— 266 —
The reason of it.       §52. This is the hinge on which turns the liberty of intellectual
Beings in their constant endeavours after, and a steady prosecution
— 267 —
of true felicity, that they can suspend this prosecution in particular
cases, till they have looked before them, and informed themselves,
whether that particular thing, which is then proposed, or desired,
lie in the way to their main end, and make a real part of that which
is their greatest good. For the inclination, and tendency of their
nature to happiness is an obligation, and motive to them, to take
care not to mistake, or miss it; and so necessarily puts them upon
caution, deliberation, and wariness, in the direction of their par-
ticular actions, which are the means to obtain it. Whatever neces-
sity determines to the pursuit of real Bliss, the same necessity, with
the same force establishes suspence, deliberation, and scrutiny of each
successive desire, whether the satisfaction of it, does not interfere
with our true happiness, and mislead us from it. This as seems to
me is the great privilege of finite intellectual Beings; and I desire it
may be well consider’d, whether the great inlet, and exercise of all
the liberty Men have, are capable of, or can be useful to them, and
that whereon depends the turn of their actions, does not lie in this,
that they can suspend their desires, and stop them from determining
their wills to any action, till they have duly and fairly examind the
good and evil of it, as far forth as the weight of the thing requires.
This we are able to do; and when we have done it, we have done our
duty, and all that is in our power; and indeed all that needs. For,
since the will supposes knowledge to guide its choice, all that we
can do, is to hold our wills undetermined, till we have examind the
good and evil of what we desire. What follows after that, follows in
a chain of Consequences linked one to another, all depending on the
last determination of the Judgment, which whether it shall be upon
an hasty and precipitate view, or upon a due and mature Examina-
tion, is in our power; Experience shewing us, that in most cases we
are able to suspend the present satisfaction of any desire.
Locke Hum II, 21, §52, pp. 266-267