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Government of our Passions the right improvement of Liberty.       §53. But if any extreme disturbance (as sometimes it happens)
possesses our whole Mind, as when the pain of the Rack, an
— 268 —
impetuous uneasiness, as of Love, Anger, or any other violent Passion,
running away with us, allows us not the liberty of thought, and we
are not Masters enough of our own Minds to consider throughly,
and examine fairly; God, who knows our frailty, pities our weakness,
and requires of us no more than we are able to do, and sees what was,
and what was not in our power, will judge as a kind and merciful
Father. But the forbearance of a too hasty compliance with our
desires, the moderation and restraint of our Passions, so that our
Understandings may be free to examine, and reason unbiassed give
its judgment, being that, whereon a right direction of our conduct
to true Happiness depends; ’tis in this we should employ our chief
care and endeavours. In this we should take pains to suit the relish
of our Minds to the true intrinsick good or ill, that is in things; and
not permit an allow’d or supposed possible great and weighty good
to slip out of our thoughts, without leaving any relish, any desire
of it self there, till, by a due consideration of its true worth, we have
formed appetites in our Minds suitable to it, and made our selves
uneasie in the want of it, or in the fear of losing it. And how much
this is in every ones power, every one by making resolutions to
himself, such as he may keep, is easie for every one to try. Nor let
any one say, he cannot govern his Passions, nor hinder them from
breaking out, and carrying him into action; for what he can do
before a Prince, or a great Man, he can do alone, or in the presence
of God, if he will.
Locke Hum II, 21, §53, pp. 267-268