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28. ‘Perhaps it will be said’ (c. 1694)

Section 1 (of 1)

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Perhaps it will be said if this be soe. That men can suspend their desires; stop their actions and take time to consider and deliberate upon what they are goeing to doe. If men can weigh the good and evill of an action they have in view, if they have a power to forbear till they have surveyed the consequences and examind how it may comport with their happynesse or misery and what a train of one or tother it may draw after it; How comes it to passe, that we see men abandon them selves to the most brutish vile irrational, exorbitant actions dureing the whole current of a wild or dissolute life without any check or the least appearance of any reflection. who if they did but in the least consider what will certainly overtake such a cause here and what may possibly attend it here after would certainly sometimes make a stand. slacken their pace abate of that height of wick ednesse theyr actions rise to. Amongst the several causes there may be of this I shall set down some of the most common.

1º It sometimes happens that from their cradles some were never accustomd to reflect but by a constant indulging of their passions have been all along given up to the conduct and swing of their inconsiderate desires, and soe have by a contrary habit lost the use and exercise of Reflection as if it were forain to their constitution and can noe more bear with it than as a violence done to their natures. How much fond or carelesse parents and negligent inspectors of the Education of Children have to answer on this account they were best looke For both the poor and the Rich I fear offend this way. The one in not opening their childrens mindes at all the other in leting them loose only to sensual pleasures. And hence the one never have their thoughts raised above the necessitys of a needy drudging life on which they are wholy intent and the other have noe thoughts besides their present pleasures which wholy possesse them. To the latter of these all proposals of consideration are nonsense. To the other the names of virtue and worth are utterly unintelligible. And to ta lke of a future state of happynesse or misery is looked on as a trick and meer mockery and they are ready to answer. you shall not make me such a fool as to beleive that. This in a country as ours is of soe much preaching may seem strange But I have very good witnesses of such instances as these and I think noe body need goe far to finde people ignorant and uninstructed to that degree. For tis plain the instructions of the pulpit will not make people knowing if those be begun with and relied on.

2º There seems to me to be in the world a great number of men who want not parts but who from another sort of ill education and prevalency of bad company and ill imbibed principles of mistaken philosophie. cast away the thoughts and beleife of another world as a fiction of politi tians and divines conspireing togeather to keep the world in awe and to impose on weake mindes. If any of them by their miscariages have brought this discredit on this fundamental truth I think they have a great deal to answer for. For this I imagin is certain That when in this age of the world, the beleife of an other life leaves a man of parts who has been bred up under the sound and opinion of heaven and hell virtue seldom stays with him. And then all his happynesse being resolved into the satisfaction of his temporal desires tis noe wonder that his will should be determind and his life guided by measures that by men of other principles seem to want consideration.

3º To these we may adde a third sort, who for want of breeding not arriveing at a learned irreligion or an argumentative disbeleif of a future state find a shorter cut to it from their own ill manners than the others doe from study and speculation. For haveing plunged themselves in all sorts <of> wickednesse and vilany their present lives give them but a very ill prospect of a future state, they resolve it their best way to have noe more thoughts about it but to live in a full enjoyment of all they can get and relish here, and not to lessen that enjoyment by the consideration of a future life where of they expect noe benefit.

NB This addition to this chapter may be spared

Understanding A

Diplomatic

116r

Perhaps it will be said if this be soe. That men can suspend their desires; stop their actions and take time to consider and deliberate upon what they are goeing to doe. and If men can weigh the good and evill of an action they have in view, view its.I if they have a power to stand still forbear till they have surveyed the consequences and examind how it may comport with their happynesse or misery and what a train of one or tother it may draw after it; How comes it to passe, that we see men deliver abandon them selves up to the most brutish vile irrational, exorbitant actions dureing the whole cause current of a wild or dissolute life without any check any stand or the least appearance of any reflection. which who if they did but in the least consider what will certainly overtake such a cause here and what may possibly attend it here after would certainly receive some ch<eck> stop and sometimes sometimes make a stand. slacken their pace abate of that height of wick ednesse theyr actions rise to. Amongst the several causes there may be of this I shall set down some of the most common.

1º It sometimes happens that from their cradles some were never accustomd to reflect but by a constant indulg.ing of their passions have been all along given up to the conduct and swing of their inconsiderate desires, and soe have by a contrary habit lost the use and exercise of Reflection as if it were forain to their const.itution and ... can noe more bear with it than as a violence done to their natures. How much fond or carelesse parents and negligent inspectors of the Education of Children are have to answer on this account they were best looke For both the rich and the poor and the Rich I fear offend this way. The one in not opening their childrens mindes at all the other in leting them loose only to sensual pleasures. And hence the one never have their thoughts raised above the necessitys of a needy drudging life on which they are wholy intent and the other have noe thoughts besides their present pleasures which wholy possesse them. To the latter of these all proposals of consideration are nonsense. To the other the names of virtue and worth are utterly iunintelligible. And to ta lke of a future state of happynesse or misery is looked on as a trick and meer mockery and they are ready to answer. you shall not make me such a fool as to beleive that. This in a country as ours is of soe much preaching may seem strange But I have very good witnesses of such instances as these and I think noe body need goe far to finde people ignorant and uninstructed to that degree. For tis plain the instructions of the pulpit will not make people knowing if those be begun with and relied on.

2º There seems to me to be in the world a great number of men of who want not parts but who from another sort of ill education and prevalency of bad company and ill imbibed principles of mistaken philosophie. cast away the thoughts and beleife of another world as a fiction of politi tians and divines conspireing togeather to keep the world in awe and to impose on weake mindes. If any of them by their miscariages have brought this discredit on this fundamental truth I think they have a great deal to answer for. For this I imagin is certain That when . in this age of the world, the beleife of an other life leaves a man of parts who has been bred up under the sound and opinion of heaven and hell virtue seldom stays with him. And then all his happynesse being resolved into the satisfaction of his temporal desires tis noe wonder that his will should be determind and his life guided by measures that by men of other principles seem to want consideration.

3º To these we may adde a third sort, who for want of breeding not arriveing at a learned irreligion or an argumentative disbeleif of a future state find a shorter cut to it from their own ill manners than the others doe from educati<on> study and speculation. For haveing plunged themselves in all sorts <of> wickednesse and vilany their present lives give them but a very ill prospect of a future

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state, they resolve it their best way to have noe more thoughts about it but to live in a full enjoyment of all they can get and relish here, and not to lessen that enjoyment by the consideration of a future life where of they th. expect noe benefit.

NB But This addition to this chapter may be spared

116v

Understanding A


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The place of this draft in the Essay was marked by Locke in MS Locke c.28 with a marginal entry giving the book and chapter ‘Book II. Chap. XXI’, and the draft starts with the last words of the section after which is was intended to follow: ‘God if he will § 54’.
On theology see also the ‘Conduct’, par. 49: ‘This is that science which would truly enlarge mens minds were it studyed or permitted to be studyed every where with that freedom, love of truth and charity which it teaches, and were not made contrary to its nature the occasion of strife faction, malignity and narrow impositions.’
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