Actions, is quite irrational.[315]

V. WOULD it not from such a Principle follow, that every Man might, at his Pleasure, not only fire his own House in the Night, but the Town also?[316] Might he not poison the common Well, or maim and destroy[317] his Wife and Children, if it were lawful to sacrifice to his own Passion? So that this Foundation being against Nature, and utterly pernicious, it plainly follows, that no Man’s private Inclinations are the Measures of Good and Evil; but that the Inclinations themselves are to be circumscribed by some Principle which is superior to them.[318]

VI. NOW the next Principle, unto which Passion is subjected,[319] and which knows what in every Case is good and bad, is right Reason:[320] And therefore that which to Right Reason appears good or bad, ought certainly to be reputed as such in its own Nature.[321] For what a rectified Mind takes in, is really the Essence of the thing it self, painted in the Understanding:[322] and so a Triangle, in its own Nature, is nothing else but what Right Reason conceives to be such.[323]

VII. HENCE it plainly follows, that there are some unchangeable Ideas or Impressions[324] of Good and Evil, even as of Figures in the Mathematicks; and that the Mind judges of those, as much as Sense does of these: Yet Reason and the Intellect have Jurisdiction over both.[325] For as those are made up by the Concurrence of several Lines; so are these made up of various and often contrary Circumstances;[326] which therefore denominate some things to be Good, and some things to be Evil. And this confirms what has been said, that the Principle, whereby to judge what is either morally good or evil, is an Intellectual Principle, and in some sort Divine.

VIII. THIS hinders not, but that we must allow there is something also, little less than Divine, which presides in the Animal Law (for this Law has also its Source from Nature, and from God the Parent of Nature) so that we may evermore follow the Indications and Dictates of that Law; unless in such Cases, where Reason admonisheth that something may be done, that is better and more advantageous.[327] And if this one point be but granted (which no reasonable Man will deny) you will presently find numberless Instances of those things,[328] which in their own Nature may be termed just or unjust, vile or honest; which, by reflecting on those principal signs of the Passions already mention’d, will occur unto you. For surely those things are, in their own Nature just, or unjust, vile or honest, which the Voice of God in Nature has declared to be such. And this Corollary is of high value in human Life; and able to trample upon the Impudence of those, who cry up all things for lawful, which they themselves think fit.

IX. NEVERTHELESS we do not pretend, in the least, to have the Passions of the Mind exterminated. We rather account of them (which before was noted) as of the very Organs of the Body, and as distinctly useful: since they are not only the occasion of several Virtues,[329] but the true Characters and Images of Virtue, are made the more resplendent by them.[330] Wherefore if we can but skill our Passions aright,[331] They are as Lamps or Beacons, to conduct and excite us to our Journey’s end. For tho Reason may cry aloud;[332] yet we walk without Legs, and fly without Wings, if we are not quickened by their Instigations. Hence we may reflect, that Theages was not so much out of the way in saying, That Virtue had its original from the Passions, and did associate with them, and was preserved by them. For the principal part of Virtue is placed in their due Commixture; So as no man (he says) ought either to be void of Passion, or too highly excited by it. For as Insensibility lays a damp on that Torrent and Enthusiasm of the Soul, by which ‘tis push’d forward towards things which are noble and great: so too much emotion discomposes the Mind; and the Understanding is damnified by it.[333]

X. WHEREFORE let us close all with the Counsel of Archytas the Pythagorean. Contend (says he) to procure the Use of your Passions in such Moderation, as you may equally shun to appear insensible, or in too high an Agitation: for this often leads to prouder Attempts than our weak Nature can support. Surely this Temperament sounds better than what the Stoicks, and even some Platonists, do present us with. And let it never be forgot, that we are no longer to retain our Passions,[334] than as they administer to those ends, for which by Nature they are intended.

And thus much of the Passions, which are properly styled such.

[Book II]


Of the other two Primitive Virtues, Sincerity and Patience

I. SINCERITY is a Virtue of the Soul, by which the Will is intirely and sincerely carried[335] on to that which the Mind judgeth to be absolutely and simply the best. When I say intirely and sincerely, I mean perfectly and adequately. For what is done perfectly is (according to Antoninus) done with the whole Soul, as well in acting justly, as in speaking of truth (Lib. 12. § 29). And the Meaning of Adequate is that no By-consideration, whether of Profit or of Fame, must ever incline us. For the Soul ought so to be temper’d and inflam’d to that which is simply the best, as neither from Hurt or Ignominy[336] to be diverted from it. For to be oppress’d in a good Cause, is better than base Exemption. As Tully does assert.[337]

The Nature of this Virtue is explain’d in[338] Noema the third, fourth, fifth, and so on to the thirteenth: But the true Beauty and Perfection thereof can hardly enter into the Imagination of any Man, who is not already affected and acquainted with it. And ‘tis to a Soul thus rectified, that we may apply that of Aristotle, That neither the Evening or the Morning Star is half so charming. There can be no exterior Light half so bright, or so desirable, as this of the Soul, which is pure and perfect, and even Divine.

II. To this State of Simplicity or Sincerity in the Soul, is referable that of Antoninus, where he thus expostulates with himself – O my beloved Soul, when wilt thou be naked, simple and entirely one? (L. 10. § 1) And again he gives himself the Rule, – Do not discompose thy Mind, or excite the Dregs; but purifie thy self to the utmost that is possible (L. 4. § 26).[339]

For this Sincerity is a Fountain that runs clear, and is perennial; it pours in Consolation, and fills the Life with internal Joy.[340] This[341] is the state of that Peace, which is so constant and ineffable, that no Cares, no Crosses, or so much as Jealousies, can distract it.[342] For in that which is single, and but one, there can be no Diversity:[343] ‘tis all Union,[344] profound Love, and perfect Rest. Wherefore it was not without cause, that the Pythagorean call’d those blessed, who could by this happy Analysis, resolve all things into one and the same Principle (Jamblicus Protrep. C. 4); which they plainly meant to be the Unity of God:[345] and did accordingly bind themselves both to follow and to obey him.

III. But to follow God constantly and sincerely, is to follow that which is eminently[346] the best; tho not that which is most grateful to our Appetites.[347] For who, as a mere Creature, can sincerely and constantly prosecute that which is best? This must be the Gift of God, and the Effect of a Divine Sense or Spirit.[348] That Perfection does not originally appertain to any created Being, but to God the Creator: He, who is the common Father of us all, and the Legislator of the whole World:[349] He, whom Zeno in Laertius styles, Right Reason penetrating all things; even the same Reason which is in Jove himself, the Captain and chief Pilot in the Administration of the Universe.

IV. HERETO refers that Exhortation of Antoninus, That we should not any longer perplex our selves barely about the circumambient Air; but rather join and combine with that intellectual Power, which comprehends the Universe (L. 8. § 54).[350] Which saying amounts to this, That we ought to be drawn into one and the same mind[351] with God. This is the Passion that can only make a Man Divine;[352] for such the Man is, as his Affections and Inclinations make him (Tusculan. Quaest. l. 5). ‘Tis not here enough to have simple Intellection; no it rather calls up and summons the Boniform Faculty, which is replenish’d with that Divine Sense and Relish, which affords the highest Pleasure, the chiefest Beauty, and the utmost Perfection to the Soul.[353] ‘Tis by this supreme Faculty that we pant after God, that we adhere unto him, and that (as far as our Nature does admit) we are even like unto him: he, who is Goodness it self, perfect Purity, and the most exalted Simplicity;[354] he is that pattern whom in these Attributes we are to imitate; and this is that state of Sincerity we are to aspire to, as far as Humanity will permit.[355] And as in doing hereof the highest Perfection of Man’s Will is best express’d; so in the state of Patience is there exercised that great Faculty, which the Pythagoreans have styled, The Strength and Bulwark of the Soul.

V. PATIENCE is a Vertue of the Soul, whereby ‘tis enabled, for the sake of that which is simply and absolutely the best, to undergo all things; even that which, to the animal Nature, is totally harsh and ungrateful.

We do not[356] by Patience understand a bare passive und stupid Indolence; but a vigorous and positive Firmity of the Mind: such as was before noted from Metopus the Pythagorean; And such as shrinks not from rugged and dangerous occasions, but bears up boldly and invincibly against all;[357] for as ‘tis not in the power of any Mortification whatever to turn the Will from the pursuit of that which is best.[358]

VI. OF Patience there are two Parts or Species, which are Continence, and Long-suffering. We mean hereby, not those Demi Virtues, which are spoken of in the Schools of Pythagoras and Aristotle, but Virtues that are complete. Continence therefore is that part of species of Patience, whereby the Soul does, on account of that which is simply the best, both easily and constantly endure whatever Grief or Molestation can arise by denying the sensual Appetite those things, which would otherwise be grateful to it.

Suffering is that species or part of Patience, whereby the Soul does in like manner, for the sake of that which is simply and absolutely the best, both easily and constantly endure whatever is harsh and vexatious unto our natural Life.[359]

VII. THE Demonstration of these Virtues will be found in the Noemas, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh: But the use of them is of such extent, as to reach to almost all Virtues. Wherefore Aristotle every where speaks of the same effect, saying, That all Virtue has reference either to pleasure or to pain; that ‘tis for pleasure we commit what is vile, and for fear of pain withdraw our selves from things that are honest (Ethic. Nicom. L. 1. C. 2. Magn. Moral. L. 1. C. 6). So that Epictetus thought all Moral Philosophy was summ’d up in this short Precept, Sustine & abstine: As on part thereof referr’d to Suffering, the other to Continence.

VIII. HENCE it appears that Continence, and Suffering, are not barely Virtues, but such as are of a high account.[360] For they both, in their Derivation, have reference to that Force and Power which is in the Soul, either to excite motion, or procure its rest.[361] And to this Faculty refers what Antoninus adviseth, That we cleanse the Imagination, and stop all Motions of the Sense[362] (L. 7. § 29). Which takes in both the Duty of Continence, and of Suffering.

IX. But altho we have here said enough of the Primitive Virtues; yet we may further inculcate, that they are so much the true Parents or Patriarchs of all the rest, that in them alone all the Force and Essence of every other Virtue seems to be comprehended. Nor can any Man, that is possessed of these, find difficulty in acquiring the rest. This we chuse to notifie lest the Mind should be distracted after many things, when these very few Objects are sufficient not only for its Exercise, but to satisfie the most zealous search and anxiety[363] after Virtue, and for attaining that Felicity which alone can attend it.

X. WE only add, that ‘tis impossible, if a Man wants these, he should have any Real Virtue, whatever he may shew of what is counterfeit or casual. For Virtue must not be incumbred with Error, nor can it live but under the Regency of that Prudence we have already described. Yet if a Man shall by adventure, and without that Prudence, light upon the doing of some brave Action, ‘tis not Virtue, but Fortune, that must be applauded for such happy chance.[364]

XI. NOR can Sincerity, or Simplicity, be wanting unto Virtue: For without these, ‘tis not Virtue, but a shadow and pretended Image thereof.[365] And therefore if it shall appear even in things well done, that they scarce had either been begun or perfected, without some extrinsecal and adventitious end; ‘tis plain, those events, how prosperous soever, lose both the Name and Nature of Virtues.[366] For this was not the prosecuting that was absolutely and simply the best; but that which to the Man himself, and to his Appetite,[367] was most inviting. This is not Virtue’s Office, but the Contrivance or Heat of some animal Design.[368] ‘Tis what is true, simple, and sincere is unto human Nature, as well as to Right Reason, most agreeable. Which, as Tully in his Offices hath explain’d (Offic. l. 1).

XII. BUT lastly, as for Patience, a good Man can less be without it than any of the rest: since there can be no security of the rest without this. For how can the effeminate Man, the ambitious, or he that is a meer Slave to his Appetite,[369] be faithful either to his Prince, his Country, Religion, Friend, or himself. No, he will abandon God above,[370] he will betray all if a Storm arise, and to exempt himself from the Difficulties that affright him, he will not scruple to expose and fell Mankind.

These are the Monitors and reproach of their Race, Men that know not Friendship or Justice, or have any sense of human Society. For the same Tully affirms, That no man can be just, who fears Death, Pain, Banishment, or Want; or who prefers before Justice the things which are contrary to these Evils (Offic. l.2). Of such Power is Patience[371] for the support and vindication of Honesty.[372]

XIII. THE same excellent Philosopher, as well as Orator, refers to the like Points, when again, in his Offices he says, –––– That to think meanly of those things which others exalt, and even to spurn at them upon a steady and rational account, was the part of a great Mind.[373] And, on the other side, to bear patiently things that are calamitous; so as not to lose the Decorum of Nature, or the Dignity of a wise Man, was the Mark of a generous Soul, and of an unshaken Mind. The first part of this Sentence points towards Continence, and the latter to Suffering. But he adds at last –––– That to see a Man bid defiance to all Fears, yet be melted down by his own Desires; to see him invincible against all Labor, and yet to be overcome with his Lusts: this was a most deplorable state. In this also we have a more plain intimation of those two Branches of Patience, namely, Continence and Suffering. And let this in short be sufficient for the three Primitive Virtues.


Of Justice in general: which is the first of the three principal Virtues, which are term’d Derivative

I. THE principal Derivative Virtues are also three, as Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance.

Justice is well defin’d, by the Lawyers, to be, Constans & perpetua Voluntas suum cuique tribuendi, A constant and perpetual Will to give every man his own. And to this Sense Aristotle also conforms (Ethic. Nicom. L. 5. c. 10). So that this Virtue looks chiefly abroad, and is therefore properly called by the same Philosopher, The Good of another: and especially if you regard that Branch of it which comprehends our Duty towards our Neighbor. But there is a part hereof, which takes in what we owe to God; altho we are as unable to advantage him by our Offerings, as we are to diminish or damnifie his blessed State by our Demerits. The Principles of Justice are to be found in Noema the thirteenth, fourteenth, &c. to the twenty third.

II. THAT which, in this Definition, is called Suum, or a Man’s own; is also frequently termed by the Lawyers, Just or Right: and they say every thing is truly so styled, which a sort of Fit, and congruous Habitude (that is, by Custom, Sanction, or Constitution) appertains to any Man. Now this Habitude, or Title of Property, takes its Rise from somewhat founded in the person, to whom such Right is owing or accrews; whether it be by some Quality, or Action, or even any Passion, as understood in the largest Sense. For the Man, who falls into Poverty, but yet is Honest, has a sort of Right or Title to receive Alms: and he, who has gotten any thing by Lawful Industry, has Right to keep it; and the same, if it come to him by Donation: And so of the Rest.

III. BUT altho all Right is founded in, and ariseth from things themselves (as they are the Object or Subject matter of personal Right) yet is not such Right always clear or intelligible, without reference to some Law, which must explain it. So Andronicus Rhodius, in his Commentary upon Aristotle, says, –––– In those things the Right is placed, in which the Law is also placed: For Law and Judgment is that which separates and discriminates Right from Wrong, and Just from Unjust (Lib. 5. c.9). However, as all Law is not of one and the same Nature, so neither all Right: For there is Right Natural, and Right Legal; and there is also Law Natural, and Law Positive. The first produceth those Sanctions, which are immovable and permanent; as from the latter come such as are temporary or mutable. These last do not obtain in every place; since they were made and fitted to those places only that stood in need of them.

IV. AS to this Law of Nature, Cicero does in very apt,[374] tho lofty, Terms, set it off in his First Book de Legibus –––– Let us (says he) for determining and constituting of Right, take our beginning from the supreme Law, which did in all Ages subsist both before any Law was written, or any City or Society of Men were in being. But afterwards when he prescribes, that whatever partakes of Divine Nature (as he plainly owns our Souls to do)[375] should be governed and directed by the Nature of God, by his Reason, Mind, Power, and Influence; in this he discovers, and reveals unto us, the Fountain and Original from whence proceeds the best and the most perfect Law of all.[376]

For what (says he), either among Men below, or in Heaven above, or in Earth, can be diviner than Reason? This is the Faculty, which, being matur’d and come to its Perfection, is by a more exalted Name[377] call’d true Sapience. Wherefore (says he) since nothing is preferable[378] to this Reason, which is conspicuous in man, as well as in God;[379] we may conclude, it was Reason that made the first Bond of Society between God and Man. And this Bond being a Law, we may presume that Men are consociated to the Gods by Law (Lib. 2. c.1. § 9). By which he plainly intimates, that this supreme Law, which was equally referable to Gods and Men, was Right Reason: and from thence inculcates a similitude of Man with God.

V. AGAIN in his second Book, where he describes this natural Law, he calls it, Reason which resulteth from the nature of things; and which did not (as he says) then begin to be a Law, when first it was written, but when it first had being; and that such Being it had from Eternity in the Divine Will (Lib. 2. c. 4. § 3).[380] So that Law, which is eminent and truly such, fit to command, and fit to restrain is the Right Reason of Jupiter himself (Cap. 3. § 3. Cap 1. § 7, 8, 9). (This Sentence corresponds with what was cited before from Zeno, and from Antoninus.)

VI. The truth is, all Men do agree,[381] that the supreme Law is Right Reason: and this Reason, being also a Divine Thing, is therefore immutable, always constant and like unto it self. But as it is placed in so mutable a Subject, as is human Nature, we see sometimes how this Reason is not so much altered, as even destroy’d and extinguish’d: But in God, and among the number of Blessed Spirits (which are, by Antoninus, called immortal Gods) the same Reason flourishes everlastingly.[382] This seems also to be the very mind of Andronicus, that best Interpreter of Aristotle.[383] For altho (says he) among Men all Laws were mutable, yet ‘tis of necessity, that with Gods they should be immutable, and that Right should therefore be some natural Thing. Nay even among Men who are of sound mind, and under any constitution, there is that immutable Law which is called Natural. For it does not much import, that Men of depraved minds do not comprehend what is just: since Honey is still sweet, tho to the sick, who have lost their relish, it may appear otherwise (L. 5. c.10).

There is therefore a Law, which is eternal and immutable, and in some sort common both to God and Men; namely Right Reason: which altho it enters not into the minds of Men wholly vitiated and profligate, yet still is present, and always manifest to the sound and prudent; which we have sufficiently expos’d before (Cap. 2. § 1,6,7).[384]

VII. Now ‘tis from this immutable and supreme Law, that all other Laws and Ordinances are drawn; even those which are term’d mutable, and which would have no validity in them, unless by virtue of that high and eternal Law. And of this kind, the keeping of Faith in Contracts is a principal part.

So Virgil.

–––– At tu dictis, Albane, maneres (Virgil. Aeneid. l. 8)[385]

Wherefore, inasmuch as every man is bound to stand to his Promise or Compact;[386] he is tied to those Ordinances, which are not such by Nature, but by Law. Nay, Law it self is but a Compact, and, as such, must bind, where nothing is enacted by it against the supreme and immutable Law: But against this there is no Compact or Authority big enough to make any thing binding. For what is unjust in its own Nature, cannot by external Consideration be made just. On which occasion Cicero says remarkably thus –––– If Laws were only to be constituted by the Command of the People, by the Decrees of the Prince, or by the Sentence of the Judges; it might be lawful to rob, to commit Adulteries, and to forge Wills, by procuring the Votes and Suffrage of the Multitude thereunto. And if such and so great a Power, could reside in the Voices of unruly Men,[387] so as to alter the very Nature of things; ‘tis strange to me how they forbear enacting, that the most pernicious things be not presently made both laudable and just. This is the Raillery wherewith that great Man treated so weak and so fantastic a Paradox (De Legibus, lib. 1).

VIII. THUS it appears; That, as from the Supreme Law, which is termed Right Reason, all perfect Knowledge of Right takes its original: so from the Observation of Right proceeds all Exercise of Justice.


Of that Mediocrity, in which Vertue does consist: And of the true measure of such Mediocrity.

I. THAT Vertue lies in a Mediocrity is not quite untrue, if rightly understood: Yet as some introduce Vertue attended, on each hand (L 2. C. 8. § 7), on each hand, with opposite Vices; and just as it were a Rose placed between two Nettles:[388] This, we do confess, were a pretty Show, but it cannot possibly hold in every Case.

II FOR in the Case of Justice, where a Man takes no more than what is of right his due; this is plainly opposite to that part which is vicious,[389] and where a Man takes more than what is his due. But here if a Man takes less; this surely seems no Vice, but rather a sort of Generosity, or Modesty. So again in the Conferring of Rewards, to bestow less than was agreed for, hath as much of Injustice, as to give according to Proportion is just:[390] Yet to bestow more largely than was agreed for, is not, on the other hand, Injustice, but rather Liberality. So also, in the way of Buying and Selling; the over-weight that is thrown in to get a Customer’s good Will, although either in Weight or Measure, it exceed the Bargain, yet surely this has nothing of Injustice in it.

III. MOREOVER unto Prudence (which doubtless is a Moral Vertue) there is only Imprudence to be oppos’d, which is the Defect of Prudence. So to Sincerity is nothing opposite but Insincerity, or at large Hypocrisie, which exceeds or falls short of the Perfection of Sincerity. So Patience, Continence, and Suffering, do only go lame (as we say) on the one side, as namely, by Impatience, Incontinence, and by Effeminacy: So Temperance by Intemperance. And therefore to put (which some do) a sort of Insensibility, to answer as an opposite Vice on the other side, is quite without Reason. For (as Andronicus notes from Aristotle) ‘tis scarce within Reach of Human Nature to be insensible to such a Pitch (Lib. 3. Cap. 12): And if any Man were so, this would look much more like a Disease of the Body, than a Vice of the Soul.

BUT should it happen, that the Power of the Soul could be so far extended, as to be able to weigh down, and even extinguish the sense of every Corporeal Pain and Pleasure; this certainly were so far from being a Defect in the Soul, that it would rather amount to a wonderful Vertue and Perfection. And to abuse such Perfection would argue either Insincerity, or Imprudence. However, if any Man will needs call it an Intemperate sort of Temperance, I will not much contend in the Matter.

IV. AS to Fortitude, it seems properly enough placed between Boldness and Timerousness; Liberality between Niggardize and Prodigality; Truth between Arrogance and Dissimulation: Nor do we deny, but that somewhat like to this Equality, may happen in some few other Virtues. But this we think worthy of special Notice, That even from the Instances given, ‘tis not very apparent that Virtue, according to it’s most Internal Essence, is a Mediocrity. We rather suppose that according to the Definition given, it is some Intellectual Power[391] is the Cause of that Mediocrity, which we observe as well in our Actings as our Sufferings.[392] For in these Cases such Mediocrity appears: But as to Virtue her self, she must not pretend to go farther than in what barely is just.[393]

V. NAY Virtue is rather an Extreme; And this not only as to it’s Well-being and Best Estate (which Aristotle himself consents to [Ethic. Nicom. l. 2. c. 6]) but we call it an Extreme even as to it’s Essence and Definition. For how can Virtue, as to it’s Essence, be a Mediocrity; when Mediocrity, as we said, is only what we seek for, and adhere to, in those Objects about which Virtue is conversant; namely, in those Actings and Sufferings which befall us[394]? Wherefore since Virtue is, according to it’s own Nature, the best of Blessings[395] that Mankind is capable of, and the most excelling Power and Perfection of our Souls; it cannot be better Defin’d[396] than in styling it, The very Triumph and Inauguration of Human Nature; or its Supreme Good.[397] And ‘tis no more than what is due to the Essence of Virtue, that it should bear this high Preheminence: Wherefore it seems defectively said of[398] Aristotle, That Virtue was only an Extreme as to its Well-being and best Estate, but not according to its Essence. For even that Best Estate must of necessity be Part of Virtues Essence, and both concur to the Top and Complement of our Natures: Which is no more, than what the Pythagoreans have every where observ’d.

VI. WHEREFORE that Philosopher treads much more carefully, where he makes Virtue to consist in Finding and Electing a Medium (Ethic. Nicom. l. 2. c. 9), than when he makes Virtue it self that Medium or Mediocrity. For this is just as if one should call the Instrument, that is fram’d to find out two Middle Lines which hold a continued Proportion, to be the very Lines themselves: or to say that a Pair of Compasses, which find or make the Centre of a Circle; are the very Middle or Centre it self.

VII. LASTLY, When his Followers declare Virtue to be this Medium, they understand it in respect of two Things, which are Homogeneous or consonant to such Medium. For so Aristotle does illustrate it by Examples of Arithmetical Proportion, as well in Magnitude as Numbers: Altho after all, he seems herein rather to have found the Medium Rei, than the Medium quoad Nos; I mean that which is rather true in Speculation than in Practice. But this Affecting to make it Homogeneous, is hereby manifest, That, while he calls Virtue a certain Medium, he makes it to partake of either Extreme[399] Thus Andronicus (his Paraphrast) calls Virtue, The Middle of the Two Extremes falling short on the one side and exceeding on the other: Even as it appears in Fortitude, which to a certain Degree may be term’d Confidence.

BUT this can never hold. For while he thus turns Confidence into Virtue (which still is defin’d to be a Thing absolutely good) if we suppose that such his Confidence were a Virtue to the Degree of three, it would follow, That such Confidence would doubly excel, if rais’d to the degree of six. But by such Logick, Vice would become better than Virtue; which must never be understood.

Wherefore we suppose, that Virtue is not the Medium it self, but rather the Finder and Chuser of such Medium. Nay, we affirm that such Medium is not singly discovered by the degrees of more or less, or of Excess or of Defect; but is also determin’d by other prudential Circumstances, even as Aristotle himself declares: namely, That the true Medium in Virtue and that which is its very best, must be ascertain’d with regard unto Time, and to Occasions, and to the Persons with whom, or for whose sake we act, and to the manner of acting (Ethic. Nicom. lib. 2. c. 6). So by this ‘tis plain, that to pursue all Cases under the notion and fancy of a Mediocrity, were merely superstitious, if not altogether vain.[400]

VIII. I think it, for my part, sufficient, if what Virtue seeks out and electeth, be that which is Rectum or Right. Tis very true, that this Right it self seems also to be a certain middle thing; just as a Line, which is drawn upon another straight Line at Right Angles, is equally the Medium of all others, than can be drawn from the same Point, and that unequally vary from such Line. Wherefore the Pythagoreans were wont to say, That Good was Uniform, and Evil Multiform. And Andronicus is positive,[401] That this Right is something, which is of a Simple and Uniform Nature. (Magn. Moral. l. I. cap. 25. Nicom. l 2. c. 5).

IX. LET us also add, that this Rectum (which Virtue pursues in all things[402]) is termed Equal, and a thing which holds Congruity and Proportion. For things congruous are also equal (Andronicus, l. 5. c. 4), as in Geometry is manifest. So that all these things point at a Mediocrity: For what is greater or less than another, is not congruous. And therefore that ought to be the Medium, which is neither more or less; and which is also called Equality.

Upon the whole Matter, let us agree how far Virtue consists in a Mediocrity or Medium. ‘Tis not that she her self is that Medium; but our Souls do, by her Aid, elect that which is congruous, or in the Middle: For thus only can that Sentence be true and solid.

X. BUT now the Difficulty remaining will be,[403] to establish something, unto which this Rectitude and Congruity (which Virtue every where seeks) is to conform. Aristotle says, That what is congruous to Right Reason is right (Ethic. Nicom. l. 6. c.1.). And again, That the Medium, in every thing, is what Right Reason declares to be such. And so in his Definition of Virtue, That ‘tis bounded with Reason:[404] And he adds also, Even as a prudent Man shall determine thereof (Ethic. Nicom. l. 2. c. 6). As if by those Words he would stop any farther Inquiry, what kind of thing this Right Reason was, by which that which is right and congruous should be try’d.

NOW, according to Aristotle, Right Reason is that which is conformable to Prudence (Ethic. Nicom. l. 6. c. 5). But then he himself elsewhere defines Prudence, To be a true Habit, exerting it self in what happens to a Man good or bad, according to Reason.[405] But surely this sounds very odd, and is no better than a trifling Circle, to define Right Reason by Prudence, and Prudence again by Right Reason.

XI. HOWEVER, if there be but Recourse had to that Definition of Prudence, which we before have delivered, the point will be fully resolv’d: For it will from thence appear that whoever is prudent is also of a Mind so cleans’d and desecated, that the Light of Truth is not eclipsed in him, either by Passions, or any corporeal Impediments. And, for this Cause, let no Man wonder, if Right Reason be styl’d, That which is according to Prudence: For if the prudent Man, as to Life and good Manners, have it not, it can no where be found. Aristotle (in his Ethicks to Nicomachus[406]) is of the same mind. For the good Man (says he) judges all things aright; and Truth is visible unto him, where-ever it be;[407] and good things appear both proper and pleasant in every shape.[408] And ‘tis very possible that a good Man grows more excellent, if, while he finds Truth in others,[409] he has cause to think that he himself was the Rule and Measure thereof. But as to Plebeains, they tumble into Error for Pleasure-sake, as counting that real Good, which is really otherwise.[410]

The same Author has other Passages to the like intent: For he makes Temperance, the only true Guardian and Conservator of Prudence. And that the sober Man is only wise, in all that concerns Probity of Life. He does not think that the Motives of Pleasure, or of Pain, can influence or pervert our Opinions, as to the Doctrine of a Triangle, and it’s having so many Angles as are equal unto two right ones, or the like: But as to Manners, and the Conduct of our Life, those Motives have, as he believes strange Influence. Nay, he supposes, that whoever is led by his Passions, and the Sense only of Pleasure or of Pain, is led as a blind Man that has lost his Eyes; and in whom the very Principles for his Direction are extinguish’d.

XII. LET us therefore here applaud this wise Philosopher, for that Variety of Truth and of Utility, which redounds from this Advice. For ‘tis plain from hence, that our Minds being thus purg’d from Vanities and Passions, can, as in an instant, discern not only all that is worthy and valuable in human Affairs, but what is noxious or of no account. Next, we may gather from it that some things are valuable and worthy, even in their own Nature: since if they were not at all, and had no Being, they could never be seen (l. 1. c. 6. § 12).[411] But since they are seen and beheld by a clear and perspicacious Mind, ‘tis of evidence they are such in their own nature, as they appear to be.[412]

Lastly, to waste time in disputing, whether any thing be (in its own Nature) laudable, before we take pains to reform our Minds in the way prescrib’d, is not only Labor lost, but a sort of Frenzy. And if we shall conclude that nothing is of its own nature honest and laudable, when at the same time we live in Vice and Wickedness, this is to be downright impudent; for we ought first to try, and then to give our Opinion. We have touch’d this point before, and therefore we need not dwell upon it any longer here.

XIII. THERE is now but one thing more, to clear before us all the Difficulty that remains. For whereas it may sound as if we give up our prudent Man to Inspirations and to Enthusiasm; while we contend he cannot in any other respect be wise, than as his Mind is reform’d and purg’d: and that it must also needs hence ensure, that whatsoever a Man so purg’d, shall afterwards imagine, must therefore be according to Right Reason, or Right Reason it self, merely because he thinks so: And that, in short, there must be no other Measure, or Principle; but that his Imagination[413] shall be as the standard of Congruity and of Right.

Therefore it is necessary (as Andronicus Rhodius speaks) first to inquire and find out, What is the Mode and Standard of this Right Reason? And what that Principle in human Affairs that is just and congruous? For surely that alone is Right Reason, which to such Standard, Mode, and Principle, can be apply’d; and this must be some Primitive Good, which is not only most simple, but most excellent, and a true Basis, Norma and Standard,[414] for all the rest.

XIV. NOW while I am in this high pursuit, I call to witness all that is holy, that in my sense (L. 1. c. 2. § 5 etc.)., there cannot, in the whole compass of Nature, be found a greater Good than is that Love, which (to free it from all other Imputations) we call Intellectual. For what can more fill, elevate, and irradiate the Soul than this intellectual Love (L. 3. c. 8. § 8)? Surely nothing is more exalted or Divine, nothing more ravishing, and complacent, nothing more sharp in distinguishing what in every Case is decorous and right, or more quick in executing whatsoever is laudable and just.

Since therefore this is the most high and most simple good; it ought in preference, to be the Rule and Standard[415] of all the rest; and nothing should pass, or be accounted, for Right Reason, which from this Divine Source and Fountain did not take its Birth.

XV. AND what is all this Intellectual Love, we so describe, but an inward Life and Sense, that moves in the Boniform Faculty of the Soul[416] (vid. Margin. supra.)? ‘Tis by this the Soul relisheth what is simply the best; thither it tends, and in that alone it has its Joy and Triumph Hence we are instructed how to set God before our Eyes; to love him above all; to adhere to him[417] as the supremest Good; to consider him as the Perfection of all Reason, of all Beauty, of all Love; how all was made by his Power, and that all is upheld by his Providence. Hence also is the Soul taught how to affect and admire the Creation, and all the Parcels of it; as they share in that Divine Perfection and Beneficence,[418] which is dispersed through the whole Mass: So that if any of these Parcels appear defective or discompos’d, the Soul compassionates and brings help, strenuously endeavouring, as it is able, to restore every thing to that state of Felicity, which God and nature intended for it. In short, it turns all its Faculties to make good Men happy; and all its Care and Discipline is to make bad Men good.

XVI. THEREFORE I say, this most simple and Divine Sense and Feeling in the Boniform Faculty of the Soul (V. Marg. supr.) is that Rule or Boundary, whereby Reason is examin’d and approves her self. For if she offers or affirms any thing that is contrary to the Sense and Feeling, ‘tis spurious and dishonest; if congruous to it, ‘tis Orthodox, fit, and just.[419] So that we need not invent any other external Idea of Good; or follow those, who vainly dream of remoter Objects; when as this inward Life and Sense points singly at that Idea, which is fram’d not from exterior things, but from the Relish and intrinsick Feeling of the Boniform Faculty within. And altho this Idea be but single and alone, yet from thence arise all the Shapes and Modes of Virtue and of Well-doing: and ‘tis into this again, that all of them may, by a due and unerring Analysis, be resolv’d. For as all Numbers arise from Unity, and by Unites are all measur’d: so we affirm, that by this Intellectual Love, as from a Principle the most pure and most abstracted of all others, all the Modes and Kinds of Justice, Fortitude, and even or Temperance it self, are to be measur’d: for nothing is so detrimental to less and extinguish this Love as it the Exercise and Infection of sensual Delights.

XVII. NOW, in the last place, if any shall object that we have done amiss; and that all this splendid Fabrick of the Virtues is by us laid on a weak and tottering Foundation: As, namely in Passion, such as they may suppose this our Love to be. Let them for their better Information, know, that this Love is not more a Passion than is Intellection it self, which surely they cannot but believe to be very valuable, and very Divine.[420] ‘Tis very true we may as to this point (with Des Cartes) allow, that all Intellection has so much of Passion, as it is the Perception of something imprinted from without. However, as this Perception, which is made by Intellection, is not from the Body, but rather from the Soul, exerting and exciting her self into such Action: So neither is this Love form the Body; but either from the Soul it self, or else from God above, who calls and quickens the Soul to such a Divine Effort.[421] And tho this Perception may, if they please, be termed a sort of Passion, yet ‘twill derogate no more from the Dignity[422] and Excellency of it, than from Intellection it self: Which, because ‘tis an Act of Perception, may on that account be also termed a Passion.

XVIII. YET when all is said, perhaps this Love, which we insist upon, may not so truly be termed a Passion, as acknowledg’d to be the Peace and Tranquillity of the Mind: nay a state of such Serenity, as hath no other Motions than those of Benignity and Beneficence. So that this Love may rather be thought a firm and unshaken Benignity, or Bounty of the Soul; such as has nothing more perfect, or more approaching to the immortal Gods. I mean hereby that State of the Blessed Spirits, unto which we ought all to aspire: and surely without this Love, those very Spirits would not be as Gods, but as a Race of Devils. And therefore we may conclude this Love, to be the most perfect, and the most Angelick Think of all others; far excelling even Intellection it self. And, in truth, more aptly deserving those lofty Words, which Aristotle bestows upon the Speculative Intellect; where he says, That according to some Doctors we are not to converse with human things, altho we are Men, nor with things transitory, altho we were Mortals; but, as much as is possible, we should affect to live as do the immortal Gods: And this, by performing every thing in such sort, as conforms to that Principle, which is the most excellent thing within us (Ethic. Nicom. l. 10. c. 7.). Now Andronicus (his Paraphrast) declares, This most excellent thing within us, to be the Intellect (L. 10. c. 9). But I beg leave to call it rather by the Name of Intellectual Love.

Thus I end a Point, on which some may think I have insisted too long: But the whole will shew our Sense of Virtue; and of its kinds; and how it may be said to consist in a Mediocrity; and what also is the Norma or Measure of such Mediocrity. The next Step will be touching Good that is external.

[Book III]


Of Free-Will

I. WE have hitherto treated about the way to know Happiness, or rather Virtue; which is the principal part of Happiness, if not its full Perfection: The next thing is about the way to attain it. And in this part we shall be the rather brief, since what is hitherto delivered goes far to that End: And we are not willing to have that swell’d which we only call an Epitome.[423] So then we shall here expose what may look like Heads of Meditation in the Search of Virtue, rather than any extended Treatise of it.

II. But before we can well into this Province, there is a thing called Free Will, of which it is needful previously to speak: since till this be clear’d and asserted, all Exhortation to Virtue seems but in vain.

Aristotle has sometimes (Ethic. Nicom. l. 10. c. 10. Eudem. L. 7. c. 14.) propos’d a Famous Question, (but Plato in his Menon handles it more largely) and it hath affinity with this sour Subject of Free-Will; as namely, Whether Virtue gets into Men by Custom, or by Nature, or by some Divine Fate (which is the same as Good Fortune?) There are some Men extremely scandaliz’d at the Affirmative Part of this Question; as thinking it a derogation from Humane Nature,[424] to make Men at this rate[425] necessarily Good, and to deprive them of all Free-Will. For they judg [426] a Thing voluntarily[427] done, to be of far different Merit from what happens by Compulsion:[428] Which yet (I confess) sounds to me; as if God, who is Good, should be the less Adorable,[429] because he cannot be Naught (L. 1. c. 3. § 7.). For I will presume that whoever is Good, either by Nature or the Divine Fate, is also endowed with so true and efficacious a Sense of Honesty, that he can no more go against this Sense, than that a sober Man should stab himself with a Dagger.

III. WERE there but a Race of such Men; they were of all others the most fitted for Heroes; and as deriving Virtue from the Gods: ‘Tis of such that Homer speaks,

_____ _____ _____ Nec eum esse putares

Mortali Genitore satum, at Genus esse Deorum.

You’d think a Man of such Heroick frame

Not made below; but that from Heaven he came.

Aristotle quotes this very Verse in his Description of Heroical Virtue (Ethic. Nicom. l. 7. c.1.); and thinks such Virtue more given from Above, than the Product of Human Industry. My Opinion is, That if all such Force or Power from above were United; and either by Impression or Inspiration fix’d in the Mind at once; yet it might properly be called Virtue. For, according to our Definition, Virtue is a Power or Energy, not a Habit (L. 1. c. 3 § 1). And tho Habit be a sort of Power, arising from Exercise and Custom; yet this very Way and Circumstance of acquiring Virtue, is nothing material, as to the true Nature of it. For if this Power or Energy be got within us, and operates in our Souls as by a Native Spring or Elasticity,[430] what matter is it, whether it came by repeated Actions, or by Inspiration?

IV. BUT forasmuch as the Blessings of this Kind come rarely (if at all) to the Lot of any; we need not over-labour the difficulty of this Point. We need not study Admonitions for such sorts of Men, who by Nature or some Divine Fate, are already so well and so necessarily inclin’d: but rather press and convince the necessity of Virtue unto other Mortals; who, while they may exercise the Liberty of their Wills to either side, should be urged and excited by all that can be said, to incline their Wills to that side, where Right Reason, and a Sense of their Duty,[431] calls them.

V. THEY must, above all things, be told of that Excellent, and almost Divine Pre-eminence which they enjoy. For while all other Creatures have their Sences ty’d down to the service of the Body, or some particular Delights; they can mount aloft, [432] and are enabled by a Liberty in their Wills, to shake off,[433] or gradually destroy those ill Desires, with which they are beset; and, by the help of Heaven, to assert that Liberty, which is most suitable to a Creature made by God’s Image, and a partaker of Divine Sense.[434]

VI. AND as this is a most true Perswasion, and hath wonderful Power among Men, to draw them to Virtue, and also to corroborate their Minds against the Allurements or Assaults of Vice; Let those Men be asham’d who so tamper’d with Mankind to perswade the contrary. This (in truth) has been vigorously and studiously attempted by Mr. Hobbs,[435] in his Book, Of Liberty and Necessity; But we think his principal Arguments are all lay’d low, in our Treatise of the Soul’s Immortality, unto which we therefore refer (Lib. 2. Cap. 3).

VII. IN the mean time, I cannot here forget, That where, among other Motives, he contends to have Man’s Will necessarily determin’d to any profligate Action; he owns, that this his Opinion of Necessity takes place among the rest (L. 3. c. 1. § 25).[436] But certainly, if that false Opinion have such Force, as to what is Vicious and Bad; it follows, That the true Opinion, touching Liberty to fly from Evil, deserves equal Force at least, as to Virtue and good Life: And therefore, that a Perswasion, so efficaciously contributing to our Advantage, should be adher’d unto, strongly contended for by us.[437]

VIII. BUT to make the truth of this Opinion more manifest; Let us take Notice what this Liberum Arbitrium or Free-Will is; and then Demonstrate that there is really such a Principle within us. First, Liberty of the Will, which the Greeks call Autexousion, seems almost to imply, The having a power to Act or not Act within our selves.[438] Now in that Free-Will is a Principle of Acting within one’s self, it so far agrees with what the Greeks call Hecousion, which is the same as Spontaneous: And which (as Andronicus defines it) is that, Whose Principle of Acting is wholly in the Agent. Yet what he straight subjoins in the same Chapter, saying, That in what a Man Acts, as mov’d thereunto by himself, he is Lord and Master of Doing it, or letting it alone (Lib. 3. Cap. 1). This I think is not altogether so exact.

For a Man may Act out of his own mere Motion; that is to say, from such inbred Principles of Virtue,[439] and by so strong and efficacious a sense of Honesty, as not to be able to act otherwise, or to draw his Will to any different Thing. For instance, an Honest Man has Power indeed, by his Wit and bodily Force, treacherously to destroy and Innocent Man, and even one that has well deserved of him. But can that Honest Man do this Thing? No, God forbid! He dare not let himself do it. For that vigorous and lively sense of what is Honest, and with which his Mind is tinctur’d and possess’d, can by no means permit him to execute so horrid a Villany. Now as such a Person, tho never so much solicited by Promises and Rewards, starts back, and (in the sense of Antonine) stops all his Faculties of Motion,[440] and does not resign himself to so base a Fact; this doubles is entirely from himself, and none else is the Cause, why that Advantage is not taken. However, I say, he is not, in this Case, so much Master of his Forbearance, as that it is in his power not to forbear. I grant (indeed) that if we would, he were able to commit so wicked a Thing; but that he is able to Will it, or bring his Will unto it, is what I utterly deny.

IX. WE say therefore there is some Difference between having Free-Will, and being a Voluntary or Spontaneous Agent. The former is more restrain’d and particular, and obtains in fewer Cases; the latter is more large and general. When we say that a Man has Liberum Arbitrium or Free-will, we add a particular Difference to the general Notion of Voluntariness, that is to say, We suppose he is such a voluntary Agent, as can Act and not Act as he pleases:[441] Whereas to the being a voluntary Agent, simply or generally speaking, there is no such Difference required. It is sufficient to denominate any Agent to be such, whose Principle of Action is in himself, and who understands and takes cognizance of his own Actions and the Circumstances that relate to them (Andronicus, Lib. 3. Cap. 2): Tho, in the mean time, it may not be in his Power, every time he Acts, to Act otherwise than he does.[442]

This now being the Notion of Spontaneous or Voluntary; we see plainly what is the Opposite to it; namely, every thing that proceeds either from Ignorance, or Outward Force. Whatever Action is done from either of these Principles, must needs be inspontaneous and involuntary. For in the one Case (that of Force) the Agent does not act from his own Principles, but is compelled from without: In the other Case (that of Ignorance) tho he act from his own Principle, yet he has no Notice of the Moral Circumstances of the Action, which if he had known, he would not have done that Action.[443]

X. BUT now as to Liberum Arbitrium, or Freedom of the Will; what we call by that Name is only that sort of Spontaneity or Voluntariness in us; which is so free and undetermin’d,[444] that it is in our Power, to Will or Act this way or the other way, as we please. This (I say) is properly Free-Will; and it supposeth a free Election or Choice in our selves: And accordingly Andronicus (from Aristotle) defines it to be, A deliberate Wishing or Appetition of those Things, which are within our Power (Lib. 3. Cap. 4). For those things (says he) are the subjects of Deliberation, whereof every one is Master to do them, or to leave them undone: and these are those very Things, which he declares to be within our Power.[445]

Now this Power of not Acting, when it regards those things which are Base and Dishonest, is a great Perfection; But when it has respect of things that are Noble and Honest, ‘tis a great Imperfection:[446] For ‘tis in the very next Degree to Acting dishonestly, to be able to incline the Will towards an Action that is vile.

However, to know we are able, and possess’d with a Power to abstain from a vile Thing (tho possibly we do not abstain) this is a sort of Perfective State, and of high Consequence for a Man to discover in himself whether he have it or no.[447]

Now that such a real Power is planted in Man, of being able to abstain from doing ill, tho he fails at some times to exert that Power, is very plain from the Instances that follow.

XI. WE need not bring hereunto any other Help, than what was noted before, in the Chapter about the Interpretation of the Passions. For as we feel the Checks of Conscience after doing some things which were doubtingly Acted, and without mature Deliberation[448]: Even from hence it is manifest, that we sometimes Act so, as that to have Will’d and Acted otherwise, was in our Power. And This Power, of abstaining from Ill, is that very Thing, which is truly called Free-Will.

XII. THE Reason also of Repentance, is close of Relation hereunto. For when we are captivated by some Appetite, and commit what we know, and are very sensible, is against the Dictates of Honesty; ‘tis of these things we are afterwards said to Repent. ‘Tis not said, We lament such things as Misfortunes; which they ought in reason to pass for, if either by Fate, or a necessary Chain of Causes, we were always destined or irresistibly determin’d to them, and that it had never been within our Power or Capacity to have avoided them (Lib. 2. Cap. 3). For no Man Repents himself of his Misfortunes, but of his Sins; because these are committed by his own Crime, when he might have abstain’d, and done otherwise. But to Repent of Sins, which were never in our Power to withstand; is as if a Man should greatly lament his Improbity and Malice, or undertake some sharp Penance, for not having been Created an Angel, or else born a Prince (L. 2. c. 1. § 15). As to the like Effect we have hinted before.

XIII. BUT, in the last place, To what purpose do we reprehend some Men for what they act, pardon others, and have pity on the rest; if Mankind be destitute of Free-Will; If it be not given him, to turn away from what is Vile, and to embrace what is Laudable and Just: For we might, in point of Justice, insist upon it, that if Men are ty’d to Sin, and do it by Necessity, and cannot otherwise act; there is both Pardon and Commiseration due unto them: Also by how much a Man’s Sins were crying and flagitious, by so much would they become the more worthy of such Pardon and Moral Pity. But since these things are repugnant to common Sense, and the inbred Characters of our Mind;[449] it follows of Necessity, that we must acknowledge some Actions, at least, of Man to be Free: that is to say, that they spring from such a Principle, as we have out of Aristotle describ’d, and which we call Free-Will. And we hope no Man will doubt hereof, when we shall have satisfi’d the Two Principal Objections, wherewith the Champions of the other side do so loudly, and with such Clamours contend.


Two Principal Objections against Free-Will are Propos’d and Answer’d.

I. THE first Objection ariseth from God’s Fore-knowledg; which (they say) must take away all Contingency, and in Consequence, the Liberty of Man’s Will (L. 1. c. 11. § 5).

The second is taken from the Nature of Good, altho but Apparent: For as often or as long as any thing seems Good or Excellent to any one in the Circumstances he then is in, his Will is necessarily compell’d to embrace it, because there is not Motive either to divert him, or suspend his Assent.[450] For since the Will of Man is so fram’d, as to bend this Way or that, according to the Weight and Importance of the Object; it seems impossible it should not bend, where most Reason compels, and when nothing is in the other Scale to counterpoise it: Nay, if something should be in the other Scale, yet still that Good which is most Apparent will certainly outweigh. For there is no Reason to be rendered, why a Man should be prevail’d on by a lesser Good, more than by not Good at all: Since if, in the Scale of Reason, that which is Less should weigh down that which is Greater, then a Less than that, till it came to Nothing, would preponderate; and also our Reason and Election would thus be mov’d by Nothing: Both which are absurd to Believe.[451]

II. AS to the first of these Objections, the Answer is not hard. ‘Tis true, we cannot otherwise think of God’s Fore-knowledg, but to be every way clear and perfect, and without possibility of Error, as to to those Objects about which he judges or does pronounce. And surely he does always judg and determine of things according as they are; that is to say, of a contingent thing, that it is contingent; and of a necessary thing that it is necessary. Whence it comes to pass, that those things, which are contingent and proceed from a Free Principle of Acting, they are allow’d to be such by God’s Consent. For we ought not to confine God’s Omniscience within narrower Bounds than we do his Omnipotence, which all Men acknowledge to be able to do whatever does not imply a Contradiction.

And therefore, to dispatch this Difficulty in a few words: We say that the Fore-knowledg of contingent Effects, which[452] proceed from a free Principe of Acting, does either imply a Contradiction, or it does not. If it does imply a Contradiction, then such Effects are not the Objects of God’s Omniscience, nor determin’d by it, or rightly suppos’d to be determin’d at all. But if it do not imply a Contradiction, then we actually confess, that Divine Prescience and Man’s Free-Will are not inconsistent, but that both of them may fitly stand with each other. Therefore by neither way, can any sound or convincing Argument be drawn from God’s Fore-knowledg against the Liberty of Man’s Will.

III. AS to the other Difficulty, the whole Sense thereof falls within this Proverbial Saying, Nemo est lubens Malus, aut Beatus invitus; that is, No Man is willingly Wicked, or Happy against his Will (Ethic. Nicom. l. 3. c. 5): Or else into that saying of Socrates, Omnis Improbus ignorant, That no Man was Wicked, but through Ignorance. Which sounds as if the Will of Man wanted nothing, but the Knowledg of what was Good and Virtuous, to force him to imbrace it: Nay, that the Will was so fram’d, as not to be able to resist that Good, which it did but once understand. Now if this were true, there would not need so much Exhortation to the love of Virtue, as to the Study of Wisdom; nor Would the Liberty of Man’s Will consist so much in Pre-election, as in Counsels and Deliberations: and these to be still so Govern’d, as that nothing should prove repugnant to some Excellent End. [453]

IV. WHEREFORE inasmuch as we find that Idea of the chief End, which is termed Beatitude or Happiness, to be but confusedly apprehended by us; ‘tis every Man’s Duty with principal Care to find out, in what this chief Happiness doth consist, and how we may attain it: Yet whether all this be plac’d within every Man’s Reach, is a very hard thing to determine.

We see, the Bulk of Mankind are like those; who, falling sick of a Disease and not knowing how to cure themselves, ought to be visited by others that are in Health, and from them take Remedies and Advice. So the Generality, that see little of themselves, while they are dazled by false Lights and the bare Apparitions of Good, can never discover, What is the Ultimate Good, and what the most Excellent Object of Human Life. For (as Aristotle observed) all men seek after Apparent Good; nor are they Masters of their own Imagination; but every Man frames a different Good to himself, according to his Complexion (Ethic. Nicom. l. 3. c. 5).

V. ‘TIS in the Third Book of his Ethics, that the Philosopher proposes this Question; and yet he does not otherwise clear it, than by granting, That it was some time or other in the Power of those, who now are Blinded, to have beheld what was truly Good; and that Men are not less willingly Bad than Good: But this does not directly satisfie the Objection. Also he is pleas’d to expose it with more Words and Ornaments than is usual with him, as in the manner following, That no man is to himself the Cause of doing Ill, but that such Things are done by Ignorance of the End, and as Hoping he shall thereby attain what is best for him.[454] That the Desire of the End falls not within our Choice: but that it imports every Man to be so born, as Naturally to See and Discern that what he chooseth is truly Good: And he, who has this Felicity by Birth, is as it were Inspir’d, and much oblig’d to Nature. For he shall possess that High and Excellent Good, which could never have been had either by Purchase, or by Instruction, had it not come by Birth-Right. And thus to be born, and under so benign a Planet, is the true Perfection of Ingenuity.

VI. SINCE therefore this Natural Talent, or inherent Aptitude, which is so capable of Virtue and the Sense of all Good things, is antecedent to all our Industry (as being the Gift of Nature, and not the Reward of our Care and Diligence) if a Man be destitute hereof, ‘tis manifest that the Duties and Performances, requir’d by Virtue, are not in his Power; Neither can the soundest Admonition find Effect or Obedience with him, unless he be awak’ned by Stripes and Force, or unless he be reform’d by something of Miracle from Above.[455] But whether any are so utterly depriv’d of this Natural Aptitude, or by what Fate it befals them, if they are so; is to me so hard and perplexing a Question, that I had rather wholly decline it, than involve my self within such Mysteries of Providence.

VII. HOWEVER, as to those, who are so endow’d as to have some Native Fortast of this high and Excellent Good; it seems to be plac’d within their Power, either to acquire to themselves a clearer and more extended Knowledg therein, or else to let that by degrees extinguish which already they have. Into which Error, if they shall unhappily run; ‘tis with the same reason they may be said to be Willingly wicked, as of the Intemperate man, that he throws himself Wilfully into a Distemper. And of whom Andronicus speaks in this sort, Before the Man fell sick, it was in his own Power to have preserv’d his Health: But when Health is lost by Incontinence and Debauch, it is not in his Power to Recover it. So any Man may throw a Stone to the Bottom of the Sea, but being cast thither he cannot recover it: However the Stone was willingly cast by him, for it was in his Power, either to Cast, or to have with-held it (L: 3. c. 6).[456]

VIII. AS for those Men, who throw off all Distinction of Things Honest and Vile;[457] who have no other Sense than of the Animal Life, who consider only for themselves, be it Right or Wrong; who think that Good is but of one Sort, and this only referable to Animal Content (or if, perchance, they think Good to be various, yet still they fix and appropriate all to themselves;) In such Men as these, I do confess, their Will is perpetually determin’d to what is the most apparent Good. They enjoy no more Liberty than Brutes, whose Appetite is necessarily ty’ed down to the greater Good: For they have but one single Principle of Acting, and ‘tis but one sort of Object that is before their Senses. And in this single Case ‘tis confessed, that the Second Objection has its Force.

IX. BUT when we consider, how there is a double Principle in the greatest Part of Mankind; the one Divine, and the other Animal. How that the Voice and Dictate of the Divine Principle (L. 1. c. 6. § 4), is ever for that which is simply and absolutely the Best; and Virtue proposeth, in every of our Thoughts or Actions, that which is most conforming to the Eternal and immutable Law of Reason: Which (in Tully’s Opinion before mention’d) is the common Standard both to God and to our selves. When also, on the other side, we consider that the Animal Principle dictates nothing to Man, but what to himself is either good, pleasing, or advantageous; that is, what may be grateful to himself alone, tho it never so much violate that Law, or Universal Reason of things, before spoken of (L. 1. c. 6. § 4). I say, that from the Conflict and Opposition of these two Principles, we have a clear Prospect what is the Condition, and what the Nature of that Free-Will whereof we treat.

X. THIS is a thing, which all Men have experience of, that at some times, and even then when we behold clearly what were best[458] and consonant to the Divine Law; yet we do not excite our Minds to it; or put on that Courage, which we know we have, to pursue so fair and so fit an Object; but yield and go on[459] where-ever the Stream[460] of Pleasure, or of our own Utility, will carry us. But certainly we have the more to answer for herein; as at the same time we are inwardly conscious, it is in our Power to over-rule all external Motions of the Body. And that, if we would obey such Power, and abstain from acting, there would nothing of that Guilt ensue, which for Self-Interest or Concupiscence we too frequently incur.

XI IN the mean time, while such Men as these do still go on, and still delude themselves with Apologies for their Sloth and Immorality (as either trusting to the Divine Goodness for Pardon, or else putting off their Amendments to a further Day) ‘tis manifest, that altho they do persist to satisfie their ill Desires, and postpone their Repentance to future time: yet are they convinc’d, it were far better, if already done; and that ‘tis equally now, as well as hereafter, within their Power to do it. And this is enough to shew, how plainly, even these confess the Liberty of Man’s Will.

XII. AND thus is it made evident, that ‘tis not necessary, that Man’s Will should still be carried on to the greater (that is, to the more excellent) Good. For it may, according to the Liberty it hath, desert what is absolutely the best;[461] and either close with what is most grateful to the Animal Life, or suffer it self to be captiv’d by it, for want of exerting the Power and Faculties it hath.

XIII. AND here I do as freely confess, that were there no other Life or Law in us, than to relish and pursue what were most for our particular Pleasure, and not that which is the most simple and most absolute Good (which assuredly is some Divine Thing, and by Nature congruous and consonant to that Eternal Wisdom, which has fram’d and does preserve the Universe) it would be hard to prove, that we had any Free-Will; or that our Will was not necessarily determin’d to some one thing, which, in all Deliberations, appear’d to us for the best.

XIV. BUT, on the other side, it is plain and manifest to me, that this Divine Law is as perfectly in us, as the Animal; and that Right Reason is that Law (and it is a high Gift and Blessing of God unto morals)[462] by which we are taught, and stand bound, to prefer publick Good before our private, and never to make our own Pleasure or Utility to be the Measure of human Actions. And whoever he be, thank thinks himself justly discharged from the Obligation of this Heavenly Law; I am bold to affirm, he deserves to pass for the most vile, as well as most contemptible, Creature upon Earth.

XV. THUS much of Free-Will, and with what Brevity and Perspicuity we are able. For what concerns the chief Arguments, or rather Sophisms of Mr. Hobbs; we have sufficiently refuted them in our Treatise Of the Immortality of the Soul (Lib. 2. c. 3): Whereunto the Reader is already refer’d. So that we now pass to those Theorems or Precepts, which are useful in the acquiring of Virtue.


Of that Good, which is External, Supreme, and Eternal; according to the Mind of the Philosophers.

I. THERE now only remains one External Good, which also is Eternal. To Heaven it that we all Aspire, and to the Society of Blessed Spirits: And there is no other Path or Stratagem, can lead hereto,[463] but Virtue. This is set forth in that of the Oracle, touching the Ghost of Plotinus, and its passing to the Happy State.

_____ _____ Ad Coetum jam venis almum

Heroum blandis spirantem leniter auris ;

Heic ubi amicitia est, ubi molli fronte cupido,

Laetitia replens, liquida pariterque repletus

Semper ab Ambrosiis foecundo è numine rivis.

Unde serena quies castorum & dulcis amorum

Illecebra, ac placidi suavissima flamina ventis.

Which may be Englished thus :

And now you’re come to th’ Happy Quire

Of Heroes where, their blessed Souls retire

Where softest Winds, do as soft Joys inspire:

Here dwells chast Friendship, with so pure a flame,

But gives and takes new Joys, and yet is still

Th’ Ambrosian Fountains with fresh Pleasures spring,

And gentle Zephyrus does new Odours bring.

These gifts for Inoffensive Ease are lent,

And both conspire to make Love Innocent.[464]

II. THAT holy Vow and Profession, which was made by Cato (in Tully’s Book de Senectute) has resemblance with this very Description. For he says, I repent me not of having Liv’d, because I have lived so, as never to have thought I was born in vain; and I depart this Life, not as from my House, but as from an Inne. For Nature has not here afforded us an Habitation, but barely a resting Place. O glorious Day, when I shall hasten to the great Assembly of blessed Souls, and be delivered from this Croud, and from that Dungeon, wherein I live!

III. THIS Opinion Cicero (in his Treatise de Consolatione) repeats as his own, saying, I am none of those, who believe the Soul can die with the Body; and that so great a Light, kindled by Divine Nature in the Mind, can be extinguish’d: but rather, that after some certain space of time, it will return to Immortality. Now this by him is so expressed, as if our present life were a sort of a death to the Soul. And the same (in his Somnio Scipionis) is elegant affirm’d by Africanus, when Cornelius aks’d him, If his dead Friends should live? Yes (says he) they truly live, who are extricated from the Chains of the Body, as from a Prison: For your Life, as you so call it, is Death. Many are the passages of this Force, up and down, in Cicero: Not to speak of what might be found in Plotinus and Plato.

IV. NOW inasmuch as the hope of Immortality, was so plain and conspicuous of old, even to mere Pagans: How could we (possibly) exclude it from Moral Philosophy? For by this it appears, that whatever external vexations innocent Virtue shall, in this Life, suffer (whether by hidden Fate, or by the Violence, Envy, or Improbity of wicked Men) there will be a just and most infallible compensation for it.[465] Wherefore the Good and the Magnanimous, being exalted by this Hope, look on the World with contempt: They trample upon inferiour things; and cannot regard any human Accidents as culpable, since nothing has regard to them, but what is of Virtue and Immortality. ‘Tis to this very Sense, that Cicero does elsewhere magnifie the power of Virtue.

V. SOCRATES is memorable for this same Confidence and Hope; since in the strength thereof, he was enabled to undervalue[466] both his Enemies and his Death. He, whom the Oracle of Apollo pronounced the wisest Man, would memorably in this deserve that Character: For, while he doubted of all other things, as to the Soul’s Immortality he was ever fix’d. So Laelius testifies of him (in Tully) That he was now of one Sentiment, and then of another, in most other things; Yet as to the Point of Immortality, he always affirm’d, That the Minds of Men were Divine; and that, as soon as they departed the Body, there was a most expeditious return of every just and virtuous Soul[467] into Heaven.

VI. ON this Contemplation, let every Man therefore resolve, that altho Virtue may (in some Cases) appear to be against our Interest in reference to worldly things; yet are we to stand by it with an unshaken Mind: especially since, after this span of Life is past, there will redound a vast reward and gratification to the Just.[468] Nay, let us rather count, that what we suffer in Externals (as, suppose in Fortune or in Health) is rather to our Advantage: Since, if we make a wise use of our misfortunes, and understand them for kind Admonitions (as indeed they are) by how much we are disappointed, or despoil’d, in outward Things; by so much, and more also, will the Mind be sanctifi’d and enrich’d.[469]

‘Tis worth observing, that all Good, which is External, must fade and corrupt even as the Body it self: while yet the Internal Things are as lasting as the Soul. So that to think, what we suffer in Body or Goods, to be a detriment or Curse, when we are likely to gain by it a more ample and perpetual Recompence; is a strange Error in Accounts.[470]

VII. NAY farther yet. If a Man had bought a thing at ten times less[471] than the Value; would it not sound odd, to hear him complain, that the bargain had undone him? Even so is it with the loss of outward Things: Men murmure at Divine Providence, while yet they acquire such improvement to the Soul thereby, as does not onely govern the Happiness of this Life, but guide us to a better, for all Eternity to come. Wherefore let no Man be too forward, when the crosses and vexations of this World come thick upon him; they are the Gifts and Blessings of a wise God, who best knows what Physick we need for the Health and Conduct of our Souls.[472]

By these Trials it is, that we can only find out the strength and authority of Virtue: These gratings rub off the rust and tarnish of Vice: they ingender Prudence, Fortitude, Sincerity, and all other Virtues: at least they detect our hypocritical and ridiculous Pretences unto them. So that we will conclude, altho these Visitations may seem rude and bitter to the taste, yet in operation they are wholesome, and produce Salutiferous effects.

VIII. BUT now as such External Evils, which can no otherwise afflict the Mind, than by Imagination: or else, as Epictetus has it, That things themselves did not disquiet Men, but their own false Opinions of things (Enchiridion, c. 10). I must needs aver, that Men thus afflicted merely by their Fancies, so as to make things intolerable, are not poor Proficients in Virtue: It deserves not the name of Virtue, which is not able of it self, to lay flat all imaginary Passions (L. 2. c. 10 § 18. L. 3. c. 10. § 16). ‘Tis true, it may reasonably be thought that there are some Sufferings above the force of Human Nature; such as bodily Pains, which come by Sickness, that neither can be smother’d, nor dissembled; and that some Tortures are so exquisite, as to be beyond any constancy of the Mind to support.

However, Cicero speaks Excellently hereof (as indeed of every thing else) He says, That Pain is a sharp Adversary to Virtue; It menaces with burning Torches; It insults over Fortitude and Magnanimity; and ventures to subdue even Patience it self. But thus it would not so frequently happen, if the fault were not our own: For Nature her self, if rightly tutor’d and habituated, would prove a sort of invincible Thing. But we alas (the more is our shame) have infected our Minds with Sloth, with Shadows, and Intemperance: Nay, we have so scribled over our Souls with Notions, and odd Opinions, that no room is left, for inserting one sound, or substantial Truth[473] (Tusculan. Quaest. l. 5).

IX. HOWEVER we may observe, that ‘tis not above the compass of Human Nature, to bear excessive Pains, when they are willingly undertaken. We have strange Examples what has been suffer’d for Glory, or by Custom or Superstition: of which the very true Relations are almost incredible. As

X. THAT of the Spartan Boys (which Tully [Tusculan. Quaest. l. 2] mentions in his Tusculans) who being brought to the Altar, could bear beating, not onely, till the blood gush’d from their Bowels, but till they actually dy’d: and all this without Crying, or without a Groan.

That of the Indian Wives, who (being many to every Husband) have contended, even to the tearing off Hair,[474] which of them should go into the Fire alive, and burn with the dead Man.

That of the Egyptians, who would rather be executed themselves, than kill a Stork, an Asp, a Dog, or a Cat (Tusculan. Quaest. l. 5).

There are also, among the Turks and Americans, amazing Instances of Spontaneous Suffering; Some on superstitious Accounts, and others for Ostentation. And almost all Histories do swarm with Examples of this kind.

XI. NOW, I say, if Nature, thus Rude, thus Illiterate, thus Barbarous and unprovided, thus insensible of true Virtue or of Excellent Things, could in patience and firmness of the Mind, so highly excel; What should not true Virtue do? That Divine Thing, I mean which holds Conjunction with God above; that is fortify’d with the splendid expectation of a blessed Immortality. Can, I say, this Champion ever give ground? Shall Virtue crouch, where even the barbarous have scorn’d to stoop? God forbid![475] And of Virtue, that is perfect and sincere, let it never be said! ‘Tis true, there is a Nice Generation of pretenders to Virtue; such as keep up a general Acquaintance, and fain would be valu’d on the score of some Familiarity with her: But if a Storm arise, or any Battels are to be fought on her account, they are presently Men of another Climate, and their truest Religion is about Riches, Honour, and sensual Delights.

XII. NOW since we could prove by infinite Examples (if brevity were not in our Care) that ‘tis not beyond the reach of a considerate Man, to overcome the greatest difficulties: Let us bend our Souls to the Acquiring this true and perfect Patience. This is the Virtue, that subdues, and will enable us even to despise, as well the pleasures of the Body, as all the sorrows that can attend it. And let no Man fancy to himself, or pretend to others, that he is possess’d of any Virtue at all, till he has attain’d that Patience, which we here set forth. For as bare Virtue is a high Reward, yet Happy Immortality is one of the certain Fruits thereof; So let us retain it immoveably, and let us never imagine that we have it at all, unless we can hold it last.

XIII. HERE some may contemptuously ask, Whether or no this our Philosophy be the shortest way to be Happy? And whether these Rules are the method to enrich a Man’s Family, or to make him a Magistrate? And whether this celebrated Virtue and good Conscience, do not rather conduct a Man to the Faggot, or to the Gallows;[476] even as Examples, without Number, do testifie, in all Ages, and in every Climate?

To this we must take leave to Demur, by laying open the true Nature of Virtue. Which is not a thing calculated for peculiar Places and particular Seasons; but has a general reference to all Times, and to every Place, to procure us Felicity in both. It doth also, on the other hand, enable us either to resist Evils; or, if they prevail, to bear them with Equality, and resignation.

How far Virtue contributes to the getting of Wealth, Honours, and the like, has been already shewn (L. 1. c. 1. Sect. 3. L. 3. c. 9. Sect 2). I will onely add that Honest Poverty is preferable to ill-gotten Riches: And such (I take it) are manifestly ill-gotten and ill-kept, where-ever Virtue has suffered for it, either in the whole, or in its smaller part. Wherefore let Virtue be your Children’s Inheritance: if they have this, they will never stand in need of superfluous Wealth; and if they have it not, you ought not to break your Heart to make them Rich.

XIV. AS to the Objection, For fear of Burning or the Gallows: take this for granted, that if you want the Armor of Patience against all Tribulations and Temptations whatever that may happen, you then carry in your Bosom that Serpent Cowardise,[477] which will urge you to betray your Prince, your Country, your Friends, your Religion, and even all together, if it fairly comes in your way. Whereas if Patience, do but fortifie and corroborate your Mind; it will embolden you to stand in defiance against those mighty Bugbears. You may, in scorn of them, declare, that the Soul of Man is not to be scorch’d by Fire, nor choak’d by Water; nor can the Butchers chop it into parcels:[478] That Virtue cannot, even by Violence, be torn from it, or God himself be separated from Virtue and the Soul.

XV. BESIDES, this also may be reflected on, that our Life is but as a Thing deposited with us by God. Now if God shall call for his own Pledge, How can we, with Sense or Honesty, refuse so just and potent a Benefactor, or be unwilling to restore back what he lent? But this Pledge is always called for, as often as any Conditions for Life are made us, which cannot consist with that Observance, which we owe to God and to Virtue.

XVI. LASTLY, Let us take Comfort in this, That God is not usually wanting to his Children, in their Extremities; that, if the Mind shall retain its Integrity and persevere to the last, ‘tis scare in the power of Torment to interrupt our Happiness. For the Soul is then as it were absorp’d with God, and in full prospect of a blessed Immortality[479] (L. 2. c. 10. §. 18. L. 3. c. 10. §. 8. L. 2. c. 10 § 19. L. 3. c. 3. §. 10) She knows the Flames and Scourges of this World cannot disfigure her; For when their worst is done; ‘tis She finally shall Conquer; That she, as a long Exile, is now solemnly recall’d to her Native Country: that She is remounting to the Region of blessed Souls; and even sees them, as gazing upon her with joy, and as shooting with Acclamations at her approach.

XVII. O the Joys! O the Triumphs! O what Embraces from that Illustrious Assembly! What Words, and Welcome, and Elogies, will they bestow, for what she so direfully suffer’d, and so bravely overcame, in the defence of Virtue and of Truth! How will the Mansions above Eccho and Rebound, with Hallelujah’s of that Heavenly Quire! Or how rather, will this victorious Soul, eternal with Triumph into those Mansions, where Felicity is never to end! ‘Tis in this Happy Station, where Love and Friendship are always Young, still Unblemish’d, and evermore Sincere. Here Holy Angels, and all those Resplendent Beings, which are above, do not onely behold the Beauties of each other, but Communicate, and even Discourse, by some unspeakable Way: But this is sure, that Truth shines out in its utmost Purity, and Virtue is bright and manifest in all they say. Besides, here are no Vicissitudes, all is Peace, all Security, and all things are Stationary and fix’d. In short, here is a Consummation of the Soul’s bless’d Estate; And it were impossible to find it elsewhere.

XVIII. AND how could this otherwise be, since the Mind of Man is as the Image of God, drawn and descending from him. And being drawn from God; it covets Heaven, as desirous to return from whence it came. All Inclinations towards the Earth savour of the Body; But as to the Soul, her Habitation is above, and her true Country is Heaven. For as Cicero Discourses wisely of this Matter, There can no Origination of the Soul be found upon Earth (De Consolatione.).

XIX. WHEREFORE let us admire that Quickning Life; which, when freed from our Earthly Tabernable,[480] will touch and penetrate our Souls with Joy! O that happy State of victorious Virtue, attended and surrounded with Triumphs and Content! And ever Happy be that Death and Torment, which shall conduct the firm and unshaken Soul, to Pleasures that are Ineffable.

XX. HERE, we confess, are great things spoken; and so perhaps through this whole Work: Yet we suppose they are not greater, than what belongs to the true and genuine Description of Moral Philosophy. They are not beyond the Compass and Meaning of Right Reason; nor exceed the Professions and Memorials of the most Excellent of the Heathens.

XXI. HOWEVER, That Religion may not be defrauded of her due Honour, I do here also profess, testifie, and declare, that I think nothing is found in the Writings of the Philosophers, or commemorated as the Deeds and Sayings of Renowned Heathens; But all their Flights and Raptures (whether about God, or the Soul, or Virtue) are owing, either to the very Doctrine, or to the Ancient Cabbala or Tradition of the most Primitive Church of God; or else to the Eternal Son, that Logos, or WORD of God; Who has, in all Ages past, endow’d every Man with some Sense of Honesty; Tho some Men have always been more Burning, and more Shining Lights, than the rest.

For this WORD is that True Light, which Enlightneth all Men that come into this World: even as the Scripture has it. Now that Pythagoras drew his Knowledg from the Hebrew Fountains, is what all Writers, Sacred and Prophane, do testfie and aver. That Plato took from him the principal part of that Knowledg, touching God, the Soul’s Immortality, and the Conduct of Life and Good Manners, has been doubted by no Man. And that it went from him, into the Schools of Aristotle,[481] and so deriv’d and diffus’d, almost into the whole World, is in like manner attested by all.

XXII. WHEREFORE, as the Virtue, and Wisdom, and Excellency, of so many of the Old Heathens, does not a little Illustrate the Power and Benignity of the Divine Providence, and the extent of its Gifts: So can these Men, in no degree, either obscure, or derogate from, the Glory of the Church. For they, as we said, did but borrow their precious Things, either from the Church of God, or from the Divine Logos or WORD. That Word which the old Church (I mean that of the Jews) did worship when it shined from the Tabernacle: and which the New Church (I mean that of the Christians) still adores in the Human Nature of the Messias, as in the glorious Temple of its Residence. And may it be Worshipped and Adored for ever and ever. Amen.

[1] It is not entirely clear what quod jam occurrit is supposed to refer to. More probably wants to state that the argument is not new within the context of his preface.

[2] Famously, Aristotle defines God as “the first unmoved mover“ in metaphy.1074a37. More provides a more comprehensive interpretation of Aristotle’s theology in the scholia attached to original preface. See pp. 11–13 below.

[3] More invokes famous description of the transcendent creative intellect given by the Presocratic philosopher in DK 59 B 12: “The other things have a share of everything, but the intellect is unlimited and self-ruling and has been mixed with no thing, but is alone itself by itself. For if it were not by itself, but had been mixed with anything else, then it would partake of all things, if it had been mixed with anything (for there is a share of everything in everything just as I have said before); and the things mixed together with it would thwart it, so that it would control none of the things in the way that it in fact does, being alone by itself. For it is the finest of all things and the purest, and indeed it maintains all discernment about everything and has the greatest strength.“ Translation: p. 104 McKirahan/Curd.

[4] On “incomplex principles“, see Thomas Aquinas, Quaestiones disputatae de veritate, q. 11, a 1.

[5] More refers to Antidote II 1,9 (Collection, pp. 44–45): “According to which that notable phaenomenon, which now at last I come to, cannot be brought to pass, namely, That the Sucker of the Aire-pump, the Cylinder being emptied of Aire, should draw up above an hundred pound weight, moving up as it were of its own accord.“

[6] See Immortality III 13,1 (AIHI 122, 258): “And a farther confirmation that I am not mistaken therein, is what we daily here experience upon Earth, which is the descending of heavy Bodies, as well them. Concerning motion whereof I agree with Des-Cartes in the assignation of the immediate corporeal cause, to wit, the Aethereal matter, which is so plentifully in the Air over it is in grosser Bodies; but withall do vehemently surmise, that there must be some Immaterial cause, such as we call The Spirit of Nature or Inferiour Soul of the World, that must direct the motions of the Aethereal particles to act upon these grosser Bodies to drive them towards the Earth.

[7] Chapter XII of More’s late Enchiridium metaphysicum provides a thorough philosophical reading of this experiment.

[8] On More’s concept of “moral prudence” or the “boniform faculty”, see, above all, ench. eth. I 2,5 (Op. Omn. III/1, 12/Account of Virtue 6); II 9,15 (III/1, 61/156–157); II 9,16 (Opera Omnia III/1, 61/Account of Virtue 157).

[9] Metaph. XII, 1072b28–30: “We say therefore that God is an animal eternal, most good, so that life and duration continuous and eternal belong to God; for this is God.” Translation: II p. 1695 Ross (modified). The Greek word ζῷον, which Ross translates as “a living being”, also means “animal”, a meaning which is crucial to More’s argument.

[10] Cael. 286a8–12: “Everything that has a function exists for its function. The activity of God is immortality, i.e. eternal life. Therefore, the movement of God must be eternal. But such is the heaven, viz. a divine body, and for that reason to it is given the circular body whose nature it is to move always in a circle.” Translation: I p. 472 Stocks.

[11] The quotation from Pseudo-Aristotle, mun. 398b7, is part of a lengthy comparison between God and the Persian king Xerxes. If the latter governs his empire without being visible, it a fortiori holds true for God that “it is more worthy of his dignity and more befitting that he should be enthroned in the highest region, and that his power, extending through the whole universe, should move the sun and moon and make the whole heaven revolve and be the cause of permanence to all that in on this earth.” Translation: I p. 636 Forster.

[12] According to the cosmology outlined ibid. 400a6, God, “himself pure”, dwells not in the world, but in “a pure region” above. Translation: ibid. I p. 638.

[13] In Ennead IV 4,40, Plotinus calls the animated universe “the primary wizard and enchanter” (ὁ γόης ὁ πρῶτος καὶ φαρμακεὺς). Translation: Armstrong, LCL 443, 261–263.

[14] See n. 2 above.

[15] According to Aristotle, phys. VII, 256a24–26, “Anaxagoras is right when he says that intellect is impassive and unmixed, since he makes it the principle of motion; for it could cause motion in this way only by being itself unmoved, and have control only be being unmixed.” Translation: I. p. 429 Hardie/Gaye (slightly modified). In a complex hermeneutical process, More cites the fragments of Anaxagoras preserved by Aristotle whom, following Ralph Cudworth, he views as a Neoplatonist in support of his own Platonist prisca theologia.

[16] Metaph. XLL, 1072a25: “There is a mover which moves without being moved, being eternal, substance and actuality.” Translation: II p. 1694 Ross.

[17] More provides a densely metaphysical Latin rendering of the first part of the passage ibid., 1072a30–b1, which poses severe textual and philosophical difficulties, in his Scholia on the Letter to V.C. (Op. Omn. II/1, 126): “For intellection is the beginning, but the intellect is moved by an intelligible object. However, one of the two orders is that which is intelligible by itself, and of such a kind is the first substance and it is such simply and actually.” See also the substantive philosophical comments on this passage ibid. The second part of the excerpt quoted reads in Ross’s (slightly-modified) translation (II p. 1694): “The one and the simple are not the same; for ‘one’ means measure, but ‘simple’ means that the thing itself has a certain nature. But the good, also, and that which is itself desirable are on this same side of the order; and the first in any order is always best, or analogous to the best.”

[18] The military comparison to which More refers here is to be found ibid. 1075a 11–15: “We must consider also in which of two ways the nature of the universe contains the good or the highest good, whether as something separate and by itself, or as the order of the parts. Probably in both ways, as an army does. For the good is found both in the order and in the leader, and more in the latter; for he does not depend on the order, but it depends on him.” Translation: ibid. II 1699.

[19] Ibid. 1075b8–9: “Anaxagoras makes the good a motive principle; for thought moves things, but moves them for the sake of something, which must be something other than it.” Translation: ibid., II p. 1700.

[20] Ibid. 1075a18–19: “All things are ordered towards one thing”. Our translation.

[21] Gen. animal. 715a8–9: “For the definition and the ‘for the sake of which’ or end are identical.“ Our translation.

[22] Ibid. 732a3–5: “The first moving cause, to which belong the definition and the form of matter, is better and more divine in its nature.“ Translation: I p. 1136 Platt (modified).

[23] The ἀποτέλεσμα is the being in the state of perfection reached at the end of its natural development.

[24] Gen. animal. 731b22–24: “For the fact that they exist because of something better and of an end has something higher as its principle.” Our translation.

[25] Ibid. 731b25–26: “For that which is beautiful and divine is always, by virtue of its nature, the cause of the better in contingent beings.” Our translation.

[26] Ibid. 735a2–4: “For the art is the principle and form of that which is made, albeit in something else, whereas the movement of nature exists in it itself, issuing from another nature which possesses the form in actuality.” Translation: I p. 1140 Platt (modified).

[27] Part. animal. 639b19–21: “Now in the works of nature the good and that for the sake of which is still more dominant than in works of art.“ Translation: p. 995 Ogle.

[28] Ibid. 641b23–26: “Again, whenever there is plainly some final end to which a motion tends should nothing stand in the way, we always say that the one is for the sake of the other; and from this it is evident that there must be something of the kind, corresponding to what we call nature.“ Translation: ibid., 998.

[29] Ibid. 642a9–13:

[30] More both paraphrases and quotes in Greek and English Aristotle’s report of the doctrine of Empedocles whom the Greek philosopher credits with having approximated his own notion of natural substance ibid. 642a18–22. Thus, according to Aristotle, Empedocles “finds himself constrained to speak of the ratio as constituting the substance and nature of things. ... For he does not say it is this one element, or those two or three elements, or a compound of all the elements, but states the ratio of their combination. As with a bone, so manifestly is it with the flesh and all other similar parts.” Translation: ibid. 999. Making use of the ambivalence of the term used by Aristotle whom More, again following Cudworth’s lead in the True Intellectual System, interprets as a Neoplatonist, he proceeds to link the “ratio” or “word” (λόγος) which constitutes the substance of a natural thing to the intelligible paradigm.

[31] It is one of the principles put forth in progr. animal. 704b15–17 “that nature makes nothing in vain, but always the best possible in each kind of living creature by reference to its essential constitution. Accordingly, if one way is better than another, that is the way of nature.” Translation: p. 1097 Farquharson.

[32] More simply says that “ethics is the art of living well and happily”.

[33] Southwell’s translation is slightly over-metaphysical. According to More’s original Latin, all ethical precepts “must be conducive to the achievement of this goal”.

[34] Inutili is mistranslated as “useful” instead of “useless” and wrongly referred to the precepts. “Hence, no precepts are to be expected here which serve the purpose of useless argument, but only such as serve the right teaching of a good life.” Moreover, it is Southwell who adds the eudaimonistic purpose of ethics in this passage.

[35] More simply says “I say“ (dico).

[36] The “or blest” has been added by Southwell. More only uses the single word beatos which may have both meanings. While the additional word points to the spiritual dimension of More’s otherworldly Pythagorean ideal of the good life, it is more a redundant gloss or comment than a translation.

[37] More renders the Greek σύσταμα τῶν πρᾶξεων in the Latin text as Actionum humanarum comprehensionem vel congeriem, i.e. the “sum and series of human actions” of which Southwell provides a memorable translation. While the principal meaning of comprehensio is that of the comprehensive character of the sum total of a human being’s actions, it also does justice to the additional meaning of the latter’s own active “comprehension” of their active life.

[38] “Event and Success” is a pleonastic rendering of the Latin successus, which is synonymous with the earlier comprehensio vel congeries, meaning “succession” rather than “success”.

[39] The more literal “goods of Fortune” might be the preferable translation of bonis Fortunae here, since More sets out to address the technical question raised by classical and Hellenistic Greek ethics how “goods” beyond an agent’s control bear on her happiness and good life.

[40] More praises not the philosopher himself, but his “right and sound conclusion”.

[41] While the more natural term in English, More’s more technical “use” (usum) should be retained. It is a concept of Stoic origin which he continues to use throughout the Enchiridion.

[42] Southwell has omitted “good”: “good Fortune” or luck is indispensable for the success of an action.

[43] More’s original phrasing is slightly different. “Archytas’ view, too, is consonant to this, who defines happiness as ...”

[44] Both in (Pseudo-)Archytas‘ Greek and More’s Latin, the “use of virtue” (Χρᾶσιν ἀρετᾶς/Virtutis usum) is the chief source of happiness and good life.

[45] “Well” is too weak an English rendering of More’s more enthusiastic “so brilliantly” (tam egregie).

[46] While “valour” is the special virtue referred to, a literal translation is more suitable to More’s argument: “A general triumphs by virtue and fortune”.

[47] More’s Latin is less poetic than Southwell’s somewhat ornate English: “and as the pilot navigates successfully”.

[48] “Virtue” and “good fortune” do not just “accompany” the best possible life, but an agent achieves it “through” (per) a combination of both of them.

[49] Southwell’s rendering is overly complex here. A more literal rendering of the Latin would be: “Even though they are not entirely within our power, they are nevertheless held to be part of ethics in a certain fashion, as the subject of ethics contributes to their acquisition quite decisively.”

[50] Here, too, More’s argument could be rendered with greater clarity: “For, even though a pilot and a physician sometimes fall short of their goals, there is no-one who would therefore deny the existence of the medical and nautical arts.”

[51] A more literal translation would read: “as its nature at least touches on or encompasses”.

[52] “External supports of life” is an unnecessarily free translation of “external goods”.

[53] A more literal translation of More’s complex definition of happiness might read: “Happiness is the pleasure which the mind reaps from the conscience of actions performed according to a sense of virtue and in the right fashion (and according to the standard of virtue).”

[54] External goods.

[55] Southwell again omits some of More’s more technical vocabulary: “A moderate proportion of so-called external goods is conducive to perfect happiness.”

[56] More deliberately marks this as a definition: “I here define happiness as a pleasure rather than an ἐνέργεια or act.”

[57] The best and greatest of human goods.

[58] The best and the greatest.

[59] More’s accenditur & augetur is more likely to refer to the beginning and subsequent continuation of human action, as initially undertaken and carried on for the sake of pleasure: “Hence, the act itself, as Aristotle observes, is stirred and heightened.”

[60] The qualiscunque, omitted by Southwell, indicates a certain vagueness in the relationship between cause and effect instrumental in bringing about human action: “and which we look upon as some kind of effect thereof.”

[61] In More, it is a triad of concepts: “the flower, height and perfection of an act”.

[62] More refers not to the “excellency of life”, but to the “most excellent life”, thus following Aristotle in arguing that a virtuous life is the highest of lives attainable for human beings.

[63] Southwell provides a barely intelligible metaphorical translation unsupported by More’s technical original Latin which reads: “For in every function of life, it is pleasure which perfects an act as its internal motif of completion.” Complementum is a somewhat tautological paraphrase of the preceding perficit, highlighting the role of pleasure as the chief motif of all human action.

[64] Southwell omits the last part of the quotation from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics: “and even to life it self which one desires.”

[65] The tertio has been omitted: “In the third place”.

[66] “It is plain” refers not to the main, but to the subordinate clause: “Since each Creature hath its own particular Pleasure, which is clearly seen to be its supreme Happiness”.

[67] In the fourth place.

[68] Southwell uses the wrong tense and mistranslates the latter part of the quotation: “That all people account happiness to be a pleasure and to live in pleasure or at least not live without pleasure.”

[69] The rendering is overly complex here: “Those who are truly happy live a most pleasant life and people do not believe this without a reason.”

[70] Most pleasant.

[71] A literal translation reads: “Happiness of this kind”.

[72] “Imperfect” has been added by Southwell.

[73] In the Latin, it is a “full” or comprehensive, rather than a “true” “Feeling and Possession of Virtue”.

[74] “Restitution”, the word used here, is the same one as in Aristotle’s definition given above.

[75] Instead of sticking to “inbred”, the technical word used in reference to animals, Southwell opts for a rather infelicitous metaphor here: “But that Virtue is natural and inbred to human Nature ...”.

[76] Southwell has omitted “as I have already pointed out” added by More in brackets.

[77] More employs a more copious expression in the original, pointing out that “justice or perfect virtue, according to inspired or divinely-given wisdom, is immortal.”

[78] Southwell seems to have mistaken iustitiae for innocentiae: “State of righteousness”.

[79] The plural is substituted for a two-word expression in the original: “the soul’s appetite or desire” with the “or” (seu) indicating the synonymity of the two concepts used.

[80] In the Latin, More expresses the final aim of the soul’s longing in one continuous expression: “or at least tending to that which is the most appealing and the most congruous, i.e., that which is the most joyous and fills the mind with the greatest joy and pleasure.”

[81] “Not simply”, rather than “not barely”. More seeks to establish that the boniform faculty must not be identified with intellect tout court, but with its highest principle.

[82] It should read “its” instead, referring back to “Happiness” which seems to retain its original Latin (and Greek) feminine gender.

[83] Southwell adds a subjectivist aspect to the argument that is at odds with More’s own strict realism: “Which Faculty much resembles that part of Will which moves towards that which is the absolute best.” Moreover, the original fertur allows for Southwell’s active reading as well as an alternative passive one. Either the faculty “rushes” or “is carried towards” absolute or supreme goodness as its final aim. However, since More goes on to view it as “being hurried on”, the latter meaning is the more likely one here.

[84] The ineffability of the union with God is a trope of Western mysticism which should be retained in the translation: “and, when obtaining it, it [i.e. the boniform faculty] is filled with ineffable joy and pleasure.”

[85] The “within us” has been added by Southwell.

[86] In the original, the two adjectives are not in the superlative. Instead, the soul’s highest power is said “to have knowledge about that which is beautiful and divine”.

[87] This is not a translation, but a paraphrase of the difficult expression “or also the Divine itself that exists”.

[88] “Gifts” is not used in the original. Instead, Aristotle generically refers to “the most divine part of what is in us”.

[89] Aristotle’s own conclusion reads differently from Southwell’s who resorts to another free rewording here: “Its operation according to its own proper virtue must certainly be viewed as that perfect happiness.”

[90] Southwell’s translation is somewhat infelicitous here, since it takes away from More’s original moral sense terminology. Of that unnamed alternative faculty More says that “still it possesses a sense of the καλὰ καὶ θεία, i.e. the beautiful and the Divine.” In other words, it is defined by its spiritual sensation of divine moral beauty which is the hallmark of More’s concept of the boniform faculty.

[91] In the original, More is more precise, having Aristotle place supreme happiness in “intellectual contemplation”. The adjective is not redundant, since More considers introducing a mode of contemplation superior to intellection.

[92] More’s list of the happy few is more exhaustive and consists of “philosophers, physicists, mathematicians and metaphysicians”. The subsequent part of the sentence is not in the Latin, but has been added by the English translator.

[93] Interestingly, Southwell renders the simple τἀγαθόν or bonum as “essential Good”, using a technical expression of Cambridge Platonist philosophy of religion. God is not good by fickle volition, but by immutable essence.

[94] More is, in fact, more emphatic, claiming that “its practice can be learned and perfected with equal ease by all people”.

[95] I.e. “from their heart” or “sincerely”.

[96] Southwell’s addition of “testimony of the” takes away from the overall meaning of this passage, as does the overly theological expression “nothing of greater Benediction”. This sentence reads in a more literal translation: “Lest anyone might perhaps condemn it [i.e. the “fruit” of the boniform faculty mentioned in the line before], I shall say freely and audaciously that no greater happiness can happen to us in this life or the next than this divine love.”

[97] Southwell seems to have added this introductory sentence. Perhaps the reference of Quam was unclear to him. “The mind reaps this [pleasure] from a sense of virtue.” More then goes on to argue for an “honest pleasure” in Aristotle’s ethics.

[98] As well as being erroneous on a grammatic and a semantic level, the renderings of voluptas as an indefinite number of different “lusts” and of honesta as “allowable” do violence to More’s ethical key concern of establishing the existence of one single sui generis pleasure as the source of all laudable virtue. Far from being “allowable”, therefore, the joy stirred by the soul’s boniform faculty is the principle of all “honesty”.

[99] The ne linking the two sentences has a final meaning: “Now I affirm this pleasure to arise from a Sense of Virtue lest anybody might believe the fruit of virtue to consist in that imaginary knowledge of virtue which is acquired through bare definitions.”

[100] The comparison is longer and much more graphic and memorable in More’s original Latin: “for this amounts to no more, than if a man would pretend to know the Nature of Fire from a picture of fire hanging upon a wall which has no power whatsoever to repel the winter’s cold.”

[101] In More, “enjoyment”, significantly, precedes “judgement”: “Every living good, if I may say so, is felt and judged of by life and sense.”

[102] Since he also assumes the existence of a higher spiritual sensation, More is more precise and views virtue as “invisible to the outward eye”.

[103] Southwell omits the important ablative internis sensibus, which More posits as the power of the soul’s spiritual insight into absolute goodness, as well as the ipse added for the purpose of emphasis. Moreover, he also uses a plural form once again and erroneously renders the sentence in the present tense, thereby taking away from the force of More’s ad hominem argument which revolves around the experiential confirmation provided in his reader’s own possible future vision of the good: “Once you have been transformed into the life of virtue yourself, you will at last see with your internal senses its beauty and feel its pleasure”. The Latin percipies, used in a twofold meaning, refers both to “beauty” and “pleasure”, thereby expressing the unity of perception and sensation characteristic of the soul’s boniform vision.

[104] In More’s Latin, there is a change of subject that may carry philosophical meaning as the vision itself is credited with transformative agency: “It will stir in you most extraordinary feelings of love for it and fill your soul with ineffable joy.”

[105] The reference here is not to a generic “Blessed Disposition of the Soul”, but to the latter’s boniform faculty: “However, as long as you have not attained this state yourself, once the boniform faculty of the soul has been awakened at last, it is necessary that you believe others who have experienced it.”

[106] Southwell provides a paraphrase, rather than a translation of the subordinate clause: “Otherwise, if you make judgement of pleasure according to your own sense of virtue”.

[107] More includes a reference to pagan mythology here: “left to Divine Nemesis”.

[108] Interestingly, the translator resorts to the euphemism of “too lasting” here, whereas More threatens the reader with the more orthodox “eternal punishment” of traditional church doctrine.

[109] Whereas the Latin has only the first words of the definition: “Therefore, for perfect happiness”, Southwell gives it in full, also making explicit that the short chapter is a commentary on that part of the second chapter.

[110] More’s wording is more technical: “From this definition of happiness, we may rightly infer the following corollary, namely...”

[111] The phrase is in the passive voice in the original: “Since happiness consists in the pleasure proceeding from the sense of virtue and the conscience of good deeds, ...”

[112] Southwell’s expression is barely intelligible. The Latin is of greater clarity: “The lack or shortage of things necessary”.

[113] The English translation is erroneous both in vocabulary and grammar. Instead, the final phrase is dependent upon the earlier subject “lack and shortage of things necessary” which, More avers in keeping with his overall line of argumentation, “does not allow us to enjoy the excellent fruits of virtue”.

[114] Southwell fails to provide a translation of the verse quoted from Juvenal, Satires, 3,164–165, which had by then already become proverbial: “Those do no advance easily whose virtues are held down by shortage at home.“

[115] In the Greek quoted and rendered into Latin, we require “external serenity and prosperity”.

[116] While “praise” is an apposite rendering of the Greek ἐπαινός and the Latin laus, which denotes the prestige enjoyed by the virtuous man, “comfort” fails to capture the meaning of the μακαρισμός in More’s source, which the author himself merely transliterates as macarismus. Instead, this term is religious in meaning, referring to the “blessed” state of being in possession of the “things necessary” for a good life, which ill luck may take away from man.

[117] More does not want to show the Pythagorean pedigree of his teaching, but instead insists “that we have above established this most clearly by the aid of the Pythagoreans.”

[118] Again, it is “goods”, rather than “comforts”.

[119] Southwell leaves out the Pre-Socratic philosopher’s place of birth and More’s reference to Aristotle’s work, instead elaborating greatly upon More’s rather succinct Magnum aut Divitem. Moreover, the superlative beatissimum is of philosophical pertinence, since neither Aristotle nor More wants to deny the importance of external goods, including political power and economic prosperity altogether. However, while the great and the rich may be happy, their happiness is not on a par with that of the philosopher who participates in the Divine: “Hence, Aristotle, interpreting the answer of Anaxagoras of Clazomenae in his Eudemian Ethics, does not consider the great or rich man to be the happiest”.

[120] The final phrase of the chapter is Southwell’s, not More’s who says that “this is more than enough on this topic”.

[121] While not wrong, Southwell’s translation is misleading for a modern reader, since “habit” is supposed to express its original etymological meaning of “character”, rather than a “custom”

[122] Here, the Greek cited is of the essence, as More traces ἀρετή back to the proper name Ἄρης, the Greek god of war, hence concluding that “virtue and ἀρετή are military terms”.

[123] The translator has omitted More’s solummodo added for the purpose of additional emphasis: “but solely internal ones”.

[124] Not only does Southwell’s early modern English rendering fall short of More’s careful Latin wording, but it also falsely intrudes ideas like the soul’s being “elevated” by an inner “heat” that invites materialist associations alien to More’s moral idealism: “Lastly, it is this notion of virtue which affects the mind quite strongly, impelling it to love and exercise virtue. Moreover, it reveals virtue to be a certain swift and ready power whereby the mind is easily and irresistibly moved to do that which is honest and beautiful.“

[125] Southwell’s translation is a free paraphrase doing scant justice to the argument: “Hence, it contributes to the overcoming of that sloth and weariness in which some may have allowed themselves to indulge, while nevertheless fancying that they had truly acquired virtue through a few acts of honesty.”

[126] Again, the usage is archaic, “situation” here having its original Latin meaning of “being situated”.

[127] In the original, it is a comparative: “more strongly”.

[128] Southwell provides an imprecise and barely intelligible translation of an overly-terse elliptic expression in More’s original Latin. Quoting his original definition of virtue given in the first lines of this chapter, More goes on to explain it in the light of his notion of the soul’s “intellectual power”: “Moreover, I say that “the soul ‘easily pursues’ it [i.e. that which is absolutely and simply the best]. For a fuller explanation, [we need] the soul’s intellectual power.”

[129] More does not refer to any special “force” here, but puts forward a conceptual reductio argument for his claim: “For, if that did not happen, ...”.

[130] Again, Southwell extensively rephrases a quotation. In a more literal rendering, it reads: “On the other hand, however, if by that self-same power it allows itself to be led astray by irrational passions, it produces inconstancy and softness of mind.” Southwell’s addition of the relative clause “which receives all impressions” may be read as a comment on the “softness of mind” which accepts all sorts of erroneous ethical and metaphysical teachings.

[131] The final sentence is not a translation either: “However, the dispositions of such souls are semiperfect virtues and equally semiperfect vices.”

[132] There is no Latin sentence corresponding to this English one which appears to be a brief gloss on the earlier quotation.

[133] More’s Latin is more succinct than Southwell’s English: “Finally, the fact that ‘the soul’, as I say, ‘pursues easily’ that which is absolutely and simply the best reveals that noble distinction of the good into what is simply good or simply better and into that which is good or better, i.e., which is pleasant or more pleasant to some person or some particular affect of some person.”

[134] In the Latin, More is less wary of pointing out the godlike quality of the “boniform faculty of the soul, which is clearly divine”.

[135] “By diligent application” has been added by Southwell.

[136] By vulgo, which the translator omits, More aligns himself with the long Greek tradition of ethical rationalism: “Which we generally call ‘right reason’.”

[137] Southwell’ rendering of More’s concise in datis circumstantiis, which simply denotes “under the circumstances given”, is overly long.

[138] Once again, an unnecessarily complex rendering threatens to obscure More’s clear moral criterion by which ‘what accords best with right reason” is to be judged to be coming close to that which is “simply and absolutely the best”.

[139] More uses three terms rather than two to explain the relationship between the divine archetype and the human image with the latter two providing a more apposite metaphorical description of the first concept of communicare: “... than as it shines forth from and is reflected by right reason which is communicated to or rather sown into or born with our minds.”

[140] The lacking “t” is an oversight on the part of the translator or printer.

[141] While it is to his credit that he renders the key concept as “ought”, Southwell leaves out the Greek term itself, also failing to indicate that More himself reveals his line of argumentation as an interpretation of the principal terms of Pythagorean ethics: “And we may seem to be right in interpreting in this sense both the Pythagoreans’ τὸ δέον and their definition of virtue in this sense which they define as ἕξις τις τοῦ δέοντου, i.e. as ‘a certain character in that which ought to be done.’”

[142] The reference here is to the technical term: “For, not only does τὸ δέον mean ‘that which is equal and in the mean and that which requires neither addition or subtraction, it already being what it ought to be, but also that which is obligatory and binding, so that one is bound in every way to act in accordance with that law.”

[143] Quod refers not to “virtue”, but to “that which is absolutely and simply the best”, the greatest good, which More goes on to explain in terms of his theology of God’s universal benignity and beneficence.

[144] Though certainly in line with More’s deepest anti-Calvinist convictions, Southwell’s translation is both incomplete in the first and incorrect in the second part. More’s focus is upon the motives of “divine reason ... which does not order this or that from some impotent passion or from zeal for one part or another, but which, as the common parent of all things, passes such laws as by their very nature contribute to the happiness of the whole of mankind.”

[145] Southwell has omitted the important naturali by which More qualifies the suprarational impulse. It reveals the rendering of impetu as “Violence” as rather infelicitous. In virtuous action motivated by the boniform faculty, the agent “is hurried on to the good by a kind of natural urge and without reason”.

[146] Translated more literally, that moral impulse is “the least fanatical of all”.

[147] Cum rather means “since” here. More provides a reason why Aristotle’s second definition is only of little help.

[148] There is a twofold qualification of diligence in the Latin in which “right reason” is both “well-cultivated and purged”. Purgation of passion and self-will is the sine qua non of all the soul’s moral progress in More’s ethics.

[149] Resolvitur does not have a technical philosophical meaning. Instead, More says that Aristotle’s second answer “boils down to” what he goes on to call the sui generis moral sense discussed in this chapter.

[150] In the original, the excerpt from Aristotle’s Eudemian Ethics (1249b6–21) is quoted in Greek in ch. 9 and in Latin in ch. 11. Since he did not reproduce the Greek, Southwell chose to omit More’s comment on the Greek text which constitutes ch. 10 placed in between. The textual remark it is not only of philological, but also of philosophical interest. In it, the author addresses the question of the soul’s ἡγεμονικόν or “ruling part” which is crucial to the Cambridge Platonists’ rational psychology and theory of action: “For I do not doubt that we must read ὁ γὰρ ἐπιστατικῶς ἄρχων instead of οὐ and that we must insert a καὶ after ἐπιτάττον δὲ: ἐπιτάττον δὲ καὶ οὗ ἕνεκα. For he had said αὕτη δὲ διττή slightly earlier, i.e. ‘there is a two-part rule by whose command we must structure our lives’. Here, however, he calls τὸ ἄρχον what the Stoics are wont to designate τὸ ἡγεμονικόν. However, this is the sense of the whole oracle.“ More’s doubtful, yet ingenious, conjecture, which the clear οὐ/ἀλλ᾽ structure of the original Greek sentence renders improbable, yields a text that supports his own theocentric theory of action. Oddly enough, the author’s subsequent Latin translation (and Southwell’s English one based on it) leaves out the salient point of his modified Aristotelian text altogether: “For the ruling par] issuing commands is God”.

[151] Though certainly elegant and beautiful in expression, the translation here is neither complete nor entirely accurate. Considering More’s comment on the “lies” uttered by it, the oracle referred to is not a generic oracle, but the famous one of Delphi: “Certainly, no oracle, provided it is purged of one lie or the other, seems to be truer or more divine than this answer.”

[152] More only quotes the Greek text.

[153] In the original, More uses the Greek term ἀγαθοειδῆ

[154] There is no noun corresponding to Southwell’s rather odd “accessions”, nor, significantly, does More emphasize divine omnipotence. Instead, man is called on to assimilate himself to God’s goodness which he both intuits and embraces by means of his boniform faculty. A more suitable translation, therefore, runs: “For these are the Fruits of that Celestial Part of the Soul which we call ἀγαθοειδῆ and by which, more than by any other, we may assimilate ourselves to the best and greatest God.”

[155] Or rather “the sum of the divine life”.

[156] While not wrong, the translation “with all our might” may obscure the intended allusion to the κατὰ τὸ δὺνατον in Plato’s famous definition of the ὁμοίωσις τῷ θεῷ. We should imitate God’s goodness “as much as we can”.

[157]Reasons of Morality” is a somewhat misleading translation of Ratio moralis, which rather means “moral reasoning” in general

[158] Rather they are “people from whose minds the sense of God and things divine has faded away”.

[159] The English is slightly misleading here again. “Superiority” lacks the active dimension of the political metaphor of the Latin original. The atheists criticized “do not recognize any kind of stabile rule exercised by the faculties [i.e. of the soul]”. Instead, as More goes on to explain, they have an agent yield to the allure of any random passion most powerful at a given moment.

[160] Again, summa rather means the “sum”. The said atheists, in other words, are hedonists who identify human happiness with the satisfaction of sensual lust entirely.

[161] Though polemical in tone as well, the Latin parenthesis leaves open whether these hedonists still qualify as human beings: “provided they are still human being, not the worst of beasts”.

[162] The somewhat redundant phrase “than what are already set down” is Southwell’s, not More’s own.

[163] Southwell has mistranslated this passage, thereby adding a hierarchical scheme of the soul’s primary powers which, though certainly Morean in character, is not to be found in the passage at hand: “and we must discuss the measure of right reason, which we must enquire about not from that divinest part of the soul which we call boniform, but from its intellectual part in the proper sense of the word.”

[164] “And irresistibly” has been added for the purpose of additional emphasis.

[165] Southwell mistranslates the predicate resolvitur, already used in the title: All of morality and mathematics can be “reduced” to a few axioms which More, in the original’s Stoic parlance, calls κοιναὶ ἔννοιαι. Moreover, perspicuè faciléque refers not to the principles as such, but to the rationalistic reduction, which can be done “with great clarity and ease”.

[166] The proprie, which Southwell translates as “properly” in the subsequent part of the sentences, refers to the Greek term given here.

[167] More’s Latin, couched in the vocabulary of the mystical tradition of spiritual sensation, is more graphic than Southwell’s comparatively sober English. It also includes an important reference to an intellectual perception not unlike that of the higher boniform faculty: “Of such kind are the following ones [i.e. principles] whose taste, lest anyone fear they may do them harm, I assure you is neither sour nor bitter, but one of great sweetness, as they propose no other good but such a one as is nice and joyful to the one who perceives it.”

[168] Southwell’s translation is overly free here and misses the reference to More’s scala naturae of different levels of life: “A good is that which is pleasing, delightful and congruous to a kind of perceptive life or any degree of that life”.

[169] See the preceding note.

[170] Again, the reference is to “various kinds and levels of life“.

[171] More’s Latin is stronger: “As to duration, there cannot even be the slightest doubt or difficulty.”

[172] Southwell leaves out nondum and ipsi: “In things of which we do not have any experience ourselves yet”.

[173] The metaphorical mundaníque commodi aucipium designates “a longing for worldly advantage” which renders the expert consulted untrustworthy.

[174] The archaic “want”, which means “lack” in Southwell’s early modern English, may be misleading here. Moreover, More himself advances a concrete numerical example, which the translator renders by the more natural abstract noun “proportion”: “The absence of a good which is like an eight is preferable over the presence of an evil that is likewise an eight in weight and duration”.

[175] A more literal translation of the somewhat convoluted second half of this sentence reads: “inasmuch as it will in reality happen to us one day as a present event in our present.”

[176] While not wrong grammatically, the intended meaning is that of probable, rather than future events: “And we must repute those things that are very likely to happen in a very similar fashion.” The contrast is between certo futurum and valdè probabiliter ... futurum. The neuter quod refers back to the good and the bad of Noema VII. We are called on to treat as present goods and evils those future ones that we are certain or very likely to enjoy or suffer from in the future.

[177] Rather, they are to be “measured with regard to”.

[178] “Moderated” is a barely intelligible rendering of the Latin minuendum which designates a smaller degree of enjoyment of a good received. Moreover, the syntax is overly complex and threatens to obscure the overall meaning. A paraphrase might be preferable here: “We must forgo or lessen the enjoyment of a present good whenever we expect as probable a future good of infinite more value than the present one.”

[179] While the paraphrase of More’s affectuum praejudicio is correct, it may lose some of the intended philosophical meaning within his largely Stoic theory of action on which “the prejudice of affects” is both intellectual and affective in character.

[180] It is likely to judge “more correctly”.

[181] Rather, the mind is “entangled” by prejudice and passion which are likened to a “net” through the word irretire.

[182] Consolation of Philosophy I (final poem).

[183] More is more precise here, calling Boethius’ comparison a “simile”.

[184] In the original, More apologizes to the reader for the brevity of the excerpt from Boethius’ poem: “However, it is too long for us to transcribe it here.”

[185] The fere does not refer to the formation of a moral character, but to the list of noemata provided which More deems “fairly” complete. Moreover, the latter are said to “help engender in the soul” the virtues enumerated which, significantly, the author views as “referring to the duty that we owe to ourselves”. Strictly speaking, there is but one duty which takes on several forms designated by the different virtues mentioned.

[186] The two words “Rules and Principles” render the one Latin noun fundamenta, i.e. “foundations”.

[187] Southwell fails to do justice to the technical Stoic connotation which the term media as the classical rendering of the Greek ἀδιάφορα almost certainly carries. It fits in neatly with More’s tripartite scheme: “the middle [i.e. indifferent] goods with middle zeal”.

[188] Southwell shortens More’s somewhat verbose original: “Nor must we subordinate the greatest good, or ones akin to it, to the middle and the least ones, which we must instead subordinate to the greatest one.”

[189] Injuria means “harm”, rather than “prejudice”.

[190] See preceding note.

[191] Here and in the following noemata, bonum may be rendered either as “a” or “the good” or as an adjective. Especially in Noema XVII., however, More seems to intend to provide a definition of man’s specific “good” as “having the means whereby he may live well and happily”.

[192] Southwell has shortened the original. True to his practical rationalism, More views his inference not only as following from his premises “evidently”, but “by certain and indeed mathematical analogy”.

[193] The word “disabled” is a rather infelicitous addition: “It is better that one man should live without pleasure than that another should live in unhappiness and misery.”

[194] More’s moral sense theory calls for a more literal translation: “even without any fear of punishment”.

[195] The “even” is not in the Latin text.

[196] Again, Southwell’s abbreviation risks losing some of the intended philosophical meaning: “provided one is willing to consider them with all prejudice set aside”.

[197] Here, too, the Latin is substantially longer: “that they require neither any copious lines of argumentation nor longer deductive reasoning, but they are at once grasped as true of themselves”

[198] The Latin says: “It is manifest from this”, which implies that the subsequent remarks are considered by More to be conclusions from his catalogue of noemata.

[199] In More’s Latin, the “relish and sweetness are perceived in the boniform faculty of the soul”.

[200] Southwell takes quite a few liberties in the rendering of this crucial description of the soul’s foremost moral faculty: “Divine inasmuch as its sweetness is tasted with the greatest joy and passion in that divine faculty by which we cleave to God, that most simple and most absolute good who always wills that which is absolutely and simply good.”

[201] Even though it is clearly implied by the context, the translator has omitted the object of the soul’s boniform knowledge: “Hence, it is man greatest wisdom and greatest happiness to taste this Divine.”

[202] Again, Southwell introduces the vocabulary of ascent which, though Morean, is not to be found in the original. Moreover, Southwell seeks to relativize More’s moral mysticism by qualifying the union with the Divine as “a sort of coalition”, providing a Latin translation of the Greek quotation from the Chaldaic Oracles: “For it is by virtue of the apex and flower of our soul that we are conjoined with that which is absolutely the best, as that ancient oracle has it: ‘There is something intelligible which you must understand by virtue of the flower of the mind’.” The prehendas is Southwell’s distinctly Morean rendering of the Greek χρή σε νοεῖν. The soul’s knowledge of the Divine is not “intellection”, but “comprehension” in its original meaning of “touching”.

[203] “Advisedly” may be slightly misleading here. The contrast between “rashly” (temere) and “deliberately” (ex composito) is probably that between a hedonistic lifestyle and a philosophical hedonism.

[204] Southwell seems to have been carried away by the drift of More’s anti-hedonistic argument, changing the syntax and adding a pun on “brutal” by which he denigrates the hedonists as “brutes”. In the Latin, the reader is called on to “ask them which faculty they consult when putting forward such absurd responses. For you will see that such a person always consults his animal appetite and defines as the best thing whatever he finds to be most pleasant to himself. Clearly, this is the voice of a beast, not that of a man!” The Latin in this passage is generally odd. Not only is there a typological error (definere instead of definire), but More also uses the indicative instead of the subjunctive (consulunt instead of the mandatory consulant) and switches from the plural to the singular in his invective against the hedonist.

[205] More, for the purpose of additional emphasis, assumes the role of the hedonist himself, providing a précis of the latter’s ill-founded position. It is important to give a literal translation of the intelligo, which the author deliberately uses twice. Key to the hedonist argument is the alleged unintelligibility of the concept of an absolute good: “I do not understand at all what an ‘absolute and simple good’ is supposed to be (nor the meaning of ‘something that is just by its nature’). The only good I can understand is the one that is good for myself, without any regard for my neighbour.”

[206] Southwell again expands greatly upon More’s rather sober “Ask them further then”.

[207] While more vivid, Southwell’s translation once again is a paraphrase of More’s Latin which reads: “without realizing all the while how treacherously he denies his human nature and takes on that of a beast instead. Nay, he openly declares himself a beast, rather than a man!”

[208] The translation is rather free and adds the concept of man’s “dignity”: “Whereas we are much more entitled to identify with what is the best in us or what at least is in our midst. However, this is intellect or right reason.”

[209] The mathematical analogy, which is important to More’s rationalist methodology, has been rendered with rather insufficient clarity: “For just as in numbers the final unit determines the kind”, i.e. that of the exact number, whether it is below or above ten, one hundred, etc.

[210] More’s own wording is more careful and precise here. It bears testimony to his systematic endeavour to distinguish right reason, which is intellectual in character, from the boniform faculty to which the good is said to be “pleasant”. Moreover, Southwell may have misunderstood Plotinus’s concept of the “true man” which designates the intellect as the archetypal essence of humanity: “If, instead, he points to what intellect and right reason approves of and is pleasing to the boniform faculty, this is certainly pleasing to and approved of by ‘the true man’, as Plotinus calls him, i.e. the one whom one may rightly call the intellectual man.”

[211] There appears to be a typological error in the text. It should say “never” instead.

[212] In the original, More once again clarifies the distinct operation of practical reason, whether boniform or intellectual, which “neither seeks nor embraces” a particular good approved of by one or many, but absolute goodness necessarily applauded by all rational beings.

[213] “Bound” retains its original meaning here. Hence, it does not designate necessity, but moral obligation which is categorical in nature: “that which is always to be chosen by every rational creature”.

[214] “Special arithmetic”.

[215] Southwell once again mistranslates a mathematical comparison. He also changes More’s deeply Platonist terminology of the good choice as an “unchanging and eternal form” which is the source of the soul’s moral obligation. Moreover, More expounds moral choice in the metaphorical language of spiritual “touch” or “embrace”, which is a key tenet of the Cambridge Platonists’ ethical mysticism: “As a consequence, therefore, a certain choice of this kind (like a certain singular operation in special arithmetic) leads to a general theory or a kind of unchanging and eternal idea of that which must be done under the given circumstances. We are as much obliged to embrace it (however unpleasant it may be to our animal appetite) as we are obliged to acknowledge a truth, even though it may be contrary to our external sense.”

[216] More’s original diction is more nuanced and includes another important reference to spiritual “touch”. Thus, it is a volitional failure to be “carried away or blinded” by one’s animal impulses instead of “embracing” the absolute good.

[217] Southwell’s translation altogether fails to do justice to the philosophical and metaphorical richness of More’s detailed exposition of the soul’s divine moral sensation: “For it is the will’s own fault and defect if it [i.e. the good] is not so pleasant to it at present. It has not yet awakened that supreme and most divine faculty by which we savour the most that which is absolutely the best and are delighted and filled with the greatest joy and passion. We, then, begin to love and admire it so much that we would rather die a thousand deaths than allow ourselves to be deprived of such great sweetness or offend, hurt and violate such a lovable flower of life or the integrity of the divine sense by committing a vile or dishonest deed.”

[218] Southwell slightly shortens More’s reductio argument of the madmen who “pursue what is pleasing to them, however vile and ridiculous, in every single action.”

[219] “Still” means “always” in early modern English.

[220] More is more scathing in this part of his critique of Thomas Hobbes and his followers: “no matter how insanely they have them act in other fields.”

[221] Southwell has apparently misread More’s stoliditatem as soliditatem and tried to make sense of the author’s ornate Latin by means of a paraphrase largely unsupported by the original: “There is no denying that they thereby equated inveterate madness or lunacy with the wisest immortality.” It would have been more natural for More to say “immortal wisdom”. Instead, he apparently chose to use the adjective in the superlative for the purpose of additional emphasis.

[222] This introductory phrase has been added by Southwell.

[223] While beautiful in itself, the expression “Scorns and Scourges of this Life” does not capture the philosophical meaning of a life “burdened by such misery and shame that any man if he is not out of his mind could not but feel revulsion at it”. “Misery” and “shame” refer to happiness and virtue, respectively.

[224] Southwell leaves out the important praesens on which the subsequent argument hinges as well as the bona which connects More’s critique with the discussion of absolute moral goods and relative external ones: “Lastly, if the present self-preservation is good and desirable”.

[225] Again, “prejudice” is used instead of “harm”.

[226] There is only one expression in the Latin, i.e. “species” or “kinds of love”.

[227] The explanation of the Greek concept is Southwell’s, not More’s own.

[228] In the original, we must consider it both “more dear” and “older” than ourselves. The principle of human personhood is “earlier” than, i.e. logically precedes the image or the empirical self.

[229] More’s Latin is more graphic. “We should not scruple to lose our heads”.

[230] While correct, Southwell’s translation leaves out the important concept of “duty”: “Hence, the duties of this passion are owed to one’s prince, country and religion.”

[231] Southwell views More’s two-part expression se vitámque as a hendiadys, appositely identifying it as a critique of the Hobbesian notion of self-preservation as the chief motive of all of man’s action. However, More’s point may be more general. He rules out an ethical egotism which mistakenly believes the “highest wisdom” to “consist in categorically placing oneself and one’s own life above all other things”.

[232] In More’s English, the error is not yet qualified as moral or religious. Rather, Hobbes and his followers are said to “err” in positing ethical egotism.

[233] Southwell expands upon More’s own more succinct original which distinguishes between a general ontological and a special ethical realism rejected in Hobbesian nominalism: “as against that sordid opinion of some people who explode the difference between things and, above all, between vice and virtue.”

[234] “Whereas” is a rather ill-fitting linking word here. In the Latin, More provides a definition of “virtue which is hardly anything else but the symmetry of the passions with regard to their intensity and their object.”

[235] Southwell erroneously takes decoro for a noun, mistranslating it as “decorum”. He thereby adds the notion of good manners to More’s definition of the beautiful body which is alien to it. In general, Southwell develops, rather than translates More’s aesthetics of the beautiful body, which, in a more literal translation, reads: “The external beauty of a body is the symmetry of its parts connected with a certain nice and appealing motion and action on their part.”

[236] The second editions reads “joined”.

[237] Southwell’s translation here is particularly felicitous as it does justice to the two alternative readings contemplated by More. Either the soul’s resolve “follows” or “contains virtue”.

[238] The typographical error has been corrected in the second edition.

[239] Southwell has omitted the adverb “obviously”. More takes the most common meaning of love as the starting point of his discussion.

[240] It is probably for reasons of decorum that Southwell shortens More’s more verbose depiction of rich and varied art displayed by the “enchantress” nature in human procreation. Nature rather chooses to bear the reproach of black magic “than not to rouse people to so necessary an act efficiently”.

[241] Here the translator expands on More’s restrained original. “However, since the purpose of this craving is so obvious, we are reminded to what degree we must regulate it.”

[242]Natural Tenderness“ is a helpful gloss added by the translator.

[243] While vicissim may express the mutuality of feeling, the more natural reading of “than the other way round” is the one required for More’s argument for the care of nature.

[244] “Other Aids“ is too unspecific a rendering of viribus, which here has its natural meaning of the offspring’s parents’ greater physical “strengths”.

[245] In the final lines of this chapter, More addresses his reader directly: “If the other is of such a kind, you must suspect that you yourself might be evil. Hence, you should, if you can, seek his friendship with great resolve. After all, the only thing you might risk losing is your own improbity.”

[246] It says “of the fourth rank” in the original.

[247] More does not use the word “use” here, but instead addresses the “usefulness” of a prima facie negative passion. The change in wording may be significant as it sheds light upon the teleological view of human affects in the anthropology of the Enchiridion with its distinct aesthetic dimension. Thus, More, making use of the word field of ugliness, comments on the “usefulness of derision which principally refers to the cleaning out and weeping off of the lesser stains and deformities of human life.” While more pleasing stylistically, Southwell’s “ill Manners and Absurdities of human Life” anticipates More’s discussion of satire, but loses the intended philosophical meaning.

[248] Instead of “somewhere“, More adds a “if I remember correctly”, which introduces a quotation from Aristotle’s Poetics given both in the original and in a Latin translation: “an evil that is not at all deadly.”

[249] More is much more emphatic here: “Hence I do not doubt that it may occur where there is no hatred whatsoever.”

[250] Southwell has omitted More’s “albeit unexpected”.

[251] Rather, it is good or something good. More’s argument is not aimed at a positive effect, but at the object of satirical mockery.

[252] This typographical error has been corrected in the second edition.

[253] In the original, the wording is slightly different. “Commiseration is a mixture of love and sorrow.”

[254] According to More, Aristotle does so “more than once”.

[255] Naturally, the pun works only in the original Greek in which “Nemesis” sounds similar to ἀπο τῆϛ ἡκάστω διανεμήσεωϛ, which More reproduces in the original.

[256] More’s Latin is stronger: “We must flee the former and embrace the latter.”

[257] Southwell’s rendering of “that person who excels in this virtue” is rather archaic.

[258] The Latin is somewhat ambiguous here and may also refers to “good and evil deeds”.

[259] Southwell seeks to improve on the original which only states that those “superstitious hypocrites” take the suggestions made by their passions for “good zeal”.

[260] The translator has rearranged the word and expands on More’s scathing critique of all religious fanaticism. In the original, fanatics commit the misdeeds mentioned “solely on account of the fact that those others do not follow their views”.

[261] Rather, a “peasant“.

[262] Southwell merely transcribes the Latin electio. “Decision” or “choice” are preferable renderings in More’s brief reflection on free will.

[263] “Or essential“ is a gloss on Southwell’s part. It is meant to dispel any misreading of More’s argument in naturalistic terms.

[264] Importantly, the reference is not to the soul alone, but to its “leading part”, i.e. its hegemonikon.

[265] More here explicitly references scholastic faculty psychology as a source of his doctrine of the passions: “as the schools call it”.

[266] The totum dropped by Southwell is important for More’s argument: “If one follows the motions of the concupiscible faculty entirely”.

[267] Southwell expands upon More’s somewhat shorter, yet equally rousing, Latin: “Let him see to it that he should not become a traitor to piety and the common good.”

[268] The translator has omitted “or both”.

[269] More’s hendiadys may carry philosophical meaning: “self-esteem and self-love”.

[270] “Laudable things“ is too weak a rendering of ea quae optima sunt by which More links the passion discussed to the boniform intuition of God’s absolute goodness. The soul is called upon to strive for “the best by its own free will”. Anticipating the subsequent mention of that principal Cartesian virtue, Southwell qualifies man’s defining power of “free will” as “generous”, i.e. high and noble in nature.

[271] Here the early modern translation fails to do justice to More‘s Latin with its rhetorically effective repetition of various forms of contemptus and contemnere: “and thus, being above all scorn, he himself in turn scorns scorn itself.”

[272] While “Fortitude of Mind“ may be an adequate rendering of the Cartesian generositas, Southwell has omitted an important Morean attempt at its reimagining in terms of his own Greek ethics: “This is a major part of generosity”.

[273] Southwell has misunderstood and, consequently, mistranslated More’s argument here which, however, is far from clear: “In the wicked, however, it is the very height of wickedness. For they view it as impunity granted to sinners, enduring ignominy and shame without pain.” Apparently, the wicked are solely bent upon their external reputation, rather than sincere inner greatness of heart.

[274] The quotation, merely referenced by More, has been added by Southwell.

[275] More actually uses the term “political”: “political obedience”.

[276] In More, the natural law stipulates “that no private individual must do anything against the law”.

[277] This second phrase is Southwell‘s, not More’s own.

[278] Southwell omits More’s “as Cicero points out well somewhere”.

[279] Importantly, these are qualified as “pleasures of the body”.

[280] More’s Latin is more succinct. The said corporeal pleasures are not “quite worthy of man’s excellence”.

[281] In a remarkable correction of More’s heterodox Origenist view, Southwell changes the tense so as to gloss over the author’s argument for his landmark doctrine of the pre-existence of souls. Moreover, More’s Latin is once again more precise than his translator’s English. His stress on the people of all countries “consenting” to vice everywhere evidences his debt to Christian Stoicism: “However, the fact that those instincts of shame and glory still obtain in us, even though we witness most of the people in all countries, as it were, teaching and promoting wickedness and all this multitude unanimously consenting to vice, seems to indicate that mankind was once put in a better state and condition.”

[282] “Substantially just“ has its original meaning of “good in substance”, which reflects More’s Platonism. It does justice to the Latin “that which is honest in reality” with the latter not being a figure of speech, but an ontological qualification that is meant to distinguish the one true good from the many merely apparent ones.

[283] While it is consistent with More’s ethics to call the passions in question “gifts”, he merely states that “this would be a most pernicious abuse of these passions”. Again, the concept of “use” is technical Stoic vocabulary employed throughout the Enchiridion.

[284] The early modern rendering is a mere paraphrase of one of the most rhetorically polished passages of the whole Enchiridion. As well as failing to reproduce More’s subtle theatrical metaphor, Southwell has mistranslated the complex Latin construction with its philosophically significant personification of virtue itself: “Virtue must, therefore, not place any play above conscience. When the latter applauds your good deeds, it is heroic to scorn the hissing and the censure of all other mortals.”

[285] Here, too, Southwell misunderstands More‘s intended meaning, i.e. a juxtaposition of the moral culprit who deserves shame on the one hand and the virtuous moral agent slandered or even persecuted for her good deeds on the other: “Those must endure shame who do ill, not those who suffer ill repute or even harm for their good deeds.”

[286] Rather, the “many“ or the hoi polloi.

[287] The subject is “virtue“ alone which “always chooses to flee the many itself.” In his paraphrase, Southwell inserts the forensic metaphor introduced by himself into More’s Ciceronian quote.

[288] More uses a two-word expression for added emphasis: “the contempt and scorn”.

[289] Southwell passes over an important maxim by which More, revealingly, places God even above the “things intellectual”: “and, above all other things, on God”.

[290] More actually credits the eponymous hero of Virgil’s Aeneid with a philosophical argument: “Aeneas appears of have used an argument of this kind when addressing his comrades.”

[291] Virgil, Aeneid, I, 205.

[292] This is likely a typographical error.

[293] Southwell has omitted the key word bono here: “in preserving the good we possess”.

[294] Stylistically, the omission of corporis spoils More’s parallelism: “who excel in beauty of the body and gifts of the mind”.

[295] More’s praise is far more lavish, its addressees being “those who, by their excellent deeds, have rendered humankind the greatest of services.”

[296] Southwell leaves out the purpose of those aforementioned literary forms, modes, shapes of ritual grief. That passion taught “grieving mortals to ignite that fine and decorous sadness of the mind to a higher degree”, making use of the said funeral rites.

[297] This is another typographical mistake towards the end of this chapter.

[298] More is more confident, setting out to enquire what the good “is”, rather what it “can be”, which suggests a randomness in the definition sought that is entirely alien to the author’s practical Platonism.

[299] Southwell has omitted More’s caveat “unless we abuse them”.

[300] This bracket may also be due to a typological oversight.

[301] According to Theages whom More quotes with approval, the passions are “a certain impulse towards and enthusiasm for that virtue which originates solely in nature”.

[302] More includes a reference to an earlier line of argumentation, saying “as we have noted with Aristotle”.

[303] Again, the Latin ferri is ambiguous and may mean either “to be hurried on” or “to hurry on”. This ambiguity may well be intentional..

[304] More’s stress here is rather upon the cognitive dimension of the passions which “indicate what is good and just”.

[305] Rather, “experts in law“.

[306] A casus omissus designates “a situation omitted from or not provided for by statute or regulation and therefore governed by the common law” (Merriam-Webster).

[307] More’s phrasing does not yet affirm the pre-eminence of reason, but simply states that “it is the nature of reason”.

[308] “Motive“ has been added by Southwell. Moreover, an “impulse”, on the principles of More’s Platonism, is not “determinate”, but quite the reverse. It lacks conceptual “determination” and is, hence, by nature “indefinite”: “A passion is a merely blind and indefinite impulse towards a thing without any knowledge about the nature of the thing.”

[309] “Preferable“ is a rather infelicitous rendering of gratum which is meant to express the hedonistic aspect of rational moral volition: “and what ought to be pleasant or more pleasant under the given circumstances”.

[310] This clearly is a typological oversight.

[311] Southwell resorts to an overly metaphorical translation of what More deliberately points out with great conceptual clarity: “For, as I have said above, it is the characteristic of every intellectual faculty that it perceives and defines not what is good for one or for another, but what is simply true or good.”

[312] Instead of the Platonist vocabulary of participation, More calls things reasonable “something close to God”.

[313] More’s syntax is rather confusing here and so is the imperfect subjunctive which does not match the indicative mood of nemo non videt. Southwell seeks to make sense of this sentence by viewing the first subordinate clause as a misguided assertion on the part of More’s unnamed opponent. However, this is unsupported either by syntax or grammar and, even more importantly, is ruled out by the fact that More himself goes on to refer to this qualification of the divine law as his own a few lines later. More clearly targets his philosophical archfoe Thomas Hobbes whose subjectivist stance that “whatsoever is the object of any mans Appetite or Desire; that is it, which he for his part calleth good” (Leviathan I 6) matches the erroneous principle in question: “There is no-one who could fail to see how divine and wise it is, even if there were to be someone who might reason and even insist that “everything enjoined by the passions was allowed” was the abstract and general definition of the principal foundation of human actions!”

[314] Again, Southwell’s redundant metaphor distracts from More’s precise philosophical point: “Hence, it is clear that this is not taken from reason, but from passion.” A rational hedonistic egotism, as propounded by Hobbes, is a contradiction in terms. Its sole rationale is, and indeed must be on his opponents’ theory of action, personal interest or passion.

[315] More’s argument is far more subtle. It revolves around what he rejects as an absurd self-contradiction of practical reason itself. Not only is his passionate reductio argument testimony to his and the other Cambridge Platonists’ shared chief concern of a strict ethical realism, but as such it is also put forward as emphatically as possible: “Never will right reason ever permit that it itself lays a foundation of human actions than which there could be no other more apt not only to disturb, but to devastate and utterly destroy all human affairs.”

[316] More’s Latin is more graphic than Southwell’s somewhat tame English, invoking hell breaking loose once Hobbesian moral positivism is accepted. Moreover, Southwell misses the important point of the legitimacy of wanton arson on the principles of Hobbesian positivism and hedonism which More invokes in shocking detail: “For it will at once follow from this that someone is justified by right and law not only in laying devastating fire to his home, but to the whole city where he lives as well, secretly applying torches to the buildings in the dead of night.”

[317] The stylistically unappealing “and destroy“ is an addition by Southwell. Again, More is far more graphic than his restrained translator, conjuring up the unsaid culprit’s allegedly legitimate felon of “plucking out their eyes and cutting off their noses”.

[318] “Circumscribe” is a particularly well-chosen rendering of More’s deeply Platonist limitare. Reason provides the “measure” whereby “limit” is imposed upon the soul’s passions which are otherwise entirely indeterminate and chaotic.

[319] More himself uses the same word limitare here.

[320] The author himself first speaks of “reason” alone, only qualifying it as “right reason” in his subsequent line of argumentation.

[321] There is no “ought to“ in the Latin original. In accordance with his strict ethical rationalism and realism, which More emphasizes here, that understood by right reason to be good and bad is good and bad: “However, that which appears to be god or bad to right reason is in reality and by its own nature good or bad.”

[322] This outline of Morean epistemology is rich in technical vocabulary of scholastic and Cartesian origin which is all but lost in Southwell’s rendering. Importantly, More links “right reason” to the “nature or essence” of things represented, which he calls “formal reason”: “For, this reason, rightly conceived by our mind, is the formal reason of the thing itself or its nature or essence represented to it. ”

[323] Southwell’s “nothing but“ is slightly misleading here. In the Latin, More affirms the identity of the idea representing a thing to the mind and the thing represented: “The nature or essence of a triangle, for instance, is that which right reason represents to itself.”

[324] Rather “notions”.

[325] This is a mistranslation of another important passage of More’s Platonist epistemology. More wants to establish that intelligible ideas and notions are not constructed, but rather grasped by reason. In that, they are analogous to “figures in mathematics which our passions do not define any more than our senses define figures. Instead, reason and intellect circumscribe both of them.”

[326] Southwell here misses the point of More’s important geometrico-ethical analogy. It hinges on the “required and forbidden combination of circumstances from which flow various kinds and species of good and evil”.

[327] The translator again misses More’s point completely. Rational moral reasoning is defined by its universal and disinterested perspective removed from all passion and self-interest: “unless something is to judged to be better after all affect and all prejudice have been laid aside.”

[328] Whereas the translator frequently adds metaphors to More’s language, he fails to translate the metaphor of organic growth here: “an infinite crop of instances … will grow from that”.

[329] More’s wording is that of his Neoplatonic hylomorphism which views the soul’s passions as the “matter of the virtues” by which they are informed and shaped so as to become the vehicles of human goodness.

[330] Southwell pays insufficient attention to the structure of More’s syntax and argument: “and since they are not only the matter of the virtues, but also light forth from them, they are far more than a faint likeness or image of the virtues themselves.”

[331] The English is barely understandable here. More’s Latin, translated literally, makes perfect sense: “provided we know how to interpret them [i.e. our passions] correctly.”

[332] Southwell has left out the first part of the phrase. It contains another ambiguous ferri that may be either active or passive in meaning: “We cannot easily hurry there without them”.

[333] Southwell has left out More‘s “as the same philosopher enjoins us”.

[334] Since it is not possible for man not to “retain” his passions, this word is ill-chosen here. Instead, we are to “indulge” our passions only insofar as they serve their natural end.

[335] The fertus, as always, is both passive and active in meaning. The will is both moved by the virtue of sincerity and moves itself.

[336] Southwell has omitted an additional qualification of the possible “harm and shame, however great”.

[337] According to More, “Cicero says so rightly somewhere”.

[338] The resolvitur here carries technical philosophical meaning. This virtue can literally “be resolved” into or “consists in” the subsequent noemata which constitutes its intelligible nature.

[339] The translator falsely renders Marcus Aurelius’ “simplify thyself” as “purify thyself”.

[340] While stylistically appealing, Southwell’s parallelism implies additional meaning where More simply adds emphasis by means of a pleonastic expression, calling this virtue a source of “the joy and inner pleasure in life”.

[341] There is a change of subject in More’s original Latin which points to the close link between or even identity of “sincerity” and “simplicity”: “This simplicity is…”

[342] Southwell’s diction is less abstract than More’s: “This simplicity is eternal and ineffable peace uninterrupted by either care or suspicion, undisturbed by any restless motion of the mind.”

[343] The translator expands upon the Latin which merely says “For, in One, there is no distraction.”

[344] This phrase has been added by Southwell.

[345] The translation is rather inadequate here with the “plainly” falsely turning the phrase into an inference and the ethical henology left out entirely: “This monad they publicly professed to be God and they oriented all their life to that One”.

[346] Southwell deviates from More’s usual usage without apparent reason, replacing the adverb “simply” by “eminently”.

[347] More uses the singular and qualifies the illegitimate “appetite” as “animal”.

[348] Southwell reworks More’s far more audacious Latin: “For no-one may as a creature sincerely and constantly prosecute that which is simply the best, but only insofar as he is imbued with some divine spirit or sense.”

[349] Importantly, More’s wording here is not personalistic, but abstract: God is the “law of the universe”.

[350] Southwell misses Marcus Aurelius’ antithesis between mindlessly breathing with the world’s air and willingly embracing its divine spirit: “We should no longer just breathe with the air around us, but consent and feel with that intellectual power which encompasses all things.”

[351] Throughout, the word used is that of “consensus” in its original Latin meaning of “feeling with” God and its modern English one of consciously consenting to him.

[352] The translation shortens the original which reads: “This is the affect of a man truly divine and the only one by which he may become divine.””

[353] Southwell’s translation falls short of More’s dense depiction of the soul’s chief power of moral cognition which calls for a precise literal translation: “However, simple intellection is unable to provide this. Instead, there must a kind of awakening of the boniform faculty. In it lies that divine sense and taste which constitutes the highest pleasure of the soul, its highest beauty and its highest perfection.”

[354] Again, More throughout qualifies the divine names by “highest”.

[355] Southwell’s translation is an inadequate paraphrase of More’s Latin: “All of them sincerity imitates in its own little way, that virtue which we are dealing with right now and which is the highest and most absolute perfection of our will or our striving, as the Pythagoreans call it.”

[356] In More, this is indicated by an igitur to be an inference from the preceding definition: “We do not, therefore, understand by patience…”

[357] More himself uses the important concept of conatus derived from the natural sciences of his day and later, more famously, adopted in rationalist ethics by Baruch de Spinoza: “but striving in constant and unrelenting endeavour”.

[358] Southwell leaves out a sentence heavy in Greek vocabulary, yet important in the moral value accorded to the virtue in question: “And hence, the Greeks, with the most significant of words, call it ὑπομονή to which are opposed ἔνδοσις καὶ φυγὴ. ”

[359] In accordance with More’s usual tripartite typology of the soul’s divine, middle and animal lives, the latter is designated here.

[360] Not only are these two virtues “the greatest” and also “those most properly so-called”. Again, More’s wording is very precise. To the greatest intelligible reality possessed by the two said virtues corresponds the way a Platonist like More calls them virtues in the proper sense of the word.

[361] The etymological “Derivation”, only hinted at in Southwell’s English rendering, is spelt out in some detail in More’s Latin. Closely tied to the terminology of each natural and supernatural object’s conatus, it revolves on the Greek term for “force” by the soul is set, or sets itself, in motion in moral and immoral conduct: “This seems to be implied by their very names, as they are designated ἐγκράτεια and καρτερια. Both designations are derived from κράτος, which means “strength” or “power”. However, every virtue, as we have defined above, is some power of the soul.”

[362] “Sense“ is wrong and misleading. In the original, the is “neurospast (which is a body moved by nerves)”.

[363] More again uses the technical concept of conatus, designating moral effort the mind’s “sincere longings and endeavours to possess virtue and the true felicity attending virtue”.

[364] This final phrase is another addition on Southwell’s parts. More does not think that virtuous action committed by accidence is deserving of praise.

[365] In More, this is a relative clause which focuses on moral judgement. Moreover, the predicate inanimate, linking virtue with “soul” and “life”, carries important philosophical meaning: “without which those virtues must not be considered virtues at all, but rather certain shadows and inanimate images of virtues.”

[366] Southwell entirely misses More’s philosophical point by mistranslating illo by which the author refers back to “sincerity or simplicity” as “some”. In other words, if a laudable deed is done without the said primitive virtue as its end it ceases to be virtuous: “For, if there is something attending honest deeds in such a way that it is unclear whether these latter were undertaken and committed without that external and adventitious end, it is manifest that such deeds lost the name and nature of virtue at once.”

[367] More’s reference is once again to man’s “animal life”, which is a technical term of his mature anthropology and ethics.

[368] Again, Southwell does insufficient justice to More’s precise technical wording: “This is not the doing of virtue, but the impulse and cunning of animal nature.” The two-part expression “animal and cunning” reflects More’s Stoicism according to which animal nature is the source both of mental images and urges.

[369] Here the original again refers to man‘s inferior “animal passion”.

[370] In the original, “God“ is part of More’s enumeration which is clearly meant to be a climax.

[371] More emphasizes its oneness: “this one virtue”.

[372] “Support and vindication“ have been added by Southwell.

[373] Rather, “they must considered characteristics of a strong and great mind”.

[374] In More’s Latin, Cicero’s word are both “apt” and “true”.

[375] More himself does not use the concept of participation here, but generally speaks of “divine nature (which, as he [i.e. Cicero] expressly professes, is also the soul’s)”.

[376] The original syntax more clearly marks the sentence as More’s own interpretation of the De legibus passage cited: “However, he subsequently expresses his will that all of divine nature (which, as he expressly professes, is also the soul’s), be governed by the immortal God’s nature, his reason, his power, his mind and his providence. He has thereby disclosed to us the source of the best and most perfect law.”

[377] Southwell’s English “by a more exalted name” is an erroneous paraphrase of More’s “rightly”.

[378] The Latin original simply reads “better”.

[379] “Conspicuous” has been added by Southwell. It distracts from the philosophical point made by Cicero who states the Stoic dogma of the univocity of reason, namely that “it [i.e. reason] is in man and in God”.

[380] Southwell tacitly corrects More’s emphatic theological intellectualism, replacing it with his own preferred voluntarism. According to More, “it came into being with the divine mind”. It is a key conviction of Cambridge Platonism that laws derive not from the divine will, but from the divine intellect.

[381] The omnes could also refer to the authorities cited so far. It is unlikely that More should have ascribed his own universalism of practical reason to “all men”.

[382] Rather, “it always remains intact“.

[383] Southwell has omitted “in his paraphrase”.

[384] The translator has left out one sentence here: “Hence, it is not necessary at all to dwell upon this any longer.”

[385] Virgil, Aeneid VIII 643: “But you, oh Alban, should have kept your word.”

[386] Significantly, More himself throughout sticks to technical contractualist vocabulary: Everyone is obliged to “adhere” not to “Promise or Compact”, as Southwell translates the author’s Latin, but “to contracts”.

[387] Cicero’s Latin is more outspoken in the scorn heaped upon such “stupid people”.

[388] Southwell has omitted More’s “(as a proverb of our people has it)”.

[389] The omission of the Greek term forces Southwell to alter the syntax: “To justice … is clearly opposed πλεονεξία on the one side, which is the vice of taking more than is one’s due.” Throughout this passage, More coins several Greek concepts which Southwell omits.

[390] Rather, “… is justice“

[391] A “which” needs to be added here.

[392] Rather, “in our actions and our passions“.

[393] Southwell tries to make sense of More’s somewhat cryptic remark. A literal translation reads: “However, virtue itself cannot be larger than the just” with the force of the comparative maior probably being that of the semantic coextension of “virtue” and “the just”: “Virtue itself cannot extend beyond the just”.

[394] Again, “actions and passions“ is the more natural rendering. The relative clause “which befall us” has been added by Southwell.

[395] There is no theological connotation in the original Latin in which virtue is designated “the best of all things that humanity can acquire”.

[396] The capital letter at the beginning of “Defin’d” seems to be a typographical oversight.

[397] Rather, it is “the pinnacle of human nature or its highest good”.

[398] By.

[399] A full stop is missing here.

[400] Not only is Southwell’s English somewhat verbose here, but it also fails to reproduce a key term in More’s line of argumentation, that of the mean as a metaphor which proves useful in some cases and useless in others: “Hence, it would seem altogether superfluous and overly scrupulous to stick to this metaphor in every single case.”

[401] Rather, “Andronicus is right in saying that”.

[402] A literal translation is more fitting: “in every single case”.

[403] In the original Latin, More specifies that this is in fact the “greatest difficulty”.

[404] Southwell shortens More’s exegesis of Aristotle and, somewhat misleadingly, renders definire as “bound”: “And in the definition of virtue itself in which he says that it consists in the middle, he also says that ‘it is defined by reason’.” More’s point is that the middle itself is linked to reason by Aristotle himself.

[405] The cum ratione refers to verus: “a reasonable and true character”.

[406] More’s reference is more detailed: “book 3, chapter 4”.

[407] Again, Southwell fails to do justice to More’s emphasis upon single cases: “’The virtuous man’, says he, ‘rightly judges all single cases and in each single case the true is evident to him.’”

[408] Southwell’s translation is hardly intelligible here: “Every character finds their own things good and pleasant.”

[409] This is another mistranslation of More’s Latin Aristotle which, again, evidences his concern with “single cases”: “And perhaps the virtuous man is much better, since he sees the truth in all single cases.”

[410] Southwell has omitted the important aspect of “something that, while it is not a good, appears to be a good to them.”

[411] Southwell omits More’s reference to purgation which serves a crucial purpose in his argument for strict ethical realism. Importantly, More’s argument hinges not upon intellectual vision per se, which requires an intelligible reality corresponding to it in Southwell’s version, but instead upon the infallible moral sense of a purged mind: “Secondly, there are things that are honest and fair by their own nature. For it would be a strange perspicuity of a purged mind if it perceived things that did not exist.”

[412] These final two sentences have been added by Southwell. More instead concludes his reductio argument for his moral realism: “However, this would be the case if there were nothing that was by its nature fair and honest.”

[413] The reference to the “imagination“ is Southwell’s, not More’s.

[414] In More, it is the “norm and measure of all the rest”.

[415] More again uses the two-part expression “norm and measure”.

[416] In More, this love “is stirred in the boniform faculty“.

[417] In the mystical tradition of the spiritual senses, More has the soul “embrace” God.

[418] Southwell has added the very apposite “and beneficence”, which stresses the Morean notion of God sharing with his creation the riches of his own perfect being.

[419] More’s original two-part expression licitum & decorum, characteristically expanded upon by Southwell into a three-word one, is probably not a hendiadys, but carries philosophical meaning. Whatever is approved of by the boniform faculty is “permissible and decorous”.

[420] More is more precise, charging his opponents with not acknowledging the soul’s higher power beyond its intellect: “than which those people consider nothing either older or more divine”.

[421] Throughout, More makes use of the hylomorphist language of Aristotelian psychology. Hence, Southwell’s “Effort“ fails to capture the technical meaning of the Greek term ἐνέργεια, as does his earlier “action”. Instead, both hic actus at the beginning and divinissima ἐνέργεια at the end of this important sentence designate the fulfilment of the soul’s innermost potency or essence in the vision of divine goodness.

[422] Southwell once again seems at pains to diminish the force of More’s ὁμοίωσις-doctrine, replacing his “divinity” with the more innocuous and orthodox “dignity”.

[423] The Latin original contains a reference to the work’s title, i.e. an “enchiridion” or “handbook”.

[424] Rather, “from the perfection of human nature.”

[425] Southwell’s “at this rate“ refers back to the two options delineated, i.e. “by nature or some divine fate”, as More restates the question.

[426] This appears to be a typographical error.

[427] Rather, “freely”. Throughout, Southwell is rather careless in the rendering of the largely Aristotelian technical vocabulary in which More couches his discussion about libertarian free will.

[428] The translator is rather imprecise here. The Latin says necessario, i.e. “by necessity”.

[429] The word is used in its original etymological sense, i.e. being the object of religious worship.

[430] The graphic comparison by which an agent’s free action is likened to an automaton has been added by the translator.

[431] In More’s Latin, the “sense of duty” is mentioned prior to “right reason”, which he further qualifies by rerum agendarum omitted by Southwell, i.e. “right reason in the performance of actions”.

[432] While certainly in keeping with the fundamental Platonist convictions of More‘s ethics, the language of ascent here is not his, but Southwell’s.

[433] Again, Southwell expands on More‘s metaphor, adding the expression “to shake off”.

[434] Here a more literal translation is required. This brief final sentence contains in a nutshell both More’s teleological view of free will and his view of divine and human double agency in the attainment of true freedom: “and at least to free themselves (with the good God) into that freedom which befits human beings created in God’s image and participating in divine reason.”

[435] More adds a dismissive “in our country”, expressing his sincere dismay at the fact that his foremost philosophical foe shares his nationality.

[436] Southwell’s English is barely intelligible. More draws his reader’s attention to Hobbes’ startling confession that the determinism argued for in his work on the subject is itself conducive to immoral action: “Meanwhile I find it most noteworthy at this point that he [i.e. Hobbes] himself acknowledges that his own view On Necessity must be counted among the causes by which man’s will, as he claims, is necessarily determined to commit even the vilest misdeeds.”

[437] More’s Latin is both more philosophically precise and more stylistically elegant than Southwell’s English: “However, if this falsest of opinions has such a power to make men acquire vice and wickedness, it is necessary that the true view about free will has at least the same power to make them strive for a life of probity and virtue.”

[438] More rather lists two largely synonymous terms, subsequently providing a first definition: “However, ‘free will’ apparently means largely the same as the Greeks’ αὐτεξούσιον, which is the same as ‘having in oneself the power to act or not to act’.”

[439] Southwell wrongly renders the singular principio as “principles”. However, on More’s scheme, there is but one single principle of virtuous action, i.e. the boniform faculty and the intellectual love it stirs in the soul.

[440] Marcus Aurelius‘ expression is more graphic: “He stops the attraction caused by his nerves and members”.

[441] Southwell clearly tries to render more intelligible a somewhat difficult bit of Morean definition, which, in a more literal rendering, reads: “‘Free will’ is less wide than ‘voluntary’ and ‘spontaneous’, as it includes in itself as its [specific] difference ‘power to act or not to act’. ‘Spontaneous, by contrast, is simply defined as ‘that whose principle is in the one knowing the details of the situation of his action’.”

[442] This final sentence is an explanatory note added by Southwell. An action may be classified as ”voluntary” or “spontaneous”, even though the agent lacks the power to act otherwise. However, it is not an action of “free will”, which presupposes this capacity.

[443] Southwell has added these last two phrases so as to clarify More’s rather terse definitions.

[444] This relative clause has been added by Southwell.

[445] Like “freedom” and “voluntary”, “within our Power” or τὰ ἐφ᾿ ἡμῖν (more frequently used in the singular) is another technical expression of the ancient debate about determinism.

[446] Southwell adds “of not acting“ to remedy what appears to be an oversight on the part of the author who, in the original, says: “This power, when it refers to that which is base, is a kind of perfect, whereas, when it refers to that which is beautiful and honest, is the worst imperfection.”

[447] More’s original Latin is more precise. Moreover, Southwell has omitted More’s announcement that he is about to provide evidence for the existence of the power defined: “However, it is a certain perfectible power that we were able to abstain from base deeds, even though in actual fact we failed to do so, and it is indeed quite important to acknowledge that we possess this power.”

[448] More’s exact wording is of philosophical importance here. We feel remorse on doing things “resolved upon prior to the required deliberation and without any uncertainty of the mind”.

[449] More again uses technical Stoic vocabulary here, referring to the “common notions of our mind”.

[450] Interestingly, Southwell adds the Stoic concept of “assent”, also substituting “motive” for the original “reason or cause”: “since there is no reason or cause which averts him or suspends his act”.

[451] Southwell has inadvertently omitted a whole paragraph here: ”Hence, the will always inclines towards what appears to be the greater good and is, therefore, necessarily determined to one of them. Hence, it clearly follows that we do not possess free will nor could have ever acted otherwise than we have.”

[452] Again, More’s Latin is more precise than Southwell’s English, addressing God’s “foreknowledge of contingent effects or such as proceed from a free principle”.

[453] More’s stress is on the object of the enquiry. If Socratic intellectualism were true, he argues, “the freedom of human will would not have to be looked for or placed in any choice, but rather in deliberations and counsels which could never reach any conclusion repugnant to the finest of all ends.”

[454] “For him“ has been added by Southwell.

[455] More’s language is altogether more graphic here, culminating in the theatrical trope of the “God from the machine” needed to remedy the Aristotelian aporia: “nor would he be able to obey the most wholesome advice and counsel of people without being beaten to it unless, as it were, a God from the machine intervened to heal him.”

[456] Southwell has left out More‘s reference: “as we are rightly taught on the basis of Aristotle by the most learned of his commentators.”

[457] More’s thought experiment is more radical. It revolves around those “whose sense of distinguishing between good and bad has been extinguished altogether.”

[458] Two aspects of terminological subtlety, namely the criterion of “sufficient” clarity and the notion of moral duty or value as something that “is better in a simple and absolute sense” are lost in Southwell’s rendering: “that sometimes even when they perceive with sufficient clarity what would be better in an absolute and simple sense”.

[459] Southwell’s two-part expression “yield and go on” is a particularly apt translation of the ambiguous Latin ferri se sinunt. The soul allows itself to be carried away by its animal life and acts accordingly.

[460] The metaphorical “Stream“ is an addition of Southwell’s meant to stress the notion of a soul being carried away by its passions of its own accord.

[461] More again uses the comparative absolutè melius: “what is better in an absolute sense”

[462] More’s praise is more philosophical in character: “than which nothing either more perfect or more divine has been given, or could be given.”

[463] In More’s original Latin, “virtue” is opposed to “stupidity”

[464] More himself provided a translation of these Latin verses in his Philosophical Poems (160–161): “Thou now among those heavenly wights dost shine, / Whose wonne this glorious lustre doth embrave: / There lovely Friendship, mild-smiling Cupid’s there, / With lively looks and amorous suavitie, / Full of pure pleasure, and fresh flowring chear; / Ambrosian streams sprung the Deitie / Do frankly flow, and soft love-kindling winds / Do strike with a delicious sympathie / Those tender spirits, and fill up their minds / With satisfying joy.”

[465] In the Latin, immortality itself is called a “most certain and just compensator” for the soul’s woes in its present life.

[466] Rather, “despise”.

[467] In Cicero’s Latin, it is only the “best and most righteous” souls who return to heaven.

[468] More promises heavenly reward to a generic “us”, rather than the just alone.

[469] Southwell has omitted the concept of internal and external “goods”, the topic of this final chapter of the Enchiridion Ethicum. Even though he expands on More’s original, his paraphrase of prout res ipsa nos monet in terms of “kind Admonitions”, including ipsa as “as indeed they are”, reveals a remarkable understanding of the link between the author’s ethics and his soul-making theodicy: “After all, if we want to make the right and wise use of such losses, as the matter itself requires it, we gain goods of the mind and beyond to the extend that we lose those external ones.”

[470] More’s stirring Platonist exposition of the superiority of internal goods vis-à-vis external ones, of which Southwell provides only an imprecise paraphrase, revels in deliberate paradox: “As a consequence, we must be all the more assured that whatever we suffer in our bodies and in in our misfortunes should rather be accounted a benefit than harm or misfortune so that we rather grow and gain through them than dwindle and lose in any way.”

[471] The original reads “a hundred times less”.

[472] Southwell leaves out the Morean notion of loss and suffering as the providential means by which the soul acquires virtue and holiness in the soul-making process: “If, therefore, someone were to understand this correctly, he would no longer have to dread obstacles and adversities. Instead, he would acknowledge and embrace them as gifts of the most wise God and as the greatest and most efficient instruments for the perfection of his virtues.”

[473] While stylistically polished, Southwell’s rendering is far removed from Cicero’s original Latin: “However, he [i.e. Cicero] rightly complains that we have infected our mind with shadows, pastimes, laziness, languor and torpor so that it has become weak, enchanted by bad custom and opinion.”

[474] This is a rather graphic – and somewhat dubious – rendering of More’s matter-of-fact “they fell out and quarrelled”.

[475] Southwell has added this exclamation.

[476] Southwell has omitted More’s rather cryptic “unless one perhaps lives in a more favourable climate”, which is probably an allusion to the author’s doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul and its different vehicles and planes of existence. While virtue is likely to contribute to the soul’s demise in its earthly condition, it may well fare better in a higher aerial or even ethereal existence.

[477] The biblical allusions to Eph. 6:13 and the Genesis account have been added by Southwell.

[478] More here uses the technical vocabulary of his ontology of incorporeal substances which cannot be “discerped”.

[479] In More, this is viewed rather as the condition for the soul’s bliss unhampered by outer adversities: “if the mind neither falters nor regrets its effort, but amidst its sufferings unwaveringly and with sincere and strong passion continues to reach out for God and blessed immortality.”

[480] This is a typographical error in Southwell’s translation.

[481] Significantly considering the sources he draws on his Enchridium, More also mentions the Stoics as recipients of the ancient practical wisdom.

Cite as: Henry More, ‘Enchiridion ethicum (English translation by Edward Southwell, revised by Christian Hengstermann)’, from Opera omnia, I (1679), 1-96,, accessed 2023-12-01.